Russia: Tsarist and Communist

By Anatole G. Mazour | Go to book overview

7 (1613-1645)
The Reign of Michael Romanov

IMMEDIATE PROBLEMS

WITH THE ascendancy of the Romanov dynasty the period known as the Time of Troubles came to an end and the country set out to restore economic and social order. Tremendous tasks lay ahead. Though the Polish invaders had been expelled from the capital, peace was nowhere in sight; enemy forces still held considerable territory outside liberated Moscow. The legacy of the recent turbulent years in internal affairs was as distressing as external developments. The social structure was shaken to its foundation and called for drastic measures if peace and order were to emerge from the prevailing chaos. The storm that had swept over the land left with the new authorities responsibilities for decisive action; much had to be built entirely anew, since a good deal of the old system had been wrecked beyond any hope of bringing it back to life. The irresistible changes within society brought different reactions as well as different results, as will be seen in due course. Some innovations carried with them healthier seeds, some proved of short duration, while still others carried with them portentous implications, which came to be realized only a generation or two later. The last pertain particularly to the new social formations and changes which altered entirely the status of the free peasantry during the forthcoming decades.


PEACE WITH SWEDEN

The immediate need was for an end to the war with Poland. The position of the newly established government was extremely complex; vital strategic areas remained in the hands of Poland and Sweden, placing Russia in a most vulnerable military position. Novgorod and Nöteburg (Oreshek) were held by Sweden and their release was sought by the English king, James I, who endeavored to serve as mediator between the two recently warring nations. In the end Sweden consented to return some of the occupied areas, though the concession was accompanied by a demand for territorial and financial compensation. The terms satisfied Russia at least in one respect: Sweden agreed at the same time to recognize the new

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