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The Russian Empire, also known as the Empire of Russia or simply Russia, is a country that was established in 1721, by Emperor Peter the Great. It is recognized as the modern successor to the Tsardom of Muscovy. It is the largest country in the world, in terms of land size, with a total area of some 22 million kilometers, covering a sixth of the Earth's landmass, and the second largest contiguous empire in world history (and also the largest contiguous empire in the world today), surpassed only by the historical Mongol Empire, and the third largest empire in world history after the British Empire and Mongol Empire. At it's current extent, it stretches from Poland in eastern Europe to Alaska in North America, across the whole northern region of Eurasia. It extends from the Baltic Sea down to the Black Sea, and from the Black Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Russia has borders with Norway, Sweden, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan, Mongolia, the Chinese Empire (China), and North Korea. It is separated from Japan by the Sea of Japan, and embraces Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands.

Russia is the third most populous nation in the world with some 360 million inhabitants. The country incorporates 15 time zones and a wide variety of geographical environments and climates. The Russian Empire has the world's largest amount of mineral and energy resources, and the world's largest forest reserves. It's lakes bear about a third of the world's total fresh-water.

Russia is tied with the United States in having the world's largest and most prosperous economy, but it definitely has the largest military budget. The country is one of five recognized nuclear weapons states (the others United States, Britain, France, and China) and possesses the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Russia has the world's largest tank force, as well a professional missile defense system.

Russia is a recognized world superpower, in economic, military, and cultural affairs, and a full-time member of the United Nations security council, as one of five members holding veto power (the United States, Britain, France, and China are the others). Russia is also a major member of the G8, G20, Council of Europe, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the Eurasian Economic Community.

Russian Empire
[[Image:
Map of the Russian Empire
|px]]
Motto
God with us!
Anthem
God save the Emperor!
Capital (and largest city)
Saint Petersburg
Languages
Russian (official), Polish (recognized), Finnish (recognized), Swedish (recognized), Lithuanian (recognized), Ukrainian (recognized), Belorussian (recognized), Azerbaijani, Turkish (recognized), Uzbek, Mongolian, numerous others
Demonym
Russian
Government
Semi-Parliamentary Constitutional Empire

-Constitution of the Russian Empire

-Emperor Nicholas II of Russia

-Chancellor Count Vladimir Putin
Legislature
Parliament of the Russian Empire

-Upper House Imperial State Council

-Lower House Imperial State Senate
Formation
Following

-Proclamation of the Existence of the Russian Empire 22 October 1721

-Constitution adopted 17 March 1827
Population
360,870,960 (2008 official estimate)
Currency
Imperial Ruble


HistoryEdit

The Russian Empire is the natural and officially recognized successor to the Tsardom of Muscovy. Though the empire was only officially proclaimed by Tsar Peter I in 1721, following the Treaty of Nystad, many Russian and European historians consider the date of the Empire's actual birth to be 1682, when Peter, then 10 years old, came to the throne.


The eighteenth centuryEdit

Peter the great

Tsar Peter the Great proclaimed the existence of the Russian Empire in 1721.

Peter I, the Great (reigned 1682-1725), consolidated autocratic rule in Russia and helped bring his country to the modern European diplomatic and military stage. From it's modest beginnings as the small and particularly insignificant Principality of Moscow in the late 14th century, Russia had become the largest country in the world by the reign of Peter. It spanned the Eurasian landmass from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Much of Russian expansion had taken place during the 17th century, including the colonization and absorption of Siberia, the conquest of Kiev and a large portion of north-eastern Ukraine, and the first Russian settlements on the Pacific coast. However, this vast land had a population of only 14 million. Grain yields were smaller then those of the West, and agriculture was extremely outdated. Almost the entire population farmed, and very few people, mainly professionals and merchants, lived in the towns. The large class of kholops, similar to North American slavery, remained until 1723 when Peter the Great converted the house-hold kholops into house-hold serfs, including them in poll taxes. Russian agricultural kholops had been formally converted to agricultural serfs in 1679 by Theodore II.

Peter was breath-taken by the advanced technology, statecraft, and warcraft of the West. He studied modern tactics and fortifications and built a strong army of 300,000 soldiers made up of his own subjects, whom he conscripted for life. The Strelets Troops were incorporated into the regular military structure. From 1697-1698, he became the first Russian prince to ever visit the West, where his entourage made a deep impression. In celebration of his conquests in Sweden, Peter assumed the title of emperor as well as tsar, and Tsarist Muscovy officially became the Russian Empire in October 1721.

Peter's first military campaigns were directed against the Ottoman Empire. His Azov campaigns made little in the way of territorial gain, although Peter did gain limited access to the Sea of Azov. After concluding a truce with the Ottomans, which allowed him to keep a military position at Azov, he turned his attention north. Peter still lacked a secure northern sea-port except at Archangel on the White Sea, whose harbor was frozen for nine months a year. Access to the Baltic was blocked by Sweden, who enclosed it on three sides (Sweden itself, Finland, the Baltic provinces, and Swedish territories in Germany). Peter held ambitions for a "window to the sea", so in 1699 he formed a secret alliance, directed at Sweden, with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Denmark. This resulted in the Great Northern War. The war finally ended in 1721 when a exhausted Sweden sued for peace with Russia. Peter acquired four provinces on the east and south of the Baltic, as well some bordering Finnish territory, including most of Karkelia. This secured Peter's coveted access to the sea. There Peter built Saint Petersburg as his new capital, replacing Moscow, long Russia's cultural capital.

Peter reorganized his government on the latest modern models, especially based on the government of Sweden, divided into colleges and a senate. He molded Russia into a absolutist state. Peter replaced the old Boyar Duma (a elected council of nobles) with a nine-member Senate, in effect a supreme council of state and justice. The country-side was divided into new provinces (gubernia) and districts (uzeds). Peter informed the Senate that it's primary mission was to collect taxes. In turn, tax revenue tripled throughout the course of his reign. As part of the administrative reform, the Orthodox Church was partially-incorporated into the country's governing structure, in effect, making it a puppet of the state. Peter abolished the patriarchate and replaced it with the Holy Synod, led by a appointed government-procurator. Meanwhile, Peter introduced a limited form of local self-government, and he continued and intensified his predecessor's requirement of state service for all nobles.

Peter died in 1725, leaving an un-settled succession and a exhausted realm. His reign raised some early questions about Russian backwardness, it's relationship with the West, the appropriateness of Peter's reforms, and other fundamental problems that confronted many of Russia's subsequent rulers. Nevertheless, Peter did lay the foundations of a modern state in Russia, beginning it's eventual transformation into a modern European power.

Nearly forty years were to pass before a comparably ambitious ruler appeared on the Russian throne. Catherine II, the Great, was a German princess who married Peter III, the German heir to the Russian crown. She contributed to the resurgence of the Russian nobility that began after the death of Peter the Great. State service had been abolished, and Catherine delighted the nobles further by turning over most government functions in the provinces to them.

Catherine the Great extended Russian political control over the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with actions including the support of the Targowica confederation, although the cost of her campaigns, on top of the oppressive social system that required lords' serfs to spend almost all of their time laboring on the lords' land, provoked a major peasant uprising in 1773, after Catherine legalized the selling of local serfs separate from land. Inspired by another Cossack named Pugachev, with the emphatic cry of "Hang all the landlords!" the rebels threatened to take Moscow before they were ruthlessly suppressed. Catherine had Pugachev drawn and quartered in Red Square, but the specter of revolution continued to haunt her and her successors, until the accession of Constantine I in 1825.

While suppressing the Russian peasantry, Catherine successfully waged war against the Ottoman Empire and advanced Russia's southern boundary to the Black Sea. Then, by plotting with the rulers of Austria and Prussia, she incorporated territories of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth during the Partitions of Poland, pushing the Russian frontier westward into Central Europe. By the time of her death in 1796, Catherine's expansionist policy had made Russia into a major European power. This continued with Alexander I's wresting of Finland from the weakened kingdom of Sweden in 1809 and of Bessarabia from the Ottomans in 1812.

First half of the nineteenth centuryEdit

Napoleon made a major misstep when, following a dispute with Emperor Alexander I, he launched an invasion of the emperor's realm in 1812. The campaign was a catastrophe. Although Napoleon's Grande Armée made its way to Moscow, the Russians' scorched-earth strategy prevented the invaders from living off the country. In the bitterly cold Russian weather, thousands of French troops were ambushed and killed by peasant guerrilla fighters. As Napoleon's forces retreated, the Russian troops pursued them into Central and Western Europe and to the gates of Paris. After Russia and its allies defeated Napoleon, Alexander became known as the 'savior of Europe,' and he presided over the redrawing of the map of Europe at the Congress of Vienna (1815), which made Alexander the monarch of the Kingdom of Russian Poland.

