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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

HistoryDude

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Many have wondered about the history of Russia during the 19th and 20th centuries. Nowadays, Russia is one of the foremost world powers. Much of the world obeys when their leaders demand things. They are a modern superpower.

Most people are aware that this glory truly began during the 19th century, but many seem to believe that it came out of nowhere. They believe that a backwater state simply modernized quickly and began to take over the world.

That’s not the case. Russia didn’t gain all of their influence in a day or a year. It was in the making for centuries. To truly get a sense of why Russia became as powerful as it did, and, more importantly, why it remained that powerful, requires a look at its history before the 19th century.

This book will cover that as well. Why? is the most pertinent question of all time, and it is the question historians seek to answer. Why is a simple question, but the answers to that question are long and last multiple centuries - sometimes millennia.

This book will be organized by topic, not by chronology. Simply listing events in chronological order has been done many times, but ordering them by topic is surprisingly rare. Answering the question of “why?” is far easier if we organize our data by what specific question is being answered.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As you guys can see, I have another AAR! This one will cover a Victoria II game, but as an in-universe history book, so it will also cover much real life history and some extrapolated history beyond the Victoria II timeframe.
 
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HIMDogson

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This looks like an interesting approach to an AAR, going by topic. I'll be interested to see what this does for the AAR.
 

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Interesting will be following for sure.
 

Gamov_Andrew

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Many have wondered about the history of Russia during the 19th and 20th centuries. Nowadays, Russia is one of the foremost world powers. Much of the world obeys when their leaders demand things. They are a modern superpower.

Most people are aware that this glory truly began during the 19th century, but many seem to believe that it came out of nowhere. They believe that a backwater state simply modernized quickly and began to take over the world.

That’s not the case. Russia didn’t gain all of their influence in a day or a year. It was in the making for centuries. To truly get a sense of why Russia became as powerful as it did, and, more importantly, why it remained that powerful, requires a look at its history before the 19th century.

This book will cover that as well. Why? is the most pertinent question of all time, and it is the question historians seek to answer. Why is a simple question, but the answers to that question are long and last multiple centuries - sometimes millennia.

This book will be organized by topic, not by chronology. Simply listing events in chronological order has been done many times, but ordering them by topic is surprisingly rare. Answering the question of “why?” is far easier if we organize our data by what specific question is being answered.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As you guys can see, I have another AAR! This one will cover a Victoria II game, but as an in-universe history book, so it will also cover much real life history and some extrapolated history beyond the Victoria II timeframe.
Follow you
 

El Pip

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An interesting approach, I look forward to seeing what you do with it.
 

HistoryDude

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Will be following!
Fantastic. Will be following also.
This looks like an interesting approach to an AAR, going by topic. I'll be interested to see what this does for the AAR.
Interesting will be following for sure.
Follow you
An interesting approach, I look forward to seeing what you do with it.

Thanks for all the interest!
 
Russia's Origins

HistoryDude

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To truly know about why Russia rose, one must understand how it existed at all. Geography is destiny, according to a thousand historians. In Russia, this wasn’t true. Yes, early Russian civilization was centered around the Dnieper River - and that probably contributed to Russia’s eventual ascent. Still, the Dnieper didn’t make an empire on its own. If that had been the case, then a thousand states would have risen to prominence before Moscow did.

To begin with, the native inhabitants of the land around the Dnieper were Slavs. While Russia is often considered a Slavic nation, it is unlike the other Slavic nations in that its rulers were not originally Slavic - at least, legend says that they weren’t. Many Russian leaders in modern times would prefer if the rest of the world forgot that legend - and some have attempted to rewrite it.

Legend proclaims that Rurik was the first ruler of something resembling a united Russia. However, Rurik’s people weren’t the first inhabitants of Russia. The Greeks had some colonies on the edges of modern Russia (proper), and their texts speak of the ferocious Scythians - who traded with the Greeks themselves. They were defeated by both Philip and Alexander, who was known in every area between the Danube and the Dnieper. In truth, though, the Scythians - called Sarmatians by the Romans - were likely very diverse. Both terms seem to have been a general reference to every tribe in northern Eurasia.

Neither the Scythians nor the Sarmatians ever created a mighty nation. The Sarmatians did manage to extract tribute from the mighty Roman Empire. It is possibly - even likely - that the Goths and Alans and many other “Germanic” tribes were counted as Sarmatians.

