The Soviet Union the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were centralized; the country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Minsk, Alma-Ata, Novosibirsk, it spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, steppes and mountains; the Soviet Union had its roots in the 1917 October Revolution, when the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Russian Provisional Government which had replaced Tsar Nicholas II during World War I. In 1922, the Soviet Union was formed by a treaty which legalized the unification of the Russian, Transcaucasian and Byelorussian republics that had occurred from 1918. Following Lenin's death in 1924 and a brief power struggle, Joseph Stalin came to power in the mid-1920s.
Stalin committed the state's ideology to Marxism–Leninism and constructed a command economy which led to a period of rapid industrialization and collectivization. During his rule, political paranoia fermented and the Great Purge removed Stalin's opponents within and outside of the party via arbitrary arrests and persecutions of many people, resulting in at least 600,000 deaths. In 1933, a major famine struck the country. Before the start of World War II in 1939, the Soviets signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, agreeing to non-aggression with Nazi Germany, after which the USSR invaded Poland on 17 September 1939. In June 1941, Germany broke the pact and invaded the Soviet Union, opening the largest and bloodiest theatre of war in history. Soviet war casualties accounted for the highest proportion of the conflict in the effort of acquiring the upper hand over Axis forces at intense battles such as Stalingrad and Kursk; the territories overtaken by the Red Army became satellite states of the Soviet Union.
The post-war division of Europe into capitalist and communist halves would lead to increased tensions with the United States-led Western Bloc, known as the Cold War. Stalin died in 1953 and was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev, who in 1956 denounced Stalin and began the de-Stalinization; the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred during Khrushchev's rule, among the many factors that led to his downfall in 1964. In the early 1970s, there was a brief détente of relations with the United States, but tensions resumed with the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979. In 1985, the last Soviet premier, Mikhail Gorbachev, sought to reform and liberalize the economy through his policies of glasnost and perestroika, which caused political instability. In 1989, Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe overthrew their respective communist governments; as part of an attempt to prevent the country's dissolution due to rising nationalist and separatist movements, a referendum was held in March 1991, boycotted by some republics, that resulted in a majority of participating citizens voting in favor of preserving the union as a renewed federation.
Gorbachev's power was diminished after Russian President Boris Yeltsin's high-profile role in facing down a coup d'état attempted by Communist Party hardliners. In late 1991, Gorbachev resigned and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union met and formally dissolved the Soviet Union; the remaining 12 constituent republics emerged as independent post-Soviet states, with the Russian Federation—formerly the Russian SFSR—assuming the Soviet Union's rights and obligations and being recognized as the successor state. The Soviet Union was a powerhouse of many significant technological achievements and innovations of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite, the first humans in space and the first probe to land on another planet, Venus; the country had the largest standing military in the world. The Soviet Union was recognized as one of the five nuclear weapons states and possessed the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, it was a founding permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as well as a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Federation of Trade Unions and the leading member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and the Warsaw Pact.
The word "Soviet" is derived from a Russian word сове́т meaning council, advice, harmony and all deriving from the proto-Slavic verbal stem of vět-iti, related to Slavic věst, English "wise", the root in "ad-vis-or", or the Dutch weten. The word sovietnik means "councillor". A number of organizations in Russian history were called "council". For example, in the Russian Empire the State Council, which functioned from 1810 to 1917, was referred to as a Council of Ministers after the revolt of 1905. During the Georgian Affair, Vladimir Lenin envisioned an expression of Great Russian ethnic chauvinism by Joseph Stalin and his supporters, calling for these nation-states to join Russia as semi-independent parts of a greater union, which he named as the Union of Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia. Stalin resisted the proposal, but accepted it, although with Lenin's agreement changed the name of the newly proposed sta
Russo-Persian War (1804–13)
The 1804–1813 Russo-Persian War was one of the many wars between the Persian Empire and Imperial Russia, began like many of their wars as a territorial dispute. The new Persian king, Fath Ali Shah Qajar, wanted to consolidate the northernmost reaches of his kingdom—modern-day Georgia—which had been annexed by Tsar Paul I several years after the Russo-Persian War of 1796. Like his Persian counterpart, the Tsar Alexander I was new to the throne and determined to control the disputed territories; the war ended in 1813 with the Treaty of Gulistan which ceded the disputed territory of Georgia to Imperial Russia, the Iranian territories of Dagestan, most of what is nowadays Azerbaijan, minor parts of Armenia. The origins of the first full scale Russo-Persian War can be traced back to the decision of Tsar Paul to annex Georgia after Erekle II, appointed as ruler of Kartli several years earlier by his ruler Nader Shah, made a plea to Christian Russia in the Treaty of Georgievsk of 1783 to be incorporated into the empire.
