Old maps of Russian Empire and the Soviet Union

A map of Russia by Antonii Vid (1537)

A map of Russia by Antonii Vid 1537

“Russia cum Confinijs” (1595)

"Russia cum Confinijs" (1595)

Russian Empire in 1745 

Russian Empire in 1745

The population density of the Russian Empire (1893)

Population density of Russian Empire (1893)

Illustrated map of European Russia (1903)

Illustrated map of European Russia (1903)

Ethnographic map of European Russia

Ethnographic map of European Russia

Dialectic map of the Russian language

Dialectic map of the Russian language

Ethnic map of European Russia before the First World War

Ethnic map of European Russia before the First World War

Soviet Union pictorial zoogeographic map (1928)

Soviet Union pictorial zoogeographic map (1928)

The Growth of the Russian Bear (1941)

The Growth of the Russian Bear

Because the attention of the world is focused on the titanic conflict in Russia. The News takes the occasion to revise and reprint this шар which originally appeared here on March 17, 1940. The map traces the history of Russia from its humble beginning as a vassal Tartar state in the 15th Century to its apogee as a great empire this year just before the invasion by Hitler’s forces. While the nation’s story is replete with bloody conquests and annexations, there have been few and comparatively small territorial losses. Russia, as we know it today, stems from the principality of Moscow in the 15th Century (area colored red). The reign of Ivan the Great (1462-1505) marked the great turning point in its history. He freed Moscow from two centuries of domination by Tartars of the Golden Horde, made its power by conquering Novgorod, Tver, and YaraslovI, and cut a path to the Baltic by defeating the Liths and the Poles. He first assumed the title of Czar. His son, Basil III, unified Russia after grabbing Pskov in 1510, annexing Ryazan and taking Smolensk in 1514. The land became a mighty kingdom under Ivan IV, known as Ivan the Terrible. Absorbing the Cossacks, he conquered the Tartar provinces of Kazan (1552) and Astrakhan (1554), then pushed eastward into Siberia. The empire was extended to the Amur River, Sea of Okhotsk, and north to the Bering Sea in 1648. Alaska was added in 1741. Peter the Great opened “a window to Europe” by battling Sweden and acquiring the Baltic provinces in 1721. The partitions of Poland were achieved by ambitious Catherine II in the late 18th Century. Russia grabbed Finland in 1809, Bessarabia in 1812 and the Turkestan area in 1865-1875. Alaska was sold to the United States in 1867. From the Napoleonic era to the World War, Russia dominated the Baltic. Bessarabia, White Russia, conquered Polish lands, and Finland was lost after the last war. After an astounding pact with the Nazis just before the outbreak of the current World War, the Reds helped dismember Poland, then completed an expansion to the Baltic by swallowing Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. They invaded Finland and despite heroic Finnish resistance cut out some rich slices of land in the North and took over the strategic Karelian Isthmus. A grab from an impotent Romania netted Bessarabia for the Reds. Before Germany turned on its erstwhile partner this year Soviet Russia was the largest country in the world, with a population of 180,000,000 and a land area of 8,100,000 square miles.

Map of the railways of the USSR (1960)

Map of the railways of the USSR (1960)

The growth of Russian Imperialism (1961)

The growth of Russian Imperialism (1961)

The man who runs the Soviet Union, bristling with a great show of righteous indignation. have been, for some years now. accusing the Western powers of practicing “imperialism” and “colonialism” and of taking unfair economic and political advantage of the smaller, weaker, undeveloped countries of the world.

True, this has often been the case since the latter years of the 19th Century, but it has definitely gone out of fashion in the West since World War II. One has only to survey the shrinking boundaries of the once sprawling British Empire upon which, it was boasted, the sun never set. Now. it’s scarcely a shadow of its former glory France, too. has lost or given up much territory. So, to a lesser extent, have the Netherlands and Belgium. The United States, never really a colonial power, acted, too, giving the Philippines their independence in 1946.

But for the Kremlin to shout “imperialism!” is bitter irony, blatant hypocrisy and – among too many gullible nationalistic fledglings-very effective propaganda. These maps tell why.

The expanse of territory directly or indirectly under the hammer and sickle is enormous. Before World War II. Russia’s square mileage was little more than eight million, now Communism overshadows almost 12 million square miles. The population under its thumb shows an even more spectacular jump: in 1939 Russia counted some 170,000,000 noses; now Communism claims the souls of close to one billion people, about a third of the world’s population.

And still, the Kremlin keeps the pressure on though its force rises and falls as political considerations dictate. One has only to read the daily headlines about Laos, Berlin and Castro’s Cuba, to name the three sorest points. Then there is Southeast Asia. Latin America and the newly independent nations bubbling up in Africa, which are all, in a general – but calculated – way. being’made increasingly aware that Soviet Russia and Red China are around and waiting, if not actively pushing their way in. Even the administration of the United Nations itself has been under Soviet fire. Mr. Khrushchev. it appears, would like to hamstring the control of that august body to serve Ills own ends.

Soviet global power projection

Soviet global power projection
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