Poet Sergey Esenin Statue, Voronezh, Russian Federation.

Poet Sergey Esenin Statue, Voronezh, Russian Federation.

Sergei Alexandrovich Yesenin (/jəˈseɪnɪn/;[2] sometimes spelled as Esenin; Russian: Серге́й Алекса́ндрович Есе́нин, IPA: [sʲɪrˈgʲej ɐlʲɪkˈsandrəvʲɪtɕ jɪˈsʲenʲɪn]; 3 October [O.S. 21 September] 1895 – 28 December 1925) was a Russian lyric poet. He is one of the most popular and well-known Russian poets of the 20th century.[3]

Sergei Yesenin was born in Konstantinovo in Ryazan Governorate of the Russian Empire to a peasant family. His father was Alexander Nikitich Yesenin (1873–1931), his mother Tatyana Fyodorovna (nee Titova, 1875–1955).[4]

Both his parents spent most of their time looking for work, father in Moscow, mother in Ryazan, so at age two Sergei was moved to the nearby village Matovo, to join Fyodor Alexeyevich and Natalya Yevtikhiyevna Titovs, his relatively well-off maternal grandparents, who essentially raised him.[5]

The Titovs had three grown-up sons, and it was they who were Yesenin’s early years’ companions. "My uncles taught me horse-riding and swimming, one of them… even employed me as hound-dog, when going out to the ponds hunting ducks," he later remembered. He started to read aged five, and at nine began to write poetry, inspired originally by chastushkas and folklore,[6] provided mostly by the grandmother whom he also remembered as a highly religious woman who used to take him to every single monastery she’d choose to visit.[7] He had two younger sisters, Yekaterina (1905–1977), and Alexandra (1911–1981).[4]

In 1904 Yesenin joined the Konstantinovo zemstvo school. In 1909 he graduated it with an honorary certificate, and went on to study in the local secondary parochial school in Spas-Klepiki. From 1910 onwards, he started to write poetry systematically; eight poems dated that year were later included in his 1925 Collected Works.[4] In all, Yesenin wrote around thirty poems during his school years. He compiled them into what was supposed to be his first book which he titled "Bolnye Dumy" (Sick Thoughts) and tried to publish it in 1912 in Ryazan, but failed.[8]

In 1912, with a teacher’s diploma, Yesenin moved to Moscow, where he supported himself working as a proofreader’s assistant at the Sytin’s printing company. The following year he enrolled in Chanyavsky University to study history and philology as an external student, but had to leave it after eighteen months due to lack of funds.[7] In the University he became friends with several aspiring poets, among them Dmitry Semyonovsky, Vasily Nasedkin, Nikolai Kolokolov and Ivan Filipchenko.[5] Yesenin’s first marriage (which lasted three years) was in 1913 to Anna Izryadnova, a co-worker from the publishing house, with whom he had a son, Yuri.[9] 1913 saw Yesenin becoming increasingly interested in Christianity, biblical motives became frequent in his poems. "Grisha, what I am reading at the moment is the Gospel and find a lot of things which for me are new,"[10] he wrote to his close childhood friend G. Panfilov. That was also the year when he became involved with the Moscow revolutionary circles: for several months his flat was under secret police surveillance and in September 1913 it was raided and searched.[8]

In January 1914 Yesenin’s first published poem "Beryoza" (The Birch Tree) appeared in the children’s magazine Mirok (Small World). More appearances followed in minor magazines such as Protalinka and Mlechny Put. In December 1914 Yesenin quit work "and gave himself to poetry, writing continually," according to his wife.[11] Around this time he became a member of the Surikov Literary and Music circle.[4]

In 1915, exasperated with the lack of interest in his work in Moscow, Yesenin moved to Petrograd. He arrived at the city on 8 March and the next day met Alexander Blok at his home, to read him poetry. He received a warm welcome and soon became acquainted with fellow-poets Sergey Gorodetsky, Nikolai Klyuev and Andrei Bely and well known in literary circles. Blok was especially helpful in promoting Yesenin’s early literary career, describing him as "a gem of a peasant poet"[12] and his verse as "fresh, pure and resounding", even if "wordy".[13] The same year he joined the Krasa (Beauty) group of peasant poets which included Klyuyev, Gorodetsky, Sergey Klychkov and Alexander Shiryayevets, among others.[8] In his 1925 autobiography Yesenin said that Bely gave him the meaning of form while Blok and Klyuev taught him lyricism.[14] It was Klyuyev who introduced Yesenin to the publisher Averyanov, who in early 1916 released his debut poetry collection Radunitsa which featured many of his early spiritual-themed verse. "I would have eagerly relinquished some of my religious poems, large and small, but they make sense as an illustration of poets’ progress towards the revolution," he would later write.[8] Yesenin and Klyuyev maintained close and intimate[15] friendship which lasted several years.[6][16]

In 1915 Yesenin became a co-founder of the Krasa literary group and published numerous poems in the Petrograd magazines Russkaya Mysl, Ezhemesyachny Zhurnal, Novy Zhurnal Dlya Vsekh, Golos Zhizni and Niva.[7] Among the authors he met later in the year were Maxim Gorky, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Nikolai Gumilyov and Anna Akhmatova; he also visited painter Ilya Repin in his Penaty.[9] Yesenin’s rise to fame was meteoric; by the end of the year he became the star of St Petersburg’s literary circles and salons. "The city took to him with the delight a gourmet reserves for strawberries in winter. A barrage of praise hit him, excessive and often insincere," Maxim Gorky wrote to Romain Rolland.

On 25 March 1916, Yesenin was drafted for military duty and in April joined a medical train based in Tsarskoye Selo, under the command of colonel D.N. Loman. In 22 July 1916, at a special concert attended by the Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna (the train’s patron) and her daughters, Yesenin recited his poems "Rus" and "In Scarlet Fireglow".[6] "The Empress told me my poems were beautiful, but sad. I replied, the same could be said about Russia as a whole," he recalled later.[7] His relationships with Loman soon deteriorated. In October, Yesenin declined the colonel’s offer to write (with Klyuyev) and have published a book of pro-monarchist verses, and spent twenty days under arrest as a consequence.[9]

In March 1917, Yesenin was sent to the Warrant Officers School but soon deserted the Kerensky’s army.[9] In August 1917 (having divorced Izryadnova a year earlier) Yesenin married for a second time, to Zinaida Raikh (later an actress and the wife of Vsevolod Meyerhold). They had two children, a daughter Tatyana and a son Konstantin.[4] The parents subsequently quarreled and lived separately for some time prior to their divorce in 1921. Tatyana became a writer and journalist and Konstantin Yesenin would become a well-known soccer statistician.