After Paul's assassination, the activist policy was continued by his successor, Tsar Alexander, aimed at establishing Russian control over the khanates of the eastern Caucasus. In 1803, the newly appointed commander of Russian forces in the Caucasus, Paul Tsitsianov, attacked Ganja and captured its citadel on 15 January 1804. Ganja's governor, Javad Khan Qajar, was killed, a large number of the inhabitants slaughtered; the Qajar ruler, Fath Ali Shah, saw the Russian threat to Armenia and Azerbaijan not only as a source of instability on his northwestern frontier but as a direct challenge to Qajar authority. The Russians were unable to commit a large portion of their troops to the Caucasus region, because Alexander's attention was continually distracted by simultaneous wars with France, the Ottoman Empire and Great Britain. Therefore, the Russians were forced to rely on superior technology and strategy in the face of an overwhelming disparity in numbers; some estimates put the Persian numerical advantage at five to one.
Shah Fath Ali's heir, Abbas Mirza, tried to modernize the Persian army, seeking help from French experts through the Franco-Persian alliance, from British experts, in order to address the tactical disparity between the forces. The war began when Russian commanders Ivan Gudovich and Paul Tsitsianov attacked the Persian settlement of Echmiadzin, the most holy town in Armenia. Gudovich, unsuccessful in the siege of Echmiadzin due to a lack of troops, withdrew to Yerevan, where his siege again failed. Despite these ineffective forays, the Russians held the advantage for the majority of the war, due to superior troops and strategy. Russia's inability, however, to dedicate anything more than 10,000 troops to the campaign allowed the Persians to mount a respectable resistance effort; the Persian troops were of a low grade irregular cavalry. The Persians scaled up their efforts late in the war, declaring jihad, or holy war, on Imperial Russia in 1810. Russia's superior technology and tactics ensured a series of strategic victories.
Despite the Persian alliance with Napoleon, the ally of Persia's Abbas Mirza, France could provide little concrete direct help. When the French were in occupation of the Russian capital, Russian forces in the south were not recalled but continued their offensive against Persia, culminating in Pyotr Kotlyarevsky's victories at Aslanduz and Lenkoran, after the setback in the Battle of Sultanabad in 1812 and 1813 respectively. Upon the Persian surrender, the terms of the Treaty of Gulistan ceded the vast majority of the disputed territories to Imperial Russia; this led to the region's once-powerful khans being forced to pay homage to Russia. During this period Russia was dealing with the local khanates which were subject to Persia. Following the bloody capture of Ganja the khans could be bullied without too much fighting; the main Persian army intervened twice and once unsuccessfully. Main events were: failure to take Yerevan. In late 1803 Pavel Tsitsianov demanded the submission of the Ganja Khanate southeast of Georgia, over which Georgia had some nominal claims.
He was now no longer unifying Georgia or liberating Christians but moving against territory, Muslim and Persian. On 3 January 1804 Ganja was taken with a good bit of slaughter. Abbas Mirza's army retired south. In June Tsitsianov and 3,000 men marched south toward Echmiadzin in the Yerevan Khanate, they were driven back by 18,000 Persians. They moved east and besieged Yerevan; the local khan held the citadel, the Russians held the town and the Persians held the surrounding countryside. Weakened by disease and fighting on half-rations, the Russians withdrew to Georgia, losing more men along the way. In early 1805 the Shuragel Sultanate was taken; this was a small area at the junction of Georgia, the Yerevan Khanate and Turkey and included the militarily important town of Gyumri. On 14 May the Karabakh Khanate and on 21 May the Shaki Khanate submitted. In response to the loss of Karabakh Abbas Mirza occupied the Askeran Fortress at the mouth a valley that leads from the plain southwest to Shusha, the capital of Karabakh.