Alexander I was a relatively liberal emperor, and he introduced some constitutional reforms, including replacing the colleges of Peter the Great with ministries. Despite this, Russian industry was virtually non-existent and Russian agriculture lagged behind the rest of Europe. Still, the Russian Empire remained a influential political and military force.

When Alexander I died in 1825, his liberal brother, Constantine I (reigned 1825-1831), assumed the throne. Constantine wanted to reform the Russian government and judicial system. At the onset of his reign, the emperor convened a Constitutional Convention in St. Petersburg of nobles, peasants, and merchants, to draw up a Imperial Constitution for Russia. They succeeded, and the new Constitution of the Russian Empire, promulgated directly by the Emperor, made Russia a semi-parliamentary constitutional monarchy, with the Emperor of Russia holding executive power, and enacting laws in concert with a democratically-elected Parliament of the Russian Empire bearing legislative power. Serfdom was abolished, and a Imperial Bill of Rights, similar to the American and English models was initiated. The judicial system was based on the English and American examples, and now had a more clarified judicial organization, with a compilation of the laws, a land code, civil code, and criminal code. The Senate of Peter the Great was abolished, with it's judiciary functions (including review of the laws, handling of major government and military cases, supervision of lower courts) transferred to the Imperial State Court of the Russian Empire. The country was divided into governorates, with each one being divided into three uzeds. Increased political autonomy for Poland, Finland, Ukraine, and the Baltic provinces was also implemented.

After the Russian armies occupied the allied Georgia in 1802, they clashed with Persia over control of Azerbaijan and got involved into the Caucasian War against mountaineers, which would lumber on for half a century. Eventually, Russia absorbed Azerbaijan and Armenia.

In 1831, a 13-year old prince, Alexander II came to power, since he had been personally selected by his uncle, Emperor Constantine, over Constantine's younger, reactionary brother, Grand Duke Nicholas, who had wanted to reverse all the progressive reforms. He assumed power when he turned 18 in 1836. He initiated a series of modernization reforms, running from the 1840s until the 1860s, becoming known as The Great Modernizer, or, more famously, as The Great Reformer. Alexander stimulated, modernized, and tripled industry, introducing organized industrial codes and the first labor laws in Europe. Alexander also tripled the number of factories, provided generous support to businessmen, factory owners, and merchants, and contributed to the wide-scale stabilization and expansion of the industries. Mines, railroads, and canals were developed and established across the Russian Empire, while forestry and external trade was also encouraged. Alexander modernized agriculture by introducing a series of clarified and organized agricultural regulations, supporting poor farmers, and introducing modern European agricultural technology on most Russian farms. Alexander also modernized the military, introducing more comfortable uniforms, implementing a organized military code, introducing modern European tactics and technology, and establishing a professional officer's corps. These reforms transformed Russia into a great power with a modernized military and industrialized, powerful economy.

Second half of the nineteenth centuryEdit

Flag of Russia svg

The official flag of Russia since 1858.

During the 1850s, Russia achieved a smashing victory in the Crimean War, forcing the Ottoman Empire to grant Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro their independence. Palestinian overlordship was handed to Russia, Constantinople became a Russian protectorate, the Turkish districts of Ardahan, Atrvin, Idgdir, and Kars were seceded to Russia, and Russian commerical and military passage through the Bosporus and Dardanelles was guaranteed.

From the 1860s until the 1890s, Russia remained largely neutral in European affairs. In the meantime, the German Empire was proclaimed in 1871 after Prussia triumphed over France in the Franco-Prussian War, while colonialism in Africa and Asia gained full ground. The American Civil War occurred, with the Union eventually succeeding, and slavery in the south being abolished. In Italy, economic development spurred, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire increased it's influence in Central Europe. This period also marked the rise of Japan, which modernized considerably it's military and industries in less then sixty years, becoming one of Asia's most powerful economic and military powers. During all this, the Russian Empire quietly continued to develop and nurture her economy, strengthen and expand her military, and annex Central Asia. In 1858, Russia also acquired territory in the northern parts of the Amur provinces by the Treaty of Aigun with China. In 1860, additional territory, in the southern Amur regions, was acquired in the Convention of Peking. In early 1861, the Russians established the port of Vladivostok to facilitate easier trade in the Sea of Japan and to consolidate a naval presence in the region. Elsewhere, in 1868, Russian troops reached the city of Tashkent in Central Asia, and the province of Russian Turkestan was established. Russian conquest of Central Asia would be completed by 1880, with the annexation of the Khanate of Tuva, the full incorporation of the former protectorates of the Khanate of Kokland, the Emirate of Bukhara, and the Khanate of Khiva, and the annexation of tribal territories south of Tashkent to the borders of Persia and Afghanistan.

During the 1880s, state protection was guaranteed to the Belorussian, Ukrainian, Polish, and Lithuanian languages. By the early 1880s, Russia had completed industrialization and was now one of the world's fastest growing and most powerful economies (it ranked third, after the United States and Germany). Russia was now heavily industrialized, wealthy, and modernized. Consumer goods were widely available, and major Russian cities, such as Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, Warsaw, Minsk, and numerous others, were similar to London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, or New York City, being completely modern. The Russian Empire had more then 120,000 kilometers of railroad, as well a established telegraph and telephone system. Russia produced and exported textiles, machinery, weapons, petroleum, pig iron, iron ore, chemicals, electricity, and manufactured clothing. Russian coal and steel production exceeded that of Britain's. A workers insurance system, based on that of Germany's, had been implemented. The Russian army was the third-most powerful in the world (after Germany and Britain), and was also the largest, while the Russian navy was the fifth-most powerful (after Britain, Germany, the United States, and France). The Russian population had boomed, from 60 million in 1826 to 176 million in 1876.

In March 1881, Alexander II suffered a fatal stroke and died, replaced by his son Alexander III (reigned 1881-1894). During his reign, Russia signed a alliance with Republican France against aggressive Germany, which had signed a alliance with Austria-Hungary. Alexander III also extracted important commercial and territorial concessions from China, including suzerainty over Manchuria, the acquisition of the Kwantong peninsula and Port Arthur, and new Russian commerical and financial rights in the Chinese cities of Tianjin, Nanjing, Bejing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Guangzhou. It was during his reign that construction began on the Manchurian Railroad in Manchuria and the Kiev Railroad in Ukraine.

The emperor's most influential adviser at the time was Konstantin Petrovich Pobedonostsev, a tutor to Alexander III and his son Nicholas I, the procurator of the Holy Synod from 1880 to 1895, as well Chancellor of the Russian Empire from 1884 to 1894. He was extremely liberal and taught his pupils that constitutional government and the use of Western European ideals and methods would propel Russia's development into the world's most powerful empire. He believed that if the emperor worked well with Parliament and the people, he would benefit on the long term. Under Pobedonoststev's guidance, the formation of political parties of all types was encouraged and religious toleration was promoted even further throughout the empire.

Early twentieth centuryEdit

Nicholas I (reigned 1894-1920) came to the throne in 1894 when Alexander III suffered a kidney failure. Nicholas completed work on the Manchurian Railroad and expanded Russia's navy by the Naval Codes of 1898, enacted by Parliament. These Codes reorganized the naval command and provided money for building shipyards and naval vessels. By 1913, Russia's navy was the third-largest in the world, after Britain and Germany. Also during his reign, the first official census was undertaken in Russia (in 1900), as was the first estimates of industrial development (1905). These have continued to the present day, and the authorization for a census and estimate of industrial development was added to the Constitution in 1914.

During the 1890s, Japan, by now one of Asia's most powerful industrial and military powers, engaged in the First Sino-Japanese War against China. The Japanese won and, in the Treaty of Shimonoseki, forced China to grant Japan formal suzerainty over Korea, as well the possession of Taiwan, and several towns or fortifications on the eastern coast of China. The Chinese also were required to pay monetary compensation and to grant extended commerical rights to Japanese merchants in Bejing, Nanking, and Shanghai, effectively giving them "most favored nation status". Russia, France, and Germany were stricken with fear, and the three countries began increasing their influence in China, and begin annexing more Chinese cities, such as Tianjin (for Germany), Gunazhangou (for France), and Harbin (for Russia). Even Great Britain extracted some territorial concessions from the Chinese in what was called the New Territories, a series of settlements on the Chinese mainland, directly north of the British colony of Hong Kong. In 1875, Japan and Russia had signed a territorial pact, granting all of Sakhalin to the Russians in exchange for Japanese control of the Kuril islands. But now Japan desired Sakhalin and also wanted to claim suzerainty over Manchuria. The Russians wanted to reduce Japan's imperial ambitions, especially after Japan had forced Korea to become a Japanese protectorate in 1898, and to consolidate their own influence in Manchuria and northern China.

