Russia Under the Old Regime

Russia Under the Old Regime

By: Richard Pipes (author)Paperback

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This study analyzes the evolution of the Russian state from the 9th century to the 1880s, and its unique role in managing Russian society. The development of Russia was different from that of the rest of Europe. The natural poverty of geographical conditions made it extremely difficult to construct an effective regime, and a "patrimonial" state arose in which the country was conceived as the personal property of the tsar. The book describes the evolution of this regime, and analyzes the political behaviour of the principal social groupings, peasantry, nobility, bourgeoisie and clergy, and accounts for their failure to stand up to the increasing absolutism of the tsar. Only the intelligentsia were able to make such a stand, and the book shows how in countering this challenge, Russia developed into a bureaucratic police state.

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About Author

Richard Pipes is a historian of Russia, and since 1990, has been Baird Emeritus Professor of History at Harvard University. His other books include The Russian Revolution and Russia under the Bolshevik Regime.


Chapter 1 The environment and its consequences: The geographic setting - vegetation, soils, climate, precipitation and waterways; The influence of Russia's northern location on her economy - short farming season, poor yields, lack of markets, unprofitability of farming, industrial side-occupations (promysly); Influence on population movement; Influence on social organization - joint family, peasant commune (obshchina); Influence on political organization - incompatibility of means and ends, the "patrimonial" system as solution. PART 1 THE STATE: Chapter 2 The genesis of the patrimonial state in Russia: Slav colonization of Russian territory; The Norman (Kievan) state - the commercial nature of the state, succession pattern, assimilation of Normans, origins of the name Rus'-Rossiia, the Norman legacy; The dissolution of the Kievan state - centrifugal forces, north-west - Novgorod, Lithuania and Poland; The appanage (patrimonial) principality of the north-east: the colonization of the Volga-Oka region, new political attitudes, the appanage principality as property, the prince's domain, the princely administration within and without, Boyars and boyar land, "Black land"; The problem of feudalism in appanage Russia - political decentralization, vassalage, conditional land tenure, the political consequences of the absence in Russia of feudal tradition; Mongol conquest and domination - the invasion, character of rule and its influence on Russian politics. Chapter 3 The Triumph of patrimonialism: The rise of Moscow - "monocracy" and "autocracy", the great principality of Vladimir and the Nevsky clan, Ivan I. Kalita, succession by primogeniture; The patrimonial principality - confusion of dominium and imperium, domainial origin of Russia's administration, failure to distinguish crown and state properties; The politicization of Moscow's patrimonial rulers - dissolution of the Golden Horde and collapse of Byzantium, the Mongol-Tatar sources of the Russian idea of kingship, Gosudar' as sovereign; The expansion of Moscow - its psychological effects, the conquest of Novgorod by Ivan III, subsequent acquisitions. Chapter 4 The anatomy of the patrimonial regime: Servitors and commoners; The service estate - Boyars lose-right of free departure, Mestnichestvo as last Boyar weapon, the rise of dvoriane, the oprichnina, terms and forms of service; Commoners - Tiaglo, serfdom - its rise and spread; The administration - Duma, Sobor, bureaucracy; Mechanism of control and repression - denunciation as civic duty, closed frontiers. Chapter 5 The partial dismantling of the patrimonial state: The crisis of the patrimonial system; The military reforms of Peter I - shortcomings of the old army, creation of a standing army, effect on commoners - soul tax and conscription, effect on servitors - compulsory schooling and table of ranks; Construction of St Petersburg; The idea of "public good" and its implications; Creation of a political police under Peter I. (Part contents).

Product Details

  • publication date: 31/08/1995
  • ISBN13: 9780140247688
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 384
  • ID: 9780140247688
  • weight: 281
  • ISBN10: 0140247688

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