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Alexander Etkind: It's great to lecture when such a large audience is almost full. I am not spoiled by large student gatherings. In Cambridge, when I give lectures, if an 15 person comes in, then that's fine, and here you can't even count. My lecture is based on two books. One of them is being translated now from English into Russian, this is my own book, it will be called in Russian translation “Internal colonization: Imperial experience of Russia”. She will be released by the UFO publisher next year. The second book has already been published, and there was a presentation of this very thick book in Polit.ru. The discussion was quite informative, I think. This book is called “There, Inside. Practices of internal colonization in the cultural history of Russia. ” This is a collective collection - there are 28 authors and 3 editors: Dirk Uffelman, Ilya Kukulin and me. Articles were written by colleagues who participated in a conference on internal colonization and then took part in this collection. As can be seen, among historians, cultural experts, literary critics and film critics who study Russia, all over the world and in Russia itself, the interest in this topic is very serious.
Exploring the imperial period, scientists spawned two stories, two narratives. One story - the story of a great country that successfully, although not always evenly competed with other European powers, spawned brilliant literature, and unprecedented social experiments occurred in this country. Another story is the history of underdevelopment, unlimited violence, poverty, illiteracy, despair and collapse. And interestingly, many researchers subscribe to both of these narratives, both of these stories at the same time. But for a scientist it is not good to believe simultaneously in two stories that contradict one another.
You can believe something, of course, but we need to come up with such a mechanism, or a metaphor, or a meta-narrative, which coordinates these two stories and allows us to move from one to the other so that they, both narratives, continue to retain their meaning and at the same time they were related to one another. So I propose as such a metaphor or mechanism, or one or the other, we'll discuss this further, the idea of internal colonization - a process somewhat paradoxical, partly very understandable, that went on for a large part of the imperial period, began even before it, ended I think after it or not at all: the process in which the state colonized its own people.
Let's start with the XIX century, because we all know it better. In the XIX century, Russia was a colonial empire. She competed on an equal footing with the British Empire, with the Austrian or Austro-Hungarian Empire, with the French Empire. And at the same time it was a colonized territory, like the Congo or India. In different aspects and at different periods, Russian culture was both a subject and an object of Orientalism. The ways of colonization were outside of Russia, Russia was expanding, I will now talk about it, but they also went inside the Russian hinterland. If external routes went to Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific, they also went to the lands surrounding Novgorod, Tula, and Orenburg. It was in these deep and middle territories that the empire settled western colonists and organized military settlements. Military settlements are a story that you probably remember from high school. In the Alexander era, these settlements in the government correspondence, which was in French, were called colonies.
In these middle, deep territories, the Russian nobility owned millions of souls and punished millions of bodies. In these median territories, imperial experts discovered the most unusual communities and gathered the most exotic folklore. Russian pilgrims, ethnographers, populists in their search for extraordinary groups, which they tried to find among the Russian people, went to these median deep territories of Russia. These are all characteristic phenomena of colonialism: missionary work, exotic travel, ethnographic research. In Russia in the XIX century, they were sent inside Russian villages rather than outside of Russian territory or in overseas countries.
Russia constantly, though unevenly, expanded, but expanding and colonizing the newly conquered marginal territories, it also colonized its own people. These two processes, external colonization and internal colonization, went simultaneously and in parallel; they competed with each other. The empire's energy and resources have always been limited, even in Russia. We need to explore the interaction between these two processes, presenting them as two communicating vessels, because, so to speak, the population and, relatively speaking, the colonization energy were always limited.
The idea of internal colonization, of course, is very controversial. In general, the very idea of colonization in relation to the Russian Empire is relatively new. Two decades ago, the idea that Ukraine or, say, Central Asia were colonies, or even Poland or Finland or Siberia were colonies of the Russian Empire, these ideas, although they have very deep historiography, caused angry irritation or resistance on both sides of the iron curtain In 1990, postcolonial experts debated about the reasons why they will or will not apply their postcolonial concepts to the emerging countries of the post-Soviet space. Modern literature has partially solved these problems, but it has generated new ones, focusing on ethnicity, nationalism and sovereignty.
