Northern Illinois University Press

Between Two Revolutions

Stolypin and the Politics of Renewal in Russia

Peter Waldron

Why was Russia's tsarist regime ill-prepared to face the 1917 Revolution? Peter Waldron examines the crucial period between the success of the autocracy in retaining power in the 1905 Revolution and the débâcle of tsarism's crushing defeat in 1917, using Stolypin's reforms as a lens through which to view the rising crisis that confronted the autocratic order.

Focusing on his program to modernize Russia's institutions and society, Waldron shows how, as prime minister, Stolypin initiated broad reforms in administration, law, agriculture, and education. These reforms would have transformed the social and political structures of imperial Russia by promoting the development of an independent peasantry and by curtailing the authority of the ruling elites. Driven by a vision for Russia's salvation, Stolypin was able to accommodate briefly the conflicting imperatives of repressing antistate activity and creating means for change.

Stolypin's efforts to renovate the institutional, economic, and social bases of the imperial order represent the last attempt of the tsarist regime to engineer its own survival. Stolypin ultimately failed—in Waldron's account—because of the immobility of the imperial institutions, the tsar's mounting distrust, and political intrigue among groups in the Duma.

By placing the issue of reform firmly in context, Between Two Revolutions provides a vital understanding of why the Russian autocracy was so easily swept away in 1917. This study will prove essential reading for students of modern European history, Russian history, and revolution.

(1997) 228 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-87580-235-0
cloth $36.00

For sale in the U.S. and Canada only

Table of Contents

1 Reform or Repression? The Dilemma of Tsarism
2 Renewing Russia: Stolypin's Programme
3 Institutional Failure
4 The Paralysis of Parliament
5 The Mobilization of Conservative Opinion
6 Reform Defeated
Conclusion: Between Two Revolutions

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ISBN: 978-0-87580-235-0
cloth $36.00