Russian history is like no other history in the world!

Few nations have as colorful and vivid a history as Russia. At times torn between the East and the West, sometimes buffering the two, Russia has always been a pot of enormous ethnic diversity which refuses to melt. The result has been a mixture of socialism and capitalism, of east and west, Christianity and Islam with a bit of social experimentation thrown in.

This page attempts to capture the flavor of the rich diversity evolving over Russian history and hence depends as much on the endeavors of others as those of the Russian Studies Program. We hope you enjoy your visit and learn more about the origins of the Russians and their neighbors.

A Chronology of Russian History

This chronology of Russian history provides the dates the major events of Russian history from the beginnings of written Russian history (The Tale of By-gone Years) through the current year.

Ресурсы WWW по истории

New! An enormous set of resources on Russian history, history of the former Soviet republics, Russian regions and world history. It includes a large list of history referats and a large number of links to Russian history resources on the Web.

Archives in Russia

New!This is a brief extract from the ArcheoBiblioBase information system on archival repositories in the Russian Federation, maintained by Patricia Kennedy Grimsted (the first to teach Russian history at Bucknell) in collaboration with Rosarkhiv, the Federal Archival Service of Russia. All though an extract, it is the most complete listing of repositories on the Web.

H-RUSSIA Discussion Group

This is a moderated discussion group focussed on Russian history. Messages from specialists in Russian history are exchanged via e-mail and are archived at this site.

The Russian Dynasties

This page contains the family trees of the two royal families of pre-Revolutionary Russia:

History of Russia and the former USSR

Douglas and Colleen Hartmann have created a complete history Russia from medieval times to the present in short articles with links to other sites. An excellent sources of information on Russian history.

Assembly of the Russian Nobility

The ancient assembly of the Russian nobility is now on-line with news, history, and other information about the royal family. This organization represents the remaining members of the tsarist family living in Russian and about the world.

Genealogy of the Russian Nobility

The Directory of Royal Genealogical Data maintained by Brian Tompsett of the University of Hull has to be the most comprehensive source of genealogy of European rulers. There you can find:

Tim Boettger has also begun work on several ambitious projects. First, he has a link system to resources on Russian, Polish, and Georgian genealogy.  Those interested in contacting others tracing their Slavic ancestry may do so through the Russian Empire Nobility Research List.

The Face of Russia

A fascinating website based on the PBS series written by James Billington, Librarian of Congress and former professor of Russian history at Princeton (author of The Icon and the Axe). This site covers the breadth of Russian history with lavish graphics and cameo texts about bits and pieces of Russian history. It also provides information on how to obtain the 3-part video series.

Patriotic History (Otechestvennaia istoria)

For those of you who can read Russian, this is a major resource by Oleg Lantsov. It contains the major histories of Russia: Kliuchevsky, Solovev, Gumilev, and several less known textbooks, Slovo o polku Igoreve (3 editions), plus histories of the Church, major Russian cities. It also contains genealogical tables and information. All Cyrillic code pages are supported.

Мир истории. Российский электронный журнал

A new electronic journal of Russian history on line, including a page of delightful historical anecdotes. The table of contents of the first issue (Windows 1251 font):

  1. Московское масонство последней четверти XVIII века (В. Пономарева и Л. Хорошилова
  2. Золото России (В. Сироткин)
  3. Некоторые новые данные анализа сил и потерь на советско-германском фронте (Г. Кривошеев)
  4. Золото России (В. Сироткин)

The History of Moscow

An in-depth, detailed history of the Russian capital by Anton Lagutin and Serge Shokarev, and mounted by Leonid Bezmozgii (a Soros Foundation project). Its 12 chapters currently (July 1999) cover the history of Moscow from the Paleolithic era to the end of the 16th century.

The History of Russia

Timo Hannukkala of Tampere, Finland has a rather substantial version of Russian history on the St. Peterburg city website. Seanet of Seattle, Washington provides an overview of all of Russia's history in 12 pages.

Russian Historical Texts in English

This is an excellent site authored by John Slatter of the University of Durham. It contains all the major historical documents of ancient Russian history either in whole or in except. It could already serve as the primary reading list for the range of introductory history courses and continues to grow.

The Khazars

The Khazars were the only nation to convert as a whole to Judaism. They were the neighbors of Kievan Rus' from 650 to 1016. Read about their interesting history here.

Beyond the Pale: The History of Jews in Russia

This exhibition portrays more the history Christian persecution of the Jews in Europe and in Russia than an actual history Judaism in Russia. As the authors say, "above all, the exhibition wants to warn of the great dangers of prejudice and intolerance, particularly in times of political uncertainty and increased social tension."What Russian 'devica' once watched for her 'zhenikh' from this window? However, it is well-executed and the message is an eternal one that we keep forgetting.

The Varangians in Rus'

The Vikings, or as the Russians call them, the Varangians, came to Russian territory in the 9th-10th centuries. They established the first political organization in Russia or, as it was called then, Rus'; indeed, the first Russian grand princes all had Varangian names: Rurik, Oleg (=Helgi), Olga (=Helga). This exhibit tells a little about the Varangians in Russia but provides much more on the Vikings themselves.

The Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine Empire made great contributions to civilization: the Greek Orthodox church converted some Slavic peoples and fostered the development of a splendid new art dedicated to the glorification of the Christian religion. Situated at the crossroads of east and west, Constantinople (Tsaregrad) acted as the disseminator of culture for all peoples who came in contact with the empire, especially the Slavs, who lived along the road 'from the Vikings to the Greeks'.

Lord Great Novgorod

The oldest Russian city of written history was first mentioned in the Chronicles in 859. Originally settled by Vikings (Varangians), it was the second most important city in Kievan Rus'.

Modern Customs and Ancient Laws in Russia

Six lectures by Maksim Kovalevsky, August 27, 1851-March 23, 1916 covering matrimonial customs, the state of the Russian family at the turn of the century, the Russian village community, old Russian folk mores, old Russian parliaments, personal servitude in Russia.

The History of the Russian Law Codes

Russia has had some of the best constitutions in the world over its history. The earliest law code we know of is the Russkaya Pravda, written under Yaroslav the Wise in the 11th century. In 1497 Ivan III compiled all the laws into the Sudebnik, Russia's next unified legal code. It was followed by the Sobornoe Ulozhenie, completed in 1649 under Alexis Mikhailovich. The full Russian text of the Ulozhenie is available from the Istfak at MGU. In anticipation of the reforms of 1864, Alexander II established a commission which produced The Basic Principles Concerning the Reform of the Judicial Administration of Russia in 1862. Cheri Wilson has written an introduction to her translation. The emperors found it possible to get along without constitutions until the Fundamental Law of 1906 but once the tsars were removed, the Soviets compensated for the years without a constitution with three. Here they are along with the new Russian constitution.

For more information on Russian laws, try the Russian Legal Server.

Pechersk Lavra

The oldest monastery in Russian history originated as a series of caves in the bank of the Dnepr. According to the Chronicles and other historical documents, Antonius, a monk from Chernigov, came to Kiev in 1051 and settled in the original cave which had been dug by Presviter Hilarion for his prayers. The monastery was built above this holy place later and continued to grow until the turn of the century.

The Mongol Empire

In 1995 the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria hosted an exhibit entitled Empires Beyond the Great Wall: The Heritage of Genghis Khan. Genghis Khan created a legacy of empire-building which made him one of the world's most famous historical figures. He conquered Kiev Rus' in 1240 and his progeny controlled Russia until 1490. The Khan and his little known civilization, the Mongols, also created a culture of splendor, wealth and beauty almost unparalleled to this day. Eric Hildinger has written an article on the invasion of Europe from the European perspective.

The Treasures of the Tsars

The Bronze HoresemanThis an exhibition of the treasures of the tsars which was mounted in 1995 at the Florida International Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida (guess who her sister-city is). The St. Petersburg Times has been kind enough to maintain the website for the benefit of us all. Take a look at some of the exhibits as well as historical information about the two Russian dynasties, the Ruriks and the Romanovs.

The Jewels of the Romanovs

This site not only contains photographs of the fabulous collection of crown jewelry of the Romanov's but exhibits of their clothing, both for the Emperor and the Empress, and exhibits of Russian church treasures. Another hit site by Bob Atchison, author of 'The Alexander Time Machine'. It is based on an exhibit traveling about the United States in 1997.

The Stroganoff Foundation

The Stroganoff's played a major role not only in the development of Russian cuisine, but in the development of Siberia. Learn all about them at this beautiful site by Bob Atchison.

The Table of Ranks

In 1722 Peter I introduced obligatory service to the state for all the upper classes. All members of the upper classes had to serve in the army, navy, judicial, or civil service. As an enticement to apply themselves, Peter set up a table of ranks, 14 of them for civil service, fewer for other services. Hereditary nobility was bestowed on all who reached the 8th rank.

Интеллигентская страница

A rich Russian language resource of articles on various aspects of Russian history, including the Third Rome, Slavophilism, the Intervention by Ostryalov, Vorobiev, Losev and others. Other topics include philosophy, politics, and history.

The Russian Orthodox Church

Russia was christianized in 988 by Saint Vladimir, whose grandmother, Olga, was said to have been converted in Constantinople. By 1051 hermits were settling in caves along the bank of the Dnepr river beneath what would become the oldest monastery in Russia, the Kiev Pechersk Monastery. The religion there was Eastern Catholicism or Orthodoxy ('True Faith') hence the Russian Church is Orthodox rather than Roman Catholic. The seat of the Church now is the Trinity-St. Sergiev Monastery in Sergiev Posad (Zagorsk). An extensive album of color photographs of churches, cathedrals, and monasteries in Moscow is maintained by Mikhail Soutchanski of Toronto. Steven Grimm provides the scenes from Sergiev Posad.

Библиотека проекта "1812 год"

New!An enormous archive of a wide range of archived documents about the Napoleonic invasion by the Virtual Museum of 1812, initiated by Oleg Polyakov. A remarkable resource, indeed, for students and research of Russian history.

