The Rise of Russia
The rise of the Russian empire, unlike Western colonial empires, although altering
power balances through Eurasia involved only limited commercial exchange.
After freeing themselves
from Mongol domination by 1480, the Russians pushed eastward.
Some extension of territory also
occurred in eastern Europe.
Regional states, many differing from Russia, were present, with Lithuania and
Poland rivaling Russia into the 17th century.
Russia, with its Byzantine influenced culture, had been
unimportant in world affairs before the 15th century.
Russia then entered into new contacts with the West
without losing its distinct identity.
Between 1450 and 1750 many lasting characteristics of the eastern
European world were formed.
Russia's Expansionist Politics under the Tsars.
During the 14th century the Duchy of Moscow took the
lead in liberating Russia from the Mongols.
Ivan III gave his government a military focus, and utilized a
blend of nationalism and the Orthodox Christian religion, to succeeded, by 1480, in creating a large,
The Need for Revival.
The Mongols, content to leave local administration in indigenous hands, had not
reshaped basic Russian culture.
The occupation did reduce the vigor of cultural and economic life.
Literacy declined and the economy became purely agricultural and dependent on peasant labor.
restored the tradition of centralized rule, added a sense of imperial mission, and claimed supervision of all
Russia, asserted Ivan, had succeeded Byzantium as the "Third Rome."
continued the policy of expansion.
He increased the power of the tsar by killing many of the nobility
- earning the name of Ivan the Terrible - on the charge of conspiracy.
Patterns of Expansion.
Territorial expansion focused on central Asia.
Russians moved across their
region's vast plains to the Caspian Sea and the Ural Mountains.
By the 16th century, they moved into
) were recruited to occupy the new lands.
Loyal nobles and
bureaucrats received land grants in the territories.
The conquests gave Russia increased agricultural
regions and labor sources.
Slavery existed into the 18th century.
Important trading connections opened
with Asian neighbors.
The Russian advance, along with that of the Ottomans to the south, eliminated
independent central Asia as a source of nomadic invasions.
Russia became a mutlicultural state.
large Muslim population was not forced to assimilate to Russian culture.
Western Contact and Romanov Policy.
The tsars, mindful of the cultural and economic lag occurring
under Mongol rule, also began a policy of carefully managed contacts with the West.
Ivan III despatched
diplomatic missions to leading Western states; under Ivan IV British merchants established trading
Italian artists brought in by the tsars built churches and the Kremlin, creating a distinct style of
When Ivan IV died without an heir early in the 17th century the Time of Troubles