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The Russian Empire, . was a historical
empire An empire is a sovereign state consisting of several territories and peoples subject to a single ruling authority, often an emperor. States can be empires either by narrow definition through having an emperor and being named as such, or by broad ...

empire
that extended across
Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continental area on Earth, comprising all of Europe and Asia. Primarily in the Northern and Eastern Hemispheres, it is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Pacific Ocean to the east, the Arctic Ocean to th ...

Eurasia
and
North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to ...

North America
from 1721,
following the end
following the end
of the
Great Northern War The Great Northern War (1700–1721) was a conflict in which a coalition led by the Tsardom of Russia successfully contested the supremacy of the Swedish Empire in Northern, Central and Eastern Europe. The initial leaders of the anti-Swedish ...

Great Northern War
, until the
Republic A republic ( la|res publica|links=yes, meaning "public affair") is a form of government in which "power is held by the people and their elected representatives". In republics, the country is considered a "public matter", not the private concern ...

Republic
was proclaimed by the
Provisional Government A provisional government, also called an interim government, an emergency government, or a transitional government, is an emergency governmental authority set up to manage a political transition generally in the cases of new nations or following t ...

Provisional Government
that took power after the
February Revolution The February Revolution ( rus|Февра́льская револю́ция|p=fʲɪvˈralʲskəjə rʲɪvɐˈlʲutsɨjə, tr. ), known in Soviet historiography as the February Bourgeois Democratic Revolution and sometimes as the March Revolutio ...

February Revolution
of 1917. The
third-largest empire
third-largest empire
in history, at its greatest extent stretching over three continents, Europe, Asia, and North America, the Russian Empire was surpassed in size only by the
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, t ...

British
and
Mongol empire The Mongol Empire of the 13th and 14th centuries was the largest contiguous land empire in history and the second largest empire by landmass, second only to the British Empire. Originating in Mongolia in East Asia, the Mongol Empire eventually ...

Mongol empire
s. The rise of the Russian Empire coincided with the decline of neighboring rival powers: the
Swedish Empire The Swedish Empire ( sv|Stormaktstiden, "the Era of Great Power") was a European great power that exercised territorial control over much of the Baltic region during the 17th and early 18th centuries. The beginning of the Empire is usually taken ...

Swedish Empire
, the
Polish–Lithuanian CommonwealthPolish–Lithuanian can refer to: * Polish–Lithuanian union (1385–1569) * Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569–1795) * Polish-Lithuanian identity as used to describe groups, families, or individuals with histories in the Polish–Lithuanian C ...

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
,
Persia Iran ( fa|ایران ), also called Persia and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran ( fa|جمهوری اسلامی ایران ), is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan, to the north by ...

Persia
and the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ota|دولت عليه عثمانيه ', literally "The Sublime Ottoman State"; Modern Turkish: ' or '; french: Empire ottoman) (''Osmanean Têrut´iwn'', meaning "Ottoman Authority/Governance/Rule"), Օսմանյան պ ...

Ottoman Empire
. It played a major role in 1812–1814 in defeating
Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the Revolutionary Wars. As Napoleon I, he was Empe ...

Napoleon
's ambitions to control Europe and expanded to the west and south, becoming one of the most powerful European empires of all time. The
House of Romanov The House of Romanov (also transcribed Romanoff; rus| Рома́новы|Románovy|rɐˈmanəvɨ) was the reigning imperial house of Russia from 1613 to 1917. The Romanovs achieved prominence as ''boyars'' of the Grand Duchy of Moscow and later ...

House of Romanov
ruled the Russian Empire from 1721 until 1762. Its matrilineal branch of patrilineal German descent, the
House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov A house is a single-unit residential building, which may range in complexity from a rudimentary hut to a complex structure of wood, masonry, concrete or other material, outfitted with plumbing, electrical, and heating, ventilation, and air con ...

House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov
, ruled from 1762 until the end of the empire. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Russian Empire extended from the
Arctic Ocean The Arctic Ocean is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceans. It spans an area of approximately and is also known as the coldest of all the oceans. The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) recognizes it as an oce ...

Arctic Ocean
in the north to the
Black Sea#REDIRECT Black Sea#REDIRECT Black Sea {{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...

Black Sea
in the south, from the
Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, northeast Germany, Poland, Russia and the North and Central European Plain. The sea stretches from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from ...

Baltic Sea
on the west into
Alaska Alaska (; ale|Alax̂sxax̂; ; ems|Alas'kaaq; Yup'ik: ''Alaskaq''; tli|Anáaski) is a U.S. state in the Western United States, on the northwest extremity of the country's west coast. A semi-exclave of the U.S., it borders the Canadian pro ...

Alaska
and
Northern California Northern California (colloquially known as NorCal) is a geographic and cultural region that generally comprises the northern portion of the U.S. state of California. Spanning the state's northernmost 48 counties, its main population centers incl ...

Northern California
in America on the east. With 125.6 million subjects registered by the
1897 census The Russian Imperial Census of 1897 was first and only census carried out in the Russian Empire (Finland was excluded). It recorded demographic data as of . Previously, the Central Statistical Bureau issued statistical tables based on fiscal lists ...

1897 census
, it had the third-largest population in the world at the time, after
Qing China The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last imperial dynasty of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912. It was preceded by the Ming dynasty and succeeded by the Republic of China. The mult ...

Qing China
and
India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the second-most populous country, the seventh-largest country by land area, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Oce ...

India
. Like all empires, it featured great diversity in terms of economies, ethnicities, languages, and religions. There were many dissident elements that launched numerous rebellions and assassinations over the centuries. In the 19th century, they were closely watched by
the imperial secret police
the imperial secret police
, and thousands were exiled to
Siberia Siberia (; rus|Сибирь|r=Sibir'|p=sʲɪˈbʲirʲ|a=Ru-Сибирь.ogg) is an extensive geographical region spanning much of Northern Asia. Siberia has been part of modern Russia since the latter half of the 16th century. Novosibirsk is th ...

Siberia
. The empire had a predominantly agricultural economy, with low productivity on large estates worked by Russian peasants, known as ''serfs'', who were tied to the land in a feudal arrangement. The serfs were freed in 1861, but the landowning aristocratic class kept control. The economy slowly industrialized with the help of foreign investments in railways and factories. From the 10th through the 17th centuries, the land was ruled by a noble class, the
boyars A boyar or bolyar was a member of the highest rank of the feudal Bulgarian, Russian, Wallachian, Moldavian, and later Romanian, Lithuanian and Baltic German nobility, second only to the ruling princes (in Bulgaria, tsars) from the 10th century t ...

boyars
, and subsequently by
an emperor
an emperor
.
Tsar Ivan III
Tsar Ivan III
(1462–1505) laid the groundwork for the empire that later emerged. He tripled the territory of his state, ended the dominance of the
Golden Horde The Golden Horde ( tt|, , ), self-designated as Ulug Ulus, 'Great State' in Turkic, was originally a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate established in the 13th century and originating as the northwestern sector of the Mongol Empire. With the ...

Golden Horde
, renovated the
Moscow Kremlin The Moscow Kremlin ( rus|Московский Кремль|r=Moskovskiy Kreml|p=mɐˈskofskʲɪj krʲemlʲ), or simply the Kremlin, is a fortified complex in the center of Moscow founded by Russian ruling dynasty of Rurikids. It is the best kno ...

Moscow Kremlin
, and laid the foundations of the Russian state. Emperor
Peter the Great#REDIRECT Peter the Great#REDIRECT Peter the Great {{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...

Peter the Great (1682–1725) fought numerous wars and expanded an already huge empire into a major European power. He moved the capital from
Moscow Moscow (, ; rus|links=no|Москва|r=Moskva|p=mɐˈskva|a=Москва.ogg) is the capital and largest city of Russia. The city stands on the Moskva River in Central Russia, with a population estimated at 12.4 million residents within the ci ...

Moscow
to the new model city of
Saint Petersburg Saint Petersburg ( rus|links=no|Санкт-Петербург|a=Ru-Sankt Peterburg Leningrad Petrograd Piter.ogg|r=Sankt-Peterburg|p=ˈsankt pʲɪtʲɪrˈburk), formerly known as Petrograd (1914–1924) and later Leningrad (1924–1991), is th ...

Saint Petersburg
, which featured much Western design. He led a cultural revolution that replaced some of the traditionalist and medieval social and political mores with a modern, scientific, Europe-oriented, and rationalist system. Empress
Catherine the Great russian: Екатерина Алексеевна Романова|translit=Yekaterina Alekseyevna Romanova en|Catherine Alexeievna Romanova|link=yes | house = | father = Christian August, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst | mother = P ...

Catherine the Great
(reigned 1762–1796) presided over a golden age; she expanded the state by conquest, colonization and diplomacy, continuing Peter the Great's (Peter I's) policy of modernization along Western European lines.
Emperor Alexander II
Emperor Alexander II
(1855–1881) promoted numerous reforms, most dramatically the
emancipation of all 23 million serfs
emancipation of all 23 million serfs
in 1861. His policy in Eastern Europe involved protecting the
Orthodox Christians
Orthodox Christians
under the rule of the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ota|دولت عليه عثمانيه ', literally "The Sublime Ottoman State"; Modern Turkish: ' or '; french: Empire ottoman) (''Osmanean Têrut´iwn'', meaning "Ottoman Authority/Governance/Rule"), Օսմանյան պ ...

Ottoman Empire
. That connection by 1914 led to Russia's entry into
World War I World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously known as the Great War or "the war to end all wars", i ...

World War I
on the side of France and the United Kingdom against the German, Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman empires. The Russian Empire functioned as an
absolute monarchy Absolute monarchy (or absolutism as doctrine) is a form of monarchy in which the monarch holds supreme autocratic authority, principally not being restricted by written laws, legislature, or customs. These are often hereditary monarchies. In co ...

absolute monarchy
on the ideological doctrine of
Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality (russian: Правосла́вие, самодержа́вие, наро́дность, Pravoslávie, samoderzhávie, naródnost'), also known as Official Nationality,Riasanovsky, p. 132 was the dominant imperia ...

Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality
until the
Revolution of 1905 The Russian Revolution of 1905,. also known as the First Russian Revolution,. was a wave of mass political and social unrest that spread through vast areas of the Russian Empire, some of which was directed at the government. It included worker str ...

Revolution of 1905
, when a
nominal Nominal may refer to: Linguistics and grammar * Nominal (linguistics), one of the parts of speech * Nominal, the adjectival form of "noun", as in "nominal agreement" (= "noun agreement") * Nominal sentence, a sentence without a finite verb * Noun ...

nominal
semi-constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises authority in accordance with a written or unwritten constitution. Constitutional monarchies differ from absolute monarchies (in which a monarch holds absolute ...

semi-constitutional monarchy
was established. It functioned poorly during World War I and following the
February Revolution The February Revolution ( rus|Февра́льская револю́ция|p=fʲɪvˈralʲskəjə rʲɪvɐˈlʲutsɨjə, tr. ), known in Soviet historiography as the February Bourgeois Democratic Revolution and sometimes as the March Revolutio ...

