Decentralization and Self-Government in Russia, 1830-1870

Decentralization and Self-Government in Russia, 1830-1870

Copyright Date: 1972
Pages: 400
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  • Book Info
    Decentralization and Self-Government in Russia, 1830-1870
    Book Description:

    The turbulent period of renewal and innovation that followed Russia's crushing defeat in the Crimea has been interpreted, historically, in terms of the emancipation of the serfs and the evolution of the gentry class. But, contends Frederick Starr, such an approach underestimates the breadth and intensity of the impulse for local reformsper se. After tracing the ideological sources of the reform, Mr. Starr examines in detail the legislative process by which administrative decentralization and public self-government were instituted.

    Originally published in 1972.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-7125-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-2)
    S. Frederick Starr
  4. I The Undergoverned Provinces, 1830-1855
    (pp. 3-50)

    In the last century the province of Kherson on the Black Sea coast was a prosperous region noted for its mild climate and its horses. Its capital, the town of Kherson, was a sleepy community dominated by the cathedral, the tomb of Catherine II’s favorite, Potemkin, and the province’s administration buildings. The latter, ample stone structures, housed the headquarters of all the region’s public agencies, the treasury, and the board of taxes. For two generations before 1861 these same buildings had been the scene of a systematic embezzlement of public funds by civil servants. During 1860, for example, 760 rubles...

  5. II The Ideology of Reform
    (pp. 51-109)

    However grave a situation might appear to have been in hindsight, it does not become the object of legislation until those who hold power have recognized and defined the problem. Even then, what Marxists term the “objective demands” of the circumstances rarely coincide with those factors to which legislators respond. It is instead the particular manner in which a social or political crisis is conceived by contemporaries that is all important, for it is that conception which to a large measure determines the way in which legislative countermeasures are molded.

    In an autocracy, the autocrat and his advisers formally claim...

  6. III The Politics of Decentralization
    (pp. 110-184)

    If the strength of an ideology is measured in terms of the numbers of its adherents, the ideology of provincial reform in Russia was very powerful indeed. Within two years after the end of the Crimean War scores of educated Russians came to believe, explicitly or tacitly, that administrative decentralization and self-government were entirely within the natural order of things and the sole means by which the provinces could be saved from bureaucratic suffocation. If, however, the strength of an ideology is measured in terms of its ability to mold reality to accord with its precepts, then Russian provincialism cannot...

  7. IV The Politics of Self-Government
    (pp. 185-291)

    It has long been customary to categorize nineteenth-century tsardom as an autocracy, in which a single ruler and his close advisers initiated and planned all change. This is certainly as Nicholas I would have had it. The official ideology propagated by his regime declared Russia to be founded on the triple pillars of Orthodoxy, Nationality—and Autocracy. Yet it is not accidental that this ideology was devised in the 1830s and 1840s, just as the tsar’s bureaucracy was undergoing an unprecedented expansion. One-man rule, if it had ever existed, was giving way to bureaucratic rule and the politics of autocracy...

  8. V New Reforms, Changed Conditions, Old Habits, 1864-1870
    (pp. 292-347)

    Government commissions charged with reforming Russia’s provincial institutions had largely completed their work by 1864. True, serious disputes stalled the judicial code for another year and plans for new urban institutions lay on ministerial tables for another half decade.¹ But the concerted effort to improve local administration by enhancing the governors’ sphere of initiative and by excluding the executive police from purely local affairs had received formal expression. Similarly, the text of statutes establishing regional elective bodies free from overt bureaucratic interference were published for all who could read. Though the notions had been softened and even transmuted through years...

  9. VI Conclusion
    (pp. 348-354)

    By way of conclusion, let us draw back from the mass of data which survives to our time—the debris from which the great debate on provincial government in nineteenth-century Russia must be reconstructed—and briefly review the general observations to which this evidence has led us. We can present them in the form of a tentative hypothesis on reform of local institutions at other periods of recent Russian history. It is appropriate to begin with an obvious point and yet one that is easily overlooked in the pursuit of more arcane truths: the Great Reforms, so far as they...

  10. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 355-378)
  11. Index
    (pp. 379-386)