Daniel Halliday
Dec 30 · Last update 2 days ago.
Why does Russia have such a large territory?
What led to the Russian Federation being the largest country in the world and what does this mean for the country as a nation?
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Russian Expansionism
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The collapse of the Mongol Empire
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Geographic Emptiness
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Russian Expansionism

Russia became the largest country in the world following centuries of expansionism starting with Ivan the Great and surviving through Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great and Elizabeth of Russia. During the rule of Ivan III the foundations of a Russian state were laid as the Grand Duchy of Moscow grew to incorporate the Republic of Novgorod to the north and lands south by defeating the Mongol Golden Horde. This continued as Russia became an empire under Peter the Great and continued still through the reign of Elizabeth of Russia until the Russian Empire covered more territory than it does presently.

Ivan III is also known as Ivan the Great or the “gatherer of the Russian lands” as he instigated a series of expansive moves that started with war with the Republic of Novgorod and continued as he centralised control over local rulers bringing them under Muscovite control. He continued also to rival the neighbouring Grand Duchy of Lithuania as he married the niece of the last Byzantine Emperor in order to claim to be the rightful successor of the Roman Empire. Ivan also defied the Mongol Golden Horde’s rule as Moscow started as a tributary vassal state under Ivan's reign but through a military retreat from a confrontation in Moscow Khan Ahmed of the Golden Horde was attacked and killed by a rival khanate, ending Mongol control over Moscow. chapter28russia.weebly.com/describe-the-concept-of-gathering-of-land.html

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Daniel Halliday
May 24
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DH edited this paragraph
Russia became the largest country in the world following centuries of expansionism starting with Ivan the Great and surviving through Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great and Elizabeth of Russia. During the rule of Ivan III the foundations of a Russian state were laid as the Grand Duchy of Moscow grew to incorporate the Republic of Novgorod to the north and lands south by defeating the Mongol Golden Horde. This continued as Russia became an empire under Peter the Great and continued still through the reign of Elizabeth of Russia until the Russian Empire covered more territory than it does presently.
The collapse of the Mongol Empire

Prior to Russian Imperialism the remnants of the Mongol Empire spread across from the Pacific Ocean to the Black Sea. By the end of the 13th century, following the fracturing of the Mongol Empire, which had declined into a collection of loosely connected khanates; these proved easy to conquer as Ivan the Great defeated the Tatar Golden Horde and expanded his territory South of Moscovy in 1480. This and other territorial weaknesses set the stage for the growth of the Russian empire in the following centuries, helping it on its way to becoming the huge territory it is today.

Following the death of Kublei Khan in the late 13th century, the authority of his grandson’s subsequent reign over the Mongol Empire began to decline, and the Empire was fractured into autonomous khanates, and the Golden Horde, which occupied much of what is Southern Russia today became disconnected from Mongolia and China. Following a period of reunion in the late 14th century when the Golden Horde solidified their power over the region as north as Moscow political factors between the Golden Horde, Lithuania and Russia led to the disintegration of the Golden Horde into smaller Khanates still. These smaller regions could not enforce their grip of power over such large regions and fell to Russia as Ahmed bin Küchük was unable to win a military campaign, ending 250 years of Tatar/Mongol rule in 1480. The rest of the former Golden Horde territory was swallowed up by the Ottoman Empire the following century, as only the Khanate of Crimea held out until its eventual annexation by Russia in 1783. web.archive.org/web/20090118152434/http://www.strangelove.net/~kieser/Russia/foreigninteractionC.html

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Daniel Halliday
May 24
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DH edited this paragraph
Prior to Russian Imperialism the remnants of the Mongol Empire spread across from the Pacific Ocean to the Black Sea. By the end of the 13th century, following the fracturing of the Mongol Empire, which had declined into a collection of loosely connected khanates; these proved easy to conquer as Ivan the Great defeated the Tatar Golden Horde and expanded his territory South of Moscovy in 1480. This and other territorial weaknesses set the stage for the growth of the Russian empire in the following centuries, helping it on its way to becoming the huge territory it is today.
Geographic Emptiness

Regardless of historical, social or political realities that helped lead Russia to being the largest country in the world today, it is inevitably Russia’s sparse population and the emptiness of large regions within the country that led to its massive territorial size. The expansion of Russian territory eastward under Ivan IV started in 1582 with the conquest of the Khanate of Sibir. This continued until the 18th century as a gradual conquering of indigenous groups when the east became Russia’s largest region of Siberia, and this was largely made possible simply due to the lack of resistance met in these regions.

However this has not proven to be a positive result for Russia as there seems to have been a historical trade off between territory and manageability, resulting in the country never becoming as powerful a nation as its territory should imply. Having the largest territory means that it is nearly impossible to police such a large area and Russia is, as a result, a difficult area to exercise control over, and sometimes impossible to enforce law and order. Coupling this with the geographic issues effecting efficiency in Russia has left the country without the economic power or prosperity the landmass occupied would infer, and furthermore Russia's geographic surroundings and lack of warm water ports make its huge landmass less significant as a benefit to the country. theguardian.com/comment/story/0,,1277929,00.html

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Daniel Halliday
May 24
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DH edited this paragraph
However this has not proven to be a positive result for Russia as there seems to have been a historical trade off between territory and manageability, resulting in the country never becoming as powerful a nation as its territory should imply. Having the largest territory means that it is nearly impossible to police such a large area and Russia is, as a result, a difficult area to exercise control over, and sometimes impossible to enforce law and order. Coupling this with the geographic issues effecting efficiency in Russia has left the country without the economic power or prosperity the landmass occupied would infer, and furthermore Russia's geographic surroundings and lack of warm water ports make its huge landmass less significant as a benefit to the country. https://www.theguardian.com/comment/story/0,,1277929,00.html
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