History of Russia

Russia: 1000 Years Of History – History Documentary

History of Russia has always had to invent history to legitimate itself when the real story was not palatable so what is the real truth behind mighty mother russia and her hidden past it’s a story that takes us from its earliest leaders to its most notorious style improves let’s face it the 20th century was the perfect century for dictators and on to its leader today vladimir Putin is a man with a mission his goal has been to make russia great again it’s the story of its proud people and the demands of their motherland from bloody revolution to a regime that demands loyalty at any cost the knock on the door at three in the morning someone in your apartment block is being dragged away by the secret police maybe because he was very close to some truth was the last drop and he was killed from a mighty superpower to an empire on the brink of collapse this was really a disaster that nobody had ever seen before and never really imagined at this scale and now to a new global threat despite all the obstacles that have been posed over the years History of Russia still is is such an enormous player on the world stage there’s such a wealth of opinions on what russia is what it should be the real victims in this game in this drama are russians it’s a melting pot of every single political system you could think of this is the epic story of one of the biggest and most extraordinary countries on the planet churchill once described russia as a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma and so it remains today in every sort of major modern period.

History of Russia

I mean there have been significant barriers to actually knowing what’s happening inside the country we know this is a country of proud people who have a remarkable relationship with their motherland this idea of what russia is where it belongs it’s been something that’s been discussed in the country publicly in literature in politics really all through time and yet in the west we are almost conditioned not to trust its leaders our quarrel is with putin’s kremlin whether we like it or not russia appears to play a part in all our lives but why how do you begin to unwrap this mystery for some the key is surprisingly simple look at the map russia’s place in the world is staggering this has been a country that has always been pushing outwards it covers one-eighth of all the land on earth stretching across the whole of northern asia and the eastern third of europe one thing that i find endlessly fascinating is how much more there is to History of Russia and i suppose the challenge of of ruling over that vast landmass and when you start to dig down into the sheer range of landscapes peoples and culture all under one russian flag it becomes all the more extraordinary 70 times bigger than the uk russia is so vast that when the sun rises in the west at the same time it’s setting in the east over 11 time zones away  this is a country that spans half the globe it comes from the incredibly fun metropolitan 24 7 capital that is moscow which is a rich prosperous european city all the way through to much much more impoverished backwater villages over the last thousand years much of russia’s vast wilderness has remained unchanged even back to the moment that russia was little more than a loose confederation of tribes ruled over by her patron saint.

The Grand Prince Vladimir

History of Russia

The turn of the century the grand prince had been in power for 20 years and ruled over a kingdom known as kievan rus which had emerged after the conquest of the ruth vikings the roosts were this whole selection of different individual principalities and city-states most of which had very little power it’s seen as being the cradle of russian civilization and something that joins slavic peoples together from the grand capital which then was kiev vladimir was to leave a lasting legacy on russia one which still plays a key part in russian life today vladimir imposed christianity quite literally at the point of a spear on his own people who were driven into the rivers in kiev to be so baptized this allowed him precisely to be able to assert that kiev was not just the biggest most splendid city of the rusbut it was the heart of the new rus christianity it is a core part of russia a thousand years on today it is estimated over 70 percent of russians identify as orthodox christian unlike the grand prince president putin professes a deep orthodox belief this is a man who also believes the story of russia that followed its founding father has been grossly distorted by the west and he pointed to one of russia’s most divisive rulers as a case in point a man who centuries on from the sacred grand prince would defeat the mongol invaders and transform russia from a medieval state into a vast empire the man who first made russia great you just wouldn’t want to argue with him there is a very strong myth within History of Russia itself that what they need is a strong hand there are many leaders of russia and the soviet union who would qualify as such and none more so than ivan iv or ivan the terrible who was to become the first tsar of russia and he certainly earned his name the degree of ruthlessness with which ivan dealt with any perceived threat to himself was actually quite phenomenal this is a period in which you have enemies being dealt with whether they’re being impaled in the center of Moscow or sewn into the skin of a bear and have the czar’s hunting dogs unleashed upon them he regards brutality as being one of the central attributes of being a strong ruler the tsar was important he was master of everything everybody else could be easily punished by him even when he was 15 he had his kennel men um take one of the great boyars who had been a particular power in the land and beat him to death this is a guy who even at 15 was beginning to realize the power that came with his title ivan the terrible’s reputation in russia is a good symptom of the distinctive way in which russians see strong leaders who terrorize them  and yet while he may have been terrible this was a strong leader who would change russia forever this is a man who established the first real standing army and then used it to fight off previous aggressors to the south the carnate of kazan for example this is a man who started the inexorable eastwood.

Sweep of Russian Expansion

Across siberia this is also the period in which actually for a while Ivan creates a whole kingdom within a kingdom under ivan’s tyrannical rule History of Russia established itself as a vast empire and at its very epicenter was moscow i mean ivan is recognized as the monarch who established Muscovy Moscow the symbolism of we are here to stay and this is a fortress and people often talk about russia as a fortress ivan created a capital built around power around a leader and around fear this was an autocracy under an iron fist and in doing so he was to begin a sodom which would grip russia for centuries to come and steer her towards an explosive entrance onto the world stage  russia how over the last thousand years did this sprawling rural country rise up the global pecking order to become a superpower it’s an epic tale that would see the russian people dominated by a roll call of some of history’s most notorious rulers but perhaps none more so than her almighty tsars a dynasty of 18 romanovs would take to the russian throne over 300 years and each would leave their mark but three in particular peter the great Catherine the great and Nicholas ii would leave legacies so seismic that they still define the people.

