Otl, since the fall of the Kievan Rus, the territory that might otherwise be a sort of rusland has never really united. Sweden and Poland jockeying for influence over the region never helped.

Your goal is to make a major power out of the region.
 

krieger

Banned
Otl, since the fall of the Kievan Rus, the territory that might otherwise be a sort of rusland has never really united. Sweden and Poland jockeying for influence over the region never helped.

Your goal is to make a major power out of the region.

Maybe if, Oleg, Viking warlord who allegedly ruled Novogorod in IXth century didn't fail against Khazars, it'd be possible? He had a fairly strong grip, had he managed to unite Novogorod and Kiev under one ruler, the state could be fairly strong. IOTL, Novogorod and Kiev went separate ways until being briefly united by Bolesław I the Conqueror of Poland, who forced Khazars out of Kiev killing all Jews being there (prior to Bolesław's sack it had significant Jewish population), and then Novogorod who had a set of elective princes in between, elected Bolesław as their ruler and promised him military aid, which they fulfilled (at least until his death), Novogorodian troops were also present in many other military campaigns of Bolesław - famously in his subjugation of Hungary, which he gave to his firstborn son, Bezprym as a fief after death of all Vazul's sons which he promised to avenge and then in his most famous campaing - in his last will childless Otto III named Bolesław his adoptive son and succesor to emperorship citing various Roman emperors (including Augustus, Claudius or Five Good Emperors) as a precedent, as a last of his lavish gifts given to Bolesław - he gave him whole inheritance of Ekkehard of Meissen, he recognized him as a reigning duke of Bohemia and than, after Bolesław's conquests in south and the east, he wished Bolesław to succeed him as a emperor as wielder of strongest military might in Christendom. It wasn't recognized by neither Pope nor German nobles, who flocked to banner of Otto's cousin, duke Henry of Bavaria and elected him as a emperor, forging alliance with pagan Veleti. However, Bolesław amassed a large army and firstly went into the Germany, where he defeated combined Veleti-German army in series of skirmishes, ended ultimately in second battle of Lechfeld and Henry being slain in battle. Than Bolesław crossed the Alps and with little resistance from Italian lord, he went to Rome when he deposed Pope, replacing him with more gullible succesor, who had him crowned emperor Bolesław I. During his coronation, Bolesław gave crowns of Germany and Italy to his long-time allies - Ernst of Swabia became king Ernst I of Germany and than paid homage to Bolesław and Arduin the Younger, son of Arduin, king of Italy succeeded his father, establishing long-time Anscarid line of king of Italy while also paying homage to Bolesław. Bolesław died a year later, and his empire went into succesion wars between his sons, but Kiev and Novogorod were meant to never unite again. Kiev was retained by line of Otto Bolesławowic, youngest son of Bolesław the Conqueror who was awarded with Kievan princedom by father, and Novogorod returned to it's elective tradition, becoming effectively playground for Kievan Piasts and Swedes - one time it elected one of Kievan Piasts and than it elected Swedish candidate. Sometimes this tradition was interrupted by Novogorodians electing native candidate.
 
Otl, since the fall of the Kievan Rus, the territory that might otherwise be a sort of rusland has never really united. Sweden and Poland jockeying for influence over the region never helped.

Your goal is to make a major power out of the region.
What do you mean by “never united”? Here is Kievan Rus at its greatest extent. Except for the principalities of Volynia and Halych all these territories, were within Russian Empire by the late XVIII and the ... er .... missing parts had been annexed by the SU in the 1939. You really have to be more specific about the time frame. 😛
1591716489610.jpeg

If you do not insist upon the full inclusion of all “lost parts” as a criteria for being a major (as in “main”) regional power, probably 1709 is a suitable OTL date but but if “major” is just stands for “significant” (and never losing that status) , than it is mid-XVII or, if we ignore a temporary lapse (ToT), even mid-XVI.