February Revolution
in 1917,
Tsar Nicholas II Nicholas II or Nikolai II Alexandrovich Romanov . ( 186817 July 1918), known in the Russian Orthodox Church as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer, . was the last Emperor of All Russia, ruling from 1 November 1894 until his abdication on 15 Marc ...

Tsar Nicholas II
abdicated and the Russian Empire collapsed. A
provisional government A provisional government, also called an interim government, an emergency government, or a transitional government, is an emergency governmental authority set up to manage a political transition generally in the cases of new nations or following t ...

provisional government
was immediately established afterwards. In the
October Revolution The October Revolution,.). also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution, as the official term in the Soviet Union, the Bolshevik Coup, the Bolshevik Revolution, the October Uprising, the October Coup or Red October, was a revoluti ...

October Revolution
, the
Bolsheviks The Bolsheviks (Russian: Большевики, from большинство ''bolshinstvo'', 'majority'),; derived from ''bol'shinstvo'' (большинство), "majority", literally meaning "one of the majority". also known in English as the ...

Bolsheviks
seized power, leading to the [[Russian Civil War. The Bolsheviks [[Execution of the Romanov family|executed the imperial family in 1918 and established the [[Soviet Union in 1922 after emerging victorious in the civil war.


History

Though the Empire was not officially proclaimed by Tsar [[Peter the Great|Peter I until after the [[Treaty of Nystad (1721), some historians argue that it originated when [[Ivan III of Russia conquered [[Veliky Novgorod in 1478. According to another point of view, the term ''Tsardom'', which was used after the coronation of Ivan IV in 1547, was already a contemporary Russian word for empire.


Population

Much of Russia's expansion occurred in the 17th century, culminating in the [[history of Siberia|first Russian colonization of the Pacific in the mid-17th century, the [[Russo-Polish War (1654–67) that incorporated [[left-bank Ukraine, and the [[Russian conquest of Siberia. [[Poland was divided in the 1790–1815 era, with much of its land and population being taken under Russian rule. Most of the 19th-century growth of the empire came from adding territory in central and eastern Asia, south of Siberia. By 1795, after [[Partitions of Poland, Russia became the most populous state in Europe, ahead of [[France.


Foreign relations


Eighteenth century


Peter the Great (1672–1725)

Peter I the Great (1672–1725) played a major role in introducing Russia to the European state system. While the vast land had a population of 14 million, grain yields trailed behind those of agriculture in the West. Nearly the entire population was devoted to agricultural estates. Only a small percentage of the population lived in towns. The class of [[kholops, close in status to [[slavery, remained a major institution in Russia until 1723, when Peter converted household kholops into house [[Serfdom in Russia|serfs, thus including them in poll taxation. Russian agricultural kholops were formally converted into serfs earlier in 1679. They were largely tied to the land in a feudal sense until the late nineteenth century. Peter's first military efforts were directed against the [[Ottoman Empire|Ottoman Turks. His attention then turned to the North. Peter still lacked a secure northern seaport, except at [[Arkhangelsk|Archangel on the [[White Sea, where the harbor was frozen for nine months a year. Access to the
Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, northeast Germany, Poland, Russia and the North and Central European Plain. The sea stretches from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from ...

Baltic Sea
was blocked by [[Sweden, whose territory enclosed it on three sides. Peter's ambitions for a "window to the sea" led him to make a secret alliance in 1699 with [[Saxony, the
Polish–Lithuanian CommonwealthPolish–Lithuanian can refer to: * Polish–Lithuanian union (1385–1569) * Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569–1795) * Polish-Lithuanian identity as used to describe groups, families, or individuals with histories in the Polish–Lithuanian C ...

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
, and [[Denmark against Sweden; they conducted the
Great Northern War The Great Northern War (1700–1721) was a conflict in which a coalition led by the Tsardom of Russia successfully contested the supremacy of the Swedish Empire in Northern, Central and Eastern Europe. The initial leaders of the anti-Swedish ...

Great Northern War
. The war ended in 1721 when an exhausted Sweden asked for peace with Russia. As a result, Peter acquired four provinces situated south and east of the [[Gulf of Finland, securing access to the sea. There he built Russia's new capital,
Saint Petersburg Saint Petersburg ( rus|links=no|Санкт-Петербург|a=Ru-Sankt Peterburg Leningrad Petrograd Piter.ogg|r=Sankt-Peterburg|p=ˈsankt pʲɪtʲɪrˈburk), formerly known as Petrograd (1914–1924) and later Leningrad (1924–1991), is th ...

Saint Petersburg
, on the [[Neva River, to replace Moscow, which had long been Russia's cultural center. This relocation expressed his intent to adopt European elements in his empire. Many of the government and other major buildings were designed with Italianate influence. In 1722, he turned his aspirations as first Russian monarch toward increasing Russian influence in the [[Caucasus and the [[Caspian Sea at the expense of the weakened [[Safavid Iran|Safavid Persians. He made [[Astrakhan the centre of military efforts against Persia, and waged the first full-scale war [[Russo-Persian War (1722-1723)|against them in 1722–23. Peter reorganized his government based on the latest political models of the time, moulding Russia into an [[political absolutism|absolutist state. He replaced the old ''boyar'' [[Duma (council of nobles) with a nine-member Senate, in effect a supreme council of state. The countryside was divided into new provinces and districts. Peter told the Senate that its mission was to collect taxes, and tax revenues tripled over the course of his reign. Meanwhile, all vestiges of local self-government were removed. Peter continued and intensified his predecessors' requirement of state service for all nobles. As part of the government reform, the [[Orthodox Church was partially incorporated into the country's administrative structure, in effect making it a tool of the state. Peter abolished the patriarchate and replaced it with a collective body, the [[Holy Synod, led by a government official. Peter died in 1725, leaving an unsettled succession. After a short reign of his widow [[Catherine I of Russia|Catherine I, the crown passed to empress [[Anna of Russia|Anna. She slowed down the reforms and led a successful [[Austro-Russian–Turkish War (1735–39)|war against the Ottoman Empire. This resulted in a significant weakening of the [[Crimean Khanate, an Ottoman vassal and long-term Russian adversary. The discontent over the dominant positions of [[Baltic Germans in Russian politics resulted in Peter I's daughter [[Elizabeth of Russia|Elizabeth being put on the Russian throne. Elizabeth supported the arts, architecture and the sciences (for example with the foundation of the [[Moscow University). But she did not carry out significant structural reforms. Her reign, which lasted nearly 20 years, is also known for her involvement in the [[Seven Years' War. It was successful for Russia militarily, but fruitless politically.


Catherine the Great (1762–1796)

Catherine the Great russian: Екатерина Алексеевна Романова|translit=Yekaterina Alekseyevna Romanova en|Catherine Alexeievna Romanova|link=yes | house = | father = Christian August, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst | mother = P ...

Catherine the Great
was a German princess who married Peter III, the German heir to the Russian crown. After the death of Empress Elizabeth, she came to power when she conducted a coup d'état against her unpopular husband. She contributed to the resurgence of the Russian nobility that began after the death of Peter the Great. State service was abolished, and Catherine delighted the nobles further by turning over to them most state functions in the provinces. She also removed the tax on beards, instituted by Peter the Great. Catherine the Great extended Russian political control over the lands of the
Polish–Lithuanian CommonwealthPolish–Lithuanian can refer to: * Polish–Lithuanian union (1385–1569) * Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569–1795) * Polish-Lithuanian identity as used to describe groups, families, or individuals with histories in the Polish–Lithuanian C ...

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
. Her actions included the support of the [[Targowica Confederation. But the cost of her campaigns added to the burden of the oppressive social system, which required serfs to spend almost all of their time laboring on their owners' land. A major peasant uprising took place in 1773, after Catherine legalised the selling of serfs separate from land. Inspired by [[Cossacks|Cossack named [[Yemelyan Pugachev, and proclaiming "Hang all the landlords!", the rebels threatened to take Moscow before they were ruthlessly suppressed. Instead of imposing the traditional punishment of drawing and quartering, Catherine issued secret instructions that the executioners should carry the death sentences quickly and with a minimum of suffering, as part of her effort to introduce compassion into the law. She also ordered the public trial of [[Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova, a high nobleman, on charges of torture and murder of serfs. These gestures of compassion garnered Catherine much positive attention from Europe in the Enlightenment age. But the specter of revolution and disorder continued to haunt her and her successors. Indeed, her son [[Paul I of Russia|Paul [[Personality and reputation of Paul I of Russia|introduced a number of increasingly erratic decrees in his short reign aimed directly against the spread of French culture as a response to the revolution. In order to ensure continued support from the nobility, which was essential to the survival of her government, Catherine was obliged to strengthen their authority and power at the expense of the serfs and other lower classes. Nevertheless, Catherine realized that serfdom must be ended, going so far in her ''[[Nakaz'' ("Instruction") to say that serfs were "just as good as we are" – a comment the nobility received with disgust. Catherine [[Russo-Turkish Wars|successfully waged war against the Ottoman Empire and advanced Russia's southern boundary to the
Black Sea#REDIRECT Black Sea#REDIRECT Black Sea {{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...

Black Sea. Then, by plotting with the rulers of [[Austrian Empire|Austria and [[Prussia, she incorporated territories of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth during the [[Partitions of Poland, pushing the Russian frontier westward into Central Europe. Russia had signed the [[Treaty of Georgievsk with the Georgian [[Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti to protect them against any new invasion of their Persian [[Suzerainty|suzerains. As part of this and her own political aspirations, Catherine waged a new war [[Persian Expedition of 1796|against Persia in 1796 after they had invaded [[Eastern Georgia (country)|eastern Georgia; victorious, she established Russian rule over it and expelled the newly established Russian garrisons in the Caucasus. By the time of her death in 1796, Catherine's expansionist policy had developed Russia as a major European power. This continued with [[Alexander I of Russia|Alexander I's [[Finnish War|wresting of Finland from the weakened kingdom of [[Sweden in 1809 and of [[Bessarabia from the [[Moldavia|Principality of Moldavia, ceded by the Ottomans in 1812.


State budget

Russia was in a continuous state of financial crisis. While revenue rose from 9 million rubles in 1724 to 40 million in 1794, expenses grew more rapidly, reaching 49 million in 1794. The budget allocated 46 percent to the military, 20 percent to government economic activities, 12 percent to administration, and nine percent for the Imperial Court in St. Petersburg. The deficit required borrowing, primarily from bankers in [[Amsterdam; five percent of the budget was allocated to debt payments. Paper money was issued to pay for expensive wars, thus causing inflation. As a result of its spending, Russia developed a large and well-equipped army, a very large and complex bureaucracy, and a court that rivaled those of Paris and London. But the government was living far beyond its means, and 18th-century Russia remained "a poor, backward, overwhelmingly agricultural, and illiterate country".


