Comprehensive reforms throughout Russia's education
system were undertaken in the 1990s. Politically marked
subjects were removed, Soviet and Russian history was given
a new approach, and previously banned literature was
included in the teaching. Having had an extremely
centralized education system, a decentralization process
began in the mid-1980s. Following the school system adopted
in 1992, the republics are practically self-governing with
regard to the goals and content of the school's teaching. To
a large extent, curricula are now being developed locally
based on national standards. Elective subjects were
introduced, while all teaching was previously the same for
everyone. In the Soviet Union, all educational institutions
were state, but since the early 1990s a wide range of
private schools have been established in Russia.
is a 9-year compulsory schooling, which must be taken at the
age of 6/7-15 years. The primary school is usually 3 years
old and begins when the children are 7 years old. Some start
when they are 6 years old and have a 4-year primary school.
The youth stage is 7 years old, divided into two (5 + 2
years). In 2001, approx. 92% of children in secondary
school. The child and adolescent steps are usually carried
out in undivided schools. From 15 to 18 years, students can
either take courses that prepare for higher education, or
vocational education. In addition to the graduation exam,
students must take entrance exams to enter higher education. See TOPSCHOOLSINTHEUSA for TOEFL, ACT, SAT testing locations and high school codes in Russia.
Higher education includes universities, polytechnic
institutes and academic institutes. In 2000, there were 562
state and 667 private higher education institutions, among
them 277 state universities. Most universities are located
in the Moscow and St. Petersburg area. Mikhail Lomonosov
University of Moscow was founded in 1755, the State
University of St. Petersburg in 1819.
Aleksander 1 expanded the school system with new
universities, colleges and elementary schools in the early
1800s. But already during Nikolai 1, the lower classes'
opportunities for teaching were curtailed. In 1864 a
regulation on primary school education was introduced, but
only just before the First World War began a faster
development of the education system. Primary education for
children aged 8-11 was made compulsory by law in 1908.
Public schooling was supposed to have been introduced around
1925. In the meantime, the revolution came in 1917.
The new regime saw illiteracy as one of the biggest
challenges in building the socialist state. No area gave the
Soviet government a higher priority than the school system.
While 3/4 of the population were illiterate at the end of
the 19th century, they accounted for only 20% in 1940.
Illiteracy is considered to be virtually eradicated from
In addition to the Russian Federation, the Soviet Union
consisted of the following republics, which are now
independent states: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Estonia, Latvia,
Lithaun, Georgia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova,
Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
Before the Slavic people entered the scene of history,
the European part of the present Russian Federation, Belarus
and Ukraine was inhabited by various peoples who were
subject to invasions by females, Goths and Hungarians. The
first mention of the slaves dates from the 6th century. The
Byzantine writers refer to the existence of several Slavic
chieftains of different peoples such as the Polians
(centered in Kiev), the Drivlians, Drégovichis, Krívichis,
Viátichis, the Merians and others.
The first Russian state formation
In the 9th century, the first Russian state known as the
"Ancient Rus" or "Kiev Rus" was formed. It was formed as a
result of the fighting against the jazars in the south and
Scandinavians in the north. In the 9th century, the trade
route between the Baltic and the Black Sea - the route
between the "Scandinavians and the Greeks" - had gained
European significance. In 882, Prince Oleg captured Novgorod
Kiev and transferred the capital of the Russian state to
this city. In 907 he signed an agreement that was favorable
to the Russians. Oleg's nephew, Sviatoslav ruled his own
kingdom. In it, the fight against Byzan's and Bulgaria
assumed enormous dimensions.
Vladimir (980-1015) was the son of Sviatoslav and
succeeded him on the throne. He consolidated the legal
organization of the Russian state, the dynasty and the
extent of the kingdom. In order to overcome the "pagan"
Russia's isolation against monotheistic Europe, in 988
Vladimir introduced Christianity as a state religion. He
looked to himself the Byzantine Orthodox variant,
distinguished by his beauty and pompousness. At the end of
Vladimir's reign, the Principality of Novgorod exhibited
strong tendencies for independence. Vladimir's successor to
the throne, Sviatopolk killed 3 of his brothers - Boris,
Gleb and Sviatoslav - to consolidate power, but the fourth
brother, Yaroslav, Prince of Novgorod overthrew Sviatopolk
and assumed supreme power in Kiev. At the same time,
however, he gave Novgorod a number of powers. After his
death, the feudal republic of Novgorod was established, the
principals Vladimir-Suzdal, Galich-Volin and others In 1147,
Moscow is mentioned in the Rostov-Suzdal Principality for
the first time in the chronicles.
In 1237, Tartar invaded Prince Batu - the nephew of
Genghis Khan - the principals Riazan and Vladimir, occupied
Moscow and a number of other Russian cities. The conquest of
other Russian principals continued in 1239-40, and this
began the yugo-tartar period, which would extend over the
following 250 years. From the west, another danger
threatened the Russians - from the Teutons and the Swedes.