In time, many empires of barbaric tribes were established to rule over Russia - first the Goths, then the Huns, then the Sclavonians (probably Slavs), and then the Avars. Thousands of tribes likely intermingled to form the people we know of as “Russians”.

Rurik was allegedly invited by the Russians to rule. They allegedly asked him to “come and govern us and reign over us”. He and his little-known brothers, Sineous and Truvor, divided the nucleus of Russia between them. Rurik made his capital Novgorod, situated on Lake Ilmen.

The three sovereigns of Russia ruled over a much smaller region than the mighty nation Russia is today. However, Rurik’s brothers quickly died, and Rurik became the sole ruler. He then managed to conquer land down to the Volga and the Dwina.

Rurik then implemented a system very similar to feudalism in western Europe. This would cause many problems, as he gave land to his sons, and they gave land to their sons, and so on.

Two adventurers - likely from Scandinavia - left for Constantinople to offer the emperor of that time their services. They soon found a small city on the Dnieper, though, named Kiev. They settled down there and began to rule. Many joined them.

Still, they eventually reached too far. They attacked Greece, and their initial attack was successful - they managed to besiege Constantinople. Unfortunately, a storm destroyed their fleet, and the adventurers, Ascolod and Dir, returned to Kiev. Legend says that they then sent a messenger to Constantinople to get baptized, terrified at the storm. This seems to have been how Christianity entered Russia.

Both Rurik and Ascolod and Dir expanded their kingdoms, until the two realms were adjacent to one another. Rurik reigned until 879 AD, and his son, Igor, was crowned in Novgorod. If the Dnieper was the key to Russia's glory, then this kingdom should have risen to far more glorious heights than it did.

However, Igor was only a child. His regent was another Rurikovich, Oleg. He immediately began his regency by seizing control of much of the rest of the modern day Republic of Rus. He then took Kiev by trickery.

Oleg, however, liked Kiev. He moved his capital there, where it would remain until the invasion of the Mongols.

Kiev’s conquest didn’t sever its ties to Constantinople, though, and, after multiple failed invasions, the Russians would convert to the Eastern Orthodox Church. Igor’s wife, Olga, was the catalyst for this, although it would ultimately be her grandson, Vladimir the Great, who converted the people of the Kievan Rus to Christianity.

The Russians converted to the Eastern Orthodox Church. This is likely a reason for its long division from the rest of Europe - which practiced Roman Catholicism.
 

Gamov_Andrew

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Move the capital to Kiev was a real crucial point. Kiev is close to the Byzantine Empire that is Orthodox while Novgorod borders with norse faith pagan who become futher Catholic. In my ARR I decide to stay in the north-east part of the russian land so the Eastern branch of Christianity is not up to me.
 

generalis Julius Caesar

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I shall follow this with great attention. As long as new Victoria2 AARs are being posted I keep my hope in humanity.
 
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HistoryDude

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Fascinating look at the origins of what we know as Russia. Not a topic I know much about at all.
Move the capital to Kiev was a real crucial point. Kiev is close to the Byzantine Empire that is Orthodox while Novgorod borders with norse faith pagan who become futher Catholic. In my ARR I decide to stay in the north-east part of the russian land so the Eastern branch of Christianity is not up to me.

It's possible that a Novgorod-centered Russia would've converted later anyway, but you're right. Moving to Kiev - conquering Kiev - got the Rurikids contact with the Orthodox Byzantines.

I shall follow this with great attention. As long as new Victoria2 AARs are being posted I keep my hope in humanity.

Thanks!
 

volksmarschall

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This portends to be great. Love good history books, topical, filled with breadth. Will be reading.

Cheers!
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Interesting.
 

El Pip

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Taking it right back to the birth of Russia, certainly one way to do the grand-sweep of history. :)
 

Cora Giantkiller

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Love a good Russian AAR. Can't wait to see where this goes.
 

HistoryDude

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This portends to be great. Love good history books, topical, filled with breadth. Will be reading.

Cheers!

Interesting.

Taking it right back to the birth of Russia, certainly one way to do the grand-sweep of history. :)

Love a good Russian AAR. Can't wait to see where this goes.
Thanks for the support! Next update should be coming very soon...
 
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Russia and the Mongols New

HistoryDude

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Another thing that separated Russia from the rest of Europe was their relationship with the Mongol Empire. Alone amongst European states, Russia was forced to pay tribute to the Mongols. Many Western historians believe this to be the main reason why Russia was (or even still is) “backwards” compared to Western and Central Europe.