First half of the nineteenth century

In 1812 [[First French Empire|French Emperor
Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the Revolutionary Wars. As Napoleon I, he was Empe ...

Napoleon
, following a dispute with [[Alexander I of Russia|Tsar Alexander I, launched an [[French invasion of Russia|invasion of Russia. It was catastrophic for France, as his army was decimated through the winter. Although Napoleon's [[Grande Armée reached Moscow, the Russians' [[scorched earth strategy prevented the invaders from living off the country. In the harsh and bitter [[Russian winter, thousands of French troops were ambushed and killed by peasant [[guerrilla fighters. As Napoleon's forces retreated, the Russian troops pursued them into Central and Western Europe and to the gates of Paris. After Russia and its allies defeated Napoleon, Alexander became known as the 'saviour of Europe'. He presided over the redrawing of the map of Europe at the [[Congress of Vienna (1815), which ultimately made Alexander the monarch of [[Congress Poland. Although the Russian Empire played a leading political role in the next century, thanks to its defeat of Napoleonic France, its retention of serfdom precluded economic progress of any significant degree. As Western European economic growth accelerated during the [[Industrial Revolution, Russia began to lag ever farther behind, creating new weaknesses for the Empire seeking to play a role as a great power. This status concealed the inefficiency of its government, the isolation of its people, and its economic and social backwardness. Following the defeat of Napoleon, Alexander I had been ready to discuss constitutional reforms, but though [[government reform of Alexander I|a few were introduced, no major changes were attempted. The liberal tsar was replaced by his younger brother, [[Nicholas I of Russia|Nicholas I (1825–1855), who at the beginning of his reign was confronted with an uprising. The background of this revolt lay in the [[Napoleonic Wars, when a number of well-educated Russian officers travelled in Europe in the course of military campaigns, where their exposure to the [[liberalism of Western Europe encouraged them to seek change on their return to [[autocratic Russia. The result was the [[Decembrist revolt (December 1825), the work of a small circle of liberal nobles and army officers who wanted to install Nicholas' brother as a constitutional monarch. But the revolt was easily crushed, leading Nicholas to turn away from the modernization program begun by Peter the Great and champion the doctrine of
Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality (russian: Правосла́вие, самодержа́вие, наро́дность, Pravoslávie, samoderzhávie, naródnost'), also known as Official Nationality,Riasanovsky, p. 132 was the dominant imperia ...

Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality
. The retaliation for the revolt made "December Fourteenth" a day long remembered by later revolutionary movements. In order to repress further revolts, censorship was intensified, including the constant surveillance of schools and universities. Textbooks were strictly regulated by the government. Police spies were planted everywhere. Would-be revolutionaries were sent off to Siberia – under Nicholas I hundreds of thousands were sent to [[katorga there. The question of Russia's direction had been gaining attention ever since Peter the Great's program of modernization. Some favored imitating Western Europe while others were against this and called for a return to the traditions of the past. The latter path was advocated by [[Slavophilia|Slavophiles, who held the "decadent" West in contempt. The Slavophiles were opponents of bureaucracy who preferred the [[collectivism of the medieval Russian ''[[obshchina'' or ''mir'' over the [[individualism of the West. More extreme social doctrines were elaborated by such Russian radicals on the left as [[Alexander Herzen, [[Mikhail Bakunin, and [[Peter Kropotkin.


Foreign policy

After the Russian armies liberated allied (since the 1783 [[Treaty of Georgievsk) [[Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti|Eastern Georgian Kingdom from the [[Qajar dynasty's occupation in 1802, in the [[Russo-Persian War (1804–13) they clashed with Persia over control and consolidation over Georgia, and also got involved in the [[Caucasian War against the [[Caucasian Imamate. The conclusion of the 1804–1813 war with Persia made it irrevocably cede what is now [[Dagestan, eastern Georgia, and most of [[Azerbaijan to Russia following the [[Treaty of Gulistan. To the south-west, Russia attempted to expand at the expense of the Ottoman Empire, using recently acquired Georgia at its base for the Caucasus and Anatolian front. The late 1820s were successful military years. Despite losing almost all recently consolidated territories in the first year of the [[Russo-Persian War (1826–28)|Russo-Persian War of 1826–28, Russia managed to bring an end to the war with highly favourable terms with the [[Treaty of Turkmenchay, including the official gains of what is now [[Armenia, [[Azerbaijan, and [[Iğdır Province. In the [[History of the Russo-Turkish wars|1828–29 Russo-Turkish War, Russia invaded northeastern [[Anatolia and occupied the strategic Ottoman towns of [[Erzurum and [[Gümüşhane and, posing as protector and saviour of the [[Greek Orthodox Church|Greek Orthodox population, received extensive support from the region's [[Pontic Greeks. Following a brief occupation, the Russian imperial army withdrew back into Georgia. Russian tsars crushed two uprisings in their newly acquired Polish territories: the [[November Uprising in 1830 and the [[January Uprising in 1863. The Russian autocracy gave the Polish artisans and gentry reason to rebel in 1863 by assailing national core values of language, religion, culture. The result was the January Uprising, a massive Polish revolt, which was crushed by massive force. France, Britain and Austria tried to intervene in the crisis but were unable to do so. The Russian patriotic press used the Polish uprising to unify the Russian nation, claiming it was Russia's God-given mission to save Poland and the world. Poland was punished by losing its distinctive political and judicial rights, with Russianization imposed on its schools and courts.


Second half of the nineteenth century

of a Russian naval base at [[Sevastopol during the [[Crimean War In 1854–55 Russia lost to Britain, France and Turkey in the [[Crimean War, which was fought primarily in the [[Crimea|Crimean peninsula, and to a lesser extent in the Baltic during the [[Åland War, part of the Crimean War. Since playing a major role in the defeat of Napoleon, Russia had been regarded as militarily invincible, but against a coalition of the great powers of Europe, the reverses it suffered on land and sea exposed the decay and weakness of Tsar Nicholas' regime. When [[Alexander II of Russia|Tsar Alexander II ascended the throne in 1855, desire for reform was widespread. A growing humanitarian movement attacked [[serfdom as inefficient. In 1859, there were more than 23 million serfs in usually poor living conditions. Alexander II decided to abolish serfdom from above, with ample provision for the landowners, rather than wait for it to be abolished from below in a revolutionary way that would hurt the landowners. The [[emancipation reform of 1861 that freed the serfs was the single most important event in 19th-century Russian history, and the beginning of the end for the landed aristocracy's monopoly of power. Further reforms of 1860s included socio-economic reforms to clarify the position of the Russian government in the field of property rights and their protection. Emancipation brought a supply of free labour to the cities, stimulating industry, and the middle class grew in number and influence. However, instead of receiving their lands as a gift, the freed peasants had to pay a special tax for what amounted to their lifetime to the government, which in turn paid the landlords a generous price for the land that they had lost. In numerous cases the peasants ended up with the smallest amount of land. All the property turned over to the peasants was owned collectively by the ''mir'', the village community, which divided the land among the peasants and supervised the various holdings. Although serfdom was abolished, since its abolition was achieved on terms unfavourable to the peasants, revolutionary tensions were not abated, despite Alexander II's intentions. Revolutionaries believed that the newly freed serfs were merely being sold into [[wage slavery in the onset of the industrial revolution, and that the [[bourgeoisie had effectively replaced landowners. Alexander II obtained [[Outer Manchuria from the
Qing China The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last imperial dynasty of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912. It was preceded by the Ming dynasty and succeeded by the Republic of China. The mult ...

Qing China
between 1858–1860 and sold the last territories of [[Russian America, Alaska, to the United States in 1867. In the late 1870s Russia and the Ottoman Empire again clashed in the Balkans. From 1875 to 1877, the Balkan crisis intensified with rebellions against Ottoman rule by various Slavic nationalities, which the Ottoman Turks dominated since the 16th century. This was seen as a political risk in Russia, which similarly suppressed its Muslims in Central Asia and Caucasia. Russian nationalist opinion became a major domestic factor in its support for liberating Balkan Christians from Ottoman rule and making Bulgaria and [[Serbia independent. In early 1877, Russia intervened on behalf of Serbian and Russian volunteer forces in the [[Russo-Turkish War (1877–78). Within one year, Russian troops were nearing [[Istanbul and the Ottomans surrendered. Russia's nationalist diplomats and generals persuaded Alexander II to force the Ottomans to sign the [[Treaty of San Stefano in March 1878, creating an enlarged, independent Bulgaria that stretched into the southwestern Balkans. When Britain threatened to declare war over the terms of the Treaty of San Stefano, an exhausted Russia backed down. At the [[Congress of Berlin in July 1878, Russia agreed to the creation of a smaller Bulgaria, as an autonomous principality inside the Ottoman Empire. As a result, [[Pan-Slavism|Pan-Slavists were left with a legacy of bitterness against Austria-Hungary and Germany for failing to back Russia. Disappointment at the results of the war stimulated revolutionary tensions, and helped [[Serbia, Romania and [[Montenegro to gain independence from and strengthen themselves against the Ottomans. Another significant result of the 1877–78 Russo-Turkish War in Russia's favour was the acquisition from the Ottomans of the provinces of [[Batumi|Batum, [[Ardahan and [[Kars in [[Transcaucasia, which were transformed into the militarily administered regions of [[Batum Oblast and [[Kars Oblast. To replace Muslim refugees who had fled across the new frontier into Ottoman territory the Russian authorities settled large numbers of Christians from an ethnically diverse range of communities in Kars Oblast, particularly the [[Georgians, [[Caucasus Greeks and [[Armenians, each of whom hoped to achieve protection and advance their own regional ambitions on the back of the Russian Empire.


Alexander III

In 1881 Alexander II was assassinated by the [[Narodnaya Volya, a [[Nihilist movement|Nihilist [[List of designated terrorist groups|terrorist organization. The throne passed to [[Alexander III of Russia|Alexander III (1881–1894), a reactionary who revived the maxim of "Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality" of Nicholas I. A committed Slavophile, Alexander III believed that Russia could be saved from turmoil only by shutting itself off from the subversive influences of Western Europe. During his reign Russia declared the [[Franco-Russian Alliance to contain the growing power of Germany, completed the [[History of Central Asia#Russian expansion into Central Asia .2819th century.29|conquest of Central Asia and demanded important territorial and commercial concessions from the Qing. The tsar's most influential adviser was [[Konstantin Pobedonostsev, tutor to Alexander III and his son Nicholas, and procurator of the Holy Synod from 1880 to 1895. He taught his imperial pupils to fear freedom of speech and press, as well as disliking democracy, constitutions, and the parliamentary system. Under Pobedonostsev, revolutionaries were persecuted and a policy of [[Russification was carried out throughout the Empire.


