IB DP History Class: What pagans, Putin and the Volga teach us about Russia
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Specification IB DP History
Connections DP History Key Concept: Change. World history topic 10: Authoritarian states (20th century). HL option 4: History of Europe — Unit 12: Imperial Russia, revolution and the establishment of the Soviet Union (1855—1924).
Key terms and ideas Change, Essence, Nationalist myth.
Click to read the article below and then answer the questions:
This story explores the intersection of history and geography in understanding the essential nature of Russian identity. It describes how for centuries Russians have “thought of the Volga as embodying their nation’s identity and fate”.
The Volga is the dividing line between the western and eastern parts of the Russian Empire. As such the Volga “marked the beginning of Russia’s transformation from being an essentially homogeneous nation” to one that “came to embrace new peoples, new cultures and new religions”.
The Volga also played a key role in the post-revolution Civil War, and World War Two, particularly the era-defining battle of Stalingrad. As such it has also played a key role in Russia’s “growing national self-image as both beleaguered fortress amid a sea of enemies and also guardian of everything that was good and proper”
What is the essence of Russian identity?
How much can we learn about the intrinsic nature of Russia through a study of the Volga?
In what ways can a geographical lens help us recognise continuities in Russian history?
Ned Riley, historyrising.net
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