Liberals under Autocracy: Modernization And Civil Society In Russia, 1866?1904

Paperback | June 19, 2012

byAnton A. Fedyashin

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With its rocky transition to democracy, post-Soviet Russia has made observers wonder whether a moderating liberalism could ever succeed in such a land of extremes. But in Liberals under Autocracy, Anton A. Fedyashin looks back at the vibrant Russian liberalism that flourished in the country’s late imperial era, chronicling its contributions to the evolution of Russia’s rich literary culture, socioeconomic thinking, and civil society.
    For five decades prior to the revolutions of 1917, The Herald of Europe (Vestnik Evropy) was the flagship journal of Russian liberalism, garnering a large readership. The journal articulated a distinctively Russian liberal agenda, one that encouraged social and economic modernization and civic participation through local self-government units (zemstvos) that defended individual rights and interests—especially those of the peasantry—in the face of increasing industrialization. Through the efforts of four men who turned The Herald into a cultural nexus in the imperial capital of St. Petersburg, the publication catalyzed the growing influence of journal culture and its formative effects on Russian politics and society.
    Challenging deep-seated assumptions about Russia’s intellectual history, Fedyashin’s work casts the country’s nascent liberalism as a distinctly Russian blend of self-governance, populism, and other national, cultural traditions. As such, the book stands as a contribution to the growing literature on imperial Russia's nonrevolutionary, intellectual movements that emphasized the role of local politics in both successful modernization and the evolution of civil society in an extraparliamentary environment.

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From the Publisher

With its rocky transition to democracy, post-Soviet Russia has made observers wonder whether a moderating liberalism could ever succeed in such a land of extremes. But in Liberals under Autocracy, Anton A. Fedyashin looks back at the vibrant Russian liberalism that flourished in the country’s late imperial era, chronicling its cont...

Anton A. Fedyashin is assistant professor of history and executive director of the Initiative for Russian Culture at American University in Washington, DC.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.7 inPublished:June 19, 2012Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299284344

ISBN - 13:9780299284343

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Part I: The Men of the Herald of Europe

1 Born under the Iron Tsar: Family and School

2 Formative Years: The Birth of Ideas

3 No Place for Talent: Academia and State Service

Part II: The Herald of Europe as Flagship of Russian Liberalism

4 Birth Pangs Full of Promise: The Literary Engine of Success

5 Publishing as Philanthropy: Printing and Politics

6 A Parting of Ways: The Herald of Europe and Populism

Part III: The Emergence of a Liberal Program

7 Challenging the Ideology of Progress: Russia and the Global Economy

8 Solving the Agrarian Crisis: The Famine of 1891–92 and the Zemstvo

9 From Marxist Apologetics to a Moral Economy

Conclusion

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Editorial Reviews

“A clearly written, reliable, salutary and lively guide to moderate Russian liberalism . . . and also a valuable contribution to the history of late imperial Russian journalism.”—Slavonica