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By Theodore R. Weeks

Across the progressive Divide: Russia and the USSR 1861-1945 deals a vast interpretive account of Russian historical past from the emancipation of the serfs to the tip of global struggle II.<ul type="disc">* offers a coherent review of Russia's improvement from 1861 via to 1945* displays the newest scholarship through taking a thematic method of Russian background and bridging the ‘revolutionary divide’ of 1917* Covers political, fiscal, cultural, and way of life matters in the course of a interval of significant adjustments in Russian historical past* Addresses through the variety of nationwide teams, cultures, and religions within the Russian Empire and USSR* indicates how the unconventional guidelines followed after 1917 either replaced Russia and perpetuated an monetary and political pressure that keeps to steer glossy society

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Additional resources for Across the Revolutionary Divide: Russia and the USSR, 1861-1945 (Blackwell History of Russia)

Sample text

But neither liberal society, on the whole, nor the industrial proletariat, nor the peasantry could firmly support the status quo. Stolypin had recognized this and pushed through a major reform aimed at creating a class of individual peasant landowners (see chapter 4, “Modernization,” pp. 127–8). Whether this reform could have fulfilled Stolypin’s hopes is impossible to gauge, as World War I intervened before the reform could make a broad impression on the Russian countryside. From 1912 major strikes broke out at the Lena goldfields in Siberia and in industrial cities throughout the empire.

Certainly this appeared to be the case in Russia in the 1860s. Following his brother Nicholas I’s repressive rule, Alexander II’s apparent liberalism gave rise to hopes for concessions and reforms that far exceeded anything the tsar would or could advocate. We have already seen the delicate balancing act that serf emancipation entailed in order at least partially to satisfy the demands of the liberal public, the landowners, and the peasantry. Similarly Alexander wanted to ease somewhat the extremely restrictive policies followed by Nicholas I toward Poles, but his desire to allow more free play for Polish language and culture (including the opening of a university in Warsaw) backfired in the November 1863 Polish insurrection against Russian rule.

On the countryside an entirely new institution was set up in 1864, called the zemstvo (pl. zemstva), a word that evoked the noble land assemblies of centuries earlier (zemlia is the Russian word for “land”). The zemstva were elected in rural districts as well as for the entire province. At both levels the nobility was over-represented, but this was probably inevitable given the greater literacy and wealth enjoyed by this privileged group. More important was the fact that peasants were represented in all zemstva where they voted on an equal basis with representatives of the landowning nobles and clergy.

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