Week 1 Posts

The Last Deportation

When I first sat down to write about this photo, my efforts were focused on the large number of different ethnic minority groups that made up the population of the Soviet Union. As the caption of the picture above states, just the region where this picture was taken is home to many different ethnic groups.  […]

“The Times They Are A-Changin”

    This image is an incredible chance to look at a moment in history where change was all around, generations were divided, and old and new clashed. Here a grandfather, son, and granddaughter all stand together for a picture. The grandfather is dressed in traditional Russian clothing while the son and granddaughter wear more […]

Come Serf In the Wheat Fields

Russia was once economically and socially interdependent upon the feudal system fueled by serfdom. Socially speaking there were class ranks with the lords at the top that owned the land and then the serfs, also known as kreposinoy krestyanin in Russian, who were the lowest class and worked the fields. Once born into serfdom, a […]

Serf’s Up!

The serfs were Russia’s primary agricultural laborers up to the mid-19th century.  However, Russia’s defeat in the Crimean War brought to light the need for societal reform, and the issue of serfs was a hotbed of political debate.  The reformists wanted serfs to be liberated (although to what extent was also debated at length), while […]

War in Crimea, 19th Century Russia

The Russian Empire had survived a conflict ridden existence of violent political change and internal reform from a period of 1721 up to the Russian revolution in 1917. One point of interest, in this vast historical time period, is the Crimean War that took place in the mid-19th century from October 1853 to February 1856,(…)

Hay harvesting

 This photo depicts farm workers harvesting their hay fields. According to the Library of Congress’ Prokudin-Gorskii Photographic Record, the location of the photo is unknown but is likely close to Cherepovets in north central Russia. Farmers and farm workers like the ones pictured … Continue reading

Nomadic cultures of Imperial Russia

  This photograph shows a group of nomadic people from the regions that are modern day Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Its interesting to see this culture of people since most depictions of the Soviet union are of the Russian-caucasian people, rather then nomads. I feel as though the ethnic identities across the Soviet Union were overlooked […]

The Half-Measured Emancipation

the picture above offers a glimpse into the lives of Russian peasants towards the end of the 19th century. The picture makes it clear that although the Russian serfs were emancipated in 1861, they remained second-class citizens for decades after. … Continue reading

A Game of Kings and Peasants

Despite the Russian Empire’s rapid entry onto the world stage after Peter the Great’s program of westernization in the early 18th century, it began to lag far behind countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States during the … Continue reading

The Bashkir Switchman and the Trans-Siberian Railway

The Trans-Siberian Railway, picture above, was a massive industrial project undertaken during the end of the 19th Century and completed in the early 20th Century. When first announced, I am sure the first problem that came to mind was the vast expanse the railway would cover. Russia was and remains the largest country in the(…)