The Russian Empire: From Colonisation to Revolution

Yuri Smirnov

Abstract


This article is devoted to a number of issues raised in a new book by B. Mironov. The reviewer focuses on how Mironov interprets the course of Russian expansion and colonization and their influence on internal processes in Russian society and on the destinies of certain regions and ethnic groups. His conclusions about the continuity of the imperial experience and the causes of the Revolution in Russia are of great social and academic importance. The reviewer points out that the author mainly focuses on the critical analysis of the paradigm of the Russian Revolution that has existed for over a century: this paradigm implies that the Revolution had objective grounds and follows a simple scheme, i.e. the “oppression and impoverishment of the population – economic and political crisis – revolution”. The author provides convincing data in his calculations and interpretations which consistently make the reader question the growth of the “need and distress” of the people, since the welfare and quality of life of the population in imperial Russia had been growing steadily. In general, Mironov considers it possible to determine the laws of Russia’s historical path and its prospects relying on the features and dynamics of similar processes in other countries. The reviewer maintains that the work encourages new research and discussions on topical issues of the past, including the prerequisites and nature of Russian modernisation and revolution.


Keywords


Modern Russian historiography; peculiarities of Russian modernisation; paradigm of the Russian Revolution; historical optimism; methodology of research

References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15826/qr.2017.3.255

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ISSN 2310-757X (Online)

 

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