Women in Russian history: from the tenth to the twentieth by Natalʹi︠a︡ Lʹvovna Pushkareva, Eve Levin

By Natalʹi︠a︡ Lʹvovna Pushkareva, Eve Levin

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Russia was also, from its inception, a multinational state, and each of these peoples had unique traditions concerning women's place in society. But coverage of these other peoples, so deserving of their own women's history, will have to await a different book. It is sufficient here to focus on Russian women and to counter the notorious assertion of the eternal subjugation of women in Russia that still afflicts much of the historiography. This study rests upon a great variety of sources. Some of them have been published and are widely known, but they have not previously been examined from the point of view of women's history.

246 Page xiii Author's and Translator's Preface This survey of the history of women in Russia, the first of its type since the past century, reflects the development of the field of Russian women's studies. In the last twenty years, many books and articles have appeared, and these have covered a huge range of topics in Russian women's history, vastly increasing our knowledge of this once-ignored subject. Until now, however, there has been no survey of Russian women's history to serve as an introduction to the topic and as a framework for these more specific works.

Princess Olga understood that the transformation of her country could be achieved only through the conversion of Rus to Christianity. Having weighed her powers and evaluated the possibilities, the princess decided to accept baptism from Russia's neighbor, the Byzantine Empire. Her baptism in the Byzantine capital of Constantinople strengthened the princess's personal power and enhanced Russia's international prestige. Olga's journey to Constantinople (which the early Russians called "Tsargrad," the "Emperor-City") in the 950s has been embellished by legend, like so many other events of her life.

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