Notes on Russian Character and Outline of Russian History
by David Beutel

  1. Notes on Russian character
  2. Outline of Russian History

A. Kievan period (9th C-13th C)
B. Tatar/Mongolian period (1237-c.1500) "Russian Middle Ages"
C. Muscovite period (c.1500-1725)
D. Empire (1725-1917)
E. Communist period (1917-1991)
F. Post-communist period (1991-)


Feodotov. Treasury of Russian Spirituality.

Lawrence, John. A History of Russia.

Notes on Russian character: (broad, often inaccurate generalizations, which nevertheless are helpful for understanding the Russian mentality and "zagadochnaya Russkaya dusha"!

- Occasional xenophobia (20)

- Unthinking cruelty of public actions and great kindness in ordinary life (25)

- Emphasize physical health

- Feeling of religious significance of nature

- Ascetic Christianity

- "Kenoticism": way of salvation through imitation of Christís voluntary, sacrificial self-humiliation, non-resistance, suffering, and sacrificial death.

- Heart and mind together (36)

- Russian Messianism: role of Russia to save the world

- Accepting own and otherís sinfulnessó> Brotherly sympathy for all kinds of people (38)

- Russian soul cannot abide an ideological vacuum (332)

- Maximalism (251); Lack of moderation (41); All or nothing attitude (183)

- Laziness

- Accepts good and bad government in the same way as good and bad harvest (47)

- Will put up with a great deal of grievances and injustices from government (47)

- Look backward more than forward; consider future extremely uncertain (46)

- Always makes for a definite goal, but alert to other paths, and avails himself of them--giving impression of insincerity or double-facedness

- View of law: Ďwhere there is law, needs must be many injuriesí (50)

- Bound to West in steady, though slower, material progress of last 1300 years (83)

- More realistic about love than Western Europeans, whose tradition includes the troubadours and cult of courtly love (84)

- Lack of originality; precedent rules everything (93)

- Love of forms, formalities, symbols

- Fear and contempt for West, while anxious to learn everything it has to teach (97)

- Hospitable (97)

- Provokes from West fear and admiration for its size and strength, contempt for its barbarism (98)

- Gift for spontaneous cooperation (119)

- Enterprise when dealing with familiar problems (122)

- Resignation to suffering (130)

- Will often lie, but rarely deceive themselves (135)

- Expect all instructions to come from above; Protect self by first securing approval from above (138). Reform generally starts from the top (340).

- ĎLike children, who never want to learn the alphabet unless compelled by the teacherí (158)

- Cruel bureaucracy, not purposefully, but as a result of incompetence and corruption (176)

- Resolute narrow-mindedness (181)

- More sympathetic to German metaphysics than to French logic or English empiricism; likewise more susceptible to its ambiguities (181)

- Highly patriotic (187)

- Little respect for law, either by government or people; break bad laws rather than make good ones (194)

- Donít always know when beaten (219)

- Search after social justice and the Kingdom of God on Earth (251)

- Capacity for sacrifice and patient suffering (251)

- Religious instinct (251)

- Coarseness (251)

- Dogmatism (251)

- Attitude to money: theirs seems adolescent to us; ours seems ignoble to them (326)

- Concept of plural society unappealing (332)

- Impatient with art for arts sake (171)

- See and believe in goodness and truth, but seeing evil and falsehood too clearly to take a serious role in the former (Tolstoy 594).

- Self-assured because he knows nothing and wants to know nothing, believing nothing can be known (Tolstoy 709)

- Feeling of contempt for everything conventional, artificial, and humanófor everything the majority of men regard as the greatest thing in the world (Tolstoy 1002)

- Doesnít acknowledge Ďgreat men,í but those who submit will to providence (Tolstoy 1205).

Outline of Russian History

A. Kievan period (9th C-13th C)

862 Rurik the Viking founded Russian state at Novgorod on the Volkhov

988 St. Vladimir, prince of Kiev converts. Ambassadors sent to evaluate Islam of the Volga Bulgarians (law Ďnot goodí), Judaism of the Khazars (), Latin Christianity of the Holy Roman Empire (Ďno beautyí in the Mass), and Greek Christianity of Constantinople (ĎWe do not know whether we are in heaven or earthí). Decision made before the Crusades and the east/west schism could be foreseen, but fateful, because the future lay with the West, and Russiaís lot was with the east.

