What would a Russian empire look like today?

@RexHiberiae the idea that autocracy is somehow inherent to the Russian character is frankly insulting and relies on the sort of stereotypes usually deployed against Chinese people, it has little basis in reality. Furthermore, you do not seem to be aware of the fact that famines can and do happen under non Marxist-Leninist regimes, and that there already was a famine brewing OTL even before 1917 due to the refusal of peasants to market food given the collapse of the consumer goods sector. You also seem to not comprehend just how unstable the Tsarist autocracy was in the early 20th century, even if it doesn't engage in the civil war its economy is cracking under the wave of industrial action by angry workers, the peasants are increasingly upset about agricultural reform, and worst of all, the Tsar himself is a complete incompetent, a weak and ineffectual leader nonetheless determined to preserve total autocracy as much as possible.

Actually the tarrifs gave negative protection for Russian industries. They mainly protected the resource extraction sector (i.e capital inputs). Frequently the raw materials would be protected more than the finished product. This was a great weakness for industry not its strength. The tsar preffered protecting resource extraction for political reasons (favouring the aristocrats vs the capitalists).
Indeed, many industries received no protection whatsoever, while raw material costs increasingly ate up their capital.
This is kind of important, because it's never as simple as just saying "well protectionism worked for other countries". It matters substantially what sort of protectionism is being implemented, and to protect which sectors, and the Tsarist regime was mostly doing it all wrong.
 
I’m not sure which post @RexHiberiae made such a claim, but an empire with few to no natural borders is likely inclined toward having a militarized government, and all that follows from that. Nothing about the inherent character of the people, anymore than Britons are predisposed to be mariners.
 
For one, I think that no matter what 20th century ATL you project for Russia, it's going to be better than OTL, because OTL Russia caught about as many bad breaks as possible. Almost nonstop mass-casualty events for the first half of the century followed by economic stagnation and governmental collapse in the second half... short of total annihilation by Nazi genocide or Cold War nukes, I don't see how it could have gone much worse than that.

IMO, Russia would need a convincing win in WW1 to restore faith in their government that had already been terribly shaken by the 1905 Russo-Japanese War: they're not going to face a Bolshevik revolution or anything immediately after a WW1 victory, but if it's a meat grinder war that Russia just staggers to the finish line for, I think confidence in the government would still be very low. You'd still have populist calls for a real Duma, and you'd have a bunch of fresh citizens from conquered territories who'd all need to be integrated... I just don't see Nicholas II being the kind of guy to handle all that. He was an arch-conservative at a time when Russia would be forced to change, and his usurping of the Duma in 1906 shows me that he just didn't see the populists' point.

If Nicky wins decisively in WW1, that might buy his government another ten years of stability, but sooner or later tensions would start to build. Best case scenario for Russia is that Nicky steps down easily, dies or finally sees the light after decades of push-back against him and can bend to the popular will without breaking. The more likely scenario IMO is civil war - and who knows how an ATL 1920s Russian civil war would go, but it's tough to imagine that the end results would worse than the OTL 1920-1940 we got.

So if Russia was able to transition peacefully to a more liberal government, or recover quickly after a civil war, I think it could easily be a leading power in the world today. It had the right type of huge population + huge amounts of natural resources to build the economies of scale that would dominate the 20th century (ie, United States, China's explosive post-Mao catchup). And if we butterfly away WWII, because like others said I don't see how fascism sticks without the fear of the USSR and global communism, the US wouldn't assume the mantle of global hegemon and would probably be more or less content staying as a continental power. Russia would be about like the Eurasian counterpart of the USA and one big part of a multipolar world.
 