Tensions finally erupted in the Russo-Japanese War, which lasted from January 1904 to September 1905. The Japanese launched a siege of Port Arthur, invaded Sakhalin, and attempted to invade Manchuria. The Russian navy, however, destroyed the main Japanese fleet at the Battle of Tsitsihar. The siege of Port Arthur was sucessfully lifted, and the Japanese were driven out of Sakhalin. The Japanese incursions into Manchuria were halted, and Korea was successfully invaded.

When the Russians captured the Kuril Islands, and were about to attack Taiwan, the Japanese sued for peace. In the Treaty of Vladivostok, signed on 15 January 1906, Japan recognized Russian suzerainty over Manchuria, and ceded the Kuril Islands. Japan also granted Russia important commerical rights within the Home Islands, and ceded several important mining and forestry concessions in Korea. In turn, the Russians recognized Japanese control of Taiwan and most of Korea. Japan was also granted freedom of commerical passage throughout the Manchurian Railroad Zone. The victory of Russia over Japan helped to solidify the Empire's international reputation.

Nicholas I attempted to maintain European peace. He brokered the 1907 St. Petersburg International Conventions, which established several rules of international conduct in war and peace-time. The emperor also established a alliance with Britain and also attempted to maintain the peace in the Balkans. Despite his efforts, Serbia and Bulgaria continued their aggressiveness against the Turks, eventually culminating in the First Balkans War of 1908, of which Turkey lost most of it's remaining European territories.

The Second Balkans War of 1912 pitted Serbia against Bulgaria, which culminated in a Serbian victory, with Bulgaria losing a large amount of territory, including territory in the region of Macedonia, thus reducing it to the size of our timeline's 1912 Bulgaria. The Russians supported the Serbians, because they hated the Bulgarians.

In 1914, World War I broke out, when Austria-Hungary declared war against Serbia due to the assassination of Austrian Arch-Duke Franz Ferdinand by Serbian nationalists in the region of Croatia. Russia mobilized it's forces in support of Serbia and declared war against Austria-Hungary. This lead to a German declaration of war against Russia, in support of Austria-Hungary. Germany also initiated the Schffein Plan and invaded France, declaring war against them. The Germans invaded through Belgium. Britain responded by declaring war on Germany, upholding the Treaty of London 1839 and entering the war on the French-Russian side.

At first, the Russian army suffered numerous defeats, with the Germans occupying Russian Poland and the Austro-Hungarians occupying large parts of western Ukraine. Serbia was almost completely wiped off the map, and the Ottoman Empire (allied with Germany and Austria-Hungary) invaded Russian Kars. Austria-Hungary had also invaded Italian Venice, while Germany had advanced deep into northern France. However, by 1915 the tide changed. Japan, entering the war on Britain's side, seized the German military bases in China and German-controlled islands in the north Pacific. The British-French invaded and annexed German colonies in Africa, while Russia threw the Ottomans out of Russian Kars. The British dispatched troops to Greece, and Italy halted the Austro-Hungarian advance, at least on most fronts. France also drove the Germans back across the Marne, while in the east, the Russians recaptured western Ukraine and conquered German East Prussia.

By 1916, the Allies were re-gaining ground in France. In the Middle East, the Russians had seized Syria, the French invaded Turkish Arabia, and the British invaded Iraq. In eastern Europe, the Russians were launching assaults into Austrian Gallica (the Austrian territories in Poland and Ukraine) and threw the Bulgarians out of southern Romania. At the same time, the Italians began their slow advance into Austro-Hungarian territory.

In April 1917, the United States entered the war, providing much-needed resources and manpower to the Allied armies. The British had annexed Iraq, while Arabic rebels, led by Lawrence of Arabia, had driven the Turks out of western Arabia. Russia was now striking in northern Turkey. In Eastern Europe, the Russians drove the Germans out of Russian Poland, and in Austria-Hungary were nearing Budapest. Farther south, the British had driven the Austro-Hungarians out of Serbia, while Romania, with Russian support, had conquered large parts of Bulgaria.

Finally, in 1918, the Russians invaded German Posen, while the Italians won the important Battle of Vittero Venetto in Western Austria. The Germans were withdrawing from France into Belgium, and pretty soon were surrendering in large numbers. Turkey had surrendered in the Middle East, while in central Europe Bulgaria had been destroyed by Romanian-Russian forces. On 18 November, Germany and Austria-Hungary surrendered to the Allies, when the first French unit entered German territory and Russian forces were nearing Budapest and Berlin.

In June 1919, the Treaty of Versailles was signed, by representatives from Russia, France, Britain, the United States, Italy, Japan, Romania, and Serbia. In this treaty, the German provinces of East Prussia, West Prussia, Posen, most of Pomerania, and eastern Silesia were seceded to Russia. The Austro-Hungarian territories of Ukrainian Gallica (with Lvov) and Polish Gallica (with Krakow) were seceded to Russia as well. The Ottoman Empire was reduced to only its Turkish holdings, with all of Turkey's European land seceded to Greece. Russia was granted the city of Constantinople as a external Russian vassal state, with the Mayor of Constantinople appointed by the Emperor of Russia. They also were granted Syria as a protectorate and vassal state, while Britain was granted protector-ship of Iraq and France, of Arabia. The Austro-Hungarian Empire, which had allied to Germany, was dissolved and split into two states, the Kingdom of Hungary and the Kingdom of Austria, both reduced to only their ethnic regions. Bohemia, Slovenia, and Croatia were granted their independence. Romania gained territory in northern Bulgaria and extracted reperations from the Bulgarian government. Serbia gained most of Bosnia and also recieved finanical reperations. France annexed Alsace-Lorraine and extracted monetary compensation from Germany, forced to surrender territory to Bohemia, the newly established Kingdom of Western Poland (consisting of all the remaining Polish lands held by Germany), Denmark, and Belgium. The German colonies in Africa were divided between Britain and France, while German colonies in the north Pacific and China were seceded to Japan. The German, Austrian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, and Ottoman militaries were limited in size.

With the massive effects of the war, Russia now had the second-most powerful army on the planet (after the United States), as well the third-most powerful and largest navy (after Britain and the United States). The Russian economy was now the second-most powerful in the world, after the United States.

Inter-War Period and World War IIEdit

During the 1920s, several nations of the world, including Russia, experienced a large amount of economic growth and stabilization, in a time known as the Roaring Twenties in the United States and the Golden Twenties in Russia and Britain. The Stock Market reached record numbers, a large amount of people had cars and radios, and women had the right to vote (it was granted to them in Russia in 1918). The Emperor of Russia was Alexei II (reigned 1920-1946), the son of Nicholas II, who had died from lung cancer. Germany however, suffered from high inflation and economic depression. American and Russian assistance effectively kept Germany going.

But in 1929, the United States stock market collapsed, leading to the Great Depression, affecting all but Russia (which had welfare and health benefits, as well a regulated stock market and banking protection program). Adolf Hitler, the leader of the racist Nazi Party, became leader of Germany in 1933, ten years after a unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the Bavarian government. Hitler preached German racial supremacy, and said the Germans had been "stabbed in the back" by democrats, Jews, socialists, and communists. Hitler expanded the German military, considerably reduced unemployment, signed alliance pacts with Japan and Italy, and used diplomatic, as well military, means to annex Bohemia, the Rhine-land, the Saar-land, and Danzig in Poland.

During the 30s, the British and French pursued a unsuccessful policy of appeasement towards Germany, culminating in the signing of the Munich Agreement in September 1938. Despite this, the Russians signed the German-Russian Commercial Agreement and the German-Russian Non-Agression Pact on 31 August 1939. The next day, Germany invaded the Kingdom of Western Poland, assured of Russian neutrality. The British and French declared war. During the early months of 1940, Germany annexed Denmark, Norway, the Low Countries and France, and unsuccessfully tried to invade Britain.

In June 1941, Germany invaded Russia with the largest force in history, thus breaking the Pact. It was a great mistake on their part. The Russians were forced to evacuate Saint Petersburg, lost Kiev, Minsk, and Warsaw to the Germans, and were forced to make Moscow the capital. They instigated their famed "scorched-earth" policy, burning everything that could be useful to the Germans. Despite these facts, the Russian Empire fought on, and Parliament issued a official declaration of war against Germany. World War II came to be known as "The Great Patriotic War" to the Russian population.