If you want something f the kind much earlier, there are at least there main options:
(a) The Mongols are not invading Europe and there is an earlier unification of the Russian principalities under the Great Princedom of Vladimir. Whe; and how this consolidation could happen is anybody’s guess and it requires elimination of a ...er... major historic factor and fundamental changes at least in the history of Asia.
(b) The Russian principalities are united under the Golden Horde with the Mongolian rulers adopting Orthodox Christianity (instead of Islam) for themselves and their nomadic subjects. The Rurikid wives would be useful. Status of the major (in all relevant meanings) power is achieved in the XIII century. Could happen because in the XIII Christianity was quite popular in Asia and Batu’s successor was a Christian (and the most prominent Russian prince of that period was his personal friend and a willin* collaborator with the Mongols).
(c) Vitold is successful in making the GH its vassal with the transfer of the sovereignty over the Russian lands to him and is succeeded by his grandson (who happened to be the Great Prince of Moscow). The resulting monstrosity includes all pieces on the map and by a sheer weight of the numbers is much more Russian than Lithuanian. The major (but not necessarily the “top” one) regional power in XV century.
 
The Rus has been attacked multiple times from the east - Kipchacks, Cumans, Mongols, Tartars and so on.

At the very least, the Rus need some breathing space.
 
What do you mean by “never united”? Here is Kievan Rus at its greatest extent. Except for the principalities of Volynia and Halych all these territories, were within Russian Empire by the late XVIII and the ... er .... missing parts had been annexed by the SU in the 1939. You really have to be more specific about the time frame. 😛
View attachment 555611
If you do not insist upon the full inclusion of all “lost parts” as a criteria for being a major (as in “main”) regional power, probably 1709 is a suitable OTL date but but if “major” is just stands for “significant” (and never losing that status) , than it is mid-XVII or, if we ignore a temporary lapse (ToT), even mid-XVI.

If you want something f the kind much earlier, there are at least there main options:
(a) The Mongols are not invading Europe and there is an earlier unification of the Russian principalities under the Great Princedom of Vladimir. Whe; and how this consolidation could happen is anybody’s guess and it requires elimination of a ...er... major historic factor and fundamental changes at least in the history of Asia.
(b) The Russian principalities are united under the Golden Horde with the Mongolian rulers adopting Orthodox Christianity (instead of Islam) for themselves and their nomadic subjects. The Rurikid wives would be useful. Status of the major (in all relevant meanings) power is achieved in the XIII century. Could happen because in the XIII Christianity was quite popular in Asia and Batu’s successor was a Christian (and the most prominent Russian prince of that period was his personal friend and a willin* collaborator with the Mongols).
(c) Vitold is successful in making the GH its vassal with the transfer of the sovereignty over the Russian lands to him and is succeeded by his grandson (who happened to be the Great Prince of Moscow). The resulting monstrosity includes all pieces on the map and by a sheer weight of the numbers is much more Russian than Lithuanian. The major (but not necessarily the “top” one) regional power in XV century.
(Ooc this is a double blind, i.e asking what if something that did happen otl didn't. For instance, we ask what if russia didnt unite, but in some other world they ask 'what if the rus did unite?"
 
(Ooc this is a double blind, i.e asking what if something that did happen otl didn't. For instance, we ask what if russia didnt unite, but in some other world they ask 'what if the rus did unite?"
Oops, did not pay attention to DBAHC of the OP. But the proposed scenarios remain the same unless you want one of the ITL.
 
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Perhaps a united Rus could be a competitor for China in steppe colonization? Today the Ming Dynasty reaches up to the Urals as it gradually advanced north and west, absorbing more and more Khanates after its defeat of the Manchu. Maybe there would be a Russo-Chinese war for steppe domination?
 
Perhaps a united Rus could be a competitor for China in steppe colonization? Today the Ming Dynasty reaches up to the Urals as it gradually advanced north and west, absorbing more and more Khanates after its defeat of the Manchu. Maybe there would be a Russo-Chinese war for steppe domination?
Possible but unlikely: look at the map. Even completely united Kievan Rus (fat chance) would have incomparably smaller population than China and, with most of the nomads East of the Ural being subdued and used by China, what would be the Russian military edge to face China on even comparable conditions? Besides, wouldn’t it still be in a never-ending quarrel with the Kingdom of Lithuania over the Baltic coast?

Ural can be something of a “natural border” for China because of a pure logistics and because there is pretty much nothing of value to the West of these mountains. Going down South to Azerbaijan and then to Persia makes more sense geopolitically: plenty of oil (are we already aware of the internal combustion engine? 😂) and the naval bases on the Indian Ocean seemingly are everybody’s wet dream (even the landlocked Switzerland wants to have a warm water port because if you don’t have one nobody respects you) and such a conquest produces a nice encirclement of the British India with a possibility of invasion from the West, North and East.
 