Latin Christianity: More active and individualistic, thinks in legal terms, follows Augustine in stressing Fall and need of grace. Latin on Mass already a foreign language. Priests turned backs to congregation. never tires in search for rational explanation.

Greek Christianity: More philosophical, contemplative, follows Athanasius in stressing ĎDivinationí and the Transfiguration. Mass remains in local language and experienced as a uniting of heaven and earth, all the faithful with Christ and each other and all the saints. More corporate. More content to accept mysteries of faith without rational explanation (thus denies formulation of doctrine of transubstantiation and purgatory). Sees excessive rationalism and intolerance of theological diversity of medieval Catholic philosophy as the root of Protestant factionalism.

Religion, culture, statecraft, art, aesthetic feeling from Byzantium--including custom of the Patriarch of Constantinople taking orders from Byzantine Emperor and political ideal of a mighty unified state with an absolute ruler and loyal bureaucracy (cf. West where Papacy supplanted empire which was sacked by barbarians).

Close communication with Latin West

Prince Svyatoslav sought to expand power, but was finally defeated: "Seeking what belonged to others, he ruined his own."

Sts. Boris and Gleb- Princes who chose to be killed by ambitious elder brother rather than enter fratricidal conflict. First Russian canonized saints.

St. Theodosius (d.1074)- Kenotic, Denounced rich and powerful who came to him for guidance. Lived in Kievan Caves.

Kipchak tribe barrier between Kiev and Byzantium, especially at rapids on Dnieper

Kiev exceeds size and splendor of any Western city (cf. 1124 fire destroys 600 churches)

1113-25: Vladimir Monomakh rules in Kiev

Russians both exported and kept slaves

12th C- Shift of wealth, power, population from Ukraine northward. Russian peasants move north to forests, driven by Kipchak, and north quickly exceeds Kiev: Origin of ĎGreat Russianí and geographic isolation (and hence intellectual isolation) of thousands of small villages surrounded by forest and bog, accessible only by stream or very bad roads.

1221 Nizhni Novgorod founded

B. Tatar/Mongolian period (1237-c.1500) "Russian Middle Ages" (Europeans call them Tatars on view that they came from the gates of Hell, Tartarus)

Tatar Empire closest to world empire yet achieved: statesmen of all nations

Genghis Khan (-1227): Son of chieftain, he expanded his empire across steppe, then into Middle East when provoked by Seljuk Turk Mohammed Shah. All inhabitants of rioting cities massacred. Men of same unit of 10 in army must not separate on pain of death. Divided land to sons, west to eldest Juji.

1223 Battle of Kalka: Juji attacks Kipchak, who seek Russiaís help, bringing Mongols against Russia. Mongols defeat larger force of Russia/Kipchak, but after plundering nearby cities, they turned east.

1229 Pope forbade commerce with Russians, enemies of Catholic faith

Winter 1237-38: Batu, son of Juji, conquers Russia (then Poland, Silesia, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria). He conquers Russia by traveling over frozen rivers and marshes in wintertime (previous armies thwarted by bogs and forest). Russian winter not difficult for Mongols and their horses, already used to harsh winter.

1240 Batu destroys Kiev; Germans overrun Pskov and prepare to attack Novgorod. Prince Alexander Nevski defeats Sweeds, coming under blessing of Rome, hoping to expand its religious influence.

1242 Nevski recalled to fight resurgent Germans. Liberates Pskov and wins decisive victory at Lake Pepius, where many retreating knights and horses drowned as the ice broke. As Prince of Novgorod, he submits to Mongols. Rules in Vladimir (1252-63).

Mongols protect all religions, on view that there is truth in each and all priestsí prayers helpful for khan and his armies. Many influential Mongols became Nestorian Christians and a Christian Mongol empire seemed possible for some time, but Chinese Mongols converted to Buddhism and Golden Horde (Western Mongols) to Islam.

No social relations or intermarriage between Mongol rulers and Russian subjects, hence no cultural fusion.

Mongol occupation hastens reunification of Russia, through Russian grand princes commissioned by the great khan, and through a united Church independent of local princes.