Many researchers began not only to ignore, but to attach less importance to those peculiar institutions of the Russian Empire, which had no direct relationship to ethnicity or sovereignty, but determined the life of northern Eurasia for several centuries. And it was these institutions that led this part of the world to the upheavals of the twentieth century. But despite the fact that the idea of internal colonization is paradoxical and seems to be fresh, it is not entirely new. In particular, in my book a large chapter deals with how this idea was discussed and formulated by the classics of Russian history in the 19th century, by people like Sergei Solovyov or Vasily Klyuchevsky when they wrote their famous formula that Russia is a country that is being colonized. But, of course, this has not been discussed in postcolonial discussions.
Colonization and Serfdom
An important material to which such an approach can be applied is Russian serfdom. In the 19th century, serfdom was the central subject of both Russian politics and historiography, that is, not only politicians, economists debated and cut down on what to do with serfdom, how to reform it, but historians also continuously engaged in its history. In current books and even textbooks on Russian history of the 19th century, serfdom disappears right before our eyes. If you look at the textbooks that come out, there are fewer and fewer chapters, chapters or sections, where there are references to serfdom. What happened to serfdom? We know that serfdom was abolished in Russia around the same year when slavery was abolished in America, that serfdom had a much wider use, the number of serfs was incomparably greater in Russia than the number of black slaves in America. It existed longer, it had deep influence and long-term consequences. But in American historiography, the study of slavery and the memory of slavery is a huge area, there are entire journals devoted to these issues, books, again textbooks. We do not know anything similar with regard to serfdom, either in Russian or in English. This is a double standard, which should not be in research practice.
I will now illustrate what I want to say. One of the best, or perhaps the best, research of serf practices so far is the book of the American historian Stephen Hawk, which is translated into Russian. This American historian found a well-preserved archive of a large estate near Tambov. Tambov, everyone knows, is a black earth region of Russia, a symbol of the Russian hinterland, of provincial life in the heart of Russia. And for some reason, the archive of this estate was better preserved than the rest, so this American historian was able to calculate and come to interesting conclusions regarding this estate. At the beginning of the XIX century, the diet of the peasants who lived in this black-earth estate, was not inferior to the European level in terms of the amount of fat, and so on, all this can be calculated. They ate normally, just as peasants ate in Germany or in France at the beginning of the 19th century. But the differences were great. These differences relate to motivation, property rights and the principles of management of this estate. Since all the peasants in this estate were serfs, neither the land belonged to them, nor part of the crop remained to them, and they were not at all interested in working on this land. Therefore, the only thing that could make them work is the threat and actual use of corporal punishment. Accordingly, according to Hawk's data for two years (1826-1828), 79% of the male population of this estate was flogged once, and 24% - 2 times. In addition, in order to mark the consequences of this punishment, in the case of serious misconduct, one part of the head was shaved so that everyone could see that they had been punished.
Let's think about what Tambov is, this is the most core Russian land. Founded in 1636, Tambov was a fortress or fortress that defended Muscovy from wild, as it was then believed, tribes that inhabited this land before the Russians came there. 1636 year: this means Tambov was a direct contemporary of such colonial centers of the British Empire as Williamsburg, founded in 1632, the center of Virginia tobacco plantations, or, for example, Cape Town in South Africa, founded later, in my opinion, in 1652. At the same time the colonial nature of Cape Town, no one in doubt. But the colonial nature of Tambov sounds amazing. Nevertheless, it was founded on a foreign land with similar goals, was strengthened as a military fortress, was used to hold the land and start farming, just like some center of tobacco plantations in North America.
Next to Tambov, however, the security situation was very difficult, because nomad tribes continued to run up, unlike the American Indians, with whom Virginia had more stable relations. Therefore, sustainable land use was difficult. And long after the founding of Tambov, a plantation-type economy developed with difficulty there. Although this estate was located in the center of the country, nevertheless, the delivery of grain to Moscow for sale by rivers and roads, which remained very poor, took many weeks. And, despite the fact that the peasants ate well, the landowner was unhappy and tried to squeeze more and more, because the landowner is not interested in subsistence farming, he needs to sell goods on the market, and it was very difficult to sell even in the middle of the XIX century.
But interestingly, this Tambov estate was not self-sufficient. There was a decrease in population as a result of serf shoots, and because they were recruited into the imperial army, and also because of some reasons. And although the peasants ate well there, as Hawk shows, their life expectancy was still lower than the life expectancy of European peasants, perhaps because the medical service was worse organized, and maybe because they were morally dissatisfied. You know that low life expectancy in today's Russia remains a mystery to researchers. And very serious scientists are forced to use such vague concepts as moral dissatisfaction of the population. Here is something similar was there.