Whether or not this is a true statement is… complicated. To answer that question, one must look at how the Mongols ruled Russia - and at how they ruled in general. In addition, we must consider why they were able to conquer Russia - and why they weren’t able to conquer beyond.

The easier of those two questions is why they weren’t able to conquer any of Europe beyond Russia. The answer is that it didn’t interest them after a certain point. They did almost conquer Europe, but their Khan’s death prevented that. Many Europeans consider this to be a good thing, but considering how well Russia turned out…

Still, the Mongols easily conquered Russia due to Russia’s already-existing division. The practice of splitting territory between sons meant that the great unified realms of Rurik and Oleg were long gone by the 13th century.

This shouldn’t have been a problem, but the Mongols were something that was completely unexpected everywhere they conquered - not just in Russia. After all, who could expect a small tribe on the edges of the Asiatic Steppe to conquer most of the Known World?

The Mongols were something that nobody planned for because nobody could plan for them. They were a problem that couldn’t be predicted. Why, though, were they able to subjugate Russia?
The answer is simple. United we stand, divided we fall.

And Russia was very divided. The glory days of a united Russia that could attack even the Queen of Cities with almost total impunity were long gone when the Mongols attacked. Instead of a single state ruled by a powerful monarch and centered at Kiev, Russia was a patchwork of different states that were united only by their religion and the dynasty of their rulers. The monarchs at Kiev were next to powerless.

The reason for this will be familiar to any student of the Middle Ages in Europe. In the simplest terms possible, the Russian rulers thought that each son of the monarch should receive a portion of that monarch’s land when they died. In theory, all of these new monarchs owed allegiance to the eldest member of the ruling dynasty.

As anybody who has ever studied German history could tell you, this wasn’t the case in practice. Indeed, Russia when it was subjugated by the Mongols looked very similar to the “Holy Roman Empire” in the aftermath of the Treaty of Westphalia. There was a theoretical leader, but it was truly a collection of independent states. Kiev’s power had withered until it was considered just another principality - the other states didn’t truly pay it any allegiance

When the Mongols invaded, the common enemy was, indeed, recognized by many of the numerous Russian principalities. The Cumans had warned them and even entered into a temporary alliance with the Rus. This showed that the Russians understood the threat posed by the Mongols - the Cumans and the Rus were old enemies. Of course, the Rus initially ignored the Cuman warning and only responded to the threat when they heard that the Mongols were marching up the Dniester River.

Truthfully, an earlier battle with the Mongols was unlikely to have had a different result. The Battle of the Kalka River was an utter disaster for the Rus. The amount of men fighting in it is disputed, as is the amount of men dead. The Rus army could have had anywhere from 11,000 to 100,000 men fighting on their side. The Mongols probably had around 20,000 men.

The Mongols apparently had no feud with the Rus up until this point. This means that the ruler of Kiev (and leader of the Rus coalition) could be blamed for the centuries of Mongol rule in Russia. This man, Mstislav III (“the Old”, not to be confused with Mstislav the Bold, another commander in this army) executed the ten Mongol envoys sent to deliver this message.

The amount of men dead might’ve been as few as 10,000 men or as many of 60,000 men. The Novgorodian First Chronicle cites that “only one in ten returned home”. Put simply, the battle was an utter disaster, but it wasn’t the direct cause of the subjugation of Russia by the Mongols.

No, that subjugation would occur some 14 years later. All the Russian states were then forced to pay tribute to the Golden Horde. Entire cities were destroyed.

Still, the Mongols kept the Russians under control by pitting the different principalities against each other. Notably, they favored the Grand Duchy of Moscow, which would backfire later. They also favored Tver until that city revolted. Moscow helped put down that revolt and was rewarded with the title of Grand Prince.

Some cities damaged by the Mongols took centuries to recover. This aided the cities spared by the Mongols who now had fewer rivals to compete with.

For all the declarations that the Mongols “separated Russia from Europe”, they weren’t actually a completely negative force. It was their influence that led to the rise of Moscow and allowed Novgorod to flourish. Indeed, Russian unity might not have been achieved without the Mongols at all.

The Tsardom of Russia was, fundamentally, a reaction to the Mongols. The Russians likely wouldn’t have united without the Mongols. Instead, Russia might have become a second Holy Roman Empire, a patchwork of states only theoretically united. Indeed, it might’ve been far worse, as Russia would still have to deal with raids by the Steppe tribes around them.

In truth, the Mongols created Russia, regardless of whether or not the Russians like to acknowledge it.
 
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