Meaning of RUSSIA, FLAG OF in English

horizontally striped white-blue-red national flag. Its width-to-length ratio is 2 to 3. Tsar Peter I the Great had ambitious plans to transform Russia into a modern state. Building a Russian navy was part of that program, and he visited the Netherlands to learn about the most advanced shipbuilding concepts and techniques. The flag he chose for merchant ships in 1699 reflected the Dutch red-white-blue tricolour: the Russian flag differed only in having the stripes arranged white-blue-red. These colours are sometimes given traditional Russian symbolismone such interpretation recalls the red shield of the Grand Principality of Moscow, with its representation of St. George cloaked in blue and mounted on a white horse. Reference was also made to the quartered flag of white and red with a blue cross that had been flown on the 1667 Oryol, the first Russian warship. The new flag became very popular, so much so that during the 19th century the black-orange-white tricolour that the tsars attempted to impose as a national flag on land completely failed and eventually was abandoned. Just after the beginning of World War I, the flag was modified by the addition of a golden yellow canton bearing the imperial arms, a symbol of solidarity between the ruling dynasty and the Russian people. In the Soviet era all Russian flags were based on the Red Banner, which had its roots in the French Revolution and, possibly, even earlier peasant uprisings. After the formation of the Soviet Union, the official state flag contained a gold hammer, sickle, and gold-bordered red star in the upper hoist corner. When the Soviet Union dissolved, its symbols were replaced. The non-Russian territories acquired by tsars and communist leaders became independent, and the Russian Federation that remained readopted the white-blue-red Russian national flag. It became official on August 21, 1991, four months before the formal dissolution of the Soviet Union. It is now widely accepted, although a few groups favour use of the Red Banner or even adoption of the black-orange-white tricolour. Whitney Smith History From the beginnings to c. 1700 Prehistory and the rise of the Rus Indo-European, Ural-Altaic, and diverse other peoples have occupied what is now the territory of Russia since the 2nd millennium BC, but little is known about their ethnic identity, institutions, and activities. In ancient times, Greek and Iranian settlements appeared in the southernmost portions of what is now Ukraine. Trading empires of that era seem to have known and exploited the northern forestsparticularly the vast, triangular-shaped region west of the Urals between the Kama and Volga riversbut these contacts seem to have had little lasting impact. Between the 4th and 9th centuries AD, the Huns, Avars, Goths, and Magyars passed briefly over the same terrain, but these transitory occupations also had little influence upon the East Slavs, who during this time were spreading south and east from an area between the Elbe River and the Pripet Marshes. In the 9th century, as a result of penetration into the area from the north and south by northern European and Middle Eastern merchant adventurers, their society was exposed to new economic, cultural, and political forces. The scanty written records tell little of the processes that ensued, but archaeological evidencenotably, the Middle Eastern coins found in eastern Europeindicates that the development of the East Slavs passed through several stages. From about 770 to about 830, commercial explorers began an intensive penetration of the Volga region. From early bases in the estuaries of the rivers of the eastern Baltic region, Germanic commercial-military bands, probably in search of new routes to the east, began to penetrate territory populated by Finnic and Slavic tribes, where they found amber, furs, honey, wax, and timber products. The indigenous population offered little resistance to their incursions, and there was no significant local authority to negotiate the balance among trade, tribute, and plunder. From the south, trading organizations based in northern Iran and North Africa, seeking the same products, and particularly slaves, became active in the lower Volga, the Don, and, to a lesser extent, the Dnieper region. The history of the Khazar state is intimately connected with these activities. About 830 commerce appears to have declined in the Don and Dnieper regions. There was increased activity in the north Volga, where Scandinavian traders who had previously operated from bases on Lakes Ladoga and Onega established a new centre, near present-day Ryazan. Here, in this period, the first nominal ruler of Rus (called, like the Khazar emperor, khagan) is mentioned by Islamic and Western sources. This Volga Rus khagan state may be considered the first direct political antecedent of the Kievan state. Within a few decades these Rus, together with other Scandinavian groups operating farther west, extended their raiding activities down the main river routes toward Baghdad and Constantinople, reaching the latter in 