The Crimean War as a Test of Russia’s Imperial Durability
The article constitutes a part of author’s studies on regions and mental geography of the Russian empire. The military actions within own territory normally produce a dramatic and long impact on the spatial imaginations. The Crimean war with its center in newly incorporated New Russia has helped to include this region to the mental maps as the Russian space. The article shows the new symbolic geography formation. It also analyses the efforts of propaganda aimed at maintaining the imperial durability. A special attention is paid to the state militia. The citizen soldiers – nobles and law classes representatives – had the unique opportunity to visit a number of regions. For the inhabitants of Central Russia the border with Little Russia was essential. The perception of Jews has demonstrated xenophobia long before pogroms. Although the authorities had enough reasons to be afraid of separatism, the final conclusion was that the imperial construction is rather healthy. As a result of such a conclusion an elaboration of this construction hasn’t become a part of common program of reforms in Russia. The author used unpublished documents, in particular those preserved in Kiev. The publication in well-known American journal with world-wide distribution has made the article accessible for many readers.
“Empire Speaks Out” is a result of the collaborative international research project whose participants aim to reconstruct the origin, development, and changing modes of self-description and representation of the heterogeneous political, social, and cultural space of the Russian Empire. The collection offers an alternative to the study of empire as an essentialized historical phenomenon, i.e. to those studies that construe empire retrospectively by projecting the categories of modern nation-centered social sciences onto the imperial past. It stresses dynamic transformations, adaptation, and reproduction of imperial patterns of sociability and governance. Chapters of the collection show how languages of rationalization derived from modern public politics, scientific discourses of applied knowledge (law, sociology, political economy, geography, ethnography, physical anthropology) and social self-organization influenced processes of transformation of the imperial space.
This article describes the results of sociological research on estimation of condition and development prospects of federalism in Russia, which was conducted by ZIRCON Research Group in January - May 2011. The opinion of population and elite groups of four regions about the foundations of Russian federalism development, administrative-territorial system of the Russian Federation and its principles, relations between subjects-regions and federative centre is presented. The results of the research indicate that at the moment a request for political and administrative autonomy of the subjects of the Federation is not obviously formulated by either citizens or regional elite groups. Regional identity is not a common phenomenon. The authors mark out necessary factors of federalism development: expansion of economic self-dependence of regions, existence of ethno-national or regional identity of citizens, democratization and decentralization.
Article devoted to analysis the role and significance of Tatar-born Russian officials in gathering information about state and law of the Central Asian khanates – Bukhara, Khiva, Khoqand in the 18th-19th cc. on the examples of M.Bekchurin, M.Aitov and I.Batyrshin. All of them served as officials of the Orenburg Frontier Commission, two of them were diplomats in Bukhara and Khiva, last one contacted with informers from abovementioned khanates. The common feature for them was that they were Turks and Moslems. Firstly that fact provided Central Asian population’s sympathies to them (including favor of representatives of the ruling elites of the khanates) and gave an opportunity to gather more useful information. Secondly, as representatives of the Turkic-Islamic culture they could better understand and estimate the level of political and legal development of the Central Asian khanates and prepare impartial reports for their chiefs. Also it’s necessary to notice that their affiliation with Turkic-Islamic world didn’t influence on quality of fulfillment of missions by such officials: they tried all ways to contribute to realization of the Russian policy in the Central Asia and advance of the Russian Empire in this region.
The chapter examines Russian Jews’ participation in Russian political parties as a consequence of their integration into Russian society, and the role of the Jews in various political parties in late XIX – early XX centuries, from social-democrats to cadets.
This volume brings together twenty four articles by eminent historians from around Europe, presented in form of papers at the international conference on the Crimean War (1853-1856) held in Warsaw in 2007.