Russia in the Nineteenth Century: Autocracy, Reform, and Social Change, 1814-1914

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M.E. Sharpe, 2005 - 286 pages
This is a comprehensive interpretive history of Russia from the defeat of Napoleon to the eve of World War I. It is the first such work by a post-Soviet Russian scholar to appear in English. Drawing on the latest Russian and Western historical scholarship, Alexander Polunov examines the decay of the two central institutions of tsarist Russia: serfdom and autocracy. Polunov explains how the major social groups - the gentry, merchants, petty townspeople, peasants, and ethnic minorities - reacted to the Great Reforms, and why, despite the emergence of a civil society and capitalist institutions, a reformist, evolutionary path did not become an alternative to the Revolution of 1917. He provides detailed portraits of many tsarist bureaucrats and political reformers, complete with quotations from their writings, to explain how the principle of autocracy, although significantly weakened by the Great Reforms in mid-century, reasserted itself under the last two emperors. Polunov stresses the relevance, for Russians in the post-Soviet period, of issues that remained unresolved in the pre-Revolutionary period, such as the question of private property in land and the relationship between state regulation and private initiative in the economy.
 

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Contents

Introduction
3
On the Path to Reform
27
A Time of External Slavery and Internal Freedom
49
A Colossus with Feet of Clay
67
The End of Serfdom
85
The Great Reforms Sources and Consequences
108
Russias Economy and Finances after the Emancipation of the Serfs
123
The Opposition Movement in PostReform Russia From Thaw to Regicide
137
Under the Banner of Unshakable Autocracy
172
Nicholas II A Policy of Contradictions
188
Opposition and Revolution
206
On the Eve of Great Changes
221
Conclusion
237
Notes
249
Index
271
Copyright

Russia and the World 18561900
154

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