Ethnic Diversity of the Russian Empire

While reading Kappeller’s article regarding what he called the “Multi-Ethnic Empire”, I began to realize how culturally and ethnically diverse Russia actually is compared to many other countries. Being so large, Russia encompasses many different regions and through the course of history has been invaded and controlled by several different cultures, adding to the already rich diversity in the country. By the 1800’s this led to Russia being populated by not only Russians, but also Poles, Tatars, Jews, Fins, Latvians, etc.… Read the rest here

Argument for an A

I think that there are several reasons as to why this paper received an A, the first of which being the thesis statement. Professor Qualls has always talked about how our thesis statements should be concise and should ask a specific question that can be debated. This statement does exactly that by specifying that the author believes that Catherine and Peter changed the role of the government in order to strengthen it. On top of the clear pointed meaning behind the thesis, the paper also strictly follows the thesis.… Read the rest here

Societal Aspects of Post-Kievan Rus

I believe that a lot can be learned about the society of Rus through the interpretation of legal documents such as the Novgorod Judicial Charter. As we already know the Russian Orthodox Church has played a vital role in Russian history since its introduction to the area, and this is a perfect example of the influence it had. By far the most frequently repeated phrase in this legal document is “kissing the cross”. This term referred to the act of kissing the cross as a symbol of a litigants promise to tell the truth during a court case.… Read the rest here

Christian Rus

I think that this reading really helps to give a sense of how ingrained the Russian Orthodox Church was in early Rus society. The most obvious example of this is clearly the Chronicles themselves and how they are written. For instance, when Novgorod did not want to submit to the rule of the Grand Prince, the Chronicles portrayed it as not a political schism, but one of deep religious controversy. Instead of saying that the people of Novgorod had betrayed the Grand Prince, the Chronicles claim that Novgorod betrayed the commandments of God himself.… Read the rest here

Observations on Rus Society

Having looked at the Правда Русская (Pravda Russkaia) and compared it to Iaroslav’s Statute I think that the change in the documents can tell us a lot about life in early Rus as well as the different roles that men and women played in their society. In my opinion the biggest change between the two legal codes is the shift in importance from material possessions to family as well as sexual values. In the Pravda Russkaia most of the laws are jumbled around with little regard for organization, however the central theme seems to be property and its value; however, in Iaroslav’s statute we can see Christian values starting to emerge as there are many laws pertaining to marriage and adultery in particular.… Read the rest here

Russian Corruption

One thing in particular that I have been interested in lately is the corruption problems that Russia has been facing since the fall of the Soviet Union. One of the most common jokes you hear about Russian people is that they are all either criminals or corrupt in some way and I have always wondered if there is any validity in these jokes. This led me to become interested in the Alexei Navalny case that is currently being attended to in Russia.… Read the rest here

The Firebird

Last night I went to the First Evangelical Lutheran Church to listen to the Dickinson Orchestra perform several pieces including Stravinsky’s, The Firebird. I went into this performance quite unsure as I know little about classical music and generally have trouble reading into it they way others might, yet I thoroughly enjoyed this piece and was able to hear the variations in the music as the story progressed.

One thing in particular that I noticed was that this piece seemed to follow the Russian guidelines on classical music where one instrument takes precedent over the others.… Read the rest here

Russian/United States Relations

Tonight we attended a lecture on Russia and United States relations since the fall of the Soviet Union, given by Georgetown professor, Angela Stent. The lecture summed up many of the policies that have been put into place by the United States and Russia in regards to one another and how these policies may have either solidified or damaged a potential friendship between the two nations.

Professor Stent started off her talk with a question that many people have asked me when told that I planned on becoming a Russian major.… Read the rest here

Negative Media Coverage

As I was looking through various news stories regarding Russia, I noticed that almost all of them are about something negative such as military activity or potential threats against the United States. I think this goes back to a blog post I had the other week about the portrayal of Russians in American films. Ranging from economic protests to the Kremlin encroaching on new spheres of influence, the media coverage of Russia only seems to further push Russians away from the western countries.… Read the rest here

Russian Portrayal in Film

Last semester a friend of mine in my dorm, having heard that I planned to be a Russian major, recommended a movie to me that he thought I would find enjoyable. The movie’s name was Eastern Promises and I decided to go and check it out. Upon watching the movie I noticed two things in particular; one, the Russian in the movie was absolutely atrocious, and two, this movie continued the stereotype that all Russians are gangsters and alcoholics.… Read the rest here