This is a blog for use in both of my HIS 241 and HIS 242 Russian history survey courses at Northern Virginia Community College.

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27 January 2008

After Kiev

The period of time after the break-up of the Kievan state, as the Russian population generally shifted to the northeast, has often been called, "appanage Russia." This is because of the political de-centralization that characterized the time and because the system of granting out lands -- which then became inheritable--that developed within the royal families to allow the support of younger sons and relatives vaguely resembled the feudal system of Western Europe, especially what occurred in medieval France. In this course, we are not going to really address the question of whether or not Russia ever really experienced a "feudal" period, but let's just say that many of the socio-politico-economic practices extant in Russia through the Middle Ages could be viewed within the broad dimensions of the feudal experience.
See the very nice website of the Троице-Сергиева Лавра (The Holy Trinity Monastery of St. Sergei in Sergiev Posad northeast of Moscow, founded in the fourteenth century).

24 January 2008

Nina Khrushcheva book on Russia

Take a moment to read the interesting commentary by Robert Fulton on Nina Khrushcheva's new book on Vladimir Nabokov, Imagining Nabokov: Russia Between Art and Politics (2008),

20 January 2008

Kiev, Rus' and Russia

This week in the course you will be studying the origins of civilization in "Russia." I use the quote marks because Ukraine, where the first organized political state emerged, is not part of Russia now, and it technically wasn't also for long periods of time before the seventeenth century. But from a cultural, political and social point-of-view there is a direct continuity from the princes of Kiev in the tenth century to Moscow and Kiev today. Hope that makes sense.
Also, I'd like to call your attention to this website (The Serpents Wall), which has some very interesting pictures, on Kievan history and the battle for Kiev that took place during World War II.

07 January 2008

Welcome Spring 2008

Welcome to HIS 241, the History of Russia I. I'm Charlie Evans, your instructor for the course, and this is about the fourth year now that I've had my Russian history course sequence online. This semester we will be trying something new by using a blog to support our experience with Russian history. It should be fun!