Russia's People of Empire

Russia's People of Empire

Life Stories from Eurasia, 1500 to the Present
Edited by Edited by Stephen M. Norris and Willard Sunderland
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 07/11/2012
Format: Paperback 30 b&w illus., 4 maps
ISBN: 978-0-253-00183-2
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A fundamental dimension of the Russian historical experience has been the diversity of its people and cultures, religions and languages, landscapes and economies. For six centuries this diversity was contained within the sprawling territories of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, and it persists today in the entwined states and societies of the former USSR. Russia's People of Empire explores this enduring multicultural world through life stories of 31 individuals—famous and obscure, high born and low, men and women—that illuminate the cross-cultural exchanges at work from the late 1500s to post-Soviet Russia. Working on the scale of a single life, these microhistories shed new light on the multicultural character of the Russian Empire, which both shaped individuals' lives and in turn was shaped by them.

Author Bio

Stephen M. Norris is Associate Professor of History at Miami University of Ohio. He is author of A War of Images: Russian Popular Prints, Wartime Culture, and National Identity and editor (with Helena Goscilo) of Preserving Petersburg: History, Memory, Nostalgia (IUP, 2008) and (with Zara Torlone) of Insiders and Outsiders in Russian Cinema (IUP, 2008).

Willard Sunderland is Associate Professor of History at the University of Cincinnati and author of Taming the Wild Field: Colonization and Empire on the Russian Steppe.


“Russia's People of Empire explores the enduring multicultural world through life stories of 31 individuals—famous and obscure, high born and low, men and women—that illuminate the cross-cultural exchanges at work from the late 1500s to post-Soviet Russia.”

“This is the first book, to my knowledge, to present such compelling, nuanced and sustained portraits of personalities stamped with the varied practices of Russian/Soviet imperial multiculturalism. . . . I anticipate that it will become a classic.”
 — Roberts Crews, Stanford University

“This compilation of examples that spans 500 years of history and includes both the famous and the lesser known gives readers a more in-depth, personal understanding of how the inescapable existence of diversity in Russia and the Soviet Union related to everyday life . . . Highly recommended. ”
 — Choice

“[T]his collection offers a fresh and lively approach to understanding how the various Russian empires have worked.”
 — Slavic Review

“[S]tudents of Russian empire would be well served with this work, given its snapshots of diverse imperial milieus and their attendant multicultural dialogues at the personal level. . . . this text will be a welcome tool for undergraduate use, especially for a survey course, since it spans Russian history even up to the twenty-first century.”

“This book will engage students with its lively narratives of figures from the past, serve teachers with varied examples reflecting the diversity of the empire, and challenge researchers to think about the difficulties of restoring the individual to broad narratives. The editors and the contributors are to be complimented for their accomplishment.”
 — The Russian Review

“There is an enormous amount to like in this volume, which will be a boon to students as well as scholars.”
 — Slavonica

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Table of Contents

Introduction by Stephen M. Norris and Willard Sunderland
1. Ermak, 1530s/40s-1585 Willard Sunderland
2. Simeon Bekbulatovich, ?-1616 Donald Ostrowski
3. Timofei Ankudinov, 1609-1653 Maureen Perrie
4. Gavril Romanov Nikitin, -1698" Erika Monahan
5. Boris Kurakin, 1676-1727 Ernest Zitser
6. Mikhail Lomonosov, 1711-1765 Michael Gordin
7. Catherine the Great, 1729-1796 Hilde Hoogenboom
8. Petr Bagration 1765-1812 Sean Pollock
9. Johannes Ambrosius Rosenstrauch, 1768-1835 Alexander Martin
10. Imam Shamil, 1797-1871 Rebecca Gould
11. Zalumma Agra, 1864 Charles King
12. Adam Mickiewicz, 1798-1855 Ted Weeks
13. Archbishop Innokentii, 1800-1857 Mara Kozelsky
14. Nikolai Gogol, 1809-1852 Edyta Bojanowska
15. Anton Rubenstein, 1829-1894 Richard Stites
16. Aleksandr Borodin, 1833-1887 Dave Schimmelpenninck
17. Kutlu-Muhammed Tevkelev and Family (1850-?) Charles Steinwedel
18. P.A. Badmaev, 1851-1919 David McDonald
19. Ekaterina Sabashnikova-Baranovskaia, 1859-? Barbara Alpern Engel
20. Carl Gustav Emil Mannerheim, 1867-1951 Bradley Woodworth
21. Matilde Kshesinskaia, 1872-1971 Krista Sigler
22. Joseph Stalin, 1879-1953 Ron Suny
23. Anna Akhmatova, 1889-1966 Alexandra Harrington
24. Aleksandr Germano, 1893-1955 Brigid O’Keeffe
25. Lazar Kaganovich, 1893-1991 Hiroaki Kuromiya
26. Dziga Vertov, 1896-1954 John MacKay
27. Mukhtar Auezov, 1897-1961 Michael Rouland
28. Jahon Obidova, 1900-1967 Marianne Kamp
29. Olzhas Suleimenov, 1936- Marlene Laruelle
30. Boris Akunin (Grigorii Chkhartishvili), 1956 Stephen Norris
31. Vladislav Surkov, 1964- Karen Dawisha
List of Contributors

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