Download A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891-1924 by Orlando Figes PDF

By Orlando Figes

It really is background on an epic but human scale. huge in scope, exhaustive in unique study, written with ardour, narrative ability, and human sympathy, A People's Tragedy is a profound account of the Russian Revolution for a brand new new release. Many contemplate the Russian Revolution to be the main major occasion of the 20th century. distinct pupil Orlando Figes offers a landscape of Russian society at the eve of that revolution, after which narrates the tale of ways those social forces have been violently erased. in the vast stokes of conflict and revolution are miniature histories of people, during which Figes follows the most players' fortunes as they observed their hopes die and their international crash into ruins. not like earlier debts that hint the origins of the revolution to overreaching political forces and beliefs, Figes argues that the failure of democracy in 1917 was once deeply rooted in Russian tradition and social background and that what had begun as a people's revolution contained the seeds of its degeneration into violence and dictatorship. A People's Tragedy is a masterful and unique synthesis by way of a mature pupil, awarded in a compelling and accessibly human narrative.

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First, the very foundation of any idea of the Russian ‘nation’ was based on a perpetually shifting idea of what the territory was. The earliest russkaia zemlia had its symbolic focus in Kiev. Moscow subsequently claimed to inherit the status and authority of Kiev, despite being in a quite different place, a long way to the northeast. Peter the Great shifted the centre of his nation once more, this time to the northern Gulf of Finland. The construction of St Petersburg as a ‘window’ to the West marked a reorientation – both practical and symbolic – of Russian space.

Already by the thirteenth century we hear laments over the decline of the russkaia zemlia. In origin a synthetic label for what ‘was’, for an emerging geo-political entity, for what ‘had come into being’, the russkaia zemlia – in its expanded sense – had turned into a more overtly abstract notion, a metapolitical notion of what should be, an explicitly ideal geography of nationhood. This was the time when the idea of ‘All Rus’ (vsia Rus ) was invented: ‘All Rus’ meaning all the lands that the users of the term wished, by whatever criteria (initially it was to do with the jurisdiction of the Church), to associate with the idea of Rus, regardless of current political structures.

Finally, the series reinforces a geo-political narrative of the formation of Russia in time: a tale of Slav origins, of the foundation of a native State in Kiev, and of Muscovy as its successor. The text can be read on all three levels: as an evocation of the story of early Russian Christianity, as a representation of cultural and technological progress, and as an affirmation of national continuity from Kievan origins. The designers were presumably aware that in practice most users are unlikely to read postage stamps quite so rigorously.

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