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Sokolsky, Mark D.Taming Tiger Country: Colonization and Environment in the Russian Far East, 1860-1940
Doctor of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 2016, History
This dissertation examines the relationship between colonization and environmental change in the Russian province of Primor'e between roughly 1860 and 1940. In doing so, it explores the ecological dimensions of Russia's expansion across Asia and contributes a new perspective to the environmental history of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union. It contends that imperial competition over space and resources was the driving factor behind the environmental changes that occurred in Primor'e after 1860, yet also underlay the emergence of nature protection in the territory. From the outset of Russian colonization, Primor'e's nature, both as an idea and a material reality, was contested, highly politicized, and intertwined with ethnic and social divisions. This contestation over space, resources, and nature had far-reaching consequences for the territory and its nonhuman environment. Beginning in the late 1850s, the tsarist state sought to acquire Primor'e and colonize it with Russian and European settlers (including Ukrainians, Balts, Finns, and others) in order to take advantage of temporary Chinese weakness and to defend its eastern territories against other imperial powers. A territory that the Qing Empire had long preserved as a lightly-populated borderland, Russian authorities attempted to seize, demarcate, populate, and cultivate. Moreover, tsarist and (after 1922) Soviet authorities encouraged migrants to utilize Primor'e's natural resources in order to lay claim to the territory (along with its flora and fauna), and to provide a supply source for the Russian Far East. However, Primor'e's unique environment complicated Russian settlement efforts, particularly the transplanting of Russian-style agriculture and stock-breeding. Rather than producing a bounteous agricultural colony, settlers came to rely on hunting, fishing, wage-labor, and close economic relationships with migrants from China and Korea. Together, these groups precipitated significant environmental changes in Primor'e, including deforestation, a decline in many animal populations, erosion, and more frequent and violent flooding. The ecological effects of settlement in Primor'e almost immediately prompted widespread concern among officials, scholars, and other educated elites. These figures interpreted ecological change as symptoms of broader threats to Russian colonization, including the supposedly "barbaric" and "backward" character of East Asian migrants and Russian and Ukrainian colonists. Environmental questions played a key role in defining and deepening ethnic and social distinctions in the territory, and resource policies emerged as attempts to exclude or control the use of nature by the "uncivilized." Elites responded to ecological changes with a kind of "green" civilizing mission: the belief that managing and protecting nature in a "rational" way was in the interests of Russian colonization. Tsarist and later Soviet leaders sought to make forestry, agriculture, fisheries, and the management of land mammals more "rational" through the application of planning, European science, modern technologies, and state oversight. In doing so, they laid the groundwork for several very successful conservation initiatives in the twentieth century. "Rational" use, however, was oriented toward asserting Russian/Soviet power in the Far East and bore the legacies of Primor'e's ethnic and social divisions. The result, beginning in the tsarist period and continuing into the Soviet era, was an unprecedented degree of nature protection alongside environmental exploitation, a combination rooted primarily in local conditions and historical experience.

Committee:

Nicholas Breyfogle, Dr. (Advisor); David Hoffmann, Dr. (Committee Member); Alice Conklin, Dr. (Committee Member); John Brooke, Dr. (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Agriculture; Asian Studies; Environmental Studies; Forestry; History; Minority and Ethnic Groups; Modern History; Russian History; Wildlife Conservation; World History

Keywords:

Russia, Russian Empire, Soviet Union, Russian Far East, Manchuria, environmental history, environmental issues, imperialism, colonization, forest history, animal history, fisheries, peasants, agriculture