Why would there be famine, if 1. They would accept international aid unlike OTL, and 2. Collectivization and dekulakization don't occur. There wouldnt be a famine, I dont get how being victorious in wwi would mean famines everywhere wut? The soviet union was an autocracy, and despite murdering millions and treating their citizens like meat, there wasnt "three revolutions". I dont see how a prosperous and victorious russian empire would face these challenges, especiall with the army at hand. It took the laughably weak PG for revolution to occur IOTL. Same with civil war. Your analogies with china and US assume a civil war. I dont see any evidence to suggest a victorious imperial regime would face a civil war, when again, it took the idiot kerensky and the weak PG to trigger IOTL. What you are suggesting is baseless speculation.
As Lazer Raptor said, Imperial Russia was primed for disaster as early as 1906 when the Tsar began backtracking from the mildest of reforms in the October manifesto that were forced on him by the revolution of 1905. An Imperial Russia that manages to win WWI will be neither prosperous or stable, especially if Nicholas I (basically the definition of a weak and incompetent ruler) remains in power. An Imperial Russia that does not reform will only be able to remain unreformed through the 20th century by repressing an increasingly powerful and radical revolutionary populace. The exhaustion and devastation from years of civil war was one of that the Soviets were able to maintain power, maintenance of the imperial autocracy, which was also seen as a bad thing, would require a similar event to spend the revolutionary forces that were building up. Obviously catastrophe could be avoided by just reforming the system, but it's difficult when you have Tsars who literally believe that they are divinely ordained to be the sole ruler of Russia and that any hint of reform is the work of Satan.

To some extent all alternate history is baseless speculation, but looking at the economic, social, and political forces brewing in Russia it's clear that there was a lot of potential for catastrophe with or without the Bolsheviks. My original point is that the history of a surviving Imperial Russia could be anything from internal reform to a constitutional monarchy to a bloody autocracy that maintained power with an iron fist.
 

RexHiberiae

Banned
the idea that autocracy is somehow inherent to the Russian character is frankly insulting and relies on the sort of stereotypes usually deployed against Chinese people, it has little basis in reality.
I never said autocracy was inherent to Russian character, I said patrimonial rule was, which I see no evidence to refute. Richard Pipes explains this well.
Furthermore, you do not seem to be aware of the fact that famines can and do happen under non Marxist-Leninist regimes, and that there already was a famine brewing OTL even before 1917 due to the refusal of peasants to market food given the collapse of the consumer goods sector.
The famine only reached its OTL proportions due to massive grain confiscations and collectivization. "War communism" meant there was no free market, so peasants only grew enough to feed their families, but the grain requisitioners came anyway, which led to millions of deaths. I recall reading that in the autonomous german volga republic 40% of grain yields were requisitioned, and a third of the population died. Claiming that a famine would have occured under the victorious tsarist government is just insane. You are basically justifying the Soviet Unions existence on the baseless assertion that a tsardom would have been worse.
the peasants are increasingly upset about agricultural reform
After the war the reforms would have continued apace, and as long as there is no requisitioning, which led to revolts IOTL, I really cannot sea why the peasants would revolt. This is a ludicrous assertion. With regards to industrial workers, they were literally starving during war communism, yet they seemed to not revolt.
 

RexHiberiae

Banned
As Lazer Raptor said, Imperial Russia was primed for disaster as early as 1906 when the Tsar began backtracking from the mildest of reforms in the October manifesto that were forced on him by the revolution of 1905.
Do you realise how stable Russia was from about 1908 to 1914? Lenin literally stated there would be no revolution in his lifetime during these years I think. The workers and peasants were happily going about life until the war. The only group that had grievances yet to be rectified were the intelligentsia, who endlessly encited the populace, only to be destroyed by the Bolsheviks.
 
Do you realise how stable Russia was from about 1908 to 1914? Lenin literally stated there would be no revolution in his lifetime during these years I think. The workers and peasants were happily going about life until the war. The only group that had grievances yet to be rectified were the intelligentsia, who endlessly encited the populace, only to be destroyed by the Bolsheviks.
This view of pre-war Russia is completely wrong. For starters the peasants were being squeezed by attempts to privatize village communal land and the working classes were dealing with some truly horrifying industrial conditions. The Tsar was generally disliked, political terrorism widespread, and the toothless Duma hopelessly divided. I suggest A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891-1924 by Figes as a good primer on both the background to and events of the Russian Revolution.
 