Foreign policy

Russia had much less difficulty in expanding to the south, including the conquest of [[Turkestan. However, Britain became alarmed when Russia threatened [[Afghanistan, with the implicit threat to [[India, and decades of diplomatic maneuvering resulted, called [[The Great Game. It finally ended with an Anglo-Russian Entente in 1907. Expansion into the vast stretches of Siberia was slow and expensive, but finally became possible with the building of the [[Trans-Siberian Railway, 1890 to 1904. This opened up [[East Asia, and Russian interests focused on [[Mongolia, [[Manchuria, and [[Korea. [[China was too weak to resist, and was pulled increasingly into the Russian sphere. [[Japan strongly opposed Russian expansion, and defeated Russia in a war in 1904–1905. Japan took over Korea, and Manchuria remained a contested area. Meanwhile, France, looking for allies against Germany after 1871, formed a military alliance in 1894, with large-scale loans to Russia, sales of arms, and warships, as well as diplomatic support. Once Afghanistan was informally partitioned in 1907, Britain, France and Russia came increasingly close together in opposition to Germany and Austria. They formed a loose Triple Entente that played a central role in the [[First World War. That war broke out when the Austro-Hungarian Empire, with strong German support, tried to suppress Serbian nationalism, and Russia supported [[Serbia. Everyone began to mobilize, and Berlin decided to act before the others were ready to fight, first invading [[Belgium and France in the west, and then Russia in the east.


Early twentieth century

In 1894, Alexander III was succeeded by his son, [[Nicholas II of Russia|Nicholas II, who was committed to retaining the autocracy that his father had left him. Nicholas II proved ineffective as a ruler and in the end his dynasty was overthrown by revolution. The [[Industrial Revolution began to show significant influence in Russia, but the country remained rural and poor. The liberal elements among industrial capitalists and nobility believed in peaceful social reform and a constitutional monarchy, forming the [[Constitutional Democratic Party or ''Kadets''. Economic conditions steadily improved after 1890 thanks to new crops such as sugar beets, and new access to railway transportation. Total grain production increased, after allowing for population growth in exports. As a result, there was a slow improvement in the living standards of Russian peasants in the Empire's last two decades before 1914. Recent research into the physical stature of Army recruits shows they were bigger and stronger. There were regional variations, with more poverty in the heavily populated central black earth region, and there were temporary downturns in 1891–93 and 1905–1908. On the right, the reactionary elements of the aristocracy strongly favored the large landholders, who however were slowly Selling their land to the peasants through the Peasant Bank. The October's party was a conservative force, with a base in many landowners and also businessmen. They accepted land reform but insisted that property owners be fully paid. The Cadets So the bourgeois democracy in Russia. They favored far-reaching reforms, and hoped the landlord class would fade away, while agreeing they should be paid for their land. On the left the Socialist Revolutionaries and Social Democrats wanted to expropriate the landowners, without payment, but debated whether to divide the land up among the peasants, or to put it into collective local ownership. On the left, the [[Socialist Revolutionary Party (SRs) incorporated the Narodnik tradition and advocated the distribution of land among those who actually worked it — the peasants. Another radical group was the [[Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, exponents of [[Marxism in Russia. The Social Democrats differed from the SRs in that they believed a revolution must rely on urban workers, not the peasantry. In 1903, at the [[2nd Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in London, the party split into two wings: the gradualist [[Mensheviks and the more radical
Bolsheviks The Bolsheviks (Russian: Большевики, from большинство ''bolshinstvo'', 'majority'),; derived from ''bol'shinstvo'' (большинство), "majority", literally meaning "one of the majority". also known in English as the ...

Bolsheviks
. The Mensheviks believed that the Russian working class was insufficiently developed and that socialism could be achieved only after a period of bourgeois democratic rule. They thus tended to ally themselves with the forces of bourgeois liberalism. The Bolsheviks, under [[Vladimir Lenin, supported the idea of forming a small elite of professional revolutionists, subject to strong party discipline, to act as the vanguard of the proletariat in order to seize power by force. Defeat in the [[Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905) was a major blow to the Tsarist regime and further increased the potential for unrest. In January 1905, an incident known as "[[Bloody Sunday (1905)|Bloody Sunday" occurred when Father [[Georgy Gapon led an enormous crowd to the [[Winter Palace in
Saint Petersburg Saint Petersburg ( rus|links=no|Санкт-Петербург|a=Ru-Sankt Peterburg Leningrad Petrograd Piter.ogg|r=Sankt-Peterburg|p=ˈsankt pʲɪtʲɪrˈburk), formerly known as Petrograd (1914–1924) and later Leningrad (1924–1991), is th ...

Saint Petersburg
to present a petition to the Tsar. When the procession reached the palace, soldiers opened fire on the crowd, killing hundreds. The Russian masses were so furious over the massacre that a general strike was declared demanding a democratic republic. This marked the beginning of the
Revolution of 1905 The Russian Revolution of 1905,. also known as the First Russian Revolution,. was a wave of mass political and social unrest that spread through vast areas of the Russian Empire, some of which was directed at the government. It included worker str ...

Revolution of 1905
. [[Soviet (council)|Soviets (councils of workers) appeared in most cities to direct revolutionary activity. Russia was paralyzed, and the government was desperate. In October 1905, Nicholas reluctantly issued the [[October Manifesto, which conceded the creation of a national Duma (legislature) to be called without delay. The right to vote was extended and no law was to become final without confirmation by the Duma. The moderate groups were satisfied. But the socialists rejected the concessions as insufficient and tried to organise new strikes. By the end of 1905, there was disunity among the reformers, and the tsar's position was strengthened for the time being.


War, revolution, and collapse

Tsar Nicholas II and his subjects entered
World War I World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously known as the Great War or "the war to end all wars", i ...

World War I
with enthusiasm and patriotism, with the defense of Russia's fellow [[Eastern Orthodox Church|Orthodox [[Slavs, the [[Serbs, as the main battle cry. In August 1914, the Russian army invaded Germany's province of East Prussia and occupied a significant portion of Austrian-controlled [[Galicia (Eastern Europe)|Galicia in support of the Serbs and their allies – the French and British. In September 1914, in order to relieve pressure on France, the Russians were forced to halt a successful offensive against Austro-Hungary in Galicia in order to attack German-held Silesia. Military reversals and shortages among the civilian population soon soured much of the population. German control of the Baltic Sea and German-Ottoman control of the Black Sea severed Russia from most of its foreign supplies and potential markets. By the middle of 1915, the impact of the war was demoralizing. Food and fuel were in short supply, casualties were increasing, and inflation was mounting. Strikes rose among low-paid factory workers, and there were reports that peasants, who wanted reforms of land ownership, were restless. The Tsar eventually decided to take personal command of the army and moved to the front, leaving his wife, the Empress Alexandra in charge in the capital. She fell under the spell of a monk, [[Grigori Rasputin (1869–1916). His assassination in late 1916 by a clique of nobles could not restore the Tsar's lost prestige. The Tsarist system was overthrown in the
February Revolution The February Revolution ( rus|Февра́льская револю́ция|p=fʲɪvˈralʲskəjə rʲɪvɐˈlʲutsɨjə, tr. ), known in Soviet historiography as the February Bourgeois Democratic Revolution and sometimes as the March Revolutio ...

February Revolution
in 1917. The Bolsheviks declared “no annexations, no indemnities” and called on workers to accept their policies and demanded the end of the war. On 3 March 1917, a strike was organized on a factory in the capital, Petrograd; within a week nearly all the workers in the city were idle, and street fighting broke out. Rabinowitch argues that "[t]he February 1917 revolution ... grew out of prewar political and economic instability, technological backwardness, and fundamental social divisions, coupled with gross mismanagement of the war effort, continuing military defeats, domestic economic dislocation, and outrageous scandals surrounding the monarchy." Swain says, "The first government to be formed after the
February Revolution The February Revolution ( rus|Февра́льская револю́ция|p=fʲɪvˈralʲskəjə rʲɪvɐˈlʲutsɨjə, tr. ), known in Soviet historiography as the February Bourgeois Democratic Revolution and sometimes as the March Revolutio ...

February Revolution
of 1917 had, with one exception, been composed of liberals." With his authority destroyed, [[Abdication of Nicholas II|Nicholas abdicated on 2 March 1917. The [[execution of the Romanov family at the hands of Bolsheviks followed in July 1918.


Territory


Boundaries

The administrative boundaries of [[European Russia, apart from Finland and its portion of Poland, coincided approximately with the natural limits of the East-European plains. In the North it met the Arctic Ocean. [[Novaya Zemlya and the [[Kolguyev Island|Kolguyev and [[Vaygach Islands also belonged to it, but the [[Kara Sea was referred to
Siberia Siberia (; rus|Сибирь|r=Sibir'|p=sʲɪˈbʲirʲ|a=Ru-Сибирь.ogg) is an extensive geographical region spanning much of Northern Asia. Siberia has been part of modern Russia since the latter half of the 16th century. Novosibirsk is th ...

Siberia
. To the East it had the Asiatic territories of the Empire, Siberia and the [[Kyrgyz people|Kyrgyz steppes, from both of which it was separated by the [[Ural Mountains, the [[Ural River and the [[Caspian Sea — the administrative boundary, however, partly extending into Asia on the Siberian slope of the Urals. To the South it had the
Black Sea#REDIRECT Black Sea#REDIRECT Black Sea {{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...

Black Sea and [[Caucasus, being separated from the latter by the [[Manych River depression, which in Post-[[Pliocene times connected the [[Sea of Azov with the Caspian. The western boundary was purely conventional: it crossed the [[Kola Peninsula from the [[Varangerfjord to the [[Gulf of Bothnia. Thence it ran to the [[Curonian Lagoon in the southern
Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, northeast Germany, Poland, Russia and the North and Central European Plain. The sea stretches from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from ...

Baltic Sea
, and thence to the mouth of the [[Danube, taking a great circular sweep to the west to embrace Poland, and separating Russia from [[Prussia, Austrian Galicia and Romania. It is a special feature of Russia that it has few free outlets to the open sea other than on the ice-bound shores of the Arctic Ocean. The deep indentations of the [[Gulf of Bothnia|Gulfs of Bothnia and [[Gulf of Finland|Finland were surrounded by what is [[Finns|ethnically Finnish territory, and it is only at the very head of the latter gulf that the Russians had taken firm foothold by erecting their capital at the mouth of the [[Neva River. The [[Gulf of Riga and the Baltic belong also to territory which was not inhabited by Slavs, but by Baltic and Finnic peoples and by [[Germans. The East coast of the Black Sea belonged to [[Transcaucasia, a great chain of mountains separating it from Russia. But even this sheet of water is an inland sea, the only outlet of which, the [[Bosphorus, was in foreign hands, while the Caspian, an immense shallow lake, mostly bordered by deserts, possessed more importance as a link between Russia and its Asiatic settlements than as a channel for intercourse with other countries.


