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The Russian Empire History Podcast

The Russian Empire History Podcast

By JP Bristow
The history of all the peoples of the Russian Empire. Russian imperialism from its origins to the present day. New episode twice a month.

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Member Episode 3 - Cyril and Methodius
The story of how two brothers brought literacy to the Slavs. Read the episode blog post: Subscribe to listen to members episodes through Patreon, Apple Podcasts, or Anchor.
September 23, 2022
Episode 1.21 - Before the Rus Part II - Bulgars, Chuvash, Pechenegs, Magyars
Continuing our survey before the Rus with a look at the eastern part of the region. The Bulgars reach the central Volga, Magyars move south, Khazar power preventing new incursions from the steppe starts to crumble. Read the episode blog post: Support this podcast and get access to exclusive member episodes by subscribing through Patreon, Anchor, or Apple Podcasts.
August 28, 2022
Episode 1.20 - Before the Rus Part I
This episode begins a look across the region as it transitions from antiquity to the early medieval period.  Read the episode blog post: Support the podcast on Patreon or Anchor, or subscribe through Apple Podcasts for exclusive Member Episodes.
August 08, 2022
Member Episode 2 - Argimpasa to Zoroaster
This member episode looks at ancient steppe religions and their use in the post-Soviet search for new national identities. Scythian gods and Assianism, Zoroaster and Russian appropriation, Tengrism and nationalism in Tatarstan and Kyrgyzstan.  You can listen by joining The Russian Empire History Podcast Patreon, subscribing on Anchor for Spotify users, or in Apple Podcasts. Read the episode blog post:
July 23, 2022
Episode 1.19 - From Friends to Enemies
The Khazars began as Byzantium’s closest allies, sealed with the marriage of the khagan’s daughter to the emperor’s son. But one decision by the Khazars turned them into enemies. Read the episode blog post:
July 06, 2022
Special Episode 4 - The Russian Federation: Could It, Will It, Should It Break Up? - With Alexander Etkind
I’m joined in this episode by Russian historian Alexander Etkind, author of the 2013 book Internal Colonisation to discuss whether the Russian Federation actually could, or, indeed, should break up. Read the episode blog post here:
June 23, 2022
Episode 1.18 - Time to Settle Down, the Domestic Economy of Khazaria
The Khazar Khaganate was the first steppe empire in the west that had an economy capable of self-sufficiency. In this episode, we look at the development of agriculture by Slavs and steppe settlers in the black earth region of the forest-steppe belt, and other regional economies of Khazaria. Read the episode blog post at Join our Patreon at Spotify users subscribe on Anchor
June 10, 2022
Patreon Announcement
Get exclusive content and support the podcast by signing up with Patreon or an Anchor subscription. Find our Patreon here: Or subscribe through Anchor here:
June 02, 2022
Member Episode 1 - The Scourge of God
Subscribe to listen to this Member Episode on the Huns.
May 31, 2022
Episode 1.17 - The Rise of the Khazars and the Arab-Khazar Wars
With the collapse of the Western Turk Empire, a new Khaganate appears. Soon they will face the might of the expanding Caliphate. Read the episode blog post here:
May 27, 2022
Episode 1.16 - The Mysterious Slavs
In this episode, we look at the origin of the Slavs, something we know remarkably little about. What do linguistic reconstructions, archeology and the written sources tell us? Read the episode blogpost at
May 05, 2022
Episode 1.15 - The Finno-Ugrians
This episode introduces the Finno-Ugrians, the original inhabitants of the forests of Northeastern Europe, whose descendants continue to maintain a distinct culture in modern Russia. Read the blog post here:
April 11, 2022
Episode 1.14 - Bulgars of the Western Steppe
In this episode, we look at the origins of the Bulgars, claimed as ancestors by several peoples of the Russian Empire from the Volga Bulgars to the Gagauz in modern day Moldova, and also, through Bulgaria, the source of the Cyrillic alphabet. Read the episode blog post at:
March 28, 2022
Special Episode 3 - Putin’s Ukrainian Delusions - with Dr. Oleksa Drachewych
In this special episode, the podcast is joined by Oleksa Drachewych to discuss Putin’s claims regarding Ukrainian statehood and nationhood.  Episode blog post:
March 13, 2022
Special Episode 2 - From the Steppe to Your Table - with Robert N. Spengler
Dr. Robert N. Spengler is an archeobotanist specialising in the domestication of plants and how they were spread across Eurasia. He joins me today to discuss the role of the steppe in spreading many of the important foods, from grains to fruit and spices, that we all enjoy today.  You can learn much more about this subject in his award winning book Fruit from the Sands: The Silk Road Origins of the Foods We Eat, available in physical, ebook, and audio versions here: See the episode blogpost here:
