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The Wolf and the Bear: The First Chechen War

Chechnya is a small region in the Caucuses that has long resented Russian rule. The Chechens had fallen victims to Stalin’s deportations and purges, and they had a long history being repressed by Moscow. Chechen also objected to Russian rule for religious reasons, as the vast majority of Chechens were Muslims.  Therefore, when the Soviet Union fell […]

Czech Yourself

While the end of the Khrushchev-era meant a turn away from reform in the Soviet Union, not all Warsaw pact states wanted to halt the thaw. In Czechoslovakia, Alexander Dubcek’s leadership and the “Czech Action Programme” led to a period of liberalization across the country. Changes in the Czechoslovakian Communist party regarding secret balloting, set term limits, and … Continue reading Czech Yourself

Twisted Steel: The Battle of Kursk

  The level of carnage and destruction that took place on the Eastern Front of the Second World War is almost incomprehensible, and no single battle better captures this devastation than the Battle of Kursk, with an estimated over 1 million combined causalities. The Battle of Kursk, known as Operation Citadel by the Germans, was … Continue reading Twisted Steel: The Battle of Kursk

Now you Sea me, now you don’t: the Fergana Canal

Stalin’s quest for economic progress created massive upheaval across Soviet society in the 1930s.  However, people were not only victims of the era.  Once the fourth largest lake in the world, the Aral Sea also fell victim to the tumultuous 1930s. One of the greatest ecological disasters of the twentieth century, the desiccation of the Aral Sea, started with the greatest … Continue reading Now you Sea me, now you don’t: the Fergana Canal

An Unholy War

The Russian Civil War fundamentally changed politics and society. While the Bolsheviks were gaining ground on the battlefield, Lenin decided to expand the war to souls of his countrymen. The new Soviet state and the Russian Orthodox Church had already began to butt-heads before the war had even ended. To consolidate Soviet power, Lenin created a three-pronged … Continue reading An Unholy War

The Begging Table: The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

Russia’s embarrassing performance during the First World War led to massive resentment at home.  After the Bolsheviks seized and began to consolidate power in Russia, Lenin turned to ending the unpopular war. Peace negotiations took place in the city of Brest-Litovsk.  The fact that the Entente chose the city as the location for negotiations was a … Continue reading The Begging Table: The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

The Fundamental(ly Flawed) Laws of 1906

Worker strikes, dissatisfied peasants, and a humiliating military defeat to the Japanese left the Russian Empire on the brink of disaster in 1905. In a last ditch attempt to end the massive unrest and revolution, Tsar Nicholas II issued the October Manifesto. The Manifesto, brain-child of Sergei Witte, called for increased personal freedoms and limited representative … Continue reading The Fundamental(ly Flawed) Laws of 1906

The Empire that was Russia

The above photograph, taken in 1915, pictures the photographer, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, and “two men in Cossak dress seated on the ground.” Prokudin-Gorskii was a Russian photographer famous for his depictions of railroads, waterways, bridges, and roads.  The Russian Imperial Ministry of Transportation hired Prokudin-Gorskii to photograph the construction of the Murmansk Railway during the First World War. … Continue reading The Empire that was Russia

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