Lanzillotti, Ian ThomasLand, Community, and the State in the North Caucasus: Kabardino-Balkaria, 1763-1991
Doctor of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 2014, History
The Caucasus mountain region in southern Russia has witnessed many of post-Soviet Eurasia’s most violent inter-communal conflicts. From Abkhazia to Chechnya, the region fractured ferociously and neighboring communities took up arms against each other in the name of ethnicity and religion. In the midst of some of the worst conflict in Europe since 1945, the semiautonomous, multiethnic Kabardino-Balkar Republic in the North Caucasus remained a relative oasis of peace. This is not to say there were no tensions—there is no love lost between Kabardians, Balkars, and Russians, Kabardino-Balkaria’s principal communities. But, why did these communities, despite the agitation of ethno-political entrepreneurs, not resort to force to solve their grievances, while many neighboring ones did? What institutions and practices have facilitated this peace? What role have state officials and state structures played in, on the one hand, producing inter-communal conflict, and, on the other hand, mediating and defusing such conflict? And why has land played such a crucial rule in inter-communal relations in the region over the longue duree? More than enhancing our knowledge of a poorly-understood yet strategically important region, the questions I ask of Kabardino-Balkaria are windows on larger issues of enduring global relevance. What processes affect peace and stability in regions of ethno-confessional diversity? What role do states play in forging and manipulating ethnic, national, and religious affilitations? What are the dynamics of governance in multiethnic and multiconfessional states? When and why do group identity categories, such as ethnicity and religion, matter? This dissertation explores the themes of inter- and intra-communal relations, the expansion and evolution of imperial rule and governance, and the causes of peace and violence. I explore these themes particularly through the socioeconomic relations that developed around land use and ownership in central Caucasia, a region of extraordinary ethno-confessional and social diversity. In order to explore the deep roots of contemporary issues of governance, inter-communal relations, nationalism, and conflict in the Caucasus region, this study examines these issues over the longue duree, from the extension of Russian rule in the late eighteenth century through the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. This periodization of over two centuries allows for a comparative exploration of these themes over different regimes: the pre-colonial Kabardian princely confederation, the tsarist state, the Soviet Union, and post-Soviet Russia. My dissertation offers three broad conclusions to these questions. First, it argues that peace has prevailed in Kabardino-Balkaria because Kabardians, Balkars and Russians were interdependent stakeholders in a system of inter-communal relations, each occupying their own economic niche. Each group benefited from this system and had a stake in its preservation. Second, my research shows that the Kabardian majority has worked to ensure the continued inclusion of ethnic minorities in this system. Third, I demonstrate that imperial conquest and governance had both destructive and creative effects on inter-communal relations, by weakening some relationships, strengthening others, and, through colonization and resettlement, creating new ones. Finally, I argue that the category of ethnicity had little intrinsic importance on an everyday level for the diverse peoples of this region. Indeed, for much of the period examined in this study, class or estate categories and confessional affiliations usually had far greater meaning in society than ethnic or national ones. But ethnic and national cateogiries could become important political tools and, often, catalysts for conflict in the hands of elites of various stripes.

Committee:

Nicholas Breyfogle (Advisor); Theodora Dragostinova (Committee Member); David Hoffmann (Committee Member); Scott Levi (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Ethnic Studies; European History; History; Peace Studies; Russian History; Slavic Studies

Keywords:

ethnicity; Caucasus; Kabardians; Circassians; Balkars; Karachai; Cossacks; Ossetians; Ingush; Chechens; Kabardino-Balkaria; inter-communal relations; Soviet nationality policies; nation building; imperial integration; the Russian Empire; land relations

Lywood, William GeorgeFrom Russia’s Orient To Russia’s Riviera: Reimagining The Black Sea Coast/Caucasus from Romantic Literature to Early Tourist Guidebooks
Master of Arts, The Ohio State University, 2009, History

In the 1870s a new railroad connected the Crimea to Russia’s two capitals, opening the door for tourism on the southern periphery of the Russian empire. Until this time, it was difficult to access the Black Sea Coast, and it was primarily the wealthiest Russians who traveled there. By the 1890s, however, it was possible for a much broader segment of the Russian empire’s multi-ethnic population to access the North Caucasus and eastern coast of the Black Sea by train, opening the door for a tourist industry to blossom in the last three decades of tsarist rule.

This study examines the role of tourist guidebooks in transforming the Black Sea Coast and the Caucasus mountains in the minds of Russian readers into a premiere tourist destination within the tsarist empire. It will consider themes such as orientalism, romanticism, imagined geography, and tourism, with a particular emphasis on the relationship between these themes, tourist guidebooks, and Russian imperial expansion into the Caucasus.

In the first two thirds of the nineteenth century, correspondence from the military fronts of the Crimea and Caucasus (‘pacified’ and ‘incorporated’ into the empire gradually from 1783 to the 1860s) made Russians in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities of the empire envision the Caucasus as Russia’s own orient, a place that was exotic yet conquerable. The Caucasus, more than any other peripheral region in the tsarist empire, was the setting for poems, short stories, drama, and novels that gained widespread readership amongst Russians in the nineteenth century and today. This literature became the center of a discourse about the Caucasus that fashioned an ambiguous and tenuous relationship between Russians and Muslims in the Caucasus.

The principle argument of this study is that guidebooks changed Russian perceptions of the Black Sea Coast by removing any imperial ambiguity. In this way, guidebooks played a nationalist and imperialist role. They worked to integrate parts of the Caucasus into the Russian empire as an authentically Russian place that was no longer foreign. For tourists, the coast and mountains were indisputably part of the Russian empire, and the right to travel there was hardly questioned. Histories provided in guidebooks did not have the goal of describing cultural diversity and the possible cross-cultural encounters tourists might face along the Black Sea Coast. Quite the opposite, non-Russians were almost entirely written out of the story. Guidebooks offered histories of the region that served to make the potential tourist feel safe, and to make them feel as though, because they were staying in Russia, they were contributing to the welfare of their homeland. The Black Sea Coast may still have been exotic, but guidebooks transformed it into a space of incredible sights, leisure, and health resorts.