The Russians responded by sending Koryagin to take the Persian fort of Shakh-Bulakh. Abbas Mirza besieged the place. On hearing of the approach of another army under Fath Ali Koryagin slipped out at night and headed for Shusha, he was not defeated. More Russian troops re
Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic
Armenia the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic commonly referred to as Soviet Armenia, was one of the constituent republics of the Soviet Union in December 1922 located in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia. It was established in December 1920, when the Soviets took over control of the short-lived First Republic of Armenia and lasted until 1991, it is sometimes called the Second Republic of Armenia, following the First Republic of Armenia's demise. As part of the Soviet Union, the Armenian SSR transformed from a agricultural hinterland to an important industrial production center, while its population quadrupled from around 880,000 in 1926 to 3.3 million in 1989 due to natural growth and large-scale influx of Armenian Genocide survivors and their descendants. On August 23, 1990, it was renamed the Republic of Armenia after its sovereignty was declared, but remained in the Soviet Union until its official proclamation of independence on 21 September 1991, its independence was recognized on 26 December 1991.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the state of the post-Soviet Republic of Armenia existed until the adoption of the new constitution in 1995. Prior to Soviet rule, the Dashnaksutiun had governed the First Republic of Armenia; the Socialist Soviet Republic of Armenia was founded in 1920. Diaspora Armenians were divided about this: supporters of the nationalist Dashnaksutiun did not support the Soviet state, while supporters of the Armenian General Benevolent Union were more positive about the newly founded Soviet state. From 1828 with the Treaty of Turkmenchay to the October Revolution in 1917, Eastern Armenia had been part of the Russian Empire and confined to the borders of the Erivan Governorate. After the October Revolution, Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin's government announced that minorities in the empire could pursue a course of self-determination. Following the collapse of the empire, in May 1918 Armenia, its neighbors Azerbaijan and Georgia, declared their independence from Russian rule and each established their respective republics.
After the near-annihilation of the Armenians during the Armenian Genocide and the subsequent Turkish-Armenian War, the historic Armenian area in the Ottoman Empire was overrun with despair and devastation. A number of Armenians joined the advancing 11th Soviet Red Army. Afterward and the newly proclaimed Soviet republics in the Caucasus negotiated the Treaty of Kars, in which Turkey resigned from its claims to Batumi to Georgia in exchange for the Kars territory, corresponding to the modern-day Turkish provinces of Kars, Iğdır, Ardahan; the medieval Armenian capital of Ani, as well as the cultural icon of the Armenian people Mount Ararat, were located in the ceded area. Additionally, Joseph Stalin acting Commissar for Nationalities, granted the areas of Nakhchivan and Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan. From March 12, 1922 to December 5, 1936, Armenia was a part of the Transcaucasian SFSR together with the Georgian SSR and the Azerbaijan SSR; the policies of the first Soviet Armenian government, the Revolutionary Committee, headed by young and militant communists such as Sarkis Kasyan and Avis Nurijanyan, were implemented in a highhanded manner and did not take into consideration the poor conditions of the republic and the general weariness of the people after years of conflict and civil strife.
As the Soviet Armenian historian Bagrat Borian, to perish during Stalin's purges, wrote in 1929: The Revolutionary Committee started a series of indiscriminate seizures and confiscations, without regard to class, without taking into account the general economic and psychological state of the peasantry. Devoid of revolutionary planning, executed with needless brutality, these confiscations were unorganized and promiscuous. Unattended by disciplinary machinery, without preliminary propaganda or enlightenment, with utter disregard of the country's unusually distressing condition, the Revolutionary Committee issued its orders nationalizing food supply of the cities and peasantry. With amazing recklessness and unconcern, they seized and nationalized everything – military uniforms, artisan tools, rice mills, water mills, barbers' implements, linen, household furniture, livestock; such was the degree and scale of the requisitioning and terror imposed by the local Cheka that in February 1921 the Armenians, led by former leaders of the republic, rose up in revolt and unseated the communists in Yerevan.
