Grievances and Demands of the Revolutionaries

The “Program of the Narodnaia Volia” in 1879 early on declared that the implementation of socialist principles is the purpose behind their disapproval of the government and subsequent assassination of Tsar Alexander II. They view their socialist principles as the most progressive way to maintain and establish  welfare for the people. Their overall grievances revolve around the autocracy of the government where people do not have expression, and in fact are so enslaved and repressed that they don’t recognize that there is another option.… Read the rest here

Slavery and Serfdom

Both slavery and serfdom developed as a means of labor for agricultural cultivation; however, as time progressed the status of those slaves and serfs became more property oriented with less societal mobility and less of exclusively a labor force (both growing in force as the years went on). The differences stem from how the institutions were created: tied to their “masters” or to the land. Because the serfs were tied to the land their individual liberties declined as the Russian state centralized- more power was given to the tsars who in turn attempted to add loyalties by giving land that contained serfs to nobles (whose power continued to grow over time, so their control of the serfs also broadened).… Read the rest here

The Decembrists

The Decembrist Revolt was a result of and consisted of a state of confusion. Russians in whole did not have a firm understanding of the line of succession, and so when Nicholas came to power rather than Constantine many people felt betrayed. The Decembrists revolt came from a group of people in the Russian army who decided to make a public statement by not swearing allegiance to Nicholas as their loyalties were with Constantine. However, because the declaration of Nicholas as tsar was abrupt the organization of the revolt was as well (“poorly and hastily planned, inadequately executed… no other units joined them”).… Read the rest here

Whittaker- The Dual Autocratic Identity

Whittaker’s thesis and stance on the reforming of Russia encompasses the two mentalities of Russia: the conservative history under autocracies and the desire for progress. She mentions that because Russians had only ever truly been governed under a strong, authoritarian leadership that there was an expectation of that way of societal structure (as nothing else had ever been implemented) where the state always came before the individual. However, she importantly notes the contrast that was brought about by reforming tsars.… Read the rest here

Domostroi: 24- 38

These chapters dictate more on how one should lead their lives morally and ethically. The first two chapters differentiate living a morally, Godly life with dedication to one’s “neighbors” and the values of God- and make a clear statement that if those are not followed then one would be going directly to Hell. There are a lot of religious affiliations in these chapters as they state that the way to be a beneficial member of society is to dedicate yourself to God’s values.… Read the rest here

Ivan the Terrible Questions

What was the reputation of the zemshchina? Were they revered in society, or seen as traitors to their people for working for the repressive regime? This reading also brings up questions about the church- why such a change of heart towards the church so that they weren’t exempt from these purges? In addition, why the distrust of foreigners? There had been a phasing out of them for some time, but why the sudden hatred for anyone associated with them?… Read the rest here

Life in Post- Kievan Rus’

The evidence of the growth of literacy among the population in post- Kievan Rus’ breaks ground for many reasons. First off, it shows an attention to the youth and the next generation- not only so that they could have the ability to utilize these resources, but also as the investment to further generations. The fact that there were young people learning to write shows that society wanted further preservation of it’s culture past the point of the monks and the church.… Read the rest here

Post- Kievan Rus’ and Mongol Influence

The two writings of “Interpreting Mongol Yoke: Ideology of Science” and “The Mongols and Cultural Change” display differing versions of Mongol and Rus’ interactions. While the latter perceives the Mongol rule as entirely destructive with little to no cultural achievements made for Rus’ during this time, the former believes that this idea is a narrow- minded way of viewing Mongol influence. Although there was a severely recognizable amount of destruction upon Rus’, there were also achievements in societal structures.… Read the rest here

Power Shifts in Post- Kievan Rus’

In post- Kievan Rus’, the power dynamics shifted significantly because of the changing sources of the power. There were two specific ways that the power in the area shifted: through dispersing power from the prince to other officials in the area, and to give the elite citizens more power. The first type describes a system where officials had to be elected to power, but once in office had authority to limit the prince’s power and to govern the area (mainly found in the northwestern region).… Read the rest here