Examines Russian history in an impartial way, arguing that 'Good Russia' and 'Bad Russia' are one and the same
Puts into context the difficulties Russia faces in terms of the size of its territory, its ability to rule the masses, its diverse population, and its harsh and vulnerable environment
Gives attention to the important individuals in Russian history; from Peter the Great and Catherine II to Lenin and Stalin
Considers Russia's relationship with the West and Europe
Examines the Soviet experience and the post-Soviet era
Spanning the divide between Europe and Asia, Russia is a multi-ethnic empire with a huge territory, strategically placed and abundantly provided with natural resources. But Russia's territory has a harsh climate, is cut off from most maritime contact with the outside world, and has open and vulnerable land frontiers. It has therefore had to devote much of its wealth to the armed forces, and the sheer size of the empire has made it difficult to mobilise resources and to govern effectively, especially given the diversity of its people.
In this Very Short Introduction, Geoffrey Hosking discusses all aspects of Russian history, from the struggle by the state to control society, the transformation of the empire into a multi-ethnic empire, Russia's relationship with the West/Europe, the Soviet experience, and the post-Soviet era.
Readership: Students of history, particularly students of modern European history, Russian history and Soviet history; and general readers interested the topic.