The Red Army, campaigning in Georgia at the time, returned to suppress the revolt and drove its leaders out of Armenia. Convinced that these heavy-handed tactics were the source of the alienation of the native population to Soviet rule, in 1921 Moscow appointed an experienced administrator, Alexander Miasnikian, to carry out a more moderate policy and one better attuned to Armenian sensibilities. With the introduction of the New Economic Policy, Armenians began to enjoy a period of relative stability. Life under the Soviet rule proved to be a soothing balm in contrast to the turbulent final years of the Ottoman Empire; the Armenians received medicine, food, as well as other provisions from the central government and extensive literacy reforms were carried out. Stalin took several measures in persecuting the Armenian Church weakened by the
The Sasanian Empire known as the Sassanian, Sassanid or Neo-Persian Empire, was the last kingdom of the Persian Empire before the rise of Islam. Named after the House of Sasan, it ruled from 224 to 651 AD; the Sasanian Empire succeeded the Parthian Empire and was recognised as one of the leading world powers alongside its neighbouring arch-rival the Roman-Byzantine Empire for a period of more than 400 years. The Sasanian Empire was founded by Ardashir I, after the fall of the Parthian Empire and the defeat of the last Arsacid king, Artabanus V. At its greatest extent, the Sasanian Empire encompassed all of today's Iran, Eastern Arabia, the Levant, the Caucasus, large parts of Turkey, much of Central Asia and Pakistan. According to a legend, the vexilloid of the Sasanian Empire was the Derafsh Kaviani; the Sasanian Empire during Late Antiquity is considered to have been one of Iran's most important, influential historical periods and constituted the last great Iranian empire before the Muslim conquest and the adoption of Islam.
In many ways, the Sasanian period witnessed the peak of ancient Iranian civilisation. The Sasanians' cultural influence extended far beyond the empire's territorial borders, reaching as far as Western Europe, Africa and India, it played a prominent role in the formation of both Asian medieval art. Much of what became known as Islamic culture in art, architecture and other subject matter was transferred from the Sasanians throughout the Muslim world. Conflicting accounts shroud the details of the fall of the Parthian Empire and subsequent rise of the Sassanian Empire in mystery; the Sassanian Empire was established in Estakhr by Ardashir I. Papak was the ruler of a region called Khir. However, by the year 200 he had managed to overthrow Gochihr and appoint himself the new ruler of the Bazrangids, his mother, was the daughter of the provincial governor of Pars. Papak and his eldest son Shapur managed to expand their power over all of Pars; the subsequent events are due to the elusive nature of the sources.
It is certain, that following the death of Papak, who at the time was the governor of Darabgerd, became involved in a power struggle of his own with his elder brother Shapur. Sources reveal that Shapur, leaving for a meeting with his brother, was killed when the roof of a building collapsed on him. By the year 208, over the protests of his other brothers who were put to death, Ardashir declared himself ruler of Pars. Once Ardashir was appointed shah, he moved his capital further to the south of Pars and founded Ardashir-Khwarrah; the city, well protected by high mountains and defensible due to the narrow passes that approached it, became the centre of Ardashir's efforts to gain more power. It was surrounded by a high, circular wall copied from that of Darabgird. Ardashir's palace was on the north side of the city. After establishing his rule over Pars, Ardashir extended his territory, demanding fealty from the local princes of Fars, gaining control over the neighbouring provinces of Kerman, Isfahan and Mesene.
