Patriots & Critics: the Story of how Public Receptions of World War I in the Russian Empire Changed

Куцик, Руслан Ростиславович (2022) Patriots & Critics: the Story of how Public Receptions of World War I in the Russian Empire Changed Східноєвропейський історичний вісник [East European Historical Bulletin] (22). pp. 64-81. ISSN 2519-058X

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Abstract. The purpose of the research is to outline the main features of society’s reaction to the outbreak of World War I and the subsequent transformational changes in the mood of different population groups in the course of the war events. The methodology of the research is based on the principles of historicism, the effectiveness of systematic and scientific using national (analysis, synthesis, scientific abstraction) and special and historical (historical and comparative, retrospective and problematic) methods. The Scientific Novelty. For the first time the peculiarities of the moods of different population groups of the Ukrainian lands of the Russian Empire in 1914 – 1917 were comprehensively presented, taking into account not only the social status of the person, but also the age peculiarities and personal motives; clearly outlines the major stages of changing society’s reception and understanding of World War I events. The Conclusions. Therefore, the initial stage of the war was marked by widespread patriotism, which, despite of its “mass” nature, had a differentiated, ambivalent and permanent character during the years of 1914 – 1917. The majority of “ardent” patriots were wealthy people who, owing to their privileged and financial position avoided military service and practically didn’t participate in the hostilities, or representatives of ultra-monarchical circles. For some people the war was a way of showing their loyalty to the government, but for the others it was an opportunity to make money and enrich themselves. Other groups of the population were overwhelmed by a sense of patriotism and liberation struggle, though the main reason for this was not the love for the “great tsarist Motherland”, but understanding of the need to protect their “small homeland”. A similar vision and reception of the war was typical of the soldiers’ environment, as it was based on village natives. In the early years of the war, the behavior of soldiers was determined by the humble, patient, and self-righteous fulfillment of their military duty. Delaying the timing of the war, defeats at the front, increasing of the number of victims, growing economic crisis triggered a process of destabilization inside the country. Distrust and dissatisfaction were spreading in the society. Negative trends began to show up in the army, in particular, a decline of patriotism, morale and religiosity. As a result, in 1916–1917, measures, adopted by the Russian imperial government in order to control the socio-political situation, could no longer hide the true situation and restrain the serious transformations in the mass public consciousness. The increase of political activity in the national consciousness of the Ukrainians was a notable phenomenon. It also was one of the important preconditions for the revolutionary events and the development of the Ukrainian statehood in the 1917s – 1920s.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: World War I; Russian Empire; Ukrainian people; public consciousness; public mood; patriotism; criticism
Subjects: Статті у наукометричних базах > Web of Science
Статті у журналах > Фахові (входять до переліку фахових, затверджений МОН)
Divisions: Факультети > Історико-філософський факультет > Кафедра історії України
Depositing User: Руслан Ростиславович Куцик
Date Deposited: 02 May 2022 10:22
Last Modified: 02 May 2022 10:42

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