• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Isolated, backwards and weak how far do you agree with this assessment of Russia by the 1680s?

Extracts from this document...


?Isolated, backwards and weak? how far do you agree with this assessment of Russia by the 1680s? (24 marks) Russia was landed locked; it had no access to the Baltic Sea. Russia?s one other outlet to the north through the White Sea port of archangel, was ice bound for over half the year. In the south access to the black sea was blocked by the khanate of the Crimea. The whole vast area was by western standards sparsely inhabited, underdeveloped and lacking in racial homogeneity. Fewer nations in the history of mankind were more poorly endowed by nature for economic growth and prosperity than Russia. The soil round Moscow was extremely poor and crop rotation almost impossible because of the harsh climate. Furthermore, mineral resources, centres of trade and pockets of population were too widely spread. In the far north there were fur trappers and hunters. In the east, Siberian minerals lay untapped and in the centre, the harsh climate with its fierce winters and torrid summers hindered economic advance in all sorts of ways but especially in agriculture; the corn harvest for instance only gave a yield of a mere three or four times the seed sown. ...read more.


There was certainly a lot of interest in trade and manufacturing and Russian merchants astonished foreigners with their sharp practice and dishonesty. But few could become rich through trade. If a profitable trade was developed by Russian entrepreneurs the tsars eager for more revenue would declare it a royal monopoly. There was plenty of activity in manufacturing. When peter was born in 1672 20 small private and state owned iron foundries existed in Russia. It Russia was to address its economic and technological backwardness a truly enormous amount of work remained to be done. Russia faced many economic problems and to some extent this was a matter of geography. Great distances and an extreme continental climate with severe winters, burning summers and a shorter growing season for crops than in western Europe were in themselves barriers to economic progress. For each grain of wheat or rye sown only three or four were harvested; this was far lower than the standard yield in the more advanced areas of Western Europe. Such a scanty yield meant that the overwhelming majority of the population had to work the ground if any kind of organised society were to survive. ...read more.


Russia?s merchants had travelled and traded abroad at least in Sweden, Livonia and Denmark, since the 16th century. Russia was unable to achieve all it wanted to do so in foreign policy. The traditions of Russian external relations were, however, until the last decades of the century, much more anti-polish and anti-Swedish than anti-Turkish. Ottoman dominance of the black sea littoral was not resented as a bridling of Russia?s economic development and a seizure of territory formerly Russian in the way that Swedish possession of Ingria and Livonia was. By 1686 Russia was a partner in a great anti-Turkish alliance and in 1687 and 1689 it made unsuccessful efforts to invade and conquer the Crimea so long a thorn in its flesh. The last quarter of the century in other words made it increasingly clear that Russian expansionist energies would in future be directed in the main either west wards against Sweden in a renewed effort to force an entry to the Baltic, or southwards against the Turks. The assessment of Russia as isolated weak and backward is partly true because Russia wasn?t as developed as Europe at that time, as compared to Russia; Europe was stronger and more developed. But Russia was improving its ideas and trade, as well as its army. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Historical Periods section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Historical Periods essays

  1. Cities were the main driving force of the Reformation in Germany(TM) " explain whether ...

    the Reformation as a change to establish greater control over the parish church at the expense of the existing clergy. This shows how many Germans felt that Luther's message could easily be adapted to their own way of life. For example Luther's message of 'The Priesthood of all Believers' and

  2. Which of these judgements best Reflects the State of Imperial Russia in 1914? By ...

    But even if Stolypin had survived and the uptake of his reforms remained constant it is likely that Russia's fate would not have changed as the nature of his reforms was long term and the short-term spark that caused the break with the past was the war.

  1. The First English Civil War

    Yet Charles, still trusting to intrigue and diplomacy to keep Scotland in check, deliberately rejected the advice of Montrose, his greatest and most faithful lieutenant, who wished to give the Scots employment for their army at home. Only ten days after the "Irish Cessation," Parliament at Westminster swore to the Solemn League and Covenant, and the die was cast.

  2. How far do you agree that by 1763 the ties between Britain and the ...

    The colonies also experienced salutary neglect and this was unusual in terms of colonisation by other countries. The thirteen colonies were also by no means united, there common tie being that of association with Britain.

  1. The events in India in 1856/7 were caused by the issue of the new ...

    ?Of itself controversy need not have led to a general uprising.? Judd; The Great Indian uprising of 1857-8. Highlighting the issue of the cartridges was the issue which sparked up the entire mutiny and was the reason the events occurred did so.

  2. Russian History. A period of great achievement To what extent do you agree with ...

    Despite Golitsyn?s numerous plans for domestic reform, however, the regent failed to meet discontent among the peasants and religious dissidents. She also overruled several of her advisers and approved Golitsyn?s plan to conclude a permanent peace with Poland, in 1686 which confirmed a truce of 1667, by which Russia obtained

  1. How significant was the slave trade in the growth of the British empire in ...

    This could then be further exploited for expansion into the continent. Rival tribes would go against each other to capture slaves to sell to the British; this shows how much influence Britain had over the Africans. Another factor that made the slave trade significant to the growth of the British Empire was the amount of trade it produced.

  2. How far do the sources suggest that the days of the Raj were numbered?

    Beginning with Source R, this is a Biography extract from an Indian that was published in 1951 this is after the freedom of India from British rule. The source is telling us of the mindset and viewpoint of a young boy in India under the rule of Britain and why he had these views.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work