February 12, 2022
Episode 1.13 - Children of the Wolf
Iranic dominance of the steppe is ending, a new force has arrived. In this episode we take a brief look at the origins of the Turkic peoples and the first Türk Qaganate ahead of a series of episodes on the Turkic migrations into the Western steppe that would lead to the Khazars and Volga Bulgaria. Read the show blog post here: https://therussianempirehistorypodcast/blog/episode-113-children-of-the-wolf 
February 05, 2022
Episode 1.12 - The Scythian Legacy
In this episode, we look at the impact of the Scythians in their time and in later Russian history. Read the show blog post here:
December 19, 2021
Episode 1.11 - Sarmatians and Saka
This episode rounds out our look at the Scythians with the Sarmatians, who displaced the Royal Scythians as the rulers of the Western steppe, and the Saka, the Scythians who stayed in the East.  Check out the episode blogpost at
November 30, 2021
Episode 1.10 - The First Steppe Empire
In this episode we return to the narrative with a look at the Scythian migration from Central Asia into the southern Russian and Ukrainian steppe, and the first empire created by a steppe people.  Episode blog post
November 13, 2021
Episode 1.09 - Steppe Warriors Part II - Wolf Packs and War Bands
In this episode we look at how a Bronze Age initiation ritual evolved into a cornerstone of steppe culture that drove the expansion and migration of nomadic peoples for centuries.
October 30, 2021
Special Episode 1 - The Peaceful East 200 - The Bellingshausen Expedition, the Discovery of Antarctica and the First Russians in New Zealand - with Sergey Permitin
This year is the 200th anniversary of the return to Russia of the Bellinghausen Expedition, which discovered the Antarctic continent and was the first Russian visit to New Zealand. In this episode, we discuss the expedition and its significance with special guest Sergey Permitin. Pictures by expedition artist Pavel Mikhailov in the collection of the Russian Museum: NZ Geographic articles on the first Russian visit to NZ: Peaceful East 200:
October 24, 2021
Episode 1.08 - Steppe Warriors Part I - Horse Archers
Horsebreeding, lifestyle, and innovations in weaponry came together to make steppe warriors an almost unstoppable force. In this episode, we look at weapons and equipment of the mounted archers of the steppe and what made them different from their sedentary neighbours. Intro from The History of Saqartvelo Georgia podcast - find them on all good podcast platforms. You can support this podcast by donations via PayPal to
October 09, 2021
Episode 1.07 Herodotus on the Scythians
Ancient Greek historian Herodotus wrote about the Scythians at length, but his writings have always been controversial. What did the Father of History have to say about the steppe warriors, and how reliable is it? You can support this show by donating via PayPal to
September 26, 2021
Episode 1.06 Into the Kurgans Part 3 - Rediscovering the Scythians
In this last part of our look at archeological discoveries in steppe kurgans, we look at how finds from Ukraine to Mongolia were put together to rediscover the Scythians. You can support this show by donating via PayPal to
September 11, 2021
Episode 1.05 The Bosporan Kingdom
This episode looks at the Greek colonies of the northern Black Sea coast, the Bosporan Kingdom, breadbasket of the Ancient Greek world and an important interface between the steppe and sedentary civilisations.
August 28, 2021
Episode 1.04 Into the Kurgans Part 2 - Sintashta
4000 years ago, another kurgan building culture developed - the ancestors of all the Iranic peoples appeared in the Southern Urals with a trade network from the Black Sea to the Pacific and innovations that would have an impact from China to Egypt. 
August 14, 2021
Episode 1.03 Into the Kurgans - Yamnaya
5000 years ago, nomadic steppe lifestyles began with the Yamnaya people, likely speakers of Proto-Indo-European, who left kurgan graves across the steppe, and whose descendants spread across half the world. Check out the REHP blog for a map of the Yamnaya homeland
July 31, 2021
Episode 1.02 The Urheimat
Beginning a look at the Bronze Age steppe and the origins of steppe cultures. What was Proto-Indo-European and why is it associated with the steppe?
July 17, 2021
Episode 1.01 The Plain and the Steppe
This episode introduces the geographical setting of Season 1, the East European Plain and the Great Steppe, its geography, climate, resources, and where some of the peoples that will play a key role in our story emerge. Check out the episode blog post for maps
July 11, 2021
This episode is a brief introduction to this podcast, its themes and plans.
July 10, 2021