Recent events have made it clear that the Soviet Union is not
a monolith; it's a collection of nationalities, many with serious
objections to union. The demise of communism holds great promise
and great danger not only for the Soviets, but for the world.
These tapes examine how the region's long history led to modern
Ages-Slavs migrate to central
Europe, the Balkans, and Russia.
Cent.--Vikings settle northern Russia and establish rule
over Russian peasants .
Vladimir I of Kiev establishes Russian Orthodox Church.
split from Eastern Orthodox
Church; Europeans consider Russians to be heretics due to
their Christian Orthodox faith.
Cent.--Tartars (from China)
invade and conquer much of Russia.
conquer Constantinople; Russia becomes only Orthodox
nation not ruled by Muslims.
Ivan III, Grand Duke of Muscovy, takes the name Tsar
(a corruption of "Caesar").
of Ivan the Terrible.
explorers reach the Pacific. Cossacks settle in Russian
of Peter the Great. Russia conquers Baltic States,
gaining access to the sea. Russia opens to the West. New capital
is built at St. Petersburg.
of Catherine the Great; further adoption of Western
ideas and practices. Russia becomes largest state in Europe.
--Napoleon invades Russia and is defeated.
War ends in Russian defeat.
--Alexander II frees the serfs. Russia expands to Afghanistan
and to the Pacific Alaska is sold to the U.S. (1867).
emerges in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other cities.
Japan wins Russian-Japanese War. Revolution (1905)
followed by creation of parliament (the Duma).
War I. Russia joins Allies (France, England,
Tsar Nicholas abdicates. Bolshevik revolution,
led by Lenin, produces Soviet government.
"Red Terror" spreads across Russia. Civil War (1919-20)
pits Communists (Red Army) against anti-Communists (White
Post-war famine kills 5 million Russians. Lenin dies (1924)
at age 54.
-- Stalin is dictator of USSR. Peasants collectivized;
engineered famine kills 6-7 million people.
The Great Purge; 7 million arrested, 1 million executed.
Labor camps (gulags) expand.
-- USSR invaded by Germany; sieges of Moscow and Leningrad
(1941-42) kill millions. Counter-offensives expel Germans;
War II ends, 1945.
-- USSR establishes communist governments throughout Eastern
Europe. Invasions of Hungary (1956) and Czechoslovakia
-- Cuban Missile crisis; US and USSR at brink of nuclear war.
-- Gorbachev era produces "glasnost" (openness)
and "perestroika" (restructuring).