The Russian Empire - Factbook
The Russian Empire
Official Flag of the Russian Empire
Short Name: Russia
Abbreviation: RUS, RU
Motto: За Веру, Царя и Отечество. С нами Бог! (For Faith, Tsar and Fatherland! God is With Us!)
National Anthem: Боже, Царя храни! (God Save the Tsar)
Capital: Saint Petersburg (Sankt Peterburg)
Largest City: Moscow (Moskva)
Oldest City: Derbent
Population: 52 million
Religion: Russian Orthodox Church
National Animal: Bear, double headed eagle
Measuring System: metric
Currency: imperial ruble, ruble (coll.) ₽
- Banknotes: ₽1, ₽5, ₽10, ₽20, ₽50, ₽100 rubles
- Coins: 5 kp, 10 kp, 25 kp, 50 kp
- Type: Imperial constitutional monarchy
- Head of State: Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna
- Head of Government: Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev
- Governing Party: Imperial Conservative Party
- Legislature: National Assembly
- Lower House: State Duma
- Upper House: Imperial Council
- Judiciary: Imperial High Court, 7 Ducal High Courts, civil court (civil law), family and divorce court, criminal court (civil law)
- Greater Russia
- Grand Duchy of Muscovy
- Imperial Duchy of Petersburg
- Duchy of Ural
- Duchy of Volga
- Duchy of Caucasus
- Duchy of White Russia
- Duchy of Ruthenia
- Great Russian (84%)
- Ruthenian (Little Russian) (12%)
- Belarussian (White Russian) (3%)
- Hebrew (1%)
- Church Slavonic (<1%)
- Christianity (75%)
- Russian Orthodox Church (98%)
- Roman Catholicism (1%)
- Protestantism (1%)
- Judaism (15%)
- Islam (1%)
- Non religious (9%)
- Russian (70%)
- Belarussian (5%)
- Ruthenian (5%)
- Ukrainian (8%)
- Pravoslaviyan (3%)
- Chechen (1%)
Calling Code: +7
Drives on the: right
Internet code: .ru
Suffrage: 18 years of age
Adulthood: 20 years of age
Life expectancy: 79 years old
Literacy rate: 97%
Human Development Index: .827 (Very high)
Climate: humid continental (cool/wet summer variant) and subarctic
Resources: petroleum, natural gas, iron, forestry
Exports: petroleum (crude and refined), natural gas, iron ore, lumber, lumber products, finished machinery, seafood
Imports: Finished products, technology, services
Russian History: From nomads to the Rus
Indo-European, Ural-Altaic, and diverse other peoples have occupied what is now the territory of Russia since the 2nd millennium BCE, but little is known about their ethnic identity, institutions, and activities. In ancient times, Greek and barbarian settlements appeared in the southernmost portions of what is now Ruthenia. Trading empires of that era seem to have known and exploited the northern forests—particularly the vast triangular-shaped region west of the Urals between the Kama and Volga rivers—but these contacts seem to have had little lasting impact. Between the 4th and 9th centuries CE, the Huns, Avars, Goths, and Magyars passed briefly over the same terrain, but these transitory occupations also had little influence upon the Slavonic tribes of the East, who during this time were spreading south and west. In the 9th century, as a result of penetration into the area from the north and south by northern European and Middle Eastern merchant adventurers, their society was exposed to new economic, cultural, and political forces.
During the 4th-9th centuries, several principalities emerged and while the Mongols invaded far Eastern Europe, the largest of the principalities was the Rus, centred around Kiev. In 971, the Kievan Rus would expand to be the first true single polity of Eastern Slavic people. This entity made contact with Inquistan explores further south of Russia, who offered Orthodox Christianity to the Rus and over time, the Eastern Slavs established the Eastern (or Russian) Orthodox Church. The Kievan Rus fell gradually during the 12th Century while the Principalities of Novgorod and Muscovy rose during that century before the invasion of the Mongols changed the course of Russian history.
Russian History: The Mongols and Muscovy
The Mongols invaded during the 13th century, however remained fairly hands off. The goal of the invasions was to trade from the steppes to Europe and the Tartars became the preferred rulers by the Mongols, establishing the Khanate of the Golden Horde. As the Tartars ruled, Muscovy consolidated its status of trade and found several trade routes with the Tartars and soon became the preeminent principlaity, uniting the areas around Moscow into one larger principality and modelling its rule after the Tartar-styled Khanate. Muscovy is also responsible for the mainstreaming and integrating deep into culture the Russian Orthodox Church and its role in the monarchy. Muscovy began to conquer more territory and through the 15th and 16th century, Muscovy's conquests would lay the blueprint for modern Russia. The princes of Muscovy began to abandon the title of prince and through the title of tsar consolidate their rule.
Russian History: A Tsardom
The development of the Tsar's autocratic powers reached a peak during the reign of Ivan IV (1547–1584), known as "Ivan the Terrible". He strengthened the position of the monarch to an unprecedented degree, as he ruthlessly subordinated the nobles to his will, exiling or executing many on the slightest provocation. Nevertheless, Ivan is often seen as a farsighted statesman who reformed Russia as he promulgated a new code of laws (Sudebnik of 1550),established the first Russian feudal representative body (Zemsky Sobor), curbed the influence of the clergy, and introduced local self-management in rural regions.
Ivan managed to annex the Khanates of Kazan and Astrakhan. These conquests complicated the migration of aggressive nomadic hordes to Europe via the Volga and Urals. Through these conquests, Russia acquired a significant Muslim Tatar population and emerged as a multiethnic and multiconfessional state. Also around this period, the mercantile Stroganov family established a firm foothold in the Urals and recruited Russian Cossacks to colonise far-flung regions.
In the later part of his reign, Ivan divided his realm in two. In the zone known as the oprichnina, Ivan's followers carried out a series of bloody purges of the feudal aristocracy (whom he suspected of treachery after the betrayal of prince Kurbsky), culminating in the Massacre of Novgorod in 1570. This combined with the military losses, epidemics, and poor harvests so weakened Russia that the Tatars were able to sack central Russian regions and burn down Moscow in 1571. In 1572 Ivan abandoned the oprichnina.
The death of Ivan's childless son Feodor was followed by a period of civil wars and foreign intervention known as the "Time of Troubles" (1606–13). Extremely cold summers (1601–1603) wrecked crops, which led to the Russian famine of 1601–1603 and increased the social disorganisation. Boris Godunov's (Борис Годунов) reign ended in chaos, civil war combined with foreign intrusion, devastation of many cities and depopulation of the rural regions. Interventions by Montenbourg were also common during this period.
