Quotes by Orlando Figes

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Their notion of training was to march the men up and down in parades and reviews: these were nice to look at and gave them the impression of military discipline and precision, but as a preparation for a modern war they had no value whatsoever. more...

The link between literacy and revolutions is a well-known historical phenomenon. The three great revolutions of modern European history - the English, the French and the Russian - all took place in societies where the rate of literacy was approaching 50 per cent. Literacy had a profound effect on the peasant mind and community. It promotes abstract thought and enables the peasant to master new skills and technologies, Which in turn helps him to accept the concept of progress that fuels change in the modern world. more...

On the news that the Tsar had sent the troops icons to boost their morals, General Dragomirov quipped: 'The Japanese are beating us with machine-guns, but never mind: we'll beat them with icons. more...

We, the workers and inhabitants of St Petersburg, of various estates, our wives, our children, and our aged, helpless parents, come to THEE, O SIRE to seek justice and protection. We are impoverished; we are oppressed, overburdened with excessive toil, contemptuously treated . . . We are suffocating in despotism and lawlessness. O SIRE we have no strength left, and our endurance is at an end. We have reached that frightful moment when death is better than the prolongation of our unbearable sufferings. . . more...

Time and time again, the obstinate refusal of the tsarist regime to concede reforms turned what should have been a political problem into a revolutionary crisis... the tsarist regime's downfall was not inevitable; but its own stupidity made it so. more...

It was ironic but somehow fitting that the 1905 Revolution should have been started by an organisation dreamed up by the tsarist regime itself. No-one believed more than Father Gapon in the bond between Tsar and people. more...


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