Great cities of Russia 

History of Russia

Today this is one of the tallest statues ever created weighing in at a hefty 600 tonsit’s regularly voted one of the ugliest statues in the world meet peter the great if you’re in Moscow you can’t miss him this was a man determined for Russia to start looking outwards peter the great is always hailed as one of the great Russian modernizers he wasn’t interested in the spiritual side of being a czar he wasn’t interested in the philosophical side of being a czar he was interested in practicalities by the time peter the great became tsar Russia was the largest country in the world stretching from Europe to the pacific ocean his was a country of 14 million Russians many of whom worked the land to survive peter wanted Russia to catch up and he was convinced the west had all the answers he’d even lived for four months in Dept ford London to learn shipbuilding he wanted a Russia that could mirror its great armies equal its maritime might even one that could follow European education and fashion and he wanted a brand new capital to prove it he didn’t like Moscow they wanted a new city and one that absolutely would look like a western European city Moscow was out and a new capital city st peters burg was born it was to be Russia’s window on Europe saint Peters burg in my view looks even now much better than Moscow st Peters burg is a very beautiful city it’s a city that’s associated with that period around its foundation enlightenment ideals progressiveness education all of these general themes are kind of associated with the city it’s basically seen as russia’s cultural capital yet it was built on the backs of slaves who lost their lives built on an inhospitable swamp this is known as the city built on bones historians believe under its foundations are the remains of some hundred thousand skeletons of the press gang slave laborers drawn from the length and breadth of then.

 Russian Empire

History of Russia

 This vast and gruesome enterprise gives some idea of the ambition and the single-mindedness of the man behind it he brought in foreign architects and stonemasons and engineers from Italy from britain from Germany from the Netherlands and they built in this beautiful modern airy city peter the great was one of the Russian leaders who has gripped this perpetual problem of russia being behind the west particularly europe recognizing that russia was drifting further and further into the irrelevance and seeking to do something about it particularly by emulating the west it’s seen as the source of great progress of opening up opportunities for russia and of establishing russia on an equal footing with the great powers of europe i think that’s why his period is seen as significant because it really puts Russia on the map as a genuine global great power so it’s perhaps no surprise that president Putin recently claimed that the man who founded the city he was born in was his favorite leader just like.

 Putin the Great Peter 

Putin the great peter was a man astride an empire who wanted to expand russia’s influence and power and everything about his saint Petersburg was designed to have that impact especially the grand winter palace which is now home to one of the most important and biggest museums in the world this is the hermitage museum it holds three million works of art which means if you looked at each artwork for minute you’d be there for nearly six years the walls which are now home to priceless works of art were once home to the Russian royal family for almost 200 years and all this started out as a private art collection for one person the next great leader to make their mark on Russia Catherine the great whilst putin may encourage comparisons with peter many think the castle the great would be nearer the marklike putin catherine was an unexpected ruler who would go on to become one of the greatest in its history the woman whom history would remember as catherine the great wasn’t actually called catherineand she wasn’t even russian she was born princess sophie of anheld zerbst a german backwater in what wasthen the holy. 

