The Emergence of Modern Russia, 1801-1917

By Sergei Pushkarev; Robert H. McNeal et al. | Go to book overview

Translators' Preface

WE HAVE UNDERTAKEN THE TRANSLATION of Mr. Pushkarev's work first of all because it fills a need for a book of moderate length on the period from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the opening of the Soviet era. To be sure, there are sound justifications for treating 1861 as the logical starting point for an investigation of the Russian Empire in the throes of modernization.1 But there are at least equally cogent reasons for treating the period 1801-1917 as an especially intelligible, cohesive segment of modern Russian history. The opening of the nineteenth century is a more crucial point than the 1860s, the time of the "Great Reforms," with respect to the political institutions of the central government. In the main, the institutions developed by Alexander I lasted until the installation of the short-lived Duma monarchy in 1905. It was around the turn of the eighteenth-nineteenth century, not in the mid-century, that the Russian intelligentsia emerged and began to play the remarkable role that led ultimately to the Revolution of 1917. And the development of the intelligentsia, beginning around 1800, is intimately connected with the rise of modern Russian litera

____________________
1
See C. E. Black (ed.), The Transformation of Russian Society ( Cambridge, Mass., 1960), 4-7. Professor Hugh Seton-Watson opts for 1861 in his survey The Decline of Imperial Russia ( New York, 1956).

-ix-

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