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Kiev: A Portrait, 1800-1917

Michael F. Hamm
Copyright Date: 1993
Pages: 328
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    In a fascinating "urban biography," Michael Hamm tells the story of one of Europe's most diverse cities and its distinctive mix of Ukrainian, Polish, Russian, and Jewish inhabitants. A splendid urban center in medieval times, Kiev became a major metropolis in late Imperial Russia, and is now the capital of independent Ukraine. After a concise account of Kiev's early history, Hamm focuses on the city's dramatic growth in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The first historian to analyze how each of Kiev's ethnic groups contributed to the vitality of the city's culture, he also examines the violent conflicts that developed among them. In vivid detail, he shows why Kiev came to be known for its "abundance of revolutionaries" and its anti-Semitic violence.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5151-5
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. List of Illustrations and Tables
    (pp. viii-ix)
    (pp. x-x)
    Michael F. Hamm
    (pp. xi-2)
    Michael F. Hamm
  6. CHAPTER I The Early History of Kiev
    (pp. 3-17)

    The organizing center of Kievan Rus, the first great Slavic state, Kiev arose in the ninth century as a commercial hub on the trade routes connecting Europe, the Eastern Christian empire known as Byzantium with its capital at Constantinople, the glorious Abassid Moslem empire ruled from Baghdad, and the Khazar state of the lower Volga and northern Caucasus. At its zenith in the eleventh century, Kiev was the ruling center of the largest political entity in medieval Europe and one of the world’s most splendid cities. Its population for the year 1200 has been estimated at fifty thousand or more....

  7. CHAPTER II The Growth of Metropolitan Kiev
    (pp. 18-54)

    On her way to the Crimea, Catherine the Great visited Kiev from January 29 until April 22, 1787. “From the time I arrived, I’ve looked around for a city, but so far I’ve found only two fortresses and some outlying settlements,” she complained. “In all of these ruins of what they call Kiev, I can only think about the past grandeur of this ancient capital.” Wrote another from Catherine’s entourage:

    From a distance Kiev conveys great beauty. The green and golden cupolas on the bluffs are particularly charming, but that charm disappears when you enter the wretched place. The timber,...

  8. CHAPTER III Polish Kiev
    (pp. 55-81)

    At the turn of the nineteenth century, “politics” in Kiev revolved primarily around attempts by various guilds and burgher factions to defend parochial economic interests against one another, while staving off further encroachments by the Russian state. During the course of the century, however, national consciousness and conflict grew increasingly important as determinants of the political climate of the city, as they did elsewhere in the Russian Empire and Europe. Poles were the first to challenge authority, and their discontent came to dominate local politics until the insurrection of 1863. Largely as a result of Polish insurrectionism, the imperial government...

  9. CHAPTER IV Ukrainians in Russian Kiev
    (pp. 82-116)

    In an effort to end Ukrainian autonomy, in 1782 Catherine the Great divided the Cossack Hetmanate into three provinces(namestnichestva),one of which had its capital in Kiev. As a result, Left-Bank Ukrainian landowners, dressed in the “untidy” manner of the Zaporozhe Cossacks and differing little from the peasantry in language and custom, became prominent in the city, assuming many of the offices created by Catherine's reform. By 1787 all twenty-two officers of Kiev's civil court were Ukrainians, as were all but one of the twenty-one officers of the superior court called thezemskycourt. Ivan Vyshnevsky, who owned 1,668...

  10. CHAPTER V Jewish Kiev
    (pp. 117-134)

    Records of Jewish settlement in Kiev date back at least to 1018, when it was reported that local soldiers attacked Jewish homes during the Polish occupation of the city.¹ The city wall had a “Jewish Gate,” later renamed Lviv Gate, and then Zhytomyr Gate. However, the size of medieval Kiev’s Jewish community is not known.

    The Polish-Lithuanian state, which extended its authority over Kiev, had one of the largest concentrations of Jews in Europe. With no regular means of raising revenue, Polish kings relied on tolls exacted from merchants on roads and at bridges and river crossings. Jews commonly paid...

  11. CHAPTER VI Recreation, the Arts, and Popular Culture in Kiev
    (pp. 135-172)

    By virtue of its history, its churches, its beauty, and its climate, frontier Kiev had always been a mecca for troops, pilgrims, landowners, and for “simple people who came south as a diversion much as one might visit a foreign land.” In the merry minds of Kiev journalists, imaginary rubes from Tarakanovka (Cockroachville) came to the Contract Fair ostensibly to buy their wives Turkish shawls and Kazan soap, but really because in Kiev one could “do some hard drinking.” Kiev had amenities not found in smaller communities, and one person’s amenity is another’s diversion. After all, even after learning that...

  12. CHAPTER VII The Promise of Change: Kiev in 1905
    (pp. 173-188)

    On Bloody Sunday, January 9, 1905, troops in St. Petersburg fired on a large but peaceful demonstration, killing or wounding several hundred people. In response, Kievans joined angry subjects from throughout the empire, taking to the streets in unprecedented numbers to challenge authority. Initially, demands focused on redressing workplace grievances and creating a more humane economic order. By the fall these grievances had fused with aspirations for broader political changes, and Nicholas II was forced to grant the historic October Manifesto.

    Polish and Ukrainian activists vocalized national goals, but as organized groups played a very insignificant role in Kiev’s 1905...

  13. CHAPTER VIII The Promise Shattered: The October Pogrom
    (pp. 189-207)

    The joyous mood of celebration that had spread through Kiev lasted only until the late afternoon of October 18, 1905, when a bloody confrontation in front of city hall left more than one hundred casualties. A few hours later, attacks against Jews and their property began. Kiev’s October pogrom would continue for three days.

    On October 18 Kievans assembled at the usual spots, St. Vladimir University, the Polytechnical Institute, and the Main Railway Shops, before breaking into two main groups. One group moved along Bolshaia Vasilkov Street; the other, led by the Bolshevik Shlikhter on horseback, waving red streamers from...

  14. CHAPTER IX The Final Years of Romanov Kiev
    (pp. 208-222)

    For a few weeks after the bloody days of October 18–20, Kievans continued to win redress of job-related grievances. For example, on October 24 the first eight-hour day in the milling industry was introduced at the Brodsky steam mill.¹ However, the great triumph of 1905 had been the October Manifesto, for it promised freedom of conscience, speech, and assembly, and the establishment of a law-based state. Regrettably, in Kiev as in the empire as a whole the promise of the manifesto would diminish sharply within a month.

    On October 13, a few days before the October Manifesto was issued,...

    (pp. 223-236)

    As if to underscore the importance of the steppe to the early history of Kiev, a graffito in St. Sophia Cathedral, possibly from the eleventh century, refers to Kiev’s ruler as a “kagan,” the title of the rulers of the Turkic nomads.¹ Its rise occasioned by the interaction of Varangian warrior-merchants and Eastern Slavs, and its culture greatly enriched by Vladimir’s decision in 988 to convert his subjects to Byzantine Christianity, medieval Kiev became the ruling center of the largest political entity in Europe and one of the largest cities in Eurasia.

    A prime target of nomadic raiders, Kiev was...

  16. NOTES
    (pp. 237-272)
    (pp. 273-286)
  18. INDEX
    (pp. 287-304)