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Perhaps a united Rus could be a competitor for China in steppe colonization? Today the Ming Dynasty reaches up to the Urals as it gradually advanced north and west, absorbing more and more Khanates after its defeat of the Manchu. Maybe there would be a Russo-Chinese war for steppe domination?
I think they would have to go east to compete pre-industrialization. The hordes would be too severe otherwise pre-industrial society

Possible but unlikely: look at the map. Even completely united Kievan Rus (fat chance) would have incomparably smaller population than China and, with most of the nomads East of the Ural being subdued and used by China, what would be the Russian military edge to face China on even comparable conditions? Besides, wouldn’t it still be in a never-ending quarrel with the Kingdom of Lithuania over the Baltic coast?
I mean that depends. The Ming Restoration after the 50 years of Manchu rule showed that China needed reform, but before that they weren't interested in looking outward or honing gunpowder weapons. And their competition with Lithuania and Sweden wouldn't eat all their attention all the time.
 
Ural can be something of a “natural border” for China because of a pure logistics and because there is pretty much nothing of value to the West of these mountains. Going down South to Azerbaijan and then to Persia makes more sense geopolitically: plenty of oil (are we already aware of the internal combustion engine? 😂) and the naval bases on the Indian Ocean seemingly are everybody’s wet dream (even the landlocked Switzerland wants to have a warm water port because if you don’t have one nobody respects you) and such a conquest produces a nice encirclement of the British India with a possibility of invasion from the West, North and East.
China certainly isn't going to go west of the Urals when they have their ever present quarrels with the Persians (though I personally don't subscribe to the theory that Hui Muslim and Kaifeng Jewish animus to the Safavids is the driving force in China's Middle East foreign policy).
 
China certainly isn't going to go west of the Urals when they have their ever present quarrels with the Persians (though I personally don't subscribe to the theory that Hui Muslim and Kaifeng Jewish animus to the Safavids is the driving force in China's Middle East foreign policy).
I really wish that the OP somehow defined a time frame (it seems that the fact that we are supposing to talk about pre-1900 period is happily ignored but still a time frame of XII - XX centuries is too big).
 
I really wish that the OP somehow defined a time frame (it seems that the fact that we are supposing to talk about pre-1900 period is happily ignored but still a time frame of XII - XX centuries is too big).
How about after the fall of the Mongol Empire in the 1300s to the 1700s?

edit: changed timeframe
 
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How about after the fall of the Mongol Empire in the 1300s to the 1700s?

edit: changed timeframe
Thanks.

1. This time frame eliminates “no Mongols” scenario and makes “Russian Horde” scenario unlikely unless you slightly move you time frame and make Oz Beg to be sent to exile in Russia instead of Khwaresm and to convert to Orthodoxy instead of Islam. As a result, when he becomes a khan of the GH in 1313 he forces conversion of his subjects into Othodoxy opening the door for the future merge of the GH and the Russian principalities. Map below shows his domain.
1591758714650.png

2. Russian-Lithuanian option is still on the table subject to the early death of Edigu and arranged demise of few Vitold’s male relatives.

3. You still have the OTL option but to accelerate things you may add a twist: after the fall of Constantinople Vasily II of Moscow or his son Ivan III decide to get close to the Rome: there should be some carrot improving prestige of the Russian Church (could the Pope create a subordinate Patriarch?) and the Pope definitely could officially acknowledge the royal title of the ruler of Moscow (in the communications the “West” was addressing him as “Grand Duke”). Closer contact with the Western Europe would allow to avoid the OTL isolationism with a resulting backwardness. By the end of his reign Ivan III controlled a considerable territory but the Russian warfare was too “Easternized” (even if they possessed a considerable amounts of the firearms) and shifting to the wrong direction to be truly competitive with the West.
1591759758384.png


4. The next option - Ivan IV. Preferably with #3 but even without it but (a) Ivan is not OTL paranoid maniac and (b) he continues “westernization” of his army which he did start by having few thousands “German” troops and forming the regular infantry troops with the firearms. In OTL he ended up with a predominantly “Eastern” way making stress upon the extensive usage of the Tatars and feudal militia. Change this to the continuation of the Western trend in the military system, remove his genocidal domestic policies, etc. and Tsardom May end up being victorious in the Livonian War and avoid the ToT.
1591760174971.jpeg