Meanwhile, Japanese aggression in Asia was un-paralleled, with the Japanese expanding into Indochina, eastern China, and the north Pacific. Finally, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, bringing the neutral United States into the war on Britain and Russia's side. The Japanese quickly seized Manchuria, Sakhalin, the Philippines, Burma, Singapore, Malaya, Dutch Indonesia, and several Chinese territories. The Russians sent the Fifteenth Russian Army to protect Siberia and Vladviostok from any possible invasions, and they succeeded in driving out Japanese incursions.

In Europe, the Russians halted the initial German offensive during the Battle of Moscow, saving that historical town from German oppression. The Battle of Volograd, lasting from late 1942 until early 1943, was a major defeat for the Germans and became the major turning point of the war. After Volograd, the Russians began a campaign that drove the Germans out of Russian territory, and then the Russian Imperial Army drove through Eastern and Central Europe until reaching the gates of Berlin in 1945. That same year, the Russian Fifteenth Army threw the Japanese out of Korea, Manchuria, Sakhalin, and Taiwan, contributing to the eventual unconditional surrender of Japan in September 1945.

Late twentieth centuryEdit

After World War II, Russia became one of two world superpowers (the other being the United States). Russia became the second nuclear weapons state, thanks to information being supplied by spies in the US government and military. The Russian Empire and the United States now were tied for the world's largest economy, and remain so until the present day. Their militaries were the most powerful on the planet. The Russian Empire and United States of America became involved in a Cold War, which, while not involving direct conflict, did involve a state of high tension. Russia supported constitutional and semi-absolute monarchies throughout Asia, Africa, and Central America, while America supported democratic and constitutional governments. Both countries built up their nuclear arsenals (with Russia eventually owning more nuclear weapons then the United States), despite the existence of the peace-keeping United Nations, of which both countries held veto power in. Eventually, starting in the 1970s, the two nations signed nuclear arms limitation agreements and peaceful military cooperation agreements. During the 1980s, diplomatic stability persisted, although the threat of nuclear holocaust remained high. By 1991, the Cold War formally ended.

In Europe, Russia led the establishment of the Council of Europe, a body of European nations with influence in economic and military affairs. The Russians also established the Shanghai Cooperation Organization with Japan, China, and India, and the Eurasian Economic Community with Turkey, Iraq, Persia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, China, Japan, and Korea. A Asia-Pacific Organization was established among all these states, as well Australia, Indonesia, several minor Pacific nations, the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

In the 1990s, the region of Chechnya, in the southern parts of the governorship of European Russia, rose up in revolt against Russia. Emperor Nicholas II, along with Chancellor Boris Yeltsin, sent Russian troops into Chechnya, burning Chechnyan houses and destroying Chechnyan farms. These brutal actions crushed the Chechnyan revolt. Russia also experienced economic prosperity during this decade, as did the United States, Britain, and Germany. The country was extremely Westernized, although the Russian Orthodox Church remained the official state church. Also during this decade, the Russians provided support to the Americans in the Gulf War, and also provided assistance to Bosnia during the Balkans Civil War.

Today, the Russian Empire has experienced a nine-year economic growth, due to stabilizing oil prices, increased domestic consumption, low tax rates, and great economic development. The country has the world's second-largest military and it's largest navy. Russia has maintained it's place as the second superpower, alongside the United States. The Russian Empire provides support to the United States with that country's invasion and intervention in Iraq. Russia has also helped conduct negotiations with North Korea and is a member of the Quartet on the Middle East.

GeographyEdit

Russia is the world's largest country, with a total area of some 22 million kilometers. The Empire contains some 56 UNESCO World Heritage sites, 49 UNESCO Biosphere zones, 150 national parks, and 90 nature reserves. The Russian Empire has a wide natural resource base, including large deposits of timber, petroleum, natural gas, coal, ores, minerals, and other major natural resources.

Territory and BoundariesEdit

Map of the Russian Empire

The Russian Empire consists of our timeline's countries of the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Moldova (Beershabia) Finland (Grand Duchy of Finland), Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, eastern and southern Poland (Kingdom of Russian Poland), Belarus, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, the districts Ardahan, Atrivin, Igdir, and Kars in northeastern Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan being the components of Russian Turkestan), and Alaska (Russian North America). The Russian Empire shares internationally-recognized borders with Norway, Sweden, the Kingdom of Western Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan, China, Mongolia, and Korea. The Empire also has maritime boundaries with Japan and the United States, and a North American land boundary with Canada via Russian-controlled Alaska.

The Russian Empire administers the Chinese Eastern Railroad Zone and the possessions on the Kwantong peninsula and the port city of Port Arthur. A lease for these territories (granting Russia control of military, educational, health, and local government affairs) was signed with China in 1898, and this lease was extended indefinitely in 1948. Russia also claims suzerainty and protectorship over Chinese Manchuria. All of these colonial and protectorship claims are recognized by the United Nations. From 1857-1949, the Russian Empire claimed Palestine as a overseas protectorate, and from 1919-1949, claimed Syria as a overseas colonial mandate.

The Kingdom of Russian Poland, a semi-autonomous Russian kingdom consisting of the Russian portion of our timeline's modern-day Poland, is ruled by the Emperor as King of Poland, as a constitutional monarch. Poland has a parliament (Polish Sejm), police force (Polish Royal Police), army (Polish Royal Army), flag (Royal Flag), currency (Polish Zloty), and local government (Voivodships of Poland). Finland, known officially as the Grand Duchy of Finland, is a semi-autonomous Russian grand duchy ruled by the Emperor as Grand Duke. It has it's own Senate, police force (Finnish Police Force), militia (Guard of Finland), flag (Grand Ducal Flag), currency (Finnish Markka), and local government (Governorships of Finland) as well.

Governments with control of health care, education, welfare, local government, justice, and local law are in place in Lithuania, Latvia, Courland and Estonia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Russian Turkestan. Governments appointed by the emperor with limited control of political affairs are in place in Transcaucasia and Russian Turkey.

TopographyEdit

Highest mount

Mount Elbrus, the highest point in European Russia.

The two widest separated points in Russia are on about the same line, with some 6,000 miles in distance between them. These points are roughly to the southern most western corner of Poland, and the south-eastern most point of Alaskan territory.

The Russian Empire spans some 15 time zones. With access to three of the world's oceans: the Atlantic, Arctic, and Pacific, Russian fishing fleets are a major contributor to the world's fish supply. The Caspian is the source of some of the world's best caviar. This contributes heavily to the Russian GDP.

Much of Russia consists of vast plains that are pre-dominantly steppe in the high south and west, with taiga in the north and tundra along the northern coast. Russia possesses 18% of the world's available arable land. Mountain ranges are found along the Caucasus, which contains Mount Elbert, the highest peak in European Russia. In Central Asia is Ismail Samail Peak, which at 24,180 feet is the highest mountain in the Russian Empire. Volcanoes can be found in the Kamatchka Pennisula. The Ural Mountains, Russia's longest mountain range, and also rich in natural resources, divides Europe and Asia. Russia has a extensive coastline of more then 40,000 km along the Arctic and Pacific Oceans, the Baltic Sea, Sea of Azov, Black Sea, and Caspian Sea.

The Barents Sea, White Sea, Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, East Siberian Sea, Chukchi Sea, Bering Sea, Sea of Okhotsk, and the Sea of Japan are linked to Russia via the Arctic and Pacific oceans. Russia's major islands and archipelagos include: Novaya Zemlya, the Franz Josef Land, the Severnaya Zemlya, the New Siberian Islands, Wrangel Island, the Kuril Islands, and Sakhalin. Russia also embraces the Diomede Islands, the Aleutian Islands, and Alaska. Kunashir Island, part of the Kurils, is about 20 km from Hokkiado, Japan.

Russia has thousands of rivers and inland bodies of water providing it with one of the world's largest surface water resources. The largest and most prominent of Russia's bodies of fresh-water is Lake Baikal, the world's deepest, purest, oldest, and most capicious freshwater lake. Lake Baikal alone contains more then one-fifth of the world's avaliable fresh-water. Other major lakes in Russia include Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega, two of Europe's largest lakes. Russia also has Lake Baikalish, the largest lake in Central Asia. Russia has the world's largest amount of renewable water resources, only barely exceeding Brazil. Of the country's 120,000 rivers, the Volga is the most famous, not only because it is the longest river in Europe, but also because of it's important role in Russian history.

ClimateEdit

The climate of the Russian Empire varies due to the country's vast size and land area. In Siberia, humid continental, sub-arctic and arctic climates are dominant. Mountains in the high south obstruct the flow of warm air masses from the Indian Ocean, whilst the plain of the west and north makes the country open to Arctic and Atlantic influences. Humid and semi-arid climates are dominant in Central Asia.