RexHiberiae

Banned
This view of pre-war Russia is completely wrong. For starters the peasants were being squeezed by attempts to privatize village communal land and the working classes were dealing with some truly horrifying industrial conditions. The Tsar was generally disliked, political terrorism widespread, and the toothless Duma hopelessly divided. I suggest A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891-1924 by Figes as a good primer on both the background to and events of the Russian Revolution.
Its actually a correct view. It is false to say the peasants were being squeezed, not true at all. Some peasants were resentful at fellow peasants who chose to leave the commune. These peasants were more industrious and had more initiative, and more successful. The peasants who remained in the commune were waiting for the "black repartition" in which all dvorianstvo land would be redistributed. In reality this gentry class owned very little land by 1914. Peasants owned 90% of arable land. So no, no peasants were being "squeezed" by privatisation. In fact, the communal system was squeezing them, as it discouraged good treatment of the land. The only people who hated the tsar were the intelligentsia and white collar workers, there is no evidence to suggest peasants or even workers hated the tsar. Figes has been disgraced, and calls himself a menshevik, yeah, a bit biased. I would recommend Richard Pipes' 'the Russian Revolution' and 'Russia under the Bolshevik Regime' as well as Sean McMeekin's 'the Russian revolution a new history' for an in depth view of that era.
 
I never said autocracy was inherent to Russian character, I said patrimonial rule was, which I see no evidence to refute. Richard Pipes explains this well.

The famine only reached its OTL proportions due to massive grain confiscations and collectivization. "War communism" meant there was no free market, so peasants only grew enough to feed their families, but the grain requisitioners came anyway, which led to millions of deaths. I recall reading that in the autonomous german volga republic 40% of grain yields were requisitioned, and a third of the population died. Claiming that a famine would have occured under the victorious tsarist government is just insane. You are basically justifying the Soviet Unions existence on the baseless assertion that a tsardom would have been worse.

After the war the reforms would have continued apace, and as long as there is no requisitioning, which led to revolts IOTL, I really cannot sea why the peasants would revolt. This is a ludicrous assertion. With regards to industrial workers, they were literally starving during war communism, yet they seemed to not revolt.
Pipes is not a credible source, he was a bitterly partisan conservative who had a deeply anti-intellectual and anti-Russian bent. Every review of his works I have read is critical of how blatantly he bends the facts to justify his hatred rather than letting his opinions be formed by the facts. Your uncritical consumption of his nonsense explains a lot , because he pushed the blatant falsehood that the unrest in Russia was fermented by evil socialist intellectuals, when in fact the February revolution caught all the established socialist currents completely off guard because it was sparked by spontaneous and unplanned industrial action by the working women of Petrograd, not some nefarious plot by well educated socialists.

I am not trying to apologize for Stalinism here and if you think the only two positions a person can hold are either "The Tsarist regime was good actually" or "Stalin did nothing wrong" I don't know what to tell you.

I will second the fact that you really need to read some actually good scholarship like A People's Tragedy, which is far from sympathetic to the Bolsheviks, but is a legitimately good work of scholarship instead of an ideological screed. Figes is in no way discredited and I have no idea where you are getting this idea.

EDIT: I have not read any reviews of McMeekin, nor his actual works so I cannot comment there.
 

RexHiberiae

Banned
Pipes is not a credible source, he was a bitterly partisan conservative who had a deeply anti-intellectual and anti-Russian bent. Every review of his works I have read is critical of how blatantly he bends the facts to justify his hatred rather than letting his opinions be formed by the facts. Your uncritical consumption of his nonsense explains a lot , because he pushed the blatant falsehood that the unrest in Russia was fermented by evil socialist intellectuals, when in fact the February revolution caught all the established socialist currents completely off guard because it was sparked by spontaneous and unplanned industrial action by the working women of Petrograd, not some nefarious plot by well educated socialists.