How to solve the problem of population decline? The landlords needed to work the estate, and they transported here serfs from other estates, with less fertile lands, under Tambov. Under terrible conditions, the peasants, under the threat of the same whipping, were driven over very long distances, transferred on foot or on barges, thus feeding this demography. We have here many signs of colonial economy. I will not enumerate them, it seems to me that my conclusion is clear here.
Sea and Continental Empire
In 1904, the charismatic Russian historian Vasily Klyuchevsky wrote that Russian history is the history of a country that is being colonized. The space of this colonization expanded in history with the expansion of the state. This is a very interesting conclusion and image. The state expanded in different directions, it expanded in different periods to the west or to the north, to the east and to the south, and the space of colonization expanded along with this territory. The question is what is the exact meaning of this formula, what was then understood by colonization, if you look at all the textbooks of Russian history, beginning with Sergei Solovyov.
For example, there was such a wonderful person, Matvey Lyubavsky, a student of Klyuchevsky, he was the rector of Moscow University. Then he was imprisoned in the case of historians at 1930, he was in exile in Bashkiria, and there he wrote a large book called the Review of the History of Russian Colonization. It was already published in modern times, a very interesting book. And Lyubavsky specifically examines different aspects of the Russian world - Siberia, Bashkiria, where he wrote this book, or, in a separate chapter, how the Russian Empire colonized Ingria. And Ingria, as you probably know, is the land on which the Russian capital Petersburg was founded, and this was also someone's land, the land of Ingres. And the capital itself was based on colonial territory, and Matvey Lubavsky wrote about it very interesting. State territory, he wrote, was shaped by external colonization. And then, when the borders are formed, or even when they are still continuing to move ahead, it is the turn of developing the territory, meeting its population, making economic use of both, and, finally, cultural arrangements. These are matters of internal colonization; so I continue the thought of Lyubavsky.
Now, of course, we understand the word “colonization” quite differently than Russian historians did, from Solovyov to Lyubavsky. There was also a specialist in this field, Eugene Tarle, who, by the way, was also planted in the case of historians, but soon released. He was engaged in European colonialism and imperialism and understood these concepts very critically, in fact, much closer to their modern meanings. I don’t use the word “colonialism” at all, because colonialism is an ideology, a word that is loaded with very strong meanings, and colonization is a much broader sociopolitical and geographical process, we’ll talk about it. But in any case there is no doubt that today we understand all these words differently than Soloviev understood in the middle of the 19th century, Klyuchevsky at the beginning of the 20th, Lubavsky in the 30 of the 20th century.
And the main source in this regard is the internationally famous book by Edward Said “Orientalism”, it exists in Russian translation, one of the most frequently cited humanitarian books in the world. Edward Said talked about colonization and Orientalism in various parts of the world, primarily in the countries of the Arab East, the Maghreb, British India, and French Africa. But Said ignores the Russian Empire as most of the world. In my book there is a chapter in which I try to figure out what it is connected with, going into political views and even into the private life of Said. But now I want to talk about something else.
For Said, the idea of colonization is very closely connected with the idea of the romance of sea wanderings. Colonization in the French Empire, in the British Empire took place on ships of the military or merchant fleetthat means, it was necessary to sail across the oceans, through one, two, three oceans, to overcome storms and storms. And this romance of sea wandering turns out to be the key for the literature that Said analyzes; he is a literary critic, like me. But the Russian Empire, we all know, was a land empire, although the Russian Empire had its overseas possessions, and Alaska was the most important of them. But we know that Alaska is almost the only possession of the Russian Empire, which this empire abandoned of its own free will without coercion of military force or local uprisings.
Overland empires, of course, have great specificity. In fact, before the advent of the railway and telegraph, the land space was less passable than the seas and oceans. In peacetime, to deliver goods from Arkhangelsk to London by sea was faster and cheaper than to deliver goods by land from Arkhangelsk to Moscow. When the Crimean War began - it turned out that it was faster to deliver cargo or troops from Gibraltar to Sevastopol than to deliver troops, food, equipment from the central provinces to the Crimea. The distance is about the same, but by sea it was overcome easier, more reliably and, ultimately, cheaper and safer. At the beginning of the XIX century there were Russian bases in Alaska, they were engaged in the extraction of fur, and this fur had to be delivered somewhere, either to China or to Central Russia and then to Europe. But the bases in Alaska had to be supplied with food, and loads were sent there, mostly grain and oil. And there were two ways, the first - from the central provinces it was possible to deliver the goods on horseback through the whole of European Russia, then through Siberia to Okhotsk and then through the Pacific Ocean to Alaska; or another way - through three oceans, around Europe, then around Africa, because the Suez Canal was not there, around Asia, and so across the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans on ships these cargoes, grain and oil, sailed from St. Petersburg or Odessa to Alaska. And now the question is: what was faster, safer and more profitable? So, in 4 times it turned out to be cheaper to supply Russian bases in Alaska by sea than by land, and by sea it took a year, and by land two or three.