Throughout much of the territory there are only two distinct seasons — winter and summer; spring and autumn are usually brief periods of change between extremely low temperatures and extremely high. The coldest month is January (February on the shores of the sea), the warmest usually is July. Great ranges of temperature are typical. In winter, temperatures get colder both from south to north and from west to east. Summers can be quite hot and humid, even in Siberia. Areas of the Caucacus and around Sochi have a subtropical climate, influenced by the Black and Caspian Seas.

Flora and faunaEdit

From north to south the East European Plain, also known as the Russian Plain, is clad sequentially in Arctic tundra, coniferous forest (taiga), mixed and broad-leaf forests, grassland (steppe), and semi-desert (fringing the Caspian Sea), as the changes in vegetation reflect the changes in climate. Siberia supports a similar sequence but largely is taiga. Russia has the world's largest forest reserves, known as "the lungs of Europe", second only to the Amazon Rainforest in the amount of carbon dioxide it absorbs.

There are 296 mammal species and 830 bird species in Russia. A total of 475 animal species are included in the Data Book of Endangered and Rare Species of the Russian Empire, as of 1997. They are all now protected.

Government and administrationEdit

The Russian Empire is a semi-parliamentary constitutional monarchy, with the Emperor serving as Head of State, while the Chancellor serves as Head of Government. The government is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The emperor's title is "Emperor and Autocrat of All Russia", still implying he is at the head of the government structure. The current Constitution of the Russian Empire, a mix between our timeline's Constitution of the German Empire and Constitution of the Empire of Japan, was adopted in March 1827.

The Executive BranchEdit

The EmperorEdit

According to the Constitution, the Head of State of the Russian Empire is the Emperor of Russia. A Law of Succession to the Imperial Crown, enacted in 1827 and modified in 1904 and 1914, directs the process of ascension to the throne. Usually the eldest son or daughter of the preceding Emperor becomes Emperor/Empress themselves when the preceding one dies. The Law also provides for the closest surviving relative of the deceased ruler to come to the Throne if there are no heirs in the main Imperial Family. The Emperor is always crowned at the Kremlin in Moscow and is recognized as supreme Head of State.

The Emperor can call and dissolve the Imperial Parliament at will, appoint and dismiss government ministers and high-ranking officials, propose legislative bills and grant the Imperial Assent to Parliament-passed laws, issue or modify Imperial ukases, proclamations, decrees, etc, declare war and make peace, appoint and receive ambassadors, sign treaties, command the military, and oversee the government. The Emperor is the one who calls for Parliamentary elections and sets out electoral procedure. He also has power over the Imperial Family and has control over the Council of Ministers.

The ChancellorEdit

The Chancellor is the Head of Government of the Russian Empire and leader of the Council of Ministers, the group of government ministers who run the Imperial state day-to-day, in the name of the Emperor. The Chancellor is the leader of the party that dominates Parliament. When a party wins the most seats, the leader of that party becomes Chancellor and is officially appointed by the emperor. The Chancellor thus has both executive and legislative power. He advises the Emperor on state affairs, directs the proceedings of the Council of Ministers, and runs the government day to day. As such, the Chancellor nominates government ministers, high commissioners, and justices, all of which are officially appointed by the emperor. The Chancellor can issue Government Orders that direct functions of government, and he can propose laws to Parliament. The Chancellor informs the Emperor on the workings of government and coordinates the Emperor's relations with the Council of Ministers and Parliament.

Council of MinistersEdit

The Council of Ministers is the chief executive council of the Russian Empire. The Council consists of all the government ministers, appointed and dismissed by the emperor, but nominated by the Chancellor. Proceedings of the Council are led by the Chancellor, while the Emperor calls the Council to meeting and dissolves it at will. The Council run the government day-to day, issue daily Imperial Ukases and Proclamations in the emperor's name, and direct the Military. Each minister on the council has two assistant ministers, appointed by the Chancellor directly. The Council also has a board of secretaries that record council meetings and execute the council's orders. The Council is part of the wider Imperial Chancellory.

The following Ministers make up the Council composition:

  • The Chancellor
  • The Emperor's Lord Commissioner
  • The Minister of the Imperial Chancellory
  • The Minister of Military Affairs
  • The Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • The Minister of Justice
  • The Minister of Education
  • The Minister of Health and Human Services
  • The Minister of Agriculture
  • The Minister of Labor and Economic Development
  • The Minister of State Communications and Media
  • The Minister of the Treasury and Finance
  • The Minister of Regional and Local Government

Imperial ChancelloryEdit

The Imperial Chancellory, supervised by the Minister of the Imperial Chancellory, is the official Chancellory and main administrative body of the Russian Empire. The Chancellory consists of the following sections, all charged with Court administration:

  • Ministry of the Imperial Chancellory
  • Council of Ministers
  • Russian Industrial Supervision
  • Imperial-owned Factories
  • Chancellory of the Council of Ministers
  • Chancellory of the Empress Consort
  • Imperial Treasury
  • Imperial Archaeological Commission
  • Commission for the Imperial Academy of Arts
  • Commission for the Profiling and Codification of Imperial Laws and Legal Codes
  • Commission of Ministerial and Parliamentary Reports
  • Commission of State News and Communications
  • Imperial Orchestra
  • Imperial Secret Police
  • Imperial Intelligence Agency
  • Clergy of the Court
  • Holy Synod
  • Commission of State Awards and Decorations

The Holy SynodEdit

The Holy Synod is the supreme organ of the Russian Orthodox Church. It sets out Church doctrine, appoints and dismisses minor bishops, abbots, and priors, and reports to the Emperor on the state of the Church. It is led by a government-procurator, appointed and dismissed by the Emperor at will. The Emperor also appoints and dismisses the members of the Synod, which includes the Archbishop of Moscow, the Archbishop of Saint Petersburg, the Archbishop of Kiev, the Archbishop of Novograd, the Bishop of Tbilisi, the Bishop of Warsaw, and the Bishop of Tashkent.

Legislative BranchEdit

The Parliament of the Russian Empire is the main legislative assembly. It is divided into two houses, the Imperial State Council and the Imperial State Senate. The Parliament levy and collect taxes, set the government budget, fund and discipline the military, pass, modify, or repeal laws, regulate the currency and coinage of the Empire, and supervise the local governments.

The Imperial State CouncilEdit

The Imperial State Council is the highest house of the Imperial Parliament, being associated with the Imperial Senate, which serves as the lower House. The Emperor exercises legislative power in concert with Parliament.

The State Council of the Empire consists of 100 members, divided into two classes: appointed and elective. 50 of the members are appointed and dismissed by the emperor at will on basis of civil or military service. The 11 Ministers of the Imperial Government, as well the Chancellor and Emperor's Lord Commissioner, are all appointed members of the Council. Of the elected members, 6 are elected by the Church, 10 by the Assembly of Nobles, 4 by the Academy of Sciences and the Universities, 6 by the major banks of Russia, 4 by the industrial councils, 5 by Ukraine and Belarus, 2 by the Baltic provinces, 5 by Poland, 5 by Finland, and 1 each for Siberia, Central Asia, and Transcaucasia.

As a legislative body, the Council can propose bills related to taxes and the budget, vote on laws issued by the Senate, coordinate the relations of the Emperor with Parliament, and act as the government jury for the conviction and removal of Senators and government officials in criminal or civil cases.

The Imperial State SenateEdit

The Imperial State Senate forms the lower house of the Imperial Parliament of the Russian Empire. The Senate consists of 442 members, elected by the following guidelines: All voters in each governorship aged 18 and over elect their representatives directly, in a secret ballot and proper counting system. The Emperor can issue Ukases that set the time of elections and the procedures of collecting and counting the votes. The number of representatives from each governorship in the Empire depends on the population: the Governorship of European Russia returns the most representatives. The major cities of Helenski, Saint Petersburg, Riga, Vilnius, Warsaw, Krakow, Odessa, Kiev, Tbilisi, Tashkent, and Vladivostok all return their own representatives, based on population and land size, and with the same election procedures, modified appropriately.

Members of the Senate are referred to as Senators. The Senate is led by a Commission, elected from among the representatives by majority vote. The Commission's leader is the President of the Senate, or Chief Senator, as is his official title. The Commission is in charge of leading the proceedings, recording discussions of the Senate and laws passed, and reporting on the state of the Senate to the Chancellor, who in turn compiles a Senatorial report to the Emperor.

The Senate approves Council-laws on taxes and the budget, introduces bills related to health care, the military, education, and justice, approves laws submitted by the Chancellor, regulates the currency of the Empire, and supervises the proceedings of the courts and Council of Ministers. The Senate is more powerful then the State Council, and has a amount of administrative over-sight over the Imperial Chancellory.