I am not trying to apologize for Stalinism here and if you think the only two positions a person can hold are either "The Tsarist regime was good actually" or "Stalin did nothing wrong" I don't know what to tell you.

I will second the fact that you really need to read some actually good scholarship like A People's Tragedy, which is far from sympathetic to the Bolsheviks, but is a legitimately good work of scholarship instead of an ideological screed. Figes is in no way discredited and I have no idea where you are getting this idea.

EDIT: I have not read any reviews of McMeekin, nor his actual works so I cannot comment there.
All the reviews you have read were clearly written by conceited intellectuals themselves. Why dont you read Pipes? There is no "rage" in his works, and no "anti russian bent". He has far from been discredited, being acclaimed as one of the leading historians of the RR. Figes was caught commenting on rival's books negatively, under an alias. He is clearly not a good or honest person.
 
Britain was a champion of free trade, since as the most advanced economy in the world, it was in British interests.
As a backward inefficient economy, it would be a great way to boost the economies of more efficient industries like Germany and Austria Hungary.
Well Britain was very protectionist until shortly after the irish famine, after Britain had already industrialized and that free trade probably kept it from maching the usa or germany after the 2ed industrial revolution.
Actually the tarrifs gave negative protection for Russian industries. They mainly protected the resource extraction sector (i.e capital inputs). Frequently the raw materials would be protected more than the finished product. This was a great weakness for industry not its strength. The tsar preffered protecting resource extraction for political reasons (favouring the aristocrats vs the capitalists).
Indeed, many industries received no protection whatsoever, while raw material costs increasingly ate up their capital.
Well that was the case for most of the 1800's de Witte had changed that and his system (which was actually gust the same as what Britain, Germany, the usa, and Japan had done) was working, how far it could have gone nobody knows but russia was industrializeing under it, gust whithout the accompanying political reforms that even germany under bismark did.
It was also extremely unpopular whith both the aristocracy and the workers.
 
Its actually a correct view. It is false to say the peasants were being squeezed, not true at all. Some peasants were resentful at fellow peasants who chose to leave the commune. These peasants were more industrious and had more initiative, and more successful. The peasants who remained in the commune were waiting for the "black repartition" in which all dvorianstvo land would be redistributed. In reality this gentry class owned very little land by 1914. Peasants owned 90% of arable land. So no, no peasants were being "squeezed" by privatisation. In fact, the communal system was squeezing them, as it discouraged good treatment of the land.
Completely wrong again, during this time period Russia was in the middle of the Stolypin Reforms, which were intended to privatize communal land. I'm not going to argue about which system was better, but the peasantry was in the midst of massive changes which were disrupting their way of life. The "Black Repartition" movement was long gone by then, and you're vastly oversimplifying the character of the Russian Peasentry, as well as ignoring that many industrial workers performed seasonal work in the cities and returned to the villages to assist with agriculture. I have no idea where you get the 90% figure from, but even a cursory look at the encyclopedia brittanica shows that 20% or less of peasants owned their land.
The only people who hated the tsar were the intelligentsia and white collar workers, there is no evidence to suggest peasants or even workers hated the tsar.
This is a ludicrous position that also completely ignores the events of the 1905 revolution.
Figes has been disgraced, and calls himself a menshevik, yeah, a bit biased. I would recommend Richard Pipes' 'the Russian Revolution' and 'Russia under the Bolshevik Regime' as well as Sean McMeekin's 'the Russian revolution a new history' for an in depth view of that era.
All the reviews you have read were clearly written by conceited intellectuals themselves. Why dont you read Pipes? There is no "rage" in his works, and no "anti russian bent". He has far from been discredited, being acclaimed as one of the leading historians of the RR. Figes was caught commenting on rival's books negatively, under an alias. He is clearly not a good or honest person.
Ah, now things make more sense, seems like you're reading from sources that perhaps overemphasize the "great man" effects of the "intellectuals" of the Russian Revolution while downplaying the societal factors at work. Can't really weigh in on the personal views of the authors, but you're really dismissing Figes' work when he's also one of the leading scholars on Russian history.

