Late Ottoman Empire vs. Russian Empire

Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire were two large power centers for several centuries, shaping geopolitical struggles in Europe and Asia and influencing global policies. Both these empires expanded their territories aggressively, and both were absolute monarchies that used similar social, economic, and military policies (Miller & Rieber, 2004). Moreover, both territories were ethnically diverse, which created challenges for rulers who were unable to manage different social expectations and interests (Gerasimov, Kusber, & Semyonov, 2009). Although the two empires had their distinctive features as well, these similarities vividly explain why both the Late Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire ended the same, unable to meet the increasing social, political, and territorial pressures.

Let me begin with describing numerous similarities between the two great empires that influenced the regional policies for hundreds of years. The most obvious similarity was that both states belonged to the so-called “old” style of imperialism, in contrast to the new imperialism that emerged in the 20th century. In other words, both empires used aggressive expansionist policies and ruled centrally, which was challenging given the vast amount of lands and nationalities living there (Gerasimov et al., 2009). Moreover, both empires seemed to be reluctant to move from their autocratic power structures, which is why they were criticized by more progressive western states of the 19th century. Due to their inability to adjust to the changing political patterns, these empires were considered somewhat backward for the time.

Both empires were ethnically diverse. Russia included many ethnicities, such as East Slavs, Balts, Fins, Poles, Romanians, Turks, etc., while its long-term rival Ottoman Empire united the Muslim Arabs and Turks with Christian Slavs, Hungarians, Romanians, Greeks, and others (Miller & Rieber, 2004). They both had some social problems, which mainly originated from rulers’ inability to meet the demands of the diverse population, as well as from discriminatory social policies. Thus, for example, both Russia and the Ottoman Empire discriminated Jews, while Russia also had serfs – peasant slaves who belonged to aristocratic families (Gerasimov et al., 2009). Although Russia eventually emancipated these people, there were still too many unaddressed social issues, such as illiteracy, poverty, unemployment, etc. The Ottoman Empire, in turn, discriminated non-Muslims, who had to pay special taxes, and was struggling to solve its own social tensions. Other similarities that should be mentioned include limited industrialization and the absence of modern military.

There were some minor differences between these two empires. For instance, the Ottoman Empire had more advanced naval forces, while Russian militaries were mainly trained to fight on the land (Gerasimov et al., 2009). Moreover, while the Late Ottoman Empire made gradual steps to liberalize, the Russian rulers failed to adequately assess their weak position both on the global and national levels. Despite these differences, both empires eventually lost their power and dissolved, spurring the development of separate independent territories and states.

To conclude, the Late Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire were similar in many aspects. They both were based on the obsolete autocratic rule, and both expanded aggressively to spread their influence. Both were ethnically diverse, which, along with discriminatory social policies, has resulted in significant social tension and conflicts. Both the Ottoman and Russian Empires were slow to industrialize and modernize their military sector, thus failing to compete in the regional power struggles. Although the empires differed in some minor aspects, they both ended up the same – unable to meet the changing economic and political demands, they gradually dissolved and gave way to independent states.



This compare and contrast essay examines similarities and differences between the Late Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire in their final stages of existence. Please note that this sample can be used for reference only. If you want to have a quality essay on any topic, place the order on and enjoy our excellent academic writing services. Experienced writers will complete any of your assignments timely and efficiently, so you won’t be disappointed.



Gerasimov, I., Kusber, J., & Semyonov, A. (2009). Empire speaks out: Languages of rationalization and self-description in the Russian Empire. Amsterdam: BRILL.

Miller, A. I., & Rieber, A. J. (2004). Imperial rule. Budapest: Central European University Press.

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