Emperor's involvement in ParliamentEdit

The Emperor, as Head of State of the Russian Empire, holds executive power over Parliament. The Emperor can call and dissolve the Parliament at will. He also sets out the times of Senatorial elections and determines the procedure of collecting and counting votes. The Emperor's Chancellor is Procurator of the State Council, while his Lord Commissioner is his Parliamentary Representative. The Emperor can propose laws, and he grants or withholds assent to them. Ukases concerning the rules and proceedings of Parliament are within the Emperor's hand. The Emperor also appoints and dismisses at will 50 of the 100 members of the State Council, on basis of civil or military service.

Judicial systemEdit

The judicial system of the Russian Empire was established in 1828, by the Judicial Reform Law of the Imperial Parliament, written by Constantine I himself. The system emphasizes the equality of all people before the law, public trials, the equality of composition of juries, the professionalism of the judges, and the right to legal counsel and assistance. The system is divided into four notable branches: the Ministry of Justice, the Imperial State Court, the general boards of law, and the local boards of law.

Ministry of JusticeEdit

The Ministry of Justice, led by the Minister of Justice, is a major component of the Russian judicial system. The Ministry has three branches: Intelligence, Police, and Court Affairs. It is charged with representing the government in high-ranking cases, administering the prison system and community center system, and prosecuting those who defy government laws or decrees. The Ministry also has control over the police system and also administers the Imperial Intelligence Agency.

Imperial State CourtEdit

The Imperial State Court is the highest court of law in the Russian Empire. It has about twelve justices, appointed and dismissed by the emperor at will, but nominated by the Minister of Justice in consultation with the Chancellor. The Court handles most cases involving the government, disputes between citizens that reach it, and disputes between Russia and other countries. The Court is led by a Chief Justice, usually the Minister of Justice himself. All proceedings are public, and clarified procedures are always followed.

General boards of lawEdit

Each governorship has a general board of law. Each board has twelve professional judges and two civilian jurors, appointed and dismissed by the emperor at will, but nominated by the Minister of Justice, in consultation with the Chancellor. Each board handles major governorship cases, including murder and local treason. Each board would have a Commission of Recorders to record the proceedings of trials, organize meeting dates of the board, and execute verdicts of the general board.

Local boards of lawEdit

Each city and town has a "local board of law", which consists of twelve jurors, elected from among the local people, and three professional judges, elected by the nobles. The judges only preside over each board of law, while the jurors make the final verdicts in each case. Punishments imposed by the local board of law cannot exceed one year imprisonment. Each local board has a "commission of assistants", who record all proceedings, assist in setting the dates and times of proceedings, and draft all formal warrants and subpoenas.

Regional and Local GovernmentEdit

The Russian Empire has four divisions: city districts, semi-autonomous territories, governorships, and uzeds. The Empire consists of the following Governorships: Estonia, Courland, Lithuania, Belorussia, Ukraine, Transcaucasia, Russian Turkey, European Russia, Siberia, and Russian Turkestan. Each Governorship has a Governor, or Gubernator, appointed and dismissed by the Emperor at will, but nominated by the Prime Minister. The Governor is the leader of each Governorship, and has a Council of Advisors, who run the governorship day to day and issue governorship decrees. Each governorship also has a Local Parliament, consisting of two houses, a Governorship State Council, and a Governorship Duma. Each Council is a legislative review and consultative body, while each Duma is a actual law-making body. Each Council is appointed by the Governor, while each Duma is elected by voters aged 18 and over. Each governorship has control over local finances, local justice, health-care, education, transportation, and local police.

Each governorship is divided into uzeds, with three uzeds per governorship. Each uzed has a county commissioner appointed and dismissed by the Gubernator of the governorship encompassing the uzed at will (such as the Gubernator of Ukraine appointing the Commissioner of the Kiev Uzed). The commissioners can issue executive decrees and lead their uzed governments. They are advised by a elected Board of Local Councilors, elected by all voters over the age of 18. The Board regulates uzed education and health-care, instates and collects local taxes, and advises the Commissioner.

The Imperial city districts are city versions of governorships, except that they encompass a city and it's surrounding suburbs. There are two city districts in the Empire: Saint Petersburg, the capital, and Moscow. Each one is led by a city governor, appointed and dismissed by the Emperor personally. The city governors are advised by District Parliaments, similar to Governorship Parliaments.

The semi-autonomous territories are the Kingdom of Russian Poland and the Grand Duchy of Finland. Each have their own legislative assembly, laws, judicial system, constitution, army, taxing system, currency, health care system, and educational system. The Emperor rules in both as a constitutional monarch, as Grand Duke of Finland and King of Russian Poland.

And finally, the local cities. Each town and city has a Local Parliament, consisting of two houses, a City Council and a Local Assembly. The Council consists of nobles and landowners appointed by the governor of each town. The Council approves the laws, grants taxes, and supervises the government. The Local Assembly consist of representatives chosen by all voters in the city aged 18 and over. The Assembly manages hospitals and schools, maintains the local food reserves, collects taxes, and supports local projects. Each Town is led by a Governor that is elected by all voters in the Town 18 (formerly 32) years of age and over.

Human rightsEdit

The Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the Russian Empire guarantees the civil, judicial, and political rights of all the subjects of the Russian Empire. These include, but are not limited to: Trial by jury, right to legal counsel and assistance, right to present and question witnesses, right to be innocent until proven guilty, equality in all cases, public discussions of trials, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to work, freedom to rest, freedom to health, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of petition, right to bear arms for defense, freedom of religion, and freedom to education.

According to several human rights organizations, Russia's human rights status is number 2, after Britain. Many foreign and Russian experts consider Russian human rights to be "four times as fair as China and more then nine times as fair as Persia". Russia is a signatory to the United Nations Charter of Human Rights and has also signed a number of other human rights protection instruments, including the Eurasian Human Rights Charter, Charter of Democratic Freedoms of the Council of Europe, and the Asia-Pacific Democracy Charter.

Foreign relationsEdit

BRIC leaders in 2008

Leaders (or foreign ministers) of BRIC member states in 2008. From left to right, Prime Minister Mahhmoah Singh of India, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dimitri Mendeleev of the Russian Empire, Foreign Minister of the Chinese Empire Hu Jianto, and President Luis da Silva of Brazil.

The Russian Empire, since it's establishment, has been recognized as the modern successor to the Tsardom of Muscovy and the current incarnation of the Russian state. The Empire promotes it's primary goal: the promotion of world peace and the support of constitutional and semi-constitutional monarchies throughout the world. As of June 2009, it maintains diplomatic relations with 180 countries (including the newly proclaimed Kosovo) and has 144 official embassies, as well more then 300 consulates. The foreign policy is set by the Emperor of Russia and executed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, currently Dimitri Mendeleev.

As one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Russia plays a major role in maintaining international peace and security. The country participates in the Quartet on the Middle East, the Six-party talks with North Korea, and the intervention in Iraq. Russia is a leading member of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations, the Council of Europe, OSCE, and APEC. The Russian Empire takes a leading role in regional organizations including the Eurasian Economic Community, Collective Security Treaty Organization, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Chancellor Vladimir Putin has advocated the formation of economic, security and justice, and political cooperatives between Russia and the Western European Union. Since the end of the Cold War, Russia has developed a friendlier, albeit sometimes highly unstable, relationship with NATO and the WEU. The NATO-Russian Empire Council was established in 2002 to maintain security and diplomatic relations between the alliance and empire.

MilitaryEdit

The Imperial military of the Russian Empire is divided into these branches: the Imperial Army, the Imperial Navy, the Imperial Marines, and the Imperial Air Corps. As of 2006, the military has 8.06 million personnel on active duty.

Russia has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world. It has the largest fleet of ballistic submarines and is the only country apart from the United States that has a strategic bomber force. Russia's tank force is the largest in the world, while the Russian navy and air corps are the second-most powerful and third-most powerful respectively. The Russian navy is divided into four fleets: the Russian Baltic Sea Fleet, headquartered at Saint Petersburg; the Russian Black Sea Fleet, headquartered at Sevastopol; the Russian Mediterranean Sea Fleet, headquartered at Malta; and the Russian Pacific Fleet, headquarted at Port Arthur and Vladivostok.

The country has a large and fully native arms industry, producing over 89% of it's military technology and equipment, importing few weapons, mainly from the United States. Russia currently exports arms to more then 80 countries worldwide, including China, South Korea, Persia, Afghanistan, and Britain, and it comprises 30% of world arms sales.