5. 1630s - 50s - a little bit more energetically pursues reforms so that by the start of war with the PLC Tsardom has a much more new model (western style) troops than in OTL and more competent commanders ( abolishing of mestnichestvo, which happened during the reign of Feodor III could be done by his father, Alexei). Plus, a little bit less naive foreign policy (reliance upon a preliminary agreement instead of a ratified treaty ending the war was not a good idea when you are planning to start one more war) and there would be a realistic chance to get access to the Baltic coast. However, even without this, Tsardom is already a major regional power and got a sizable expansion on the Western border (map below) plus it keeps expanding Eastward.
1591761404670.jpeg

6. I intentionally skipping no-Peter scenario(s). But a competent Peter could achieve at least the same results faster and with a much lesser effort just by making his army prepared for war before starting one. His Azov campaigns demonstrated a lot of issues: 2 campaigns with overwhelming numeric advantages failed to take a not too impressive Ottoman fortress by storm and a “regular siege” and it had to be starved out. Which means that your soldiers are not well trained, your artillery is grossly inadequate and your military engineers are incompetent. And yet you are marching to siege a Swedish fortress with the artillery that can’t break the walls, inadequate supply of a gunpowder and seemingly knowing nothing about Vauban’s “parallels” and a modern art of a siege craft. Plus, during the siege your defensive perimeter is designed pathetically and simply can’t be defended against any marginally competent attack (it is too long for the number of troops that you have) and for the most of your troops it is a death trap because it is on a wrong side of a river and the only bridges are on one end. And after that it took Peter 9 years and huge losses to train his troops to a level allowing them to win a field battle with the odds 3:1 in their favor (in artillery 20:1). All this with the military expenses consuming up to 90% of the budget and overall loss of the population (thanks to the countless “reforms”) between 20 and 25%. Have someone with the better brains and less of the idiotic “energy” and the GNW could be won faster. Well, anyway, by the end of the whole exercise you have Russian Empire as a recognized major regional power (with no money, corrupt government, no idea what to do with its fleet, still up to 80% of a budget consumed by the ill-organized army which requires major reforms). With Peter’s love to the innovations, let him adopt a socket bayonet instead of plugged one by 1700 ( 3 years ahead of the French and well ahead of the Swedes who, IIRC, still had the pikemen at Poltava) and adopt an effective offensive tactics instead of a defensive one. After all, the bayonet charge became something of a trademark of the Russian infantry in the late XVIII and there was nothing too complicated in that idea. Teach your cavalry to attack in a full gallop as your main opponent does instead of using it as a mounted infantry. Choosing a less inappropriate uniforms also would be helpful on more than one acco7nt and also would not require a genius. And use the 6 pounders instead of 3 pounders even if this means reduction of the number of artillery pieces. According to the Russian & Soviet historians he was such a freaking genius so why would he demonstrate this genius by not being moronic? 😪


Is this your cut off point or should we continue with the further options? 😜
 
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Thanks.

1. This time frame eliminates “no Mongols” scenario and makes “Russian Horde” scenario unlikely unless you slightly move you time frame and make Oz Beg to be sent to exile in Russia instead of Khwaresm and to convert to Orthodoxy instead of Islam. As a result, when he becomes a khan of the GH in 1313 he forces conversion of his subjects into Othodoxy opening the door for the future merge of the GH and the Russian principalities. Map below shows his domain.
View attachment 555751
Let's see, how do you think #1 would develop over the centuries? I imagine this one would have the greatest 'eastward push,' and rival the ottomans sooner due to being pulled toward the black sea, which the turks have always been very interested in maintaining
 
China certainly isn't going to go west of the Urals when they have their ever present quarrels with the Persians (though I personally don't subscribe to the theory that Hui Muslim and Kaifeng Jewish animus to the Safavids is the driving force in China's Middle East foreign policy).
Well, frankly only China's rivalry with the Safavids could get the Ming Emperor to prop up the regicidal Turkish Republic to Iran's west. Hell, when push comes to shove they prefer the Raj to the Safavids- at least the Raj doesn't fund Islamic terror within China's borders.
 
