Reviews

For scholars working on eighteenth-century Russia, the Codification Commission represents a major source of knowledge on social and economic history. Surprisingly, until the publication of the present book which introduces complaints, wishes and advices collected among inhabitants of the Ufa and Iset provinces, these documents preserved in the Russian State Archive of Ancient Acts have remained inaccessible to a large public. The significance of the present book for the development of a more pacified history of non-Russian populations of Russia needs no demonstration. Written by two historians from the Bashkir State University, it is open with a general introduction to the documents exposed in the second part (pp. 92-271). After a detailed presentation of the territorial and socio-economical situation of the region during the considered period of time (with more than ten pages on the implantation of metallurgic factories in the southern Urals), the second chapter deals with the evolution of Tsarist policy, in particular with the increase of tax pressure and with the growing intervention of the Russian state in Bashkirs affairs. The link established between the claims presented in 1767 and the ukaz of February 11, 1736 is prolonged in the third chapter, with considerations on the preparation (the manifest of December 14, 1766 was first translated in local languages and then read in each volost’) and the election of representatives for each social groups (particularly interesting are the biographical data on the two Bashkirs deputies). Coming back to the content of the nakazy, the conclusive chapter is an unfortunate attempt to interpret this complex material through the prism of Bashkir historiography, which tends to consider Bashkirs as the autochtonous population par excellence and all land claims from migrants as illegitimate. When reading the nakazy emanating from Bashkir populations (presented with nakazy from nobles, Kazakhs, urban population, peasants and non-Russian migrant populations) the situation appears much more complex, with complaints against Christianisation campaigns and claims for the construction of mosques. One merit of these documents is to authorise comparative analysis, for instance on struggles for landownership, to confront Bashkir complains against Russian nobles and requests from the nobility of the Ufa province for more rights on collective lands. Finally, the present book will be of great utility for further inquiries in a key period of the history of the Russian Empire.

Xavier Le Torrivellec, French-Russian Centre for Human & Social Sciences, Moscow
CER: II-3.2.C-180