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History of Russia Till Alexander IIs rule For over 330 years a single family the Romanovs has ruled Russia The 850 square mile empire stretched across most of Eastern Europe The area was comparable to North America The independent ethnic groups consisted of Armenians Balts Finns Jews Germans Poles Ukrainians and more While Europe was undergoing great changes Russias development stagnated The Mongols suppressed Russia and isolated the nation from foreign contact The Mongols left by 1480 but influenced Russia in many ways The concept of having one absolute monarch or czar came from the Mongols that Russia utilized Czars hold unlimited power over the government and church The Czar made the laws commanded the army and navy and controlled the Orthodox Church The churchs role was to reinforce the peoples obedience to the czar Since a czar couldnt manage an empire single-handed he would give church officials and landowning nobles military offices and positions in government for their help Even though the serfs made up 80 of Russias population they were treated like farm animals Some were traded for dogs and were put at stake for a poker game As the serfs grew tiresome of this treatment they began to protest Serfs started to rise to their owners in protest for the poor treatment Approximately 500 revolts took place between 1825 and 1854 but the serfs were brutally beat down every time Life was a little better for the minorities although they were subject to russification They were told to speak Russian and adopt Russian ways Meaning they would have to abandon their own language and customs The Jewish people feared the czar the most Especially for being persecuted for their religious beliefs throughout Russian history They were often used as scapegoats wrongly blamed for natural or human caused calamities On these occasions the czarist troops would launch pogroms on the Jews killing hundreds at a time During the wars Russia became exposed
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