Geography

By the end of the 19th century the area of the empire was about , or almost of the Earth's landmass; its only rival in size at the time was the [[British Empire. However, at this time, the majority of the population lived in European Russia. More than 100 different [[ethnic groups lived in the Russian Empire, with ethnic [[Russians composing about 45% of the population.


Territorial development

In addition to almost the entire territory of modern Russia, prior to 1917 the Russian Empire included most of [[Dnieper Ukraine, [[Belarus, [[Bessarabia, the [[Grand Duchy of Finland, [[Armenia, [[Azerbaijan, [[Georgia (country)|Georgia, the Central Asian states of [[Russian Turkestan, most of the [[Baltic governorates, as well as a significant portion of the [[Congress Poland|Kingdom of Poland and [[Ardahan Province|Ardahan, [[Artvin Province|Artvin, [[Iğdır Province|Iğdır, [[Kars Province|Kars and northeastern part of [[Erzurum Provinces from the Ottoman Empire. Between 1742 and 1867, the [[Russian-American Company administered Alaska as a [[colony. The company also established settlements in Hawaii, including [[Russian Fort Elizabeth|Fort Elizabeth (1817), and as far south in North America as [[Fort Ross, California|Fort Ross Colony (established in 1812) in [[Sonoma County, California just north of San Francisco. Both Fort Ross and the [[Russian River (California)|Russian River in California got their names from Russian settlers, who had staked claims in a region claimed until 1821 by the Spanish as part of [[New Spain. Following the Swedish defeat in the [[Finnish War of 1808–1809 and the signing of the [[Treaty of Fredrikshamn on 17 September 1809, the eastern half of Sweden, the area that then became Finland was incorporated into the Russian Empire as an [[autonomous administrative division|autonomous [[grand duchy. The tsar eventually ended up ruling Finland as a [[constitutional monarchy|semi-constitutional monarch through the [[Governor-General of Finland and a native-populated [[Senate of Finland|Senate appointed by him. The Emperor never explicitly recognized Finland as a [[Swedish Constitution of 1772|constitutional state in its own right, however, although his Finnish subjects came to consider the Grand Duchy as one. In the aftermath of the [[Russo-Turkish War (1806–12)|Russo-Turkish War, 1806–12, and the ensuing [[Treaty of Bucharest (1812), the eastern parts of the [[Moldavia|Principality of Moldavia, an Ottoman [[vassal state, along with some areas formerly under direct Ottoman rule, came under the rule of the Empire. This area ([[Bessarabia) was among the Russian Empire's last territorial increments in Europe. At the [[Congress of Vienna (1815), Russia gained sovereignty over [[Congress Poland, which on paper was an autonomous Kingdom in [[personal union with Russia. However, this autonomy was eroded after an uprising in 1831, and was finally abolished in 1867. Saint Petersburg gradually extended and consolidated its control over the [[Caucasus in the course of the 19th century at the expense of [[Qajar dynasty|Persia through the [[Russo-Persian War (1804–13)|Russo-Persian Wars of 1804–13 and [[Russo-Persian War (1826–28)|1826–28 and the respectively ensuing [[Treaty of Gulistan|treaties of Gulistan and [[Treaty of Turkmenchay|Turkmenchay, as well as through the [[Caucasian War (1817–1864). The Russian Empire expanded its influence and possessions in Central Asia, especially in the later 19th century, conquering much of [[Russian Turkestan in 1865 and continuing to add territory as late as 1885. Newly discovered Arctic islands became part of the Russian Empire as Russian explorers found them: the [[New Siberian Islands from the early 18th century; [[Severnaya Zemlya ("Emperor Nicholas II Land") first mapped and claimed as late as 1913. During World War I, Russia briefly occupied a small part of [[East Prussia, then part of Germany; a significant portion of Austrian Galicia; and significant portions of Ottoman Armenia. While the modern Russian Federation currently controls the [[Kaliningrad Oblast, which comprised the northern part of East Prussia, this differs from the area captured by the Empire in 1914, though there was some overlap: [[Gusev, Kaliningrad Oblast|Gusev (''Gumbinnen'' in German) was the site of the initial [[Battle of Gumbinnen|Russian victory.


Imperial territories

According to the 1st article of the [[Organic Law, the Russian Empire was one indivisible state. In addition, the 26th article stated that "With the Imperial Russian throne are indivisible the Kingdom of Poland and Grand Principality of Finland". Relations with the Grand Principality of Finland were also regulated by the 2nd article, "The Grand Principality of Finland, constituted an indivisible part of the Russian state, in its internal affairs governed by special regulations at the base of special laws" and the law of 10 June 1910. Between 1744 and 1867, the empire also controlled Russian America. With the exception of this territorymodern-day [[Alaskathe Russian Empire was a contiguous mass of land spanning Europe and Asia. In this it differed from contemporary colonial-style empires. The result of this was that while the British and [[French colonial empires declined in the 20th century, a large portion of the Russian Empire's territory remained together, first within the [[Soviet Union, and after 1991 in the still-smaller [[Russia|Russian Federation. Furthermore, the empire at times controlled concession territories, notably the [[Kwantung Leased Territory and the [[Chinese Eastern Railway, both conceded by Qing China, as well as a concession in [[Tianjin. See for these periods of extraterritorial control the [[empire of Japan–Russian Empire relations. In 1815, Dr. Schäffer, a Russian entrepreneur, went to [[Kauai and negotiated a treaty of protection with the island's governor [[Kaumualii, vassal of King [[Kamehameha I of Hawaii, but the Russian Tsar refused to ratify the treaty. See also [[Orthodox Church in Hawaii and [[Russian Fort Elizabeth. In 1889, a Russian adventurer, Nikolay Ivanovitch Achinov, tried to establish a Russian colony in Africa, [[Sagallo, situated on the [[Gulf of Tadjoura in present-day [[Djibouti. However this attempt angered the French, who dispatched two [[gunboats against the colony. After a brief resistance, the colony surrendered and the Russian settlers were deported to [[Odessa.


Government and administration

From its initial creation until the 1905 Revolution, the Russian Empire was controlled by its tsar/emperor as an absolute monarch, under the system of tsarist autocracy. After the Revolution of 1905, Russia developed a new type of government which became difficult to categorize. In the [[Almanach de Gotha for 1910, Russia was described as "a [[constitutional monarchy under an [[Tsarist autocracy|autocratic Tsar". This contradiction in terms demonstrated the difficulty of precisely defining the system, essentially transitional and meanwhile ''[[sui generis'', established in the Russian Empire after October 1905. Before this date, the fundamental laws of Russia described the power of the Emperor as "autocratic and [[absolute monarchy|unlimited". After October 1905, while the imperial style was still "Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias", the fundamental laws were [[Russian Constitution of 1906|remodeled by removing the word ''unlimited''. While the emperor retained many of his old prerogatives, including an absolute veto over all legislation, he equally agreed to the establishment of an elected parliament, without whose consent no laws were to be enacted in Russia. Not that the regime in Russia had become in any true sense constitutional, far less parliamentary. But the "unlimited autocracy" had given place to a "self-limited autocracy". Whether this autocracy was to be permanently limited by the new changes, or only at the continuing discretion of the autocrat, became a subject of heated [[Coup of June 1907|controversy between conflicting parties in the state. Provisionally, then, the Russian governmental system may perhaps be best defined as "a [[limited monarchy under an autocratic emperor". Conservatism was the reigning ideology for most of the Russian leadership, albeit with some reformist activities from time to time. The structure of conservative thought was based upon antirationalism of the intellectuals, religiosity rooted in the Russian Orthodox Church, traditionalism rooted in the landed estates worked by serfs, and militarism rooted in the Army officer corps. Regarding irrationality, Russia avoided the full force of the European Enlightenment, which gave priority to rationalism, preferring the romanticism of an idealized nation state that reflected the beliefs, values and behavior of the distinctive people. The distinctly liberal notion of "progress" was replaced by a conservative notion of modernization based on the incorporation of modern technology to serve the established system. The promise of modernization in the service of autocracy frightened the socialist intellectual [[Alexander Herzen who warned of a Russia governed by "Genghis Khan with a telegraph."


Tsar/Emperor

Peter the Great#REDIRECT Peter the Great#REDIRECT Peter the Great {{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...

Peter the Great changed his title from [[Tsar in 1721, when he was declared ''Emperor of all Russia.'' While later rulers did not discard this new title, the ruler of Russia was commonly known as ''Tsar'' or ''Tsaritsa'' until the imperial system was abolished during the
February Revolution The February Revolution ( rus|Февра́льская револю́ция|p=fʲɪvˈralʲskəjə rʲɪvɐˈlʲutsɨjə, tr. ), known in Soviet historiography as the February Bourgeois Democratic Revolution and sometimes as the March Revolutio ...

February Revolution
of 1917. Prior to the issuance of the October Manifesto, the tsar ruled as an absolute monarch, subject to only two limitations on his authority (both of which were intended to protect the existing system): the Emperor and his consort must both belong to the [[Russian Orthodox Church, and he must obey the laws of succession ([[Pauline Laws) established by [[Paul I of Russia|Paul I. Beyond this, the power of the Russian Autocrat was virtually limitless. On 17 October 1905, the situation changed: the ruler voluntarily limited his legislative power by decreeing that no measure was to become law without the consent of the [[State Duma of the Russian Empire|Imperial Duma, a freely elected national assembly established by the [[Russian Constitution of 1906|Organic Law issued on 28 April 1906. However, he retained the right to disband the newly established Duma, and he exercised this right more than once. He also retained an absolute veto over all legislation, and only he could initiate any changes to the Organic Law itself. His ministers were responsible solely to him, and not to the Duma or any other authority, which could question but not remove them. Thus, while the tsar's personal powers were limited in scope after 28 April 1906, it still remained formidable.


Imperial Council

, located at [[Tsarskoe Selo, was the summer residence of the imperial family. It is named after Empress [[Catherine I of Russia|Catherine I, who reigned from 1725 to 1727. Under Russia's revised Fundamental Law of 20 February 1906, the Council of the Empire was associated with the Duma as a legislative [[Upper House; from this time the legislative power was exercised normally by the Emperor only in concert with the two chambers. The Council of the Empire, or Imperial Council, as reconstituted for this purpose, consisted of 196 members, of whom 98 were nominated by the Emperor, while 98 were elective. The ministers, also nominated, were ''[[ex officio'' members. Of the elected members, 3 were returned by the "black" clergy (the monks), 3 by the "white" clergy (seculars), 18 by the corporations of nobles, 6 by the academy of sciences and the universities, 6 by the chambers of commerce, 6 by the industrial councils, 34 by the governments having zemstvos, 16 by those having no [[zemstvos, and 6 by Poland. As a legislative body the powers of the council were coordinate with those of the Duma; in practice, however, it has seldom if ever initiated legislation.


