Russian Colonialism and Bessarabia: A Confrontation of Cultures,
DEPARTMENT OF STATE WASHINGTON DC OFFICE OF EXTERNAL RESEARCH
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In the original plan and original drafts of this paper the attention was focused quite narrowly on colonial policies and the years 1878-1917. However, in the course of research and writing I became convinced that the period I chose to cover was not quite as felicitous, or convenient, as I believed it would, for unless I had access to archival material and put the primary emphasis on the bureaucratic and mostly local decision-making level I would not be able to carve for myself a field of research that could be presented in a comprehensible fashion. At the same time, while delving deeper and deeper into the subject, I confess that my interest shifted away from bureaucracy and its colonial policies to colonialism in the broader sense as an expression of certain cultural and demographic trends. My interest shifted because, first, I found it repeatedly difficult to distinguish between what could legitimately be labeled as policy and what was or may have been who knows really merely an arbitrary decision, a momentary whim, of some guberniia or uezd potentate, or perhaps not even his but of his secretary who prepared the document and just pocketed a bribe of a few rubles in exchange for twisting the legal meaning of the decision one way or another.
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