860. The Scandinavians involved in these exploits are known as Varangians; they were adventurers of diverse origins, often led by princes of warring dynastic clans. One of these princes, Rurik of Jutland, is considered the progenitor of the dynasty that ruled in various portions of East Slavic territory until 1598. Evidences of the Varangian expansion are particularly clear in the coin hoards of 900930. The number of Middle Eastern coins reaching northern regions, especially Scandinavia, indicates a flourishing trade. Written records tell of Rus raids upon Constantinople and the northern Caucasus in the early 10th century. In the period from about 930 to 1000, the region came under complete control by Varangians from Novgorod. This period saw the development of the trade route from the Baltic to the Black Sea, which established the basis of the economic life of the Kievan principality and determined its political and cultural development. The degree to which the Varangians may be considered the founders of the Kievan state has been hotly debated since the 18th century. The debate has from the beginning borne nationalistic overtones. Recent works by Russians have generally minimized or ignored the role of the Varangians, while non-Russians have occasionally exaggerated it. Whatever the case, the lifeblood of the sprawling Kievan organism was the commerce organized by the princes. To be sure, these early princes were not Swedes or Norwegians or Danes; they thought in categories not of nation but of clan. But they certainly were not East Slavs. There is little reason to doubt the predominant role of the Varangian Rus in the creation of the state to which they gave their name. Kiev The rise of Kiev The Kievan Rus in the 11th century. The consecutive history of the first East Slavic state begins with Prince Svyatoslav (d. 972). His victorious campaigns against other Varangian centres, the Khazars, and the Volga Bulgars and his intervention in the ByzantineDanube Bulgar conflicts of 968971 mark the full hegemony of his clan in Rus and the emergence of a new political force in eastern Europe. But Svyatoslav was neither a lawgiver nor an organizer; the role of architect of the Kievan state fell to his son Vladimir (c. 9801015), who established the dynastic seniority system of his clan as the political structure by which the scattered territories of Rus were to be ruled. He invited or permitted the patriarch of Constantinople to establish an episcopal see in Rus. Vladimir extended the realm (to include the watersheds of the Don, Dnieper, Dniester, Neman, Western Dvina, and upper Volga), destroyed or incorporated the remnants of competing Varangian organizations, and established relations with neighbouring dynasties. The successes of his long reign made it possible for the reign of his son Yaroslav (ruled 101954) to produce a flowering of cultural life. But neither Yaroslav, who gained control of Kiev only after a bitter struggle against his brother Svyatopolk (101519), nor his successors in Kiev were able to provide lasting political stability within the enormous realm. The political history of Rus is one of clashing separatist and centralizing trends inherent in the contradiction between local settlement and colonization, on the one hand, and the hegemony of the clan elder, ruling from Kiev, on the other. As Vladimir's 12 sons and innumerable grandsons prospered in the rapidly developing territories they inherited, they and their retainers acquired settled interests that conflicted both with one another and with the interests of unity. The conflicts were not confined to Slavic lands: the Turkic nomads who moved into the southern steppe during the 11th century (first the Torks, later the Kipchaksalso known as the Polovtsy, or Cumans) became involved in the constant internecine rivalries, and Rurikid and Turkic princes often fought on both sides. In 1097 representatives of the leading branches of the dynasty, together with their Turkic allies, met at Liubech, north of Kiev, and agreed to divide the Kievan territory among themselves and their descendants, although, later, Vladimir Monomakh made a briefly successful attempt (111325) to reunite the land of Rus. History The 18th century The reign of Peter I the Great (16891725) Peter's youth and early reign The expansion of Russia, 13001796. Russian expansion in Asia. The accession of Peter I ushered in and established the social, institutional, and intellectual trends that were to dominate Russia for the next two centuries. Both Russian and Western historians, whatever their evaluation of Peter's reign, have seen it as one of the most formative periods of Russia's history. The seminal nature of the reign owes much to Peter's own personality and youth. The child of his father's second marriage, Peter was pushed into the background by his half brother Fyodor and exiled from the Kremlin during the turbulent years of the regency (168289) of his half sister Sophia. He grew up among children of lesser birth, unfettered by court etiquette. Playing at war and organizing his young friends into an effective