Category Archives: Imperial Russia

On beards

With a post title like that, you might not be surprised to hear that I am lecturing on Peter the Great tomorrow. I always wondered a bit how his beard tax worked in practice, and I was a bit thrilled … Continue reading

Posted in Imperial Russia | 1 Comment

The Amnesties of Tsar Vladimir

It seems obvious that President Vladimir Putin has chosen to issue the recent amnesties of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Maria Alokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and probably the Greenpeace 30 as a way to generate good will on the eve of his great personal … Continue reading

Posted in Current events in the Putin Era, Historiography, Imperial Russia, Post-Soviet Russia, Teaching Russian History, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Mikhalkov as monarchist and Slavophile – his 2010 Manifesto “Right and Truth” (Право и Правда)

In October 2010 influential filmmaker Nikita Mikhalkov published an extensive “Manifesto of Enlightened Conservatism” which was published as “Right and Truth” in polit.ru. (Read in Russian here.) The defense of serfdom attributed to Mikhalkov, which I posted yesterday, may well … Continue reading

Posted in Current events in the Putin Era, Films, Imperial Russia, Nostalgia and Memory, Post-Soviet Russia, Russia in World History, Russian History in Popular Culture, Russian Orthodoxy, Teaching Russian History, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Filmmaker Nikita Mikhalkov Praises the “Wisdom of Serfdom”

According to a website called “Tsenzor.Net” filmmaker Nikita Mikhalkov told a group of journalists that he is preparing to make a film praising serfdom as “the wisdom of the nation.” His comments show a romanticization of history that is pretty … Continue reading

Posted in Current events in the Putin Era, Films, Historiography, Imperial Russia, Nostalgia and Memory, Post-Soviet Russia, Russian History in Popular Culture, Teaching Russian History, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Contemplating Odors in Russian History

Back when I was an undergrad, my advisor said something that has remained with me since: if you want to know what’s current in Russian historiography, just look at what the rest of the field was working on twenty years … Continue reading

Posted in Historiography, Imperial Russia | 1 Comment

Comedy to tragedy

In 1860, a freed serf recently become a meshchanka in Riazan’ named Nastas’ia Pavlova had to deal with some extra paperwork to get her children properly registered according to the laws.  She had three children, born in 1854, 1856, and 1858, but … Continue reading

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Russia and the Alaskan Tobacco “Mystery”

As I’ve been working on the history of Russia’s experience with tobacco, I encountered a surprising development – the domestic production of tobacco in Alaska.  Anyone who’s spent time working on Russian Alaska could not help to notice the colonists’ … Continue reading

Posted in Imperial Russia, Russia in World History | 3 Comments

Policing Sexuality in Medieval Russia

The Center for Medieval Studies has a very visible presence at Fordham University where I teach. In the history department alone, medievalist faculty and graduate students maintain a healthy and vibrant intellectual life. Although I am a historian of modern … Continue reading

Posted in Gender and Sexuality, Imperial Russia, Medieval Russia, Teaching Russian History | Leave a comment

Pussy Riot Arrest and Byzantine Church-State Relations Today

[http://www.1tvnet.ru/images/news_pic_Krasotin%2520sam%2520skoro%2520nauchitsya/735776%20(1).gif] Five members of the feminist punk rock group Pussy Riot have been arrested for a “punk prayer” at the Church of the Savior in Moscow. Two are being held until late April with threats of sentences up to seven … Continue reading

Posted in Current events in the Putin Era, Imperial Russia, Nostalgia and Memory, Post-Soviet Russia, Russian Orthodoxy, Teaching Russian History | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

How “Russian” is Kauai’s Fort Elizabeth?

In the early years of the Russian American Company, there was an odd incident that led to establishment of three “Russian” forts on the island of Kauai.  The reasons for that are somewhat complicated (and the study of several interesting … Continue reading

Posted in Imperial Russia, Nostalgia and Memory, Russia in World History, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Northern spaces

Last year around this time, one of my colleagues was asked to be a special commenter on a showing of a documentary on campus.  The film, Passage, focuses on a 19th century failed search for the Northwest Passage (the Franklin … Continue reading

Posted in Imperial Russia | 6 Comments

Imagining the Petersburg-Moscow Road in the Late 18th Century

How do you imagine what a road was, historically?  Quite often, histories of transport describe histories of surfaces: the evolution of building techniques, say, from wooden planks to macadamized stone to modern asphalt or concrete. Alternatively, roads are presented as … Continue reading

Posted in Digital Russian History, Imperial Russia, Russia in World History, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Most unexpected appearance of an anarchist EVER

Here’s a quick link to the blog of a former colleague of mine, Sarah Young.  In this one, she’s discovered what has to be the strangest appearance of an anarchist, ever, in the pages of a magazine aimed at British … Continue reading

Posted in Imperial Russia | 2 Comments

Completeness or lack thereof

I’m thrilled to see John’s post, because he brings up a point that I’ve been thinking about a lot, too–the incompleteness of the supposedly complete. I also came to think about it through the 18th century, and through RGADA (the … Continue reading

Posted in Imperial Russia, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Radicals or graft, revisited

So, the Senate returned to this question of what was going on in the Archive of Old Business (and elsewhere) a year and a half later (PSZ I, vol. 31, no. 24258 (June 13, 1810)). The initial investigation called for … Continue reading

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Radicals in the archives? (Or probably just graft.)

When you start reading through the Polnoe sobranie zakonov (Complete Collection of the Laws) on various subjects, you see ukase after ukase saying virtually the same thing (and often quoting the earlier laws). This is, it seems, necessary for making … Continue reading

Posted in Imperial Russia | 5 Comments

Moscow and St. Petersburg in 1909

Although I’d hoped to post something more substantive for my second post, instead, here’s a drive-by link to two photo albums that include some amazing images of Moscow and St. Petersburg in 1909. To me, they bring home how much … Continue reading

Posted in Digital Russian History, Imperial Russia, Nostalgia and Memory | 12 Comments

Catherine on Memory and Forgetting

Hi, all–I’m the newest blogger here. In principle, I’m supposed to add in more Imperial-era coverage.  And, well, in practice, that is what I’m doing. I thought I’d start with something I’ve recently come across in passing that keeps making … Continue reading

Posted in Imperial Russia | 9 Comments

Russians in East Prussia, 1914, pt. 2

I’ve gotten several interesting responses to the first post on atrocities: on this site, in private communication, and on the listserve of the International Society for First World War Studies.  Many of those comments have related to the issue of … Continue reading

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