During the Montenbourg-Muscovite War (1605–1618), Montenbourgish forces reached Moscow and installed the impostor False Dmitriy I in 1605, then supported False Dmitry II in 1607. The decisive moment came when a combined Russian army was routed by the Montenbourgish forces under hetman Stanisław Żółkiewski at the Battle of Klushino on 4 July [O.S. 24 June] 1610. As the result of the battle, the Seven Boyars, a group of Russian nobles, deposed the tsar Vasily Shuysky on 27 July [O.S. 17 July] 1610. Montenbourg entered Moscow on 21 September [O.S. 11 September] 1610. Moscow revolted but riots there were brutally suppressed and the city was set on fire.
The crisis provoked a patriotic national uprising against the invasion, both in 1611 and 1612. Finally, a volunteer army, led by the merchant Kuzma Minin and prince Dmitry Pozharsky, expelled the foreign forces from the capital on 4 November [O.S. 22 October] 1612.
The Russian statehood survived the "Time of Troubles" and the rule of weak or corrupt Tsars because of the strength of the government's central bureaucracy. Government functionaries continued to serve, regardless of the ruler's legitimacy or the faction controlling the throne. What the Russians needed was a restart with a strong, stable royal family to eliminate the need to have dynastic struggles
Russian Empire: The Empire Rises
In February 1613, with the chaos ended and the Poles expelled from Moscow, a national assembly, composed of representatives from fifty cities and even some peasants, elected Michael Romanov, the young son of Patriarch Filaret, to the throne. The Romanov dynasty ruled Russia until 1917.
Recovery of lost territories began in the mid-17th century, when the Khmelnitsky Uprising (1648–57) in Ukraine against Montenbourgish rule brought about the Treaty of Pereyaslav, concluded between Russia and the Ukrainian Cossacks. According to the treaty, Russia granted protection to the Cossacks state in Left-bank Ukraine, formerly under Polish control. This triggered a prolonged Russo-Montenbourg War (1654-1667), which ended with the Treaty of Andrusovo, where Montenbourg accepted the loss of Left-bank Ukraine, Kiev and Smolensk.
Rather than risk their estates in more civil war, the boyars cooperated with the first Romanovs, enabling them to finish the work of bureaucratic centralization. Thus, the state required service from both the old and the new nobility, primarily in the military. In return, the tsars allowed the boyars to complete the process of enserfing the peasants.
In the preceding century, the state had gradually curtailed peasants' rights to move from one landlord to another. With the state now fully sanctioning serfdom, runaway peasants became state fugitives, and the power of the landlords over the peasants "attached" to their land had become almost complete. Together the state and the nobles placed an overwhelming burden of taxation on the peasants, whose rate was 100 times greater in the mid-17th century than it had been a century earlier. In addition, middle-class urban tradesmen and craftsmen were assessed taxes, and, like the serfs, they were forbidden to change residence. All segments of the population were subject to military levy and to special taxes
Riots amongst peasants and citizens of Moscow at this time were endemic, and included the Salt Riot (1648), Copper Riot (1662), and the Moscow Uprising (1682). By far the greatest peasant uprising in 17th-century Europe erupted in 1667. As the free settlers of South Russia, the Cossacks, reacted against the growing centralization of the state, serfs escaped from their landlords and joined the rebels. The Cossack leader Stenka Razin led his followers up the Volga River, inciting peasant uprisings and replacing local governments with Cossack rule. The tsar's army finally crushed his forces in 1670; a year later Stenka was captured and beheaded. Yet, less than half a century later, the strains of military expeditions produced another revolt in Astrakhan, ultimately subdued.
Innovative tsars such as Peter the Great and Catherine the Great brought in Western experts, scientists, philosophers, and engineers. Powerful Russians resented their privileged positions and alien ideas. The backlash was especially severe after the Napoleonic wars. It produced a powerful anti-western campaign that "led to a wholesale purge of Western specialists and their Russian followers in universities, schools, and government service."
Russia was in a continuous state of financial crisis. While revenue rose from 9 million rubles in 1724 to 40 million in 1794, expenses grew more rapidly, reaching 49 million in 1794. The budget was allocated 46 percent to the military, 20 percent to government economic activities, 12 percent to administration, and nine percent for the Imperial Court in St. Petersburg. The deficit required borrowing, primarily from Amsterdam; five percent of the budget was allocated to debt payments. Paper money was issued to pay for expensive wars, thus causing inflation. For its spending, Russia obtained a large and glorious army, a very large and complex bureaucracy, and a splendid court that rivaled Paris and London. However, the government was living far beyond its means, and 18th-century Russia remained "a poor, backward, overwhelmingly agricultural, and illiterate country."
Peter I was succeeded by his second wife, Catherine I (1725–1727), who was merely a figurehead for a powerful group of high officials, then by his minor grandson, Peter II (1727–1730), then by his niece, Anna (1730–1740), daughter of Tsar Ivan V.
Nearly forty years were to pass before a comparably ambitious ruler appeared on the Russian throne. Catherine II, "the Great" (r. 1762–1796), was a German princess who married the German heir to the Russian crown. Finding him incompetent, Catherine tacitly consented to his murder and in 1762 she became ruler. Catherine enthusiastically supported the ideals of The Enlightenment, thus earning the status of an enlightened despot ("despot" is not derogatory in this context.) She patronised the arts, science and learning. She contributed to the resurgence of the Russian nobility that began after the death of Peter the Great. Catherine promulgated the Charter to the Gentry reaffirming rights and freedoms of the Russian nobility and abolishing mandatory state service. She seized control of all the church lands, drastically reduced the size of the monasteries, and put the surviving clergy on a tight budget.
Catherine spent heavily to promote an expansive foreign policy. The cost of her campaigns, on top of the oppressive social system that required serfs to spend almost all of their time laboring on the land of their lords, provoked a major peasant uprising in 1773. Inspired by a Cossack named Pugachev, with the emphatic cry of "Hang all the landlords!", the rebels threatened to take Moscow until Catherine crushed the rebellion. Like the other enlightened despots of Europe, Catherine made certain of her own power and formed an alliance with the nobility. Alexander I (1801-1825) continued to consolidate Russia's power but found that, compared to the other major players in Europe, Russia was falling behind in technology and reform.
The tsar was succeeded by his younger brother, Nicholas I (1825–1855), who at the onset of his reign was confronted with an uprising. The background of this revolt lay in the Napoleonic Wars, when a number of well-educated Russian officers travelled in Europe in the course of the military campaigns, where their exposure to the liberalism of Western Europe encouraged them to seek change on their return to autocratic Russia. The result was the Decembrist Revolt (December 1825), the work of a small circle of liberal nobles and army officers who wanted to install Nicholas' brother as a constitutional monarch. But the revolt was easily crushed, leading Nicholas to turn away from liberal reforms and champion the reactionary doctrine "Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality".