Mystical life from Mt. Athos

New cloisters in northern forests

St. Sergius (1314-1392): Founded monastery of the Holy Trinity (1337) and restored Russian monasticism after Mongol conquest and ensuing long decay. Counseled Russian princes and gave blessing to Dimitry to fight Tatars (origin of close Church-State relations in Russia).

1380: Battle of Kulikovo- Dmitry of the Don lead Russians to defeat Tatars, and is mortally wounded, along with 360,000 of his army of 400,000. Several years later, Mongols take Moscow and reimpose tribute, but domination effectively broke and Moscow begins a steady rise.

13th C: Lithuanians conquer Dnieper. (If Orthodoxy had been more popular among Lithuanian leaders, perhaps Vilna would stand in place of Moscow in Russian history.)

1386 Poland and Lithuania united.

Great famines in cities dependent on wheat from countryside (e.g. Novgorod in winter of 1230-31)

Worst tyrannies of princes and landlords avoided by peasantsí Ďright of departureí

C. Muscovite period (c.1500-1725)

1471 Ivan III Ďthe Greatí Great Prince of Moscow (r.1462-1505), conquers and subjects Novgorod, the great free city-republic. After an attempted revolt, he removed 8000 leading families and the German merchants, then replaced them with Muscovite merchants.

1480 Ivan III frees Russia from Mongols by withholding tribute and holding troops on bank of Oka, facing Mongol army. After several weeks of hesitation, Ivan ordered retreat, but just then both armies panicked and fled, and Russia was free.

Ivan III marries Zoe, niece of last Byzantine Emperor and presents himself as protector of true, Orthodox, Christianity. Calls himself Tsar (Caesar) and adopts double-headed eagle of Byzantium as his crest. Origin of "3rd Rome" myth (Turks had sacked Constantinople, 2nd Rome, in 1453, apparently a divine judgment for the heretical 1439 Union of Florence, Constantinopleís agreement to unify with Rome).

After Sergius (d.1392), split between mystical and social branches of Church

Mystical- Emphasized poverty, silence, prayer, icon painting (high pt. in 15th C); Operated independently from secular leaders

Social- Active, practical monks; social leaders in countryside; political advisors to Muscovite princes

1503 Council of Moscow settles Church controversy over legitimacy of monastic landowning and how to deal with ĎJudiazersí (in favor of persecution and capital punishment). With the support of Tsar, the land-possessing, social branch wins, and the mystical movement is condemned as heretical and dies, besides some who moved to the Northern forests.

St. Nilus Sorsky (1433-1508) Mystical branch leader. Emphasized detachment (death to all things) and perpetual self-examination, struggle against mental temptations. Favorite saint of liberal intelligentsia. Wrote about charism of tears (over negligence, weakness, or desire for heaven)

St. Joseph Volotsky- Social branch leader (hence, "Josephites")

Ivan IV Ďthe Terribleí (1533-84), a small child when his father died, and marginalized by a group of boyars, at age 13 has the ringleader executed and entrusts government to mother's relatives until of age.

1552 Ivan IV captures Kazan, i.e. consolidates entire Volga basin, opening way to Siberia. In less than 3 generations, Russia expanded to the Pacific.

1553 English open trade route to Russia through White Sea, looking for Northeast Passage

1558-83: Livonian War: Ivan IV attempts to gain a Baltic port, but Poland and Sweden resist for 24 years, and Russia ends war with lost territory.

Ivan IV threatens to resign, and danger of anarchy leads to recall on his terms to divide the country in half and rule half as he sees fit and half with the support of the boyars. Pretext for acquiring important districts and uprooting strong families, breaking power of strong families. Agents of his top-down revolution, enjoyed great power for a short time. Result: Many people fled Russia, and Ivan leaves it in a state of misery and depopulation. In rage, he gives his son a mortal blow.

1598 Theodore, Ivan IVís second son, died, ending dynasty. Dmitri, Theodoreís son had died of mysterious causes in 1591, but a pretender gained the support of Poland and gained control of Moscow.

1604-13: Time of Troubles: The ensuing 10 years of chaos and civil wars, including a second false Dmitri. The monks of the Holy Trinity Monastery, after surviving a siege of the Polish army organized Russian patriotism and Minin, a butcher, organized a national army, which advanced on Moscow. A ĎCouncil of all the Russiasí was convened and chose Michael Romanov (r.1613-1645), a relative of Ivan IVís first wife, as tsar, the first Romanov. The land was largely deserted and the population returned slowly.

