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Making Russians: Meaning and Practice of Russification in Lithuania and Belarus after 1863

Making Russians: Meaning and Practice of Russification in Lithuania and Belarus after 1863 (Hardback)

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Synopsis

Making Russians is an innovative study dealing with Russian nationalities policy in Lithuania and Belarus in the aftermath of the 1863 Uprising. The book devotes most attention to imperial confessional and language policy, for in Russian discourse at that time it was religion and language that were considered to be the most important criteria determining nationality. The account of Russian nationalities policy presented here differs considerably from the assessments usually offered by historians from east-central Europe primarily because the author provides a more subtle description of the aims of imperial nationalities policy, rejecting the claim that the Russian authorities consistently sought to assimilate members of other national groups. At the same time the interpretation this study offers opens a discussion with western and Russian historians, especially those, who lay heavy emphasis on discourse analysis. This study asserts that the rhetoric of officials and certain public campaigners was influenced by a concept of political correctness, which condemned all forms of ethnic denationalisation. A closer look at the implementation of discriminatory policy allows us to discern within Russian imperial policy more attempts to assimilate or otherwise repress the cultures of non-dominant national groups than it is possible to appreciate simply by analysing discourse alone.

Darius Staliunas received his M.A. from Vilnius University (1993) and his Ph. D. from Kaunas Vytautas Magnus University (1997). He joined the Lithuanian Institute of History in 1992. Since 2000 he is a deputy director at Lithuanian Institute of History, member of editorial board of Lithuanian Historical Studies. His research interests include issues of Russian nationality policy in the so-called Northwestern Region (Lithuania and Belorussia), as well as problems of historiography and places of memory in Lithuania. In conducting research, he has worked in archives and libraries in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Paris, Warsaw, Poznan, Cracow, Vilnius, and Kaunas. He has published articles in Kritika, Ab Imperio, Lithuanian Historical Studies, Nordost-Archiv, Przeglad historyczny, Lituano-Slavica Posnaniensia, East European Jewish Affairs, etc. He also lectures at Klaipeda University. His teaching interest include Russian and Polish history.

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