Portal:Russian Empire

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Russian Empire

Flag of Russian Empire for private use (1914–1917) 3.svg
Greater Coat of Arms of the Russian Empire 1700x1767 pix Igor Barbe 2006.jpg

The Russian Empire (Pre-reform Russian: Pоссiйская Имперiя, Modern Russian: Российская империя, translit: Rossiyskaya Imperiya) was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia, and the predecessor of the Soviet Union. It was one of the largest empires the world had seen. At one point in 1866, it stretched from eastern Europe, across northern Asia, and into North America. At the beginning of the 19th century, Russia was the largest country in the world, extending from the Arctic Ocean to the north to the Black Sea on the south, from the Baltic Sea on the west to the Pacific Ocean on the east. Across this vast realm were scattered the Emperor's 150 million subjects, who represented a great disparity in economic, ethnic, and religious positions. Its government, ruled by the Emperor, was one of the last absolute monarchies left in Europe.

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View of Ivan Shuvalov's art gallery.

The Russian Enlightenment was a period in the eighteenth century in which the government began to actively encourage the proliferation of arts and sciences. This time gave birth to the first Russian university, library, theatre, public museum, and relatively independent press. Like other enlightened despots, Catherine the Great played a key role in fostering the arts, sciences, and education. The national Enlightenment differed from its Western European counterpart in that it promoted further Modernisation of all aspects of Russian life and was concerned with attacking the institution of serfdom in Russia. The Pugachev Rebellion and French Revolution may have shattered the illusions of rapid political change, but the intellectual climate in Russia was altered irrevocably. Russia's place in the world was debated by Denis Fonvizin, Mikhail Shcherbatov, Andrey Bolotov, Ivan Boltin, and Alexander Radishchev; these discussions precipitated the divorce between the radical, Westernizing and conservative, Slavophile traditions of Russian thought.

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Nicholas I (Russian: Николай I Павлович, Nikolaj I Pavlovič), July 6 (June 25, Old Style), 1796 – March 2 (February 18 Old Style), 1855), was the Tsar of Russia from 1825 until 1855, known as one of the most reactionary of the Russian monarchs. On the eve of his death, the Russian empire reached its historical zenith spanning almost 5,000 million acres (20,000,000 km2). He was also King of Poland until his deposition in 1831. He was born in Gatchina to Emperor Paul I and Empress Maria Feodorovna. He was a younger brother to Alexander I of Russia and Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich of Russia. Nicholas was not brought up to be the Emperor of Russia, as he had two elder brothers before him. As such, in 1825, when Alexander I suddenly died of typhus, Nicholas was caught between swearing allegiance to his second-eldest brother Konstantin Pavlovich and accepting the throne for himself. The interregnum lasted until Konstantin Pavlovich who was in Warsaw at that time confirmed his refusal. Additionally, on December 25 (13 Old Style) Nicholas issued the manifesto claiming his accession to the throne. That manifesto named December 1 as official date of his reign start. During that confusion a plot was hatched by the military to overthrow Nicholas and to usurp power. This led to the Decembrist revolt in December 26 (14 Old Style), 1825 where Nicholas almost lost his life but in the end was successful in suppressing the uprising.

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The capital of Imperial Russia was Saint Petersburg.

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...that the Russian Empire was a natural successor to the Tsardom of Russia. Though the empire was only officially proclaimed by Tsar Peter I following the Treaty of Nystad (1721), some historians would argue that it was truly born when Peter acceded to the throne in early 1682?

...that Napoleon made a major misstep when, following a dispute with Tsar Alexander I, he launched an invasion of the tsar's realm in 1812. The campaign was a catastrophe. Although Napoleon's Grande Armée made its way to Moscow, the Russians' scorched-earth strategy prevented the invaders from living off the country?

...that the emancipation of the serfs in 1861 was the single most important event in 19th-century Russian history. It was the beginning of the end for the landed aristocracy's monopoly of power. Emancipation brought a supply of free labor to the cities, industry was stimulated, and the middle class grew in number and influence; however, instead of receiving their lands as a gift, the freed peasants had to pay a special tax for what amounted to their lifetime to the government, which in turn paid the landlords a generous price for the land that they had lost?

...that the failure of the Russian armed forces in the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905) was a major blow to the Tsarist regime and increased the potential for unrest. In January 1905, an incident known as "Bloody Sunday" occurred when Father Gapon led an enormous crowd to the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg to present a petition to the tsar. When the procession reached the palace, Russian Imperial Army opened fire on the crowd, killing hundreds. The Russian masses were so aroused over the massacre that a general strike was declared demanding a democratic republic. This marked the beginning of the Russian Revolution of 1905?

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