Yesenin supported the February Revolution. "If not for [it], I might have withered away on useless religious symbolism," he wrote later.[8] He greeted the rise of the Bolsheviks too. "In the Revolution I was all on the side of the October, even if perceiving everything in my own peculiar way, from a peasant’s standpoint," he remembered in his 1925 autobiography.[8] Later he criticized the Bolshevik rule, in such poems as "The Stern October Has Deceived Me". "I feel very sad now, for we are going through such a period in [our] history when human individuality is being destroyed, and the approaching socialism is totally different from the one I was dreaming of," he wrote in an August 1920 letter to his friend Yevgeniya Livshits.[18] "I never joined the RKP, being further to the left than them," he maintained in his 1922 autobiography.[6]

Artistically, the revolutionary years were exciting time for Yesenin. Among the important poems he wrote in 1917–1918 were "Prishestviye" (The Advent), "Peobrazheniye" (Transformation, which gave the title to the 1918 collection), and "Inoniya". In February 1918, after the Sovnarkom issued the "Socialist Homeland is in Danger!" decree-appeal, he joined the esers’ military unit. He actively participated in the magazine Nash Put (Our Way), as well as the almanacs Skify (Скифы) and Krasny Zvon (in February his large poem "Marfa Posadnitsa" appeared in one of the latter).[4] In September 1918 Yesenin co-founded (with Andrey Bely, Pyotr Oreshin, Lev Povitsky and Sergey Klychkov) the publishing house Трудовая Артель Художников Слова (the Labor Artel of the Artists of the Word) which reissued (in six books) all that he’d written by this time.[19][9]

In September 1918, Yesenin became friends with Anatoly Marienhof, with whom he founded the Russian literary movement of imaginism. Describing their group’s general appeal, he wrote in 1922: "Prostitutes and bandits are our fans. With them, we are pals. Bolsheviks do not like us due to some kind of misunderstanding."[6] In January 1919, Yesenin signed the Imaginists’ Manifest. In February he, Marienhof and Vadim Shershenevich, founded the Imaginists publishing house. Before that, Yesenin became a member of the Moscow Union of Professional Writers and several months later was elected a member of the All-Russian Union of Poets. Two of his books, Kobyliyu Korabli (Mare’s Ships) and Klyuchi Marii (The Keys of Mary) came out later that year.[9]

In July–August 1920, Yesenin toured the Russian South, starting in Rostov-on-Don and ending in Tiflis, Georgia. In November 1920, he met Galina Benislavskaya, his future secretary and close friend. Following an anonymous report, he and two of his Imaginist friends, brothers Alexander and Ruben Kusikovs, were arrested by the Cheka in October but released a week later on the solicitation of his friend Yakov Blumkin.[9] In the course of that year, the publication of three of Yesenin’s books were refused by publishing house Goslitizdat. His Triptych collection came out through the Skify Publishers in Berlin. Next year saw the collections Confessions of a Hooligan (January) and Treryaditsa (February) published. The drama in verse Pygachov came out in December 1921, to much acclaim.[4]

In May 1921 he visited a friend, the poet Alexander Shiryaevets, in Tashkent, giving poetry readings and making a short trip to Samarkand. In the fall of 1921, while visiting the studio of painter Georgi Yakulov, Yesenin met the Paris-based American dancer Isadora Duncan, a woman 18 years his senior. She knew only a dozen words in Russian, and he spoke no foreign languages. Nevertheless, they married on 2 May 1922. Yesenin accompanied his celebrity wife on a tour of Europe and the United States. His marriage to Duncan was brief and in May 1923, he returned to Moscow.[4] In his 1922 autobiography, Yesenin wrote: "Russia’s recent nomadic past does not appeal to me, and I am all for civilization. But I dislike America intensely. America is a stinking place where not just art is being murdered, but with it, all the loftiest aspirations of humankind. If it’s America that we are looking up to, as [a model for our] future, then I’d rather stay under our greyish skies… We do not have those skyscrapers that’s managed to produce up to date nothing but Rockefeller and McCormick, but here Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Pushkin and Lermontov were born."[7]

In 1923 Yesenin became romantically involved with the actress Augusta Miklashevskaya to whom he dedicated several poems, among them those of the Hooligan’s Love cycle. In the same year, he had a son by the poet Nadezhda Volpina. Alexander Esenin-Volpin grew up to become a poet and a prominent activist in the Soviet dissident movement of the 1960s. Since 1972, till his death in 2016, he lived in the United States as a famous mathematician and teacher.

As Yesenin’s popularity grew, stories began to circulate about his heavy drinking and consequent public outbursts. In autumn 1923, he was arrested in Moscow twice and underwent a series of enquiries from the OGPU secret police. Fellow poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, wrote that, after his return from America, Yesenin became more visible in newspaper police log sections than in poetry.[20]

More serious were the accusations of anti-Semitism against Yesenin and three of his close friends, fellow poets, Sergey Klytchkov, Alexei Ganin and Pyotr Oreshin, made by Lev Sosnovsky, a prominent journalist and close Trotsky associate. The foursome retorted with an open letter in Pravda and, in December, were cleared by the Writers’ Union burlaw court. It was later suggested, though, that Yesenin’s departure to the Caucasus in the summer of 1924 might have been a direct result of the harassment by the NKVD. Earlier that year, fourteen writers and poets, including his friend Ganin, were arrested as the alleged members of the (apparently fictitious) Order of the Russian Fascists, then tortured and executed in March without trial.[4]

In January–April 1924, Yesenin was arrested and interrogated four times. In February, he entered the Sheremetev hospital, then was moved into the Kremlin clinic in March. Nevertheless, he continued to make public recitals and released several books in the course of the year, including Moskva Kabatskaya. In August 1924 Yesenin and fellow poet Ivan Gruzinov published a letter in Pravda, announcing the end of the Imaginists.[9]

In early 1925 Yesenin met and married Sophia Andreyevna Tolstaya (1900–1957), a granddaughter of Leo Tolstoy. In May what proved to be his final large poem Anna Snegina came out. During the year, he compiled and edited The Works by Yesenin in three volumes which was published by Gosizdat posthumously.[9]

On 28 December 1925, Yesenin was found dead in his room in the Hotel Angleterre in St Petersburg. His last poem Goodbye my friend, goodbye (До свиданья, друг мой, до свиданья) according to Wolf Ehrlich was written by him the day before he died. Yesenin complained that there was no ink in the room, and he was forced to write with his blood.

До свиданья, друг мой, до свиданья.
Милый мой, ты у меня в груди.
Предназначенное расставанье
Обещает встречу впереди.
До свиданья, друг мой, без руки, без слова,
Не грусти и не печаль бровей,-
В этой жизни умирать не ново,
Но и жить, конечно, не новей.

Farewell, my good friend, farewell.
In my heart, forever, you’ll stay.
May the fated parting foretell
That again we’ll meet up someday.
Let no words, no handshakes ensue,
No saddened brows in remorse, –
To die, in this life, is not new,
And living’s no newer, of course.

According to his biographers, the poet was in a state of depression and committed suicide by hanging.[21]

After the funeral in the Union in Leningrad, poet Yesenin’s body was transported by train to Moscow, where a farewell for relatives and friends of the deceased was also arranged. He was buried 31 December 1925, in Moscow’s Vagankovskoye Cemetery. His grave is marked by a white marble sculpture.

