Monday, February 1, 2016

History of Russia

In Dr. Fowler's class titled: "Introduction to REES," we spent the first couple weeks discussing how Russia came to be the way it was. We did this through analyzing the works of three different authors (Poe, Kotkin, and Snyder). Poe stressed the combination of both European and Asian culture forming something uniquely Russian, Kotkin left us with amusing allusions to democracy-focused scholars failing to understand the power and effectiveness of autocracy, and finally Snyder, with his focus on the extremely strong nationalism felt by the various groups of people (Polish and Ukrainians in his argument, but this can be applied, in my opinion, to all of the nationalities in this region) – a nationalism that can divide as easily as it can unify. The key thing to take away from these readings is the vast differences in how each historian approaches Russia's vast and expansive history. Each emphasizes a very different part of Russia and attempts to sell us on the fact that that specific aspect was the most influential one in forming Russia into the unique cultural phenomena that it is today. 

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