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By Eric Lohr, Marshall Poe

This booklet explores the interplay of the Russian army and society within the early sleek and glossy interval. unlike common army histories, the quantity is worried with the myriad political, fiscal and cultural currents that formed the Russian defense force from their beginnings in Muscovite instances to the tip of global conflict I. The e-book starts off with an try by way of the editors to supply a wide body during which to put a number of the contributions. What follows are 3 topical sections, together with 22 designated, frequently archival established monographic articles. the 1st part issues the army and Society in Muscovy; the second one part makes a speciality of the army and Society in Imperial Russia. The 3rd half analyzes Patriotism, Nationality, faith and the army.

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Fortifying the border afforded a measure of security, but the Muscovites did not consider this measure sufficient. Therefore they pursued a second, complementary strategy—the creation of an imperial buffer zone just beyond the Russian defensive perimeter. Beginning in the sixteenth century, the Russian elite concentrated its military energies on the capture of peripheral, non-Muscovite trading towns such as Kazan', Astrakhan', Kiev, Smolensk, Polotsk, the German O ERIC LOHR AND MARSHALL POE port cities along the Baltic, and the Crimean coastal cities.

For a sizable minority of the educated classes, the pillars of the garrison state—autocracy and serfdom—came to be seen as immoral. Second, the regime allowed its forces to become relatively obsolete. Certainly the Russians could seriously contend with the Turks. But when it came to fighting the French and British in the Crimea, or the Japanese at Port Arthur, they were found wanting. And no Peter the Great appeared to take the situation in hand and thoroughly modernize the armed forces. Finally, in an astoundingly brave gamble, the regime destroyed the economic basis of the garrison state—serfdom.

Russia—relatively isolated from Europe, governed by a conservative ruling class, and peopled by a vast population of subsistence farmers—was ill-equipped to take advantage of the world-historical developments occurring across her western border. To be sure, some Russian nationalism was encouraged (though no thought of enfranchising the narod was entertained until after the emancipation of the serfs in 1861). The state imported some modern industry (though without large, free markets Russia experienced no "take off" until well after emancipation).

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