Discuss The Changes And Continuities Of Russia From The 9th To The 18th Century

1061 words - 5 pages

In 855, the civilization of Kievan Rus' developed, encompassing a small portion of modern day Russia. Around 1220, the Mongols arrived in Russia where they significantly influenced the Russian culture. In 1762, Catherine the Great became empress where she patronized Western culture. From the civilization of Kievan Rus' to the Russian Empire of Catherine the Great, Russia's contacts with the west, political structure, and territorial boundaries had significantly changed.Contact with the with the west was cut off with the Mongol arrival, yet by the rule of Catherine the Great, contacts with the west had been reestablished. With the religious schism occurring in the Byzantine Empire, Roman ...view middle of the document...

With the Mongol arrival, contacts with the west diminished partially because the Mongols tribute payments placed a burden on peasants, creating a new social structure similar to that of manorialism. With self-sufficient manors, the Russian economy no longer had to rely on trade with Europe. Lagging behind the Europeans politically, economically and intellectually, the Russian Empire under Catherine the Great attempted to catch up to the west, taking great interest in western styles and culture and reestablishing their contacts with Europe.The political structure of Russia changed drastically over the centuries from the civilization of Kievan Rus' to the Russian Empire under Catherine the Great, as the boyars gained an increasing influence in politics. Borrowing heavily from the Byzantine Empire, Kievan Rus' developed a principality incorporating loosely organized alliances with regional landed aristocrats, or boyars. The major princes were attracted to the concept of a central ruler who possessed wide powers, and therefore the boyars did not have a significant role in politics. When the Mongols arrived in 1220, Russia had been divided into numerous small kingdoms. The Russian princes, such as Vladimir, possessed most of the power, yet the boyars influence in politics began to increase as they gained more power over the peasantry. As a vassal to the Golden Horde, Russia payed tribute to the Mongols in order to retain their original political structure. The tribute payment required placed a heavy burden on the peasants, causing a system of manorialism to develop, increasing the power of the boyars over the peasantry. With the Russian Empire under Catherine the Great, the common structure of the government was autocratic. Catherine the Great further increased the power of the boyars over the peasantry, allowing them greater control in politics. Gradually transforming from a monarchy to an autocracy, the boyars political influence slowly increased as well. Since Russia was based heavily on its exportation of agricultural products and Russia was rapidly growing as a world power, it was necessary to control the farming or peasant class. Therefore, the power of the boyars was increased to control the peasantry, making them wealthier and...

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