A theory exists that Yesenin’s death was actually a murder by OGPU agents who staged it to look like suicide. The novel Yesenin[22] published by Vitali Bezrukov is devoted to this version of Yesenin’s death. In 2005 TV serial Sergey Yesenin based on this novel (with Sergey Bezrukov playing Yesenin) was shown on Channel One Russia.[23] Facts tending to support the assassination hypothesis were cited by Stanislav Kunyaev and Sergey Kunyaev in the final chapter of their biography of Yesenin.[24]

Enraged by his death, Mayakovsky composed a poem called To Sergei Yesenin, where the resigned ending of Yesenin’s death poem is countered by these verses: "in this life it is not hard to die, / to mold life is more difficult." In a later lecture on Yesenin, he said that the revolution demanded "that we glorify life." However, Mayakovsky himself would commit suicide in 1930.[25]

Yesenin’s suicide triggered an epidemic of copycat suicides by his mostly female fans. For example, Galina Benislavskaya, his ex-girlfriend, killed herself by his graveside in December 1926. Although he was one of Russia’s most popular poets and had been given an elaborate state funeral, some of his writings were banned by the Kremlin during the reigns of Joseph Stalin and Nikita Khrushchev. Nikolai Bukharin’s criticism of Yesenin contributed significantly to the banning. Only in 1966 were most of his works republished. Today Yesenin’s poems are taught to Russian schoolchildren; many have been set to music and recorded as popular songs. His early death, coupled with unsympathetic views by some of the literary elite, adoration by ordinary people, and sensational behavior, all contributed to the enduring and near mythical popular image of the Russian poet.

Bernd Alois Zimmermann included his poetry in his Requiem für einen jungen Dichter (Requiem for a Young Poet), completed in 1969.

The Ryazan State University is named in his honor.[26]

Yesenin appears as a character in the 1981 ballet Isadora, by Kenneth Macmillan.

A monument to Yesenin opened in St. Petersburg in 1995.

In 2005 Russian studio Pro-Cinema Production produced a TV mini-series Yesenin. The movie described the version of his death according to which he was murdered by NKVD agents who staged his suicide. In the mini-series Yesenin was portrayed by Sergey Bezrukov.

Sergei Yesenin’s final poem was a major inspiration for the Bring Me the Horizon song "It Was Written in Blood" on their album Suicide Season.

Yesenin is used as a pseudonym for a fictional poet in The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera

Jim Harrison’s poetry collection Letters to Yesenin is a series of poems addressed to Yesenin that illuminate his life and death.

Yesenin is the subject of the 2019 novel An Unquiet Heart by the English journalist and author Martin Sixsmith.

Multilanguage editions
Anna Snegina (Yesenin’s poem translated into 12 languages; translated into English by Peter Tempest) ISBN 978-5-7380-0336-3

The Scarlet of the Dawn (1910)
The high waters have licked (1910)
The Birch Tree (1913)
Autumn (1914)
Russia (1914)
I’ll glance in the field (1917)
I left the native home (1918)
Hooligan (1919)
Hooligan’s Confession (1920) (Italian translation sung by Angelo Branduardi)
I am the last poet of the village (1920)
Prayer for the First Forty Days of the Dead (1920)
I don’t pity, don’t call, don’t cry (1921)
Pugachev (1921)
Land of Scoundrels (1923)
One joy I have left (1923)
A Letter to Mother (1924)
Tavern Moscow (1924)
Confessions of a Hooligan (1924),
A Letter to a Woman (1924),
Desolate and Pale Moonlight (1925)
The Black Man (1925)
To Kachalov’s Dog (1925)
Goodbye, my friend, goodbye (1925) (His farewell poem)

Voronezh (Russian: Воронеж, IPA: [vɐˈronʲɪʂ]) is a city and the administrative centre of Voronezh Oblast in Central Russia straddling the Voronezh River and located 12 kilometers (7.5 mi) from where it flows into the Don River. The city sits on the Southeastern Railway, which connects western Russia with the Urals and Siberia, the Caucasus and Ukraine, and the M4 highway (Moscow–Voronezh–Rostov-on-Don–Novorossiysk). Its population in 2020 was estimated to be 1,058,261,[12] up from 889,680 recorded in the 2010 Census;[13] it is the thirteenth most populous city in the country.

Information about the original urban layout of Voronezh is contained in the "Patrol Book" of 1615. At that time, the city fortress was logged and located on the banks of the Voronezh River. In plan, it was an irregular quadrangle with a perimeter of about 130 fathoms, that is, it was very small: inside it, due to lack of space, there was no housing or siege yards, and even the cathedral church was supposed to be taken out. However, at this small fortress there was a large garrison — 666 households of service people. These courtyards were reliably protected by the second line of fortifications by a standing prison on taras with 25 towers covered with earth; behind the prison was a moat, and beyond the moat there were nadolbs. Voronezh was a typical military settlement, which is clearly evidenced by the decisive predominance of service people in its population (about 70%), mainly "by device". In the city prison there were only settlements of military men: Streletskaya, Kazachya, Belomestnaya atamanskaya, Zatinnaya and Pushkarskaya; The posad population received the territory between the ostrog and the river, where the Monastyrskaya settlements (at the Assumption Monastery) was formed. Subsequently, the Yamnaya Sloboda was added to them, and on the other side of the fort, on the Chizhovka Mountain, the Chizhovskaya Sloboda of archers and Cossacks appeared. As a result, the Voronezh settlements surrounded the fortress in a ring. The location of the parish churches emphasized this ring-like and even distribution of settlements: the Ilyinsky Church of the Streletskaya Sloboda, the Pyatnitskaya Cossack and Pokrovskaya Belomestnaya were brought out to the passage towers of the prison. The Nikolskaya Church of the Streletskaya Sloboda was located near the marketplace (and, accordingly, the front facade of the fortress), and the paired ensemble of the Rozhdestvenskaya and Georgievskaya churches of the Cossack Sloboda marked the main street of the city, going from the Cossack Gate to the fortress tower.[14]

See also: Timeline of Voronezh
Foundation and name

Center of Voronezh. Voronezh River
The first chronicle references to the word "Voronezh" are dated 1177, when the Ryazan prince Yaropolk, having lost the battle, fled "to Voronozh" and there was moving "from town to town" Modern data of archeology and history interpret Voronezh as a geographical region, which included the Voronezh river (tributary of the Don) and a number of settlements. In the lower reaches of the river, a unique Slavic town-planning complex of the 8th – early 11th century was discovered, which covered the territory of the present city of Voronezh and its environs (about 42 km long, about 13 forts and many unfortified villages). By the 12th – 13th centuries, most of the old towns were desolate, but new settlements appeared upstream, closer to Ryazan.[15][16][17][18]

For many years, the hypothesis of the Soviet historian Vladimir Zagorovsky dominated: he produced the toponym "Voronezh" from the hypothetical Slavic personal name Voroneg. This man allegedly gave the name of a small town in the Chernigov Principality (now the village of Voronezh in Ukraine[19]). Later, in the 11th or 12th centuries, the settlers were able to "transfer" this name to the Don region, where they named the second city Voronezh, and the river got its name from the city.[20][21] However, now many researchers criticize the hypothesis, since in reality neither the name of Voroneg nor the second city was revealed, and usually the names of Russian cities repeated the names of the rivers, but not vice versa.

