A fundamental dimension of the Russian historical experience has been the diversity of its people and cultures, religions and languages, landscapes and ecomies. For six centuries this diversity was contained within the sprawling territories of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, and it persists today in the entwined states and societies of the former USSR. Russia's People of Empire explores this enduring multicultural world through life stories of 31 individuals-famous and obscure, high born and low, men and women-that illuminate the cross-cultural exchanges at work from the late 1500s to post-Soviet Russia. Working on the scale of a single life, these microhistories shed new light on the multicultural character of the Russian Empire, which both shaped individuals' lives and in turn was shaped by them.
Stephen M. Norris is Associate Professor of History at Miami University of Ohio. He is author of A War of Images: Russian Popular Prints, Wartime Culture, and National Identity and editor (with Helena Goscilo) of Preserving Petersburg: History, Memory, Nostalgia (IUP, 2008) and (with Zara Torlone) of Insiders and Outsiders in Russian Cinema (IUP, 2008). Willard Sunderland is Associate Professor of History at the University of Cincinnati and author of Taming the Wild Field: Colonization and Empire on the Russian Steppe.