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  #161  
Old 02-25-2017, 03:20 PM
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I don't know how history is categorized in Kazakhstan or the East in general, but in the West it's a humanity. Humanities can be classified as social sciences, but that's a bit of a loose classification, and it's even more so a stretch to classify historians as scientists.

I'm not going to get into the "anti-Russian frenzy" going on in the West right now as it would be off topic for this thread, and political which I'm fairly certain is against the rules of this forum. I will say that claiming that Robert Service is going to make money off of anti Russian sentiments by publishing a book about Nicholas II is more of a stretch than calling him a scientist.

For starters, Robert Service is a historian who has been publishing works on Russian history for 30 years now. It's fairly safe to say that a man who has spent his entire career focusing on 20th century Russian history (his previous works include biographies of Lenin, Stalin, and Trotsky), isn't likely to publish a biography of a Russian figure just to profit off of a rise in anti-Russian sentiments. More likely - more logically - he's written this to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the death of Nicholas II and his family. Profit definitely factors into it a bit - much like previous historians who released works at the time of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, the start of WWI, etc Service is very likely hoping that the milestone anniversary will generate extra interest in his book, particularly as the Romanovs have continued to captivate an interest in Western society (I don't know about Eastern society in that regards, I suspect it's a bit more complicated in Russia than it is in Western countries if for no reason other than because it's Russian history, and a country's history tends to be more complicated within that country than elsewhere).

Thirdly, and this is a bit off topic and political, but the anti-Russian sentiments in the West right now has little to do with Russian history and more to do with current events and how they're being interpreted and represented in the West (right or wrong, for better or worse). That's not going to make someone in the West want to read a biography of Nicholas II.
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  #162  
Old 02-25-2017, 04:03 PM
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In Kazakhstan history is classified as social science. Given the fact Mr Service is said to work in UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies and actively researches Russia, he is the British scientist.

I do know who Robert Service is. I am sure his "The History of Modern Russia: From Nicholas II to Vladimir Putin" is popular in the enlightened western countries. The revolution anniversary is an extra reason to increase income for Mr Service and other British scientists.
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  #163  
Old 02-25-2017, 04:27 PM
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To be a scientist he would have to have studied science and work in that field.

He doesn't.

He works in a social science field - specifically History.

As an historian myself I know that I am no scientist (having dropped it after 4 years of high school - and would have dropped it earlier if it hadn't been compulsory for those 4 years).

Historians are NOT scientists - we study in humanities or social science faculties not science faculties. Social Science or Humanities study people and their lives - not science.

In non-western countries they may require historians to study science but in the west it is not required and almost the opposite of where their strengths lie which is with words and not figures - unlike most scientists of my acquaintance who are way more comfortable reading formulae and memorising things that include lots of figures.
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  #164  
Old 02-25-2017, 05:54 PM
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I don't think Service is trying to "cash in" on anti-Russian sentiment as Service is often critical of the present Russian goverment he doesn't seem to have any particlaur animus against Russians overall, in other words he's not a Russophobe if that's what you're saying Al-Bina. One of the better things about his books is that he makes very clear the appalling human cost of the dogmatism and mistakes of his central subjects - something that often gets glossed over and I can't see why Nicholas should be any exception as his failures and lack of competence was very damaging to Russia and indeed the world. The book is more than anything about challenging the whitewashing and more romanticising treatments like Robert Massie that has happened to N over the past century outside Russia more than anything.

However given the Russian Orthodox Churches present view of N and their relationship to the current government of Russia - you could probably see why this kind of criticism might not go down well in some places...
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  #165  
Old 02-25-2017, 07:32 PM
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There's no 'anti-Russian frenzy' going on in Australia at the moment, and I suppose we'd be classed as a Western country. I'd say it is more a US/Democrat issue linked to supposed Russian involvement in the recent Presidential election.
If anything I'd say we are more perturbed about Chinese activity in the South China Seas than anything else, though even that's not having that much of an impact.

I welcome a new book on Nicholas II, actually. Anything that can shed light upon his reign and his successes and disastrous failures should be valuable. As it is written by a recognised historian I doubt it's going to be a diatribe against the entire Russian people, even if Nicholas's death and that of his family was a ghastly one.
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  #166  
Old 02-25-2017, 11:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curryong View Post
There's no 'anti-Russian frenzy' going on in Australia at the moment, and I suppose we'd be classed as a Western country. I'd say it is more a US/Democrat issue linked to supposed Russian involvement in the recent Presidential election.
If anything I'd say we are more perturbed about Chinese activity in the South China Seas than anything else, though even that's not having that much of an impact.

I welcome a new book on Nicholas II, actually. Anything that can shed light upon his reign and his successes and disastrous failures should be valuable. As it is written by a recognised historian I doubt it's going to be a diatribe against the entire Russian people, even if Nicholas's death and that of his family was a ghastly one.
Agreed, there isn't any sort of anti Russian frenzy going on in New Zealand at present. China is seen as the bigger cause for concern.

The real issue about the Russophobia here is conflating the present Russian goverment with the population at large, even taking into account the fact that Putn himself enjoys considerable support (the goverment overall is a different story). How Putin and the Russian goverment are going to commerate both the February and October revolutions, along with remembering the Civil War that followed, is going to be interesting. Nicholas, Kerensky, or for that matter Lenin himself, don't fit eaisly into the narrative of the greatness and fundamental conservatism of the Russian imperial (in the general sense) state. Permit me to explain some of the background issues here and why this is important for understanding the context of things like the upcoming Nicholas biography I mentioned above.

Nicholas, although basically a conservative and maybe not as reactionary as suggested was still weak and incompentnet and his inability to control more elite and popular support was a major factor in the collapse of the imperial goverment, along with the First World War. He did not deserve the end he got but he still had a great deal to answer for - so therefore not useful as a frontman for someone with White sympathies - they prefer men like Kolchack and Kornilov. Kerenksy was a dithering blowhard who failed to do the sensible thing i.e. Get Russia out of the war, and was a liberal to boot so automatically anathema to someone like Putin.

Lenin however.... he is tricky to say the least. On the one hand his mummified corpse is still on display in red square and is still regarded by many as the man who not only saved Russia from complete collapse but also began the modernisation of Russia (this isn't the case but many still believe it though). On the other hand there are a lot of more conservative Russians (including Putin according to some reports) who resent him for singing the treaty of Brest-Livtosk, which pretty much gave away much of the Baltic, Ukraine, Belarus and Poland, for granting the right of succession to the non-Russian soviet republics and for being very emphatically modern and forward minded both in term of his social and cultural views. On top of that he also pretty much started a civil war against the remaining whites (who it does need to be said were foreign backed and were explicitly trying to go back to a modified version of the old order - think Francoist Spain or Nationalist China) and anyone else who got in the way. The liberals and some of the left dislike him for these reasons. You can see why this might be causing a historiographical headache in some quarters(!).

It should come as no great suprise therefore that Putin and co would probably like to ignore this years anniversarys and continue to focus on the Second World War, and similar events instead. But somthing this big and important can't be swept under the rug so they will need to do somthing. It'll be interesting to see how they will fudge this one...

https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...cy-lenin-putin

Friday essay: Putin, memory wars and the 100th anniversary of the Russian revolution

https://www.wilsoncenter.org/blog-po...ian-revolution

PS/ the 1905 revolution (i.e. The one that started the beginning of the end for Nicholas) was also commerated with chirping crickets as well by the authorities and society at large so make of that what you will
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