Committee:

Nicholas Breyfogle, PhD (Advisor); Alice Conklin, PhD (Committee Member); David Hoffmann, PhD (Committee Member)

Subjects:

History

Keywords:

Black Sea; Caucasus; Russia; Russian Empire; Travel; Tourism; Guidebooks; Leisure

Lywood, William GeorgeOur Riviera, Coast of Health: Environment, Medicine, and Resort Life in Fin-de-Siècle Crimea
Doctor of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 2012, History

This is a dissertation about a particular place, small in size and population, which existed in fin-de-siècle Russia and was known as the Russian Riviera. Stretching along the south and west coasts of the Crimean peninsula, 1300 miles away from St. Petersburg, Russia’s Riviera was the premiere travel destination within the tsarist empire.

“What was the Russian Riviera?” is the broad question at hand here. How did Russians understand their Riviera? What cultural influences shaped the questions raised by locals and visitors concerning the Riviera’s identity and future development? How did Russians give meaning to the place?

Through a thorough analysis of travel literature (by which I mean guidebooks, pamphlets, advertisements, published diaries, and personal reflections), medical reports, local administrative records, and above all newspapers, this dissertation sets out to answer these big questions. The Russian Riviera’s identity and its meaning as a place came to be directly related to the ways that Russians appropriated spaces in Crimea in new ways—ways that were both distinct to the region but also reflective of broader social and cultural processes taking place in the late tsarist empire. Russian travelers used them as a conduit to education and enlightenment. Crimea’s natural world was also rendered as a space of health and modern medical treatments. I suggest that the exploration and understandings of those natural spaces also gave Crimea new meaning as an integrated part of the Russian imperial and national homeland. The growth of resorts for Russian travelers also created new urban spaces in Crimea. The towns and small cities of the coastlines were built up as sanitary spaces by local planners, doctors and engineers; as spaces of leisure for the tourist public; and they were also spaces of social interaction that revolved heavily around contested notions of masculinity and femininity, fashion, and promiscuity. Ultimately, Crimea’s coastlines became the Russian Riviera, endowed with meaning for Russians, because of the ways that they transformed its physical environment into a place of leisure, enlightenment, imperialism, health, sanitation, and highly gendered social interactions.

The contests over the identity of the Russian Riviera and the meaning that local and traveling Russians gave to it speak to a whole host of anxieties and aspirations that they held at the fin-de-siècle. More than a history of a small part of peninsula thousands of miles from the imperial centers, this dissertation sheds light on real concerns of nineteenth and early twentieth century Russians, including the changing relationships between humans and the natural world, modern medical knowledge, practices, and civil society, rapid urbanization, and the politics and public discourse surrounding sex. Like no other place in the tsarist empire, the history of the Russian Riviera matters as a site that reveals the extensive, interwoven links connecting travel, imperialism, medicine, gendered social environments, and the natural world.

Committee:

Nicholas Breyfogle, PhD (Advisor); Chris Otter, PhD (Committee Member); David Hoffmann, PhD (Committee Member)

Subjects:

History

Keywords:

Crimea; Russian empire; environment; medicine; health; riviera; tourism; travel;

Souder, Eric MatthewThe Circassian Thistle: Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy's 'Khadzhi Murat' and the Evolving Russian Empire"
Master of Arts, Miami University, 2014, History
The following thesis examines the creation, publication, and reception of Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy’s posthumous novel, Khadzhi Murat in both the Imperial and Soviet Russian Empire. The anti-imperial content of the novel made Khadzhi Murat an incredibly vulnerable novel, subjecting it to substantial early censorship. Tolstoy’s status as a literary and cultural figure in Russia – both preceding and following his death – allowed for the novel to become virtually forgotten despite its controversial content. This thesis investigates the absorption of Khadzhi Murat into the broader canon of Tolstoy’s writings within the Russian Empire as well as its prevailing significance as a piece of anti-imperial literature in a Russian context.

Committee:

Stephen Norris, Ph.D. (Advisor); Daniel Prior, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Margaret Ziolkowski, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Subjects:

History; Literature; Russian History; Slavic Literature; Slavic Studies

Keywords:

Leo Tolstoy; Tolstoy; Khadzhi Murat; Hadji Murat; North Caucasus; Chechnya; Daghestan; Russian Empire; Russian Literature; Censorship; Literary Criticism; Empire; Nicholas I