The linguistic comparative analysis of the name "Voronezh" was carried out by the Khovansky Foundation in 2009. There is an indication of the place names of many countries in Eurasia, which may partly be not only similar in sound, but also united by common Indo-European languages: Varanasi, Varna, Verona, Brno, etc.[22]

A comprehensive scientific analysis was conducted in 2015–2016 by the historian Pavel Popov. His conclusion: "Voronezh" is a probable Slavic macrotoponym associated with outstanding signs of nature, has a root voron- (from the proto-Slavic vorn) in the meaning of "black, dark" and the suffix -ezh (-azh, -ozh). It was not “transferred” and in the 8th — 9th centuries it marked a vast territory covered with black forests (oak forests) — from the mouth of the Voronezh river to the Voronozhsky annalistic forests in the middle and upper reaches of the river, and in the west to the Don (many forests were cut down). The historian believes that the main "city" of the early town-planning complex could repeat the name of the region – Voronezh. Now the hillfort is located in the administrative part of the modern city, in the Voronezh upland oak forest. This is one of Europe’s largest ancient Slavic hillforts, the area of which – more than 9 hectares – 13 times the area of the main settlement in Kyiv before the baptism of Rus.[18][23]

In [2] it is assumed that the word "Voronezh" means bluing — a technique to increase the corrosion resistance of iron products. This explanation fits well with the proximity to the ancient city of Voronezh of a large iron deposit and the city of Stary Oskol.

Folk etymology claims the name comes from combining the Russian words for raven (ворон) and hedgehog (еж) into Воронеж. According to this explanation two Slavic tribes named after the animals used this combination to name the river which later in turn provided the name for a settlement. There is not believed to be any scientific support for this explanation.

In the 16th century, the Middle Don basin, including the Voronezh river, was gradually conquered by Muscovy from the Nogai Horde (a successor state of the Golden Horde), and the current city of Voronezh was established in 1585 by Feodor I as a fort protecting the Muravsky Trail trade route against the raids of the Nogai and Crimean Tatars. The city was named after the river.[2]

17th to 20th centuries

A monument to Peter the Great

Voronezh. Ship Museum Goto Predestinatsia

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In the 17th century, Voronezh gradually evolved into a sizable town. Weronecz is shown on the Worona river in Resania in Joan Blaeu’s map of 1645.[24] Peter the Great built a dockyard in Voronezh where the Azov Flotilla was constructed for the Azov campaigns in 1695 and 1696. This fleet, the first ever built in Russia, included the first Russian ship of the line, Goto Predestinatsia. The Orthodox diocese of Voronezh was instituted in 1682 and its first bishop, Mitrofan of Voronezh, was later proclaimed the town’s patron saint.

View of Voronezh in the 18th century
Owing to the Voronezh Admiralty Wharf, for a short time, Voronezh became the largest city of South Russia and the economic center of a large and fertile region. In 1711, it was made the seat of the Azov Governorate, which eventually morphed into the Voronezh Governorate.

In the 19th century, Voronezh was a center of the Central Black Earth Region. Manufacturing industry (mills, tallow-melting, butter-making, soap, leather, and other works) as well as bread, cattle, suet, and the hair trade developed in the town. A railway connected Voronezh with Moscow in 1868 and Rostov-on-Don in 1871.

During World War II, Voronezh was the scene of fierce fighting between Russian and combined Axis troops. The Germans used it as a staging area for their attack on Stalingrad, and made it a key crossing point on the Don River. In June 1941, two BM-13 (Fighting machine #13 Katyusha) artillery installations were built at the Voronezh excavator factory. In July, the construction of Katyushas was rationalized so that their manufacture became easier and the time of volley repetition was shortened from five minutes to fifteen seconds. More than 300 BM-13 units manufactured in Voronezh were used in a counterattack near Moscow in December 1941. In October 22, 1941, the advance of the German troops prompted the establishment of a defense committee in the city. On November 7, 1941, there was a troop parade, devoted to the anniversary of the October Revolution. Only three such parades were organized that year: in Moscow, Kuybyshev, and Voronezh. In late June 1942, the city was attacked by German and Hungarian forces. In response, Soviet forces formed the Voronezh Front. By July 6, the German army occupied the western river-bank suburbs before being subjected to a fierce Soviet counter-attack. By July 24 the frontline had stabilised along the Voronezh River as the German forces continued southeast into the Great Bend of the Don. The attack on Voronezh represented the first phase of the German Army’s 1942 campaign in the Soviet Union, codenamed Case Blue.

Until January 25, 1943, parts of the Second German Army and the Second Hungarian Army occupied west part of Voronezh. During Operation Little Saturn, the Ostrogozhsk–Rossosh Offensive, and the Voronezhsko-Kastornenskoy Offensive, the Voronezh Front exacted heavy casualties on Axis forces. On January 25, 1943, Voronezh was liberated after ten days of combat. During the war the city was almost completely ruined, with 92% of all buildings destroyed.

By 1950, Voronezh had been rebuilt. Most buildings and historical monuments were repaired. It was also the location of a prestigious Suvorov Military School, a boarding school for young boys who were considered to be prospective military officers, many of whom had been orphaned by war.[25]

In 1950–1960, new factories were established: a tire factory, a machine-tool factory, a factory of heavy mechanical pressing, and others. In 1968, Serial production of the Tupolev Tu-144 supersonic plane was established at the Voronezh Aviation factory. In October 1977, the first Soviet domestic wide-body plane, Ilyushin Il-86, was built there.

In 1989, TASS published details of an alleged UFO landing in the city’s park and purported encounters with extraterrestrial beings reported by a number of children. A Russian scientist that was cited in initial TASS reports later told the Associated Press that he was misquoted, cautioning, "Don’t believe all you hear from TASS," and "We never gave them part of what they published",[26] and a TASS correspondent admitted the possibility that some "make-believe" had been added to the TASS story, saying, "I think there is a certain portion of truth, but it is not excluded that there is also fantasizing".[27][28]

From 10 to 17 September 2011, Voronezh celebrated its 425th anniversary. The anniversary of the city was given the status of a federal scale celebration that helped attract large investments from the federal and regional budgets for development.[29]

On December 17, 2012, Voronezh became the fifteenth city in Russia with a population of over one million people.[30]

Today Voronezh is the economic, industrial, cultural, and scientific center of the Central Black Earth Region. As part of the annual tradition in the Russian city of Voronezh, every winter the main city square is thematically drawn around a classic literature. In 2020, the city was decorated using the motifs from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. In the year of 2021, the architects drew inspiration from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Snow Queen as well as the animation classic The Snow Queen from the Soviet Union. The fairy tale replica city will feature the houses of Kai and Gerda, the palace of the snow queen, an ice rink, and illumination.[31][32]

Administrative and municipal status

The Mayor’s office of Voronezh

Administrative districts of Voronezh
Voronezh is the administrative center of the oblast.[1] Within the framework of administrative divisions, it is incorporated as Voronezh Urban Okrug—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts.[1] As a municipal division, this administrative unit also has urban okrug status.[7]

City divisions
The city is divided into six administrative districts:

1. Zheleznodorozhny (183,17 km²)
2. Tsentralny (63,96 km²)
3. Kominternovsky (47,41 km²)
4. Leninsky (18,53 km²)
5. Sovetsky (156,6 km²)
6. Levoberezhny (123,89 km²)
Demographic Evolution
Note: 1926–1970 and 2016 are population estimates; 1989 is the Soviet Census; 2002 and 2010 are census urban population only.