Southern Russian peasants subjected to nomadic incursions and Turkic slaving raids

1569 Lithuanian provinces placed under Polish monarchy, hastening conversion of Lithuania to Catholicism (landowning Lithuanians thereby were admitted to privileges of Polish gentry). Polish gentryís Ďpacta covenentaí prevented central government (hence later calamities), and prevented peasants from engaging in trade, thus putting trade and industry into hands of foreigners, mainly Jews. (As Russia later acquired Polish territory, it acquired this problem and subsequent anti-Semitism.) In the late 16th C, Polish Catholic authorities established a new Uniate (liturgically Orthodox, doctrinally Catholic) branch of the Church.

1589 Church supports Moscow by establishing Patriarchate there

Free peasants turned to serfs: Tsars grant land for sustenance of soldiers and their families, creating new class of landowners, and require peasants living on such lands to keep the same master assigned them (otherwise the land grant was useless, as the peasants were free to leave).

All professions became hereditary, even priest

Moral and spiritual life weaken; Ritualism in Church

Counter-Reformation Jesuits induce Orthodox competition in founding institutes of education in Ukraine and formulating apologetic arguments in response. For a century, educated men from these schools came to Moscow and slowly transformed it into a more sophisticated society in the late 17th C.

1664 Beginning of Raskol (ĎSchismí): Between Old Believers (Avvakum) and Orthodox (Nikon). Settled by Council of 1666-67 in favor of Orthodox, but Nikon deposed. 1000s of Old Believers were hung or burned, tongues cut out, hands cut off.

Old Believers: Many thought the end of the world near. Tens of thousands fled to the north, despite hunger and cold; thousands burned themselves alive in stockades as pursuers approached. Old Believers reject tobacco and consider shaving a sin, and articles used by heretics defiled and not to be reused. Many reject any modern innovations or inventions. Economically industrious and prosperous. Many groups reach excesses familiar whenever religious fervor is undisciplined: shakers, ecstatic dances culminating in fornication, castrated men, Khlysty/Whips (sin boldly so as to have something to repent of), rejected marriage (because unavailable without legitimate priests to offer legitimate sacraments).

Patriarch Nikon (1652-1658): Introduces liturgical reforms to adapt Russian liturgy to Greek Orthodox. Especially significant was using 3 fingers (instead of 2) to cross oneself an singing the ĎAlleluiaí 3 times (not twice).

Starets Avvakum (1620-1682): Leader of ĎOld Believersí, ĎOld Ritualists.í Ideological descendent of Joseph. Burned at stake April 14 after 15 years un underground prison. Broke up circus in town and refused to baptize youth with unshaven "lewd" face. Twice driven from town. Wife and sons submitted when faced with death and were imprisoned. "Satan has obtained our radiant Russia from God, so that she may become crimson with the blood of martyrs."

D. Empire (1725-1917)

Conflict over succession of Alexis (r.1645-76) and Theodore (r. 1676-82) between the families of Alexisís two remaining sons, Ivan and Peter. The musketeers (streltsy), troops garrisoned in Moscow, broke into the Kremlin, killing and torturing many of Peterís relatives, and maintained control of Moscow all summer until Princess Sophia took responsibility and ruled for 7 years. When the army came over to Peterís side shortly after the musketeers tried to capture him in the country (he fled to safety at the monastery of the Holy Trinity), Sophia submitted to Peter, and she was sent to a convent.

Peter the Great (r.1694-1725): Forcibly Westernized the Russian upper class; 7 feet tall; compulsive drinking; Terrible nightmares; Fear of black beetles and sleeping alone; Religious but blasphemous; Numerous short loveless affairs; "Great Embassy" to Europe, ends when he receives news that the musketeers again revolted; Over a thousand are hung, beheaded, or broken on the wheel in Red Square in presence of families, other branded and exiled; Forced wife to become a nun; Forced Russians to shave and wear short coat fashionable in Western Europe; Transferred capital to St. Petersburg (1703) and forced nobility to build houses there according to government plan (very unpopular among all classes); Taxed Russia heavily to fund his war, building of army/navy, and building St. Petersburg; Landlords chose peasants to be conscripted for lifetime military service, leaving wives behind (who usually lost socio-economic position and were forced to prostitution); Azov campaign in the south defeated by Turks; Reorganized government into more efficient departments; Modernized Russian alphabet; Calendar reform; Brought potatoes to Russia; Forced unwilling peasants to lifelong work in new factories in bad conditions; Unpopular in his time; Fear and contempt for son he neglected leads him to torture Alexis to death; Left no heir, leading to a century of weak tsars and unchecked gentry strengthening its power.