State Duma and the electoral system

The Duma of the Empire or Imperial Duma (Gosudarstvennaya Duma), which formed the [[Lower House of the Russian parliament, consisted (since the ''[[ukaz'' of 2 June 1907) of 442 members, elected by an exceedingly complicated process. The membership was manipulated as to secure an overwhelming majority of the wealthy (especially the landed classes) and also for the representatives of the Russian peoples at the expense of the subject nations. Each province of the Empire, except Central Asia, returned a certain number of members; added to these were those returned by several large cities. The members of the Duma were chosen by electoral colleges and these, in their turn, were elected in assemblies of the three classes: landed proprietors, citizens and peasants. In these assemblies the wealthiest proprietors sat in person while the lesser proprietors were represented by delegates. The urban population was divided into two categories according to taxable wealth, and elected delegates directly to the college of the [[Guberniya|Governorates. The [[peasants were represented by delegates selected by the regional subdivisions called [[volosts. Workmen were treated in special manner with every industrial concern employing fifty hands or over electing one or more delegates to the electoral college. In the college itself, the voting for the Duma was by secret ballot and a simple majority carried the day. Since the majority consisted of conservative elements (the [[landowners and urban delegates), the progressives had little chance of representation at all save for the curious provision that one member at least in each government was to be chosen from each of the five classes represented in the college. That the Duma had any radical elements was mainly due to the peculiar franchise enjoyed by the seven largest towns —
Saint Petersburg Saint Petersburg ( rus|links=no|Санкт-Петербург|a=Ru-Sankt Peterburg Leningrad Petrograd Piter.ogg|r=Sankt-Peterburg|p=ˈsankt pʲɪtʲɪrˈburk), formerly known as Petrograd (1914–1924) and later Leningrad (1924–1991), is th ...

Saint Petersburg
, Moscow, [[Kyiv, [[Odessa, [[Riga and the Polish cities of [[Warsaw and [[Łódź. These elected their delegates to the Duma directly, and though their votes were divided (on the basis of taxable property) in such a way as to give the advantage to wealth, each returned the same number of delegates.


Council of Ministers

In 1905, a Council of Ministers (Sovyet Ministrov) was created, under a ''minister president'', the first appearance of a prime minister in Russia. This council consists of all the ministers and of the heads of the principal administrations. The ministries were as follows: * [[Ministry of the Imperial Court * [[Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Russia)|Ministry of Foreign Affairs; * [[Ministry of War (Russia)|Ministry of War; * Ministry of Navy * [[Ministry of Finance of the Russian Empire|Ministry of Finance; * Ministry of Commerce and Industry (created in 1905); * [[Ministry of Internal Affairs (Russia)|Ministry of Internal affairs (including police, health, censorship and press, posts and telegraphs, foreign religions, statistics); * [[Ministry of Agriculture and State Assets; * Ministry of ways of Communications; * [[List of Justice Ministers of Imperial Russia|Ministry of Justice; * [[List of Ministers of National Enlightenment|Ministry of National Enlightenment.


Most Holy Synod

The Most Holy Synod (established in 1721) was the supreme organ of government of the Orthodox Church in Russia. It was presided over by a lay procurator, representing the Emperor, and consisted of the three metropolitans of [[metropolitan of Moscow|Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Kyiv, the archbishop of [[Georgia (country)|Georgia, and a number of bishops sitting in rotation.


Senate

The Senate (Pravitelstvuyushchi Senat, i.e. directing or governing senate), originally established during the [[Government reform of Peter the Great|government reform of Peter I, consisted of members nominated by the Emperor. Its wide variety of functions were carried out by the different departments into which it was divided. It was the supreme court of cassation; an audit office, a high court of justice for all political offences; one of its departments fulfilled the functions of a heralds' college. It also had supreme jurisdiction in all disputes arising out of the administration of the Empire, notably differences between representatives of the central power and the elected organs of local self-government. Lastly, it promulgated new laws, a function which theoretically gave it a power akin to that of the [[Supreme Court of the United States, of rejecting measures not in accordance with fundamental laws.


Administrative divisions

For administration, Russia was divided (as of 1914) into 81 governorates (''[[guberniyas''), 20 [[oblasts, and 1 [[okrug. [[Vassals and [[protectorates of the Russian Empire included the [[Emirate of Bukhara, the [[Khanate of Khiva and, after 1914, [[Tuva (Uriankhai). Of these 11 Governorates, 17 oblasts and 1 okrug ([[Sakhalin) belonged to Asian Russia. Of the rest 8 Governorates were in Finland, 10 in Poland. European Russia thus embraced 59 governorates and 1 oblast (that of the Don). The Don Oblast was under the direct jurisdiction of the ministry of war; the rest had each a governor and deputy-governor, the latter presiding over the administrative council. In addition there were governors-general, generally placed over several governorates and armed with more extensive powers usually including the command of the troops within the limits of their jurisdiction. In 1906, there were governors-general in Finland, Warsaw, [[Vilna, Kyiv, Moscow, and Riga. The larger cities (Saint Petersburg, Moscow, [[Odessa, [[Sevastopol, [[Kerch, [[Mykolaiv|Nikolayev, [[Rostov-on-Don|Rostov) had an administrative system of their own, independent of the governorates; in these the [[chief of police acted as governor.


Judicial system

The [[judicial system of the Russian Empire, existed from the mid-19th century, was established by the "tsar emancipator" [[Alexander II of Russia|Alexander II, by the [[Judicial reform of Alexander II|statute of 20 November 1864 (''[[Sudebny Ustav''). This system – based partly on [[English law|English, partly on [[Law of France|French models – was built up on certain broad principles: the separation of judicial and administrative functions; the independence of the judges and courts; the publicity of trials and oral procedure; and the equality of all classes before the law. Moreover, a democratic element was introduced by the adoption of the [[Jury trial|jury system and – so far as one order of tribunal was concerned – the election of judges. The establishment of a judicial system on these principles constituted a major change in the conception of the Russian state, which, by placing the administration of justice outside the sphere of the executive power, ceased to be a despotism. This fact made the system especially obnoxious to the [[bureaucracy, and during the latter years of Alexander II and the reign of Alexander III there was a piecemeal taking back of what had been given. It was reserved for the third Duma, after the [[Russian Revolution of 1905|1905 Revolution, to begin the reversal of this process. The system established by the law of 1864 was significant in that it set up two wholly separate orders of [[tribunals, each having their own [[court of appeal|courts of appeal and coming in contact only in the Senate, as the [[supreme court of cassation. The first of these, based on the English model, are the courts of the elected [[justices of the peace (Russia)|justices of the peace, with jurisdiction over petty causes, whether civil or criminal; the second, based on the French model, are the ordinary tribunals of nominated judges, sitting with or without a jury to hear important cases.


Local administration

Alongside the local organs of the central government in Russia there are three classes of local elected bodies charged with administrative functions: * the peasant assemblies in the ''[[mir (social)|mir'' and the ''volost''; * the ''[[zemstvos'' in the 34 Governorates of Russia; * the ''municipal dumas''.


Municipal dumas

Since 1870 the municipalities in European Russia have had institutions like those of the zemstvos. All owners of houses, and tax-paying merchants, artisans and workmen are enrolled on lists in a descending order according to their assessed wealth. The total valuation is then divided into three equal parts, representing three groups of electors very unequal in number, each of which elects an equal number of delegates to the municipal duma. The executive is in the hands of an elective mayor and an ''uprava'', which consists of several members elected by the duma. Under [[Alexander III of Russia|Alexander III, however, by laws promulgated in 1892 and 1894, the municipal dumas were subordinated to the governors in the same way as the zemstvos. In 1894 municipal institutions, with still more restricted powers, were granted to several towns in Siberia, and in 1895 to some in Caucasia.


Baltic provinces

The formerly Swedish-controlled Baltic provinces ([[Courland, [[Swedish Livonia|Livonia and [[Swedish Estonia|Estonia) were incorporated into the Russian Empire after the defeat of Sweden in the
Great Northern War The Great Northern War (1700–1721) was a conflict in which a coalition led by the Tsardom of Russia successfully contested the supremacy of the Swedish Empire in Northern, Central and Eastern Europe. The initial leaders of the anti-Swedish ...

Great Northern War
. Under the [[Treaty of Nystad of 1721, the [[Baltic German nobility retained considerable powers of self-government and numerous privileges in matters affecting education, police and the administration of local justice. After 167 years of German language administration and education, laws were declared in 1888 and 1889 where the rights of the police and [[manorial justice were transferred from Baltic German control to officials of the central government. Since about the same time a process of [[Russification was being carried out in the same provinces, in all departments of administration, in the higher schools and in the [[Imperial University of Dorpat, the name of which was altered to [[Tartu|Yuriev. In 1893 district committees for the management of the peasants' affairs, similar to those in the purely Russian governments, were introduced into this part of the empire.


Economy


Mining and Heavy Industry


Infrastructure


Railways

The planning and building of the railway network after 1860 had far-reaching effects on the economy, culture, and ordinary life of Russia. The central authorities and the imperial elite made most of the key decisions, but local elites set up a demand for rail linkages. Local nobles, merchants, and entrepreneurs imagined the future from "locality" to "empire" to promote their regional interests. Often they had to compete with other cities. By envisioning their own role in a rail network they came to understand how important they were to the empire's economy. The Russian army built two major railway lines in [[Central Asia during the 1880s. The [[Transcaucasus Railway connected the city of [[Batum on the
Black Sea#REDIRECT Black Sea#REDIRECT Black Sea {{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...

Black Sea and the oil center of [[Baku on the [[Caspian Sea. The [[Trans-Caspian Railway began at [[Krasnovodsk on the Caspian Sea and reached [[Bukhara, [[Samarkand, and [[Tashkent. Both lines served the commercial and strategic needs of the empire, and facilitated migration.