So, in fact, the oceans connected, and the land separated. In addition, all kinds of incomprehensible peoples lived on land, and the empire had to do something with them. If the state mined furs, then local peoples were both a tool of this mining, and a competitor in it, and a participant in indentured transactions, and a security threat. If the empire sent goods, then these peoples represented a threat to these goods, but, on the other hand, participated in the delivery of these goods. Somehow these people had to be motivated, they had to cooperate, but first they had to be conquered and pacified, tied with tribute, dues or taxes, and sometimes they had to be relocated or enslaved, or they could be baptized, or , on the contrary, to think and leave in a primitive state, or to recruit into the army, or vice versa, to decide that they are not able to serve. And on the oceans of all this was not, the ocean is the ocean, this is a technical task, not a human task.
Therefore, since we are talking about land colonization, it has three vectors: the economic exploitation of a foreign land, political violence and another set of special cultural practices that represent life on a foreign land as an exotic, fundamentally different life. Colonization combined these different aspects.
History of the concept
When we talk about the processes of colonization, we always see two useful concepts that were introduced by the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci when he was in prison: hegemony and domination. Gramsci spoke about the Italian south and north and their differences and interactions and the suppression of one part of another, and therefore he spoke precisely about internal colonization. Cultural hegemony and political domination, they always, in any process of colonization, interact, correlate or contrast, in general, this is an interesting and informative process.
Let's talk about internal colonization. We always imagine when we say “colonization” a certain territory; then the state expands, conquers something, occupies something, and this new land is further subjected to colonization. In fact, no definition of colonization says that colonization always takes place outside, outside of imperial territory. Without any violence to the meaning, and this must be understood, we can talk about external and internal colonization. Internal colonization is the use of colonial practices within the political territory, within the political frontier of a state, even an optional imperial state, possibly a national state.
At the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century, various scholars very actively used the concept of internal colonization, not always for specious purposes. German politicians at the end of the 19th century formulated very ambitious plans for the occupation of Eastern Europe, and this, in German, was called “internal colonization”. Why internal? Because they believed, on the basis of reliable or dubious sources, that once in the Middle Ages or under Frederick the Great, Polish, Ukrainian, Baltic lands belonged to the German Empire, and therefore the new colonization would be internal.
Russian imperial historians used the concept, I have already spoken about this, self-colonization. My favorite of these historians is Afanasy Shchapov, who had a great influence on Klyuchevsky. For a long time I have been doing Shchapov in various aspects, in my book about sects I am also a follower of Shchapov. There are other interesting sources. For example, there is a book by the famous polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen, who went to Siberia in 1915. Speaking of Siberia, which had long been conquered and seemingly colonized, Nansen actively used the concept of colonization; he sometimes talked about new colonization. Settling, development, education of the Siberian territories, it was called colonization. At that time, it already made sense to stipulate that external or internal colonization was discussed, although Nansen did not do this. Around the same time, Vladimir Lenin in his book Development of Capitalism in Russia, referring to his German predecessors, socio-economic historians with a very ambivalent reputation, wrote about internal colonization, even when he spoke about his native Volga region. Hitler also wrote about internal and external colonization, and distinguished these concepts.
There was a Russian revolution, after that there was a decolonization of the third world, and the concept, more precisely the idea of internal colonization ceased to be used. Instead, in 1951, Hannah Arendt used a very interesting concept of the colonial boomerang. The colonial boomerang is a similar, but already more specific concept. Arendt described such processes in which the imperial powers first developed certain practices of the suppression and exploitation of colonies and then, as it were, transferred these practices that they had invented and mastered to the metropolis for the second time. It's like a boomerang - first, the empires send new practices to the colonies, then they return to the metropolis. Examples concerned the British Empire. But we can recall the remarkable work of Saltykov-Shchedrin, which is called "Lord Tashkent". This is about those officers of the colonial army, who in the last third of the XIX century stood in Tashkent and then returned to the Russian provinces. They were appointed vice-governors or auditors, and so they brought the practice of violence in the province, which they were not accustomed to. "Gentlemen of Tashkent" is a very eloquent work.
