Ask not what Russia can do for you but what you can do for Russia

The reading for today was a except from Dmytryshyn and contained a deceleration from Alexander II the then tzar of Russia freeing the surfs from their burden. In the deceleration he says that he with the cooperation and assistance of the nobles have devised a method of freeing the surfs without violating the nobles rights. They decide to free the surfs in two years. And that any freed surfs will receive some land and a stipend from the noble they were serving. In return they must fulfill their obligations to the nobles. The declaration also states that any surfs not working the fields but instead otherwise employed should work out an arrangement with their noble. The peasants office and the organization of peace were to be set up to determine the fairness of the proceedings.

The most interesting part of the deceleration was the last section were the now freed surfs are spoken to directly. In it they are told to act with in a appropriate way and bear their new obligations. I believe that this is the Russian version of “ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”. The government is telling the surfs to serve the same roles they are now and not to forfeit their jobs and move to a better location.

The Overcoat

The reading for today was a story entitled Gogol or “The Overcoat”. The story centers around on poor man who lives in Saint Petersburg. He works as a copier and seems to be contented with his job and life. He works very hard for very little but evidently that is very common because he received a bonus of sixty rubles and was extremely happy about it. The story begins with him needing a new overcoat to keep out the cold during the Russian winters. Because of this he goes to a tailor and has a coat made despite the fact that it cost him twice his life savings. After he receives the coat he goes to a part and on his way back he is robed of his coat. After finds that he will get no help from the police and the high administrator he sprits into depression and dies. After his death he does manage to get revenge in the form of the high administrator’s coat.

The most interesting part of this story is the fact that this man is living on such a small margin. He appears to be living on a day to day amount of money with nothing set aside for the future. It makes me wonder what they do when they are no longer able to works. If they have no savings or family then are there any social services that existed to keep them alive. Also did someone clean the streets

Peter I, Catherine II paper review

This paper I an A ranked paper for several reasons. It possesses all of the normal trimmings that are needed to insure that it can function as an academic piece; citations, indentations, correct spelling. It also includes the equally or even more important characteristic of being a well written essay. It has a clear statement of the characters that it will discuss (Peter I, Catherin I) fallowed by a brief statement of the timeframe they lived and worked. Fallowing that is the ever important evidence and a clear and concise thesis contained in one solid sentence. The thesis focuses on the actions that the paper is discussing, in this case the stratified and expanded government roles. The intentions of Peter the Great and Catherin II with their motivations for their actions. Later in the paper the author brings into the argument the evidence listed before the thesis. In order to do this a small amount of historical motivation is always included, often with some quotes. For example when discussing Peter the Great and the “Table of Ranks” the author mentions Peter’s affinity for the westernization of Russia and how that would be a significant motivator.

Once the Author has finished discussing Peter the Great they move on to Catherin II. They completely skip over any mention of the intervening monarchs deciding to spend more of their time properly explaining the relevance of Peter and Catherin. The transition from one monarchs to the next is seamless with a brief interlude discussing both monarchs for context. Thankfully at the beginning of the Catherin there is a much needed interlude explaining the context for Catherin’s actions and her legislation. The author tells us about the Pugachev rebellion in the beginning of her rule which shaped much of her domestic policy.

After explaining and elaborating on the actions and intentions of Catherin II the author turns their attention to what they have just learned. An excerpt from a noted authority starts off the conclusion telling us how the monarchs were perceived by the Russian aristocracy and public. Fallowing that is a brief conclusion stating what the evidence showed the author in their logical argument. There is little to no sugar coating, instead the author tells us that Peter the Great and Catherin II did not truly care about the people. Instead they did what the author believed them to have done and extended government.

The readings for this weekend were all three on very different topics. The first one Manifesto Freeing the Nobility was a brief piece of legislation published by Peter III before his assassination by his wife Catherine. In it he sets the nobles free, in other words he allows them to resume completely independent action and free migration. The next two readings were discussions of Catherine the greats reign. The first one by Isabel De Madariaga revolves around the legislation she writes, specifically the Nakaz and The Statute of Local Administration. Brenda Meehan takes a different tact when examining Catherine the Great. She discuses both the effect of Catherine’s gender on the international stage and the possibility that Catherine may not have had as much power as we assume.

In reading these texts one overarching theme comes to mind, that the nobility of Russia may have had a very complex relationship with the Russian thrown. In 1762 Peter the third sets the nobles free. He did this because he wanted to improve the quality of the serving class. He specifically mentions that any nobles that are not serving their purpose should be cast out. In the next text more support is found in Catherine’s actions, she creates The Statute of Local Administration to separate the nobles a bit from their power and stabilize the populace. All of this implies that the Russian nobles were under the crowns authority. But the last text questions this by asking weather in actuality she was the pawn of a greater scheme.

