History Summary for Case Book
I believe that the focus of our initial portion of the Case Book on Russia should be on early Rus history and how it ended up shaping the Russia that exists today. Throughout the readings that we had so far we have learned that
The Rus started off as a sort of “lost” group of people in the sense that they possessed no established religion and did not have any basic goals as to how to further their society and culture in order to secure a better future for themselves. The Rus finally adopted a religion, in the form of Christian Orthodoxy, in 988 under the rule of Prince Vladimir I and his adaptation of the Byzantine Rite Christianity after Byzantine monks came up to the Rus lands. The translation of the Bible into Old Slavonic by Saints Cyril and Methodius in 869 also lead to the Rus adopting Christianity as their religion. This ended up shaping Russia into a nation with deep religious roots which is prevalent to this day as they are the biggest Eastern Orthodox nation and have one of the main seven Orthodox churches, the others being that of Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Egypt, and Ethiopia.
The other major early Rus event that shaped the nation was the Mongol invasion of 1250. The Mongol overthrow of the Rus is what lead to the early establishment of a proper early Russian nation with Kiev as its capital city. After the devastation that the Mongols spread throughout the lands the Rus were forced to unite in order to drive out their invaders, a feat they successfully did in 1598. The Mongols were driven out of Rus lands after Rus power shifted from Kiev to Moscow and a clear line of succession was established for the Russian throne. This clear line of succession ensured that no civil wars were fought every time a ruler passed away which in turn allowed the Russian to turn their focus on the Mongols and drive them out for good.
In this case the main rulers of focus should be Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. Ivan the Terrible was famous for establishing the first Russian empire by capturing the modern day territories of Kazan, Astrakhan and Siberia. This established Russia as a multiethnic state and lead to the assimilation of many different cultures into one Russian national identity. Ivan was also remembered for having a mental illness that lead to violent outbursts including one that killed his son and only heir, Ivan Ivanovich. Peter the Great ruled Russia from 1682 to 1725 and was famous for expanding the Russian empire even further and turning it into a European superpower. He initially had a power struggle with his half-sister Sofia for the Russian throne after she took the throne when he was travelling through Europe. After establishing his reign Peter went on to modernize Russia, establish it as a real maritime power and get it ready for defense against any threats from the Ottoman Empire. During his rule Peter built the city of St. Petersburg which is famous for being the first city in Russia that is modeled on other great European capitals. He chose to rule out of St. Petersburg and thus started a rivalry between the citizens of St. Petersburg and Moscow, a rivalry that exists to this day. The last ruler that should be the focus of this early part of the case book should be Catherine the Great who ruled Russia from 1762 to 1796. Catherine was notable for being the first great Russian ruler that was not actually Russian. She was born in what was the Prussia but ended up marrying Peter III of Russia and eventually came to power after her husband’s death. She went on to greatly expand Russian influence across the globe and ushered in a Golden Age within Russia.
These aspects of early Russian histories are important factors that ended up greatly influencing Russia and turning it into the global superpower that it is today. Thus is it important that our case book addresses these parts of Russian history as we go on to write and describe the Russian nation of today.
Contributed by: Aljoša Stojanović