Fall 2012

Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:30-13:45, in SOS Z-17

Instructor: Mark Baker, Ph.D.
Office: SOS-136; phone: 0212-338-1399

email: mbaker@ku.edu.tr
(I am most easily accessible via email, but phone is fine too.)

Office hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, 10:00 am-12:00 pm

Course description: Koc University's website describes the course as, "From the rule of Peter the Great until the 1905 and [1917] Soviet revolutions. The course concentrates on the social, political, and economic events leading to the 1905 Revolution, including the 1917 Revolution and the Stalin period." The time period is basically too long and too much has been written to cover this period in any depth. Hence, we will strive at most through the 1917 revolutions. Obviously, we have a great deal to read and discuss in this course. If you wish to do well in this course, it is essential that you keep up with the readings and attend classes regularly.

Course Learning Objectives: By the end of this course, students will (hopefully) be able:

  • To understand various approaches to the study of Russia's past, and how these approaches have changed over time.
  • To identify and explain the most important events, people, social phenomena, causes, and consequences in Russian history.
  • To be able to develop a good historical question for a research paper, one that is limited, interpretive, and in some sense original.
  • To research and write a research paper on a topic of their own choosing.
  • To evaluate historical documents critically and to describe how they might be used in understanding and writing Russian history.
  • To think more critically about history, how it is constructed, written, and interpreted.

Reading Requirements: Readings for this course will appear in the course outline below by date. Students are required to do the readings listed for a particular date before the class period on that specific date. All listed readings are required. We will discuss them regularly at each class.

Required texts:

  • Abraham Ascher, Russia: A Short History (Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2011). [hereafter "Ascher"]
  • Savva Dmitrievich Purlevskii (1800-1868), A Life under Russian Serfdom: Memoirs of Savva Dmitrievich Purlevskii, 1800-1868; translated and edited by Boris B. Gorshkov (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2005). [hereafter "Purlevskii"] eBook
  • Various documents and short articles linked to various specific classes. See the "Topics and Readings" section of this syllabus.

Interesting and useful links:




Midterm Examination: will include short-answer, map, and essay questions; students are responsible for all materials from the lectures and the readings. The exam will take place on 7 November 2012. Click here to see the midterm study guide.


In-class quizzes (unannounced): There will be some (usually five) in-class quizzes during the semester, quizzing students mostly on the readings, not the lectures. They will therefore reward students who do the readings before the class for which they are assigned.


Participation: students will be evaluated not only for attending all classes, but taking an active part in class discussions. Periodically, we will discuss a particular reading for a whole class period. For these classes, eachstudent isrequired to prepare two discussion questions in advance and email them to me by 11:00 on the day of that class: mbaker@ku.edu.tr


Research Paper: Students will research and write a paper on a topic of their choice, 8-10 pages in length, with a minimum of five sources (books and scholarly articles) and at least one primary source (such as a document). Students will be required to submit a preliminary bibliography by 22 October 2012. The paper will be due on 24 December 2012. Please submit to www.turnitin.com [class ID: 5539974; password: kerensky] by 12:00 .

Click here for Tips for Better Writing!


Final Examination: will include short-answer, map, and essay questions; students are responsible for all materials from the lectures and the readings. The final examination will be comprehensive and take place on 6 January 2013, 9:00-12:00, in CAS 133.

Click here for Final Examination Study Guide!


Very important rules:

  • Late assignments will be accepted, but one-third of a grade per day will be deducted (for example, a "B-" paper that is one day late will become a "C+" paper).
  • Make-up examinations will be permitted only with written verification of medical or personal emergencies. I am a historian; I require written evidence.
  • Students are allowed a maximum of four absences. Any further absences will result in a grade of "F" in the course. Students will also lose participation points for bad behavior, disrupting class, leaving early, chatting to other students unnecessarily, or using their mobile phones.
  • Each student should read Koc University's Student Code of Conduct, especially concerning Academic Dishonesty. Using words from any source without placing them in quotation marks and citing the source is plagiarism. Submitting a paper (in whole or part) that was submitted for any other course is also plagiarism. Looking at another student's exam or using any outside sources during an examination is cheating. A course grade of 'F' will be applied in all proven instances of cheating and plagiarism.
  • Turnitin.com: Students and the instructor will be using www.turnitin.com to learn about and check for plagiarism on the research paper. All students will need to register with www.turnitin.com in the first week of class. (Class ID: 5539974; password: kerensky [NB: case sensitive])
  • You MUST check your email account on a regular basis in order to do well in this course. I frequently send email messages about upcoming events concerning the course, as well as handouts and other course materials. If you are not in the habit of checking your Koc email regularly, you will need to start, or else have your email forwarded to whatever email address you do use regularly.
  • Be on time for class; if you need to leave class early, please let me know in advance.
  • The classroom is a public forum for dialogue. Hence, all electronic communication devices (especially cell phones and pagers) must be turned off during class.
  • Students unable to comply with any of these guidelines should see me personally and immediately to discuss their reasons.

