How did the Russian empire treat conquered people?
I know for a while russia's own people were treated like slaves but what about conquered people? Need this for AP world history!
- KurtisLv 56 years agoFavorite Answer
During the 1800s, Imperial Russia ruled over Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, eastern Poland, Finland, Belarus, Bessarabia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkestan, all of Siberia, and Alaska. For the most part, the inhabitants of these lands were heavily oppressed. The empire attempted to assimilate people living within the territories they had conquered into their culture, mandating usage of the Russian language as the lingua franca in all regions and carrying out brutal reprisals against anyone who dared defy the authority of the Tsar. Tens of thousands were killed, imprisoned, or deported to Siberia for criticizing imperialist rule. They also committed ethnic cleansing against the Circassions and other ethnic groups of the northern Caucasus region, with hundreds of thousands expelled into the Ottoman Empire to the south. The same was done to the Crimean Tatars beginning in the late 1700s and lasting well into the following century.
Yes, many Russian people were treated like slaves until the mid-1800s; this was called serfdom. A serf was basically someone who was allowed to reside in a small plot of land under the control of a wealthy landowner, in exchange for hard labour of many different varieties - agriculture, mining, forestry, and so on. Millions of people throughout the Russian Empire were subjected to this lifestyle prior to its abolition in 1861, regardless of ethnicity (although it was not instituted in Siberia or other barren places). Even after the Serfs were freed, a large number of them were still destitute. Its institution was messy; in much of the Caucasus, serfdom remained an important aspect of society until later in the century.
That's just considering the empire proper; it doesn't even begin to delve into the situation under its predecessor state, the Tsardom of Russia (A.K.A. "Muscovy"). Following in the successes of his predecessors, Ivan IV was the person who transformed the Principality of Moscow into an empire, crowning himself as Tsar. He ruled from 1533 right up until his death in 1584. Although the legacy of Ivan himself is disputed (he is commonly referred to as "Ivan the Terrible" - the consensus being that he was a fearsome ruler), the brutality of his forces and the aggressive nature of his foreign policy is well documented. Kazan and Astrakhan fell under his control, and the former witnessed massive atrocities that left a large number of civilians dead. He also conquered a large portion of Western Siberia and attempted to gain control over Livonia (modern-day Estonia and Latvia), but was ousted by a joint Polish-Swedish-Danish resistance. Later in his reign, Ivan the Terrible went insane and created a secret police force called the Oprichnina to massacre numerous perceived political opponents, including the Boyars (aristocrats of Moscow) and countless innocents in the city of Novgorod. After Ivan IV, the Tsardom of Muscovy continued to capture lands - most of Siberia and easternmost Europe (i.e. the territories associated with the present-day Russian Federation). It was during this time that they instituted serfdom in places under their control.
Then there's the Soviet Union, which is also pretty complicated. Founder Vladimir Lenin died before the communists really consolidated their rule, but he did manage to carry out the Red Terror that killed several hundred thousand dissidents. His successor Joseph Stalin would take every negative aspect of the previous empire and make them his own. Each and every other autocratic ruler throughout Russian history looks like an utter baby by comparison. Purges, mass deportations to Siberian concentration camps ("Gulags"), an all-pervasive personality cult, a complete state of terror, mass surveillance, mass killings, horrific war crimes during World War II, large-scale population transfers, the intentional starvation of over 3,000,000 Ukrainians, the eventual establishment of similarly brutal puppet states throughout Eastern Europe and East Asia - it's no wonder he is often considered the most brutal dictator in world history! Some estimates of the death toll caused by his regime clock in at over 80,000,000, and while this number is likely exaggerated, the most absolute most conservative number given by any reliable source is 20,000,000. He destroyed the lives of many people. The Soviet Union maintained the so-called "Iron Curtain" following his death; although the USSR itself was actually slightly less oppressive than other communist states, its influence throughout the world implicated its leaders in crimes against humanity. Nations like Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Ethiopia, North Korea, and Cuba were in a sense "conquered" by Russia, and the atrocities that occurred within each speak for themselves.
- 4 years ago
It caused both good and bad like most things do. I don't think that one was worse than the other because even though I don't agree with some things that where done we have to deal with what the world is like today not what is WAS like. The sad thing is how much misery, pain and suffering it caused which still effects the wider world today! However, we can't keep referring to the past as always being such a negative thing other wise we'll be going around in circles! So looking at the positives it brought industry, new and exciting things to countries that may never have had these things otherwise. It also put countries on the "map" so to speak.