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Lecture 12

HIST 245 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Lemonade, Ultraist Movement, Ivan Turgenev

Course Code
HIST 245
Ana Siljak

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Lecture 12: The ‘60s Generation: The Nihilists
3 Topics, choose 1. Source for topic. Argument within topic. Using all sources.
I. Introduction
a. Revolutionary movement of 60’s.
b. Comes out of situation from last class, liberals and conservatives came together to come up with
systemic abolition of serfdom, kind of unity of public opinion was lost in immediate aftermath of
greater reforms. Polarization of Russian society occurred instantly after emancipation.
c. Split into 2 camps, new generation of activists that take Slavophile and westernizer diatomite,
and each group has own progeny. Other side of slavophiles, sons and daughters of westernizers
who said reforms didn’t go farther enough.
d. 60s’ generation – time for polite argument over, proposiions of what direction Russia should go,
west or east, but distinct project for action to remake Russian society on new set of principles.
Socialism before Marxism and Lenin, Russian Socialism that has ideas and commitments that
would be stronger in the time leading up to 1917 then Marx himself.
e. Vibrant, thriving, ideology, attracted lots of educated and noble members, and drive to action got
more radical = revolution and terrorism. Dirivng a wedge down middle. Question – why?
f. Answers: disassifaction with reforms. Peasants after 1861 still poor, still struggled, mortality
rates still high but decreasing, and hunger, disease death still problem, mostly illiterate and
seemed to people who went and observed saw lives no better off. Reform in name own,
subsistent peasant question had not been resolved.
g. Nobles still controlled major institutions –Tshnskov, peaants could participate not interesting to
revolutionaries. Nobility in partition of land took best land for themselves, peasants had to
struggle on poor land often with nobility who holds pasture land, no way for peasants to have
II. Context
A. The Inadequacy of Reform
a. Existing conditions part of reason why radical movement came to be so popular, not just that.
Couldn’t had true revolution movement without class of people who galvanized and moved
movement forward – the university students.
B. The Students
a. University becomes hot bed of revolutionary and radical perspective. Hard to know why –
lots of reasons, Russian regime was clear on why it thought these guys turned to
revolutionary – Alexander let in all lower class people into university, bringing class level,
consciousness of university, down, working class/peasant element destabilizing force. By
1860s, lots of calls for raising tuition, or outright limiting number of people from lower class
entering university. Interesting: Russian regime believed lower class contributing to
radicalizing, but university students did too, contact with impoverished lower class to call for
some kind of activism. Statistics show otherwise.
b. Students in university as a whole and particularly the radical students were overwhelming
from Russian noble classes, 58%, even with all reforms introduced by reforms, St. Petersburg
University, in 1860s were children of nobility and percentage of noblemen among the
radicals was even higher- 64%. Only other class that was disproportionately into radicalism
were formers seminaries, sons and daughters of clergy, priest class. Only 8% of radicals came

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from lower-middle, lower classes, almost none from peasantries. Why did privileged people
flock to radicalism? Hard to explain it in the poverty they experienced, look at memoirs of
radicals – grew up on estates with serfs. Culture factors involved: Russian noble elite,
especially those under age of 25, were disproptionately educated, and well read, and engaged
generation as compared to predecessors and successors. There’s was culture of dissent,
expressed in numerous ways.
i. University: set up cafeterias to feed poor students, libraries to borrow radical books,
newspapers and journals read for free, assemblies/parties, Skhodki, radical
associations, political assemblies, combined it party atmosphere in which burning
political and social issues of day discussed. Sometimes held weekly, sometimes be in
cramped apartments, or parents would invite child and everyone for political rally.
Whoever wanted to speak would grab the chair or stand on it and start addressing the
group to bring up question that needed to be addressed.
ii. Soon regime and university officials realized radicalism was getting out of hand,
protests of teachers that students deemed unworthy/too conservative, had cafeterias,
parties and decided to crack down. 1861 – first public Russian protest.
1. Published guidelines for student behaviors, collective events have to be pre-
approved and sign the book in order to register for classes = stops ability to
gather and activists. Gather together for proposals, one plan to gather all
books to get burn down. Get wind of student activism and locks gates on first
day of classes in order to stop students getting in and protest, and instead
university, get rector of university to open the gates of university, going to
march down all the way to his house. Police don’t know what to do, peaceful,
follow them on horseback. Get rector to come back. Everyone arrested after
and interrogated, no one imprisoned but first radicalism and people start to
talk about new student movement. How do you get to be one of these people?
2. Culture in this case is all about reading. Similar movement of how Slavophiles
and westernizers hated eachother because read different stuff – have liberal
westernizer parents who introduce them to books form west, lots socialist
III. Nihilism and Russian Radicalism
A. Fathers and Sons
a. High school teachers give them contraband literature, organize high school reading groups in
which hot western topics, political thought and socialist literature discussed, and then get to
school. Around age 12, becomes a shock to system. Loving experience at home with socialist
behaviours, go to boarding school and they are mean, teachers conservative kicked out for
reading wrong stuff: conjunction of youthful idealism and reactionary education breeds
dissent, these characters are engaged in constant battle against educational institutions and
then entire regime that seems to foster them.
b. Reading Alexander Belinskii, westernizer. Alexander Herzen. Not just reading and they are
passionately engaged, conversion experiences, seeing whole world in new light.
c. Not interested in reading few things and engaging with ideas of west, want to act. New
ideology that comes from reading books – Fathers and Sons seminal book for this
revolutionary movement. How does this novel fit in?
d. Nihilism – pre-marxist social revolution. Orignis clear: originate in book, Turgenev invented
the term that would be used for all socialists after novel. He didn’t set out to create
revolutionary movement, inlies interesting tale of origin.
i. Turgenev: noblemen, elite member, Pavel in book is him. Is aristocratic, iffy, western
oriented guy. Sees himself and his generation as represented of Fathers (Alexander
Herzen, westernizers, those who advocated and championed progress in western
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