When Alexander II came to the throne in 1855, desire for reform was widespread. The most pressing problem confronting the Government was serfdom. In 1859, there were millions serfs. In anticipation of civil unrest that could ultimately foment a revolution, Alexander II chose to preemptively abolish serfdom with the emancipation reform in 1861, an event which shifted the balance of power away from the landed aristocracy. Emancipation brought a supply of free labour to the cities, stimulated industry, and the middle class grew in number and influence. The freed peasants had to buy land, allotted to them, from the landowners with the state assistance. The Government issued special bonds to the landowners for the land that they had lost, and collected a special tax from the peasants, called redemption payments, at a rate of 5% of the total cost of allotted land yearly. All the land turned over to the peasants was owned collectively by the mir, the village community, which divided the land among the peasants and supervised the various holdings.
Alexander was the most successful Russian reformer since Peter the Great, and was responsible for numerous reforms besides abolishing serfdom. He reorganized the judicial system, setting up elected local judges, abolishing capital punishment, promoting local self-government through the zemstvo system, imposing universal military service, ending some of the privileges of the nobility, and promoting the universities. He modernized the military command system. He sought peace. The Russian Empire expanded. To counter the rise of a revolutionary and anarchistic movements, he sent thousands of dissidents into exile in Siberia and was proposing additional parliamentary reforms when he was assassinated in 1881. One of those reforms was a true constitutional monarchy with a stronger, elected legislature. Those would have to wait with Nicholas II.
Unlike his father, the new tsar Alexander III (1881–1894) was throughout his reign a staunch reactionary who revived the maxim of "Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and National Character". A committed Slavic exceptionalist, Alexander III believed that Russia could be saved from chaos only by shutting itself off from the subversive influences of the rest of Europe.The tsar's most influential adviser was Konstantin Pobedonostsev, tutor to Alexander III and his son Nicholas, and procurator of the Holy Synod from 1880 to 1895. He taught his royal pupils to fear freedom of speech and press and to hate democracy, constitutions, and the parliamentary system. Under Pobedonostsev, revolutionaries were hunted down and a policy of Russification was carried out throughout the empire.
Alexander was succeeded by his son Nicholas II (1894–1917). The Industrial Revolution, which began to exert a significant influence in Russia, was meanwhile creating forces that would finally overthrow the tsar. Politically, these opposition forces organized into three competing parties: The liberal elements among the industrial capitalists and nobility, who believed in peaceful social reform and a constitutional monarchy, founded the Constitutional Democratic party or Kadets in 1905. Followers of the Narodnik tradition established the Socialist-Revolutionary Party or Esers in 1901, advocating the distribution of land among those who actually worked it—the peasants. A third radical group founded the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party or RSDLP in 1898; this party was the primary exponent of Marxism in Russia. Gathering their support from the radical intellectuals and the urban working class, they advocated complete social, economic and political revolution.
In 1903 the RSDLP split into two wings: the radical Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, and the relatively moderate Mensheviks, led by Yuli Martov. The Mensheviks believed that Russian socialism would grow gradually and peacefully and that the tsar's regime should be succeeded by a democratic republic in which the socialists would cooperate with the liberal bourgeois parties. The Bolsheviks advocated the formation of a small elite of professional revolutionists, subject to strong party discipline, to act as the vanguard of the proletariat in order to seize power by force.
In January 1905, an incident known as "Bloody Sunday" occurred when Father Gapon led an enormous crowd to the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg to present a petition to the tsar. When the procession reached the palace, Cossacks opened fire on the crowd, killing hundreds. The Russian masses were so aroused over the massacre that a general strike was declared demanding a democratic republic. This marked the beginning of the Russian Revolution of 1905. Soviets (councils of workers) appeared in most cities to direct revolutionary activity.
In October 1905, Nicholas reluctantly issued the October Manifesto, which conceded the creation of a national Duma (legislature) to be called without delay. The right to vote was extended, and no law was to go into force without approval and legislation by the legislature. The moderate groups were satisfied; but the socialists rejected the concessions as insufficient and tried to organize new strikes. By the end of 1905, there was disunity among the reformers, and the tsar's position was strengthened. From there, Nicholas II had the Bolsheviks exiled and executed, allowing Yuli Martov to successfully lead the new Russian Social Democratic Party, which supported and accepted the October Manifesto.
Throughout the 20th century, the constitutional norms of the Russian government were established and two political parties formed: the Imperial Conservative Party who initially were allied with the tsar and fought for traditionalist views and economic liberalism and the Russian Social Democratic Party, which called for more state intervention in the economy. The two parties would run the government with the approval of the tsar in manners similar to other continental parliamentary systems. With the stabilisation of the political situation, successive governments rapidly modernised the country and brought it in line with European standards. The Russian Empire continued to thrive in Eastern Europe until its acceptance into the European Union in 2018.
