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The Socialization of the Russian Bureaucratic Elite, 1811-1917: Life at the Tsarskoe Selo Lyceum and the School of Jurisprudence

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No other European bureaucracy in the nineteenth century faced so formidable a challenge as did the Russian. Russia's territorial expanse, the backwardness and diversity of its population, the paucity of political rights, and the weakness of its local institutions all intensified the normal difficulties of governing a state. Whether the tsarist officials met this challenge successfully or not, the enormity of the problem would justify a careful study of the Russian bureaucracy. Yet, not until recently have Western scholars begun to give the imperial bureaucracy the attention it deserves and, in so doing, to redraw the one-dimensional picture too often sketched by Soviet historians and pre-revolutionary Russian liberals.1 The work is by no means finished. Even a cursory comparison with studies of the administrative systems of other European powers, like France, Great Britain, Germany, or Austria, reveals how much remains unknown about the Russian experience. So far historians have concentrated on the nature and activity of the Russian bureaucracy while generally neglecting its education and preparation. True, John Armstrong's The European Administrative Elite, an impressive comparative study of English, French, German, and Russian developments, does devote considerable space to the bureaucrat's pre-service training; but the fact that the Russian case invariably gets the briefest treatment underscores the need for further investigations into the education of the Russian governmental elite. The present paper, it is hoped, will help fill this need.

Affiliations: 1: (The University of British Columbia,Vancouver, B.C., Canada


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