military force, he could manifest his energy, vitality, and curiosity almost untrammeled. He also came into close contact with the western Europeans who lived in Moscow; the association kindled his interest in navigation and the mechanical artsof which he became a skilled practitionerand gave him the experience of a socially freer and intellectually more stimulating atmosphere than he might otherwise have had. He resolved to introduce this more dynamic and open style of life into Russia, a goal he pursued after the overthrow of Sophia in 1689 and that he erected into a policy of state after he became sole ruler following the death of his mother in 1694. (His half-witted half brother, Ivan V, remained co-tsar but played no role and died in 1696.) Peter's first political aim was to secure Muscovy's southern borders against the threat of raids by Crimean Tatars supported by the Ottoman Empire. For lack of adequate sea power, his initial attempt, in 1695, failed to gain a foothold on the Sea of Azov. Undaunted, Peter built up a navyhe was the first Russian ruler since early Kievan times to do soand succeeded in capturing Azov a year later. The experience convinced him of the necessity of extending his own technical knowledge and of securing tools and personnel from the West. To this end Peter traveled to western Europe, something no Muscovite tsar had ever done; he spent almost a year in Holland and England acquiring mechanical and maritime skills, hiring experts in various fields, purchasing books and scientific curiosities, and carrying on diplomatic negotiations for a crusade against the Turks. In the course of negotiations with Poland-Saxony and Denmark, an alliance was formed, not against Turkey but against Sweden. The alliance led to the Great Northern War (170021), which became Peter's major concern for almost the remainder of his reign. The war started inauspiciously for Peter when King Charles XII of Sweden, disembarking suddenly on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea, inflicted a severe defeat on the Russians before the fortress of Narva (November 1700). Thinking that he had eliminated Russia as a military factor, Charles invaded Poland to force King Augustus II to make peace and to install his own candidate, Stanislaw Leszczynski, on the Polish throne (Stanislaw I, ruled 170409, 1733). In the meantime Peter proceeded to reorganize and equip his troops systematically, while the generals B.P. Sheremetev and A.D. Menshikov gradually conquered the Swedish Baltic provinces of Ingria and Livonia. By terms of the capitulations of Riga and Revel (now Tallinn), Swedish sovereignty was ended and the provinces incorporated into the Russian Empire; the local German landed nobility and urban patriciate were confirmed in their historic corporate privileges. In 1703 Peter laid the foundations of his new capital, St. Petersburg (called Leningrad between 1924 and 1991), at the mouth of the Neva River; the site was chosen to secure a firm footing on the Gulf of Finland and to open direct sea access to western Europe. Having forced Augustus II to withdraw from the war (Treaty of Altranstdt, September 1706), Charles again turned eastward. Invading Russia in 1708, he decided to first secure Ukraine as a source of supplies and manpower (promised by the Cossack hetman Ivan Stepanovich Mazepa, who had defected from Peter's side) and await reinforcements from the north. These reinforcements, however, were prevented from reaching Charles by Menshikov's victory at Lesnaya in September 1708. After much maneuvering, Charles laid siege to the Ukrainian town of Poltava in the spring of 1709. Peter hastened to relieve the town, and it was before its walls that the crucial battle was fought on June 27 (July 8, New Style), 1709. Russian victory was completeCharles and Hetman Mazepa barely escaped capture, and the remainder of their troops were taken prisoner when they tried to cross the Dnieper at Perevolochnaya a few days later. Charles took refuge with the Turkish army encamped on the banks of the Prut River. Peter made the mistake of pursuing him into Turkish territory and barely escaped entrapment by the Turks, whom Charles had persuaded to renew war with Russia. With the help of bribery and diplomacy, Peter extricated himself from the trap by signing a peace treaty (July 1711) under which he gave up Azov and promised to dismantle fortresses near the Turkish border. Charles remained interned in Turkey (he did not escape until 1714), hoping to rebuild a coalition and rejecting all peace proposals. The war dragged on: Augustus II recovered the Polish throne, and Peter consolidated his hold on the Baltic by invading southern Finland. Russia won its first significant naval victory in July 1714 off the Hang (Gangut) peninsula and raided the Swedish mainland. The death of Charles XII (killed accidentally in Norway in 1718, soon after his return from Turkey) led to protracted negotiations (Congress of land) that ultimately resulted in the Peace of Nystad (Aug. 30 [Sept. 10, New Style], 1721), under the terms of which Sweden acquiesced to Russian