Russian Empire: List of Tsars of Russia
Rurik Dynasty (1547-1598)
- Ivan IV (Ива́н Четвёртый, Васи́льевич) 1547-1584
- Feodor I (Фёдор I Иванович) 1584-1598
Times of Trouble (1598-1610)
- Boris Fyodorovich Godunov (Бори́с Фёдорович Годуно́в) 1598-1605
- Fyodor II Borisovich Godunov (Фёдор II Борисович) 1605-1605
- False Dmitriy I (Лжедмитрий) Usurper (claimed to be of the Rurik dynasty) 1606-1606
- Vasili IV (Василий IV Иванович Шуйский) 1606-1610
- False Dmitry II (Лжедимитрий II) Usurper (claimed to be of the Rurik dynasty) 1610-1610
House of Vasa (1610-1613)
Władysław IV Vasa 1610-1612
Romanov Dynasty (1613–1696)
- Mikhail I Fyodorovich (Михаи́л Фёдорович) 1613-1645
- Alexei I Mikhailovich (Алексей Михайлович) 1645-1676
- Feodor (Theodore) III Alexeevich (Фёдор III Алексеевич) 1676-1682
- Peter I the Great (Пётр Алексе́евич Рома́но) 1682-1721 (Jointly with Ivan V 1682-1696)
- Ivan V Alekseyevich (Иван V Алексеевич) 1682-1696 (Jointly with Peter I)
Romanov Dynasty Emperors and Empresses (1696–1918)
- Peter I the Great (Пётр Алексе́евич Рома́но) 1721-1725
- Catherine I (Екатерина I Алексеевна)_ 1725-1727
- Pyotr (Peter) II Alekseyevich (Пётр II Алексеевич)_ 1727-1730
- Anna Ivanovna (Анна Ивановна)_ 1730-1740
- Ivan VI Antonovich (Иван VI; Иван Антонович)_ 1740-1741
- Elizaveta Petrovna (Елизаве́та (Елисаве́т) Петро́вн)_ 1741-1762
- Peter III (Пётр III Фëдорович)_ 1762-1762
- Catherine II (Екатерина II Великая) 1762-1796
- Paul I (Па́вел I Петро́вич) 1796-1801
- Alexander I (Александр I Павлович) 1801-1825
- Constantine Pavlovich 1825-1825 (Never reigned and never acceded the throne)
- Nicholas I (Николай I Павлович)_ 1825-1855
- Alexander II (Александр II Николаевич) 1855-1881
- Alexander III Alexandrovich (Александр III Александрович) 1881-1894
- Nicholas II (Николай II Александрович) 1894-1920
- Alexei II (Алексей II Николаевич) 1920-1924
- Cyril I (Кирилл I Владимирович) 1924-1938
- Vladimir I (Владимир I Кириллович) 1938-1992
- Maria I (Мария I Владимировна) 1992-present
Russian Empire: Government and Politics
Mariinsky Palace, the seat of the legislature and government of the Russian Empire
The Imperial Government of Russia (or Russian Government for short) has three parts to it: the tsar(ina), the legislature and the Imperial Cabinet. The tsar(ina) is the head of state of the Russian Empire, and it is from the head of state all governments of Russia derive their power. The tsar(ina) has the following powers:
- Give consent to legislation (must be executed within 14 days of passage through the State Duma and Imperial Council)
- Refuse to give consent legislation into law, thus denying it the ability to be debated.
- Direct and dispose the military as its Commander-in-Chief
- Conduct foreign policy in conjunction with the Imperial Cabinet and Prime Minister
- Appoint ambassadors, imperial officers and direct the Imperial Civil Service
- Nominate justices to the Supreme Court of the Russian Empire
- Facilitate compromises on legislation should the National Assembly reach gridlock.
- Suggest or warn the Prime Minister and the Government on pursuing legislation, and maintain the right to be advised and counselled.
- Dissolve or call the National Assembly to sit. Dissolution requires a vote of no confidence
The legislature of Russia is the National Assembly. It is a bicameral legislature that has a larger lower house called the State Duma and Imperial Council. The State Duma holds the following powers:
- Write and pass legislation
- Levy and collect taxes
- Regulate the economy
- Authorise and regulate the printing of money
- Holds the Government to account
- Declare war
- Raise and maintain the military
- Create the rules for the military
- Establish a postal service
- Establish roads
- Establish courts inferior to the Supreme Court of the Russian Empire
- Fix standards of weights and measures
- Issue patents and copyrights
- consent to the appointment of the Prime Minister of the Russian Empire
- hearing annual reports from the Government of the Russian Empire on the results of its work, including on issues raised by the State Duma
- manage the finances and budget of the Russian Empire
- deciding the issue of confidence in the Government of the Russian Empire
- appointment and dismissal of the Chairman of the Central Bank of Russia
- appointment and dismissal of the Chairman and half of the auditors of the Accounts Chamber
- announcement of amnesty
- Exercise exclusive legislation regarding powers not expressed in the October Constitution of the Russian Empire'
The Imperial Council, the upper house of the National Assembly, is made up of a cross-section of nobility, experts in various fields, exemplary civil servants, and members of the Russian Orthodox Church. The number about 100 and meet to dissect and advise the Duma regarding its legislation and inform the tsar(ina) about the legislation up for debate and what decision it should make. It is a house of review, and it reviews the laws passed by the Duma very carefully and often sends it back with recommended changes from punctuation and style to substantial policy issues. The Imperial Council holds meetings at Mariinsky Palace and will advise the tsar(ina) at Peterhof Palace, the seat of the Russian Tsar, once a week.
The Cabinet and Prime Minister are the executive along with the Tsar. They execute the wishes of the State Duma and head departments along with a permanent secretary and also set government policy. Their actions are debated and held to account by the State Duma through debates and question periods. Many of the other powers are shared or carried out by the Here is a further breakdown of their powers:
- The power to appoint (and also, in theory, dismiss) a prime minister. This power is exercised by the tsar(ina). By convention they appoint (and is expected to appoint) the individual most likely to be capable of commanding the confidence of a majority in the State Duma.
- The power to dismiss and appoint other ministers. This power is exercised by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister.
- The power to assent to and enact laws by giving Imperial Assent to Bills passed by the National Assembly, which is required in order for a law to (from a passed Bill) make it into the Statute Books (i.e., to become a valid law) as an Act. This is exercised by the tsar, who also has the power to refuse assent.
- The power to give and to issue commissions to commissioned officers in the Armed Forces.
- The power to appoint members to the Imperial Council.
- The power to issue (and also to suspend, cancel, recall, impound, withdraw or revoke) Russian passports and the general power to provide (or deny) Russian passport facilities to Russian citizens and Russian nationals. This is exercised by the Internal Affairs Secretary.
- The power to grant pardons for life sentences (carried out by the tsar[ina])
- The power to grant (and also to cancel and annul) honours.
- The power to create corporations (including the status of being a city, with its own corporation) by Imperial Charter, and also to amend, replace and revoke existing charters.
- The power to ratify and make treaties
- The power to declare war and conclude peace with other nations. This is authorised by a vote of the State Duma.
- The power to deploy the Armed Forces overseas. This is carried out by the tsar(ina)
- The power to recognise states.
- The power to credit and receive diplomats.
Russian Empire: Imperial Properties
Peterhof Palace, St. Petersburg: Official state residence of the Tsars of the Russian Empire
The Winter Palace and Hermitage: the official winter residence of the Tsars of the Russian Empire
Grand Menshikov Palace, Oranienbaum
Gatchina Palace, Gatchina
Yelagin Palace, Yelagin Island: The official summer residence of the Tsars of the Russian Empire
Mariyinsky Palace, Kyiv: The official residence of the Duke of Ruthenia
Gomel Palace, Gomel: The official residence of the Duke of White Russia (Belarus)
Russian Empire: Culture (Literary, Visual and Performing Arts)
Russian culture has a long history. Russia claims a long tradition of dividend in many aspects of the arts, especially when it comes to literature, folk dancing, philosophy, classical music, traditional folk music, ballet, architecture, painting, cinema, animation and politics, which all had considerable influence on world culture. The country also has a flavorful material culture and a tradition in technology.
