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Tales of Imperial RussiaThe Life and Times of Sergei Witte, 1849-1915$
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Francis W. Wcislo

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199543564

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199543564.001.0001

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5. From Exile: Memories of Revolutionary Russia, 1903–1912

5. From Exile: Memories of Revolutionary Russia, 1903–1912

(p.189) 5. From Exile: Memories of Revolutionary Russia, 1903–1912
Tales of Imperial Russia

Francis Wcislo (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter tells of a senior statesman in the Age of Empire, confronting in Russia what perhaps was the first of a series of 20th-century national and social revolutions. Following Russian military defeat in the Russo–Japanese War, and confronted by explosions of political and social protests as its aftermath, Witte sought to salvage, reform, and thus preserve the Russian Empire for the 20th century. It also examines the story of an aged memoirist, in his last years before he died during World War I, pondering, occasionally, the loss of his Victorian faith in the empire's longevity, even legitimacy in a 20th century where ethnicity, ideology, social movements, the nation-state, and the modern diversity of cultural experience challenged the imperial narrative that his life had constructed and his memoirs conveyed. He died suddenly in February 1915, a half-year after the outbreak of what was becoming the Great War.

Keywords:   Sergei Witte, Russian Empire, revolution, Russo–Japanese War, 20th century

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