conquests on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. Thereafter Russia was the dominant power in the Baltic region, while Sweden rapidly sank to second-rate status; Russia meddled in Sweden's political affairs throughout the 18th century. Russia's acquisition of Ingria and Livonia (and later of Kurland) brought into the empire a new national and political minority: the German elitesurban bourgeoisie and landowning nobilitywith their corporate privileges, harsh exploitation of native (Estonian and Latvian) servile peasantry, and Western culture and administrative practices. Eventually these elites made significant contributions to the imperial administration (military and civil) and helped bring German education, science, and culture to Russian society. From a diplomatic point of view, Peter's triumph over Sweden secured for Russia an important voice (enhanced by matrimonial connections) in the affairs of the German states; this culminated in Catherine II's guarantee of the constitutional integrity of the Holy Roman Empire (see below The reign of Catherine II the Great (176296)). By the same token Russia was to be drawn into all the diplomatic and military conflicts that beset western and central Europe throughout the 18th century, most particularly in connection with the rise of Prussian power, the decline of the Ottoman Empire, and the domestic turmoil in Poland. It forced Russia to maintain great military strength, which naturally put a heavy burden on the fiscal, social, and economic development of the empire. The long war's requirements determined most domestic policy measures as well. Only when victory was well in sight could Peter devote more of his attention to a systematic overhaul of Russia's institutions. The hastiness and brutality of steps taken under the stress of war had an effect on subsequent history. Historians have debated whether Peter's legislation was informed by an overall plan based on more or less clearly formulated theoretical considerations or whether it was merely a series of ad hoc measures taken to meet emergencies as they occurred. Pragmatic elements predominated, no doubt, over theoretical principles. The prevailing intellectual climate and administrative practices of Europe, however, contributed to orient Peter's thinking. The Petrine state The expansion of Russia, 13001796. Formally, Peter changed the tsardom of Muscovy into the Empire of All Russias, and he himself received the title of emperor from the Senate at the conclusion of the peace with Sweden. Not only did the title aim at identifying the new Russia with European political tradition, but it also bespoke the new conception of rulership and of political authority that Peter wanted to implant: that the sovereign emperor was the head of the state and its first servant, not the patrimonial owner of the land and father of his subjects (as the tsar had been). Peter stressed the function of his office rather than that of his person and laid the groundwork of a modern system of administration. Institutions and officials were to operate on the basis of set rules, keep regular hours and records, apply laws and regulations dispassionately, and have individual and collective responsibility for their acts. Reality, of course, fell far short of this ideal, because Muscovite traditions and conditions could not be eradicated so rapidly. Furthermore, there was a great shortage of educated and reliable persons imbued with such rationality and efficiency (a problem that bedeviled the imperial government until its end). They were mainly to be found in the military establishment, where officer and noncommissioned ranks acquired the requisite outlook, experience, and values in the army and navy established by Peter. The changeover from the traditional militia-like military organization to a European professional army (as it developed in the course of the so-called military revolution of the 17th century) had been initiated during the reigns of Tsars Michael and Alexis. But it was Peter who gave it the full-fledged modern form it retained until the middle of the 19th century. The armyand, for the first time in Russia, the navy as wellwas manned by recruits drawn from the peasantry (and other taxable groups) whose service obligation was for 25 years (i.e., virtually for life). Recruitment entailed liberation from serf status both for the soldier and for all his children born after his recruitment. Eventually this provided a path, however steep and narrow, for lower-class children to follow to join the ranks of petty officialdom and nobility. Submitted to cruel and savage discipline, the soldier was isolated from direct contact with the population, and his total commitment was to the state. Drilled in modern battle order and technology, the peasant recruit was forcibly modernized, and there are indications of some minimal influence of this on the population at large. The officer corps was recruited in similar fashion from the landowning service class. The terms of service prevailing in Muscovite times, however, were transformed radically. The young