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HISTORY OF RUSSIA The history of Russia can be broken down into four categories. Early Russia Czarist Russia Communist Russia Russia after 1991

Early Russia: 

Early Russia Descended from early Slavs Built a civilization called Kievan Rus (now the city of Kiev, Ukraine) By AD1000 early Russians had accepted Eastern Orthodox Christianity They prospered from trade with Mediterranean region and with Western Europe. During the 1200’s Mongols swept in from Central Asia and greatly reduced the wealth and power of region. Muscovy (now Moscow) became the center of the Slavic territory.

Czarist Russia: 

Czarist Russia In 1480, Czar Ivan III, known as “Ivan the Great”, drove out the Mongols and made the region independent. Muscovy slowly developed into what we now know as Russia. Russian rulers slowly expanded their power and land size, and built up their armies. Russian rulers became known as Czars, sometimes written Tsars, who had complete and total control over the government and people. Some of the more well known Czars: Czar Ivan III, “Ivan the Great” Czar Ivan IV, “Ivan the Terrible” Czar Peter the Great Czarina Catherine the Great Czar Alexander Czar Nicholas and Czarina Alexandra

IVAN III “The Great” 1462-1505: 

IVAN III “The Great” 1462-1505 Drove the Mongols out of Russia

Czar Ivan IV, “Ivan the Terrible” 1533-1584: 

Czar Ivan IV, “Ivan the Terrible” 1533-1584 Used a secret police force to control the people of Muscovy. He also established sweeping reforms that helped bring his nation out of the Dark Ages. Ivan IV "The Terrible" Ivan killed his son Ivan

Peter “The Great” Romanov 1689-1725 : 

Peter “The Great” Romanov 1689-1725 Went on a tour around Western Europe. Built St. Petersburg to look like other European cities in 1703. Was 7 feet tall.

Catherine “The Great” Romanov 1762-1796 : 

Catherine “The Great” Romanov 1762-1796 Pushed the Empire’s borders southward and eastward.


Alexander I Alexander II Nicholas II The End of the Monarchy in Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Nicholas II and Family Nicholas and Alexandra (seated), Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia (daughters) & Alexis (son).

Czar Alexander II, “Czar-Liberator”: 

Czar Alexander II, “Czar-Liberator” Freed the Serfs from being tied to the land in 1861. When a noble sold his land the serfs went with the land.

Czar Nicholas II: 

Czar Nicholas II The last of the Romanov rulers. The whole family was executed by the Bolsheviks. Legend has it that Anastasia, the youngest daughter, did not die, but this has never been proven. Alexandra was the granddaughter of Great Britain's Queen Victoria.

Soviet Era: 

Soviet Era In 1917, political leaders, soldiers, and factory workers forced Czar Nicholas II to give up the throne. Vladimir Lenin led a second revolution and seized control, set up a communist government, which had strict control of the government and society. In 1922 Russian Communist leaders formed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics = U.S.S.R.


Vladimir Lenin 1917 Early Soviet Leaders Joseph Stalin 1924-1953 Introduced Political Design Introduced Economic Plan

Vladimir Lenin: 

Vladimir Lenin

Soviet Era: 

Soviet Era Joseph Stalin took power after Lenin died, the government took tighter control of the country and many people suffered. After WWII, Stalin set up communist governments in many neighboring Eastern European countries. From late 1940’s to late 1980’s the US and USSR waged a Cold War, in which both nations competed for world influence without actually fighting each other. Cuban Missile Crisis = hottest point The Soviet Union included Russians and people from many other ethnic groups, who resented Soviet rule.

Joseph Stalin: 

Joseph Stalin


The U.S.S.R.


NATO and Warsaw Pact, 1945-89

A New Russia: 

A New Russia In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev took power and relaxed Soviet control of the economy & government. Perestroika-a policy introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev loosened governmental control and permitted the Soviet economy to move toward democracy. Glasnost-a policy introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev meaning “openness”. People were allowed to speak out about the government. In late 1991, each of the 15 republics making up the Soviet Union declared independence and the Soviet Union dissolved. Tore down the Berlin Wall which had separated the city of Berlin, Germany into two parts since the end of WWII. Fall of communism turned Russia’s economy upside down. Russian government turned to a free market economy allowing the people to decide what businesses to start and run.

Mikhail Gorbachev: 

Mikhail Gorbachev

Former Soviet Republics: 

Former Soviet Republics

Berlin Wall: 

Berlin Wall


Gorbachev Boris Yeltsin Alexander Putin From Soviet to Russian Leadership



The Land: 

The Land World’s largest country Located on two continents: Europe and Asia Gigantic size and harsh climates make transportation difficult. Ural Mountains form border between Europe and Asia. High, rugged Caucasus Mountains are south of European Russia. In the Caucasus Mountains there is a fertile region of valleys where many non-Russian people live.


