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HIST 245 Readings.docx

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HIST 245
Ana Siljak

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HIST 245 Readings
Shaw, “Russia’s Geographical Environment”
4 major environmental zones: tundra, forest, forest-steppe, steppe
Travel and expansion by waterways
“The Revolution of Peter the Great,” Russian and Soviet History, 25-31
Emergence of modern, bureaucratic state with no fundamental reordering of society
Cultural revolution, founds St Petersburg in 1703
Created high society, decimalized coinage, standardized language, supported science, medicine
Memoirs of Princess Dashkova
Friend of Catherine the Great, helped her become Empress
“Memoirs of Catherine the Great”
1753, details life at court
“Masks and Masquerades,” Russian and Soviet History, 34-50
Elizabeth took power through coup d’état while wearing a mask
o Asked people if they knew who she was, became an official test
Masquerades held to mock political enemies and Empress Anna, who loved masquerades
Elizabeth saw no line between public and private life, she was fully empress and natural ruler
“Instruction to the Legislative Commission of 1767”
Catherine’s “Proposals for a New Law Code” were very liberal, used language of Enlightenment
o “Liberty is what one ought to do and not being made to do what one ought not do”
“Decree on Serfs”, serfs must be absolutely obedient or are deported
Up from Serfdom, Nikitenko
Life of a serf from 1804-1824, described difficulties of growing up a serf
o Problems getting higher education, living conditions, personal relations
“Andrei Bolotov,” Russian and Soviet History, 66-78
Nobleman under Catherine II, enlightened seigneur (landowner)
o Used Petrine rationalism and a moral code, the idea of noble self-improvement
o Reasserted patriarchy and believed in “pastoral bliss”
Enlightened seigneurism rarely worked because peasants indifferent, nobles too prejudiced
“The Decembrist Pavel Pestel,” in Russian and Soviet History, 121-132
Decembists wanted to abolish autocracy, split into Northern and Southern societies
Pestel led South, wrote that those against reform were “monsters”
Charged and convicted of intent to assassinate the royal family as the first step to revolution
o Executed, many thought he went too far, ahead of his time
House of the Dead, Dostoyevsky
Story of a man sent to a Siberian prison and his experiences there
Based on Dostoyevsky’s experiences after being exiled as part of Petroshevsky trial

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“On the Nature of European Culture”, Kireevskii
“From the Other Shore”, Herzen
Enlightenment has failed, science and modernity will fall
Writer is abroad, says he would be a traitor if lived in Russia
o Calls himself the voice for the Russian people, Europe must get to know Russia
“Letters to an Opponent”, Herzen
Argument for morality against friend who defends the government
Orthodox nation vs. socialist nation
o System is wrong, but cannot see an alternative that would work; change could be worse
“Letter to N. V. Gogol”, Belinsky
Says Gogol does not understand Russia, thinks it is beautiful and teaches landowners to exact
more profit off of peasants
o Books supports Orthodox clergy, who the Russian people mock as sinful, greedy,
shameless; Russians are not the most religious people, as Gogol claimed
o Claimed serfs and masters loved each other and literacy was harmful to the people
But if Belinsky were in Russia, knew he would not be allowed to criticize Gogol’s work
“Emancipation Manifesto of February 19, 1861”, Alexander II
Divine providence to free the serfs, nobility voluntarily giving up their right to own serfs
Temporary obligation that nothing should change for 2 years, then can buy land from nobles
Common sense that freedom comes with obligations, should appreciate sacrifice of nobles
Fathers and Sons, Turgenev
Nihilist one who approached everything from a critical point of view
o Bazarov likes dissecting frogs to learn practically, says it is absurd to be a romantic
Should read Buchner, Russia needs only the principle of logic
o Curse everything, but do nothing serious; belief in destruction, not building
Review by Pisarev, “Bazarov”
o Popularized Bazarov to the “sons”, explained why he was a role model, Bazarovism as
the “disease of our time”
“The New People”, Siljak
“Sons” greatly influenced by Chernyshevskii’s “What is to be Done?”
o Seen as sacred book, Chernyshevskii saw himself as a revolutionary prophet
o Characters are “rational egoists” who ask “what is best for me?”
Free love, complete equality, utilitarianism, new world like Heaven
Socialism as salvation from personal crises about societal norms
Fourier: institutions are bad, need collectivism, division of labour based on personal passion
60s radicalism offered alternative to female life
“Catechism of a Revolutionary”, Nechaev
Revolutionary is doomed, will be absolutely consumed by the revolution
Merciless towards the state and expects no mercy, knows only “science of destruction”
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