After 1968, sociologists re-invented the concept of internal colonization, similar to the concept of the colonial boomerang, in order to apply postcolonial language to the internal problems of European metropolises and the United States. American sociologist Robert Blouner explored the life of black ghettos in large American cities and urban uprisings as internal colonization processes. In the 1975-76's lectures, the French philosopher Michel Foucault used the concept of internal colonization in his study of how colonial models, power models were coming back from east to west. In 1975, the British sociologist Michael Hechter introduced this concept into the canon of sociology, using it in his book on the British Isles. The book focuses on Wales, an ethnically unique region of England. For colonization of Hechter, it was not necessary to sail to overseas countries, he showed that the practices of colonialism were used inside the British Isles. But for Hechter, it was precisely the ethnic distance between the colonizers and those being colonized, between the English and the Welsh. And, for example, the famous philosopher Jurgen Habermas uses the concept of internal colonization in general in the most broad sense as a synonym for modernity or modernization. So I do not agree with that. From my point of view, there are big interesting differences between the concept of modernization and the concept of colonization.
In addition, the concept of internal colonization or colonialism was used by the French historian Eugene Weber and the American sociologist Alvin Gouldner, who directly applied it to the study of collectivization in the Soviet Union, the American anthropologist James Scott in studies of Southeast Asia. And several very large historians of Russia in recent books spoke about the colonial nature of Russian internal government: Mark Ferro, Dominic Lieven and Timothy Snyder. But, in general, nobody seriously applied this aspect to Russia.
In my opinion, the idea of internal colonization is very strongly connected with another important idea that plays a key role in understanding modern Russia - the problem of commodity dependence. You all know how dependent Russia is on oil and gas. Yuri Shevchuk has a great song, "When oil runs out." Dmitry Bykov has a novel “Railway”, now I will not retell it, there is a very eloquent story of what will happen with Russia if something is invented in Europe that will make oil unnecessary. This is all fiction, fiction, but I found an interesting parallel to the modern commodity, gas-oil curse, oil curse, in medieval Russian history. In my book there is a chapter on how first the Novgorod state, then the Moscow principality depended on the export of fur. At first, beavers were caught around Moscow with traps, and around Novgorod in large quantities, millions of skins per year, they caught and exported gray squirrels to England and Holland, and in Novgorod there was a factory of the Hanseatic Union, a real colonial institute that actively cooperated with the Novgorod authorities. And the export of squirrels and other furs was a huge part of the profits of both merchants and the state. And in exchange in Novgorod went weapon, iron, wine, luxury goods, sometimes, when crop failure happened, then grain also changed for several forest products, but, above all, for fur, wax, and tar. But since the squirrel was ending, the people of Novgorod went farther north and east to the Yugra land, this is Northern, even to Western Siberia, the squirrel was exported from millions.
And then at some point this fur business, which in its Novgorod version was focused on squirrel, stopped. And it coincided, of course, with the Hansa bankruptcy. The bankruptcy of the Hansa - there were many interesting reasons for it. First the trading post left Novgorod, then the Ganza itself covered, and then Novgorod was already occupied. What happened to this squirrel? Some historians, who were engaged in the history of the fur trade, believe that the protein was knocked out in these vast spaces of Northern Russia and the Urals. And another idea that the decline of the fur trade coincided with the massive spread of wool in England. After all, protein was not the subject of luxury consumption, like sable. It was a massive thing, some jackets, caftans, boots were sewn from it. And when the wool began to thrash in the houses, which required some technological breakthroughs, primarily related to the environment, resources, the cutting of English forests, the wool forced out the squirrel. This means that a certain technological invention has made mass export of raw materials unnecessary and has undermined the economy of the early Russian state, based on the export of one specific resource.
But after that, the history of the Muscovite state began, which also depended to a large extent on fur, but the fur of a completely different one - from sable. When Yermak defeated the Siberian Khan, remember this picture of Surikov, there after this victory a caravan went through Siberia, and there were two thousand sable skins, 500 black fox skins, some ermine skins. This was the treasure that was found in Siberia. And then for several centuries the Russians, above all, the Cossacks, found more and more creative methods of combining barter and violence. And by such methods, the Cossacks forced various tribes of Siberia, then the Pacific coast, and then Alaska to extract furs and exchange them, conditionally speaking, for beads or for weapons.