Roman Empire

 At the age of 16 she married the heir to the Russian throne peter but by 1762 she had seized power in a daring coup and became empress of Russia and her husband was secretly murdered she’s seen as someone who is quite ruthless in disposing of her husband to take power one of the greatest female rulers of her age Catherine’s reputation [History of Russia] would come under sustained attack from that moment on was she the promiscuous usurper were a modernizing force with the interests of her adopted nation at heart she was writing letters to Voltaire and getting letters from him she was very civilized and she did have a lot of lovers certain stories about her are myths but it’s fairly well documented that she did have various lovers and this was not actually unusual throughout history monarchs have taken lovers it tends to be talked about more if they are women monarchs the shape of Russia grew under her rule some 200 000 square miles were added including what’s now Poland crime a Lithuania and Belarus Russia has always seen itself as a superpower but it’s under the reins of peter and subsequently catherine that europe first started to be seriously alarmed about its power and particularly about its intentions i think that it was pretty glorious period in History of Russia this is a period in which russia was actually consolidating its military force it was continuing its pressure against the ottoman empire and so what’s really interesting is in this period you have a very very distinct change in how the outside world how Europe rather looks at Russia Catherine’s triumph was how people thought about russia and the extent to which they believed it had changed and in politics perception is everything she is generally talked about as being an enlightened autocrat somebody who was obsessed with the west with improving the ways in which Russian autocrats ruled but i do not know any leader staying in power for 2030 and more years was becoming better than he used to be or she used to be initially and i think Catherine the great is good example of this and yet for the everyday Russian whilst Catherine may have brought enlightenment for the aristocracy they were still trapped in a system of serfdom and for the following century across a dynasty of the six stars to follow little would change in terms of the hardship and poverty of the Russian people this was still a country whose population was made up overwhelmingly of peasants and the tsars wielded their considerable power over a vast empire that extended across three continents by the 19th century this autocratic way of running a country was increasingly out of step with its people in the cities the workers suffered appalling exploitation and squalor and his countryside was in turmoil after devastating famine it was amidst this volatile cocktail of hunger and unrest that a new tsar took power Nicholas ii his legacy would change Russia forever these are the last pictures of this unhappy man and his family this is the Alexander palace having fallen into disrepair the favorite residence of the last tsar Nicholas ii has finally been restored it is the symbol of a lost era Nicholas was born here in 1868 the air tour dynasty that had ruled over Russia for 250 years when his father [History of Russia] Alexander iii died suddenly in 1894 a 26 year old Nicholas stepped in to his cousin he confessed i am not prepared to bizarre i never wanted to become one i know nothing of the business of ruling part of the reason that he struggled in the role as tsar was because he was completely unprepared for it and i think this is really reflected in the way he essentially kind of continued without any real attempts to engage with the social trends that were emerging in that country until it was really far too late with Nicholas ii they have arguably one of the least fitted individuals to be leading Russia at a time of extraordinary turmoil the peasants were still in many ways tied to a very unfair system in which they did not own the land open living standards were very low but the cities were becoming increasingly overcrowded Nicholas understood little of modern Russia and its ever more educated urban and agitated society they were on a collision course that would come to a head on the infamous bloody Sunday the essence of the 1905 bloody Sunday massacre is that it came out of a loyal petition that thousands of Russians marched on the winter palace in saint peters burg not to topple the czar but to simply give him a petition someone panics shooting starts and before you know it there has been a massacre by the palace guards the country starts to seem to fall apart the czar and the people around him they panic he wasn’t great enough to lead such a big country at a time of trouble she was good father and good husband but we do evaluate leaders not by how good they are in their small families but how good they used to be with regard to the whole nation amidst this the russian people began to see the tsar and his family as something of a circus making other royals round the world shudder with his unpopular German wife Alexandra and the increasingly influential Rasputin Russian mystic and self-proclaimed holy man who appeared to have an extraordinary hold on the inner circle nicholas was frankly bad enough of zazar the fact that he had an over bearing German-born wife at a time when actually the Russians were going to find themselves facing the Germans of their primary antagonists did not help the fact that also especially under pressure from his wife nicholas for so long countenance this uh charlatan Rasputin in his various dispute antics around the court dissolute antics that everyone read about enthusiastically in all kinds of sort of yellow papers um again contributed to this sense this is a czar who not only is out of touch and not on the side of the people but is actively harboring hostile forces the sarina became dependent on Rasputin rumors started to circulate there was more to their relationship than met the eye she allegedly wrote how difficult it is to conquer one’s bad habits but you will help me you will not leave me for i am weak and love you and have faith in you alone this was a family issue that really influenced negatively how state affairs panned out a weeks are over-reliant on this one particular advisor somehow let everything slip but the royal soap opera was to become deadly when Nicholas made the decision to take supreme command of the armed forces as russia entered the first world war with an estimated two million deaths once again the Russian people would have their loyalties severely tested and for the first time in centuries of zara’s drool they had reached their breaking point what would happen next would become one of the biggest events of the 20th century the revolutionary fire of the masses was finally unleashed Moscow it’s one of the world’s largest cities it is grand glittering and utterly imposing and it’s meant to be this is a monument to the global ambitions of its leaders past and present over the last thousand years this has been a country defined by its all-powerful rulers and yet for all its grand cities and decadent leadership in 1917 there was to be a political earthquake that would shake the very core of Russia the people had had enough they had faced a devastating war they were starving and their loyalty to their leader was spent into this power vacuum stepped a man who would trigger one of the biggest political upheavals of the 20th century but what would be the human cost of a revolution and what does it really mean to the russia of today there is one man who is instantly recognized around the world by just one word Lennon then himself Vladimir yanov who took that revolutionary code name linen was an extraordinary figure today if you want to meet Lennon his embalmed body awaits in a mausoleum at the heart of red square but be prepared to queue many people go to pay their respects not just to the man but to the ideals he still represent she was a man who did believe in an ideology that he thought would ultimately possibly passing through rivers of blood but ultimately create this extraordinary world of egalitarianism with no hunger no want no oppression the vision that lenin had was very simple bread land and peace which was an almost universal longing of the Russian [History of Russia] people after this disastrous participation in world war one and in Russia at the turn of the century this resonated with a country on its knee sin february 1917 russian people and soldiers took to the streets in saint peters burg originally as a peaceful demonstration so in February to march 1917 there’s an enormous up swell of a sense that something had to change the political system had become dysfunctional that the tsar was no longer listening to what the people wanted and in February 1917 what we would think of as a popular revolution happened it spontaneously grew into a general strike and outright mutiny after just seven days tsar nicholas ii had abdicated a provisional government stepped in there are all these kind of very excited responses to revolution which i think can be forgotten in a sense when we think of what came laterin october lennon seized his chance his followers known as the red guard captured control in a bloodless coup and put the radical communist party the Bolsheviks in power but it launched the country into a civil war there continued to be a situation of chaos as each part of Russia and even individuals within Russia decided where their future was to be all were just caught up by one side or the other and forced to fight in the civil war on the one side was lenin’s bolshevik red army and on the other was the white army made up of saris nobles and aristocrats and no mercy was shown on either side tsar nicholas and his family who had been put under house arrest in Siberia were awoken on july 17 1918 by guards from lenin’s red armythe entire family were made to gather in one room and were then brutally shot the dynasty that had ruled russia for three centuries had come to a horrifying end and yet it would not bring peace to the people of russia and they were plunged into an ever more brutal chapterin 2017 there was a really interesting re imagining of the revolutionary period in russia tv programmes came out that trashed the legacy of the Bolsheviks and portrayed them as personally morally reprehensible and the structures that created as being flawed from the start in 2017 putin made it clear that the 100th anniversary of the revolution would not be an occasion for state celebration he even clamped down on unauthorized rallies why for many it’s the sign of a distinctly anti-revolutionary and deeply apprehensive leader for whom revolution represents a challenge to stability the idea of celebrating something which was in any way a kind of mass overthrow of the existing regime is clearly uncomfortable for others it may be because the civil war that followed has given the revolution a darker narrative the war devastated the country causing an estimated 14 million deaths but after four long years it was finally over civil wars rarely end neatly but pretty much by 1922 the fighting had been had finished on the one hand the Bolsheviks wanted to essentially now move into a nation-building mode and on the other hand they wanted to mark their victory we’ve won and we’re building a new state not just a new state but a new kind of state and that new state was created when a treaty.

