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10 November 2019


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One question I have after listening to this episode: why did the coronation of Nicholas II lead to an amnesty? Was this a tradition that continued even tough it was obviously a bad idea? I'm not saying all amnesties, but why pardon those who have ever declared they want to overthrow the government?

Salem Wolcott Marrero

Seconding Ben's comment. Was also confused by the amnesty. Seems like the coronation of Nicholas II would be a particularly bad time to do it since he hadn't built up all the political capital of a czar and was theoretically weaker.

Mundo Yi

Why is my teacher making me listen to these


Because these are what youngsters have been calling "good shit" my fellow kid.

Dan Milman

I initially assumed that when you referenced Jewish Socialism in this episode you were referencing Bundism as founded in 1897/8 (and Proto-Bundism starting from the 1870s). However I then looked at what the Workers' Party for the Political Liberation* of Russia actually was and compared them to how you described them.

I believe that you joined them together in a way that was confusing. The Workers' Party would be a very small terroristic offshoot from the Proto-Bundists, Bundists, and the General Jewish Labour Bund organization. The General Jewish Labour Bund was the major organization that you described as being a major part of Russian Revolution and beyond.

Another reason why it is important to include the term 'Bundism' is because Bundism is one of the most important Ashkenazim political movements that continues to influence the political ideologies of most of Jewry, both in the US and in Israel. The liberalism/leftism of American Jews and the Democratic voting patterns is the result of Bundism (and its child in the US called the Workmans circle). Including the word "Bundist" provides a keyword for people to search for.








On a personal note, my great uncle was a General Jewish Labour Bund in Poland officer who educated Jewish workers to prepare them for immigration to the U.S. and my family was served by the Workmen's Circle when they arrived after the Holocaust.

I have appreciated your discussion of Jews in this season so far!

Gregory Walker Levitsky

To answer the above question(s) re:amnesty, this was common tradition on any joyous occasion in the empire, including coronations, large military victories (or cessations of conflicts), and the birth of an heir. So, for instance, when Nicholas II was born in 1868, Alexander II declared an amnesty, and Nicholas II declared one in 1904 on the birth of Alexis. There was another in 1913 in honor of the 300th anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty. Obviously these were not for all criminals, and some criminals got reduced sentences rather than just being released.

The monarchy was not really thinking in terms of "political capital," as the Tsar was already assumed to have the love of the people, though there is certainly an element of propaganda in declaring the Tsar's mercy when the amnesty comes around. And yes, I would imagine there is some hope on the part of the government that the amnesty would soften the hearts of those opposed to it. For some, presumably, it did, and I think Mike alluded to those who were just happy to go home and live their lives.

Another great episode. Two pronunciation nitpicks: SarAtov and KolYEnkina.


Hey Mike,

After the series on the russian revoution finishes, what about making a series on the (failed) german revolution? If you do that series exactly like you did the russian revolution, ie, not merely describing the events but describing all the intellectual backdrop and antecedents, I believe that the result will be great..
German history is virtually unknown. Everybody think that there is nothing else in german history except Hitler. But German revolution of 1918 disproves this. It was teeming with extremely interesting personalities like Rosa Luxembourg, Karl Liebknecht, the sailors of Kiel etc. Hence if done that series will fill a great void.

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