Author(s): Alexander Chubarov
This book re-examines Russia's imperial past from the reign of Peter the Great to the collapse of tsarism in 1917. It presents pre-revolutionary Russia as an empire of great internal contradictions. A colossus that extended over one-sixth the earth's landmass, it was ever vulnerable to foreign invasion. It possessed one of the world's largest populations, the majority of whom lived in poverty and discontent. It commanded the world's richest natural resources, yet its productive forces were constricted by the remnants of feudalism. It strove to cement its multiethnic population by systematic Russification, which only stimulated nationalist movements. It glorified in being a people's autocracy at a time when the regime was increasingly detached from its people. The empire of the tsars become ever more vulnerable until it was shattered by the turmoil of war and revolution. Using the most recent Russian and Western research, the book provides the reader with a good historical basis on which to judge Russia's Soviet experience and her current turbulent transition to democracy.