Evaluation of Ivan the Terrible

Ivan the Terrible (1533-84) began his rule in 1547 at a young age and during the first half of his reign he and his administration made great strides toward reform in the Muscovite lands. In 1564, however, his health starts to decline and so does his power to rule. He separated his administration into people who he could trust, and it is possible that he became mentally paranoid, and a second administration run by boyar elite and nobles.… Read the rest here

The Start of Moscow’s Rise

The documents ascertaining to different regions of Rus’ in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries depict rather well how power was viewed and exacted.  The most important thing to note is since the different regions of Rus’ were ruled differently, the expansion eastward and away from Kiev is logical.

Firstly, we can tell how the mentality of the Northwest, Southwest, and Northeast parts of the Rus’ were different in the types of the documents given.  The document for Northwest Rus’ is a treaty between boyars and the prince.  … Read the rest here

The Rise of the Individual States in Rus’

As Kievan Rus’ became less and less centralized, individual principalities rose in its place as the chief governing bodies in the land.  These were much more independent of one another, and largely stayed more personal.  While this movement was occurring on the own accord of the princes, the pace was changed drastically as the hordes of Mongols began to go West.  While making it difficult for princes to stay sovereign, a large proportion of inhabitant of Rus’ felt the inclusion of Rus’ into the Mongol Yoke certainly had some benefits.… Read the rest here

Domostroi (Chapters 1-18)

The Domostroi represents the many facets of life for the “fortunate few” in Muscovy’s social hierarchy.  Those living under this social system were subjected to strict and detailed standards of behavior and expectations.  We have determined that at the crux of this system was a “culture of fear” that was responsible for ensuring proper social conduct.  This means that this group of people followed the Domostroi‘s guidelines not because it was necessarily beneficial but because they were motivated by fear of consequences.  … Read the rest here

The Mongol Yoke

The excerpts from Halperin and Sakharov are drastically different. Halperin’s article, Interpreting the Mongol Yoke: The Ideology of Silence, sheds a harsh light on the church, and those who seek to discredit any innovation the Mongols might have brought to Rus. Evidence demonstrates that the Rus people borrowed from nearly all aspects of Mongol life, with the one exception being religious culture. Rus princes married Mongol princesses, and the conquered peoples borrowed Mongol political and military institutions, as well as adopting the postal network of the Mongols.… Read the rest here

Debates over the Effects of the Mongol Invasion

Halperin’s and Sakharov’s articles offer different historical intepretations of the reception and effects of the Mongol invasion in Rus’. Halperin argues that, contrary to teachings perpetuated by the Church, the Rus adapted many aspects of Mongolian life which advanced Rus’ society. For instance, during the Mongol occupation, Rus’ society learned to use the Mongols’ efficient military structure and postal service. The Mongols also “rerouted the fur trade to extract greater revenue” (Halperin 106) for Rus’, thus assisting the culture they had conquered.… Read the rest here

Urban development as a reflection of culture and politics

I found the reviewer’s last sentence, recommending the three books for those interested in issues of memory, history, and urban planning very interesting. Urban planning reflects both the values and dynamism of a society. Paris, for instance, along with many other European cities, remains fixated on the past; try building a skyscraper on the Champs-Élysées if you want a challenge. Other cities, like New York, promote their ostensibly forward-looking nature with hyper-modern architectural styles and a constant flow of major construction projects.… Read the rest here

Moscow & Lithuania: A Showdown?

An article in The Moscow Times caught my eye yesterday. I’ve been reading a lot about Russia lately, not just in this Russian history course but in other courses as well. With every reading something becomes more and more apparent: Russia has a bit of an attitude when it comes to international relations.

I get it; history shows that their path to the present wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. They are often on the defensive and find themselves with few allies that truly have their back.… Read the rest here