Look, nobody's trying to excuse the soviets here, what we're saying is that there were forces at work in Russia that helped enable their rise. Imperial Russia was NOT a happy prosperous nation under the benevolent hand of the "father Tsar," universally loved except by a few un-Russian intellectuals. That's pure Imperial Russian propaganda. I agree that a continuing Imperial Russia would likely end up much better overall than the USSR, but the potential was there for it to turn into a similar hellhole given certain rolls of the dice.
 
All the reviews you have read were clearly written by conceited intellectuals themselves. Why dont you read Pipes? There is no "rage" in his works, and no "anti russian bent". He has far from been discredited, being acclaimed as one of the leading historians of the RR. Figes was caught commenting on rival's books negatively, under an alias. He is clearly not a good or honest person.
Claiming that the only reason scholars of the Russian Revolution would criticize Pipes' work is because they were evil intellectuals is a circular argument. This is the same sort of argument Stalin apologists make when people criticize their attempts to downplay his crimes and it is no less convincing in this context.

Also, Figes' scandal does not in fact invalidate his scholarship, if it were something like plagiarism than it would be relevant, but as all his Amazon review scandal proves is that he's a bit of a dick.
 
Was the Soviet Unions growth by WWII from the Tsarist period largely a product of their population pyramid?

Their GNP per head was higher but productivity not. They had 7 kids per woman in 1913 and lower life expectancy. They had a substantial reduction in fertility by 1940 and higher life expectancy.

Was their growth largely a product of the size of their workforce increasing?
 
As would be seen today, mainly socioculturally and demographically, a Russian empire that, for example, achieved "win" the first world war? What would your political culture look like and what would be its impact on the rest of the world?

ps: you choose the point of divergence as long as it remains after 1902
The possibilities are vast.

However, I'll tell you what it won't be: the Soviet Union.

The Russian Revolution was an enormous convulsion, as was WW1 itself, and without a Russian Revolution WW2 is also butterflied away or changed enormously. With the 3 defining events that shaped what would become the Soviet Union so very transformed, Russia will be very different. Don't apply expectations based on the OTL Soviet period onto a longer lived Russian empire.

I can tell you what else it won't be: the pre-1914 Russian empire! WW1, as mentioned above, had extreme effects on Russia even before the wheels came off in 1917. Depending on when the PoD is just in the 1914-1918 span, you could end up with wildly different outcomes from peasant socialist constitutional monarchy to liberal republic to tsarist Christian fundamentalism gone (even more) mad.

Some other fairly general points to keep in mind:

*Forced urbanization, mass death and education are all bad for population growth rates. The Soviet regime pushed all 3 in a big way. Further, Hitler killed alot of Russians. ALOT. On top of that, WW1 also killed alot of Russians. So on its own, no Bolshevik regime means a much higher Russian population. Add to that, if WW2 is butterflied or made less bad for Russia, that will also mean a much higher Russian population. Add to that, if the PoD results in a better WW1 for Russia or no WW1, then Russia has a much higher population. Of course, it is worth keeping in mind that significant credit for the post-revolution boom in literacy in Russia goes to foundations laid in tsarist times. So even without a revolution, Russia probably still becomes much more literate between 1920 and 1960. Avoiding the great demographic disasters and the Stalinist forced urbanization would mean that more literate population could be anywhere in a range from 500 million to over a billion by the modern day. Let that sink in for a moment. European Russia could be as densely populated as the Indian subcontinent (the two regions are about the same size).

