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Ab Imperio, 3/2001 559 John KEEP Исторический ежегодник. Омск: Омский государственный университет, 1999. 183 с.; Вест- ник Академии гуманитарных на- ук, Омское отделение. № 4. Омск, 2000. 243 с. The Anglo-American scholarly community is still poorly informed about the vast region commonly known as west Siberia. There is as yet no monograph devoted to its rich past comparable in scope to, say, J. J. Stephan’s standard work on the Russian Far East.1 General histories of Russia usually mention Yermak and Russia’s conquest of 1 The Russian Far East: a History. Stanford , 1994. Two recent works on Siberia in general are: V. L. Mote. Siberia: Worlds Apart. Boulder, CO, 1998 and S. Kotkin and D. Wolff (eds.). Rediscovering Russia in Asia. Armonk, NY, 1995. the area in the sixteenth century but thereafter devote only episodic attention to its affairs: the trakt along which convicts were despatched to Siberian exile, for instance. Specialists on the late Imperial era will, however, be more familiar with what Donald W. Treadgold (1957) called “the great Siberian migration ” of peasant settlers, as well as with the construction of the TransSiberian railway, the oblastnichestvo movement for regional autonomy , and the growth of cooperative dairy farming. Accounts of the civil war treat the region incidentally as a key battle ground, but what happened to it under Soviet rule? Two studies by James Hughes2 help to fill the gap, but for most foreigners the region’s recent history is mainly a matter of oil and natural gas. 2 Stalin, Siberia and the New Economic Policy. Cambridge, 1991; Stalinism in a Russian Province: A Study of Collectivization and Dekulakization in Siberia. London, 1996. Рецензии 560 One can only welcome the fine historical work being done in Omsk under the auspices of its state university and the local branch of the Academy of Humanitarian Sciences , to which the two volumes under review draw attention. The university’s Historical Annual for 1998 contains seventeen articles, twelve of which are on Russian (principally Siberian) themes, followed by twelve reports on academic conferences and reviews (among them one of a guide to the local archive).3 The Vestnik volume is more informative about the sponsoring body and identifies its fiftyodd contributors (“Nashi avtory”, pp. 241-3), a practice that could be recommended to the editors of the other volume. In conformity with the academy’s praiseworthy aim of encouraging inter-disciplinary studies , some sections bear joint headings , such as “Culture and Philosophy ” or “History and Ethnography”; others contain highly professional pieces by younger scholars (“Pervye opyty”), reviews and even a little poetry. The historical articles in these two collections cover an impressively broad scope, from concepts of honour among early Germanic tribes (O. V. Frik) to the growth of 3 Tsentr dokumentatsii noveishei istorii Omskoi oblasti: Putevoditel. Omsk, 1998, reviewed here (pp. 181-3) by V. M. Samsonov . youth organisations in inter-war Britain (S. V. Fomenko), by way of seventeenth-century Chinese politics (S. V. Malakhov) and the correspondence of the French Girondin leader Jacques-Pierre Brissot (A. G. Mukhina ). Here we shall concentrate on those devoted to Siberian themes. Kraevedenie (the English term “local history” does this subdiscipline less than justice) was for many years scorned as ideologically suspect, but fortunately is now making a spectacular comeback. When treated professionally, with due attention to the general historical context , it does not degenerate into mere antiquarianism but on the contrary brings to life the impact which decisions taken far away, or general socio-economic developments, had on real flesh-and-blood individuals and their immediate communities. This is especially the case when, as here, such studies rest in part on original archival research. A. V. Remnev offers an informative review of Russian activities in the north-eastern corner of Eurasia in the early nineteenth century (Vestnik, 99-110), in which both the government and the RussianAmerican Company are taken to task: their policy objectives were seldom clear or well co-ordinated and their operations brought few advantages for the inhabitants, whether natives or Russian settlers. Egoism and short-term thinking led Ab Imperio, 3/2001 561 to crass exploitation of the region’s human and natural resources,4 but by the 1840s St. Petersburg belatedly began to revise its priorities, under the threat of foreign intervention , so...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2164-9731
Print ISSN
2166-4072
Pages
pp. 559-566
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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