Slavic
People
• Russia’s roots go
back to 600AD with
the settlement of the
slavs.
• Overtime the slavs
separated into
cultural groups.
– West Slavs:
Poles,Czechs,
Slovaks
– South Slavs: Croats,
Serbs, Slovens,
Bulgarians
– East Slavs:
Russians,
Ukrainians,
Belarussians
Kievan Russia
• Scandinavian warriors settled
with Slavs and adopted
language &customs
• Established city-states called
“Kievan Rus”
– Ruled by princes
– Kiev is most powerful citystate
– Fighting among city-states
weakened Russia
• Mongols conquer in early
1200s but allow Slavs self-rule
• These early Russians were the
first to become Eastern
Orthodox Christians
Rise of Russia
• After Kiev was taken over by
Mongols, many Slavs fled to
Moscow (“Muscovy;” major
trade & good land)
– Late 1400s, Mongols driven
out
• Ivan the Great brought Slav
territories under his control and
expanded Russian territory
– Built Kremlin in Moscow
(huge fortress filled with
churches and palaces)
• Ivan the Terrible because
– Russia’s 1st crowned Czar
– Called terrible because he
killed all opponents
Serfs
• After Ivan the Terrible the
country faced economic &
social problems, foreign
invasion
• Romanov dynasty comes
into power in 1613
– Government tightens control
of people
• By 1650 many peasants
became serfs
• Like slaves they could not
leave their master’s land
Romanov Czars
• Peter the Great (Late 1600s)
– Modernized Russia to catch up
with Europe
– Increased trade with Europe, built
strong military, increased territory
• Catherine the Great (late 1700s)
– Expanded Russia’s empire
– Cultural gap between nobility and
peasants
– Russian nobility adopted western
European customs and languages
– Serfs followed traditional Russian
ways
• Poverty and heavy work
became worse
Russian Revolution
• 1880s filled with
government repression and
educated people wanted to
make Russia more open
society
• Czar Alexander II freed serfs
in 1861 but they had no
education and few ways to
earn living
• Non-Russian people faced
prejudice
– Russification: everyone must
speak Russian and follow
Eastern Orthodox Christianity
– Harsh treatment for anyone
who did not follow
Pogroms
• Czars
encouraged
poor Russians
to attack Jews
– Blamed for
Russia’s
problems
• Thousands
died, lost their
property or
fled Russia
Marxist Socialism
• Many frustrated Russian
thinkers & workers liked
socialism
• Socialism: belief that calls
for greater economic
equality in society
• Karl Marx
– Supported public to own all
land and equal sharing of
wealth
– encouraged workers to
overthrow their bosses to
end power of the wealthy
– Idea of economic equality
appealed to poor Russians
End of Czars
•By 1917 WWI
hardships prompted
many workers to
demonstrate
•Czar Nicholas II was
overthrown
–He and his entire
family were killed
–300 years of czarist
Romanov rule ended
Bolsheviks
• Lenin’s Marxist
Bolshevik party take
control, give out food,
shorten the work day,
and withdraw from
WWI
• Civil war soon divides
Russia when White
Army fight Bolsheviks
• Red Army wins!!!
Stalin
• Named himself Stalin
because it means “man of
steel”
• Brutal dictator who
“purged” millions
• 20 million died from
starvation, horrible
conditions in labor camps,
or were murdered
• Led Russia during WWII
– 27 million Russian
soldiers and civilians
died as result of the war
The Cold War
• When WWII ends in 1945,
the Soviet Union controls
much of Eastern Europe
– These countries become
satellites (Hungary, Poland,
Czechoslovakia, East
Germany) and strengthen the
country
• Communism vs. capitalism
• USA and USSR compete to
influence other nations
• Vietnam and Korean Wars
are related
• Threat of nuclear
destruction prevents a real
full scale war
Soviet Breakup
• During cold war the Soviet economy
was a mess and it was clear
communism was failing
• Gorbachev takes power in 1985 and
wants to make changes
– Perestroika: policy of economic
reform
– Glasnost: policy of political
openness
– His policies fail to save Soviet
Union
– Attempt to overthrow him and fail
• Eastern European countries overthrow
communist rulers in 1989
– Berlin Wall comes down
– Baltics 1st to declare independence from
Soviet Union
– Soviet Union ceased to exist when
Gorbachev’s presidency ended in 1991
Boris Yeltsin
• First elected president of
Russia
• Russia is a disaster (1992)
– Ethnic conflicts
• Tartarstan, Dagestan,
Chechnya all want to
break from Russia
– Economic problems
• 1500% inflation rate
• High unemployment
• Leads Russia towards
capitalism and democracy
• By 2000 the economy begins
to improve
Chechnya Tragedy
• People there have
different history,
language, and religion
than rest of Russia, want
independence in 1991
• Russia fears breakup,
troops sent in, reclaim
Chechnya
• Chechen militants killed
186 Russian school
children in a terrorist
attack in 2004
Vladimir
Putin
• Elected in 2000 he
led Russia towards
more stability and
a healthy economy
• Critics think he is
acting like a
dictator, others
admire his strength
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Slavic People - Whittier High School