Great Northern War: Gives Russia Estonia, Livonia

Battle of Narva: Peter attacks Swedes (Charles XII) to obtain Baltic port; Russia defeated and 1000s drown in Narva river. Eventually tide turns and Russia gains her port.

Winter of 1708-09: Takes heavy toll on unprepared Swedish army.

June 1709: Battle of Poltava: Decisive victory over Swedes, gives Peter power over Poland.

Climax of enserfment (end of 18thC): serfs bought and sold apart from land, married off by masters, flogged savagely, sent to Siberia. Many peasant revolts, culminating in Pugachyovís (background for Pushkinís Captainís Daughter).

Catherine the Great (r.1762-96): Wife of Peter III and became empress when he was removed. Many lovers, flaunted in public. Imported ideas of French Enlightenment. Abolished tax farming, export duties, monopolies. Built and repaired roads and bridges.

1772, 1793, 1795: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Partitions of Poland

Literary, artistic, scientific flowering

Huge breach between upper class and commoners

1721-1917: Church marginalized (denied permission to influence social life and required to defend Tsardom); Church loses hold on intelligentsia, social and political life; Its moral effort is directed toward individuals; Church becomes identified with reaction; Original thought stifled

Russian Church draws heavily on Protestantism (18th C Pietism and 19th C mysticism)

Pasius Velichkovsky revives Russian monasticism

St. Tychon of Zadonsk (1724-83): Most loved saint of modern Russia (Dostoevskyís Zosima modeled after him). Westernizing theologian, wrote 6 volumes On True Christianity. Renounced bishopric to retire to monastery. Constantly meditated on death and envisioned heaven; built a coffin for himself and meditated on it in his closet. Evening walks of meditation, reciting the Psalms. Memorized entire Bible.

St Seraphim of Sarov (1759-1833): From 1804-1807, he prayed the publicanís prayer night and day on a stone in the woods, sleeping only when necessary, seated upright). After 15 years of complete seclusion, he emerged at age 66 for an 8 year ministry as prophet, seer, healer. First startets (elder), without a teacher himself. Taught that the aim of the Christian life was to acquire the Holy Spirit. "We must so train ourselves that the mind, as it were, swims in the law of God."

1783 Potemkin conquers Crimea from nomads, completing conquest of Ukraine for settled civilization

Alexander I (r.1801-25): Unspectacular reign disappoints hopes for great reform. After 1812, became religious and avidly read Bible; Late in reign limited liberal methods of earlier.

1808-09: Conquest of Finland

1812: Napoleon sacks Moscow, but defeated by Russian winter. In 1814, Russian troops march through Paris and large numbers of Russians are for the first time exposed to the West.

1812: Russian Bible Society founded; Bible reading becomes common in 1000s of homes; Furthers growth of Russian Protestantism


Nicholas I (r.1825-55): Reactionary, but during his reign, intelligentsia forms (but without any power to influence government, remain impractical), National conscience awakened to serfdom, beginnings of Russian novel, music, political thinking, and modern theology.

1825 Decembrist Revolt: During 2-week disorganized transition of tsardom, liberals in army try to force a constitution by demonstrating in front of the Winter Palace. Quickly put down and 5 leaders executed, many others exiled.

Alexander II (r.1855-81): Assassinated by terrorists, who thought his reforms too slow.

1861 Emancipation of the serfs and some land division, but not enough for sustenance for many peasants. Beginnings of inequalities between peasants in one village, according to differing amounts of land acquired.

1864 Russian armies capture Tashkent

1870s Young men and women of the intelligentsia go Ďto the peopleí to show them revolutionary path to change. Peasants donít understand them and remain distant and suspicious.

Alexander III (r.1881-94): Reactionary tsar whose former tutor and leader of the Holy Synod, Constantine Pobedonostsev, directed government on theory that only force of government could restrain evils of human nature.

