Location: Eastern Europe  & northern ASIA

Size: largest in world,

Climate Regions:

Tundra (permafrost) + Taiga (forests) = Siberia

Steppes (grasslands)



Considered "landlocked" because of frozen north

Early Civilizations

Kiev: settled by Slavs & Vikings (Rus); became trading center

Byzantine Influence: autocracy - alphabet - architecture - Orthodox religion

Mongols: invaders from east; isolated Russia from Western Europe

Romanov Czars

Autocrats: absolute, divine right monarchs

Ivan the Great: (not a Ram.); freed Russia from Mongols

Peter the Great:

"Westernization" - more like Europe; trading; manufacturing; military power;

port on Baltic Sea (Window to the West)

Catherine the Great:

"enlightened despot" - use power to help people;

expanded Russian power; ports on the Black Sea

Nicholas II: last czar; didn't understand need for reform; influenced by wife (Alexandra) and son' s illness



Autocratic government;

Discontent of workers & peasants;

Disastrous involvement in WW I - starvation & death

February (March) Revolution: 1917; Provisional Government overthrows czar, but stays in the war

October (November) Revolution: 1917.

Bolsheviks: Russian Communists

V. I. Lenin: leader of Bolsheviks

Influence of Karl Marx: Workers unite (in soviets) to overthrow govt

"Peace, Land, Bread": Lenin's promises; wins peasants' support

Civil War: Reds (Communists) v. whites (Czarists). Reds win. Czar & family killed. Lenin declares "Dictatorship of the Proletariat"


Rule of Lenin:

NEP allows some capitalism to revive economy

Rule of Josef Stalin

The "Man of Steel"

Totalitarian: total control of all aspect of life

 Command Economy

5 Year Plans: forced industrialization; few consumer goods

Collectivization: peasants forced to work on collective farms

Human rights Violations: purges of Stalin's enemies. Millions killed/exiled

World War II: attacked by Hitler; Russians held strong -drove to Berlin from  east; after war controlled Eastern Europe

Cold War Era  (1945- 1991)

Superpowers :. US v USSR

Arms, race: nuclear weapons; nuclear deterrent: race for space

Detente: friendlier relations: SALT Agreements

Mikhail Gorbachev (1985-1991)               

Glasnost -"openness" - more freedom: speech, travel, religion

Perestroika: "restructuring" - experiments with capitalism

Collapse of Communism: people demanded, more freedom  

Eastern Europe: Lech Walesa (Poland); overthrew communist govt

Soviet Republics: broke away from USSR; set up own govts

Russia: 1991: communist coup failed: USSR dissolved into 15 countries

Boris Yeltsin's Problems: inexperience with democratic process; change from command to free market economy = inflation, shortages. Opposition.

Eastern Europe : After WW II became satellites of USSR. Freedom in 1989. Problems   inexperience with democracy - capitalism. Ethnic warfare (Bosnia)