The leading sectors of the urban economy in the 20th century were mechanical engineering, metalworking, the electronics industry and the food industry.

In the city are such companies as:

Voronezh Aircraft Production Association (where, amongst other types, the Tupolev Tu-144 was built)

Tupolev Tu-144
Voronezhselmash (agricultural engineering)
Sozvezdie[34] (headquarter, JSC Concern “Sozvezdie”, in 1958 the world’s first created mobile telephony and wireless telephone Altai
Verofarm (pharmaceutics, owner Abbott Laboratories),
Voronezh Mechanical Plant[35] (production of missile and aircraft engines, oil and gas equipment)
Mining Machinery Holding — RUDGORMASH[36] (production of drilling, mineral processing and mining equipment)
VNiiPM Research Institute of Semiconductor Engineering[37] (equipment for plasma-chemical processes, technical-chemical equipment for liquid operations, water treatment equipment)
KBKhA Chemical Automatics Design Bureau with notable products:.[38]
Pirelli Voronezh.[39]
On the territory of the city district government Maslovka Voronezh region with the support of the Investment Fund of Russia, is implementing a project to create an industrial park, "Maslowski", to accommodate more than 100 new businesses, including the transformer factory of Siemens. On September 7, 2011 in Voronezh there opened a Global network operation center of Nokia Siemens Networks, which was the fifth in the world and the first in Russia.

In 2014, 926,000 square meters of housing was delivered.[40]

Clusters of Voronezh
In clusters of tax incentives and different preferences, the full support of the authorities. A cluster of Oil and Gas Equipment, Radio-electronic cluster, Furniture cluster, IT cluster, Cluster aircraft, Cluster Electromechanics, Transport and logistics cluster, Cluster building materials and technologies.[41]

The city is served by the Voronezh International Airport, which is located north of the city and is home to Polet Airlines. Voronezh is also home to the Pridacha Airport, a part of a major aircraft manufacturing facility VASO (Voronezhskoye Aktsionernoye Samoletostroitelnoye Obshchestvo, Voronezh aircraft production association) where the Tupolev Tu-144 (known in the West as the "Concordski"), was built and the only operational unit is still stored. Voronezh also hosts the Voronezh Malshevo air force base in the southwest of the city, which, according to a Natural Resources Defense Council report, houses nuclear bombers.[citation needed]

Since 1868, there is a railway connection between Voronezh and Moscow.[42] Rail services form a part of the South Eastern Railway of the Russian Railways. Destinations served direct from Voronezh include Moscow, Kyiv, Kursk, Novorossiysk, Sochi, and Tambov. The main train station is called Voronezh-1 railway station and is located in the center of the city.

There are three Bus Stations in Voronezh that connect the city with a large number of destinations including Moscow, Belgorod, Lipetsk, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Astrakhan and many more.

The city has seven theaters, twelve museums, a number of movie theaters, a philharmonic hall, and a circus. It is also a major center of higher education in central Russia. The main educational facilities include:

Voronezh State University
Voronezh State Technical University
Voronezh State University of Architecture and Construction
Voronezh State Pedagogical University
Voronezh State Agricultural University
Voronezh State University of Engineering Technologies
Voronezh State Medical University named after N. N. Burdenko
Voronezh State Academy of Arts
Voronezh State University of Forestry and Technologies named after G.F. Morozov
Voronezh State Institute of Physical Training
Voronezh Institute of Russia’s Home Affairs Ministry
Voronezh Institute of High Technologies
Military Educational and Scientific Center of the Air Force «N.E. Zhukovsky and Y.A. Gagarin Air Force Academy» (Voronezh)
Plekhanov Russian University of Economics (Voronezh branch)
Russian State University of Justice[46]
Admiral Makarov State University of Sea and River Fleet (Voronezh branch)
International Institute of Computer Technologies
Voronezh Institute of Economics and Law
and a number of other affiliate and private-funded institutes and universities. There are 2000 schools within the city.

Voronezh Chamber Theatre[47]
Koltsov Academic Drama Theater[48]
Voronezh State Opera and Ballet Theatre[49]
Shut Puppet Theater[50]
Platonov International Arts Festival[51]

ClubSportFoundedCurrent LeagueLeague
Fakel VoronezhFootball1947Russian Football National League2ndTsentralnyi Profsoyuz Stadion
Energy VoronezhFootball1989Women’s Premier League1stRudgormash Stadium
Buran VoronezhIce Hockey1977Higher Hockey League2ndYubileyny Sports Palace
VC VoronezhVolleyball2006Women’s Higher Volleyball League A2ndKristall Sports Complex

Annunciation Orthodox Cathedral in Voronezh
Orthodox Christianity is the prevalent religion in Voronezh.[citation needed]

There is an orthodox Jewish community in Voronezh, with a synagogue located on Stankevicha Street.[52][53]

In 1682, the Voronezh diocese was formed to fight the schismatics. Its first head was Bishop Mitrofan (1623-1703) at the age of 58. Under him, the construction began on the new Annunciation Cathedral to replace the old one. In 1832, Mitrofan was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church.

In the 1990s, many Orthodox churches were returned to the diocese. Their restoration was continued. In 2009, instead of the lost one, a new Annunciation Cathedral was built with a monument to St. Mitrofan erected next to it.

Now there are ten cemeteries in Voronezh.

Levoberezhnoye Cemetery
Lesnoye Cemetery
Jewish Cemetery
Nikolskoye Cemetery
Pravoberezhnoye Cemetery
Budyonnovskoe Cemetery
Yugo-Zapadnoye Cemetery
Podgorenskоye Cemetery
Kominternovskoe Cemetery
Ternovoye Cemetery is а historical site closed to the public.

Russia (Russian: Россия, tr. Rossiya, pronounced [rɐˈsʲijə]), or the Russian Federation,[b] is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the largest country in the world, covering over 17,125,191 square kilometres (6,612,073 sq mi), and encompassing one-eighth of Earth’s inhabitable landmass. Russia extends across eleven time zones, and has the most borders of any country in the world, with sixteen sovereign nations.[c] It has a population of 146.2 million; and is the most populous country in Europe, and the ninth-most populous country in the world. Moscow, the capital, is the largest city in Europe; while Saint Petersburg is the second-largest city and cultural centre. Russians are the largest Slavic and European nation; they speak Russian, the most spoken Slavic language, and the most spoken native language in Europe.

The East Slavs emerged as a recognisable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. The medieval state of Rus’ arose in the 9th century. In 988, it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Rus’ ultimately disintegrated, until it was finally reunified by the Grand Duchy of Moscow in the 15th century. By the 18th century, the nation had vastly expanded through conquest, annexation, and exploration to evolve into the Russian Empire, the third-largest empire in history.

Following the Russian Revolution, the Russian SFSR became the largest and leading constituent of the Soviet Union, the world’s first constitutionally socialist state. The Soviet Union played a decisive role in the Allied victory in World War II, and emerged as a superpower and rival to the United States during the Cold War. The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the world’s first human-made satellite and the launching of the first human in space. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian SFSR reconstituted itself as the Russian Federation. In the aftermath of the constitutional crisis of 1993, a new constitution was adopted, and Russia has since been governed as a federal semi-presidential republic. Vladimir Putin has dominated Russia’s political system since 2000; the period has been described as authoritarian, due to the lack of civil liberties and corruption.