Let's see, how do you think #1 would develop over the centuries? I imagine this one would have the greatest 'eastward push,' and rival the ottomans sooner due to being pulled toward the black sea, which the turks have always been very interested in maintaining
OK. So we have the GH ruled by Orthodox Christian Oz Beg who forces conversion of most of his nomadic subjects and exercises a greater than in OTL control over his Russian subjects paving the way to the OTL-style consolidation (actually, muche easier because while authority of the upstarts from Moscow could be and was questioned more than once, Khan's authority is unquestionable and so is his military power) . The GH is still an international power. In OTL Oz Beg was actively engaged in the wars against Ilkhanate (not too successful) and on the West: "engaged in wars with Bulgaria and the Byzantine Empire from 1320 to 1332. He repeatedly raided Thrace, partly in service of Bulgaria's war against both Byzantium and Serbia that began in 1319. His armies pillaged Thrace for 40 days in 1324 and for 15 days in 1337, taking 300,000 captives.... In the south-east of the Kingdom of Hungary, Wallachia and its ruler Basarab I became an independent power with the support of Öz Beg after 1324. " On the South "Öz Beg allowed Genoese merchants and mariners, who had been harassed by Tokhta, to settle in Crimea. " and "In 1332 he had allowed the Venetians to establish a colony at Tanais on the Don. " He was friendly with the Pope and exchanged letters and gifts. The Lands of Ukraine are still within his state and not being lost to Lithuania and on the Far East he is in the active diplomatic exchange with the Yuan dynasty.

So you have a major and powerful state with a serious international involvement and recognition instead of the post-Mongolian Russian state which happened approximately century later, was much smaller and had been internationally considered something of a weak upstart ruled by a Great Duke.

The country is much bigger and richer (the GH was controlling the major trade routes) and much more powerful militarily. Another important factor is the much lesser influence of the Orthodox Church: in OTL it was a driving "ideological" force behind fight for the independence and in this TL it is just a religion and not in a position to enforce "us vs. them" attitude toward the Catholics. Which means that the self-inflicted isolation from the West can be avoided while relations with the East are much more extensive (in OTL it was practically "screened" by the GH and its successor states until their fall).

Center of the new state is on the Lower Volga, aka, right on the important trade routes. In OTL the New Sarai attracted merchants from European, Asian and Islamic countries as well as Middle East and one of the reason for the anachronistic term "The Golden Horde" was its wealth. Most probably, the term was introduced by the Italians because in the Mongolian color schema it did not make sense: gold was for the Great Khan only and Ulus Jochi (official Mongolian name) was a combination of the White and Blue Hordes and sometimes referenced as Kipchak Horde).

How things would develop from this point on we can only guess. The state may remain more "Asiatic" but OTOH, even in OTL the GH went to the phase of the semi-sedentary state with the numerous important cities by the time Timur destroyed it. Combining this trend with a growing sedentary population of the former Russian part, we can probably guess that the sedentary trend wins and due to the better links to the rest of Europe does not have the technological gap as big as the Russian state did by the XVI century. Balance between the nomadic and "European" style of a warfare is a tricky thing so IMO for a while the Mongolian warfare would be dominating but it was going to be backed by the growing "European" component even if just by the reasons of expediency (the big numbers of a cavalry could not be permanently held on the Western borders).

A big problem would be to avoid destruction by Timur but even with him being in the picture destruction of the Volga area (caused to a great degree by Totkhamish' attacks on Timur's domain) would not be as critical for the alt-Rus as it was for the GH even if it could result in a westward shift of the gravity center. The balance between dog and its tail ( ;) ) changes but you still have a very big dog.

Another important factor is an absence of the threat from the nomadic neighbors: the Crimea is a part of the state and so is the GH. This, BTW, may be also a factor in the military development: in OTL the main enemy of the Russian state all the way to the time of Ivan IV were the nomadic raiders and the warfare was developed along the lines of addressing this problem but now this factor is gone and the enemy is mostly on the West (in a long term) and the system could be adjusted accordingly.

