Download A Brief History of Russia by Michael Kort PDF

By Michael Kort

Detailing the social, fiscal, and political alterations and crises that the folks of Russia have needed to undergo, this ebook presents a finished account of this sizeable country's heritage. It contains assurance at the conquest and rule of Russia via the Mongol Golden Horde; and the reign of terror through Ivan the negative.

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BEFORE THE RUSSIANS, KIEVAN RUS, AND MUSCOVITE RUSSIA fierce group that 80 years later under Attila the Hun (406–453) nearly destroyed Rome. In the middle of the sixth century another Turkic people, the Avars, seized control of the steppe north of the Black Sea. By this time some East Slavic tribes were living in the region, having migrated from their likely original homeland in central Europe between the Carpathian Mountains and the Vistula River. Exactly when they arrived is uncertain; what is known is that Slavs fought in the Avar armies that attacked the Byzantine Empire in the sixth century.

Thriving trade led to the building of towns, including the Khazar capital of Itil on the Volga River near the Caspian Sea. One of the most notable features of this state, where numerous cultural groups met and intermingled, was its unusual tolerance. Under Khazar rule Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others were free to practice their religions and live according to their own customs. Khazaria, in fact, seems to have been a refuge for people fleeing persecution in other realms. Most important historically, during the seventh and eighth centuries the Khazars fought several major wars with invading Arab armies and in the process blocked the expansion of Islam into eastern Europe.

The problem, at least for patriotic Russians, is that the founders of that state probably were foreigners: warrior merchants from Scandinavia known as the Varangians. The term “Rus” most likely is a reference to the Varangians, but it is also possible that it refers to some of the East Slavs, who had been living in the region for several centuries before the Varangians arrived. By the ninth century the East Slavs were well established on the eastern European part of the Eurasian plain. They were mainly farmers and cattle raisers, but they had also founded close to 300 towns and engaged in trade and a wide variety of crafts.

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