This pop-science series seeks to refute the famous dictum of 19th-century Russian poet Fyodor Tyutchev, which holds that “Russia cannot be understood with the mind…”. To get a better sense of what Russia is, we invited some of its leading historians to share their modern, professional expertise and to collaborate with us on this project. The books they have written for this series enrich our understandings of the country’s past and, consequently, deepen our understandings of the problems and challenges facing our time. At the heart of the project is the dramatic process of Russia’s modernization, which has taken place over the course of the last 300-400 years. Of particular interest are the ways in which Russia’s striving to catch up with and surpass Europe – and, in the 20th century, America – has left its mark on various spheres of life in Russian society. Impacted spheres include, among others, the construction and evolution of intellectual ideas, value systems, cultural priorities, social mobility, everyday practices, institution-building, legal framework, and public administration. The ultimate aim of the series is to establish a new domestic tradition of popular history that can show the reading public a rich and diverse image of Russian historical experience—an image not reduced to the change of rulers and regimes. It is only possible to apprehend Russia “with the mind,” to evaluate the degree to which Russia’s history is unique, through comparison with similar processes in other countries. Thus, the books in this series present the various aspects of Russian society’s modernization in the broader context of social transformations taking place in Europe at the same time.
Series editor — Dmitry Sporov