Russia: An overview•4,000 miles East to West•2,000 miles North toSouth•As large as the surface ofa moon that you can see atnight.•11 different time zones.•Beyond the UralMountains, Russia was awild place with frontiersettlements. Picture courtesy of Keith McInnes
In the countryside there were very fewpaved roads. Outside main cities, roads Back to thewould turn to mud in heavy rain. This Russia mapmade travel very slow. Picture courtesy of Keith McInnes
Poland130 million people lived in Russia, but over50% weren’t Russian. The non-Russianswere from all sorts of races, for example,Polish people from Poland.Many of these non-Russians resented thefact that Russian officials controlled them.The Russians made non-Russians speakRussian, wear Russian clothes and followRussian customs. This policy was called“Russification”In Poland it was forbidden to teachchildren in Polish. Russians, not Poles, hadall the important jobs. Back to the Russia map
Photograph used with the kind permission of Keith McInnes
Petrograd / Moscow – the biggest citiesPetrograd Moscow
Petrograd / Moscow – the biggest citiesPetrograd was the capital of Russia. The Tsarand his Ministers ruled the country fromthere.Around 1900, Russia experienced industrialgrowth and many factories were built inPetrograd and Moscow. These were owned byrich businessmen who dined on caviar andsmoked salmon at beautiful restaurants, orvisited the ballet and concerts. The profitsthey made went on their grand houses.The factory workers lived in filthy, crowded,disease-ridden dormitories near the cities.There was little privacy. Sometimes bedswere occupied 24 hours a day by 2 workers inturn. The workers were not content with low Back to thepay and long working hours! Russia map
The best farmland – the “black earth” regionUral mountains
The best farmlandOnly 25% of Russia wasreally good farmland. Mostof this was in the South andWest of the country,especially in the Ukraine,the “Bread basket” ofRussia. The rest of Russiawas either desert, arctictundra, or taiga (woods).4 out of 5 Russians werepeasants. They had a hardlife and there was oftenstarvation and disease.Why?
Peasants used a strip method of farming,wooden tools, and had few animals. Theyate rye bread and cabbage soup. Meatwas rare. They lived in wood and strawhouses, slept on beds of straw and worecoarse woollen shirts. The poorest hadsandals made of tree bark.Peasants were often in debt to theirlandlords, the nobles. Nobles made up1% of the population but owned almost25% of the land. They were very rich,with 2 houses, and enjoyed the ballet andother social events.If peasants protested (for exampleduring times of famine), the Tsar woulduse his feared Cossack soldiers against Back to thethem. Russia map
Picture courtesy of Keith McInnes Travel in Siberia in the Summer today: Just imagine what it was like back then!
SiberiaExtremely cold (up to –60 degrees C).Very large. Huge natural resources butvery small population. The rulers of Russiatraditionally sent any person who opposedthem to Siberia.Most Russian railways were in EuropeanRussia apart from the Trans-SiberianRailway. To travel from one end to theother took a week, so communication wasvery difficult.Civil Servants ran each part of Russia,including Siberia, carrying out the Tsar’swishes. Since the wages of Civil Servantswere low, and because they were far awayfrom central government (especially inSiberia), there was a lot of corruption and Back to thebribery. Russia map
Large and diverse territory Why wasCultural Russia such a Weakdiversity hard country to Economy rue in 1900? Communicati ons