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DefiningCharacteristicsofRussianHistory

DefiningCharacteristicsofRussianHistory - The Defining...

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The Defining Factors in Russian History Geography and Climate Russian Orthodox Christianity The Tatar-Mongol Yoke Patrimonial System The Peasant Community – “Mir” (Serfdom, Cossacks) The Byzantine Empire National Pride and Messianic Zeal – Moscow as the Third Rome “The Russian Idea” Russia’s territory is not just quantitatively vast, it is qualitatively infinite, amorphous and contradictory. Russia’s immensity involves the following equivocal properties: 1. Low population density. 2. Savage nature. 3. Boundless space. 4. A great polyperiphery. 5. Contrasts in population distribution. 6. The one-dimensional factor. “Among Russians ‘Nature’ is an elemental power, stronger than among Western peoples, especially those of the most elaborated, i.e. Latin, culture. The nature- pagan element entered even into Russian Christianity. In the typical Russian two elements are always in opposition – the primitive natural paganism of boundless Russia, and an Orthodox asceticism received from Byzantium, a reaching out towards the other world. A natural dionysism and a Christian asceticism are equally characteristic of the Russian people. A difficult problem presents itself ceaselessly to the Russian – the problem of organizing his vast territory. The immensity of Russia, the absence of
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