Petr IA. Chaadaev and the Rise of Russian Cultural Criticism, 1800-1830

A doctoral dissertation by Gordon Southworth Cook, Jr. that applies the biographical approach to examine the first 35 years of Chaadaev's life. It explores those critical attitudes towards Russian society and culture expressed in much of the literary criticism of the 1820s, in the programs and goals of the secret societies of the Decembrists, and finally in Chaadaev's First Philosophical Letter.

Historical Maps of Russia and East-Central Europe

Federation of East European Family History Societies, which also supplies is with a wealth of genealogical information, now has a remarkable map room with 57 (and growing) 19th-century maps of the Russian Empire and East-Central Europe.

Russian Empire, 1895-1910: Photographs from the Keystone-Mast Collection

900 stereoscopic photographs of Russia in the Keystone-Mast collection of the California Museum of Photography at the University of California, Riverside. This database now provides access to detailed textual descriptions, city maps, images as enlargements, stereoscopic views and significant details useful in architectural analysis.

Illustrated Russian History

This is the place to go for an idea of how Russian history 'looked'. This site contains photographs of buildings and cities of historical interest, and icons from historical churches.

The History of Russians in Alaska

Russians settled as far south as Fort Ross, now in San Francisco. However, the retreated to Alaska where they continued to trap. Most stayed when Alaska was sold to the US in 1867 and continue their cultural traditions to this day. This is their web site.

The Alexander Palace Time Machine

This smaller palace in Tsarskoe Selo was built by Catherine II for her grandson, Alexander Pavlovich, who, as it turned out, preferred Catherine's own more luxurious Summer Palace. However, Nicholas II and Alexandra enjoyed this palace and spent most of their summers there until the abdication.

Nicholas and Alexandra

The State Hermitage Museum and Broughton International present this exhibition of the last imperial family. Another beautifully designed website by Bob Atchison.


The period of Russian history from 1917 to 1991 has recently been referred to as 'The Period of Socialist Experimentation'. It began with the philosophy of Karl Marx as modified by Vladimir Ilich Lenin. The Communist Manifesto by Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx can be found here. The Marxist Internet Archive is the oldest and deepest on-line resource of Marxism. This site contains old photos, biographies, and an extensive archive of the works of these Marxists.

The Russian Revolutions of 1917

A growing index of sites and resources on the Revolutions of 1917 is now maintained by David Barnsdale of the UK. Trotsky's History of the Russian Revolution is going up at the Trotsky site at the Marx-Engels' Archive listed above. The Lessons of October is already up. The FUNET Russian Archive contains an interesting page of famous Russian voices, including those of revolutionary and post-revolutionary figures.

The Development of the Soviet Union

A large archive of documents from 1917-1919, including documents by Lenin, letters from US ambassadors, bibliographies, sounds, graphics, and the 1918 Constitution. A part of the Marxist Internet Archive.

The Soviet Archives Exhibit

The Library of Congress' exhibit of Soviet memorabilia, including the orders and letters of Lenin, Bukharin, and other Bolshevik leaders. This exhibit contains crucial evidence for assessing the failure of socialism in Russia and understanding the tragedies of Stalinism.

The Lost American Victims

This is the Associated Press account of hundreds of idealistic American leftists who fled to the Soviet Union in its early years to work for world revolution. Instead, they were systematically rounded up and killed during the years of Stalinist terror. Our appreciation to the Columbia Tribune of Columbia, Missouri.

ArcheoBiblioBase: Archives in Russia

This site provides information of all the sources of the ArcheoBiblioBase information system on archival repositories for documents on all aspects of the Russian Federation, maintained by Patricia Kennedy Grimsted in collaboration with Rosarkhiv, the Federal Archival Service of Russia. The documents in these archives may be accessed through Russian Archive for $100-200 per document.

World War II Through Russian Eyes

More than 50 years ago, in merely a four-year span, the Russians lost an estimated 27 million people, both civilian and military. Their loss—and their battle against Hitler's forces—is still reflected in their national character. But to American eyes, much of this history was shrouded by the Iron Curtain. With the fall of communism and the advent of democracy in Russia, we are now able to re-create this chapter in history in this on-line exhibition.

Historical Documents on Latvian-Russian Relations

This site is in French but many of the documents are available in German, English, and Russian. It includes declarations of independence, the Soviet declaration of annexation, deportation orders, the secret codicil of the Molotov-Von Ribbentrop Non-Agression Pact and more.

The Cold War

This CNN 16-part special is backed up by an elaborate multimedia website which includes course materials for classroom instructors. The most elaborate treatment of the Cold War since it ended.

The Later Soviet Political Leaders

This site provides information on the General Secretaries from Khrushchлv to Gorbachлv. It includes chronologies, speeches, and slogans.

A Guide to the History of Russian and Soviet Technology

This guide was established on 1 March 1997 by Slava Gerovitch to provide information resources for historians of Russian and Soviet science and technology worldwide and is rapidly growing. It currently contains links to people, institutes, journals, bibliographies of Russian and Soviet technology. Look under 'People' for the listing of Bucknell's own Andrew Jenks '86.

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