“... And the entire mass of loyal people leapt up ”. The attitude of Nicholas II towards the pogroms
Cahiers du Monde Russe
Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (E H E S S)
193 - 208
Item Usage Stats
MetadataShow full item record
The article examines the attitude of the last Russian emperor Nicholas II towards one of the most tragic events which happened during his reign, the pogroms. The story, as the author argues, is important to understand the worldview, the political portrait of the last tsar and the pogrom phenomenon in late imperial Russia. The author supports his arguments with the archival and newly published documents or recent scholarship. The tsar's letters, remarks concerning the pogroms, and particularly his policy towards those responsible and towards pogromists are in the centre of the analyses. The major wave of pogroms that swept through Russia after the publication of the October 1905 Manifesto is considered within the context of a Russian bunt, a general anarchy of those days. The article analyses the social make-up of pogromists who emerged from wide illiterate lower social strata. The pogroms demonstrated that the autocracy of Nicholas II had some popular support in the struggle with revolution, even if of an extremely dubious character. Nicholas II, like an old-fashioned admirer of the idea of unity between tsar and people, straightforwardly explained pogroms as a rise of his most loyal subjects against the alien revolutionary plotters which had, however, as he admitted, horrible consequences. Convinced that the violence had to be prevented and not tolerated, Nicholas II at that critical time was in a way pleased that his imagined Rus' where all simple "true-Russians" were ready to defend the tsarist autocracy, as it seemed to him, came true.