This, of course, is a very interesting story, and, in the end, the sable was knocked out, because it was a sable, not a squirrel, but the energy of colonization passed to Alaska, where the Cossacks engaged in a sea otter, a fur seal and a seal. And only for this Alaska was busy. Look, this gigantic territory was occupied by the Russian state for the purpose of mining, transporting and exporting fur. Then this fur was gone or the demand for it fell, and a huge territory remained under the jurisdiction of the Russian authorities. This territory, which had already been conquered, was subject to new, secondary, and precisely internal colonization.
For example, the Siberian dissident historian Afanasy Shchapov, who studied the inventories of furs contained in the Moscow Treasury, somewhere near the Faceted Chamber, in the Kremlin, indicated that on the eve of the Time of Troubles sable in warehouses were replaced by hares, hare fur. And Shchapov quite clearly explains that this was an economic reason, which, eventually, led to the Time of Troubles. Time of troubles, of course, had many, many different reasons, and the depletion of natural resources among them. On these resources was built foreign policy and much more was built. When silver ended in the Faceted Chamber, and foreign specialists who worked in Moscow had to pay silver, they were paid in furs. But in the Time of Troubles, the Russian government had to do what it had not done before, namely, to organize the life of the population on economically advantageous principles. The raw material dependence of the state, which is true now, and then it was true, it’s like a rainbow that goes past the population. The population is not necessary, you see. This is such a direct union between the state and exotic raw materials somewhere in the far edge of this state, and the population has nothing to do with it. But when the raw material ends, then the state closely deals with the population.
Indeed, the codification of serfdom and the early attempts to squeeze something out of this land took place when the furs ran out or they could not be sold more. I had to turn to the grain. But grain is a completely different resource, grain requires labor, grain requires residency, grain requires perennial crop rotations, and so on, which means grain requires serfdom. This means that the state experimentally introduced institutions that attached the peasants to the land, forced them to work on this land by force. Previously, the state dealt with people as soldiers or Cossacks and did not deal with people as peasants, but now it suddenly became engaged.
Burden of a shaven man
Let's talk a little more about Peter the Great. What did Peter do? Here we come to some key concepts of the idea of internal colonization already in Modern times. Just after returning from his European tour, and Peter, as you know, visited the great centers of European empires — Koenigsberg, London, Amsterdam — he founded Petersburg on recently colonized land and issued a decree inviting foreigners to Russia — come, settle, settle .
And 26 August 1698, Peter issued his famous decree on shaving noble beards. Who voluntarily, and who forcibly - in St. Petersburg and then in all the major centers - the nobles had to shave their beards. Look, how interesting. We all know that Peter shaved his beards, there is no such person who does not know this. But I think it is not so clear that this bastardhood was selective, that the principle was class, or, more precisely, the estate class, that the beards were shaved by the nobles, and other people, for example, the priests, were left beards, people bourgeois, with whom it was not clear what was to be done, sometimes they shaved their beards, sometimes not, but in the end did not. So this decree on barrack created a class structure where it was not there, and, moreover, did it on the model of the racial structure of the colonial possessions.
What is race? Race is a visible sign of power relations. For example, the Dutch empire was based on colonial practice, here are black, here are white, here are the natives, here are the administrators, they are people of different colors. Ablaze has made the power relationship between white people visible to the eye, it is such a social engineering, applicable on a huge scale.
But, of course, this system was imperfect. If the American Negro runs from his plantation, he remains black, and if the serf is running, he can shave his beard. And this principle of differences did not apply to women. You probably know such a wonderful expression of Kipling - “the white man’s burden”. This burden is the essence of colonization, the imperial mission, civilization mission. And I came up with a very simple expression - “the burden of a shaved man”, in exact accordance with this Kipling formula.
There is such a wonderful story by Leo Tolstoy “How much land a person needs”, a wonderful story, short and very understandable. This means that he is talking about a Russian peasant who did not have enough land somewhere in the Kursk province. And he goes to Bashkortostan to receive land, and here the local Bashkirs treat him very well and they say - this is how much you go around the day from dawn to dusk, so much you will get lands, everything will be yours. And he starts, he runs, then he goes, then he returns with difficulty, having run around a lot, and dies. And Tolstoy says: “This is how much land a person needs,” just as much as is needed to bury him.