Topography of Russia Lake Baikal Ural Mountains Caucasus Mountains St. Petersburg Moscow Volga River


Ural Mountains


Siberia takes up a large part of the land that crosses northern and central Russia into Asia. Siberia is largely undeveloped because of its harsh, cold climate. It can take eight or more days to travel across all of Russia. People have to travel from village to village by helicopter because it is so large and is covered by ice. Siberia



The Water: 

The Water Russia touches many inland bodies of water such as Black Sea, Caspian Sea, and Lake Baikal. Lake Baikal is the world’s deepest freshwater lake, it holds almost 20% of the world’s supply of unfrozen freshwater. Some of the plant and fish species in Lake Baikal can be traced to prehistoric times. Volga River, the longest river in Europe, carries almost ½ of Russia’s river traffic and provides water for irrigation and hydroelectric power.

Lake Baikal: 

Lake Baikal

Volga River: 

Volga River

The Climate: 

The Climate European Russia is warmer than Asian Russia and has a mild climate. Siberia has a harsh climate due to its location near the Arctic Circle. Most of the seaports along the Pacific Coast and the Baltic Sea are closed throughout the year due ice. The world’s largest forest, the taiga, is located just south of the tundra, below the Arctic Circle.



Russian Government: 

Russian Government Russia is a democracy freely elected by the people. It is also a federal republic with the power divided between national and state governments. A president leads the nation. Has more power than an American president. Issues orders that become laws even if they are not passed by the legislature.



The Economy: 

The Economy Southwestern area produces high yields of grains. Fishing industry is one of the largest in the world. Siberia has the largest supply of minerals in Russia, as well as timber and huge deposits of oil and natural gas. Moscow is the political, economic, and transportation center of Russia. Kaliningrad and St. Petersburg are important northwestern seaports. Murmansk in the north and Vladivostok in the east are other important port cites. The Ural Mountains contain copper, gold, lead, nickel, and bauxite, plus energy sources of coal, oil and natural gas. Mining of Russia’s natural resources is difficult because of the harsh climate.

The Economy: 

The Economy Russia’s economy is not strong due to years of communist control of farms and factories which denied people the experience of creating jobs, starting businesses, and making money.



The People: 

The People 75% of population live in European Russia. One of the most populous countries in the world, with nearly 145 million people and 150 different ethnic groups leads to a lot of ethnic conflict. Many people have left the rural areas for the city. Russia’s urban or city areas are large and modern with stone or concrete buildings and wide streets. ¾ of Russian people live in cities, mostly in large apartment blocks City dwellers remain poor and lack the money to buy consumer goods that are now more available.

The People: 

The People 80% of people are Slavs—the majority culture. Each ethnic group has its own distinctive language and culture this also leads to ethnic conflict. Some of the groups have a Christian heritage, while others are Islamic, Buddhist or Jewish. Russian workers are celebrated on May Day. New Years Day is the most festive non-religious holiday.


Percent of the Population Non-Russian in Russia


Culture St. Petersburg has many beautiful museums and is home to the Marinsky Theatre, one of Russia’s top ballet companies. St. Petersburg was founded in 1703 by Peter the Great whose goal was to make the city a “Window of the West”. Moscow and St. Petersburg have many museums exhibiting Russian treasures.

Russian Slavs: 

Russian Slavs


Culture Russians enjoy all kinds of literature, including folktales called skazki. Russian Orthodox Church is incredibly popular and thriving even though communism tried to eliminate it. Russian Orthodoxy was responsible for a Slavic alphabet called Cyrillic.



Inside the Kremlin: 

Inside the Kremlin

Cold War Movies: 

Cold War Movies Rocky IV 13 Days



Challenges in the Change from Communism: 

Challenges in the Change from Communism Major environmental issues Political conflict Ethnic conflict Economic issues

Environmental Issues: 

Environmental Issues Old Soviet government didn’t protect the Russian environment. Forest lands have been cut causing serious soil erosion. Chemical fertilizers have built up in the soil over time, destroying the soil’s ability to grow food. Air pollution from nuclear power plants, heavy industry, gases given off by coal-fired electric plants and different forms of transportation, have caused lung disease and cancer. Water polluted by agricultural and industrial chemicals, poor sewer systems, and buried chemical weapons.

Political Challenges: 

Political Challenges Changed from communism to free market economy immediately, but not every business has been able to keep up. Under communism everyone had jobs, but now workers today can lose their jobs when business is poor. Facing challenges of learning how to be a democracy. Without government controls, prices have risen making it harder to buy necessities such as food, clothing.

Challenges of Change: 

Challenges of Change Chechens of Chechnya want their own nation, have used terrorism to get attention, Russia has had to use force to keep them under control. Ethnic groups want to form their own country. For peace, trust grow among the different ethnic groups.