WiP: Alexander Semyonov on the Tensions of Colonializing and Federalizing Empire:

CRRC, ARISC and American Councils are pleased to announce the 11th talk of the Spring/Summer 2023 Tbilisi Works-in-Progress series!

The talk will take place in hybrid format in-person at CRRC Georgia and online through Zoom: https://us06web.zoom.us/…/tZAkc-ippjIuGdKCz-LC1h…

“Tensions of Colonializing and Federalizing Empire: The Debates in the Constitutional-Democratic Party and the State Duma of the Russian Empire, 1905-1911”

By Alexander Semyonov, Amherst College and Ab Imperio

Date: 14 June 2023, 18:30 Tbilisi time

Alexander Kaufman, a spokesperson for the liberal Constitutional-Democratic party on the matters of the “agrarian question” observed with regard to the process of “resettlement”: “Russia is both the donor and recipient country of migration flows.” By Russia as the donor country Kaufman meant the movement of the surplus of rural population from the European part of Russia, by Russia as a recipient country, he meant the “Asiatic” regions of the Russian Empire to which the flow of migrations directed. Kaufman further observed that the post-reform governmental policy of colonization schizophrenically combined the interest in resettling peasants from European Russia with consideration of “the lawful rights and interests of the native population.” The present paper explores the moment when tensions of the colonization policy were considered and mediated not in the chancelleries of the imperial government and expert discussion, but in the public debate of the imperial parliament. The polyphony of the Duma debate on the colonization brought to the surface the modernity of imperial politics and its constituent elements of colonialism and federalism. The inclusive nature of the imperial parliament brought into the Duma Hall the representatives of both “European” and “Asiatic Russia.” The calls to supply lands for the impoverished and downtrodden Russian or Ukrainian peasants were met with advocacy of land rights of the native population by representatives of the Cossack, Volga-Kama, “Kyrgyz,” and Siberian lands. The most interesting aspect of the Duma debates from 1906 through 1911 is the clash of visions that was made possible by the inclusive concept and practice of imperial citizenship.

Alexander Semyonov is John J. McCloy ‘22 Visiting Professor of History at Amherst College in Massachusetts and is a co-founder and co-editor of the journal Ab Imperio.

Works-in-Progress is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place office of CRRC at Liziko Kavtaradze St. 1 and online. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public.

In observation of the spirit of the Chatham House Rule, the talks will not be recorded, and we courteously request that the other participants refrain from recording and/or distributing recordings as well. The opinions expressed in WiP talks are those of the speakers alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CRRC, ARISC or of American Councils.