History of Ukraine and Russia

History of Russia

Belarusian the trans caucasus formed the union of soviet republicslenin’s vision for a new communist state had arrived the soviet union was bornbut would it be the egalitarian paradise lenin had once promised the truth was that having demolished the oppressive autocracy of the tsars and equally brutal leadership now took their place the communist leadership could start experimenting with different means of actually making that state function but very swiftly defaulting to terror and repression as once again the only way to govern a country like russia lenin ordered an all-powerful security service into being called the checker paving the way for what would become the notorious kgbthe czech’s function was to protect the fledgling botavic state and actually to destroy class enemies aristocrats anti-revolutionaries people whomlenin and Trotsky thought posed a sort of existential risk to communism and their role essentially was putting it nicely internal security but putting it as it was to smash enemies of the state Czech agents exuded terror and control with his people under that control lenin wanted to apply an equally firm hand to the running of the state he needed to chart away for his new soviet union to recover from years of famine and war and to do so might mean playing a little fast and loose with his Marxist ideals so there’s a need to rebuild and lenin very very pragmatically adopts hisso-called new economic policy which is in some ways a limited form of capitalism the state maintains theso-called commanding heights of the economy you know the big heavy industries the banks and so forth but on the other hand the opportunities for small scale capitalist enterprise farmers being allowed to to grow extra and then sell it in markets the communist leaders found that their ideals their Marxist ideas were in direct collision with actually managing a functioning state and so in return to capitalism had to be a stop cap measure to make sure that the country didn’t collapse altogether and so a new form of communism was born one which could be adapted reinterpreted and reinvented to meet the needs of this brand new russia its success at doing so will be tested time and time again over the next 70 years and would come with an extraordinary human cost especially when placed in the hands of the man who would succeed leninit’s fair to say that russia today has a somewhat mixed relationship with one of its most notorious leaders joseph stalin and yet his rehabilitation has gathered pace with a record 70 of russians in a recent poll approving of his role in History of Russia so who was he in 1924 the man who had made anindelible mark on the 20th century and changed the fortunes of russia diedlenin was gone and whilst a host of loyal bolsheviks jostled to take his placea lesser-known party member was about to surprise them all joseph stalinno one beforehand thought it could be conceivable that stalin would becomeleader of the soviet union lenin himself had advice against stalin being his successor but stalin did become his successor and this was largely on the basis of taking out opponent she could basically ally with one against the other and then a lie the other way play them all off very effectively until there was just one man standing in 1929stalin became the ruler of the soviet union to the outside world this was a kindly benevolent uncle joe a man to look after his fellow comrades then shift to this very radical vision of a great leap forward or a great breakaway from the new economic policy and towards industrialization collectivization class war russia was in for a shock style improves let’s face it the 20thcentury was the perfect century for dictators the principle of terror the red terrorso-called of the civil war had begun under lenin and that there was no difference between lenin and stalin whenit came to the principle of repressing your enemies in very large number/s so the chequer evolved its mission stayed the same um which which was to to smash enemies of the revolution under stalin the checker became known as the nkvd it was the nkbd who carried out massive repressions in which millions and millions of people were were murdered and killed this was an era of the the knock on the door at three in the morning someone in your apartment block is being dragged away by the secret police everyone just kind of keeps their head down because it could be you next time the nkvd was so ruthless that this era became known as the great terror for ordinary russians across the country life under stern was one ruled by fear you couldn’t even trust your own family there was the legend of pavel morozov who was a child who actually informed on his own parents to the secret police why because they have been hoarding food to feed him at a time of famine and this is a sense i think of the paranoia that became part and parcel of everyone’s lives in the 1930s nighttime arrests large-scale deportations obviously none of this is reported in the press what we have is a rhetoric of wreckers enemies of the people this was a grievous terrible period in soviet history where the secret police were themselves ironically enough often consumed that they would be carrying out these executions arresting people often by quota and then with themselves be shot others found that gulags where very many people perished or died constructing canals in the frozen north an estimated 18 million people are thought to have been imprisoned in work camps known as the gulag one of stalin’s strengths in a way was precisely that he could imagine things on a scale that other people thought was just completely ridiculous you know the thought of building labor camps wherein you can have millions of people being sort of imprisoned and being worked sometimes to death repressing individuals deporting them tosi beria murdering them more or less at whim is a constant throughout History of Russia it’s just understanding it was elevated to an all-pervasive system which affected everybody in the country more or less indiscriminately people thought no surely it can’t be that extreme. If anything it was more extreme than it was thought there were almost no monuments to those who were killed.

