Compare & Contrast - Russia, Ottoman Empire 1450-1750

Topics: Ottoman Empire, Russian Empire, Russia Pages: 4 (1367 words) Published: April 30, 2011
Though it may sound heartless and selfish, the needs and aims of countries usually are the primary factor controlling their foreign relations. During the period of the czars, from 1547 to 1917, Russia’s need for land and modernization shaped its relationships with Western Europe and the Ottoman Empire, causing Russia’s leaders to respect and imitate Western Europe while competing with the European powers to fill the power vacuum of the failing Ottoman Empire. Russia emerged as a significant power during the 1500s through war. It fought its neighbors and expanded its territory aimlessly. Ivan the Terrible’s expansion brought him into contact with both Western Europe and the Ottoman Empire. Aiming to gain a port and outlet to the Baltic, Ivan fought a long war against Sweden, Poland-Lithuania, and Livonia. To the south, he was partially successful in his first war against the Muslim Tatars in 1568, who were nominally under the protection and rule of the Ottomans and received some Ottoman aid during the war. Besides the political fact that both the western European countries and the Ottoman Empire were hostile, potential threats, there was little to separate them in the Russians’ minds from a religious standpoint. The Russians were firmly Orthodox, and Ivan the Terrible had claimed, through a Byzantine ancestor, inheritance of the title of Czar. The Islamic Ottomans and the Catholic Europeans were both viewed antagonistically. Corruption and power-hungriness in the church hierarchy, which had contributed to the schism between Eastern and Western churches in the first place, kept away the brotherly love that should have existed between groups that both called Christ Lord. The political elites were disinclined to let religion bar them from any self-benefiting action in any case; but religion certainly influenced the ordinary citizens. Ivan the Terrible’s strong, dictatorial rule ended in 1584 and was followed by political chaos in Russia. Order was restored when...
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