Course Outline: Readings are to be completed before class on the day on which they are listed below. Students should plan to spend several hours each week outside of class time reading, taking notes, reviewing notes, and thinking about questions to pose at class. In addition, they will need to work on the research paper throughout the semester. Please bring all relevant materials to class, especially a notebook or laptop and the required texts.


Topics and Readings


Introduction to the syllabus, course and the topic:
A review of the basic dates of imperial Russian history.
Click here for a chronology.
Click here for a fairly complete list of rulers


Pre-Petrine Russia, part I (ppt) (html)
Reading: Ascher, Chapter One: The Beginnings


Pre-Petrine Russia, part II (ppt) (html)
Reading: Ascher, Chapter Two: The Rise of Muscovite Russia
Excerpts from four contemporary sources on Peter the Great (read all four accounts)


Peter I (the Great) and his reforms (ppt) (html)
Reading: Ascher, Chapter Three: Times of Troubles and Grandeur, 1584-1725, first half (to "Peter the Great")


Peter I (the Great) and his reforms (ppt) (html)
Reading: Ascher, Chapter Three: Times of Troubles and Grandeur, 1584-1725, second half (from "Peter the Great" to the end)
Letter from Peter I to his son Alexei, and his son's response, 1715


Ruthless Tsarinas and Palace Coups: Anna I and Elizabeth I (ppt) (html)
Reading: Ascher, Chapter Four: Decline and Survival in the Eighteenth Century, first part (to "The Reign of Catherine the Great")


Catherine II (the Great), 1762-1796 (ppt) (html)
Reading: Ascher, Chapter Four: Decline and Survival in the Eighteenth Century, second part (from "The Reign of Catherine the Great" to the end of chapter)
Tony Brenton, "The Ambassador, the Grand Duke, his wife and her lover," History Today 58, no. 9 (September 2008): 14-19.
Three contemporary sources on Catherine the Great (read all three)


Catherine II, part II: Pugachev and the peasants (ppt) (html)
Reading: Isabel de Madariaga, "Catherine the Great," History Today 51, no. 11 (November 2001): 45-51 (e-Article).
Two documents on the Pugachev Rebellion (1774-1775)

Start reading Purlevskii, A Life under Russian Serfdom


Discussion: Imperial Expansion: the case of Bashkiria
: Charles Steinwedel, "How Bashkiria Became Part of European Russia, 1762-1881," in Russian Empire, pp. 94-124 [pdf].

Discussion Questions on Steinwedel DUE by 11:00. Email to mbaker@ku.edu.tr


Aleksandr I, early period and reforms (ppt) (html)
Reading: Ascher, Chapter Five: Russia as a Great Power, 1801-1855, first half (to Tsar Nicholas I)
Richard Cavendish, "Murder of Tsar Paul I," History Today 51, no. 3 (March 2001): 53 (e-Article).


Aleksandr I and the Napoleonic Wars (ppt) (html)
Reading: Alexander M. Martin, "The Response of the Population of Moscow to the Napoleonic Occupation of 1812," in The Military and Society in Russia: 1450-1917, edited by Eric Lohr and Marshall Poe (Boston: Brill, 2002), pp. 469-489 (eBook).
Janet Hartley, "Napoleon in Russia," History Today 41, no. 1 (January 1991): 28-34 (e-Article).
Link to Peter Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture (Finale)

DUE: PRELIMINARY BIBLIOGRAPHY for research paper! Students will meet with me the following the bayram to discuss their bibliographies.


Kurban Bayrami, 24-28 October 2012

No classes


89th Anniversary of the Founding of the Turkish Republic (Holiday)

No classes

Keep reading Purlevskii, A Life under Russian Serfdom


Nicholas I, the Decembrists, and Official Nationality Policy (ppt) (html)
Reading: Ascher, Chapter Five: Russia as a Great Power, 1801-1855, second half (from Tsar Nicholas I)
Riasanovsky, Russian Identities, Chapter 7: "The Reign of Nicholas I, 1825-1855, and the New Intellectual Climate," pp. 130-166 (eBook; endnotes).


