Modernism And Public Reform In Late Imperial …

Modernism And Public Reform In Late Imperial Russia: Rural Professionals And Self-organization, 1905-30

This book is the story of a generation of Russians who sought to improve their personal lives but managed to effectively change the ways of the entire country during the decade following the abortive revolution of 1905. This happened largely beyond the administrative apparatus of the state and outside the organized, if collapsing, revolutionary movement. They formed a new social class of rural professionals: agronomists, physicians, educators, instructors, and managers of peasant cooperatives. Several tens of thousands strong by 1914, this group successfully bridged the proverbial gap between the educated elite and the ‘people’ by establishing an intensive dialogue with the peasants. An attempt to turn Russian imperial villagers into self-conscious economic subjects through the ‘apolitical politics’ of self-organization quite unexpectedly led to the creation of different versions of political nationhood by means of society’s self-mobilization. These processes explain much about the events of 1917 and the outcome of the civil war.