Religion

The Russian Empire's [[state religion was [[Eastern Orthodox Church|Orthodox Christianity. The Emperor was not allowed to ″profess any faith other than the Orthodox″ (Article 62 of the 1906 [[Russian Constitution of 1906|Fundamental Laws) and was deemed ″the Supreme Defender and Guardian of the dogmas of the predominant Faith and is the Keeper of the purity of the Faith and all good order within the Holy Church″ (Article 64 ''ex supra''). Although he made and annulled all senior ecclesiastical appointments, he did not determine the questions of dogma or church teaching. The principal ecclesiastical authority of the [[Russian Orthodox Church|Russian Church that extended its jurisdiction over the entire territory of the Empire, including the ex-[[Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti, was the [[Most Holy Synod, the civilian Over Procurator of the Holy Synod being one of the council of ministers with wide ''de facto'' powers in ecclesiastical matters. All religions were freely professed, except that certain restrictions were laid upon the Jews and some marginal sects. According to returns published in 1905, based on the [[Russian Empire Census|Russian Imperial Census of 1897, adherents of the different religious communities in the whole of the Russian empire numbered approximately as follows. The ecclesiastical heads of the national Russian Orthodox Church consisted of three [[Metropolitan bishop|metropolitans (Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Kyiv), fourteen [[archbishops and fifty bishops, all drawn from the ranks of the monastic (celibate) clergy. The [[parochialism|parochial clergy had to be married when appointed, but if left widowers were not allowed to marry again; this rule continues to apply today.


Military

[[File:Aivazovsky, Brig Mercury Attacked by Two Turkish Ships 1892.jpg|An [[Imperial Russian Navy [[Brig "Mercury" Attacked by Two Turkish Ships in a scene from the [[Russo-Turkish War (1828–29), by [[Ivan Aivazovsky The military of the Russian Empire consisted of the [[Imperial Russian Army and the [[Imperial Russian Navy. The poor performance during the [[Crimean War, 1853–56, caused great soul-searching and proposals for reform. However the Russian forces fell further behind the technology, training and organization of the German, French and particularly the British military. The army performed poorly in
World War I World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously known as the Great War or "the war to end all wars", i ...

World War I
and became a center of unrest and revolutionary activity. The events of the
February Revolution The February Revolution ( rus|Февра́льская револю́ция|p=fʲɪvˈralʲskəjə rʲɪvɐˈlʲutsɨjə, tr. ), known in Soviet historiography as the February Bourgeois Democratic Revolution and sometimes as the March Revolutio ...

February Revolution
and the fierce political struggles inside army units facilitated disintegration and made it irreversible. File:Russian Empire (Military officer).jpg|An officer of the Imperial Russian Army File:Cavalry officer Russian Empire Military.jpg|A [[dragoon of the Imperial Russian Army


Society

The Russian Empire was, predominantly, a rural society spread over vast spaces. In 1913, 80% of the people were peasants. Soviet historiography proclaimed that the Russian Empire of the 19th century was characterized by systemic crisis, which impoverished the workers and peasants and culminated in the revolutions of the early 20th century. Recent research by Russian scholars disputes this interpretation. [[Boris Mironov (historian)|Mironov assesses the effects of the reforms of latter 19th-century especially in terms of the 1861 emancipation of the serfs, agricultural output trends, various standard of living indicators, and taxation of peasants. He argues that they brought about measurable improvements in social welfare. More generally, he finds that the well-being of the Russian people declined during most of the 18th century, but increased slowly from the end of the 18th century to 1914.


Estates

Subjects of the Russian Empire were segregated into ''[[sosloviyes'', or social estates (classes) such as [[nobility (''[[dvoryanstvo''), clergy, merchants, [[cossacks and [[peasants. Native people of the Caucasus, non-ethnic Russian areas such as Tartarstan, Bashkirstan, Siberia and Central Asia were officially registered as a category called ''[[inorodtsy'' (non-Slavic, literally: "people of another origin"). A majority of the people, 81.6%, belonged to the peasant order, the others were: nobility, 0.6%; clergy, 0.1%; the burghers and merchants, 9.3%; and military, 6.1%. More than 88 million of the Russians were peasants. A part of them were formerly serfs (10,447,149 males in 1858) – the remainder being " state peasants " (9,194,891 males in 1858, exclusive of the Archangel Governorate) and " domain peasants " (842,740 males the same year).


Serfdom

The serfdom that had developed in Russia in the 16th century, and had become enshrined by law in 1649, was [[Emancipation reform of 1861|abolished in 1861.[[Jerome Blum, ''[[Lord and Peasant in Russia from the Ninth to the Nineteenth Century'' (1961) The household servants or dependents attached to the personal service were merely set free, while the landed peasants received their houses and orchards, and allotments of arable land. These allotments were given over to the rural commune, the ''[[mir (social)|mir'', which was made responsible for the payment of taxes for the allotments. For these allotments the peasants had to pay a fixed rent, which could be fulfilled by personal labour. The allotments could be redeemed by peasants with the help of the Crown, and then they were freed from all obligations to the landlord. The Crown paid the landlord and the peasants had to repay the Crown, for forty-nine years at 6% interest. The financial redemption to the landlord was not calculated on the value of the allotments, but was considered as a compensation for the loss of the compulsory labour of the serfs. Many proprietors contrived to curtail the allotments which the peasants had occupied under serfdom, and frequently deprived them of precisely the parts of which they were most in need: pasture lands around their houses. The result was to compel the peasants to rent land from their former masters.David Moon, ''The Russian Peasantry 1600–1930: The World the Peasants Made'' (1999)


Peasants

The former serfs became peasants, joining the millions of farmers who were already in the peasant status. Were peasants living in tens of thousands of small villages and a highly patriarchal system. Hundreds of thousands of move to cities to work in factories, but they typically retained their village connections. After the Emancipation reform, one quarter of peasants received allotments of only per male, and one-half less than ; the normal size of the allotment necessary for the subsistence of a family under the three-fields system is estimated at . Land must thus of necessity be rented from the landlords. The aggregate value of the redemption and land taxes often reached 185 to 275% of the normal rental value of the allotments, not to speak of taxes for recruiting purposes, the church, roads, local administration and so on, chiefly levied from the peasants. The areas increased every year; one-fifth of the inhabitants left their houses; cattle disappeared. Every year more than half the adult males (in some districts three-quarters of the men and one-third of the women) quit their homes and wandered throughout Russia in search of labor. In the governments of the [[Black Earth Area the state of matters was hardly better. Many peasants took "gratuitous allotments," whose amount was about one-eighth of the normal allotments. The average allotment in [[Kherson was only , and for allotments from the peasants paid 5 to 10 rubles of redemption tax. The state peasants were better off, but still, they were emigrating in masses. It was only in the steppe governments that the situation was more hopeful. In [[Ukraine, where the allotments were personal (the mir existing only among state peasants), the state of affairs does not differ for the better, on account of the high redemption taxes. In the western provinces, where the land was valued cheaper and the allotments somewhat increased after the [[January Uprising|Polish insurrection, the general situation was better. Finally, in the [[Baltic provinces nearly all the land belonged to the [[Baltic Germans|German landlords, who either farmed the land themselves, with hired laborers, or let it in small farms. Only one-quarter of the peasants were farmers; the remainder were mere laborers.Christine D. Worobec, ''Peasant Russia: family and community in the post-emancipation period'' (1991).


Landowners

The situation of the former serf-proprietors was also unsatisfactory. Accustomed to the use of compulsory labor, they failed to adapt to the new conditions. The millions of rubles of redemption money received from the crown was spent without any real or lasting agricultural improvements having been effected. The forests were sold, and the only prosperous landlords were those who exacted rack-rents for the land without which the peasants could not live upon their allotments. During the years 1861 to 1892 the land owned by the nobles decreased 30%, or from ; during the following four years an additional were sold; and since then the sales went on at an accelerated rate, until in 1903 alone close to passed out of their hands. On the other hand, since 1861, and more especially since 1882, when the [[Peasant Land Bank was founded for making advances to peasants who were desirous of purchasing land, the former serfs, or rather their descendants, had between 1883 and 1904 bought about from their former masters. There was an increase of wealth among the few, but along with this a general impoverishment of the mass of the people, and the peculiar institution of the mir—framed on the principle of the community of ownership and occupation of the land--, the effect was not conducive to the growth of individual effort. In November 1906, however, the emperor Nicholas II promulgated a provisional order permitting the peasants to become freeholders of allotments made at the time of emancipation, all redemption dues being remitted. This measure, which was endorsed by the third Duma in an act passed on 21 December 1908, is calculated to have far-reaching and profound effects on the rural economy of Russia. Thirteen years previously the government had endeavored to secure greater fixity and permanence of tenure by providing that at least twelve years must elapse between every two redistributions of the land belonging to a mir amongst those entitled to share in it. The order of November 1906 had provided that the [[open field system|various strips of land held by each peasant should be merged into a single holding; the Duma, however, on the advice of the government, left this to the future, as an ideal that could only gradually be realized.


Media

Censorship was heavy-handed until the reign of Alexander II, but it never went away. Newspapers were strictly limited in what they could publish, as intellectuals favored literary magazines for their publishing outlets. [[Fyodor Dostoyevsky, for example, ridiculed the St. Petersburg newspapers, such as ''Golos'' and ''Peterburgskii Listok,'' which he accused of publishing trifles and distracting readers from the pressing social concerns of contemporary Russia through their obsession with spectacle and European popular culture.


Education

Educational standards were very low in the Russian Empire. By 1800, the level of literacy among male peasants ranged from 1 to 12 percent and 20 to 25 percent for urban men. Literacy among women was very low. The rates were highest for the nobility (84 to 87 percent), merchants (over 75 percent), then the workers and peasants. Serfs were the least literate. In every group, women were far less literate than men. By contrast in Western Europe, urban men had about a 50 percent literacy rate. The Orthodox hierarchy was suspicious of education – they saw no religious need for literacy whatsoever. Peasants had no use for literacy, and people who did such as artisans, businessmen and professionals were few in number – as late as 1851, only 8% of Russians lived in cities. The accession in 1801 of Alexander I (1801–1825) was widely welcomed as an opening to fresh liberal ideas from the European Enlightenment. Many reforms were promised, but few were actually carried out before 1820 when he turned his attention to foreign affairs and personal religion and ignored reform issues. In sharp contrast to Western Europe, the entire empire had a very small bureaucracy – about 17,000 public officials, most of whom lived in Moscow or St. Petersburg. Modernization of government required much larger numbers, but that, in turn, required an educational system that could provide suitable training. Russia lacked that, and for university education, young men went to Western Europe. The Army and the church had its own training programs, narrowly focused on their particular needs. The most important successful reform under Alexander I came in the setting up a national system of education. The Ministry of Education was set up in 1802, and the country was divided into six educational regions. The long-term plan was for a university in every region, a secondary school in every major city, upgraded primary schools, and – for the largest number of students –a parish school for every two parishes. By 1825, the national government operated six universities, forty-eight secondary state schools, and 337 improved primary schools. Highly qualified teachers arrived from exile in France, where they fled the revolution. Exiled Jesuits set up elite boarding schools until their order was expelled in 1815. At the highest level, universities were set up on the German model in Kazan, Kharkov, [[Saint Petersburg Imperial University|St. Petersburg, Vilna and Dorpat, while the relatively young [[Imperial Moscow University was expanded. The higher forms of education were reserved for a very small elite, with only a few hundred students at the universities by 1825 and 5500 in the secondary schools. There were no schools open to girls. Most rich families still depended on private tutors. Tsar Nicholas I was a reactionary who wanted to neutralize foreign ideas, especially those he ridiculed as "pseudo-knowledge." Nevertheless, his minister of education, [[Sergey Uvarov at the university level was able to promote more academic freedom for the faculty, who were under suspicion by reactionary church officials. He raised academic standards, improved facilities, and opened the admission doors a bit wider. Nicholas tolerated Uvarov's achievements until 1848, then reversed his innovations. For the rest of the century, the national government continued to focus on universities, and generally ignore elementary and secondary educational needs. By 1900 there were 17,000 university students, and over 30,000 were enrolled in specialized technical institutes. The students were conspicuous in Moscow and St. Petersburg as a political force typically at the forefront of demonstrations and disturbances.Hans Rogger, ''Russia in the Age of Modernisation and Revolution 1881 – 1917 '' (1983) p 126. The majority of tertiary institutions in the empire used Russian, while some used other languages but underwent [[Russification.Strauss, Johann. "Language and power in the late Ottoman Empire" (Chapter 7). In: Murphey, Rhoads (editor). ''Imperial Lineages and Legacies in the Eastern Mediterranean: Recording the Imprint of Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Rule'' (Volume 18 of Birmingham Byzantine and Ottoman Studies). Routledge, 7 July 2016. , 9781317118442. [[Google Books]
PT196
Educational institutions in the empire included: * [[Nersisian School in Tiflis ([[Tbilisi)


