This is the first non-Soviet history of the Volga countryside during the Russian revolution and civil war of 1917-1921. The product of extensive study of numerous archival sources--many of them from central government archives, and previously considered highly secret--it reconstructs the revolutionary experience of the peasantry in the crucial Volga region, situated immediately behind the military fronts between the Reds and the Whites. Figes examines in detail the impact of the revolution on the villages. With the destruction of the old agrarian state, the task of reforming the social life of the countryside was left to the peasants, who set about reconstructing the order according to traditional peasant notions of social justice. The ability of the Bolsheviks to mobilize the peasantry is explained in terms of political and social developments at the village level during the civil war. The civil war, Figes argues, left a deep scar on the peasant economy and peasant-state relations, which influenced the entire development of the Soviet regime.
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