Stalin’s concentration camps although it’s very important part of soviet history 

But this is a kind of hidden part of the history75 of the supreme war council are murdered in 1937 that is two out of five marshals 13 out of 15 army generals out of a total of 6 000 high-ranking officers in the red army 1500 are executed during one purge so how and why in russia has stalin’s image been gradually rehabilitated from bloody dictator to an efficient leader many have pointed towards a day that has grown into a major celebration of patriotism under the presidency of vladimir putin victory day the story of stalin’s russia was about to take an extraordinary turn with the arrival of the second world war russia a country that has never been shy to rewrite its own history [History of Russia] even if it’s some way from the truth and putin is a master of the craft he’s plundering history for the bits that fit his current political needs he can essentially reinvent Russia for every single individual segment of the audience and there is one man in particular who appears to be having his legacy reworked for the next generation under putin stalin has made something ofa comeback history has been rewritten to the point where he’s now portrayed in russian textbooks for kids as an efficient manager so how could the man who some estimate was responsible for the death of as many as 20 million soviets now be remembered as a russian heroin 1939 perhaps two of the greatest villains of modern history starring and hitler had initially entered a pact the soviets would help Germany in return for poland but stalin was double-crossed within two years hitler scrapped the pact and the soviets found themselves facing the nazi war machine hitler attacked on the 22nd of june 1941 and so began a bloody war on the eastern front the german troops crossed the soviet border and there after follows a long period of tremendously traumatic retreats huge loss of life after five months the nazis closed in on saint Petersburg which had been renamed Leningrad beginning a siege of the historic cityit would last two and a half years and go down as one of the deadliest blockades in history the siege of leningrad of course has become a kind of iconic part of soviet history i mean people were reduced sometimes to cannibalism i mean people were starving more people died in the defense of the leningrad than the total british american and french war dead through the entire war it is a moment in history that almost defines the sacrifice that ordinary russians would make for the victory of their country the loss of generations on a heartbreaking scale and yet it was indeed a huge turning point eventually the war on the eastern frontfell in the soviet’s favor it’s very difficult i think to get to terms with just how vicious the struggle on the eastern front was when it comes down to it hitler’s war machine was broken in the east that’s where the majority of his divisions were deployed that’s where themajority of his divisions were destroyed for the remainder of the war the germans were attacked from all sides by the allies and were never able to regain the initiative then on the 8th of may 1945 came the announcement everyone had been waiting for yesterday morning at 2 : 41 am at general Eisenhower’s headquarters general joel the representative of the german high command signed the act of unconditional surrender the war had been won at a huge cost to the soviet union an estimated 26 million soviet citizens lost their livesif you go to Leningrad well as is now saint petersburg the massive pisgahrovski cemetery all you see is mass grave after mass grave after masquerade the fact that russia lost that many at the time of the second world war is to large extent explained by the fact that russian military commanders and stalin did not economize on human livesin my case i have not seen both my grandparents and it’s not my unique family story it’s almost everywhere but despite this extraordinary cast without the soviet union the second world war would have ended very differently the allies emerged victorious and morepowerful than ever before the soviet union bought global freedom with soviet soldiers blood almost that the world owes that victory to the ultimate sacrifice that soviet soldiers that the soviet people as a whole were willing to make which is why even in the height of a pandemic putin decided that commemorating this moment in history with his victory day parade was what the country needed it’s a symbol of strength of russian might of a turning point in the fortunes of the motherland this is the thing that distinguishes the soviet participation in war from any other countries that it’s on a completely different scale and that this deserves to be commemorated on a world stage and so just when russia could have looked at its weakest they were suddenly at their strongest talin was transformed and there was a new empire to build Stalin was not by nature a humanitarian nor an altruist and he had fought the second world warto preserve his country and he was likely also going to use this as an opportunity to extend his power as muchas possible soviet armies had penetrated deep into europe all the way through to berlin andso forth and basically what happened was that where soviet troops had reached on the whole there are some exceptions but on the whole they would not withdraw with the agreements made at the alta conference in 1945 stalin was able to expand the soviet empire new satellite states emerged in poland bulgaria hungary Czechoslovakia romaniaal bania and east germany this became known as the eastern blocstalin had succeeded in turning the fledgling communist state into a giant force to be reckoned with and it made the west very uneasythe most notorious chapter in History of Russia was about to begin over the last thousand years the russian people have seen their history defined in part by their tumultuous relationship with the westit’s fitting that their national symbol is that of the double-headed eagle one facing east and one west it’s been said that if in asia you feel european and in europe you feel asian that means you are russian this double identity stands russians outin the world the great power identity is something that’s been very important during russian empire during the soviet period and in the contemporary time that claim just isn’t plausible russia is nothing like the soviet union was russia isn’t equal it’s not economically equal it hasn’t got silicon valley it’s decaying and yet this is the kind of imperial fantasy that russia and the us are co-superpowers in conflict with one another that getting along with russia is a good thing not a bad thing and yet for the russian people this conflict feels very real for a generation of russians this hostility to the west is all too familiar thanks to an era when russiadidn’t want to just measure