Cover Osteuropa 1-3/2024

In Osteuropa 1-3/2024

Multi-Ethnic Russia
Historical Conditions in the Tsarist Empire

Andreas Kappeler

Deutsche Fassung


Russia's external and internal borders are a product of Soviet nationality policy. Its polyethnic character goes back to the prerevolutionary Tsarist Empire. For the most part, the federation consists of the territory of Muscovy, which was settled by a majority of Russians, but also other ethnic groups. The areas with non-Russian populations were annexed through military conquest, economic development, agreements on loose sovereignty of the tsar, and voluntary subordination. Most ethnic groups were able to retain their identity for centuries. The constant territorial expansion offered settlers new arable land and ethnic minorities refuge. The centre pursued a cautious mission policy: religious or linguistic unification was not a primary goal.

(Osteuropa 1-3/2024, pp. 5–23)