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Socialisms in the Tsarist Borderlands

Poland and Finland in a Contrastive Comparison, 1830–1907

Wiktor Marzec and Risto Turunen

This article presents a conceptual history of socialism in two Western borderlands of the Russian Empire—namely, the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Finland. A contrastive comparison is used to examine the birth, dissemination, and breakthrough of the concept from its first appearance until the Revolution of 1905. The concept entered Polish political conversation as a self-applied label among émigrés in the 1830s, whereas the opponents of socialism made it famous in Finland in the 1840s in Swedish and in the 1860s in Finnish. When socialism became a mass movement at the turn of the century, socialist parties (re)defined the concept through underground leaflets and brochures in Poland, and through a legal labor press in Finland. In both cases, the Revolution of 1905 meant the final democratization of socialism, attaching more meanings to the concept and making it the most discussed ism of modern politics.

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Olga Kharus and Vyacheslav Shevtsov

The article investigates the projects for creating a self-governing system in Siberia between the revolution of 1905–1907 and the Russian Civil War of 1918–1920. Analysis of original newspaper articles and archival material shows that these projects shared an aspiration for the establishment of a democratic system of self-government. The Siberian intelligentsia (the oblastniks) believed that Siberian autonomy would promote the economic and cultural development of the region, while serving All-Russian interests. It was only during the deep social upheavals and crisis of power in 1917 when separatist tendencies became dominant among the Siberian political elite. Anti-Bolshevik forces in Russia considered the Siberian outskirts to be a “territory of salvation” for the future democratic non-Soviet Russian state.