The Commonwealth of the Independent States is currently made up of 11republics, Russia being one of them. The country is popularly known as the Russian Federation. It is located partially in Eastern Europe and mainly in Asia whereby it occupies the better part of the region. To the eastern side; it shares a boundary with Pacific Ocean. The Russian Federation also stretches from the Baltic Sea in the western side (Blinnikov, 2010).
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The Arctic Ocean also marks the northern boundary of the Republic and to the South, the Caucasus as well as the Black Sea are outstanding landmarks. Both Finland and Norway borders Russia to the northwest while in the western side, quite a number of countries such as Ukraine and Estonia are its neighbours. Other countries located to the west of Russia include Belarus, Latvia and Poland. In the southwest, Azerbaijan and Georgia are its neighbours while the northern neighbours are North Korea, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and China (Blinnikov, 2010).
According to historical traditional tales, it is believed that the first Russian dynasty was founded by Viking Rurik way back in 862. The growth and spread of Christian religion during the 10th and 11th centuries was the major unifying factor of the various tribes (Ziegler, 2009). The conversion of Vladimir to Christianity took place in 988. He was perceived to be a saint. Thereafter, the Russian cities were ruled by the dukes of Moscow. This was especially evident among the early dukes. At this time, Moscow played a very significant role as a centre of administration alongside the focal point of trading activities.
The Mongol yoke was overthrown by Duke Ivan III towards the close of 15th century. Consequently, the Duke took over the full control of Novgorod and Tver. Between 1533 and 1584, the Ivan IV leadership led to the foundation of the Russian state (Ziegler, 2009). His rule was autocratic and subsequently managed to bring down the authority of rival princes as well as the boyars who were outstanding landlords of the time. However, Russian was heavily medieval for a considerable length of time until when Peter the Great took over the leadership of the country.
The main agenda of Peter the Great after he clinched the reign of Russia was to westernize the country and he indeed made major reforms in his government. this was evident when he triumphed over Charles XII of Sweden(Ziegler, 2009). As a result of this victory, Peter the Great succeeded in extending the boundaries of Russia further to the western side.
When Catherine the Great (1762-1796) took over, the westernization agenda continued. This program led to further expansion of the Russian territory with the acquisition of Ukraine and Crimea (Ziegler, 2009).
The attempt to weaken and take over Russia between the years 1812-1813 by Napoleon was not successful and instead, Alexander I who was the ruler by that time gained a new territory for Russia. These territories were Finland which was acquired in 1809 and Bessarabia which was taken over by Russia towards the end of 1812 (Ziegler, 2009). Moreover, the reign of Alexander I also witnessed the crushing down of liberal movement that was taking shape in Europe by that time.
The Russia’s borders were later extended to the Pacific with the rule of Alexander II while Serfdom was done away with by 1861. In spite of this, revolutionary strikes which gripped Russia after it was defeated by Japan compelled Nicholas II to act on demands of its foe through the creation of Duma. However, this national body did not have much effect on the reign of Nicholas (Ziegler, 2009).
Other events that have shaped the Russian history include the Bolshevik Revolution, the emergence and dissolution of USSR, the Cold War, financial crisis and political conflicts as well as the rise of Putin to power.
Blinnikov, S.M. (2010). Geography of Russia and Its Neighbors, New York: Guilford Press.
Ziegler, E.C. (2009). The History of Russia, Santa Barbara: Greenwood Publishing Group.