Eastern_Europe - The “Other Europe” Eastern Europe and...

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The “Other Europe” Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union
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Slavic and non-Slavic Europe Slavic countries: Poland Bulgaria Russia/Belarus/Ukraine (former) Yugoslavia (Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Bosnia) Czech Republic/Slovakia
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Slavic and non-Slavic Europe Non-Slavic countries Hungary Romania Albania Latvia Lithuania Estonia Frequent antagonisms between Slavs and non-Slavs
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Geographic factors Russia/USSR historically dominated Eastern Europe Opted for Orthodox Christianity rather than Catholicism Isolated from developments in Western Europe (e.g. Renaissance, Reformation) Also isolated from trade networks
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Geographic factors, cont. Russia in northern latitudes, very cold much of the year; short growing seasons Flat – few geographic boundaries against invasion (as opposed to UK, parts of France, Spain) Enormous in size
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Historic vulnerability to invasion 13 th century : Mongols pillage Russia 16 th century : Poland invades, occupies Russia 18 th century : Sweden invades but Swedes defeated in Ukraine 19 th century : Napoleon invades Russia, marche to Moscow, discovers winter wonderland and dysentery 20 th century : Germany invades twice
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Territorial Expansion Czarist armies invaded and annexed neighboring territories Logic: Increase space invaders would have to cover to occupy Russian heartland Other motives: warm-water ports, access to Black Sea and Mediterranean Territorial expansion led to frequent conflicts with Britain and France
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Expansion -- map
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Historical Imprints End of the Romanov Dynasty: 1917 Last two tzars (Nicholas II and his predecessor Alexander III) faced internal and external challenges Rising Germany in the west, rising Japan in the east (Japan utterly defeated Russians in 1905) Domestic anti-tzarist movements such as anarchists and narodnichestvo (“populism”) Alex III assassinated by narodniki in 1881
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Rise of Bolsheviks
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