Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Yadrintsev’s ‘Siberia as a Colony’ Not a Call for Independence but for Regional Development, Chernyshov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Aug. 28 – Nikolay Yadrintsev, one of the two founding fathers of Siberian regionalism, was a passionate advocate of independence for his native region at the start of his career and a supporters of that idea at the end of his life because of disappointment at the failure of the tsarist regime to develop Siberia.

            But his most oft-cited work, Siberia as a Colony (1881), which he wrote after being imprisoned and exiled for his pro-independence views, was not the call for Siberian independence many assume to this day. Instead, Sergey Chernyshov says, it called for Siberia’s development as a colony ( y-izobrel-sibir/32557313.html).

            Chernyshov, who is seeking to create a free university in Siberia devoted to regional development – on those plans, see,  says that after exile, Yadrintsev adopted a conservative Russian position and believed that his native region should be developed precisely as a colony.

            Only when the tsarist authorities failed to move in that direction did he return to his earlier radicalism in the period just before his death by suicide. This correction in intellectual history is important because many of even the most knowledgeable commentators suggest Yadrintsev’s Siberia as a Colony had exactly the opposite message.

            Chernyshov is not seeking to dethrone Yadrintsev from his position as a founder of Siberian regionalism and even as an advocate of Siberian independence but rather to correct the widespread view that his positions on these issues remained constant and were in fact reflected in Siberia as a Colony.


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