noble serviceman was called to serve from age 15 until his death or total incapacity. In principle, service was permanent with only rare leaves granted to attend to family and estate matters. Called up individually, the service noble was assigned and transferred at the will of the state. In principle, he was remunerated by regular salary payments, though in the reign of Peter I, and for long afterward, the salary was paid neither promptly nor fully in cash; officers still had to rely on their family estates or special gifts and awards. Starting as a soldier and noncommissioned officer, the service noble was to progress through the ranks on the basis of merit and longevity; eventually the latter became the principal criterion. Minimum educational standards had to be met by officers and officials, and they came to play a crucial role in both the careers and the social status of the service nobility. The empire's large population, which grew at a rapid rate throughout the century, enabled the government to maintain the largest standing army in Europe. Good generalship and the soldiers' loyalty and resilience, as well as excellent artillery and cavalry, made for a formidable military force that achieved the notable expansion of the empire during the 18th century. The Russian bureaucracy, whose members were often drawn from the military, thus acquired a preference for uniformity and militarism that did not foster respect or concern for the individual needs of the various regions and peoples of the far-flung empire. In the new administration, performance was to be the major criterion for appointment and promotion. Peter wanted this principle to apply to the highest offices, starting with that of the emperor himself. As a result of his bad experience with his own son, Alexis (who fled abroad, was brought back, and died in prison), Peter decreed in 1722 that every ruler would appoint his own successor. He did not have the opportunity to avail himself of this right, however, and the matter of regular succession remained a source of conflict and instability throughout the 18th century. Peter's concern for performance lay at the basis of the Table of Ranks (1722), which served as the framework for the careers of all state servants (military, civil, court) until the second half of the 19th century. In it the hierarchy was divided into 14 categories, or ranks; theoretically one had to begin at the bottom (14th rank) and proceed upward according to merit and seniority. Throughout the 18th century the 8th rank (1st commissioned officer grade) automatically conferred hereditary nobility on those who were not noble by birth. In a sense, therefore, the Table of Ranks opened all offices to merit and thus democratized the service class. But, because service was contingent on good preparation (i.e., education), it was accessible only to the fewnobility and clergyuntil later in the 18th century. The same need for qualified personnel that had brought about the Table of Ranks also determined Peter's policies toward the several social classes of his realm. The traditional obligation of members of all estates to perform service to the state, each according to his way of life (i.e., the nobleman by serving in the army and administration, the peasantry and merchants by paying taxes, the clergy by prayer), was given a modern, rational form by Peter. Paradoxically, the reform helped to transform the traditional estates into castelike groups from whichexcept in rare instances of clergy and rich merchantsit became impossible to escape. The nobility was most directly affected by the change, not only in Peter's lifetime but under his successors as well. The nobleman's service obligation became lifelong, regular, and permanent. The staffs of military and government institutions were no longer recruited on the basis of regional origin or family ties, but strictly according to the need of the state and the fitness of the individual for the specific task at hand. The serviceman was transferred from one assignment, branch, or locality to another as the state saw fit. The office of heraldry within the Senate kept the service rosters up to date and decided on appointments and transfers. It was not easy to break traditional family and clan ties, however. Family connection continued to be a factor in successful service careers, especially if a relative was close to the ruler or the favourite. On the level of the central government and the court, the struggle between cliques for imperial favour was the major factor in determining policy orientations and appointments to high positions. Peter also introduced single inheritance of real estate (1714), attempting in this way to break the traditional inheritance pattern that had led to the splintering of estates. In so doing he hoped to create a professional service nobility unconnected with the land and totally devoted to the state, but the resistance the law met in its application forced its revocation in 1731. He also required the nobility to be educated as a prerequisite for service. Schooling, whether at home or in an