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date: 14 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Did Russia’s short-lived ‘constitutional experiment’ of 1905–17 mark the moment when the Tsar’s subjects became citizens? This chapter reassesses this pivotal period between the October Manifesto of 1905 and the February Revolution of 1917 through the prism of citizenship, especially citizenship rights. Conceiving citizenship not as a normative category but as a political imaginary—a contested space of both ideological ideals and everyday practices, it traces the emergence of multiple loci of citizenship shaped through the interplay of autocratic power and new ideas about human autonomy and dignity. Just as visions of citizenship helped to propel the political battles of the twentieth century, so too were they recast in the fires of revolution and political reaction, especially the unprecedented deployment of state violence in and after 1905. Individual rights moulded the political landscape of late imperial Russia, not because they were achieved but because they were imagined, asserted, and violated.

Keywords: Autocracy, citizenship, rights, violence, mass politics, revolution

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