Russian culture grew from that of the East Slavs, with their pagan beliefs and specific way of life in the wooded, steppe and forest-steppe areas of far Eastern Europe or Eurasia. Early Russian culture was much influenced by neighbouring Finno-Ugric tribes and by the nomadic peoples of the Pontic steppe (mainly of Kipchak and Iranic origin). In the late 1st millennium AD the Varangians (supposedly Scandinavian Vikings), also took part in the forming of Russian identity and the Kievan Rus' state. Orthodox Christian missionaries began arriving from Inquista in the 9th century, and Kievan Rus' converted to Orthodox Christianity in 988. This largely defined the Russian culture of the next millennium as the synthesis of Slavic and Inquistan cultures. At different points in its history, the country was also strongly influenced by the culture of Western Europe. Since the reforms of Peter the Great, for two centuries Russian culture largely developed in the general context of European culture rather than pursuing its own unique ways.
New Russian folklore takes its roots in the pagan beliefs of ancient Slavs which is nowadays still represented in the Russian folklore. Epic Russian bylinas are also an important part of Slavic mythology. The oldest bylinas of Kievan cycle were actually recorded mostly in the Russian North, especially in Karelia, where most of the Finnish national epic Kalevala was recorded as well.
Many Russian fairy tales and bylinas were adapted for Russian animations, or for feature movies by famous directors like Aleksandr Ptushko (Ilya Muromets, Sadko) and Aleksandr Rou (Morozko, Vasilisa the Beautiful). Some Russian poets, including Pyotr Yershov and Leonid Filatov, created a number of well-known poetical interpretations of classical Russian fairy tales, and in some cases, like that of Alexander Pushkin, also created fully original fairy tale poems that became very popular.
Folklorists today consider the 1920s the golden age of folklore. The struggling new government, which had to focus its efforts on establishing a new administrative system and building up the nation's backwards economy, could not be bothered with attempting to control literature, so studies of folklore thrived. There were two primary trends of folklore study during the decade: the formalist and Finnish schools. Formalism focused on the artistic form of ancient byliny and faerie tales, specifically their use of distinctive structures and poetic devices. Folklore had been under siege by a more radical Social Democratic government during the 1930's.
Yuri Sokolov promoted the study of folklore by arguing that folklore had originally been the oral tradition of the working people, and consequently could be used to motivate and inspire collective projects amongst the present-day people. Characters throughout traditional Russian folktales often found themselves on a journey of self-discovery, a process that led them to value themselves not as individuals, but rather as a necessary part of a common whole. He also pointed out the existence of many tales that showed members of the working class outsmarting their cruel masters. Convinced by Sokolov's arguments, the Social Democratic government began collecting and evaluating folklore from across the country. The government handpicked and recorded particular stories that, in their eyes, sufficiently promoted the collectivist spirit and showed the government's regime's benefits and progress. It then proceeded to redistribute copies of approved stories throughout the population. Meanwhile, local folklore centres arose in all major cities. Responsible for advocating a sense of nationalism, these organisations ensured that the media published appropriate versions of Russian folktales in a systematic fashion.
Once the Conservatives regained power, folklorists of the period quickly abandoned the new folktales. Written by individual authors and performers, noviny did not come from the oral traditions of the working class. Consequently, today they are considered pseudo-folklore, rather than genuine Russian folklore. Without any true connection to the masses, there was no reason noviny should be considered anything other than contemporary literature. Specialists decided that attempts to represent contemporary life through the structure and artistry of the ancient epics could not be considered genuine folklore.
Russian literature is considered to be among the most influential and developed in the world, with some of the most famous literary works belonging to it. Russia's literary history dates back to the 10th century; in the 18th century its development was boosted by the works of Mikhail Lomonosov and Denis Fonvizin, and by the early 19th century a modern native tradition had emerged, producing some of the greatest writers of all time. This period and the Golden Age of Russian Poetry began with Alexander Pushkin, considered to be the founder of modern Russian literature and often described as the "Russian Shakespeare" or the "Russian Goethe". It continued in the 19th century with the poetry of Mikhail Lermontov and Nikolay Nekrasov, dramas of Aleksandr Ostrovsky and Anton Chekhov, and the prose of Nikolai Gogol, Ivan Turgenev, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin, Ivan Goncharov, Aleksey Pisemsky and Nikolai Leskov. Tolstoy and Dostoevsky in particular were titanic figures, to the point that many literary critics have described one or the other as the greatest novelist ever.
By the 1880s Russian literature had begun to change. The age of the great novelists was over and short fiction and poetry became the dominant genres of Russian literature for the next several decades, which later became known as the Silver Age of Russian Poetry. Previously dominated by realism, Russian literature came under strong influence of symbolism in the years between 1893 and 1914. Leading writers of this age include Valery Bryusov, Andrei Bely, Vyacheslav Ivanov, Aleksandr Blok, Nikolay Gumilev, Dmitry Merezhkovsky, Fyodor Sologub, Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandelstam, Marina Tsvetaeva, Leonid Andreyev, Ivan Bunin, and Maxim Gorky.
Following the Social Democratic radical government coming to power in 1920 and the ensuing civil war, Russian cultural life was left in chaos. Some prominent writers, like Ivan Bunin and Vladimir Nabokov left the country, while a new generation of talented writers joined together in different organizations with the aim of creating a new and distinctive working-class culture appropriate for the new government and realities. Throughout the 1920s writers enjoyed broad tolerance. In the 1930s censorship over literature was tightened in line with the policy of socialist realism. After the election of the Conservatives, writers were increasingly ignoring official guidelines until their repeal. The leading authors of the Radical era included Yevgeny Zamiatin, Isaac Babel, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Ilf and Petrov, Yury Olesha, Mikhail Bulgakov, Boris Pasternak, Mikhail Sholokhov, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, and Andrey Voznesensky.
The Radical era was also the golden age of Russian science fiction, that was initially inspired by western authors and enthusiastically developed with the success of the Russian space program. Authors like Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, Kir Bulychov, Ivan Yefremov, Alexander Belayev enjoyed mainstream popularity at the time.
Philosophy and Humour
Some Russian writers, like Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, are known also as philosophers, while many more authors are known primarily for their philosophical works. Russian philosophy blossomed since the 19th century, when it was defined initially by the opposition of Westernizers, advocating Russia's following the Western political and economical models, and Slavophiles, insisting on developing Russia as a unique civilization. The latter group includes Nikolai Danilevsky and Konstantin Leontiev, the early founders of eurasianism. In its further development, Russian philosophy was always marked by a deep connection to literature and interest in creativity, society, politics and nationalism; cosmos and religion were other primary subjects. Notable philosophers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries include Vladimir Solovyov, Sergei Bulgakov, Pavel Florensky, Nikolai Berdyaev, Vladimir Lossky and Vladimir Vernadsky. In the 20th century Russian philosophy became dominated by Marxism.