See also

* [[Expansion of Russia (1500–1800) * [[Foreign policy of the Russian Empire * [[Industrialization in the Russian Empire * [[List of Emperors of Russia * [[Military history of Russia * [[Panjdeh incident|Russian conquest of Afghanistan * [[Russian conquest of the Caucasus


Notes


References


Further reading


Surveys

* Ascher, Abraham. ''Russia: A Short History'' (2011
excerpt and text search
* Bushkovitch, Paul. ''A Concise History of Russia'' (2011
excerpt and text search
* * Hosking, Geoffrey. ''Russia and the Russians: A History'' (2nd ed. 2011) * * Kamenskii, Aleksandr B. ''The Russian Empire in the Eighteenth Century: Searching for a Place in the World'' (1997) . xii. 307 pp. A synthesis of much Western and Russian scholarship. * Lieven, Dominic, ed. ''The Cambridge History of Russia: Volume 2, Imperial Russia, 1689–1917'' (2015) * Lincoln, W. Bruce. ''The Romanovs: Autocrats of All the Russias'' (1983
excerpt and text search
sweeping narrative history * *McKenzie, David & Michael W. Curran. ''A History of Russia, the Soviet Union, and Beyond''. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing, 2001. . *Moss, Walter G. ''A History of Russia''. Vol. 1: ''To 1917''. 2d ed. Anthem Press, 2002. * Pares, Bernard. ''A history of Russia'' (1947) pp 221–537, by a famous historia
online free to borrow
* Perrie, Maureen, et al. ''The Cambridge History of Russia''. (3 vol. Cambridge University Press, 2006)
excerpt and text search
*Riasanovsky, Nicholas V. and Mark D. Steinberg. ''A History of Russia''. 7th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 800 pages
online 4th edition free to borrow
* Ziegler; Charles E. ''The History of Russia'' (Greenwood Press, 1999
online edition


Geography, topical maps

* Barnes, Ian. ''Restless Empire: A Historical Atlas of Russia'' (2015), copies of historic maps * Catchpole, Brian. ''A Map History of Russia'' (Heinemann Educational Publishers, 1974), new topical maps. * Channon, John, and Robert Hudson. ''The Penguin historical atlas of Russia'' (Viking, 1995), new topical maps. * Chew, Allen F. ''An atlas of Russian history: eleven centuries of changing borders'' (Yale UP, 1970), new topical maps. * Gilbert, Martin. ''Atlas of Russian history'' (Oxford UP, 1993), new topical maps. * Parker, William Henry. ''An historical geography of Russia'' (Aldine, 1968).


1801–1917

*Manning, Roberta. ''The Crisis of the Old Order in Russia: Gentry and Government''. Princeton University Press, 1982. * Pares, Bernard. '' The Fall Of The Russian Monarchy'' (1939) pp 94–143
Online
* Pipes, Richard. ''Russia under the Old Regime'' (2nd ed. 1997) * Seton-Watson, Hugh. ''The Russian empire 1801–1917'' (1967
online
* *


Military and foreign relations

* Adams, Michael. ''Napoleon and Russia'' (2006). * * * Fuller, William C. ''Strategy and Power in Russia 1600–1914'' (1998
excerpts
military strategy * Gatrell, Peter. "Tsarist Russia at War: The View from Above, 1914 – February 1917." ''Journal of Modern History'' 87#3 (2015): 668–700
online
* Jelavich, Barbara. ''St. Petersburg and Moscow: Tsarist and Soviet Foreign Policy, 1814–1974'' (1974
online
* Lieven, D.C.B. ''Russia and the Origins of the First World War'' (1983). * Lieven, Dominic. ''Russia Against Napoleon: The True Story of the Campaigns of War and Peace'' (2011). * LeDonne, John P. ''The Russian empire and the world, 1700–1917: The geopolitics of expansion and containment'' (1997). * McMeekin, Sean. ''The Russian Origins of the First World War'' (2011). * Neumann, Iver B. "Russia as a great power, 1815–2007." ''Journal of International Relations and Development'' 11#2 (2008): 128–151
online
* Saul, Norman E. ''Historical Dictionary of Russian and Soviet Foreign Policy'' (2014
excerpt and text search
* Seton-Watson, Hugh. ''The Russian Empire 1801–1917'' (1967) pp 41–68, 83–182, 280–331, 430–60, 567–97, 677–97. * Stone, David. ''A Military History of Russia: From Ivan the Terrible to the War in Chechnya'
excerpts


Economic, social and ethnic history

* Christian, David. ''A History of Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia''. Vol. 1: ''Inner Eurasia from Prehistory to the Mongol Empire''. (Blackwell, 1998). . * De Madariaga, Isabel. ''Russia in the Age of Catherine the Great'' (2002), comprehensive topical survey * * Etkind, Alexander. ''Internal Colonization: Russia's Imperial Experience'' (Polity Press, 2011) 289 pages; discussion of serfdom, the peasant commune, etc. * Franklin, Simon, and Bowers, Katherine (eds). ''Information and Empire: Mechanisms of Communication in Russia, 1600–1850'' (Open Book Publishers, 2017
available to read in full online
* Freeze, Gregory L. ''From Supplication to Revolution: A Documentary Social History of Imperial Russia'' (1988) * * Milward, Alan S. and S. B. Saul. ''The Development of the Economies of Continental Europe: 1850–1914'' (1977) pp 365–425 * Milward, Alan S. and S. B. Saul. ''The Economic Development of Continental Europe 1780–1870'' (2nd ed. 1979), 552pp * [[Boris Mironov (historian)|Mironov, Boris N., and Ben Eklof. ''The Social History of Imperial Russia, 1700–1917'' (2 vol Westview Press, 2000
vol 1 onlinevol 2 online
* Mironov, Boris N. (2012) ''The Standard of Living and Revolutions in Imperial Russia, 1700–1917'' (2012
excerpt and text search
* Mironov, Boris N. (2010) "Wages and Prices in Imperial Russia, 1703–1913," ''Russian Review'' (Jan 2010) 69#1 pp 47–72, with 13 tables and 3 chart
online
* * * Stolberg, Eva-Maria. (2004) "The Siberian Frontier and Russia's Position in World History," ''Review: A Journal of the Fernand Braudel Center'' 27#3 pp 243–267 * Wirtschafter, Elise Kimerling. ''Russia's age of serfdom 1649–1861'' (2008).


Historiography and memory

* Burbank, Jane, and David L. Ransel, eds. ''Imperial Russia: new histories for the Empire'' (Indiana University Press, 1998) * Cracraft, James. ed. ''Major Problems in the History of Imperial Russia'' (1993) * Hellie, Richard. "The structure of modern Russian history: Toward a dynamic model." ''Russian History'' 4.1 (1977): 1–22
Online
* Lieven, Dominic. ''Empire: The Russian empire and its rivals'' (Yale UP, 2002), compares Russian with British, Habsburg & Ottoman empires
excerpt
* Kuzio, Taras. "Historiography and national identity among the Eastern Slavs: towards a new framework." ''National Identities'' (2001) 3#2 pp: 109–132. * Olson, Gust, and Aleksei I. Miller. "Between Local and Inter-Imperial: Russian Imperial History in Search of Scope and Paradigm." ''Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History'' (2004) 5#1 pp: 7–26. * Sanders, Thomas, ed. ''Historiography of imperial Russia: The profession and writing of history in a multinational state'' (ME Sharpe, 1999) * Smith, Steve. "Writing the History of the Russian Revolution after the Fall of Communism." ''Europe‐Asia Studies'' (1994) 46#4 pp: 563–578. * Suny, Ronald Grigor. "Rehabilitating Tsarism: The Imperial Russian State and Its Historians. A Review Article" '' Comparative Studies in Society and History'' 31#1 (1989) pp. 168–17
online
* Suny, Ronald Grigor. "The empire strikes out: Imperial Russia,‘national’ identity, and theories of empire." in ''A state of nations: Empire and nation-making in the age of Lenin and Stalin'' ed. by Peter Holquist, Ronald Grigor Suny, and Terry Martin. (2001) pp: 23–66.


Primary sources

* Golder, Frank Alfred. ''Documents Of Russian History 1914–1917'' (1927), 680p
online
* Kennard, Howard Percy, and Netta Peacock, eds. ''The Russian Year-book: Volume 2 1912'' (London, 1912
full text in English


External links

*
The Empire that was Russia
color photographs from [[Library of Congress
General armorial of noble families in the Russian Empire (Gerbovnik)
{{Authority control [[Category:Russian Empire| [[Category:States and territories established in 1721 [[Category:States and territories disestablished in 1917 [[Category:Early Modern history of Russia|*1721 [[Category:Modern history of Russia [[Category:Former Slavic countries [[Category:1721 establishments in Russia [[Category:1917 disestablishments in Russia [[Category:Articles containing video clips [[Category:Former empires [[Category:Former monarchies [[Category:Former countries in Asia [[Category:Former monarchies of Europe [[Category:Former monarchies of Asia [[Category:Former empires in Europe [[Category:Former empires in Asia