The Reforming Tsar

I love the section on page 96 when they talk about the move away from veneration of the tzar and the paper discusses Paul I “Paul I (1796-1801, crazily lurched toward despotism, he was stooped by the most readily available alternative to constitutionalism, assassination)”

Weeding Rituals in ancient Russia

It is relatively easy to learn about how a long dead king ruled, or a battle was fought. A simple excavation of a battlefield, or the perusal of any angry politicians’ letters will tell us what we need to know. From The Domostroi we can learn a lot. For example The Domostroi can show us both the size and the structure of ancient households. We discovered that many powerful Russians lived in huge homes that could hold two hundred people. And that the people inside (especially the rich) lived very segregated lives. It appears that the women in Russian household were required to live almost entirely in groups of other women. It is fair to assume that after a certain age a women’s life would be completely influenced and directed by other women, specifically the match maker. In the last chapter of The Domostroi, marriage is discusses, that chapter brings this idea of grandeur and segregation to the extreme. The wedding ritual for noble families is three days long. The fact that the rituall is so large and complex would suggest that the Russian culture has been cultivating it for centuries unhindered by foreign interference. It is only through years of development that a society can incorporate enough material from other cultures to get that extensive.

PS. (this reminds me of the weeding ceremonies in Game of Thrones, the beeding ceremonies are the same)

The reading for today discussed the lives of the princes of Rus during the twelfth and later century’s. During this time there were  Rus was divided up into several different principalities each with their own prince and a different form of government. Some of the princes had nearly autonomous rule and were able to do as they wished. For example in Northeast Rus prince Dmirii was able to will his land to whomever he wished after his death without having to put in any considerations for other state powers. That being said he divided the land up to such a extent that there was most likely some turmoil after his death. On the other hand his neighbor in Northwest Rus had to deal with a completely different situation when they were made to swear to “The First Treaty of Novgorod”. This was the second major text in our reading. It consisted of a list of 23 major things that the prince could and could not do. The text gives the impression that prince Iaroslav was under house arrest

For me the most perplexing part of this reading was “The Second Testament of Moscow Grand Prince Dmitrii Donskoi”.In it he lays out his last will and testament in case he dies. The interesting part of this text besides the fact that it is a several thousand year old will is his use of the word “Princess”. In the text he leaves most of the land and gold to his suns or “Princes”and he often tells the princes that they must obey their “Mothers” or else loose their inheritance. But he also leaves a significant amount of wealth to “Princess”. I have understood the word to mean his wives or the mothers of the princes. But he never once mentions a actual wife all he ever says is Princess. This may be linked to the fact that he himself is named as Prince Dmitrii making his wives princess.

As my questions i have three. How much power over their male children did princess and women in general have? Why was the Treaty of Novgorod so focused on the prince not being allowed to give away land? How meany honey farms did the prince control?

What we know about the economy and how

Professor. Qualls

Russia from Clans to Empire

What we know about the Rus economy and how

               There are very few States nations or kingdoms that have managed to survive soly on one form of economic subsistence. The only example that comes to mind is Venice during the enlightenment, but even then they did not have complete freedom from agriculture. The reason that this is such an important realization is that Rus during the 8th through the 15th century was no exception. Archeologists have discovered massive amounts of material both in the cities and in the country side showing that there was a very active trade network and a booming agricultural sector to support their economy.

From the records we can see that farmers living in the northern part of Rus were not excluded from this prosperity. We can see that the type of tools and the techniques that they used were by no means stagnated. For example the type of plows found were primarily light plows that were very effective at tilling the soil after a heavy plow has worked over the land. And in the south we find evidence of different farm techniques in the form of Fallow Land techniques. What is so significant about this is that the records show that this along with many other improvements started to slowly move across the land in a gentle wave. This suggests that trade and communication between famers was likely supported by steady commerce and a strong economy.

So we know that the nation of Rus had a steady interstate trade that would facilitate the needs of the farmers. We also know that there was strong international trade pushing their economy based almost exclusively on the Dnieper, especially in amber. The reason we know this is that we have found hundreds of unfinished pieces of amber and entire workshops devoted to the creation of amber jewelry. The key thing that this can tell us about the Rus economy is how dependent the trade routes were on travel through the Baltic land. We know this because in the thirteenth century the German Teutonic order started to attack and seize the Baltic region and Prussia. At the same time we notice a dramatic drop in the amount of amber found in local shops and towns. We know that the amber mines still had amber so the only logical conclusion is that the Rus had no second trade route to ship their goods and so their economy stared.