This expansion came to the attention of Artabanus V, the Parthian king, who ordered the governor of Khuzestan to wage war against Ardashir in 224, but Ardashir was victorious in the ensuing battles. In a second attempt to destroy Ardashir, Artabanus himself met Ardashir in battle at Hormozgan, where the former met his death. Following the death of the Parthian ruler, Ardashir went on to invade the western provinces of the now defunct Parthian Empire. At that time the Arsacid dynasty was divided between supporters of Artabanus V and Vologases VI, which allowed Ardashir to consolidate his authority in the south with little or no interference from the Parthians. Ardashir was aided by the geography of the province of Fars, separated from the rest of Iran. Crowned in 224 at Ctesiphon as the sole ruler of Persia, Ardashir took the title shahanshah, or "King of Kings", bringing the 400-year-old Parthian Empire to an end, beginning four centuries of Sassanid rule. In the next few years, local rebellions occurred throughout the empire.
Nonetheless, Ardashir I further expanded his new empire to the east and northwest, conquering the provinces of Sistan, Khorasan, Margiana and Chorasmia. He added Bahrain and Mosul to Sassanid's possessions. Sassanid inscriptions claim the submission of the Kings of Kushan and Mekran to Ardashir, although based on numismatic evidence it is more that these submitted to Ardashir's son, the future Shapur I. In the west, assaults against Hatra and Adiabene met with less success. In 230, Ardashir raided deep into Roman territory, a Roman counter-offensive two years ended inconclusively, although the Roman emperor, Alexander Severus, celebrated a triumph in Rome. Ardashir I's son Shapur I continued the expansion of the empire, conquering Bactria and the western portion of the Kushan Empire, while leading several campaigns against Rome. Invading Roman Mesopotamia, Shapur I captured Carrhae and Nisibis, but in 243 the Roman general Timesitheus defeated the Persians at Rhesaina and regained the lost territories.
The emperor Gordian III's subsequent advance down the Euphrates was defea
The Persian Empire refers to any of a series of imperial dynasties that were centred in Persia/Iran from the 6th century BC Achaemenid Empire era to the 20th century AD in the Qajar dynasty era. The first dynasty of the Persian Empire was created by Achaemenids, established by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC with the conquest of Median and Babylonian empires, it covered much of the Ancient world. Persepolis is the most famous historical site related to Persian Empire in the Achaemenid era and it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. From 247 BC to 224 AD, Persia was ruled by the Parthian Empire, which supplanted the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire, by the Sassanian Empire, which ruled up until the mid-7th century; the Persian Empire in the Sasanian era was interrupted by the Arab conquest of Persia in 651 AD, establishing the larger Islamic caliphate, by the Mongol invasion. The main religion of ancient Persia was the native Zoroastrianism, but after the seventh century, it was replaced by Islam which achieved a majority in the 10th century.
The Safavid Empire was the first Persian Empire established after the Arab conquest of Persia by Shah Ismail I. From their base in Ardabil, the Safavid Persians established control over parts of Greater Persia/Iran and reasserted the Persian identity of the region, becoming the first native Persian dynasty since the Sasanian Empire to establish a unified Persian state. Literature and architecture flourished in the Safavid era once again, it is cited as the "rebirth of the Persian Empire". Safavids announced Shia Islam as the official religion in the empire versus the Sunni Islam in the neighbouring Ottoman Empire. Achaemenid Empire Sasanian Empire Safavid dynasty Afsharid dynasty Qajar dynasty List of monarchs of Persia Iranian monarchy List of Iranian dynasties and countries Persia Iranian peoples Persian people List of tombs of Iranian people Briant, Pierre. From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire. University Park, Pennsylvania: Eisenbrauns. P. 15. ISBN 978-1575060316. DK. History of the World in 1,000 Objects.