institution, became a feature of the nobleman's way of life. Schooling was a radical innovation, at first resented and resisted; but within a generation it was accepted as a matter of course and became the decisive element in the status and self-image of the nobility. The peasantry had been enserfed during the 17th century, but the individual peasant had retained his traditional ties to the village commune and to the land that he worked. To prevent tax evasion through the formation of artificial households, Peter introduced a new unit of taxation, the souli.e., a male peasant of working ageand the lords were made responsible for the collection of the tax assessed on each of their souls. The peasant thus became a mere item on the tax roll who could be moved, sold, or exchanged according to the needs and whims of his masterwhether a private landlord, the church, or the state. The serf became practically indistinguishable from a slave. As befitted a secular-minded autocrat who saw his main task as enlightening and leading his people to modernity, Peter had little regard for the church. He recognized its value only as an instrument of control and as an agent of modern education. When the patriarch died in 1700, Peter appointed no successor. Finally in 1721 he gave the church a bureaucratic organization: a Holy Synod composed of several appointed hierarchs and a lay representative of the emperor; the latter, called the chief procurator, came to play the dominant role. Ecclesiastic schools turned into closed institutions with a narrowly scholastic curriculum. Membership in the clerical estate became strictly hereditary; the priesthood was transformed into a closed caste of government religious servants cut off from the new secular culture being introduced in Russia and deprived of their traditional moral authority. Both on economic and religious grounds, therefore, the reign of Peter I appeared particularly oppressive to the common people. It seemed unnatural and contrary to tradition; for many it clearly was the reign of the Antichrist, from which one escaped only through self-immolation (practiced by some of the Old Believers), open rebellion, or flight to the borderlands of the empire. Resistance and flight were made possible by Peter's failure, despite all his modernizing and rationalizing, to endow the government with effective means of control on the local level. Regular officials were short in number and experience and could not be easily spared for local administration. Peter tried to have the officers of the regiments that were garrisoned in the provinces double as local officials, but the experiment failed because of the necessities of war and because regular officers proved incompetent to administer peasants. The attempts at copying Western models were also unsuccessful, for the Russian nobility lacked (and was not allowed to develop) a local corporate organization that could serve as the foundation for local self-government. Peter concentrated his attention almost entirely on the central administration, for which his reforms provided the basic framework within which the imperial government was to operate until its fall in 1917. To prosecute the war the Petrine state had to mobilize all the resources of the country and to supervise practically every aspect of national life. This required that the central executive apparatus be extended and organized along functional lines. Peter hoped to accomplish this by replacing the numerous haphazard prikazy (administrative departments) with a coherent system of functional and well-ordered colleges (their number fluctuating around 12 in the course of the century). Each college was headed by a board for more effective control; it had authority in a specific area such as foreign affairs, the army, the navy, commerce, mining, finances, justice, and so on. The major problems with this form of organization proved to be the coordination, planning, and supervision of the colleges. Peter tried to cope with these defects pragmatically through the creation of a Senate, which came to serve as a privy council as well as an institution of supervision and control. In addition, he set up a network of agents (fiskaly) who acted as tax inspectors, investigators, and personal representatives of the emperor. Much reliance was put on the obligation to denounce all would-be violators of imperial orders. Those failing to do so suffered the same punishment as the actual violator, while the informer was rewarded with the property confiscated from the criminal. Internal security was vested in 1689 in the chancery of the Preobrazhensky Guards, the tsar's own regiment, which became a much-dreaded organ of political police and repression. Under different names the police apparatus remained a permanent feature of the imperial regime. The police were also the instrument of the ruler's personal intervention, an essential function for the preservation of the autocracy as a viable political system. The needs of war, as well as the desire to modernize Russia, led Peter to promote and expand industry, particularly mining, naval