Or another very instructive story is a story, in fact, Nikolai Leskov's memoir, “The Product of Nature”. Leskov talks about how young he was and how he accompanied the transport of peasants who were transported from one estate to another as a colonial administrator. Now, if you read about how black slaves were transported across the Atlantic Ocean, it looked very similar. But Leskov, this young gentleman, tried, when some peasants fled, to prevent their flogging. But the local police officer locked him in his house while the peasants were flogged. And what should Leskov do? He reads books from the library of this policeman, and the policeman has forbidden literature - Herzen and so on, books that teach freedom and equality. But in the end, Leskov, and this is the end of his story and my lecture ends, he managed to find out that this police officer in fact was not even a police officer, but simply an impostor. Thanks for attention.
Discussion after the lecture
Andrei Vorobyov: You know, there is such a concept, a point of view that Russia is an empire on the contrary. The metropolis in Russia, especially in Soviet times, lived worse. My friend, who crossed the border of the Pskov Region and Estonia, went to the store and received a culture shock in 1982. How do you feel about the concept of "empire the other way around"?
AE: I myself remember something like that. I call it the reverse imperial gradient. As follows from the ideal model, an empire was usually built so that the imperial people, say, the British, lived better than the Indians or Africans. And, as a rule, it was observed, and when it was not observed, the empires collapsed. And in Russia, this imperial gradient was the opposite. There are two volumes written by the Petersburg historian Boris Mironov, "The Social History of Russia." In them, Mironov gives fairly detailed statistics on the provinces of the Russian Empire, the income and expenses of the empire per capita, based on official statistics, which at the very least, was maintained at the end of the 19th century. It turns out that everything was really the opposite: people in the Baltic provinces either in Siberia or in Poland or in the south of Ukraine lived better in the Kuban, social statistics indicate this. At the end of the 19th century, concepts like the devastation of the center were in use - people fled from there, overpopulation of the center, the earth did not give birth. The empire spent in the Caucasus incomparably more than in the center, but it also spent more in Siberia - on school, on police, on administration.
But much more important than economics is the idea and practice of civil rights. In Britain, people had more rights than people had in the British colonies, this concerns, for example, the election of local government bodies or the parliament. In Russia, we know very well that serfdom existed precisely in the central provinces. Klyuchevsky counted where serfdom existed, where it did not exist, and said that serfdom developed as a protective belt around Moscow and had defensive, not economic, significance. In Siberia there was no serfdom, in the Russian north in the Arkhangelsk province it was not, in the Baltic countries and in Poland it was, but it was very underdeveloped. What is serfdom? This is a radical restriction of civil rights, which was carried out against an ethnically Russian, religiously Orthodox population: even ethnic Russians, who were Old Believers, were rarely enslaved.
Kazbek Sultanov, IMLI RAN: Alexander Markovich, I can't help but take advantage of your presence. Why does Said in his classic book so diligently and so deliberately bypass such a major player as the Russian Empire? After all, he knew Russian literature perfectly well, and Russian literature from Lomonosov with his famous ode, when Elizaveta Petrovna “sat with her elbow on the Caucasus,” she is all oriental. It was impossible to pass by. Nevertheless, he carefully avoided it. Why?
AE: I have my own hypothesis. Said wrote during the years of the Cold War, his book of 1978, and for left-wing intellectuals it was politically incorrect to speak in the same terms about the third world and the second world. We do not feel it now, but then it was important. I also have a hypothesis, stated in that chapter of my book, which was translated and published in the journal Ab Imperio. And there I delve into the intellectual history of Sayid himself and try to explain this really mysterious lacuna.
Arseny Khitrov: There is a feeling that in modern Russian nationalism there is a certain stream that stands for the imperial project. And if you think about this phrase, in fact it is quite strange and paradoxical. Could you comment on this somehow?
AE: For the empire, nationalism, relatively speaking, the titular nation was always the main enemy, especially in Russia. Everything went well, but under Alexander III, nationalists began to come to power, to put it bluntly, who literally took the project of the Russification of foreign-language and non-native suburbs as a practical project. And everything began to crumble and collapsed. Nationalists under the emperor played a disastrous role - this is undoubtedly so. On the other hand, everyone knows that nationalism is often expressed in the imperial language, in the language of the suppression of the borderlands in the name of the empire, which is imagined rather as a very large and even more expanding nation state. And to those people who are going to make politics with this kind of ideas, I highly recommend studying history.
Ilya Lazarenko, National Democratic Alliance: What could decolonization mean for those regions that were colonized quite recently, that is, Siberia, the Far East?