itself against the west it wanted to beat itan era of spies lies and an ever-looming threat of nuclear annihilation in 1946 the now former british prime minister winston Churchill made a speech which is considered one of the opening volleys of the cold war from Stephen in the baltic to trieste in the adriatican iron curtain has descended across the continent behind that line by all the capitals of the ancient states of central and eastern Europe all these cities and the populations around them lie in what i must call the soviet sphere after four years of pretending that thiswas benign uncle joe stalin who was on their side suddenly they had to explain the true nature of the soviet regime once it was becoming clear in its domination of eastern europe what had been presented as a friend was now undeniably an enemy and the greatest threat and with this threat came the looming fear of a new global conflict who knew where stalin and his soviets would stop the leaders of russia tell us their only concern is the defense of their own nation is this soor are they ambitious for world conquest stalin was now at the peak of his power or at least stalin’s soviet union was at the peak of its power and it was looking to expand the moment of no return had passed there was a new global orderit was east versus west communism versus capitalism with each side determined to outplay the other they secretly funded communist parties in in europe in in France and Spain even in the usuh they tried to they supported leftist leaders in in Africa and latin americathe cold war wasn’t really cold for much of its history this was a real fight there were small nasty wars around theworld as each side vied for influence some of the biggest ones of course were korea where Vietnam but just as distrust and hostility with the west hit an all-time high russia was about to lose the man who had driven it all by the end of his life stalin was ironically on the one hand absolutely untouchable politically and on the other more paranoid than at any point in his existence but of course he died in a way that obviously was a victim of his own paranoia that you know when he had abrain aneurysm because his guards were told that no one could disturb him he lay dying and wasn’t able to actually get medical assistance until it was far too late this person who had been presented forso many years as superhuman immortal the person on whom absolutely all soviet life rested had suddenly gone was an enormous shock what could possibly come after stalin the man of steel was gone but russia was about to enter an even more deadly chapter in just under 10 years after his death the ussr and the west would reach the brink of an all-out nuclear warthe cold war was about to get even colder1950s russia new leader nikita Khrushchev has skillfully seized power after stalin’s death the country was in the grip of the cold warand information was king if you knew what your enemies were up to you could stay one step ahead the kgb had a specialist information department they did all sorts of dirty tricks they they would plant fake stories they would forge letters almost every major world event has been manipulated affected or changed by intelligence the soviets operated under the old chinese concept to win a war without a battle that’s the acme of any foreign operation and key to that operation was a newly developed secret service out went the military thugs enforcing power and in came a new and far more sophisticated kgb they were the guys who were posh who spoke foreign languages without accents he was sophisticated and who kind of roamed the world trying to subvert the capitalist west the soviets are attempting to intimidate the western powers this is a dangerous tactic we’re very familiar with James bond with mi6 with the cia but actually the kgb had a pretty good run in the whole post-war era not least because they were helped by a bunch of clever posh cambridge educated traitors or double agents you could call them people like kim philby who were in positions of influence shipping british and American secret. [History of Russia]

Moscow

History of Russia Moscow

 I’m the bad by the people secret act from saying any thing that might disclose to unauthorized persons information derives from my position as a former government official and there was one area of intelligence gathering in espionage that was a special interest to Russia the west had been the first to develop nuclear weapons and the russians wanted ini thought that perhaps some of what i had access tomight be useful in helping russia to keep abreast of britain America and Germany at the age of 20 monitor norwood worked as a secretary for one of britain’s top secret nuclear research centers where she began to photograph classified files for the kgb perhaps the most important female agent in the kgb’s long history she had never been confronted with the evidence of her career as a spy until the bbc secretly filmed her the west wanted russia defeated didn’t want them defeated melito seemingly lived an unremarkable life in Bexleyheath but would go down in history as the longest serving soviet spy in Britain and helped to take russia one step closer to what it longed to bea nuclear superpower the soviet government’s announcement that it has decided to resume nuclear tests comes as a profound shock once again the iron fist of the soviet union has crushed the hopes of peace-loving people the soviets under the leadership of Khrushchev had been testing and developing atomic bombs and in 1961 inthe russian arctic they tested the largest nuclear weapon ever to be detonated the tsar bomba it produced the most powerful human-made explosion ever recorded it was designed to make the world sit up and notice and they did as he said he would mr khrushchev has exploded his giant bomb in cynical disregard of the united nations they have advanced no solid justification for exploding this monstrous and unnecessary weapons it was obviously the soviet union needed to have some kind of thermonuclear capacity in order to deter the west this particular case the tsar bomba really reflects that it had very very little military value but it had a great deal of psychological value for the first time in its centuries of squaring up to the west Russia finally wielded as devastating a power as its enemies and it looked utterly capable of deploying it there are two kinds of attack with warning and without any warning we think that most of the time we will be warned before the bomb explodes so there will be time for us to get into our homes schools or some other safe place so what was to happen next would be a defining moment in the story of modern russiain 1962 the stakes were raised to a war footing when russia attempted to placeits shiny new nuclear missiles within a stone’s throw of the united statesin fidel castro’s cuba a victorious.

