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Russification and the Lithuanians, 1863-1905

Theodore R. Weeks
Slavic Review
Vol. 60, No. 1 (Spring, 2001), pp. 96-114
DOI: 10.2307/2697645
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2697645
Page Count: 19
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Abstract

In the half-century after the Polish insurrection of 1863, the Russian government applied many restrictive measures to Lithuanian culture, including the prohibition against printing Lithuanian except in Cyrillic letters. Some have argued that St. Petersburg aimed to wipe out the culture and language of Lithuanians in this period. A close look at the archival sources shows, however, that the Russian authorities were very little concerned with the Lithuanians per se and far more worried about Polish influences in the region. In the end, the Russian government saw Lithuanians only as a pawn in the "age-old struggle" between Poles and Russians. The failure of official Russians to take Lithuanian nationalism seriously meant that the Russian empire was quite unprepared to deal with this popular movement in the early twentieth century.

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