It is mandatory for all male citizens between the ages of 18-45 to be drafted for six years in military service, four in the active forces, two in the reserve. The government plans to increase the number of volunteer servicemen to 70% by 2020. Defense expenditure has quadrupled over the past six years. According to the Helenski International Military Research Institute, the total number of military spending is $367 billion a year, only slightly larger then the United States, which spends $365 billion a year on military affairs. Despite this officially recognized amount, United States intelligence actually believes Russia spends twice this amount. Currently, the Russian military is undergoing a major equipment and command upgrade that costs $200 billion, and should be completed by 2015. Minister of Military Affairs Anatoliy Seryukov supervises the major reforms to increase the size and efficiency of Russia's military organization.

DemographicsEdit

The Russian Empire is one of the world's most culturally diverse countries, with more then 100 ethnic groups within it's borders. The total population is 360 million, according to the estimate of 2008. It is the world's third most populous nation (after China and India), having held that rank for decades. There are 25 cities with more then one million people each in the Russian Empire as of 2007. The country's largest city and capital is Saint Petersburg, with nine million inhabitants.

Ethnic groupsEdit

As of a 2008 estimate, the largest ethnic group in the Empire is the Russians, who make up 50.9% of the population, followed by Ukranians (15.45%), and Tatars (5.9%).

Some nationality groups came into the empire willingly, others did not. The Ukranian, Belarusian, and Russian ethnic groups are the most culturally and politically related groups in the empire, while other subjects have little to do with the Ruling Trio. National antagonisms exist, especially in Chechnya and Central Asia, but are not high.

Russian leaders realize that a series of concessions keep most subject races in the Empire happy. That is why, starting in the 1890's, a program of Inclusion was initiated to give more local and central government positions to non-Russians. This policy has been highly successful.

The Russian government has encouraged development and publication of many of the languages of minority groups. Cultural and economic development is also promoted, to bind the diverse cultures of the Empire together, and to maintain Imperial unity. Despite this, a Educational Edict issued in 1938 required at least partial use of Russian in major schools, and this has remained in effect. However, laws from the 19th century permit the use of native languages in the home and in locally-operated minor schools.

LanguagesEdit

Russia's 160-180 ethnic groups speak some 140 languages. According to the 2002 Russian Census, some 242 million people speak Russian, followed by Ukrainian with 28 million speakers. Russian is the only official state language, but official use of native languages are permitted in local administration and some governorships.

Despite it's wide dispersal, the Russian language is the most homogeneous language in the Russian Empire. Russian is the most geographically spread language in Eurasia and the most widely spoken Slavic language. Russian belongs to the Indo-European language family and is one of the surviving members of the East Slavic languages, along with Ukrainian and Belorussian.

Over a quarter of the world's scientific literature is published in Russian. Russian is also applied as a means of storing and coding of Universal knowledge-60-70% of all world information is published in the English and Russian languages. The language is one of six official languages of the United Nations.

ReligionEdit

Christanity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism are Russia's traditional religions, given a "special status" by a law in the 1860's and granted "a important heritage status" in a edict passed in 1997. Russian Orthodoxy is the dominant religion in Russia. More then 95% of the registered Orthodox parishes belong to the Russian Orthodox Church, ran by the Holy Synod appointed and dismissed by the Emperor, with a small number of other Orthodox churches. However, most Orthodox believers do not attend church on a regular basis. Nonetheless, the Church is widely respected by both believers and non-believers, both groups of which consider it a important part of Russian culture and history. Smaller Christian denominations including Roman Catholics, Armenian Gregorians, and some Protestant groups do exist. About 300 million Russians consider themselves Orthodox Christians. About 50 million Russians are Muslims, with 5 million Jews and another 5 million, Buddhists and paganists.

HealthEdit

The Russian Empire has free, universal health care, distributed by the State Health Service of the Russian Empire, established by the Universal Health Act of 1946. The Service is under the direct control and guidance of the Ministry of Health and Human Services. The Bill of Rights of the Russian Empire was modified in 1953 to include freedom of health, thus supporting the Act. Russia has more physicians, hospitals, and health care workers then any other country in the world, as well the most efficient health service organization. As of 2007, the average life expectancy in Russia is 81.5 years (81 years, 5 months) for males and 83.9 years (83 years, nine months) for females. The combined life expectancy of 83.4 years (83 years, four months) is 6% higher then the average in the Western European Union.

Heart diseases account for at least 5% of all deaths as of 2007, with only 2% involving people still of working age. Russia has one of the world's lowest rates of alcohol death, which is around 1.5% of all deaths. At least 500,000 Russians suffer from arthritis and other bone diseases. Death rates from homicide, suicide, and cancer are 2%, 4%, and 8% respectively, among the lowest in the world. Around 5% of women and 15% of men smoke, but the death rate because of smoking is less then 1.4%.

HIV/AIDS has infected a relatively small amount of people in the Russian Empire. According to official statistics, at least 54,000 people are infected, while foreign and American experts place the number at 94,000. The government has increased the funding of HIV/AIDS preventive measures by more then half, with the health budget of 2007 double that of 2006.

The government has initiated a series of programs intended to stabilize the Russian population at around it's current number. Government funding provided for the establishment of birth control centers. Sexual education has been introduced into the health studies of middle and high school. The Russian government has also provided a abortion program.

EducationEdit

The Russian Empire has a free education system guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and established by the Educational System Act of 1970, and amended in 1998 and 2004. The literacy rate is 99.4%. Entry into higher education is highly competitive. As a result of great emphasis on science and technology in education, Russian medical, mathematical, scientific, space, and aviation research is the best in the world.

Children are required to attend school for at least 13 years, from the ages of 5-18 (effectively, from kindergarden through the end of high school). Education in state-owned elementary, middle, and high schools is free. Free lunches and free textbooks are provided in all three secondary school classes. State spending on education accounted for 13% of the budget as of 2008.

The Government allocates funding to pay tuition fees within an established quota, or number of students for each state institution. This is considered crucial because it provides access to higher education to all skilled students, as opposed to only those who can afford it. In addition, students are provided a small amount of money and given free state housing. Many private universities have also been established.

Major universities and institutes in the Russian Empire are the University of Moscow, the Imperial Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Imperial Aviation School, the Imperial Medical University, the Political Studies College, the Womens' Educational Institute, the University of Saint Petersburg, the University of Kiev, the University of Minsk, the University of Vilinus, the College of Helenski, and the University of Warsaw.

EconomyEdit

Since the 1980s, the Russian Empire has experienced relative economic prosperity, especially during the last nine years. Stable oil prices, high government investment, high domestic consumption, and relative financial stability has allowed the Empire to remain prosperous and strong.

The country ended 2007 with it's ninth straight year of great economic growth, averaging 8% since 1998. In 2009, Russia's GDP has been calculated at $13.567 trillion USD, roughly equal with the United States, tying it for the number one economy.

The average salary in Russia is high, at $500 a week, up from $300 a week in 2000. About 6% of the entire Russian population live below the poverty line, down from the highest rate of 13% in 1996. Unemployment in Russia is about 3%, down from 6% in 2001.

The major exports of the Russian Empire include electronic equipment, agricultural equipment, oil and natural gas, timber, and metals. Russia is one of the most developed countries in the world, with a long tradition of education, science, and industry. Manufacturing, financial services, retail trade, shipbuilding, mining, and agriculture are the leading industries of the Empire's economy. The country has more college education graduates then any other country in Europe.

A simpler, more streamlined tax code introduced in 2001 has considerably relaxed the tax burden on the people, and drastically increased state revenue. Russia has a personal income rate of 5%, one of the highest in the world. The country has the second most attractive personal tax system in the world (after United Arab Emirates), luring it investors from the United States and numerous other countries.

The Imperial budget has had surpluses since 2001, and ended 2007 with a surplus of 8% of the GDP. The Russian Empire has one of the lowest foreign debt rates in the world, due to proper financial management and the repayment of most debts.

The Russian Empire has a even amount of industrialization across the board, even in many parts of Siberia. Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, Minsk, Vilnius, and Warsaw all give vast contributions to the country's GDP. The middle class is at 155 million people as of 2005. Personal and family incomes have grown by 3% every year and capital investments have risen by 5%.

AgricultureEdit

The Russian Empire has a well-developed agricultural sector. At least 20 million acres are devoted to agricultural means and farm production. Russia is the world's chief producer of soybeans and millet, the third leading producer of wheat, and the third leading producer of corn. Russia is also one of the world's largest producers and exporters of livestock, especially of pigs, hogs, and cows.

Farms in the Russian Empire use modern technology and machinery, and aroun 85% of them are commercial. The government has provided financial assistance to many farms, boosting their production and capacity considerably. The Empire is renowed for it's high-quality farm products. Most farms in the Russian Empire are centered in south-western European Russia, Ukraine (known as the Breadbasket of the Empire for the vast amount of wheat, corn, and livestock it produces), Belarus, some parts of Lithuania and parts of northern Central Asia.

