Mongol Influence in Russia

Topics: Russian Empire, Tsar, Tsardom of Russia Pages: 5 (756 words) Published: October 21, 2006
Due to Mongol influence, Russia existed in isolation, however, tsars such as Peter and

Catherine the Great tried various things in an effort to westernize the isolated territory. By late

17th century, Russia experienced a great internal change. Peter and his successors used

westernization to bolster Russia's expansionist empire. Westernization had a great impact on

Russia and its development.

Prior to Peter's attempt for westernization, he and his predecessors extended tsarist

policies of control and the expansion of Russian territory. Since the incursion of the Mongols,

Russia never recovered from the impact of isolation. As time went on, Russia gradually began to

recover. Under Ivan III, (Ivan the Great,) Russia succeeded Byzantium or "third Rome." Ivan the

IV, (Ivan the Terrible,) placed great emphasis on controlling the tsarist autocracy, killing many

boyars who suspected conspiracy. Expansion continued, offering tsars a new way to reward

nobles (boyars) and bureaucrats by giving them estates in new territories. This practice provided

new agricultural areas and sources of labor; Russia used slaves for certain kinds of production

work in the 18th century. Along with expansion and enforcement of tsarist primacy, the early tsars

added another element to their overall approach; carefully managed contacts with the western

Europe. The tsars realized that Russia's cultural and economic subordination to the Mongols had

put them at a commercial and cultural disadvantage.

By the end of the 17th century, Russia had become one of the great land empires, but it

remained unusually agricultural by the standards of the West and the great Asian civilizations.

Come the reign of Peter I, he built many new framework. He added a more definite interest in

changing selected aspects of Russian economy and culture by imitating Western forms. Overall,

Peter concentrated on improvements in political organization, on selected economic

development, and on cultural change. He used Western organizational skills in an attempt to

streamline Russia's small bureaucratic state and to alter military structure. Peter created a more

well-defined military hierarchy while developing functionally specialized bureaucratic

departments. A symbol of Peter's reforms, westernization and foreign policy was the building of

St. Petersburg as the capital and a port on the Baltic. Without urbanizing extensively or

developing a large commercial class, Peter's reforms changed the Russian economy. Landlords

were rewarded for using serf labor to staff new manufacturing operations. This was a limited

goal, but a very important one, giving Russia the internal economic means to maintain a

substantial military presence for almost two centuries. Peter was eager to make Russia culturally

respectable in Western eyes. He abolished the tradition, at weddings, of the farther of the bride

passing a small whip to the groom, symbolizing the transfer of male power over women. He did

so because upper- class women to dress with Western style. Cultural changes included attempts

to provide more education in mathematics and other technological subjects for nobility.

Following Peter the Great, was his nephews wife Catherine the Great. She resumed

Peter's interests in several respects. She defended the powers of the central monarch. Catherine's

reign combined genuine Enlightenment issues with her need to consolidate power as a truly

Russian ruler- a combination that explains the complexities of her policies. Like Peter, Catherine

was a selective westernizer, as her "interaction lf 1767" clearly demonstrated. She flirted with

ideas of the French Enlightenment, importing several philosophers for visits and patronizing the

arts and sciences. She summoned reform commissioners to discuss western law- forms, including

the reduction...
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