Constructing and Envisioning Empire
This concluding chapter addresses the issue of national consciousness, which for the Russian empire by the end of the eighteenth century remained “imperial” rather than “Russifying.” Catherine II reveled in the diversity of her subject peoples and like her predecessors envisioned the empire as a harmonious integration of many ethnicities, languages, cultures, and religions. The Conclusion ends by summarizing the themes of the work, leading to reflections on how the eighteenth century produced social groups of literate professionals who in the next century went on to staff a more professional bureaucracy and local government. Eighteenth-century sensibilities, reforms, and social groups put Russia on the road to the important mid-nineteenth century reforms of law, serfdom, and society.
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