Revolutionary Russia

enters havanain triumph he promises his people freedom instead he gives them bondage as russia’s first satellite in the caribbean in one giant step russia is giving cuba an offensive nuclear capability that can strike at the heart of the united states the world held its breath it shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from cuba as an attack by the soviet union on the united states but at the very last hour kennedy and Khrushchev managed to come to an agreement on sunday morning a message reaches the white house from Moscow press secretary salinger announces that chairman Khrushchev has agreed to remove the missiles from cuba the cuban missile crisis really highlighted russia’s style of leadership which was he was impulsive and unpredictable klushov essentially brought the countryto the brink of war america and the west would be in grained as the enemy of the state for generations of russians to come and with russia’s relationship with the west today at an all-time low and with defence budgets at an all-time high you could easily be fooled into thinking that the cold war never went away but the truth is far more complicated the tale of russia between the cold warand now is one of remarkable twists and turns by the 1980s russia would be about toface an extraordinary moment in its history one that would not only see the end ofthe cold war it could see the end of the soviet union the story of the russian people over the last millennium is often one of extraordinary hard ship and sacrifice on behalf of a country forever racing to catch up with the world around it but during the cold war she had finally emerged as a nuclear-powered global superpower to rival the united states the russian-dominated soviet union encompassed 15 republics with control over 293 million people and yetin just a matter of decades the world’s most powerful collection of states would dramatically implodes what happened for many people the end of the ussr began on the 26th of april 1986 in a town called pripyat hello very good morning to you you’rewatching the bbc’s breakfast time program this morning nuclear experts are assessing the extent and the dangers of what’s being described as the world’s worst ever nuclear disaster in the short history of civilian nuclear powerat the time of the accident it was really the peak of the soviet society things were going very well they’regenerating nuclear power really at the height of modernity it was a normal day in pripyat workers went to the power station as usual families did their regular things um atthe unit reactor number four was scheduled a safety test it was a routine safety test that needed to be completed for use of the reactor and a number of things went wrong during this safety test which ledto the accident that we know of and the explosion that ripped off the lid of the nuclear reactor sending radioactive particles into the local area and a fire that burned for 10 days spreading a huge cloud of radioactivity not only over the city of pripyat but also over the whole of europe and this was really disastrous at first the soviets tried to suppress the accident they thought the panic would be worse than radiation if there was an evacuation phone lines were cut in the town to prevent anyone from telling the outside world life must go on they were allowed to go about their daily business going to shops and going out and about even while there was radiation all around them and it wasn’t just the local residents exposed to lethal doses of radioactivity hundreds then thousands and then finally hundreds of thousands of workers were sent to the disaster zone this was really a disaster that nobody had ever seen before and never really imagined at this scale so they had to develop new types of technologies and approaches to put out the fire including using a helicopter to dump sand and boron onto the nuclear reactor fire teams dubbed liquidators raced to contain the exposed core with soldiers taking turns to run onto the roof of the reactor to shovel off radioactive matter the radiation was so high they could only stay up there for 90 seconds but even in that time they received a lifetime dose of radiation meanwhile one helicopter fatally clipped crane killing all four men on board eventually after 10 days of burning it went out the radioactive lava that was seeping down through the building had to be dealt with they didn’t want it to reach the ground below the reactor and hit any ground water where it may have created another explosion miners were enlisted and tunneled 90 feet under the melted core to build a protective wall the real concern was that it would hit the water table and the drinking water in the local area would be contaminated so the release of this radioactivity was really bad news for people specifically near the reactor but also those people who came into contact with the particles that were released into the atmosphere finally as international pressure mounted forty four thousand five hundred residents were evacuated from pipe ad over the following two weeks they relocated another seventy five 000 more people from the surrounding 18 mile area belled the zone of alienation those in most danger were moved but the radioactive cloud spread across vast areas of Europe the extent of the fire at Chernobyl and all the radioactive particles contained in it was really vast and it went very high up into the atmosphere the wind took the radioactive particles around Belarus and Ukraine up to Sweden and finland it then looped down all the way to Italy and then back up across the uk to Sweden and Norway this was a global disaster and still the soviet union did not warn people to stay indoors during the emergency the fact that the rest of the world knew about what had happened at chernobyl that there’d been an explosion well before the soviet population heard about it people realized that actually the state didn’t really care about its own people enough to protect them they were doing as much as possible in order to keep these under the carpet this was a failure of the entire state apparatus they were trying to do their best in order to hide every thing soviet officials announced to the world they had put out the fire on the 6th of may but radioactive gases poured from the explosion site for another week peaking on the 11th of may the reagan team confirmed world concern of what they claim is the kremlin’s continuing refusal to come clean on the accident we don’t think that they have provided as full and prompt information as they should have for those in power admitting responsibility meant admitting that the image of the great soviet union was a lie the radioactivity released was 400 times greater than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima and the long-lasting effects on the health of the people exposed particularly children is still being realized over 30 years old it could happen in other parts of the world but reaction would be different and this did manifest this kind of approach of authorities of the government toward ordinary russians and their eagerness to pay any price in terms of our lives the fact that it failed so catastrophically and spread radiation across the entire country something that people were very afraid of really shattered the illusion of the soviet dream it brought home how necessary it was to tell the truth and to reveal not just contemporary soviet problems but to delve into all the lies that have been told about soviet history before hand the disaster would have a profound effect on the relationship between the soviet union and her people it was a loss of faith that still has aripper effect today seventy years on from lenin’s glorious revolution forty years on from stalin’s victory in the second world war and only decades from the heady heights of the cold war and the first in the armor of the mighty soviet union had been broadcast to the world for almost a thousand years from Ivan the terrible all the way through to vladimir putin russia has had a complicated relationship with the concept of freedom but at the end of the 1980s the arrival of a new leader would usher in an autonomy the people had never experienced before and russia would never be the same again after years of dormant soviet rule the russian [History of Russia] people were about to find out what freedom mean with the arrival of mikhail gorbachev was not very well known at the time but he understood about the need for innovation he manages to win the leadership contest in 1985 and then very quickly uh starts to instigate one of the most radical reform programs that the soviet union has ever seen after almost 40 years of conflict gorbachev signed a nuclear arms treaty with the us that ended the cold war he’s exceedingly successful in international terms in you know basically ending this very very confrontational era but domestically he’s only beginning to realize just how massive a challenge trying to reform what really proves to be a pretty unreformable system is going to be gorbachev’s roadmap for change was packaged around two buzzwords glasnost which meant openness and perestroika which meant a restructuring it appeared as if ordinary russians hadfinally been given the right to use their own voice what we’re seeing is throughout the soviet union different nationality groups speak out in a way we haven’t really seen since the time of the revolution its elfit was the most beautiful time this was real freedom and opportunity for us tobe changed it was like life might be different the problem was that as soon as gorbachev loosened restrictions on what could be said publicly in russia there was a great deal that could be said and not much of it was good and so his newly empowered citizens made their feelings known he leans into it he thinks well okay we do need to have more dramatic change then what we get is democratization democratization in 1989 gorbachev introduced free elections it was a momentous departure from the old communist system ultimately it is the people who will decide the fate of gorbachev’s revolution how much faith do you have in in gorbachevis on the right track we just have to make sure everyone listens to himgorbachev had opened the floodgates across the soviet union a dramatic wave of revolution spread then on the 9th of november 1989 the berlin wall came crashing down for the hardliners of the communist party this was a leader who had lost control gorbachev’s challenge had always been how to deal with the hardliners that he knew still controlled the so-called power agencies the military the police the kgb once again sort ofbecome more radical then okay well what we’re going to do is create a new union treaty which is going to totally reshape the basis of the soviet union and this would also mean frankly the end of the unified communist party the end of the kgb this was too much from the point of view of the hardliners they felt that if they allowed this union treaty to be signed there was no going back and that’s why we had in august 1991their coup a reactionary group led by the kgb locked gorbachev in his crimean estate and on the 19th of august 1991 sent tanks into moscow in a bid to seize power they just thought look they would isolate gorbachev in his his palace his datsha down in crimea they would have the tanks out on the streets and declare a temporary emergency committee would be in charge and they assumed that frankly as soon as they cracked the whip the people of soviet union would basically just settle down which they didn’t the kgb wanted to hold together the old communist ussr regime but the people fought back they’re beginning to claim moscow as their own claiming it back from the communists whose credibility has been destroyed whose power has been crushed by these demonstrators the crowds took on almost the feel of a carnival that they would put flowers in tank barrels climb up onto the tanks in the streets of Moscow as soon as it became clear the protesters could get away with protesting that yes there were tanks but frankly protesters could clamber all over them and no one was going to shoot them then all of a sudden everything shift edit became this symbol of the time when they the elites the bosses try to control us and for once we said no it became a revolution this was the defining moment the people had spoken the coup was over but nothing would be the same again they not only rejected the hardliners but also the broken communist system presided over by gorbachev on christmas day 1991 he stepped down as the eighth and lastever leader of the soviet union mikhail kerbachev although he has played great role in the world history did start things he was not able to control these huge political catastrophes disintegration of the ussr at the end of 1991 as his very last act as soviet president gorbachev signed the soviet union out of existence mikhail gorbachev inherited an empire maintained by the iron fist of central control he’s leaving behind 15 independent states which share only a disastrous economy and an uncertain future power passed from the kremlin to 15 new republics and over six decades of communist rule came to an abrupt end this was a truly astonishing and momentous event the end of the soviet union the rise of a new.

