Tales of Imperial Russia

Francis W. Wcislo

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199543564
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725104 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Modern European History

Tales of Imperial Russia

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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History and biography meet in this book, a study of the late-Romanov Russian Romanov, told through the figure of Sergei Witte. Like Bismarck or Gorbachev, Witte was a European statesman serving an empire. He was the most important statesman of pre-revolutionary Russia. In the Georgia, Odessa, Kyiv, and St. Petersburg of the 19th century, he inhabited the worlds of the Victorian Age, as young boy, student, railway executive, lover of divorcees and Jews, monarchist, and technocrat. His political career saw him construct the Tran-Siberian Railway, propel Russia towards Far Eastern war with Japan, visit America in 1905 to negotiate the Treaty of Portsmouth concluding that war, and return home to confront revolutionary disorder with the State Duma, the first Russian parliament. The book is based on two memoir manuscripts that Witte wrote between 1906 and 1912, and includes his account of Nicholas II, the Empress Alexandra, and the machinations of a Russian imperial court that he believed were leading the country to revolution.

Keywords: empire; Romanov; Sergei Witte; pre-revolutionary Russia; Treaty of Portsmouth; St. Petersburg; 19th century

Book.  328 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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