Nicholas I and the Crimean War, 1853-1856(ppt) (html)
Reading: Richard Cavendish, "Death of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia," History Today 55, no. 3 (March 2005): 58 (e-Article).
Hakan Kirimli, "Emigrations from the Crimea to the Ottoman Empire during the Crimean War," Middle Eastern Studies 44, no. 5 (September 2008): 751-77 (e-Article).


~~~ Midterm Examination ~~~

Click here to view the Midterm Study Guide.


Discussion: Religious Differences and Different Ideas about Religion in the Romanov Empire
Paul Werth, "Changing Conceptions of Difference, Assimilation, and Faith in the Volga-Kama Region, 1740-1870," in Russian Empire, pp. 169-195 [pdf].

Discussion Questions on Werth DUE by 11:00. Email to mbaker@ku.edu.tr


Alexander II: the great reformer (ppt) (html)
Reading: Ascher, Chapter Six: Reform and Counter-Reform, 1861-1894, first half (to "Consequences of Reform")
Document: Count von Moltke, "The Coronation of Tsar Alexander II," (1855).


Peasants and the end of serfdom (ppt) (html)
Reading: Boris N. Mironov, "The Myth of a Systemic Crisis in Russia after the Great Reforms of the 1860s-1870s," Russian Social Science Review 50, no. 4 (July 2009): 36-48 (e-Article).

Finish reading Purlevskii, A Life under Russian Serfdom


Alexander II: the not so great reformer (ppt) (html)
Reading: Roman Golicz, "The Russians shall not have Constantinople," History Today 53, no. 9 (September 2003): 39-45 (e-Article).
Aleksei Volvenko, "The Zemstvo Reform, the Cossacks, and Administrative Policy on the Don, 1864-1882," in Russian Empire, pp. 348-365 [pdf].


Alexander III, 1881-1894 (ppt) (html)
Reading: Ascher, Chapter Six: Reform and Counter-Reform, 1861-1894, second half (from "Consequences of Reform" to end)
Bruce W. Lincoln, "Murder near the Cathedral," History Today 25, no. 3 (March 1975): 175-184 (e-Article).


Nicholas II, 1894-1904 (ppt) (html)
Reading: Ascher, Chapter Seven: Revolutionary Russia, 1894-1917, first part (to "The Revolution of 1905")
For those interested, Nicholas's diary is available online, indexed by year (click here).


The Russo-Japanese War and the 1905 revolution (ppt) (html)
Reading: Ascher, Chapter Seven: Revolutionary Russia, 1894-1917, (from "The Revolution of 1905" to "Stolypin's Reforms")
Stewart Lone, "Between Bushido and Black Humour," History Today 55, no. 9 (September 2005): 20-27 (e-Article).
Raymond A. Esthus, "Nicholas II and the Russo-Japanese War," Russian Review 40, no. 4 (October 1981): 396-411 (e-Article).


The 1905 revolution, part II (ppt) (html)
Reading: Beryl Williams, "Russia 1905," History Today 55, no. 5 (May 2005): 44-51 (e-Article).
Charlotte Alston,"Witnessing a Revolution," History Today 55, no. 1 (January 2005): 28-29 (e-Article).
Document: Manifesto of 17 October 1905
Document: The Russian Fundamental Law of 23 April 1906


The Stolypin reaction, 1907-1911 (ppt) (html)
Reading: Ascher, Chapter Seven: Revolutionary Russia, 1894-1917, third part (from "Stolypin's Reforms" to "The Revolution of 1917")
The Stolypin Agrarian Reform: Ukaz of 9 November 1906
Click here to read about a rather amazing event that occurred on 30 June 1908.


World War I and the Russia Empire (ppt) (html)
Reading: Eric Lohr, "War and Revolution, 1914-1917," in The Cambridge History of Russia: Volume 2, Imperial Russia, 1689-1917, ed. Dominic Lieven (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), pp. 655-669 (eBook).


February 1917 "People's revolution" (ppt) (html)
Reading Documents: Ascher, Chapter Seven: Revolutionary Russia, 1894-1917, fourth part (from "The Revolution of 1917" to "The Bolsheviks Seize Power")
Documents: Abdication of Nikolai II, 15 March 1917
The First Provisional Government, Izvestiia, 3 March 1917
Resolutions adopted by the First All-Russian Congress of Soviets, June 1917


The Many Revolutions of 1917 (ppt) (html)
Reading: Sarah Badcock, "Talking to the People and Shaping Revolution: The Drive for Enlightenment in Revolutionary Russia," Russian Review 65, no. 4 (October 2006): 617-636 (e-Article).


October 1917 revolution (ppt) (html)
Reading Documents: Ascher, Chapter Seven: Revolutionary Russia, 1894-1917, fifth part (from "The Bolsheviks Seize Power" to end of chapter)
: Vladmir Illyich Lenin (1870-1924), "April Theses," April 1917
Vladmir Illyich Lenin, "Call to Power," 24 October (6 November) 1917
"Declaration of the Rights of the Toiling and Exploited Peoples," 4 (17) January 1917

RESEARCH PAPER DUE: Please submit to www.turnitin.com by 12:00 (noon): class ID: 5539974; password: kerensky.


Civil war, 1918-1921 (ppt) (html)
Reading: Ascher, Chapter Eight: The Soviet Union under Lenin and Stalin, first part (to "Struggle for Power")
V. I. Lenin, "On the Organization of the Cheka," 19 December 1917
Letter from Lenin to M. Gorky, 15 September 1919
L. Trotsky, "On the Events at Kronstadt," 16 March 1921

The second civil war: toilers versus the "dictatorship of the proletariat" (ppt) (html)


Final Examination will take place on 6 January 2013, 9:00-12:00, in CAS 133.

Click here to see Final Examination Study Guide!

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