Development of Russia
Russian society in the seventeenth century had undergone many changes. Almost every aspect of society was modified. One of the most important was the emancipation of the serfs and the development and growth of the city of St. Petersburg. Equally important was the leaderships of Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great.
Serfdom was a legal and economic status of peasants in Russia. Serfs were not like slaves but they needed permission to leave their landlord’s property. They had to work for their landlords sometimes without pay and pay a percentage of what they produced to them. Instead of being independent farmers paying freely negotiated rents, peasants became forced laborers on the landlord’s estates. Slowly but surely Serfdom disappeared from Russia around 1300 due to the expansion of trade and loss of population particularly after the Black Death.
Ivan the Terrible was the first to take the title tsar of Russia. He ruled from 1533-1584. Ivan was very cruel, but he was also one of the most famous rulers in Russian history. His mother passed when he was eight, which left Ivan to suffer from insults and neglect from the boyars, those of higher class. Ivan did not assume all control until he turned sixteen, when he assumed power and crowned himself tsar of Russia. Ivan’s wife Anastasia suddenly died in 1560, which caused Ivan to go on a reign of terror. Ivan executed many boyars and their peasants, servants, families and friends simply because he thought they opposed him. Ivan kept most of their land for his personal use and gave the rest to lower service. Ivan’s reign of terror and endless killing depopulated much of Russia. Service nobles did not have enough man power so they demanded more from the remaining peasants. This caused the peasants to flee to recently conquered countries. There they formed an army of outlaws called Cossacks. The Cossacks were led from a former slave named Ivan Bolotnikov who called themselves the true tsars. The Cossacks were created with hopes to restore the people’s freedom of movement and ease the heavy taxes of their landlords. The Cossacks did not last long however, as the nobles came together and crushed the Cossack rebellion. Ivan the Terrible died in 1584. Ivan was known for his cruelty, but he helped expand the boundaries of the Russian empire.
... of the Russian people had declined (3). In 1547 Ivan IV(Ivan the Terrible) became the first ruler to be crowned czar ... and general insecurity increased the peasant s dependence on the landlord and his bondage. However, the peasant could still leave his master ... important Western Influences (4). The social structure of appanage Russia represented a continuation and a further evolution of the society ...
Another well known ruler in Russia was Peter the Great. Peter was a tsar who ruled from 1682-1725. Peter wanted to bring Russia into a new era and to westernize Russia. He achieved his goals by leading Russian officials and young nobles on the eighteen month tour to the outside world. He took what he learned from foreign kings and experts and improved Russia’s technology. Peter then began to improve his army. He educated his army with what he learned from the West thus successfully helping Russia gain new territory by defeating the Swedish. Peter also required nobles to shave their beards and wear Western clothing, which was previously banned from Russia. There were also changes made that allowed young men and women to pick and choose their own spouses. Peter the Great made many drastic changes to enforce westernization. The creation of a more modern army and economy helped Russia transform into a power house in Europe.
One of Peter’s most memorable creations was St. Petersburg, which was built to be western and modern. In 1702, Peter the Great seized an isolated outpost from the Swedish and built the great city of Petersburg. The first eight years of construction was focused on the military. Peter built a fortress, to protect the newly named Peter Island. Peter built his workforce the same way he built his army, he drafted them. Every summer, twenty-five to forty thousand peasants were drafted without pay to help build St. Petersburg. Peasants hated this forced labor and many suffered punishment by trying to run away. The nobles were instructed to build houses and palaces and to live in them most of the time. The more serfs a noble possessed the bigger his property. By the time Peter died in 1725, there were already numerous houses and buildings built. St. Petersburg grew rapidly, and has become one of the world’s largest cities.
... the two centuries in question, Russia cannot be singled out as a particularly oppressive state. Peter the Great was the most ruthless, ... differ between Europe and Russia in terms of punishment ... west as barbaric at times, Russia had no striking trends in outrageous punishment from Peter the Great to Nicholas II. What does ...
Life under the tsars meant there was one supreme ruler, with no elected policies by law. There were unfair distributions of wealth. The nobles were rich while the peasants were poor. Peasants and townspeople did not have freedom and fell under the economic, social, and legal authority of the nobles. Ivan the Terrible was a cruel tyrant, but he helped expand the boundaries of the Russian Empire. Peter the Great made drastic changes to enforce westernization. The creation of a more modern army and economy helped Russia transform into a power house in Europe.