Russia is a great power, and a potential superpower. It is ranked as "very high" in the Human Development Index, with a universal healthcare system, and a free university education. Russia’s economy is the world’s eleventh-largest by nominal GDP and the sixth-largest by PPP. It is a recognized nuclear-weapons state, possessing the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons; with the second-most powerful military, and the fourth-highest military expenditure. Russia’s extensive mineral and energy resources are the world’s largest, and it is among the leading producers of oil and natural gas globally. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, a member of the G20, the SCO, the Council of Europe, the APEC, the OSCE, the IIB and the WTO, as well as the leading member of the CIS, the CSTO, and the EAEU. Russia is also home to the ninth-greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The name Russia is derived from Rus’, a medieval state populated primarily by the East Slavs.[14] However, the proper name became more prominent in later history, and the country typically was called by its inhabitants "Русская земля" (Russkaya zemlya), which can be translated as "Russian land".[15] In order to distinguish this state from other states derived from it, it is denoted as Kievan Rus’ by modern historiography. The name Rus’ itself comes from the early medieval Rus’ people, a group of Norse merchants and warriors who relocated from across the Baltic Sea and founded a state centred on Novgorod that later became Kievan Rus’.[16]

A Medieval Latin version of the name Rus’ was Ruthenia, which was used as one of several designations for East Slavic and Eastern Orthodox regions, and commonly as a designation for the lands of Rus’.[17] The current name of the country, Россия (Rossiya), comes from the Byzantine Greek designation of the Rus’, Ρωσσία Rossía – spelled Ρωσία (Rosía pronounced [roˈsia]) in Modern Greek.[18]

The standard way to refer to the citizens of Russia is "Russians" in English.[19] There are two words in Russian which are commonly translated into English as "Russians" – one is "русские" (russkiye), which most often refers to ethnic Russians – and the other is "россияне" (rossiyane), which refers to citizens of Russia, regardless of ethnicity.[20]

Main article: History of Russia
Early history
Further information: Scythia, Ancient Greek colonies, Early Slavs, East Slavs, Huns, Turkic expansion, and Prehistory of Siberia
See also: Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Uralic
One of the first modern human bones of over 40,000 years old were found in Southern Russia, in the villages of Kostyonki and Borshchyovo situated on the banks of the Don River.[21][22]

The Kurgan hypothesis places southern Russia as the urheimat of the Proto-Indo-Europeans.[23]
Nomadic pastoralism developed in the Pontic–Caspian steppe beginning in the Chalcolithic.[24] Remnants of these steppe civilizations were discovered in places such as Ipatovo,[24] Sintashta,[25] Arkaim,[26] and Pazyryk,[27] which bear the earliest known traces of horses in warfare.[25] In classical antiquity, the Pontic-Caspian Steppe was known as Scythia.[28]

In late 8th century BCE, Ancient Greek traders brought classical civilization to the trade emporiums in Tanais and Phanagoria.[29]

In the 3rd to 4th centuries AD, the Gothic kingdom of Oium existed in Southern Russia, which was later overrun by Huns.[14] Between the 3rd and 6th centuries AD, the Bosporan Kingdom, which was a Hellenistic polity that succeeded the Greek colonies,[30] was also overwhelmed by nomadic invasions led by warlike tribes such as the Huns and Eurasian Avars.[31] The Khazars, who were of Turkic origin, ruled the lower Volga basin steppes between the Caspian and Black Seas until the 10th century.[32]

The ancestors of modern Russians are the Slavic tribes, whose original home is thought by some scholars to have been the wooded areas of the Pinsk Marshes, one of the largest wetlands in Europe.[33] The East Slavs gradually settled Western Russia in two waves: one moving from Kiev towards present-day Suzdal and Murom and another from Polotsk towards Novgorod and Rostov.[32] From the 7th century onwards, the East Slavs constituted the bulk of the population in western Russia,[32] and slowly but peacefully assimilated the native Finnic peoples, including the Merya,[34] the Muromians,[35] and the Meshchera.[36]

Kievan Rus’
Main articles: Rus’ Khaganate, Kievan Rus’, and List of early East Slavic states

Kievan Rus’ in the 11th century
The establishment of the first East Slavic states in the 9th century coincided with the arrival of Varangians, the Vikings who ventured along the waterways extending from the eastern Baltic to the Black and Caspian Seas.[37] According to the Primary Chronicle, a Varangian from the Rus’ people, named Rurik, was elected ruler of Novgorod in 862.[14] In 882, his successor Oleg ventured south and conquered Kiev,[38] which had been previously paying tribute to the Khazars.[32] Rurik’s son Igor and Igor’s son Sviatoslav subsequently subdued all local East Slavic tribes to Kievan rule, destroyed the Khazar Khaganate,[39] and launched several military expeditions to Byzantium and Persia.[40][41]

In the 10th to 11th centuries, Kievan Rus’ became one of the largest and most prosperous states in Europe.[42] The reigns of Vladimir the Great (980–1015) and his son Yaroslav the Wise (1019–1054) constitute the Golden Age of Kiev, which saw the acceptance of Orthodox Christianity from Byzantium, and the creation of the first East Slavic written legal code, the Russkaya Pravda.[14]

In the 11th and 12th centuries, constant incursions by nomadic Turkic tribes, such as the Kipchaks and the Pechenegs, caused a massive migration of the East Slavic populations to the safer, heavily forested regions of the north, particularly to the area known as Zalesye.[43]

The Baptism of Kievans, by Klavdy Lebedev.
The age of feudalism and decentralization had come, marked by constant in-fighting between members of the Rurikid Dynasty that ruled Kievan Rus’ collectively. Kiev’s dominance waned, to the benefit of Vladimir-Suzdal in the north-east, Novgorod Republic in the north-west and Galicia-Volhynia in the south-west.[14]

Ultimately Kievan Rus’ disintegrated, with the final blow being the Mongol invasion of 1237–40, that resulted in the destruction of Kiev, and the death of about half the population of Rus’.[44] The invaders, later known as Tatars, formed the state of the Golden Horde, which pillaged the Russian principalities and ruled the southern and central expanses of Russia for over two centuries.[45]

Galicia-Volhynia was eventually assimilated by the Kingdom of Poland, while the Novgorod Republic and Mongol-dominated Vladimir-Suzdal, two regions on the periphery of Kiev, established the basis for the modern Russian nation.[14] The Novgorod Republic escaped Mongol occupation and together with Pskov retained some degree of autonomy during the time of the Mongol yoke; they were largely spared the atrocities that affected the rest of the country. Led by Prince Alexander Nevsky, Novgorodians repelled the invading Swedes in the Battle of the Neva in 1240,[46] as well as the Germanic crusaders in the Battle of the Ice in 1242.[47]

Grand Duchy of Moscow
Main article: Grand Duchy of Moscow

Sergius of Radonezh blessing Dmitry Donskoy in Trinity Sergius Lavra, before the Battle of Kulikovo, depicted in a painting by Ernst Lissner
The most powerful state to eventually arise after the destruction of Kievan Rus’ was the Grand Duchy of Moscow, initially a part of Vladimir-Suzdal.[48] While still under the domain of the Mongol-Tatars and with their connivance, Moscow began to assert its influence in the Central Rus’ in the early 14th century, gradually becoming the leading force in the process of the Rus’ lands’ reunification and expansion of Russia.[49] Moscow’s last rival, the Novgorod Republic, prospered as the chief fur trade centre and the easternmost port of the Hanseatic League.[50]

