The empire must die : Russia's revolutionary collapse, 1900-1917 / Mikhail Zygar.
- First edition.
- New York : Public Affairs, 2017.
xi, 558 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
- Romanov, House of.
Russia -- History -- 1801-1917.
Russia -- Kings and rulers.
- From Tolstoy to Lenin, from Diaghilev to Stalin, The Empire Must Die is a tragedy of operatic proportions with a cast of characters that ranges from the exotic to utterly villainous, the glamorous to the depraved. In 1912, Russia experienced a flowering of liberalism and tolerance that placed it at the forefront of the modern world: women were fighting for the right to vote in the elections for the newly empowered parliament, Russian art and culture was the envy of Europe and America, there was a vibrant free press and intellectual life. But a fatal flaw was left uncorrected: Russia's exuberant experimental moment took place atop a rotten foundation. The old imperial order, in place for three hundred years, still held the nation in thrall. Its princes, archdukes, and generals bled the country dry during the First World War and by 1917 the only consensus was that the Empire must die. Mikhail Zygar's dazzling, in-the-moment retelling of the two decades that prefigured the death of the Tsar, his family, and the entire imperial edifice is a captivating drama of what might have been versus what was subsequently seen as inevitable. A monumental piece of political theater that only Russia was capable of enacting, the fall of the Russian Empire changed the course of the twentieth century and eerily anticipated the mood of the twenty-first.
- Chapter 1, in which Leo Tolstoy becomes a symbol of the fight against the regime and the main ideologist of the opposition
Chapter 2, in which Sergei Witte fails to stop Russia from invading China and seizing Beijing
Chapter 3, in which Jews go on the war path: Mikhail Gotz and Gregory Gershuni create the most powerful opposition party in Russia
Chapter 4, in which liberals come into fashion: Peter Struve and Pavel Milyukov become the most popular politicians in the country
Chapter 5, in which Empress Alexandra and Dowager Empress Maria argue over who will be mistress of the palace and of Russia
Chapter 6, in which Russian gets a new leader of popular protest: his name is Georgy Gapon
Chapter 7, in which Black-Hundreder Alexander Dubrovin creates the first Russian party of the state, and oppositioner Maxim Gorky asks the West to stop funding Russia
Chapter 8, in which Pyotr Stolypin and Dmitriy Trepov suggest two different ways of reforming Russia
Chapter 9, in which art fan Sergei Diaghilev and religious fanatic Sergei Trufanov (Iliodor) try to stay independent from the state and even use it to their advantage
Chapter 10, in which millionaires Alexander Guchkov and Pavel Ryabushinsky try to engage big business in managing the country
Chapter 11, in which Grigory Rasputin becomes the most powerful kleptocrat and the most hated pacifist in Russia
Chapter 12, in which there is a second leader of popular protest in Russia: his name is Alexander Kerensky
Chapter 13, in which Irakli Tsereteli tries to turn Russian into a parliamentary democracy and Vladimir Lenin stands in his way
Chapter 14, in which Leon Trotsky and Lev Kamenev don't wish for a Bolshevik revolt anymore, since they believe it to be completely unnecessary.
- Includes bibliographical references (pages 521-530) and index.
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