EnergyEdit

Russia is the world's leading energy superpower. The country has the world's largest natural gas reserves, the 3rd largest oil reserves, and the second largest coal reserves. Russia is the world's leading natural gas exporter and producer, as well the leading oil producer and second leading exporter. It sometimes shares the last status with Saudi Arabia, as well the earlier one.

Russia is the world's second-largest electricity generator, as well the largest renewable energy producer, the latter due to the Empire's well developed hydroelectricity. Numerous hydropower plants are located along the Volga, and in parts of western and southern Siberia.

The Russian Empire was the first country in the world to introduce civilian nuclear power, and to introduce the first nuclear power plant. Currently, Russia is the second largest energy producer. Imperial Energy, a state-owned corporation, operates all of the Russian nuclear energy plants. Nuclear energy is rapidly developing further, with the government planning to increase the total share of nuclear energy to 35% by 2020, at a current of 19%. The Russian government has allocated 127 billion rubles to the development of a new generation of nuclear energy technology. About 1 trillion rubles is to be allocated from the Imperial budget to nuclear power development before 2015. Russia remains the world leader in nuclear technology.

Science and technologyEdit

The Russian Empire has a long and rich tradition of science and technology. Beginning in the 18th century, it produced numerous notable scientists, physicists, mathematicians, and engineers. The University of St Petersburg, the Imperial Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the University of Moscow were all established in this time, and gave a boost to Russian science and innovation. To this day, all there are among the world's leading institutions of science and technology.

Notable scientists, physicists, mathematicians, and engineers included (or include) Mikhail Lomonosov, Heinrich Lenz, Alexander Popov, Andrei Kolomgrov, Yevgraf Fedorov, Dimitry Mendeleev, and numerous others. Russian discoveries or inventions include the development of the periodic table, the discovery of viruses, the foundation of theory of probability, the pioneering of electric lighting, and numerous other accomplishments. Because of this, the Russian Empire is widely respected amongst the scientific community of nations.

The greatest Russian successes are in the fields of space technology and space exploration. In 1957, the first Earth-orbiting artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched; on April 12, 1961 the first trip into space was successfully made by Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin; and many other Russian space exploration records ensued, including the first spacewalk performed by Alexey Leonov, the first space exploration rover Lunokhood-1, and the first space station, Salut 1. Russia also accomplished the second walk on the Moon, and the first satellite to Mars. Today, Russia is the world's leading satellite launcher and the only provider of transport for space tourism services.

In the 20th century a number of prominent Russian aerospace engineers, inspired by the fundamental works of Nikolai Zhukovsky, Sergei Chaplygin and others, designed many hundreds of models of military and civilian aircraft and founded a number of Construction Bureaus that now constitute the bulk of the Russian United Aircraft Corporation. Famous Russian aircrafts include the civilian Tu-series, Su and MiG fighter aircrafts, Ka and Mi-series helicopters; many Russian aircraft models are on the list of most produced aircraft in history.

Famous Russian battle tanks include the T-34, the best tank design of World War II, and further tanks of T-series, including the most produced tank in history, T-54/55. The AK-47 and AK-74 by Mikhail Kalashnikov constitute the most widely used type of assault rifle throughout the world—so much so that more AK-type rifles have been manufactured than all other assault rifles combined.

Development in science and technology has continued to the present day, and the government launched a campaign aimed into future development and innovation. Russian Chancellor Vladimir Putin formulated top 5 priorities for the country's technological development: efficient energy use, IT (including both common products and the products combined with space technology), nuclear energy and pharmaceuticals. Currently the Russian Empire is completing GLONASS (the only global satellite navigation system apart from American GPS), as well as developing its own fifth-generation jet fighter and constructing the first serial mobile nuclear plant.

TransportationEdit

The Russian Empire has one of the world's most developed transportation systems. In Russia, railway transportation is primarily dominated by the state-owned Imperial Railroads. The company produces around 3% of the Empire's total GDP, and handles 39% of the freight traffic and 42% of passenger traffic. The Russian Empire is second only to the United States in terms of total numbers of used track. It has the greatest amount of electrified tracks in the world. The most well-known railroad in Russia is the world-famous Trans-Siberian Railway, completed in the 1860s. It spans a record 7 time zones and stretches from Moscow in the west to Vladivostok in the east.

As of 2006 Russia has some 3,500,000 km of roads, of which 3,480,000 is paved. This is only barely exceeded by the United States, with 3,600,000 km. The road system in Russia is officially designated the Imperial Highways System, and consists of cross-Russia highways, routes, and state-owned toll roads. The density of roads in Russia is relatively high, when compared to many European or Asian countries.

Russia has more then 180,000 inland waterways, which mostly go by lakes or rivers. In the European region of the country, the network of waterways connects the basins of major rivers, including the Dniester, Northern Dvina, and the Don. Russia's second largest city (and former capital), Moscow, is called "the port of the five seas", due to it's connections to the Baltic, White, Azov, Black, and Caspian Seas.

Major sea ports of the Russian Empire include Odessa, Kherson, and Nikolyev on the Black Sea, Rostov on the Azov, Astrakhan on the Caspian, Koingsberg, Riga, Tallinn, Saint Petersburg, and Helenski on the Baltic, Murmansk on the Barents Sea, and Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean, as well the port of Arthur in the Chinese Eastern Railroad Zone. As of 2008, the Empire owns some 2000 merchant marine ships. Russia currently control the world's only fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers, to help maintain the Northern Sea Route between Europe and East Asia, which falls mainly in Russian territorial waters.

Russia has 1306 airports, among the busiest being the Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Warsaw, Kiev, and Odessa Airports. Currently, the total length of airlines in Russia exceeds 680,000 km.

Typically, major Russian cities have well-developed and diverse systems of public transport, with the most common varieties of exploited vehicles being bus, trolleybus and tram. Seven Russian cities, namely Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Samara, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Kiev, Warsaw, Vilnius, and Odessa have underground metros, while Volgograd and Vladivostok feature a metrotram. Total length of metros in Russia is more then 600.4 km. The Moscow Metro and Saint Petersburg Metro are the oldest in Russia, opened in 1935 and 1949 respectively. These two are among the fastest and busiest metro systems in the world, and are famous for rich decorations and unique designs of their stations, which is a common tradition on Russian metros and railways.

CultureEdit

Folk culture and cusineEdit

There are over 160 different ethnic groups and indigenous peoples in the Russian Empire. Ethnic Orthodox Russians, Islamic Tatars and Bashkirs, Buddhist nomadic Buryats and Kalmyks, the Shamanistic peoples, highlanders of the Northern Caucasus, the Finno-Ugric peoples, the Ukrainians and Belorussians, the Catholic Polish, and so many other groups all contribute to the cultural diversity of the country.

Handicraft, like the Dymkovo toy, khokhloma, gzhel and palekh miniature represent an important aspect of Russian folk culture. Ethnic Russian clothes include the kaftan, kosovorotka and ushanka for men, sarafan and kokoshnik for women, with lapti and valenki as common shoes. The clothes of Cossacks from Southern Russia include burka and papaha, which they share with the peoples of the Northern Caucasus.

Russian cuisine widely uses fish, poultry, mushrooms, berries, and honey. Crops of rye, wheat, barley, and millet provide the ingredients for various breads, pancakes and cereals, as well as for kvass, beer and vodka drinks. Black bread is rather popular in Russia, compared to the rest of the world. Flavorful soups and stews include shchi, borsch, ukha, solyanka and okroshka. Smetana (a heavy sour cream) is often added to soups and salads. Pirozhki, blini and syrniki are native types of pancakes. Chicken Kiev, pelmeni and shashlyk are popular meat dishes, the last two being of Tatar and Caucasus origin respectively. Salads include Russian salad, vinaigrette and Dressed Herring.

Russia's large number of ethnic groups have distinctive traditions of folk music. Typical ethnic Russian musical instruments are gusli, balalaika, zhaleika and garmoshka. Folk music had great influence on Russian classical composers, and in modern times it is a source of inspiration for a number of popular folk bands, including Melnitsa. Russian folk songs, as well as patriotic Soviet songs, constitute the bulk of repertoire of the world-renown Red Army choir and other popular ensembles.

Russians have many traditions, including the washing in banya, a hot steam bath somewhat similar to sauna. Old Russian folklore takes its roots in the pagan Slavic religion. Many Russian fairy tales and epic bylinas were adapted for animation films, or for feature movies by the prominent directors like Aleksandr Ptushko and Aleksandr Rou. Russian poets, including Pyotr Yershov and Leonid Filatov, made a number of well-known poetical interpretations of the classical fairy tales, and in some cases, like that of Alexander Pushkin, also created fully original fairy tale poems of great popularity.

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