Forging a Unitary State: Russia’s Management of the Eurasian Space, 1650–1850
Covering two centuries of Russian history, Forging a Unitary State is a comprehensive account of the creation of what is commonly known as the "Russian Empire," from Poland to Siberia. In this book, John P. LeDonne demonstrates that the so-called empire was, for the most part, a unitary state, defined by an obsessive emphasis on centralization and uniformity. The standardization of local administration, the judicial system, tax regime, and commercial policy were carried out slowly but systematically over eight generations, in the hope of integrating people on the periphery into the Russian political and social hierarchy.
The ultimate goal of Russian policy was to create a "Fortress Empire" consisting of a huge Russian unitary state flanked by a few peripheral territories, such as Finland, Transcaucasia, and Central Asia. Additional peripheral states, such as Sweden, Turkey, and Persia, would guarantee the security of this "Fortress Empire," and the management of Eurasian territory. LeDonne’s provocative argument is supported by a careful comparative study of Russian expansion along its western, southern, and eastern borders, drawing on vital but under-studied administrative evidence. Forging a Unitary State is an essential resource for those interested in the long history of Russian expansionism.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 682 pages
- Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.6in x 9.3in
"Dealing with complex issues of statehood and government, Forging a Unitary State can be situated under the rubric of a broadly defined institutional history. LeDonne builds upon a profound variety of primary sources and the massive corpus of his previous scholarship in Russian geopolitics, tsarist bureaucracy, and the system of administration. The book poses new questions that challenge widely held narratives about Russia becoming an empire."
Mikhail Dolbilov, Department of History, University of Maryland
"Forging a Unitary State is a sprawling work of immense erudition."
Kira Stevens, Department of History, Colgate University
"John P. LeDonne’s work, unique in its scale and design, connects the stories of Russia’s external territorial expansion and internal political consolidation. A result of many years of research, this book is an encyclopedia of imperial governance that will be indispensable for all historians of the Russian Empire."
Ekaterina Pravilova, Department of History, Princeton University
Author InformationJohn P. LeDonne is a senior research associate at the Davis Center, Harvard University.
Table of contents
Part I. The Southern Theater Reaches the Sea
1. Laying the Foundations, 1650–1725
Geography and Geopolitics
Society, Religion, and Trade
2. Towards Full Integration, 1725–96
Civil and Military Administration
Ecclesiastical and Legal Integration
The Ethnographic Map
3. Empire or Unitary State? 1796–1855
Fiscal and Commercial Integration
The First Cracks
Part II. The Struggle for Northwestern Eurasia
4. Laying the Foundation, 1650–1775
The Geopolitical Setting
Trade, Religion, and Law
5. Full Integration, 1775–1815
Territorial and Administrative Integration
Religion and Economy
The Baltic Provinces
6. Empire or Unitary State? 1815–55
Civil Administration and the Army
Society, Law, and Trade
On the Road to Disintegration
Subjects and Courses