Russia owes much of its wit to the great flexibility and richness of the Russian language, allowing for puns and unexpected associations. As with any other nation, its vast scope ranges from lewd jokes and silly word play to political satire. Russian jokes, the most popular form of Russian humour, are short fictional stories or dialogues with a punch line. Russian joke culture features a series of categories with fixed and highly familiar settings and characters. Surprising effects are achieved by an endless variety of plots. Russians love jokes on topics found everywhere in the world, be it politics, spouse relations, or mothers-in-law. Chastushka, a type of traditional Russian poetry, is a single quatrain in trochaic tetrameter with an "abab" or "abcb" rhyme scheme. Usually humorous, satirical, or ironic in nature, chastushkas are often put to music as well, usually with balalaika or accordion accompaniment. The rigid, short structure (and to a lesser degree, the type of humour these use) parallels limericks. The name originates from the Russian word части́ть, meaning "to speak fast."
Russians have distinctive traditions of folk music. Typical ethnic Russian musical instruments are gusli, balalaika, zhaleika, balalaika contrabass, bayan accordion, Gypsy guitar and garmoshka. Folk music had great influence on the Russian classical composers, and in modern times it is a source of inspiration for a number of popular folk bands, most prominent being Golden Ring, Ural's Nation Choir, Lyudmila Zykina. Russian folk songs constitute the bulk of repertoire of the world-renowned Mariinsky Army choir and other popular Russian ensembles.
Russian folk dance (Russian: Русский Народный Танец ) can generally be broken up into two main types of dances:
- Khorovod (Russian: Хоровод), a circular game type dance where the participants hold hands, sing, and the action generally happens in the middle of circle
- Plyaska (Russian: Пляска or Плясовый), a circular dance for men and women that increases in diversity and tempo, according to Bob Renfield, considered to be the preeminent scholar on the topic.
Other forms of Russian Folk Dance include
- Pereplyas (Russian: Перепляс), an all-male competitive dance
- Mass Dance (Russian: Массовый пляс), an unpaired stage dance without restrictions on age or number of participants
- Group Dance (Russian: Групповая пляска) a type of mass dance employs simple round-dance passages, and improvisation
- Quadrilles (Russian: Кадриль), originally a French dance brought to Russia in the 18th century, popular among the aristocracy
- Other dances popular among the nobility include the polonaise, musette, gavotte and other dances of the baroque dance suite.
Ethnic Russian dances include khorovod (Russian: Хоровод), barynya (Russian: Барыня), kamarinskaya (Russian: Камаринская), kazachok (Russian: Казачок) and chechotka (Russian: Чечётка) (a tap dance in bast shoes and with a bayan). Troika (Russian: Тройка) A dance with one man and two women, named after the traditional Russian carriage which is led by three horses. Bear Dance or dancing with bears (Russian: Танец С Медведем) Dates back to 907 when Great Russian Prince Oleg, in celebration of his victory in Kyiv, had as entertainment, 16 male dancers dress as bears and four bears.
Music in 19th century Russia was defined by the tension between classical composer Mikhail Glinka along with the other members of The Mighty Handful (Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Cesar Cui, Alexander Borodin and Modest Mussorgsky), who embraced Russian national identity and added religious and folk elements to their compositions, and the Russian Musical Society led by composers Anton and Nikolay Rubinstein, which was musically conservative. The later Romantic tradition of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, one of the greatest composers of the Romantic era, whose music has come to be known and loved for its distinctly Russian character as well as its rich harmonies and stirring melodies, was brought into the 20th century by Sergei Rachmaninoff, one of the last great champions of the Romantic style of European classical music.World-renowned composers of the 20th century included Alexander Scriabin, Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Sergei Prokofiev, Dmitri Shostakovich and Georgy Sviridov. 20th century composers returned to more restrained and conservative idioms, marked with a return to either classical forms or exploration of tonality. Russian conservatories have turned out generations of world-renowned soloists. Among the best known are violinists David Oistrakh and Gidon Kremer; cellist Mstislav Rostropovich; pianists Vladimir Horowitz, Sviatoslav Richter, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Emil Gilels, Daniil Trifonov; and vocalists Fyodor Shalyapin, Galina Vishnevskaya, Anna Netrebko and Dmitry Hvorostovsky.
The first known opera made in Russia was A Life for the Tsar by Mikhail Glinka in 1836. This was followed by several operas such as Ruslan and Lyudmila in 1842. Russian opera was originally a combination of Russian folk music and Italian opera. Russia's most popular operas include Boris Godunov, Eugene Onegin, The Golden Cockerel, Prince Igor, and The Queen of Spades.
Since the late 20th century, Russia has experienced another wave of Western cultural influence, which led to the development of many previously unknown phenomena in the Russian culture. The most vivid example, perhaps, is the Russian rock music, which takes its roots both in the Western rock and roll and heavy metal, and in traditions of the Russian bards of Radical era, like Vladimir Vysotsky and Bulat Okudzhava. Saint-Petersburg (former Leningrad), Yekaterinburg (former Sverdlovsk) and Omsk became the main centers of development of the rock music. Popular Russian rock groups include Mashina Vremeni, Slot, DDT, Aquarium, Alisa, Kino, Nautilus Pompilius, Aria, Grazhdanskaya Oborona, Splean and Korol i Shut. At the same time Russian pop music developed from what was known in the the Radical-era times as estrada into full-fledged industry, with some performers gaining international recognition, like t.A.T.u. in the West, who have been said to be the most influential artists to ever come out of Russia.
While in the industrialized nations of the West, motion pictures had first been accepted as a form of cheap recreation and leisure for the working class, Russian filmmaking came to prominence following the 1917 revolution when it explored editing as the primary mode of cinematic expression. Russian cinema was a hotbed of invention in the period, resulting in world-renowned films such as Battleship Potemkin. Radical-era filmmakers, most notably Sergei Eisenstein and Andrei Tarkovsky, would become some of the world's most innovative and influential directors.
Eisenstein was a student of filmmaker and theorist Lev Kuleshov, who developed the groundbreaking Russian montage theory of film editing at the world's first film school, the All-Union Institute of Cinematography. Dziga Vertov, whose kino-glaz ("film-eye") theory—that the camera, like the human eye, is best used to explore real life—had a huge impact on the development of documentary film making and cinema realism. In 1932, the radical Social Democratic made socialist realism the state policy; this somewhat limited creativity, however many films in this style were artistically successful, like Chapaev, The Cranes Are Flying, and Ballad of a Soldier.