Times remained difficult, with frequent Mongol-Tatar raids. Agriculture suffered from the beginning of the Little Ice Age. As in the rest of Europe, plague was a frequent occurrence between 1350 and 1490.[51] However, because of the lower population density and better hygiene—widespread practicing of banya, a wet steam bath—the death rate from plague was not as severe as in Western Europe,[52] and population numbers recovered by 1500.[51]

Led by Prince Dmitry Donskoy of Moscow and helped by the Russian Orthodox Church, the united army of Russian principalities inflicted a milestone defeat on the Mongol-Tatars in the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380.[53] Moscow gradually absorbed the surrounding principalities, including formerly strong rivals such as Tver and Novgorod.[48]

Ivan III ("the Great") finally threw off the control of the Golden Horde and consolidated the whole of Central and Northern Rus’ under Moscow’s dominion, and was the first Russian ruler to take the title title "Grand Duke of all Rus’".[48] After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Moscow claimed succession to the legacy of the Eastern Roman Empire.[48] Ivan III married Sophia Palaiologina, the niece of the last Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI, and made the Byzantine double-headed eagle his own, and eventually Russia’s, coat-of-arms.[54]

Tsardom of Russia
Main article: Tsardom of Russia
See also: Moscow, third Rome

Tsar Ivan the Terrible, in an evocation by Viktor Vasnetsov, 1897.
In development of the Third Rome ideas, the Grand Duke Ivan IV (the "Terrible") was officially crowned first Tsar of Russia in 1547. The Tsar promulgated a new code of laws (Sudebnik of 1550), established the first Russian feudal representative body (Zemsky Sobor), curbed the influence of the clergy, and introduced local self-management in rural regions.[55]

During his long reign, Ivan the Terrible nearly doubled the already large Russian territory by annexing the three Tatar khanates (parts of the disintegrated Golden Horde): Kazan and Astrakhan along the Volga, and the Siberian Khanate in southwestern Siberia.[55] Thus, by the end of the 16th century, Russia expanded east of the Ural Mountains, thus east of Europe, and into Asia, being transformed into a transcontinental state.[56]

However, the Tsardom was weakened by the long and unsuccessful Livonian War against the coalition of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (later the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth), the Kingdom of Sweden, and Denmark–Norway for access to the Baltic coast and sea trade.[57] At the same time, the Tatars of the Crimean Khanate, the only remaining successor to the Golden Horde, continued to raid southern Russia.[58] In an effort to restore the Volga khanates, Crimeans and their Ottoman allies invaded central Russia and were even able to burn down parts of Moscow in 1571. However, in the following year, the large invading army was thoroughly defeated by the Russians in the crucial Battle of Molodi, forever eliminating the threat of an Ottoman–Crimean expansion into Russia.[59] The slave raids of Crimeans, however, did not cease until the late 17th century though the construction of new fortification lines across Southern Russia, such as the Great Abatis Line, constantly narrowed the area accessible to incursions.[60]

Kuzma Minin appeals to the people of Nizhny Novgorod to raise a volunteer army against the Polish invaders.
The death of Ivan’s sons marked the end of the ancient Rurik Dynasty in 1598, and in combination with the famine of 1601–03, led to a civil war, the rule of pretenders, and foreign intervention during the Time of Troubles in the early 17th century. The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth occupied parts of Russia, extending into the capital Moscow. In 1612, the Poles were forced to retreat by the Russian volunteer corps, led by two national heroes, merchant Kuzma Minin and Prince Dmitry Pozharsky.[61] The Romanov Dynasty acceded to the throne in 1613 by the decision of Zemsky Sobor, and the country started its gradual recovery from the crisis.[62]

Russia continued its territorial growth through the 17th century, which was the age of the Cossacks.[63] In 1648, the peasants of Ukraine joined the Zaporozhian Cossacks in rebellion against the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth during the Khmelnytsky Uprising.[64] In 1654, the Ukrainian leader, Bohdan Khmelnytsky, offered to place Ukraine under the protection of the Russian Tsar, Aleksey I. Aleksey’s acceptance of this offer led to another Russo-Polish War. Ultimately, Ukraine was split along the Dnieper River, leaving the western part, right-bank Ukraine, under Polish rule and the eastern part (Left-bank Ukraine and Kiev) under Russian rule.[57] Later, in 1670–71, the Don Cossacks led by Stenka Razin initiated a major uprising in the Volga Region, but the Tsar’s troops were successful in defeating the rebels.[65]

In the east, the rapid Russian exploration and colonisation of vast Siberia was led mostly by the Cossacks, hunting for valuable furs and ivory.[63] Russian explorers pushed eastward primarily along the Siberian River Routes, and by the mid-17th century, there were Russian settlements in eastern Siberia, on the Chukchi Peninsula, along the Amur River, and on the coast of the Pacific Ocean.[56] In 1648, Semyon Dezhnyov, a Russian explorer, became the first European to navigate through the Bering Strait.[66][67]

Imperial Russia
Main article: Russian Empire

Peter the Great, Tsar of All Russia in 1682–1721 and the first Emperor of All Russia in 1721–1725
Under Peter the Great, Russia was proclaimed an Empire in 1721, and became one of the European great powers. Ruling from 1682 to 1725, Peter defeated Sweden in the Great Northern War (1700−1721), forcing it to cede western Karelia and Ingria (two regions lost by Russia in the Time of Troubles), as well as the Governorate of Estonia and Livonia, securing Russia’s access to the sea and sea trade. In 1703, on the Baltic Sea, Peter founded Saint Petersburg as Russia’s new capital. Throughout his rule, sweeping reforms were made, which brought significant Western European cultural influences to Russia.[68]

The reign of Peter I’s daughter Elizabeth in 1741–62 saw Russia’s participation in the Seven Years’ War (1756–63). During this conflict, Russia annexed East Prussia and even reached the gates of Berlin.[69] However, upon Elizabeth’s death, all these conquests were returned to the Kingdom of Prussia by pro-Prussian Peter III of Russia.[70]

Catherine II ("the Great"), who ruled in 1762–96, presided over the Age of Russian Enlightenment. She extended Russian political control over the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and incorporated most of its territories into Russia during the Partitions of Poland, pushing the Russian frontier westward into Central Europe, and thus making Russia the most populous country in Europe. In the south, after the successful Russo-Turkish Wars against the Ottoman Empire, Catherine advanced Russia’s boundary to the Black Sea, defeating the Crimean Khanate. As a result of victories over Qajar Iran through the Russo-Persian Wars, by the first half of the 19th century, Russia also made significant territorial gains in Transcaucasia and the North Caucasus.[71] Catherine’s successor, her son Paul, was unstable and focused predominantly on domestic issues.[72] Following his short reign, Catherine’s strategy was continued with Alexander I’s (1801–25) wresting of Finland from the weakened Sweden in 1809, and of Bessarabia from the Ottomans in 1812.[73] While in North America, the Russians became the first Europeans to reach and colonize Alaska.[74]