Overpopulation in villages leads many Ukrainian peasants to emigrate to similar land and climate in America and Canada

1880s Russian Marxists begin (Formal similarity to Christianity: Christian community-revolutionary fellowship, Savior-Proletariat, Church-Party, Universal triumph of communism-Second Coming)

Nicholas II (r.1894-1917)

N.F. Fedorov (1828-1903): Christian thinker concerned with doctrine of Resurrection and peaceful organization of labor

1903 Russian Marxists split into Bolsheviks and Mensheviks

Lenin mistrusts masses to recognize its one interests without guidance of party

Pogroms against Jews

1904-05: Russo-Japanese War

Jan 22, 1905 "Bloody Sunday" Peaceful demonstrators outside Winter Palace shot down; Tsar loses peopleís trust and hopes. In October, Nicholas issues "October Manifesto," granting a duma, but in following years kept it weak. The Manifesto split the unity of the opposition (gave liberals hope of internal reform, which revolutionaries thought too little).

Oct 1905 Crew of Potemkin mutiny; Peasants seize land; Armed revolt in Moscow; Workers in St. Petersburg set up soviet, soon copied in Moscow and other cities

1906-1911: Premier Stolypin represses revolution and increases privatization of land, but assassinated.

Berdyaev: Marxist convert to Orthodox Christianity; described conversions in Dream and Reality

Bulgakov: Actor, doctor, Marxist convert to Orthodox Christianity; Ordained priest; Emmigrant to western Europe where he headed Orthodox seminary in Paris; active in Ecumenist movement; Famous novels Master and Margarita, White Guards, Heart of a Dog

1914-1917: WWI. Russia enters on wave on patriotism, even favored by Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries (because fought against German despotism, allied with democratic Britain and France)

19th C division in Church between Slavophiles and ascetics disintegrates moral forces of Russian pre-Revolutionary society

Slavophiles: Emphasized social spirituality, wanted political reforms; Allied politically with liberal parties

Ascetics: Apolitical mystics; allied politically with czar

E. Communist period (1917-1991)

Feb 1917 February Revolution: Nicholas forced to abdicate, but didnít arrange for handing over power. The Duma set up a provisional government, but it had no more authority than the soviets, as both lacked authority from tsar or people and both lacked power of enforcement. The Petrograd Soviet formed on the 1905 model with deputies from various factories, workshops, etc, and soviets follow this example in every city.

Germans send Lenin from Switzerland to Russia. Lenin persuades surprised Bolsheviks to skip stage of bourgeois democracy and immediately stage the proletarian revolution (compromise against Marxism). Leninís strategy was to gain control over soviets, where Bolsheviks were a minority, but where the politically-inexperienced, easily-influenced factory workers could be won by attractive slogan "Land, Bread, Peace," then exercise influence far beyond their numbers in a revolution. Bolsheviks outbid Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries, who hesitated to quit war for fear Germany would reverse February revolution, and who insisted on waiting to divide the land until it could be done by law.

Aug 1917 Provisional Government frees Orthodox Church from subjection to the state and Holy Synod.

Aug 1917 Kornilov Affair: Commander in chief of army, disgusted with provisional government after failed offensive, moved on Petrograd, but railroad and telegraph workers foiled his efforts, other workers produce arms and formed military units. Kornilov gave up and provisional government roused a defense and

October Revolution (Nov 7/Oct 25): Provisional government does nothing to organize resistance to openly aggressive Bolsheviks, and they captured key buildings and broke up the provisional government. Many Bolsheviks were against the uprising, but Trotsky pushed it and directed it strongly. Workers celebrated by drinking spree for several weeks. Bolsheviks encourage peasants to seize land on principle of private cultivation (SR, not Bolshevik, policy).

Mar 1918 Treaty of Brest-Litovsk: Even Communists hesitant to accept loss of all Ukraine, but proves inconsequential when Allies defeat Germany in Nov.

1918 Red Terror begins: After assassination attempt, Lenin recognizes need to use terror to stay in power. Cheka beings under Felix Druzhensky.