Eastern expansion starts earlier and we can speculate if the losses in the CA to Timur would be lost "forever" or could be returned reasonably fast after his state crumbles. Probably, if everything else goes without the major crisis, there are no territorial losses to Lithuania and the Baltic coast access is retained. Not sure how useful would it be because Novgorod was not actively engaged in a naval trade and Hanseatic League eventually declined. But this is still a relatively remote future. Ditto for the Ottomans and the Crimea: unlike the OTL the Ottomans would have to deal with a powerful state (with a better logistic) instead of the small khanate. Would the alt-Russia/Horde be able and willing to prevent the fall of the Byzantine Empire is an open question but the fall would be definitely a hit to the existing trade forcing to re-arrange it. However, without the OTL isolationist attitude, this could be easier.
 

samcster94

Banned
I think it'd be easily doable. You'd need some authoritarian leaders, but ones who were capable at governing this massive empire. Have Muscovy be the core of this state.
 
I think it'd be easily doable. You'd need some authoritarian leaders, but ones who were capable at governing this massive empire. Have Muscovy be the core of this state.
It is not as easy as it looks. There were plenty of the authoritarian leaders with many of them being quite capable individuals but results were what they were in OTL while some impressive things had been accomplished during the reigns of the rules seemingly weak and not too competent so it should be obvious that the problem was going well beyond the leader’s personality. The leader is not governing a “massive empire” singlehandedly, there is a need of the numerous civilian and military subordinates all of which has to be compensated for performing their duties. And in this area the Muscovite state/Tsardom/Empire had huge problem.

To start with, the term “massive empire” can be applied to the Russian state only starting from the mid-XVI when it absorbed the post-GH khanates on Volga. Prior to this it’s territory was probably smaller than one of Lithuania and, IIRC, by the start of the ToT Tsardom had a smaller population than the TLC. Even with the 15 years of the ToT and the following few decades of the recuperation by mid-XVII the Tsardom was a major regional power (as stipulated by OP) and, with a lot of both competence and incompetence in between it became one of the European major powers by mid-XVIII (somehow most of the disasters were associated with the strong authoritarian rulers, most of whom definitely knew how to “govern“ even if their methods we may now question). However, even as one of the leading European Russian Empire suffered from a number of the structural problems origins of which can be traced to the conditions under which the state was created and which could be seriously different under alternative scenario.

In OTL the consolidated Muscovite state (rule of Ivan III) was a reasonably small underpopulated entity, quite poor, pretty much isolated, lacking the natural resources, technologically backward and surrounded by the enemies most active of which had been the GH (formally, Russian sovereign) on its Eastern borders. To defend itself the new state had to maintain a high degree of a military readiness but it did not have money to pay for the standing army. The most logical (at that time) solution was to have a reasonably regulated feudal militia: the nobles granted the land with the peasants on a condition of the military service to which they would have to come mounted and with the prescribed numbers of the armed followers (equipment also had been regulated). These troops had been augmented by the state-owned artillery and later by the contingents of the Tatars on the Muscovite service. On this initial stage the peasants had been loosely tied to the land (with a right to move elsewhere) and not had been the landowner’s property. But with a passage of time and continuously increasing number of the enemies need of the military service kept growing and with the increasing time spent in the military service the nobles could spend less time managing their estates and there was a growing need to have peasants to be linked stronger to the estate. The 1st step was abolishing of the right to leave the estate (late XVI) and starting from the reign of Peter I the peasants had been viewed as a property and the process had been officially finalized by Catherine II as a way to provide nobility’s support for her (completely illegitimate) regime. The underlying problem was pretty much the same: the nobility was still providing a majority of the military and civic commanding cadres and the government still did not have money to pay them adequate salaries.

And serfdom equal to slavery slowed down Russian economic development for many decades. Personal abilities of a ruler meant little because even he “strong figure” like Nicholas I while recognizing the problems caused by a continued serfdom was afraid to abolish it and the task was accomplished by a rather weak individual, Alexander II. Similarly, the strong authoritarian ruler, Ivan IV, did not dare to abolish institute of “mestnichestvo” (appointments by pedigree) even if he suffered from its consequences, and the task was accomplished by a sickly weak Feodor III.

Now, the “Mongolian scenario” could at least provide a way out of this situation. First, consolidation happens around the rich and powerful state with the military system not based on the OTL Russian model. The need of the Russian troops still exists but the Russian nobility is not critical and can be compensated differently, along the same lines as the Tatars (loot and money). Even if they are getting land with the peasants there is no need for the state to go all the way to the de facto slavery (did not happen on the GH lands except for the POWs). And this eliminates one of the main obstacles to the earlier industrial development.
 
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