*While tsarist Russia grew rapidly during the immediate pre-war period, so did most grain exporters - many of them struggled after the collapse of commodity prices in the Great Depression and experienced damaging political ructions (especially commodity exporters that like Russia in 1900 had poor literacy levels - low education and 20th Centuries marred by tyranny and bad decision making seem to go hand in hand). There's many reasons to think that a continued Tsarist regime would look more like a giant-sized Brazil or Argentina, not a giant-sized Japan.

*On the other hand, there's many reasons to think Russia would not look like a giant-sized Argentina or Brazil. Russia would likely be a great power in most alternate 20th Centuries, if one with a population was poorer than other great powers, which means it would consistently have better bargaining power than the Latin American countries as it tried to navigate the many crises that are sure to face it. Further, while Russia's "vast resources" are very much an over-done trope (sheer distance pushing up transport costs, mineral and soil quality and climate all lead to many of the country's resources being uneconomical) it does have plenty of coal. And coal, along with education and population size, is one of the main things that differentiates countries that had a relatively successful 20th Century and those who are relative backwaters economically. (Even Japan, famous for being resource poor, became resource poor after using up those resources - it started the 20th Century with respectable coal reserves compared to most countries in the world, if low compared to most rich countries in the world.)

All in all, I would expect that a surviving Russian Empire would outperform the former Soviet Union by the present day, if only by virtue of avoiding the collapse the Soviet Union ran into. But that's not to say there aren't other paths to similar collapses, so maybe I am being over-optimistic. Nationalism - especially Russian nationalism - has the potential to push the empire into all-out collapse and one can argue that a continued Russian empire would be more vulnerable to that weakness than the Soviet Union was. Per capita incomes might thus be on par with those of modern Russia, but populations much higher and thus the state's power far greater. I would expect that a surviving Russian empire would be a significant food importer, since industrial agriculture, even if better implemented than it was under the Soviets, will struggle to output much more food than Soviet agriculture. Then again, it is possible to imagine a Russian Empire that follows a Japan-like industrial trajectory, meaning there is the wealth to employ technologies like polytunnels, glass houses and hydroponics at Neatherlands-level intensity.

Politically, in the 20s and 30s a continuing Tsarist regime is likely to be close to Japan (they had become close in the aftermath of the Russo-Japanese war, which helped the Russians get over some of the racist attitudes that led them into the war and realize that they and Japan had alot of common interests), to seek to expand into China, Turkey and Iran. In China, the northern half of Manchuria, Mongolia and Sinkiang could well end up being fully absorbed into the Russian empire unless China manages to be much more stable than OTL. Iran likely stays informally partitioned with the British until the Iranians are able to push the two out (possible if there's something like WW2) as neither power wanted to start a war for the other half. Turkey is very likely to end up a rump state and that rump state may end up becoming a Russian or a British protectorate. Depending on the PoD, Poland could be a semi-independent satellite or an autonomous region. Finland could also be either. Czechoslovakia is likely to be an ally of Russia. If WW1 ends with everything promised to Russia in OTL, possession of Constantinople greatly aids Russian trade. The rest of the gains are kinda irrelevant.

With a surviving Russian empire and a WW1, likely the peace is even harsher on Germany. If the French-Russian alliance survives (it may not, depending on how democratic Russia has become) they have the capability to contain the Germans even if the UK and US followed similar policies as OTL. Of course, France and Britain could have contained Germany easily in OTL, but as we see from our own history, capability doesn't mean people will use it.

Perhaps a surviving Russian empire means the colonial empires last longer, simply due to the lack of the Soviet example and the existence of the counter-example of a still very expansionist and imperialist Russia.

There's the possibility that all of this could lead to a better world, or it could be a mix of good and bad (for example, China could end up far worse off, but of course, it may escape anything close to the Maoist famines of OTL, so maybe it is better off overall even though it ends up more colonized by a Russo-Japanese team-up, on the other other hand, the Japanese and Russians have the capability to do some pretty awful things themselves. It could also just be worse. Even if Russia itself has a better 20th Century.