Collapse of the Soviet Union

 Independent russia the russian public has decreed gorbachev’s dissolution of the soviet union as a disaster bordering on treasonin a recent poll of russians his approval rating stood well below even that of stalin for many the new russia would bring with it an era of hardship and uncertainty but for a select few the journey from communism to capitalism would see them become filthy rich and herald in the era of one vladimirputin the unlikely leader he was a kind of junior officer in communist east Germany in the 1980s he was never though a star he was a good b minus he was everybody’s favorite second in command so how did he go from a good number two to allegedly one of the richest and most powerful men on the planet life for ordinary people in modern russia today is dominated by one man and he’s everywhere you look over the last thousand years History of Russia has constantly returned to one of east vs west and today is no different vladimir Putin is a man with a mission and bear in mind his background he he is kgb through and through he is a man who has mastered two martial arts putin is kind of rushed his own action man so there’s the judo he genuinely likes judo but also there are all sorts of other crazy stunts he’s flown with cranes he’s scuba dived in the Mediterranean there’s that famous shotof him riding topless on a horse he’s believed to secretly be one of the wealthiest men in the world it’s possible to say that putin is the richest man in the world probably the richest man who has ever lived and has dominated russian politics since he was first elected 20 years ago you know he’s this very strong guy and itwas a symbol of personal virility but also of russia as a strong viral state who is he what does he want and what is the real story of russia today after the collapse of the soviet union in 1991 borisyelts in had come to power as russia’s first president but his attempts to bring in democracy and a capitalist market economy had resulted in huge economic hardship for the russian people prices have jumped even more than the three four or five times they’d expected this butter was selling for eight times the price it could have been bought for yesterday these are the sort of sums that make nonsense of the incomes of most Russians the weakness of the ruble meant that your pension could mean almost nothing where you had no idea where your what your job was going to be the struggle for day-to-day survival simply can’t survive on a pension declared one man it’s daylight robbery stealing from the honest complained another by the late 1990s he had suffered a string of heart attacks he withdrew from public life and russia was left spinning out of control and lurking in the shadows with an obscure politician called vladimir putin he comes to moscow he becomes director of the federal security service the which is sort of the closest thing there is to a successor to the kgb and then he becomes a due course deputy prime minister and prime minister and by this point he’s clearly been picked but that’s it he’s picked because he’s seen as efficient young unlike boris yeltsin sober but also more to the point reliable he’s a safe pair of hands people someone who you can truston december 31st 1999 with the dawn of a new millennium putin came into power putin looked fit looked healthy sober and competent putin has always based his claim to authority on being able to establish order some kind of regularity and some kind of predictability and he’s very much made his name on being able to maintain order both within russia and inrussia’s relations with the outside world during the 2000s russia began to change dramatically if you were lucky if you had the right connections or the right muscle you could become a millionaire a billionaire the economy boomed the rich became richer and putin’s popularity soared russia is rife with oil selling up to 11 million barrels a day russia has been more more prosperousfrom the standard of living in russia has been better than it has ever been today it has more than 70 billionaires there was a new flashy breed of oligarch who had cashed in under yelts in they had a whole series of auctions and people were buying some you know whole industries for pence on the pound they control oil they control gas they control minerals they control railways natural resources and they have grown stupendously rich but the oligarchs were in for a shock with putin what he was worried about when he came into powering in 2000 was that oligarchs had large amounts of money which he didn’t really control and so what he did um in his first presidential term was reign in some of the oligarchs and essentially say stay out of politics obey the state or i will take your fortune away now some of them ran away some of them were jailed Mikhail kuda kovsky once russia’s richest man who spent 10 years in the Siberian jail and others said okay that’s fine what is mine is yours and if you look at the people who are now billionaires in today’s russia they are some of the wealthiest people on the planet they’re not just billionaires they’re multi-billionaires and it’s it’s Kremlin incites it’s corporatist and actually these days it’s all kgb the big question is does the power and money really sit with put in or with the kgb you can’t be ex-kgb you can’t because it’s the system what keeps you forever and of course putin can’t be ex when putin became prime minister his first meeting was this uh very high run kgb and officers and was a joke he said operation was successful we have in russia exceedingly sophisticated and well-funded and frankly very powerful range of intelligence agencies which are both suppressing people within the country but also as we all know carry out all kinds of missions around the worldin 2006 russia passed new laws permitting the special forces to carry out extra judicial killings of extremists abroad and there was one mission in particular that would define this next chilling chapter of putin’s reignan assassination that would leave a grieving widow demanding answers in russia it’s very common to use different names normally i called him sasha of courseand all friends knew him as session because it’s more softer it’smore lovely it’s a very interesting connection between putin and my husband sasha her husband was ex-kgb officer Alexander levnienko who had fled russia with his family after becoming an enemy of the kremlin for speaking out against corruption maybe he’s what they call betraying of a system maybe because he was very close to some truth on the 1st of november 2006 let vineenko met two men at the millennium hotel in london where he enjoyed a pot of green tea little did he know his tea had been deliberately contaminated with a deadly poison polonium 210 story is gruesome and yet darkly funny that the two assassins sent by moscow were not very good killers they left this billowing trail of radiation all across london they’d go on to contaminate restaurants bedrooms a pole dancing club even arsenal’semirates stadium scotland yard is convinced that andre lugevoy a former russian security services officer murdered levinenko it was my right tocall for inquest and try to find who behind it he receives this right for public inquiry but i’m very disappointed the killers of alexander levinyenko are both back in russia andrei lugovoy whoco-poisoned livernienko is a doomer deputy he’s like an mphe’s very rich he appears on on state tv chat shows all the time he protests his innocence it’s clear that they enjoy state protection i’m not in a political case i’m a womanwho lost her husband and i want to know what happen edlitvinenko’s death and the Salisbury poisonings in 2018 demonstrated to the world russia will use extrajudicial force overseas to protect its interests but to what end what does putin want is new Russia to become for his people the message is he’s making russia great again in his speeches putin was saying.

Russia is a Great Power
History of Russia | Russia Flag

Russia is a great power and the western not treating russia as if it’s a great power the way he understands it which means they get away with the odd little war or invasion and that kind of thing that’s what a great power does if one of these countries looks like he’s getting out of hand then something has to be done about it the world has seen russia deploy its military strengths and might in the ukraine crimea and in syria but to understand russia today is to understand a different kind of war a war by stealth what the digital world has done as lad putin and his spies to reach millions of people americans britswith fake stories with polarizing stories with all sorts of divisive stuff the the playbook is the same but the reach now is so much greater which in some ways makes putin’s regime and putin’s fsb uh more scary than the kgb it’s cleveruh and it’s brutal and i don’t think we have got to grips with it yet it is alleged special intelligence centers infiltrate the internet hack information systems and churn out fake news what they do what they are very good at is identifying the existing fault lines that are thrown out between communities or people who feel they’ve been left out or whatever so in some ways we give them the ammunition that they use against us we generally hear about information warfare as something that comes from russia and is directed at us the funny thing is in russia information warfare is taken to be what the west does to undermine russia in the international environment and today accusations of election meddling are just one of the latest iterations of information war fare recent disclosures of alleged hacked emails are consistent with the methods and motivations of russian-directed efforts the intelligence community has concluded that they’re almost certainly directed by senior russian government officials russia was interested in destabilizing the us political system there is a new story to be spun he has brought russia up from its knee she’s kind of brought pride back over time he has become more and more isolated more and more insulated from the realities on the ground it remains true that you know for many ordinary Russians other leadership is difficult to imagine the big problem for putin is ironically enough the same problem that other dictators and indeed mafia bosses have is how do you retire when everything you are everything you have is based on power and it looks neatly as if the History of Russia over the last thousand years almost comes full circle its founding father prince Vladimir to the father of russia today vladimir putinits size and power makes Russia a baffling place full of contradictions but the truth is this is a country with a rich vivid history and a people who have a unique connection and belief in their motherland one that has been tested to the extreme by its earliest rulers to its mighty soviet ambitions and now with putin securing new amendments that could keep him in power until 2036 the next chapter in the rollercoaster history of the russian people looks said to be just as dramatic.

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