The First Cholera Epidemic in St. Petersburg, 1823

The wide dissemination of the disease was brought about by the poor sanitary conditions of the city. By Kseniya Barabanova In 1823, a new disease—cholera—visited the Russian Empire for the first time. It was initially discovered in the south of the Empire, in Astrakhan. In 1830, the epidemic broke out in Moscow, and it reached[…]

Russia and the Medical Drug Trade in the Seventeenth Century

Examining what drugs were available in Russia and the great diversity of drugs traded in early modern Europe. Summary This article deals with the trade in medicines into Russia in the seventeenth century. Both the early modern medical drug trade, and Russian medicine, have previously received substantial attention, but no work has thus far been[…]

The Culture of Lepenski Vir in Prehistoric Siberia

The site shows evidence of a culture which is more than 8000 years old. By Andela Sormaz Introduction Lepenski Vir (Serbian Cyrillic: Лепенски Вир, “Lepena Whirlpool”) is an ancient settlement on the banks of the Danube in eastern Serbia; more precisely, in Boljetin village, near Donji Milanovac. The site shows evidence of a culture which is more[…]

Responses to the ‘Russian Flu’ in 1889

Information was scarce, conflicting, and often exaggerated. In November 1889, a rash of cases of influenza-like-illness appeared in St. Petersburg, Russia. Soon, the “Russia Influenza” spread across Europe and the world. During the 1889 outbreak of the so-called Russian Influenza, the media was overwhelmed by reports on the spread of the flu. In these early[…]

Facing Down Khrushchev: The Cuban Missile Crisis

Russians refer to the event as the “Caribbean Crisis.” Cubans refer to it as the “October Crisis.” Introduction The Cuban Missile Crisis was a confrontation during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States regarding the Soviet deployment of nuclear missiles in Cuba. The missiles were placed to protect Cuba from attacks[…]

A History of the Soviet Union, 1927-1991

The use of forced labor and the development of labor camps to “re-educate” anyone deemed as “bourgeois” began in 1921. Stalinist Development Planning At the Fifteenth Party Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in December 1927, Josef Stalin attacked the left by expelling Leon Trotsky and his supporters from the party and[…]

Varangians: Vikings in Medieval Russia

The Varyags are first mentioned by the Primary Chronicle as having exacted tribute from the Slavic and Finnic tribes in 859. Introduction The Varangians or Varyags, sometimes referred to as Variagians, were Vikings, or Norsemen who went eastwards and southwards through what is now Russia, Belarus and Ukraine mainly in the ninth and tenth centuries.[…]

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact: Soviets and Nazis, 1939-1941

The Nazi invasion of Russia ended the Pact and shifted the Soviet Union from the Axis Powers to the Allied Powers. Introduction The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, named after Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, was an agreement officially entitled the Treaty of Non-aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet[…]

The History and Culture of Ukraine from Late Antiquity to Today

Ukraine has been occupied since the Chalcolithic (Copper Age) and the Sredny Stog culture from 4500 BCE. Introduction Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe, formerly a part of the Soviet Union, bordering Russia, Romania and the Black Sea. From at least the ninth century, the territory of present-day Ukraine was a center of medieval[…]

The Pact between Hitler and Stalin That Paved the Way for World War II

With the stroke of a pen 75 years ago, two men changed the world and sealed the fate of millions. Those two men were the foreign minister of Nazi Germany, Joachim von Ribbentrop, and his Soviet counterpart, Vyacheslav Molotov. On August 23, 1939, they signed a non-aggression pact, promising not to interfere in case the other[…]

Peter the Great and the New Year in Russia

His decree ordered that Russia observe calendar years from the birth of Christ. Peter the Great’s reign was marked by an overriding desire to enforce reform on Russia, dragging it kicking and screaming in to line with many European practices. On 20 December 1699 (according to the Julian Calendar), he even introduced a decree that[…]

Reichskommissariat Ukraine: The Nazi Occupation in 1941

Before the German invasion, Ukraine was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union. Introduction During World War II, Reichskommissariat Ukraine (abbreviated as RKU) was the civilian occupation regime (Reichskommissariat) of much of Nazi German-occupied Ukraine (which included adjacent areas of modern-day Belarus and pre-war Second Polish Republic). Between September 1941 and August 1944, the Reichskommissariat[…]

Prehistoric Bones of Women in Russian Cave Links to Modern Indigenous People

The bones show interbreeding Neanderthal and Denosivan humans. This article reprinted from RFE/RL. A piece of bone from a cave in Russia has yielded what may be the biggest archaeological find of the year, media reported on August 30. The bone belonged to an ancient human who had a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father.[…]

