HIST 245 Lecture Notes - Lecture 14: Autocracy, Okhrana, Mikhail Katkov
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Lecture 14: Nationalism and Reaction
a. Last week, position that held a lot of popularity, literary influence in terrorism. Lot of way that
terrorists seemed to many people were not terrorists, nor socialists, terrorism was a justified
reaction to kind of reactionary politics that was oppressing Russian society.
b. Tsars regime- regime peculiarly reactionary regime, Alexander II was the reformer, softened the
system of censorship, and yet still seen as monstrous oppressor of Russian society using the
police against any kind of dissent, legitimate or non-legitimate.
i. What could terrorists do? What if lived under regime like that, wouldn’t you join those
ii. Portion of population that weren’t terrorist, but syampthized with them, saw that they
acted justified in the face of such oppression and executions and etc, was too far. Only
people willing to stand up against reactionary regime.
c. Another side – reactionary side, group of people, mostly within government, that split off other
way, viewed the growth of terrorism in Russia as precisely sort of thing that might expect when
start reforming a large peasant state. For reactionaries, all to predictable and pointed to mistake
of reforming Russia in the first place.
i. During 1870s and inot 1880s, reaction was response to terrorism as terrorism was
response to reactionary, government faced with issue of what to do with terrorists?
1. Number of different opinions. Easiest is to crack down, minority of people, if
imprison them all take care of it. These are young teenagers, getting ahead of
themselves, flog them sober them and return to productive citizens. Re assertion
of government authority. One argument (especially within police) making.
ii. Also: supported by government people and small population of Russian education, idea
of bringing together a coherent national identity to counter ideas of social revolution.
Thing about nationalism so complicated – nationalism itself had dangerous pitfalls for a
regime that wanted to keep control, had to give into a few of revolutionary demands,
build a populous base, concern yourself with plight of least among society. Have to
address question of social injustice, but if could do so, buy off loyalty of vast number of
Russians who soon see to keep on side of Russian national tradition and Tsar and avoid
revolutionary pitfalls that might tempt them – response was construction of Russian
1. One thing Russia found difficult to borrow from west (until 1917), was
nationality, in way other European states had little problem with articulating and
propping up a national identity (France and Germany).
II. Nationalism against Revolution
A. Pan-Slavism and Imperialist Nationalism
a. Europe Example:
1. End of 19th century, state intensively encouraged German propaganda in and
among the German public. School children are perfect place to propagate,
German educational system revamped so that German children were to learn
German history, German national songs, folk tales, all in an attempt to create
as Keizer Wilhelm said – Young Germans – show little kids that true Germans
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offered blood and possessions against foreign invasion in defense of language,
customs and social and political institutions (Monarchy, Parliament)
a. Why that institution is important – against the German socialist, those
who want to tear down German state are not German.
b. Russian said to try at home – accuse them of being not Russian.
Russian indeity was useful in combating Russian sentiment, and view
customs as natural treasures and revoltuionaries wished to destroy.
i. Who people for advocating this kind of nationalistic attack on
revolutionary ideology: they were heirs to the Slavophiles.
b. Sons of slavophiles are less antagonistic towards fathers than revolutionaries, but had
different vision. Task of Russia for slavophiles was to preserve eastern culture, pan-slavism
takes this ideology and modifys it:
i. Argue: what need to do with slavophiles, stop talking about culture and create hard
political project, Russian nationalists modified Slavophilism in two ways:
1. Expand lovers of slavs and include Baltic orthodox slavs languishing under
Ottoman Rule. Why pan-slavism, applies to all Slavic people and to unit all
people together into one big state. Liberation from Ottoman yoke for Slavics
would show triumph of Slavic values to the world.
a. Made it into an actually military campaign.
b. View of the west for pan-slavs was different, wasn’t just an opposing
culture gone wrong, the West was a evil force thwarting Russian and
Slavic identity at every term. Europe supporting Ottoman empire
(conspiracy theory) b/c didn’t want to see rise of Slavics.
c. Balkans became symbolic terrority, battleground of East v. West that
was more than words.
2. Outcome of battle in Balkans would decide future of Russian domestically.
a. Terrorists were Europe traitors in Russia, European representations in
Russia, undermining true Slavic values in the name of western ones.
b. View: If you beat Europe in the Balkans, blow to European military
ambitions, would destroy European revoltuionaries at home, unite
everyone at home behind unitarily strong Russia and would crush
ideology of revolutionary and terrorism by sheer force of triumph.
c. Conversely: if get defeated by the Ottomans/Europeans in Balkans –
Revolutionaries would fight at home, future of Russia in place of
Balkans. If don’t win abtoad, will lose at home (still part of Russian
national belief system)
d. Pan-slavs minority, terrorists were too, not groups of millions of
people, still all in elite, if you talk about poling average citizen of St.
Petersburg, what did they prefer, majority tipped towards terrorists.
Thought Russian pan-slavs as Canadian view of far-right. But pan-
slavs can’t be underestimated because had eloquent people.
e. Ivan Aksakov – brought up in Slavophile family “Moscow Slavophile
Benevolent Committee” – form for expounding Russian relations with
B. Pan-Slavism in Action: The Russo Turkish War of 1877-1878
a. 1875- Pan-slavs see moment to act and test theories, in that year, province of Bosnia erupts in
revolt, tax revolt at beginning, and it spreads, Russian and austro-hungarian try to prevent
start of major war, Austria and Russia competing over terroritory, try to crush revolt but
states of Serbia and Montengro declare war against Ottomans in 1876, to get Russians on
b. Russians uninterested in this war, reforms on 1860s starting to cost penny, loans to peasants
creating national debt, consequence: military ignored for time, decreased and not prepared
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