Revolutionary Russia, 1891-1991: A Pelican Introduction

Revolutionary Russia, 1891-1991: A Pelican Introduction

Orlando Figes

Language: English

Pages: 0

ISBN: 0141043679

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


What caused the russian revolution?did it succeed or fail?do we still live with its consequences?orlando figes teaches history at birkbeck, university of london and is the author of many acclaimed books on russian history, including a people's tragedy, which the times literary supplement named as one of the '100 most influential books since the war', natasha's dance, the whisperers, crimea and just send me word. The financial times called him 'the greatest storyteller of modern russian historians. '

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August) was a purely consultative one (what Mirsky had proposed) elected on a limited franchise to ensure the domination of the aristocracy. The Bulygin Duma (parliament) was too little too late: six months earlier it would have been welcomed, and might have enabled the government to regain the political initiative. But now all but the most moderate reformers found it unsatisfactory. Less than 1 per cent of St Petersburg’s adult residents would qualify for the vote, while in many provincial

bequeathed his property to his eldest son or sold it altogether? The rest of the family would be turned into paupers. Or if the richest peasants bought up all the land? Entire families would be unable to support themselves. There was also a widespread fear that the government surveyors, who had been instructed to encourage the enclosures, would reward the separators with more than their fair share of the best land. And indeed the peasants had real cause to wonder just how the old patchwork of

served to distribute the burden of their poverty, and as long as they were poor there would be little incentive for them to leave it. For better or worse, the commune’s egalitarian customs had come to embody the peasantry’s basic notions of social justice and, as 1917 would prove, these were ideals for which they would fight long and hard. As long as they were threatened by a peasant revolution on the land, the nobility supported Stolypin. But once they thought that threat had passed, they

government. The zemstvos expanded their activities to revive the rural economy. Doctors, teachers and engineers formed professional bodies and began to demand more influence over public policy. In the press and periodicals, in universities and learned societies, there were heated debates on the causes of the crisis in which Marx’s ideas of capitalist development were generally accepted as the most convincing explanation of the peasantry’s impoverishment. The global market system was dividing

Russian; knowing the language was a requirement for almost any job where higher education was called for. Russian books and films, Russian music and folk dance, Russian history, Russian food and drink were held up as superior to anything these Europeans could produce. Pride in the military victory of 1945 had given rise to a type of cultural imperialism. The Soviet Union (for which read Russia) portrayed itself as the saviour of Europe and the world. In a speech on Revolution Day in 1946,

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