London: DK. p. 71. ISBN 978-1465422897. Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Persia". Encyclopædia Britannica. Cambridge University Press; the dictionary definition of Persian Empire at Wiktionary Persian Empire travel guide from Wikivoyage Media related to Persian Empire at Wikimedia Commons
Western Armenia, located in the South Caucasus, is a term used to refer to eastern parts of Turkey that were part of the historical homeland of Armenians. Western Armenia referred to as Byzantine Armenia, emerged following the division of Greater Armenia between the Byzantine Empire and Sassanid Persia in 387 AD; the area was conquered by the Ottomans in the 16th century during the Ottoman–Safavid War against their Iranian Safavid arch-rivals. Being passed on from the former to the latter, Ottoman rule over the region became only decisive after the Ottoman–Safavid War of 1623–1639; the area became known as Turkish Armenia or Ottoman Armenia. During the 19th century, the Russian Empire conquered all of Eastern Armenia from Iran, some parts of Turkish Armenia, such as Kars; the region's Armenian population was affected during the widespread massacres of Armenians in the 1890s. The Armenians living in their ancestral lands were exterminated or deported by Turkish forces during the Armenian Genocide in 1915 and the following years.
The systematic destruction of Armenian cultural heritage, which had endured over 2000 years, is considered an example of cultural genocide. Only assimilated and crypto-Armenians live in the area today, some irredentist Armenians claim it as part of United Armenia; the most notable political party with these views is the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. In the Armenian language, there are several names for the region. Today, the most common is Arevmtyan Hayastan in Eastern Armenian and Arevmdean Hayasdan in Western Armenian. Archaic names include Tačkahayastan in Daǰkahayasdan in Western Armenian. Used in the same period were T'urk'ahayastan or T'rk'ahayastan, both meaning Turkish Armenia. In Turkish language, the literal translation of Western Armenia is Batı Ermenistan; the region is now considered to be eastern Anatolia, is one of the seven geographical regions of Turkey Throughout much of recorded history the eastern boundary of Anatolia was not considered to extend as far as the Araxes, the river which marks the present day boundary between the states of Armenia and Iran.
Some Kurds refer to the southern parts of region as Bakurê Kurdistanê. After the Ottoman-Persian War, Western Armenia became decisively part of the Ottoman Empire. Since the Russo-Turkish War, 1828–1829, the term "Western Armenia" has referred to the Armenian-populated historical regions of the Ottoman Empire that remained under Ottoman rule after the eastern part of Armenia was ceded to the Russian Empire by the Qajar Persians following the outcome of the Russo-Persian War and Russo-Persian War. Western Armenia consisted of six vilayets — the vilayets of Erzurum, Bitlis, Diyarbekir and Sivas; the fate of Western Armenia — referred to as "The Armenian Question" — is considered a key issue in the modern history of the Armenian people. In 1894–96 and 1915 the Ottoman Empire perpetrated systematic massacres and forced deportations of Armenians resulting in the Armenian Genocide; the massive deportation and killings of Armenians began in the spring 1915. On April 24, 1915 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders were deported from Constantinople.
Depending on the sources cited, about 1,500,000 Armenians were killed during this act. During the Caucasus Campaign of World War I, the Russian Empire occupied most of the Armenian-populated regions of the Ottoman Empire. A temporary provincial government was established in occupied areas between 1915 and 1918; the chaos caused by the Russian Revolution of 1917 put a stop to all Russian military operations and Russian forces began to conduct withdrawals. The first and second congresses of Western Armenians took place in Yerevan in 1917 and 1919. Armenia does not have any territorial claims against Turkey, one political party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, the largest Armenian party in the diaspora, claims the area given to the Republic of Armenia by US President Woodrow Wilson's arbitral award, as part of the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920 known as Wilsonian Armenia. Since 2000, an organizing committee of the congress of heirs of Western Armenians who survived the Armenian Genocide is active in diasporan communities.