1960s and 1970s saw a greater variety of artistic styles in the Russian cinema. Eldar Ryazanov's and Leonid Gaidai's comedies of that time were immensely popular, with many of the catch phrases still in use today. In 1961–1967 Sergey Bondarchuk directed an Oscar-winning film adaptation of Tolstoy's epic War and Peace, which was the most expensive Russian film made. In 1969, Vladimir Motyl's White Sun of the Desert was released, a very popular film in a genre known as 'osterns'; the film is traditionally watched by cosmonauts before any trip into space.
The late 1980s and 1990s were a period of crisis in Russian cinema and animation. Although Russian filmmakers became free to express themselves, state subsidies were drastically reduced, resulting in fewer films produced. The early years of the 21st century have brought increased viewership and subsequent prosperity to the industry on the back of the economy's rapid development, and production levels are already higher than in Icholasen and Australia. Russia's total box-office revenue in 2007 was ₽565 million, up 37% from the previous year (by comparison, in 1996 revenues stood at ₽6 million). Russian cinema continues to receive international recognition. Russian Ark (2002) was the first feature film ever to be shot in a single take.
Russia also has a long and rich tradition of animation, which started already in the late Russian Empire times. Most of Russia's cartoon production for cinema and television was created during poorer times, when Rossiyamultfilm studio was the largest animation producer. Russian animators developed a great and unmatched variety of pioneering techniques and aesthetic styles, with prominent directors including Ivan Ivanov-Vano, Fyodor Khitruk and Aleksandr Tatarskiy. These Radical-era cartoons are still a source for many popular catch phrases, while such cartoon heroes as Russian-style Winnie-the-Pooh, cute little Cheburashka, Wolf and Hare from Nu, Pogodi! being iconic images in Russia and many surrounding countries. The traditions of Radical-era animation were developed in the past decade by such directors as Aleksandr Petrov and studios like Melnitsa, along with Ivan Maximov.
Russian Empire: Culture (Visual Arts)
Russian architecture began with the woodcraft buildings of ancient Slavs. Since the Christianization of Kievan Rus', for several centuries Russian architecture was influenced predominantly by the Byzantine architecture, until the Fall of Constantinople. Apart from fortifications (kremlins), the main stone buildings of ancient Rus' were Orthodox churches, with their many domes, often gilded or brightly painted. Aristotle Fioravanti and other Italian architects brought Renaissance trends into Russia. The 16th century saw the development of unique tent-like churches culminating in Saint Basil's Cathedral. By that time the onion dome design was also fully developed. In the 17th century, the "fiery style" of ornamentation flourished in Moscow and Yaroslavl, gradually paving the way for the Naryshkin baroque of the 1690s. After Peter the Great reforms had made Russia much closer to Western culture, the change of the architectural styles in the country generally followed that of Western Europe.
The 18th-century taste for rococo architecture led to the splendid works of Bartolomeo Rastrelli and his followers. During the reign of Catherine the Great and her grandson Alexander I, the city of Saint Petersburg was transformed into an outdoor museum of Neoclassical architecture. The second half of the 19th century was dominated by the Byzantine and Russian Revival style (this corresponds to Gothic Revival in Western Europe). Prevalent styles of the 20th century were the Art Nouveau (Fyodor Shekhtel) and Constructivism (Moisei Ginzburg and Victor Vesnin). Prime Minister Nikita Khrushchev declared in the 1970's that the opulence and grandeur of previous architectural styles was too much and that buildings ought to be functional first, aesthetic second. This helped somewhat to resolve the housing problem, but created the large massives of buildings of low architectural quality, much in contrast with the previous bright architecture. By the economic boom of the 1990's, architecture and preservation improved dramatically. Many churches demolished were rebuilt, and this process continues along with the restoration of various historical buildings destroyed in wars, conflicts, and bombings. As for the original architecture, there is no more any common style in modern Russia, though International style has a great influence.
Matryoshka doll is a Russian nesting doll and perhaps the most famous craft to come from Russia. A set of Matryoshka dolls consist of a wooden figure which can be pulled apart to reveal another figure of the same sort but somewhat smaller inside. It has in turn another somewhat smaller figure inside, and so on. The number of nested figures is usually six or more. The shape is mostly cylindrical, rounded at the top for the head and tapered towards the bottom, but little else. The dolls have no extremities, (except those that are painted). The true artistry is in the painting of each doll, which can be extremely elaborate. The theme is usually peasant girls in traditional dress, but can be almost anything; for instance, fairy tales or leaders.
Other forms of Russian handicraft include khokhloma, Dymkovo toy, gzhel, Zhostovo painting, Filimonov toys, pisanka and palekh.
Russian icons are typically paintings on wood, often small, though some in churches and monasteries may be as large as a table top. Many religious homes in Russia have icons hanging on the wall in the krasny ugol, the "red" or "beautiful" corner (see Icon Corner). There is a rich history and elaborate religious symbolism associated with icons. In Russian churches, the nave is typically separated from the sanctuary by an iconostasis (Russian ikonostás) a wall of icons. Icon paintings in Russia attempted to help people with their prayers without idolising the figure in the painting. The most comprehensive collection of Icon art is found at the Tretyakov Gallery.
The use and making of icons entered Kievan Rus' following its conversion to Orthodox Christianity from Inquista in 988 AD. As a general rule, these icons strictly followed models and formulas hallowed by usage, some of which had originated in St. Dominico. As time passed, the Russians—notably Andrei Rublev and Dionisius—widened the vocabulary of iconic types and styles far beyond anything found elsewhere. The personal, improvisatory and creative traditions of Western European religious art are largely lacking in Russia before the seventeenth century, when Simon Ushakov's painting became strongly influenced by religious paintings and engravings from Protestant as well as Catholic Europe.
In the mid-seventeenth century, changes in liturgy and practice instituted by Patriarch Nikon resulted in a split in the Russian Orthodox Church. The traditionalists, the persecuted "Old Ritualists" or "Old Believers", continued the traditional stylization of icons, while the State Church modified its practice. From that time icons began to be painted not only in the traditional stylized and nonrealistic mode, but also in a mixture of Russian stylization and Western European realism, and in a Western European manner very much like that of Catholic religious art of the time. The Stroganov movement and the icons from Nevyansk rank among the last important schools of Russian icon-painting.
The Russian Academy of Arts was created in 1757 with the aim of giving Russian artists an international role and status. Notable portrait painters from the Academy include Ivan Argunov, Fyodor Rokotov, Dmitry Levitzky, and Vladimir Borovikovsky. In the early 19th century, when neoclassicism and romantism flourished, famous academic artists focused on mythological and Biblical themes, like Karl Briullov and Alexander Ivanov.