In 1242, Prince Alexandr of Novgorod defeated the Teutons in
the famous "battle of the ice" on Lake Chudskoye near the
Neva River. As a thank-you for the victory, he was named
The Mongols did not rule directly, however, through local
princes, Turkish chiefs, or Arab merchants operating in the
region. They were given an authorization - "yarlik" - by the
Mongols. In the early 14th century, the principalities of
Tver, Moscow, Riazan and Novgorod existed. Tver and Moscow
fought for the leadership during this period when the
principals were still divided. Prince Dmitri of Moscow now
began to gather forces to throw out the Tartars, but the
princes of Tver, Nizhni Novgorod and Riazan opposed this. In
1378, Mamai Khan launched a criminal expedition against
Russia, but was beaten.
In 1380, Prince Dmitri of Moscow struck Mamai at the
Battle of Kulikovo near the river Don. It marked the
beginning of the liberation of Russia from the Yugo Tartars,
and therefore he gave himself the title of Donskoi. The
liberation struggle lasted 100 years, ending only
victoriously in 1480 when Ajmat - the last Khan - did not
dare to fight against Prince Ivan III's troops on the Ugra
River. Ivan III completed the gathering of the Russian
territories under Moscow's domination.
Relationship with Ukraine
Russia has had a complicated relationship with Ukraine in
the 2000s. The countries are closely linked to one another
economically, linguistically, culturally and historically,
but how closely integrated the two countries should be
politically constitutes a deep dividing line in Ukrainian
politics. There has been a widespread desire in Ukraine to
apply westward to the EU. The disagreement has been about
whether this can be combined with a close relationship with
Russia or not. The two directions have alternated to win the
Ukrainian elections through the 21st century.
The Russian line has been to maintain close integration,
among other things, by counteracting the Ukrainian approach
to the EU. The relationship between the two countries
reached a tentative bottom point in connection with the "
Orange Revolution " in 2004, when west-facing politicians
came to power in Kiev. Russia responded by declaring that
they would introduce international market prices of gas sold
to Ukraine, which would mean a dramatic increase from the
current price level, which was based on an agreement (see
below on Gas Exports). Russia also worried about
the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO. The important
Russian Black Sea Fleet is located in Crimea on the basis of
an agreement between the two countries.
Also, more symbolic issues are the focus of relations
between Russia and Ukraine. In Russia, the memory of victory
in World War II - the Great Fatherland War - is fundamental
because it creates unity and a sense that Russia has a
mission. Although the Ukrainians were among the Soviet
peoples who contributed most to this victory, in Ukraine
there were also groups that took the opportunity to fight
against the Soviet authorities, often in collaboration with
the Nazi German occupiers. These groups were responsible for
extensive ethnic cleansing in the areas they controlled,
which mainly affected Poles and Jews. Stepan Bandera
(1909-1959) is the best known leader of these groups. When
statues are erected in Ukraine and stamps are issued with
Bandera, it is reacted in Russia and in parts of Ukraine
with allegations of fascism. The Bandera cult in Ukraine
includes the parties that are considered pro-European.
In the fall of 2013, relations with Ukraine tightened,
leading to what are often referred to as the Ukraine crisis.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych stood for a policy in
which Ukraine entered into close cooperation with the EU,
but without destroying close relations with Russia. He had
worked out an association agreement with the EU, which was
to be signed in November despite EU leaders being very
skeptical about how Yanukovych handled human rights and
freedom of the press.. Russia, for its part, was strongly
opposed to the Association Agreement, and in the summer of
2013 marked the reluctance by allowing consumer and sanitary
supervision to ban non-strategic but symbolically saturated
Ukrainian chocolate products. More seriously, in October
President Putin declared that if Ukraine signed the
Association Agreement, they would not be able to enjoy the
same access to the Russian market as the Customs Union
members (Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus). Instead, they would
have access in the same way as other WTO countries.
On November 21, the Ukrainian government issued a decree
suspending preparation for the Association Agreement. As a
substitute, a three-sided commission with Ukraine, Russia
and the EU was proposed to clarify trade issues. This
provided the start of sustained demonstrations in Ukraine
during the winter of 2013-2014. On February 21, Yanukovych
left Kiev and made his way over to Russia. Opposition
politicians seized power in Kiev. Although Vladimir Putin
had never considered Yanukovych as "her husband," Russia
continued to regard him as the rightful president of Ukraine
until new elections were held.
Crimean peninsula events in spring 2014 accelerated on
March 16 when a peninsula was held on which state it should
belong to, Russia or Ukraine. The peninsula had been
transferred from the Russian to the Ukrainian Soviet
Republic in 1954. The alternatives in the vote were: 1)
Reunification with Russia and acquisition of status as a
Federation subject in the Russian Federation and 2) Return
to the Crimean Constitution of 1992 and Crimea as part of
Ukraine. There was a massive majority for reunification.
Although the referendum was strongly contested
internationally, the peninsula's two administrative units
were incorporated into the Russian federation through a
decision in the State Duma on March 20 and the president's
signature the following day. The Federation was now given
two new Federation subjects ("states"), the Republic of
Crimea and the city of special rights, Sevastopol. The
relationship between Russia and large parts of the outside
world was thus greatly deteriorated.