Russia's Empires (Paperback)
Russia's Empires explores the long history of Russia, the Soviet Union, and the present Russian Federation through the lens of empire, analyzing how and why Russia expanded to become the largest country on the globe and how it repeatedly fell under the sway of strong, authoritarian leaders. Authors Valerie A. Kivelson and Ronald Grigor Suny examine how imperial practices shaped choices and limited alternatives. Using the concept of empire, they look at the ways in which ordinary people imagined their position within a non-democratic polity--whether the Muscovite tsardom or the Soviet Union--and what concessions the rulers had to make, or appear to make, in order to establish their authority and preserve their rule. Russia's Empires tackles the long history of the region, following the vicissitudes of empire--the absence, the coalescence, and the setbacks of imperial aspirations--across the centuries. The framework of empire allows the authors to address pressing questions of how various forms of non-democratic governance managed to succeed and survive, or, alternatively, what caused them to collapse and disappear. Studying Russia's extensive history in an imperial guise encourages students to pay attention to forms of inclusion, displays of reciprocity, and manifestations of ideology that might otherwise go unnoted, overlooked under the bleak record of coercion and oppression that so often characterizes ideas about Russia.
About the Author
Valerie A. Kivelson is Thomas N. Tentler Collegiate Professor and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of History at the University of Michigan. She is the author of several books, including Desperate Magic: The Moral Economy of Witchcraft in Seventeenth-Century Russia (2013) and Cartographies of Tsardom: The Land and Its Meanings in Seventeenth-Century Russia (2006). She is the editor of Witchcraft Casebook: Magic in Russia, Poland, and Ukraine, 15th-21st Centuries [Russian History/Histoire russe vol. 40, nos. 3-4 (2013)], and co-editor, with Joan Neuberger, of Picturing Russia: Explorations in Visual Culture (2008). Ronald Grigor Suny is William H. Sewell, Jr. Distinguished University Professor of History at the University of Michigan; Emeritus Professor of Political Science and History at the University of Chicago; and Senior Researcher at the Higher School of Economics, National Research University, St. Petersburg, Russia. He is the author or editor of eighteen books, including The Structure of Soviet History: Essays and Documents, Second Edition (OUP, 2013), and The Soviet Experiment: Russia, the USSR, and the Successor States, Second Edition (OUP, 2010).