History of Armenia Geography of Armenia Armenian Highland Armenians in the Ottoman Empire Ottoman Armenian population Arman J. Kirakosian, "English Policy towards Western Armenia and Public Opinion in Great Britain", Yerevan, 1981, 26 p.. Armen Ayvazyan, "Western Armenia vs Eastern Anatolia", Europe & Orient – n°4, 2007 Video: Provinces of Western Armenia Radio Television Western Armenia The Centennial of the Armenian Genocide
The Russian Empire known as Imperial Russia or Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917. The third largest empire in world history, at its greatest extent stretching over three continents, Europe and North America, the Russian Empire was surpassed in landmass only by the British and Mongol empires; the rise of the Russian Empire coincided with the decline of neighboring rival powers: the Golden Horde, the Swedish Empire, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Ottoman Empire. It played a major role in 1812–1814 in defeating Napoleon's ambitions to control Europe and expanded to the west and south; the House of Romanov ruled the Russian Empire from 1721 until 1762, its matrilineal branch of patrilineal German descent the House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov ruled from 1762. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Russian Empire extended from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea in the south, from the Baltic Sea on the west to the Pacific Ocean, into Alaska and Northern California in America on the east.
With 125.6 million subjects registered by the 1897 census, it had the third-largest population in the world at the time, after Qing China and India. Like all empires, it included a large disparity in terms of economics and religion. There were numerous dissident elements. Economically, the empire had a predominantly agricultural base, with low productivity on large estates worked by serfs, Russian peasants; the economy industrialized with the help of foreign investments in railways and factories. The land was ruled by a nobility from the 10th through the 17th centuries, subsequently by an emperor. Tsar Ivan III laid the groundwork for the empire that emerged, he tripled the territory of his state, ended the dominance of the Golden Horde, renovated the Moscow Kremlin, laid the foundations of the Russian state. Emperor Peter the Great fought numerous wars and expanded an huge empire into a major European power, he moved the capital from Moscow to the new model city of St. Petersburg, led a cultural revolution that replaced some of the traditionalist and medieval social and political mores with a modern, Europe-oriented, rationalist system.
Empress Catherine the Great presided over a golden age. Emperor Alexander II promoted numerous reforms, most the emancipation of all 23 million serfs in 1861, his policy in Eastern Europe involved protecting the Orthodox Christians under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. That connection by 1914 led to Russia's entry into the First World War on the side of France, the United Kingdom, Serbia, against the German and Ottoman empires; the Russian Empire functioned as an absolute monarchy on principles of Orthodoxy and Nationality until the Revolution of 1905 and became a de jure constitutional monarchy. The empire collapsed during the February Revolution of 1917 as a result of massive failures in its participation in the First World War. Though the Empire was only proclaimed by Tsar Peter I following the Treaty of Nystad, some historians would argue that it was born either when Ivan III of Russia conquered Veliky Novgorod in 1478, or when Ivan the Terrible conquered the Khanate of Kazan in 1552. According to another point of view, the term Tsardom, used after the coronation of Ivan IV in 1547, was a contemporary Russian word for empire.
Much of Russia's expansion occurred in the 17th century, culminating in the first Russian colonization of the Pacific in the mid-17th century, the Russo-Polish War that incorporated left-bank Ukraine, the Russian conquest of Siberia. Poland was divided in the 1790 -- 1815 era, with much of the population going to Russia. Most of the 19th-century growth came from adding territory in Asia, south of Siberia. Peter I the Great played a major role in introducing Russia to the European state system. While the vast land had a population of 14 million, grain yields trailed behind those of agriculture in the West, compelling nearly the entire population to farm. Only a small percentage lived in towns; the class of kholops, close in status to slavery, remained a major institution in Russia until 1723, when Peter converted household kholops into house serfs, thus including them in poll taxation. Russian agricultural kholops were formally converted into serfs earlier in 1679. Peter's first military efforts were directed against the Ottoman Turks.
His attention turned to the North. Peter still lacked a secure northern seaport, except at Archangel on the White Sea, where the harbor was frozen for nine months a year. Access to the Baltic was blocked by Sweden. Peter's ambitions for a "window to the sea" led him to make a secret alliance in 1699 with Saxony, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Denmark against Sweden, resulting in the Great Northern War; the war ended in 1721. Peter acquired four provinces situated east of the Gulf of Finland; the coveted access to the sea was now secured. There he built Russia's new capital, Saint Petersburg, to replace Moscow, which had long been Russia's cultural center. In 1722, he tur