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Russian Empire

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A map of the Russian Empire at its biggest, in 1866

The Russian Empire, also called Imperial Russia, was a big country. It started in 1721 before which it was known as the Duchy of Moscow. It lasted until it was declared a republic in March 1917 after the Russian Revolution. It was an absolute monarchy ruled by Russian emperors known as "Tsars". Tsars believed that they were chosen by God to lead Russia and maintain complete power over the people.

General information

In 1914, the Russian Empire covered an area of about 21,799,825 km². In 1897, it had a population of 128,200,000 (1897 year). Its official language was the Russian language. Its official church was the Russian Orthodox Church.

Russian society

Imperial Russian people were part of two different social groups, the serfs (later peasants) and the nobility. The serfs were around 80% of Russia's population and lived mainly in countryside areas up until the late 19th century when the Emancipation of the Serfs freed them from the farmland they were tied to allowing them to: marry whoever they wanted, own property, and vote. The nobility were around 20% of the population and were educated and held higher in society. These people generally went to university and towards the end of the 19th century wanted to remove the Tsar and give people more power.

Revolution and after

In 1917 World War I caused the bad conditions of people who worked in factories became even worse with a food shortage, which people blamed on the Tsar. People rebelled and the cities such as St Petersburg and Moscow were faced with riots. The Tsar was soon forced to abdicate in the February Revolution in 1917. After the October Revolution he was assassinated with his family. In 1922 the Russian Empire became part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or USSR when a communist government took over. Some of the counties in the Empire escaped but the biggest ones were forced into the USSR.