By Thomas Barrett
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Additional info for At the Edge of Empire The Terek Cossacks and the North Caucasus Frontier 1700-1860
The title refers to a little-known commission formed by the tsar in 1899 and headed by Petr Vannovskii, Minister of War under Aleksandr III, to investigate the causes of the protests. " As the commission was short-lived and its recommendations disregarded, these claims seem peculiarly excessive. ); in the process he equates sludencheslvo with "Russian Myths and Memories 29 democracy," and the student strike of 1899 with the Revolution of 1905. Despite its title, lordanskii's article does not focus on the Vannovskii commission, which figures only in some sections, but rather chronicles the development of group consciousness among students.
A second arena appeared in the university and the emerging student subcultures. 15 Upon his succession, Aleksandr II lifted many of the harsh restrictions placed on the universities by his predecessor. With the obligatory uniforms and military discipline abolished outright, curricular reforms heralded a new freedom in the thematic content and reading lists of academic courses. In addition to reforms from above, this period witnessed the birth of the student subcultures, as urban centers were flooded by thousands of youth, willing—even eager—to live in abject poverty in order to receive an education.
Predictably, those written after 1917 tend to be the most formulaic, and those before 1905 the least. The parallels suggest that there were indeed certain "typical" experiences, such as the highly negative recollection of the gymnasium, that students either shared or believed they shared. " An example is the 1924 memoirs of Mikhail Mogilianskii, a contemporary 34 THE MAKING OF REVOLUTIONARY HEROES of lordanskii at St. Petersburg University. By focusing more closely on his own experiences, Mogilianskii fleshes out some details of student life and occasionally conflicts with the portrait painted by lordanskii.