construction, foundries, and the production of glass and textiles. The emperor aimed at maximizing the use of all potential resources of the country to heighten its power and further its people's welfare; these goals were pursued in mercantilist fashion through discriminatory tariffs, state subsidies, and regulation of manufactures. Peter hoped to involve the rich merchants and the nobility in economic enterprise and expansion. As a class, however, the merchants failed to follow his lead; many were Old Believers who refused to work for the Antichrist. Nor did Peter's urban legislation provide the townspeople with the incentives and freedom necessary to change them into an entrepreneurial class; as a matter of fact, the municipal reforms were simply means to collect taxes and dues in kind. As to the nobility, only a few had the necessary capital to become entrepreneurs, and their time and energies were completely taken up by their service obligations. Nor did Peter provide for the security of property and for the landowner's right to dispose of the mineral, water, and timber resources on his estate. The shortage of capital could be, and in some specific cases was, overcome by direct government grants. But the equally serious shortage of labour was not so easily resolved. Peter permitted the use of servile labour in mines and manufactures, with the result that thousands of peasants were moved and forced to work under unfamiliar conditions, in new places, at very difficult tasks. Resentment ran high and the productivity of this forced labour was very low. Most of the enterprises established in Peter's lifetime did not survive him. But the impetus he had given to Russian industrial development was not altogether lost; it revived with new vigourunder different policiesin the middle of the 18th century. Among the important factors in Russia's economic development under Peter was the building of St. Petersburg on the then inhospitable shores of the Gulf of Finland. Its construction cost an estimated 30,000 lives (lost from disease, undernourishment, and drowning) and engulfed vast sums of public and private money. Nobles who served in the central administration and at court were required to settle in the new city and to build townhouses. The location of the new capital symbolized the shift in the empire's political, economic, and cultural centre of gravity toward western Europe. Trade and social intercourse with western Europe became easier, and the icebound peripheral ports of what is now Murmansk and of Arkhangelsk were abandoned for the more convenient harbours of Riga, Revel, and the new St. Petersburg. After 1721 Peter also extended the borders of the empire in the south along the Caspian Sea as a result of a successful war against Persia (Treaty of St. Petersburg, 1723). The changes that made Peter's reign the most seminal in Russian history were not the administrative reforms and the military conquests, significant as those were, but the transformation in the country's culture and style of life, at least among the service nobility. Foreign observers made much of Peter's requirement that the nobility shave off their beards, wear Western clothes, go to dances and parties, and learn to drink coffee. These were only the external marks of more profound changes that in a generation or so were to make the educated Russian nobility members of European polite society. The common people, especially the peasantry, were not so immediately and positively affected, although by the end of the 18th century most peasants, and all inhabitants of towns, had moved a considerable distance from the values and habits of their 16th- and 17th-century forebears. Most important of all, perhaps, the reign of Peter I marked the beginning of a new period in Russian educational and cultural life. Peter was the first to introduce secular education on a significant scale and to make it compulsory for all state servants. (More significant than the limited quantitative results during Peter's lifetime was the fact that education eventually became indispensable to membership in the upper class.) First, Peter tried to use the church to establish a network of primary schools for all children of the free classes; this plan failed largely because the clergy were unable to finance and staff schools for secular learning. But the specialized technical schools Peter founded, such as the Naval Academy, struck roots and provided generations of young men with the skills necessary for leadership in a modern army and navy. Although he did not live to see its formal inauguration, Peter also organized the Academy of Sciences as an institution for scholarship, research, and instruction at the higher level. The academy's beginnings were quite modestGerman professors lectured in Latin to a handful of poorly prepared studentsand its development was not free from difficulties, but at the end of the 18th century it was a leading European centre of science and enlightenment, preparing and guiding Russia's scientific and technological flowering in the 19th century. History Russia from 1801 