The Russian Revolution from a Provincial Perspective
Since the fall of Communism in the Soviet Union the historiography of revolutionary Russia has developed a distinct provincial turn. The opening of Soviet central and provincial archives provided new research opportunities to historians. Numerous articles and volumes focusing on Russia’s provinces have since appeared on both sides of the former Soviet border, and the historiography of the Russian revolution matured with an accelerated speed to account for multiple local variables. The understanding of multiplicity of local experiences profoundly changed and challenged the historical interpretations of the crisis that played out in Russia from 1917 to 1921. The article discusses the variety of local revolutionary experiences as they are revealed in recent historiography, but also focuses on some larger themes and issues where this regional perspective provides new insights and affects the general understanding of the Russian revolution. In particular, it discusses the factors contributing to the disintegration and reconstruction of the state, including the patterns and meaning of power in a provincial context, mechanisms of popular mobilization in the civil-war period including in Russia’s non-Russian regions, as well as transition to peace.
This book on changing narratives of Russian history will trace cultural mythologies from the period when the Russian Empire was created, during the reign of Ivan IV (1547-1584), to its fall in 1905. The boundaries of our discussion are two seminal works: the Muscovite Book of Royal Degrees, produced between 1555 and 1564 in the Moscow metropolitans’ workshop, and the Course on Russian History (1904-1911), written by Vasilii Kliuchevskii, the most authoritative figure among Russian historians before the Bolshevik Revolution. Among the other authors whose views on Russian history have made major contributions in this area and founded schools are Vasilii Tatishchev, Nikolai Karamzin, and Sergei Solov’ev. We will also look at the narratives produced by foreign historians, some at the request of Russian institutions and others composed to give readers in their native lands a sense of Russian history.
This article analyzes grass-root politics in the Russian Civil War, challenging the traditional assumption that the Bolsheviks with their program of radical revolutionary change enjoyed greater popularity than their White adversaries. On the example of the Northern region, it demonstrates that the local «counter-revolutionary» government commanded considerable sympathies of the provincial population. This popularity was based on the government's ability to supply the population of this non-agricultural province with imported grain, to provide military protection and arms for self-defense. Ultimately, the article strives to explain the outcome of the Civil War not by conflicting ideologies and policies, but by practical circumstances and local factors that on a grass-root level conditioned changing political loyalties.
The chapter examines the origins of Jewish pogroms during the Civil War in Russia (1918-1921), shows the genetic connection between the "military pogroms" of the World War I and pogroms of the Civil War. Among other issues, the article analyzes the motive of a "shot in the back" as a pretext for pogroms.
This article considers the evolution of the Russian university system during the First World War. Most of the imperial period, until the end of 1916, thanks to the liberal policy of the Minister of People’s Education, Pavel Nikolayevič Ignat’ev, a reformist course was implemented (drafting of a new statute, increasing the autonomy of universities). Particularly important and promising was the expansion of universities’ network and opening of new universities in Rostov-on-Don, Perm, as well as the expansion of Saratov and Tomsk universities. In 1917 Ministers of Education of the Provisional Government (A. Manuilov, S. Oldenburg, S. Salazkin) also followed the Ignat’ev’s liberal course received support with the bottom-up initiatives (introduction of regular institution of associate professors, attracting of younger lecturers to the university management). Paradoxically, for the university system the result of crisis which lasted through the war period and the beginning of the revolution marked the democratization of management and the expansion of the students’ enrollment and the number of universities.
An analysis of the historical basis of Benya Krik (1926) film after I. Babel's script, directed by V. Vilner. More precisely, an analysis of how art transforms reality and then, in turn, forms our perceptions about historical reality. The film was quickly taken off the screen for 'poeticizing banditism'. The prototype for Benya Krik, the character of Babel's Oddesa Tales, is Mishka the Japanese. It was a nickname of Moisei Vinnitskiy - an Odessa raider and a commander of a Red Army unit, who was in the end killed in a Cheka operation.