1918-22 Civil War: Allies naturally support those opposing Bolsheviks, but this helped the Bolsheviks, who posed as defenders of Russia against foreign invaders. White armies formed by tsarist officials recruited landlords and sons who sought to restore old order, rousing peasantsí fears they would take away land and punish them. Extreme chaos and confusion, great famine. Bolshevik attempt to seize food from peasants to feed towns backfires, because food squads leave factories and produce nothing for peasants to buy. Peasants produce less; hence less food in towns; hence town-dwellers leave for countryside, producing still fewer goods; peasants have still fewer goods to buy in exchange for wheat and produce still less; etc. Peasants saw no reason to produce a surplus for the surplus police to detect and seize. Russian cities depopulated as workers leave for villages, writers and artists leave for the West.

Mar 1921: 10th Party Congress: Lenin admits "We have failed to convince the broad masses" (249), and Bolsheviks agree to Leninís proposal to continue temporary dictatorship until it was possible to obtain a proletarian democracy in favor or Bolshevik policy (compromise against Marxism). Cf. Trotsky: if party "substituted itself in this way for the working classes, the party organization would then substitute itself for the party as a whole; then the central committee would substitute itself for the organization; and finally a single dictator would substitute himself for the central committee" (244).

Mar 1921: Soldiers of Kronstadt, revolted against dictatorship of the Communist Party (demanding peasant self-determinism with land, re-election of soviets by secret ballot, and free speech/press for workers, peasants, socialist and anarchist parties) and were crushed.

1921-22 Famine 7 million die of hunger and epidemics. Church agrees to give valuables to sell to help buy food, but government agents seize consecrated objects as well. Patriarch Tikhon urges faithful to defend consecrated objects, leading to the arrest, execution, or deportation of many Christians and Church leaders. Tikhon was arrested and radical churchmen set up ĎLiving Church,í which approved October Revolution and communist goal. While many priests and bishops agree, most people reject it and leaders return to Patriarch. Tikhon released in 1923, having confessed ĎI am no longer an enemy to the Soviet government,í but died in 1925 and the Church was not allowed to elect a new Patriarch. Underground church survives.

1921-27 New Economic Program (NEP) Major industry nationalized, but peasants encouraged to sell goods for profit, private businesses in cities (compromise against Marxism). Time of experimentalism in art, education, and values (e.g. nudism, free love, emancipation of schoolchildren). Hardships and sacrifices appealed to idealistic youth. Restores tyranny of kulaks in the countryside and private wealth of successful "Nepmen" in cities.

1923-27: Stalinís rise to power. As secretary of party, he placed his supporters in key positions throughout Russia. Leninís stroke just before the 12th party congress prevented him from taking removing Stalin, as he stated was necessary in his last testament. Joined Zinoviev and Kaminev against Trotsky, then joined Bukharin against Zinoviev and Kaminev, then eliminated Bukharin with help of loyal supporters. Others underestimated him because of his low profile. Rule against factionalism forbade dissenters from organizing dissent to settled matters.

1924 Leninís death

"Socialism in One Country" To the Bolshevikís surprise, world revolution did not occur and Stalin, Zinoviev and Kaminev advocated an independent Russian path involving the immediate building of socialist industry against Trotskyís continued international revolutionary goals. For Z and K, the slogan was merely a weapon against Trotsky, while Stalin understood that it resonated with nationalist and socialist sentiments: Russia was moving forward on a path far ahead of any Western country.

1928 First 5-year Plan begins. Survival of Soviet Russia depended on defense and defense depended on industry and industry depended on agriculture because it was inefficient and barely fed the cities, even before a transfer of population to cities which would decrease agricultural producers and increase agricultural consumers. Cf. Stalin: "We are fifty or a hundred years behind the advanced countries. We must make good this distance in ten years. Either we do it or they crush us." Planners caught in bind: if their targets were low, they would be called saboteurs; if too high, then factory managers would be punished for non-fulfillment. Managers could not blame planners for unreasonable plans, as this was to criticize the party, and faced deportation or death for failure to meet quotas. To meet them, safety neglected and men and machines overworked; often unneeded products were produced so long as the quotas of x-many items were produced. To get supplies, managers had to bribe, steal, falsify accounts. Plan completed in 4 years. Millions become literate, receive higher educate, good medicine become almost universally available, great industry established.

1928 Collectivization begins. Peasants slaughtered half Russiaís livestock, fearing it would be confiscated. Millions of Ďkulaksí deported, include many simple farmers who simply didnít want to give up their land. Rather than quickly bring more food to the cities, it resulted in a dramatic drop. New rural aristocracy of directors of collective farms and MTS (machine tractors stations).