Ukraine and Russia: Legacies of the Imperial Past and Competing Memories

The significance of the imperial heritage for the Russian–Ukrainian relationship. Abstract The legacy of the tsarist Empire and the Soviet Union is one of the crucial factors for an understanding and an explanation of current affairs in the post-Soviet space. This is especially true for Ukraine and for Russian–Ukrainian relations. Russia regards Ukraine as a[…]

Betrayal in Berlin: Soviet Disinformation and the Berlin Crisis in 1958

On November 10, 1958, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev fired the opening salvo of what would become known as the Berlin Crisis. Fears that Russian intelligence is actively working to undermine Western democracy—in the United States, Europe and around the globe—are running high. Department of Justice Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III documented multiple systemic interferences[…]

The Byzantine Empire and a Centuries-Old Religious Dispute over Ukraine’s Orthodox Church

Ukraine’s Orthodox Church recently broke off from Russia. This dispute has a history that goes back to medieval Christianity. Introduction A new Orthodox Church was recently established in Ukraine. Shortly after, Bartholomew I, the Patriarch of Constantinople and the spiritual head of global Orthodox Christianity, granted independence to the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine and[…]

A History of the Soviet Union-Afghan War, 1979-1989

The war over-extended the capabilities of the Soviet empire, as other military engagements have helped to bring various empires down throughout history. Introduction The Soviet War in Afghanistan was a nine-year period involving the Soviet forces and the Mujahideen insurgents that were fighting to overthrow Afghanistan’s Marxist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) government. The[…]

Devil’s Bargain: The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact 80 Years Later

On August 23rd, 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union stunned the world by announcing a nonaggression pact. By David Carlin Joseph Stalin cracks a smile. The dictator’s cold eyes even appear to twinkle. Next to him, the Nazi foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, beams with smug satisfaction. That night, Stalin will toast Hitler’s health.[…]

The Russian Church and Native Alaskan Cultures

Looking at the human exchanges that took place between the priests of the Russian Orthodox Church in Alaska and Native Alaskans, during the years 1794 to about 1915. Crown and Commerce in Russian America The Russian discovery of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands by Vitus Bering (1681-1741) and Aleksiei Chirikov (d. 1748) in 1741 was[…]

Walt Whitman in Russia: Three Love Affairs

Walt Whitman’s influence on the creative output of 20th-century Russia — particularly in the years surrounding the 1917 Revolution — was enormous. For the 200th anniversary of Whitman’s birth, Nina Murray looks at the translators through which Russians experienced his work, not only in a literary sense — through the efforts of Konstantin Balmont and[…]

Catherine the Great: Behind the Gossip, a Commanding Ruler

Shrouded by myth and intrigue, Catherine the Great is now regarded as one of history’s most influential female rulers. Loved by many, loathed by others and the subject of gossip to most, Catherine the Great is one of history’s most influential female rulers. By day this enlightened despot plotted military conquests. By night she hosted[…]

‘Valiant Lunatics’: Heroism and Insanity in the Charge of the Light Brigade

The charge of the Light Brigade always elicited ambivalent responses from eyewitnesses. The charge of the Light Brigade has always elicited ambivalent responses from eyewitnesses. Even though he was writing at a remove of time and distance from the action, Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem echoes the conflicted reactions of both British and Russian witnesses who[…]

The History, Culture, and Religion of the Tatars

In 1920 the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was declared. History The first settlements in the territory of the Republic of Tatarstan date back to Palaeolithic period (about 100,000 years ago). In the 8th – 9th centuries, the tribes of ancient Bulgars, ancestors of the modern Tatars, began to populate the Volga region . The[…]

The Medieval Political Federation of Kievan Rus

The Rus are first mentioned in the Annals of Saint-Bertin. Introduction Kievan Rus (862-1242 CE) was a medieval political federation located in modern-day Belarus, Ukraine, and part of Russia (the latter named for the Rus, a Scandinavian people). The name Kievan Rus is a modern-day (19th century CE) designation but has the same meaning as[…]

Notre Dame Echoes of Russia’s 1837 Winter Palace Blaze

After the building that symbolized ‘all that is Russian’ went up in flames, the czar scrambled to restore it to its former glory. In a city graced with remarkable architecture, the cathedral of Notre Dame may be Paris’ most striking edifice. So when it was engulfed by a fire that toppled its spire, it seemed as if[…]