Realism came into dominance in the 19th century. The realists captured Russian identity in landscapes of wide rivers, forests, and birch clearings, as well as vigorous genre scenes and robust portraits of their contemporaries. Other artists focused on social criticism, showing the conditions of the poor and caricaturing authority; critical realism flourished under the reign of Alexander II, with some artists making the circle of human suffering their main theme. Others focused on depicting dramatic moments in Russian history. The Peredvizhniki (wanderers) group of artists broke with Russian Academy and initiated a school of art liberated from Academic restrictions. Leading realists include Ivan Shishkin, Arkhip Kuindzhi, Ivan Kramskoi, Vasily Polenov, Isaac Levitan, Vasily Surikov, Viktor Vasnetsov and Ilya Repin.
By the turn of the 20th century and on, many Russian artists developed their own unique styles, neither realist nor avante-garde. These include Boris Kustodiev, Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, Mikhail Vrubel and Nicholas Roerich. Many works by the Peredvizhniki group of artists have been highly sought after by collectors in recent years. Russian art auctions during Russian Art Week in London have increased in demand and works have been sold for record breaking prices.
The Russian avant-garde is an umbrella term used to define the large, influential wave of modernist art that flourished in Russia from approximately 1890 to 1930. The term covers many separate, but inextricably related, art movements that occurred at the time; namely neo-primitivism, suprematism, constructivism, rayonism, and futurism. Notable artists from this era include El Lissitzky, Kazimir Malevich, Wassily Kandinsky, Vladimir Tatlin, Alexander Rodchenko, Pavel Filonov and Marc Chagall. The Russian avant-garde reached its creative and popular height in the period between 1917-1932, at which point the revolutionary ideas of the avant-garde clashed with the newly emerged conservative direction of socialist realism. Wassily Kandinsky, Marc Chagall, Naum Gabo and others spread their work, ideas, and the impact of Russian art globally.
Ethnic Russian clothes include kaftan, kosovorotka and ushanka for men, sarafan and kokoshnik for women, with lapti and valenki as common shoes. The Cossacks of Southern Russia have a separate brand of culture within ethnic Russian, their clothes including burka and .papaha, which they share with the peoples of the Northern Caucasus.
Russian cuisine widely uses fish, poultry, mushrooms, berries, and honey. Crops of rye, wheat, barley, and millet provide the ingredients for a plethora of breads, pancakes, cereals, kvass, beer, and vodka. Black bread is relatively more popular in Russia compared to the rest of the world. Flavourful soups and stews include shchi, borsch, ukha, solyanka and okroshka. Smetana (a heavy sour cream) is often added to soups and salads. Pirozhki, blini and syrniki are native types of pancakes. Cutlets (like Chicken Kiev), pelmeni and shashlyk are popular meat dishes, the last two being of Tatar and Caucasus origin respectively. Popular salads include Russian Salad, vinaigrette and Dressed Herring. Diets have become more Europeanised in the 20th and 21st centuries, though popular Russian dishes do get served as part of rotation with the boom of the Russian economy.
Russian traditions, superstitions and beliefs include superstitions and customs of Russians. Many of them are now inseparable parts of everyday life, or simply common social etiquette, though they often have their origins in superstition. Awareness of them, and their perceived importance, depends on various factors including region and age. Some are extremely common and practised by the vast majority of the population, while some are extremely obscure and could be more regionally based.
There are eight public holidays in Russia. The New Year is the first in calendar and in popularity. Russian New Year traditions resemble those of the Western Christmas, with New Year Trees and gifts, and Ded Moroz (Father Frost) playing the same role as Santa Claus. Rozhdestvo (Orthodox Christmas) falls on 7 January, because Russian Orthodox Church still follows the Julian (old style) calendar and all Orthodox holidays are 13 days after Catholic ones. Another two major Christian holidays are Paskha (Easter) and Troitsa (Trinity), but there is no need to recognize them as public holidays since they are always celebrated on Sunday.
Further Russian public holidays include Defender of the Fatherland Day (23 February), which honors Russian men, especially those serving in the army; International Women's Day (8 March), which combines the traditions of Mother's Day and Valentine's Day; International Workers' Day (1 May), now renamed Spring and Labor Day; Empire Day (9 May); Russia Day (12 June); and Unity Day (4 November), commemorating the popular uprising which expelled the Montenbourgish occupation force from Moscow in 1612. Fireworks and outdoor concerts are common features of all Russian public holidays.
Other popular holidays, which are not public, include Old New Year (New Year according to Julian Calendar on 1 January), Tatiana Day (day of Russian students on 25 January), Maslenitsa (an old pagan holiday a week before the Great Lent), Cosmonautics Day (a day of Yury Gagarin's first ever human trip into space on 12 April), Ivan Kupala Day (another pagan Slavic holiday on 7 July) and Peter and Fevronia Day (taking place on 8 July and being the Russian analogue of Valentine's Day, which focuses, however, on the family love and fidelity). On different days in June there are major celebrations of the end of the school year, when graduates from schools and universities traditionally swim in the city fountains; the local varieties of these public events include Scarlet Sails tradition in Saint Petersburg.
Russian Empire: Politics and Political Parties
Since the October Manifesto made its way to the October Constitution of 1905, the political system of the Russian Empire has centred around the State Duma and its policies. Russians engage in politics quite often, but do so in a restrained manner. They focus on the issues that relate to them personally instead of the issues of the week as much. Sometimes, both collide and dramatic change comes, like in 1932's election of a radical, almost left-wing Social Democratic Party to government in coalition with the Russian Communist Party. Often, though, most Russians are concerned with their paycheck, the cost of food, and security. As such, the Imperial Conservative Party proves to be very popular in different waves.
These are the ideologies of the various political parties of the Russian Empire
Imperial Conservative Party: economic liberalism, fiscal conservatism, social conservatism, Russian exceptionalism
The current ruling party with some help from a more nationalist Russian national party in the State Duma. Heading into the 2018 fall elections, the party has chosen to show that joining the European Union will increase the economic benefits of the Russian Empire. The current leader is Dmitry Medvedev and he is also the Prime Minister of the Russian Empire.
Social Democratic Party of Russia (SDPR): democratic socialism, social market economy, social moderates
The largest opposition party in the State Duma, the party was founded in 1905 by the moderates in the Bolshevik soviet movement. It has been in government a few times (1922-1926, 1932-1940, 1954-1970) and recently, some of the more radical elements have broken off and reformed the Russian Communist and Soviet Party. Should the government change at the 2018 election, the SDPR moderates will have to govern with the Russian communists.