1929 Depression in West; Price of wheat falls and Stalin strips wheat from Central Asia to sell in exchange for tractors. 1.5-2 mill people in Kazakhstan died; another million left for China and Turkey.

1930s Return to traditional values and Russian nationalism (compromise against Marxism). Rebellious youth of 1920s, now having own families, wanted respect. Promiscuity, broken homes, venereal diseases, banditism, orphans reveal problems of lax values. Respect for teachers demanded and school democracy ceased. Divorce laws tightened. Russian classics promoted.

1933 Second 5-year Plan beings

1934 Kirov (Leningrad party secretary) murdered, beginning Great Purge

1936-38 Moscow Trials and great Terror: 100,000s shot; Millions deported to Siberia; Even loyal party members victims. Denunciations encouraged and false confessions widespread (people had to maintain belief in party, for it was their mainstay in life). Stalin eliminates older revolutionaries and leaders in high posts who might rebel. Many religious people deported.

Berea becomes head of OGPU; Stops terror at Stalinís orders and releases thousands

1939 Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact (Nazi-Soviet Pact): USSR occupies eastern Poland.

1940 USSR assumes Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Bessarabia.

June 22, 1941 Germany invades Russia. Peasants at first unsure to welcome them as liberators or enemies, but cruelty makes them see Nazism as enemies, rally to defend the Russian motherland, and support guerilla efforts. Industry evacuated to Urals. Thousands of Germans, Tatars, Jews, Koreans deported to Kazakhstan.

1943 Sergius becomes Patriarch, after promising loyalty. Government grants Church certain freedom, counting on its patriotic voice.

Battle of Stalingrad

Siege of Leningrad

May 9, 1945: Victory Day. Thousands of Soviet POWs and soldiers exposed to West prevented from contact with local people and kept in camps for long times before released.

1952 "Doctorís Plot" 9 doctors (6 Jews) arrested for plotting to kill government heads. Fear of a new terror beginning.

1953 Stalinís death. Berea shot. Strikes and riots in many concentration camps.

1954 Virgin Lands Campaign. 75 million acres of new lands cultivated in Kazakhstan; Irrigation projects such as problematic Aral Sea diversion begun; Thousands of cattle slaughtered to make way

Feb 25, 1956 20th Party Congress: Khrushev denounces Stalin for Great Purge, but upholds policy to Kirovís murder. "Back to Lenin."

1956 Polish revolution

1956 Hungarian Revolt

1961 Split in Russian Baptists: Pressure from government leads headquarters to send message: "The Senior Presbyter must remember that at present the main task of divine services is not the enlistment of new members." Arouses cries of apostasy and rival group of Initsiativniki formed.

1962 Cuban Missile Crisis

1964 Khrushev removed

ĎGoulash Communismí: Welfare society under Communist leadership with minimum of ideology. Fills stomach, but nothing more. Lots of Samizdat, private publishing of ideas. Revival of non-Russian nationalism, Neo-Westernizers, Neo-Slavophiles. Cynicism and new feudalism of nomenclatura. "We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us." Leadership loses confidence and grows old, with no new blood.

Aug 20, 1968: Russian Tanks end Prague Spring

Brezhnev Doctrine: U.S.S.R. has right and duty to intervene forcibly in foreign affairs to protect endangered socialism. Explanation of invasion of Prague, justification later used for war in Afghanistan.

1975 Helsinki Treaty. USSR agrees to respect human rights.

Yuri Andropov (1982-83), Konstantin Chernyenko (1983-85)

1985 Gorbachev: Glasnost succeeded, Perestroika failed (no new system put in placed of old system, now scrapped)

1986 Gorbachev replaces Kazakh leader (Konaev) with Russian (Kolbin); puts down protests. 1988 Gorbachev replaces him with Nazarbayev

1991 Yeltsin declared Russia independent

1991 Ukraine and Kazakhstan withdraw from the USSR

Aug 1991 Gorbachev associates stage coup while Gorbachev in Crimea. Led by Yeltsin, army and people defend Parliament. Public opinion changed against Communist Party and Gorbachev resigns on Aug 24.

F. Post-communist period (1991-)


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