AE: This is a very difficult question for me. Because, on the one hand, we can say that the national liberation movements in the history of the Russian Empire were attempts at decolonization, attempts successful or unsuccessful. For example, the Pugachev Uprising, the revolution of 1905, the revolution of 1917, were attempts at decolonization. On the other hand, the colonial nature of collectivization or the Gulag, for example, does not cause me any doubt. I just read lectures in Krasnoyarsk, at the Siberian Federal University, people took them very calmly and interestedly. Siberia is a huge Russian land, but at the level of memory it is not entirely Russian, at the level of history it is not at all Russian. In general, I thought when I was giving a lecture: how interesting it would be to make a conference on the theme “Siberia and the Caucasus”, two huge Russian colonies that are polarly different in many of their features. One peaceful - the other is not peaceful, one is profitable - the other has always been unprofitable, one is Russified - the other is not.
Alexander Khramov: I’m breaking in as a facilitator and will develop a question about decolonization. If we say that colonization in Russia was of a centripetal character, then decolonization slogans should be applied not to the outskirts, to Siberia, to the Far East, to the Caucasus, but to the internal gubernias that were subjected to the management of colonial methods. I just read a quote from Mikhail Menshikov, a famous nationalist and publicist, he wrote in 1909, the year: “The British, having conquered India, ate it, and we, having subdued our suburbs, gave ourselves to them to be devoured. We have put Russia in the role of a vast colony for conquered peoples, and we are surprised that Russia is dying. Is it not the same with India, did not the red and black and olive races perish, who couldn’t get rid of their white predators from their bodies? ”If such views were expressed by 100 years ago, do you think they have any prospects today, is it possible in Russia, say, a nationalist movement under anti-colonial slogans?
AE: At the beginning of the 20th century, the context of the Russo-Japanese and the First World War was very important. But for me, for example, Siberian regionalism is more interesting, in which the same Shchapov took an active part, or Yadrintsev, the author of the famous book Siberia as a Colony. So-called regionalism was often separatism. And Bakunin had even earlier had ideas of separatism, and there is nothing rare in ideas of regional liberation. Another thing is that in some regions there were these movements, and in other regions, in the same Tambov, they were not.
Listener: How does the process of internal colonization of Russia differ from the same processes in other countries, for example, from internal colonization in the USA?
AE: A great question. In the US, Turner’s theory is well known, which described the history of the movement of American civilization to the west as the movement of a certain line on a map, a frontier. The line was moving, and Turner described in detail what was happening there, which people, which social groups participated in it. There were regular monolithic movements and homogeneous processes at different stages. In Russia, it seems to me, this is not the case, although there are such historians who are trying to extend this theory to the marginal territories of Russia, to Siberia or Central Asia. Here in Central Asia it works better. But in Russia there was no single line, there was no homogeneity, there were huge and far from continuous breakthroughs, pockets, and emptiness. Sometimes the Cossacks took over their development, and then the ministries did not know what to do with it. So this is a different topology, not a frontier, but rather a void inside. These are other processes - uncoordinated, unordered, not knowing the division into internal and external.
Igor Monashov, Higher School of Economics: How applicable is your concept to the analysis of the Soviet experience, do you think the industrialization of 1930's is some kind of colonization specialization or is it something else?
AE: I have no doubt that the Soviet period is completely different than the imperial period, and the post-Soviet period is completely different than the Soviet period. But certain moments are similar. For example, collectivization, and they wrote about it, was a radical project of internal colonization. At the same time, I am sure that in historical processes there is no inertia, that every time people reinvent how to govern the state. But the processes of historical creativity occur within the framework of the opportunities provided by geography, ecology, history, economics, and therefore they are sustainable. Here you can mention the dependence of raw materials, which is reproduced in different conditions in Russia.
Sergey Sergeev, Questions of Nationalism magazine: Tell me, please, do you agree with Ronald Suney that the Russian Empire did not have a metropolis just like a certain territory, and that the metropolis was the social stratum itself, that is, the Russian social and political elite?
AE: Yes, I agree with him. In the Russian Empire, one should rather look at the relations of power, and in my language this is internal colonization. But I would add that all the same there were capitals in Russia, there were certain regions, provinces, territories on which this very layer, let's call it the elite, concentrated, from there he managed his estates throughout Russia, from there they appointed governors. So it’s impossible to completely hang this layer in the air, without geography.