A History of Russia and Its Empire: From Mikhail Romanov to Vladimir Putin
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Description This clear and focused text provides an introduction to imperial Russian and Soviet history from the crowning of Mikhail Romanov in to Vladimir Putin's new term. Through a consistent chronological narrative, Kees Boterbloem considers the political, military, economic, social, religious, and cultural developments and crucial turning points that led Russia from an exotic backwater to superpower stature in the twentieth century.
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The only text designed and written specifically for a one-semester course on this four-hundred-year period, it will appeal to all readers interested in learning more about the history of the people who have inhabited one-sixth of the earth's landmass for centuries. Review quote In a concise and readable account of the past four centuries of 'Russia' the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and today's Russian Federation , Boterbloem skillfully condenses a rich and complex history into a lucid narrative accessible to undergraduate students.
Highly recommended. He expertly intertwines the different strands of Russian history that show how Russia went from relative obscurity to one of the world's superpowers. This text is clear, concise, and accessible to a broad audience. It is ideal for a one-semester survey of modern Russian history.
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- A history of Russia and its empire : from Mikhail Romanov to Vladimir Putin.
Highly recommended! The author emphasizes the role of important leaders and the rapid growth of the multiethnic Russian Empire. Boterbloem explores continuity and change from the Russian Empire to the Soviet Union to the Russian Federation, arguing that a general absence of a rule of law or a frequent ignoring of existing laws by leaders and commoners alike was a similar phenomenon in all three states. Like any tsar, Mr Putin has presented himself as a gatherer of Russian lands and the man who came to consolidate and save Russia from disintegration after a period of chaos and disorder.
To create this image, he portrayed the s not as a period of transition towards Western-style democracy and free markets, but as a modern instance of the Times of Troubles—a period of uprisings, invasions and famine in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, between the death of the last Rurikid tsar and the consolidation of the Romanovs.
A modern state is a set of laws and formal rules. Gosudarstvo is an extension of the tsar as the ultimate source of order and authority. In the years that followed, they promoted a class system bound by intermarriages, god-parentage and family ties.
Russia: A Timeline
They perceived their sudden enrichment not as corruption but as an entitlement and a reward for loyal service. He established a direct line to the Russian people, using state television stations to project his message. He rarely appeared with or talked about his wife. A tsar, says Mr Zorin, is wedded to the Russian people and nobody can stand between them.
This direct mandate allowed him to consolidate power, emasculating alternative political and economic forces, including oligarchs, the media, regional governors and political parties. Those who refused to submit to his authority were banished or jailed. Whatever the formal reasons for sending Mikhail Khodorkovsky to a Siberian jail, most Russians believed that he fell foul of Mr Putin and deserved his personal wrath. Few questioned the prerogative of the tsar to banish a rebellious underling.
Equally, the only source of legitimacy for regional bosses is not the electoral will of the people but his appointment or approval. The beginning of his second term in was marked by an inauguration which closely resembled a coronation. Konstantin Ernst, head of Channel One, the main state television station, created a royal setting. All Mr Putin had to do was to walk into it. The Kremlin guards were dressed in tsarist-era uniforms.
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Their horses were borrowed from a film studio, having appeared in a scene about the coronation of Alexander III. The legitimacy of a tsar, however, requires continual reaffirmation. Russian rulers, including Ivan the Terrible, have sometimes tested their authenticity by temporarily placing a fake tsar on the throne. Mr Putin repeated the experiment in when he withdrew from the presidency, putting a younger and doggedly loyal lawyer, Dmitry Medvedev, in his place. All the while, however, real power remained in the hands of Mr Putin, who assumed the job of prime minister.
In Mr Putin came back to his throne. Understandably, revolutions make tsars uncomfortable. While Yeltsin rejected the revolution because it was the foundation myth of the Communist regime which he had defeated, Mr Putin turned against it because it separated two periods of what he saw as a continuous Russian empire. He wanted to paper over a dramatic breaking point in the long line of Russian rulers that led ultimately to his own reign. Yet the past is not so easy to tame.
Dominic Lieven, a British historian, writes that Russia faced a crisis as it entered the 20th century. Its main element was the alienation of the urban educated class from a state which refused to grant it political representation. Convinced that only an autocracy could hold the empire together, Nicholas II tried to rule a growing and increasingly sophisticated society as though he were an 18th-century absolute monarch.
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Economically, the country prospered. By it was one of the largest and fastest-growing economies in the world, accounting for 5. It produced Malevich and Kandinsky, Prokofiev and Rachmaninov.
Politically, however, it remained backward.