to 1917 The reigns of Alexander I and Nicholas I General survey Russian expansion in Asia. When Alexander I came to the throne in March 1801, Russia was in a state of hostility with most of Europe, though its armies were not actually fighting; its only ally was its traditional enemy, Turkey. The new emperor quickly made peace with both France and Britain and restored normal relations with Austria. His hope that he would then be able to concentrate on internal reform was frustrated by the reopening of war with Napoleon in 1805. Defeated at Austerlitz, the Russian armies fought Napoleon in Poland in 1806 and 1807, with Prussia as an ineffective ally. After the Treaty of Tilsit (1807), there were five years of peace, ended by Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812. From the westward advance of its arms in the next two years of heavy fighting, Russia emerged as Europe's greatest land power and the first among the continental victors over Napoleon. The immense prestige achieved in these campaigns was maintained until mid-century. During this period, Russian armies fought only against weaker enemies: Persia in 1826, Turkey in 182829, Poland in 183031, and the mountaineers of the Caucasus during the 1830s and '40s. When Europe was convulsed by revolution in 1848, Russia and Great Britain alone among the Great Powers were unaffected, and in the summer of 1849 the tsar sent troops to crush the Hungarians in Transylvania. Russia was not loved, but it was admired and feared. To the upper classes in central Europe, Nicholas I was the stern defender of monarchical legitimacy; to democrats all over the world, he was the gendarme of Europe and the chief enemy of liberty. But the Crimean War (185356) showed that this giant had feet of clay. The vast empire was unable to mobilize, equip, and transport enough troops to defeat the medium-size French and English forces under very mediocre command. Nicholas died in the bitter knowledge of general failure. Alexander I as a young man had longed to reform his empire and benefit his subjects. His hopes were disappointed, partly by the sheer inertia, backwardness, and vastness of his domains, partly perhaps because of defects of his own character, but also because Napoleon's aggressive enterprises diverted Alexander's attention to diplomacy and defense. Russia's abundant manpower and scanty financial resources were both consumed in war. The early years of his reign saw two short periods of attempted reform. During the first, from 1801 to 1803, the tsar took counsel with four intimate friends, who formed his so-called Unofficial Committee, with the intention of drafting ambitious reforms. In the period from 1807 to 1812, he had as his chief adviser the liberal Mikhail Speransky. Both periods produced some valuable administrative innovations, but neither initiated any basic reform. After 1815 Alexander was mainly concerned with grandiose plans for international peace; his motivation was not merely political but also religiousnot to say mysticalfor the years of war and national danger had aroused in him an interest in matters of faith to which, as a pupil of the 18th-century Enlightenment, he had previously been indifferent. While he was thus preoccupied with diplomacy and religion, Russia was ruled by conservatives and reactionaries, among whom the brutal but honest General Aleksey Arakcheyev was outstanding. Victory in war had strengthened those who upheld the established order, serfdom and all. The mood was one of intense national pride: Orthodox Russia had defeated Napoleon, the Corsican Antichrist, and therefore it was not only foolish but also impious to copy foreign models. Educated young Russians, who had served in the army and seen Europe, who read and spoke French and German and knew contemporary European literature, felt otherwise. Masonic lodges and secret societies flourished in the early 1820s. From their deliberations emerged a conspiracy to overthrow the government, inspired by a variety of ideas: some men looked to the United States for a model, others to Jacobin France. The conspirators, known as the Decembrists because they tried to act in December 1825 when the news of Alexander I's death became known and there was uncertainty about his successor, were defeated and arrested; five were executed, and many more sentenced to various terms of imprisonment in Siberia. Nicholas I, who succeeded after his elder brother Constantine had finally refused the throne, was deeply affected by these events and set himself against any major political change, though he did not reject the idea of administrative reform. After the revolutions of 1848 in Europe, his opposition to all change, his suspicion of even mildly liberal ideas, and his insistence on an obscurantist censorship reached their climax. The sections that follow cover the development under Alexander I and Nicholas I of the machinery of government, of social classes and economic forces, of education and political ideas, of the relations between Russians and other peoples within

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