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Week XII: 16 Nov.  Alexander III, Nicholas II, and Counter-Reform I  (Late Imperial Government, Political Movements, and Economics) 

                            Assignment:  Linc., pp. 159-191; Dmyt. pp. 337-344, 345-363, 372-399, 405-408

                            Discussion of Term Paper Readings by Jessica Fiedor, James Potteiger, Brian Bishop, and Nicole Delosier.  PLEASE SEE INSTRUCTIONS AT BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE!


Lincoln, pp. 159-191 (Chapter V):

Did everyone in Russian educated society welcome the terms of the Emancipation decree?  And was the criticism only from the "left"? Explain.


What does Lincoln mean on p. 163 when he says that between the mid-180s to 1894 the Great Reforms were "tested" from both the Left and the Right?


Did all of the Russian leftist radicals who in the late 1850s and 1860s opposed the Autocracy preach revolution as the solution to Russia's problems?Explain.



According to Lincoln, what events in the early 1860s drove both the Left and the Right toward "extreme" positions?



What role did the zemstvos play in rallying non-revolutionary elements of the educated public?


What event in 1866 resulted in intensified "reaction" by the government, which began to place stricter limits on reformed institutions and increased repression of the opposition movement?  What were the results?



What was the "Movement to the People" in the 1870s?  Was it "Marxist"?  Explain.



Who assassinated Alexander II in March 1881 and what were the results?  (For instance, what impact did it have on Loris-Melikov's efforts at controlled conservative reform?)



According to Lincoln, should we understand the government policies of the 1880s only as a "crude reaction" against the revolutionary movement?  Why not, and how were conservatives like Pobedonostsev defining (or redefining) the role of the Autocrat?



How did Pobedonostsev, Dmitri Tolstoi, and other leading conservative thinkers in the government of Alexander III view the West, and how did that shape government policy?



Why was there serious need for further reforms of rural government in the 1880s?  And why did the government chose to "solve" these problems through new institutions like the Land Captains and through policies like the 1890 Zemstvo reforms?  (In other words, what were the Land Captains and what was the goal of that reform?  What were the 1890s Zemstvo reforms and what was that law intended to do?)






According to Lincoln, had the conflict between arbitrariness (proizvol) and legality (zakonnost') been resolved by Alexander III's death in 1894?  Explain!



How were issues of reform and law linked to the question of how Russia's economy should be organized? (Questions like, should the state direct the economy?  How can we strengthen private property rights and private economic initiative without weakening the authority of the central government?  Etc.) 



According to Lincoln, why did Russia's rulers see a conflict between "legality" defined in terms of property rights and free markets and "legality" defined in terms of Autocratic order?  Why is that so important?




Dmyt. pp. 337-344, 345-363, 372-399, 405-408  (questions are in topical order)


**PP. 343-350 is an excerpt from Turgenev's novel Father and Sons, published in 1862.  The character Bazarov was a representation of young educated radicals in the 1860s who argued that the only way to move Russia towards progress was to reject all authority (except for science) and destroy the old world (the Nihilists).  Only then could a new society be built on a scientific basis.  Read this excerpt for an idea of (the fictional character) Bazarov's ideas. 


**PP. 350-354 is from a "guidebook" for  young revolutionaries, published by exiled Nihilists in Switzerland in 1868.  This "Catechism" laid out the values, ethics, and organizational ideas of the Nihilists, which would put a stamp on the Russian revolutionary underground for decades to come.  As you read it, think about the "moral code" of revolutionary conduct that it imposes.....


**PP. 355-363 present two documents on the "Demands of the Narodnia Volia" (People's Will, the Populist terrorist group that assassinated Alexander II).

*Program of Narodnia Volia (People's Will), 1879 (pp. 355-359)

How did the members of People's Will define their own views in 1879? 


Were they calling for rebellion only against the Tsarist political system, or did they have something more in mind?  Explain.


What form of government did they propose for Russia?  Explain.


What sort of economy did they envision?  Explain.


 Why did they consider terrorism necessary to their goals?  And was terrorism their only political tool?  Explain.




*A Letter from Narodnia Volia to Alexander III, 22 March 1881 (pp. 359-363)

Were the terrorists gleeful about having killed Alexander II?  Explain.


How did they explain (and justify) their actions to Alexander III?


What did they demand of Alexander III?


**PP. 372-399 Readings on Pan-Slavism and Conservativism

*Danilevskii defines principles of Russian Pan-Slavism (from his 1871 book Russia and Europe) (pp. 372-381)

How does Danilevskii justify the idea of a union of Slavic states, what states and territories does he include and what states does he exclude, and what role did he assign Russia in this "plan"?


