Russia's Way To Nation And State Building

5314 words - 21 pages

NATION- AND STATE-BUILDING IN RUSSIA(882-1914)Supervisor: Sjoerd WillenVictor Cebotari ID 6026184Pigeonhole 958Date: 14-12-2010Bloody Diversity: Country FileFinal Version5085 wordsTABLE OF CONTENTSIntroduction...................................................................................... 1Plurality of politics in Kievan Rus'................................................... 3Emergence of Muscovy in the 16th century....................................... 4Absolutism in 18th century Russia..................................................... 6Reform, reaction, and reform............................................................ 8Nation and state................................................................................. 10Conclusions........................................................................................ 11INTRODUCTIONSince the Cold War has past, Eastern Europe and Western Europe are moving closer to each other.The question whether Russia is a European nation increasingly sparkes fierce controversy amongst scholars and politicians. What experiences did Russia share with Europe and what experiences did it not share with Europe? Answers are possibly hidden in the various episodes of the Russian nation building process.Historians tend to look at the middle ages in order to trace the origins of the present-day nation-states. However, according to the standards set by Roberts (1979, p. 32, in: Hall, 1984, p. 1), there was no state in the middle ages. Roberts defines the state as a political entity which wields supreme authority over a defined territory and has the power to make and to enforce decisions, and to maintain order within its defined territory. Because of lack of infrastructure and state-bureaucracy, kings were dependent on the feudal system in order to exercise power. This caused the existence of a certain plurality of political powers which is highly illustrative for the early-medieval proto-states (Gill, 2003, pp. 72-80). The first section investigates the characteristics of political plurality in the earliest statist entity in Russian history: Kievan Rus'. Was there a feudal system in Kievan Rus'? If not, what caused the political parcellisation that was inherent to medieval 'Russia' ?According to Opello & Rosow (1999, pp. 47-77), between 1100 and 1500 several feudal 'states' in Europe developed into more centralised territorial states. The crucial elements of these states were large standing armies, and a hierarchical royal bureaucracy which was needed in order to levy taxes, necessary to finance these standing armies. They developed out of the so-called 'military revolution'. In the Russian lands this was not the case, due to the fact that political plurality still prevailed. The ongoing disputes between appanage princes and the Tatar invasion prevented a strong monarchy from coming into existence until the 16th century. Then Muscovy emerged as the dominant power in the Russian lands, gradually...

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