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Natalya Gorbanevskaya in Moscow, Archaeological evidence suggests that the present day territory of Russia was inhabited since prehistoric times: For most of the 20th century, the history of Russia is essentially that of the Soviet Union.
Its fall in led, as in most of the former communist bloc countries of Eastern Europe, to an economic collapse and other social problems.
Women in Russia are not a monolithic group, because the country itself is very diverse: Eighteenth-century Russia[ edit ] Young women offer berries to visitors to their izba home, Photograph by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky. Women of eighteenth-century Russia were luckier than their European counterparts in some ways; in others, the life of a Russian woman was more difficult.
The eighteenth-century was a time of social and legal changes that began to affect women in a way that they had never before experienced. Peter the Great ruled Russia from — and in that time brought about many changes to Russian culture, altering the orthodox traditions that had been observed since the fall of the Byzantine Empire.
The three major social classes present during these reforms experienced changes in varying degrees according to their proximity to the tsar and urban settings where reforms could be more strictly enforced. Large cities underwent the westernization process more rapidly and successfully than the outlying rural villages.
Noblewomen, merchant class women, and peasant serf women each witnessed Petrine reforms differently. The Petrine reforms of this century allowed for more female participation in society, when before they were merely an afterthought as wives and mothers. The law was supposed to help the tax revenue for Russia by banning the allowance of noble families to divide their land and wealth among multiple children.
This law effectively ended the practice of excluding women from inheriting patrimonial estates. The law mandated that if a man was survived by unmarried daughters, the eldest girl would inherit his estate, while the remaining sisters would divide his movable property.
His married daughters would receive nothing, however, since they would have received dowries at the time they married. Afterproperty rights were expanded to include inheritance in land property. It also gave women greater power over the estates in that had been willed to them, or received in their wedding dowry.
Education for girls occurred mainly in the home because they were focused on learning about their duties as wife and mother rather than getting an education.
Petersburg and then the Novodevichii Institute for the daughters of commoners. Daughters in well-to-do families were raised in the terem, which was usually a separate building connected to the house by an outside passageway. These girls were raised solely on the prospect of marrying to connect their own family to another aristocratic family.
Many rural and urban lower classes houses had no space to separate young women so there was no designated terem to keep them isolated. Women of lower classes had to live and work with their brothers, fathers, and husbands as well as manage all household matters along with them.
Women in the merchant class[ edit ] Merchant class women also enjoyed newly granted freedoms to own property and manage it; with this new right upper class women gained more independence from their patriarchal restrictions. They participated in work in the fields and in the making of handicrafts.
During planting and harvest time, when help was needed in the fields, women worked with their husbands to plow, sow seeds, then collect and prepare the crops.
In the harsh climate of the Russian steppe, and a life of labor from an early age, perhaps half of all children would live to adulthood. As she continued to bear sons, her status further improved. Having a son ensured that the family name would continue as well as any property they might own, though as Petrine reforms came into effect, it began to be equally profitable to have a girl.
However, women of any class could turn infrequently to the ecclesiastical courts to resolve their marital conflicts. Feminist Reforms[ edit ] A lesson at Smolny Institute school for girls, Anna Filosofova By the mid-nineteenth century, European notions of equality were starting to take hold in Russia.
Petersburg University allowed women to audit its courses, but the policy was revoked just four years later. In the s a feminist movement began to coalesce in St.
It was led by Anna FilosofovaNadezhda Stasovaand Mariia Trubnikovawho together were known as the "triumvirate. By the early s Russia boasted more female doctors, lawyers, and teachers than almost any country in Europe—a fact noted with admiration by many foreign visitors.
However, most of these educational benefits were being reaped by urban women from the middle and upper classes. While literacy rates were slowly spreading throughout the country, educational and other opportunities for peasant women were still relatively few.
The League made universal women's suffrage its primary goal, and under Shishkina-Iavein's leadership the women's suffrage movement gained a great deal of popular support, both in Russia and abroad.Beautiful Russian women looking for love.
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