*Pobedonostsev's Criticism of Modern Society (from his memoirs) (pp. 382-400)

What was P's main criticism of democracy?


How did he defend his charge that the "principle of the sovereignty of the people" is the "greatest falsehood of our time"?


Why did he consider constitutional government "evil"?


What were his main criticisms of the ideal of freedom of the press?


**PP. 337-344 provides documents on the alliance system forged between the Russians, the Germans, and the Austrians in 1863 and 1890.  Although Lincoln does not focus on this alliance, it was the single most important element of Russia's foreign policy in this period.  The breakdown of the Russo-German-Austrian alliance was also one of the important factors in the creation of the new alliance system at the turn of the century that would help drag Europe into WWI.  Therefore it is well worth perusing these documents!  

Be prepared to discuss the following:

    What domestic policy interests are reflected in these treaties?


    How did the signatories understand the relationship between their alliance and peace and stability in Europe?


How did the 3-Power alliance agreements in the 1880s deal with the problem of "what to do with Turkey? and with competing interests in the Balkans (e.g., Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzogovina, etc.)?


    From what you know about the causes of WWI, why was the collapse of this Russo-German-Austrian alliance so important?



**PP. 405-408  documents on Russian foreign policy 1890-1896

*Franco-Russian Military Convention, 1891 (pp. 405-406)

In what sense might we consider this a "negative alliance" (an alliance founded in opposition to a common threat, rather than out of other common interests)?  Who was that common threat?  (Keep in mind that this will help you understand the origins of WWI!)


*Russo-Chinese Secret Alliance Treaty, 1896 (pp. 407-408)

Who was the "common enemy" behind this alliance, and what did the Russians hope to gain through this treaty?  (Keep this in mind as we discuss the Russo-Japanese War!)


Individual Readings  Jessica Fiedor, James Potteiger, Brian Bishop, and Nicole Delosier.

Jessica: Autocracy and its Symbols (focus on Alexander III)

P. Zainchkovsky, The Russian Autocracy under Alexander III.  Gulf Breeze, 1976.

H. Whelan, Alexander III and the State Council:  Bureaucracy and Counter Reform in Late Imperial Russia.  New Brunswick, 1982.

R. Wortman, Scenarios of Power:  Myth and Ceremony in Russian Monarchy.  Vol. 2.  Princeton, 2000.

Jessica--I'd like you to explain that main arguments of these three books to the class, and to explain what connections you see between Lincoln's brief comments on "counter reform" under Alexander III and what Zainchkovsku and Whelan lay out in their books.


BrianSoldiers and Nation Building  

D. Rich,  The Tsars Colonels:   Professionalism, Strategy, and Subversion in Late Imperial Russia.  Cambridge MA, 1998.

J. Bushnell, Mutiny and Repression:  Russian Soldiers in the Revolution of 1905-1906.  Bloomington, 1985.

J. Sanborn, Drafting the Russian Nation:  Military Conscription, Total War, and Mass Politics, 1905-1925.  DeKalb, 2003.

Brian:  All of your books have, in their early sections, some limited discussion of state policy towards the army in the period 1860-1894 (in particular, discussion of the Miliutin reforms).  I'd like you to explain what these three authors have to say (their main points and any interesting details) about the military reforms and also about military policy under Alexander III (1881-1894).


James: Political Conservativism through 1905

D. Rawson, Russian Rightists and the Revolution of 1905.  New York, 1995.

E. Judge, Plehve:  Repression and Reform in Imperial Russia, 1902-1904.  Syracuse, 1983.

E. Thadan, Conservative Nationalism in Nineteenth Century Russia.  Seattle. 1964.

James:  Although all of these books include some discussion of trends in conservative though in the 1860s-1890s, the most relevant study here is Thaden.  So, explain the argument of Thaden's book and then focus in particular on his main points regarding conservative thought under Alexander III.  Think about how the documents we read for this week (and Lincoln's chapter) relate to what you have learned from Thaden.


Nicole Marxism to 1905

S. Baron, Plekhanov:  The Father of Russian Marxism.  Stanford, 1973.

L. Haimson, The Russian Marxists and the Origins of Bolshevism.  Cambridge, Ma. 1955.

A. Wildman, The Making of a Workers' Revolution:  Russian Social Democracy, 1891-1903.  Chicago, 1967.


Nicole:  Although all of these books include some discussion of the origins of Russian marxism and early marxist groups in the 1880s and 1890s, the most relevant study here is Baron's biography of Plekhanov.  For this week, I'd like you to focus in particular on explaining Plekhanov's views when he was a Populist, how his views changed in the early 1880s, and what arguments he began making about Russian society once he had become a "marxist" in the 1880s.  Don't discuss anything this week that deals with the period after 1894!