Across the Revolutionary Divide: Russia and the USSR, 1861-1945

Across the Revolutionary Divide: Russia and the USSR, 1861-1945

Across the Revolutionary Divide: Russia and the USSR, 1861-1945

Across the Revolutionary Divide: Russia and the USSR, 1861-1945

Synopsis

Across the Revolutionary Divide: Russia and the USSR 1861-1945 offers a broad interpretive account of Russian history from the emancipation of the serfs to the end of World War II.
  • Provides a coherent overview of Russia's development from 1861 through to 1945
  • Reflects the latest scholarship by taking a thematic approach to Russian history and bridging the 'revolutionary divide' of 1917
  • Covers political, economic, cultural, and everyday life issues during a period of major changes in Russian history
  • Addresses throughout the diversity of national groups, cultures, and religions in the Russian Empire and USSR
  • Shows how the radical policies adopted after 1917 both changed Russia and perpetuated an economic and political rigidity that continues to influence modern society

Excerpt

The Blackwell History of Russia aims to present a wide readership with a fresh synthesis in which new approaches to Russian history stimulated by research in recently opened archives are integrated with fundamental information familiar to earlier generations. Whatever the period under review, new discoveries have thrown into question some persistent assumptions about the nature of Russian government and society. Censorship and surveillance remain important subjects for investigation. However, now that social activity in Russia is no longer instinctively conceived in terms of resistance to a repressive, centralized state, there is room not only to investigate the more normal contours of everyday life, but also to consider its kaleidoscopic variety in the thousands of provincial villages and towns that make up the multinational polity. Religion, gender, and culture (in its widest sense) are all more prominent in the writings of contemporary scholars than they were in the work of previous generations. Historians once preoccupied with pig-iron production are now more inclined to focus on pilgrimages, icon veneration, and incest. No longer so overwhelmingly materialist in their approach, they are more likely to take “the linguistic turn”; the changing meanings of imagery, ritual, and ceremonial are all being reinterpreted.

The challenge is to take account of “extra” dimensions of the subject such as these (the list could easily be extended), and, where appropriate, to allow them to reshape our understanding, without risking a descent into modishness and without neglecting fundamental questions of political economy. One way of squaring the circle is to adopt an unconventional chronological framework in which familiar subjects can be explored in less familiar contexts. Each of the three volumes in the series therefore crosses a significant caesura in Russian history. The first, examined by Elise Kimerling Wirtschafter in Russia’s Age of Serfdom, 1649–1861, is the physical and cultural move from Moscow to St Petersburg at . . .

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