Russian Colonialism describes a process that has evolved in the course of over five centuries - in the wake of military conquest and ideological and political unions in four eras. Its starting point is believed to be 1477 and its end in 1991.
Ivan III and IV expanded Muscovy's borders considerably by annexing Novgorod and settled the annexed territories with Muscovite/Russian servitors and peasants from the Kliazma-Suzdal region. After a period of political instability the Romanovs came to power and this expansion-colonization of the Tsardom continued.
While western Europe colonized the new world, Russia expanded overland to the east and south. East of the Urals it encountered little resistance in a region that had developed little since the height of Mongol power.
This continued unceasingly; by the end of the 19th century, the Russian Empire reached from the Black sea to the Pacific Ocean, and for some time even included colonies in the Americas
The region was governed from Moscow, settled by Russians, and continued to grow under Soviet rule. Areas that were formerly part of the Russian Empire, and others still that had been captured from the Nazis during World War II were proclaimed as autonomous republics, within the USSR.
In the late 19th century industrialization became a driving force behind imperial policy and coal and iron-ore extraction were rapidly developed in non-Russians areas like the Donets Basin, eventually eclipsing production in the Urals. Cotton began to be planted in Central Asia. Cloth manufacturing from cotton was quite a new concept for non-Russians. While industrial growth occurred it was one sided because finishing and manufacturing was underdeveloped in non-Russian territories, except for Russian Poland and Baltic provinces. During the 1920s Soviet historians considered these policies and actions colonialism.
In Ukraine under Tsarist rule mercantile legislation enacted in the 1720s in order to foster trade and commerce in central and north-western Russia effectively destroyed Ukrainian urban manufacturing and merchants by the nineteenth century. Throughout the next century tariff policy benefited central-Russian producers at the expense of non-Russian borderland producers. State-sponsored programs under the Tsarist and Soviet regimes developed extractive and heavy machine-building industries and promoted agricultural export. On the other hand, they neglected the consumer manufacturing, finishing, and service sectors. In 1900 Ukraine produced 52 percent of the empire's pig iron and 20 percent of its iron and steel. Between 1900 and 1914,Tsarist Ukraine produced on average 75 percent of the empire's grain export. Meanwhile, peasants still used earthenware utensils, wooden axles and hinges, and straw-thatched roofs. Finished goods were imported at excessively high prices set by Russia, while the prices for Donets' industrial products was low. Vladimir Lenin, in exile in 1914, stated in a speech that "it [Ukraine] has become for Russia what Ireland was for England: exploited in the extreme and receiving nothing in return."
On the eve of independence, eight of Ukraine’s thirteen parties referred to the country as an exploited “colony” in their programs. After 1991 most Ukrainian historians described Ukrainians as victims of colonialism while literary scholars drew attention to the nation's “post-colonial” condition. Most Russian historians stressed that Ukrainians had also been agents of empire and characterized Ukraine's historical status as “semi-colonial.” Whereas academics disagree as to whether central policies were “Russian,” tsarist, or soviet and intentionally “anti-Ukrainian,” and whether the development that did occur was worth the cost, most Russians and a minority of the population in Ukraine regard the country's historical association with Russia favorably and deny that it was a colonial victim of Russian imperial power.
Post Soviet Era
Although Russian colonialism formally ended in 1991 with the political independence of clarify], in practice Russian capital still dominates those territories and can be said to maintain a neo-colonial relationship to them, much as the US and European countries still control their former overseas colonies. Russian settlers who arrived in Soviet times still tend to identify culturally and intellectually with Moscow and Russia, rather than the nations they live in.[
It is also argued by some that some parts of the current Russian state, such as Chechnya, are colonial possessions of Russia.
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