Show Less
Restricted access

Late-Imperial Russia: An Interpretation

Three Visions, Two Cultures, One Peasantry

Adrian Jones

Late-Imperial Russia deals with some of the great questions of modern Russian history. It uses methods of intellectual history, political economy, ethnography and quantitative history to analyse the Peasant Question in late- Imperial Russia. A study of ideas in action, the book is unique in letting all key participants speak: the intelligentsia, the state and the peasantry. It analyses their opinions, rôles and actions, explaining understandings of the fate of the peasants and the future of Russia. Key intellectual, political, demographic and socio-economic trends are assessed in tandem. Late-Imperial Russia is revealed as a deeply-divided society of three visions and two cultures, each dismissing and misconceiving the other. This unusual contrast of the cultures, ideas and actions of the state, the peasantry and the intelligentsia shows who really wielded power in the crucial decades between the Emancipation and the Revolution. Cross-cultural misunderstandings emerging in the last decades of the Imperial era helped shape the instabilities of the Revolutions of 1917-1921 and their Stalinist aftermath.
Contents: Part One and the Conclusion evaluate the historiography of modern Russia and use a new cross-cultural or ethnographic method of researching social history. A new periodisation of Russian history is proposed.
Part Two is an intellectual and political history of Russian state, intelligentsia and peasant ideas and actions in the late Imperial era. The developmental assumptions of the state and the intelligentsia are contrasted with peasant customs.
Part Three is a social history of agrarian society in European Russia in the late Imperial era. It analyses demography, agronomy, rural capitalism and land reform - It assesses the pace and scope of agrarian change.