And there are so many black swan events that happen in real history. I would never have predicted anything as weird as 1930s Japan if all I had to go on is what the country looked like in 1913 and how WW1 effected it.

fasquardon
 
There was certainly anti-semitic violence by the Whites during the Civil War. But "hundreds of thousands"? Was this gigantic crime ignored or glossed over?
Yes it was. Keep in mind between 5-12 million people died in the Russian Civil War (more if you add in related wars like the Polish-Ukranian wars and the Polish-Soviet war). Add to that, the Spanish Flu was in the process of ravaging Russia.

The nascent USSR would have excellent reasons to document and publicize it.
No. The Bolsheviks had also committed atrocities they didn't want publicized. The Bolsheviks saw violence against Jews as either their enemies attacking the workers or themselves taking justified action against the oppressors of the workers or against counter-revolutionaries. The organizational capacity of the Bolshevik regime at this point was limited - collecting evidence of all of the crimes, hiding the evidence they found of their own crimes and documenting the evidence of their enemies crimes was probably beyond the new Soviet regime at this point while also getting food and armies where they needed to be. Also, the stories that did come out were for the reasons above and the White's own distorted view of their crimes, easily dismissed if the listener found them uncomfortable.

fasquardon
 
There was certainly anti-semitic violence by the Whites during the Civil War. But "hundreds of thousands"? Was this gigantic crime ignored or glossed over? The nascent USSR would have excellent reasons to document and publicize it.

But that didn't happen. There were no mass graves uncovered; no memorials on the sites of particularly infamous massacres. Even after the fall of the USSR, I have not seen Jewish groups "digging up" such history.

Also, what happened during the Civil War was after the Empire had been overthrown and the Bolsheviks had embarked on their own campaigns of mass terror.

If there is no breakdown of civil order, nor widespread revolutionary violence, then IMO it would be unlikely for there to be genocide in Russia by anyone. Whatever the foul beliefs of the Black Hundreds, Russia had gone a hundred years without that. If there was a political revolution in the Empire which empowered the extremists, as in Germany, very bad things could and probably would happen. But such an outcome would not be inevitable or even likely (IMO).
Well considering multiple foreign commanders wrote back to there governments about how uncomfortable they where working whith the whites because of the Jewish massacres it's not like this was particularly hidden, but the Soviets where considered the enemy there for it was baride.
 
Avoiding the great demographic disasters and the Stalinist forced urbanization would mean that more literate population could be anywhere in a range from 500 million to over a billion by the modern day
Demographers got it covered. 300 million, with a normal birthrate.
European Russia could be as densely populated as the Indian subcontinent (the two regions are about the same size)
But Russian one is mostly uninhabitable.
 

Ulyanovsk

Donor
As a postscript to the discussion of anti-semitic violence in the Russian Empire and its immediate aftermath and why it really isn't as well known or publicized, the SRB podcast did an excellent episode the other day with Dr Elissa Bemporad about the subject which pretty much covers everything discussed in this thread thoroughly.. Also covers some additional topics I found interesting like Jewish overrepresentation in organizations like the Cheka, the history of "blood libel accusations" under Soviet power, and discussions of how Soviet attitudes changed towards anti-semitism in general.
 
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This view of pre-war Russia is completely wrong. For starters the peasants were being squeezed by attempts to privatize village communal land and the working classes were dealing with some truly horrifying industrial conditions. The Tsar was generally disliked, political terrorism widespread, and the toothless Duma hopelessly divided. I suggest A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891-1924 by Figes as a good primer on both the background to and events of the Russian Revolution.
From what I remember, Figes made it clear the Russian Revolution was not inevitable and the typical Russian peasant had seen steady and tangible quality of life improvements over the decades leading into the revolution. The build quality of my copy of the book, coupled with the subject matter made for a miserable read.
 
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