Russian expansion and territorial evolution between the 14th and 20th centuries.[75]
In 1803–1806, the first Russian circumnavigation was made, later followed by other notable Russian sea exploration voyages.[76] In 1820, a Russian expedition discovered the continent of Antarctica.[74]

During the Napoleonic Wars, Russia joined alliances with various other European nations, and fought against France. The French invasion of Russia at the height of Napoleon’s power in 1812 reached Moscow, but eventually failed miserably as the obstinate resistance in combination with the bitterly cold Russian winter led to a disastrous defeat of invaders, in which more than 95% of the pan-European Grande Armée perished. Led by Mikhail Kutuzov and Barclay de Tolly, the Imperial Russian Army ousted Napoleon from the country and drove throughout Europe in the war of the Sixth Coalition, finally entering Paris.[77] Alexander I controlled Russia’s delegation at the Congress of Vienna, which defined the map of post-Napoleonic Europe.[73]

Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow by Albrecht Adam (1851).
The officers who pursued Napoleon into Western Europe brought ideas of liberalism back to Russia with them and attempted to curtail the Tsar’s powers during the abortive Decembrist revolt of 1825.[78] At the end of the conservative reign of Nicholas I (1825–55), a zenith period of Russia’s power and influence in Europe, was disrupted by defeat in the Crimean War.[79]

Nicholas’s successor Alexander II (1855–81) enacted significant changes throughout the country, including the emancipation reform of 1861.[80] These reforms spurred industrialisation, and modernized the Imperial Russian Army, which liberated much of the Balkans from Ottoman rule in the aftermath of the 1877–78 Russo-Turkish War.[81] During most of the 19th and early 20th century, Russia and Britain colluded over Afghanistan and its neighboring territories in Central and South Asia; the rivalry between the two major European empires came to be known as The Great Game.[82]

The late 19th century saw the rise of various socialist movements in Russia. Alexander II was assassinated in 1881 by revolutionary terrorists.[80] The reign of his son Alexander III (1881–94) was less liberal but more peaceful.[83] The last Russian Emperor, Nicholas II (1894–1917), was unable to prevent the events of the Russian Revolution of 1905, triggered by the unsuccessful Russo-Japanese War and the demonstration incident known as Bloody Sunday. The uprising was put down, but the government was forced to concede major reforms (Russian Constitution of 1906), including granting the freedoms of speech and assembly, the legalisation of political parties, and the creation of an elected legislative body, the State Duma.[84]

February Revolution and Russian Republic
Main articles: February Revolution, Russian Provisional Government, and Russian Republic
See also: 1917 Russian Constituent Assembly election and Russian Democratic Federative Republic

Emperor Nicholas II of Russia and his family were murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918.
In 1914, Russia entered World War I in response to Austria-Hungary’s declaration of war on Russia’s ally Serbia, and fought across multiple fronts while isolated from its Triple Entente allies.[85] In 1916, the Brusilov Offensive of the Imperial Russian Army almost completely destroyed the Austro-Hungarian Army.[86] However, the already-existing public distrust of the regime was deepened by the rising costs of war, high casualties, and rumors of corruption and treason. All this formed the climate for the Russian Revolution of 1917, carried out in two major acts.[87]

The February Revolution forced Nicholas II to abdicate; he and his family were imprisoned and later executed in Yekaterinburg during the Russian Civil War.[62] The monarchy was replaced by a shaky coalition of political parties that declared itself the Provisional Government. On 1 September (14), 1917, upon a decree of the Provisional Government, the Russian Republic was proclaimed. On 6 January (19), 1918, the Russian Constituent Assembly declared Russia a democratic federal republic (thus ratifying the Provisional Government’s decision). The next day the Constituent Assembly was dissolved by the All-Russian Central Executive Committee.[87]

Russian Civil War
Main articles: October Revolution, Russian Civil War, and White movement
See also: Soviet Russia Constitution of 1918

White émigré propaganda poster, circa 1932.
An alternative socialist establishment co-existed, the Petrograd Soviet, wielding power through the democratically elected councils of workers and peasants, called Soviets. The rule of the new authorities only aggravated the crisis in the country instead of resolving it, and eventually, the October Revolution, led by Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Provisional Government and gave full governing power to the Soviets, leading to the creation of the world’s first socialist state.[87]

Following the October Revolution, the Russian Civil War broke out between the anti-Communist White movement and the new Soviet regime with its Red Army.[87] In the aftermath of signing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, the first diplomatic treaty ever filmed, that concluded hostilities with the Central Powers of World War I; Bolshevist Russia surrendered most of its western territories, which spanned over 2,600,000 square kilometres (1,000,000 sq mi), and hosted a third of its population—about 55 million.[88] The territory was also home to over 54% of its industries, about 32% of its agricultural land, and roughly 90% of its coal mines.[89][90]

The Allied powers launched an unsuccessful military intervention in support of anti-Communist forces.[91] In the meantime, both the Bolsheviks and White movement carried out campaigns of deportations and executions against each other, known respectively as the Red Terror and White Terror.[92] By the end of the civil war, Russia’s economy and infrastructure were heavily damaged. There were an estimated 7–12 million casualties during the war, mostly civilians.[87] Millions became White émigrés,[93] and the Russian famine of 1921–22 claimed up to five million victims.[94]

Soviet Union
Main articles: Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Soviet Union, and History of the Soviet Union
See also: Treaty on the Creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

Bolshevik political cartoon poster from 1920, showing Vladimir Lenin sweeping away monarchs, clergy, and capitalists.
On 30 December 1922, Lenin and his aides formed the Soviet Union, by merging the Russian SFSR with the Ukrainian, Byelorussian, and the Transcaucasian SFSR. Eventually the union grew larger to compass 15 republics, out of which, the largest in size and population was the Russian SFSR, which dominated the union for its entire history politically, culturally, and economically.[95]

Following Lenin’s death in 1924, a troika was designated to take charge. Eventually Joseph Stalin, the General Secretary of the Communist Party, managed to suppress all opposition factions and consolidate power in his hands to become the country’s dictator by the 1930s.[95] Leon Trotsky, the main proponent of world revolution, was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1929, and Stalin’s idea of Socialism in One Country became the official line.[96] The continued internal struggle in the Bolshevik party culminated in the Great Purge, a period of mass repressions in 1937–38, during which hundreds of thousands of people were executed, including original party members and military leaders forced to confess to nonexistent plots.[97]

Under Stalin’s leadership, the government launched a command economy, industrialisation of the largely rural country, and collectivisation of its agriculture. During this period of rapid economic and social change, millions of people were sent to penal labor camps, including many political convicts for their suspected or real opposition to Stalin’s rule; millions were deported and exiled to remote areas of the Soviet Union. The transitional disorganisation of the country’s agriculture, combined with the harsh state policies and a drought, led to the Soviet famine of 1932–1933; and the Soviet Union made the costly transformation from a largely agrarian economy to a major industrial powerhouse within a short span of time.[98]

, russia , poet statue , sergey esenin , statue , sculpture , monument , public art , russian federation #Poet #Sergey #Esenin #Statue #Voronezh #Russian #Federation

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