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Confessional politics and religious loyalties in the Russian-Polish borderlands.

Mikhail Dolbilov, Russkii krai, chuzhaia vera: Etnokonfessional'naia politika imperii v Litve i Belorussii pri Aleksandre II (Russian Borderlands, Alien Faith: Imperial Ethnocultural Policy in Lithuania and Belorussia under Alexander II). Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2010. ISBN-13 978-5867938048.

Barbara Skinner, The Western Front of the Eastern Church: Uniate and Orthodox Conflict in 18th-Century Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2009. ISBN-13 978-0875804071. $42.00.

Both of these books deal with a territory that belonged to Poland until the partitions and became an integral part of the Russian Empire thereafter. Together, they show that the significant politicization of confessional and (proto-)national diversities characteristic of the eastern territories of Poland before partition continued in the western borderlands of Russia in the 19th century. Both authors examine how culturally heterogeneous states treated heterodox confessions and explore the cultural meanings that were attributed to ethno-religious minorities. In both cases, the central question is how traditional loyalties were managed and transformed in periods of religious change and (proto-)national "awakening."

The two studies are part of a broader trend in the history of empires that focuses on the integration of frontier areas in ethnic and religious terms. With regard to Russia, much of the research on borderlands has concentrated on the southern and eastern peripheries, where the ethnic lines between Russians and non-Russians were relatively distinct. (1) In contrast, the ethnic and religious situation in the western borderlands featured a more contested delineation between Russians and other ethnicities, primarily Ukrainians and Belorussians. Innovative research on the western borderlands has underlined the foundations of 19th-century conflicts in the intertwining of Russian, Belorussian, and Ukrainian history since the early modern period; (2) and it has elaborated on the multilayered forms of Russian administration, which pursued goals far more complex than the frequently used term "Russification" would suggest. (3) Another important insight of modern research is that the imperial bureaucracy could not rely on stable types of self-identification among the Russian and non-Russian populations, a situation that further complicated efforts to govern the region. (4)

Skinner and Dolbilov build on this innovative research on the management of ethnic and religious identities in the borderlands between Poland and Russia. The politics of state interference in confessional affairs and the stories of tolerance and intolerance are the main issue of the two books. (5) In the historical literature, the enlightened rule of Catherine II is the main reference point for the question of tolerance in the Russian Empire. Yet Catherine's decree of 1794, published after the second partition of Poland, sought to convert the new Uniate subjects of the Russian Empire to Orthodoxy and thus to extinguish an entire faith. The story of this dramatic promotion of mass conversion in 1794 is the terminal point of Barbara Skinner's story in The Western Front of the Eastern Church. Skinner's narrative covers the period from the Union of Brest in 1596 to the partitions of Poland in 1772-95. Focusing primarily on the 18th century, Skinner is interested in the long-lasting Uniate--Orthodox conflict that unfolded in the Rzeczpospolita and continued within the Russian Empire after the second partition of Poland. The story is about conflict in a very complex sense: Skinner analyzes the political and religious changes in Poland-Lithuania and Russia that resulted in new confessional identities for the adherents to both faiths. The Reformation and Counter-Reformation in Poland-Lithuania affected the Orthodox confession to a high degree, as it had to adapt to the new situation after the Council of Trent. The new dividing line that appeared after the Union of Brest placed the very existence of the "Disuniate" Orthodox confession in Poland-Lithuania in doubt. The permanent tension between the Uniate and Orthodox Churches, on the one hand, and the marginalization of the Uniate and Orthodox faiths by the Roman Catholic majority, on the other, forced both Ruthenian confessions--Orthodoxy and the Uniate faith--to modernize their organizations and to create distinct confessional identities.

The formation of these new identities on the fault line of an East--West conflict is the main focus of Skinner's study. On the basis of archival research deploying parish reports and liturgical and instructional literature, Skinner shows the degree to which Uniate identity had become distinct from the Orthodox by the late 18th century. This was partly a result of reform within the Uniate confession itself, beginning with the delineation of Uniate practices at the Synod of Zamosc in 1720. Yet it was also a result of external, nonreligious factors: both sides--the Polish and the Russian--exerted political pressure in order to shape new confessional identities as markers of political loyalty. The close alignment of confessional and political belonging was a result of new political concepts of the state, which were grounded in political loyalties and confessional allegiances in 18th-century Russia and Poland and in the Uniate--Orthodox conflict itself. For Poland, confessional conflict threatened the integrity of the eastern border, as the Khmel'nits'kii uprising of 1648 demonstrated when it led to the Muscovite annexation of left-bank Ukraine and Kiev. From the time of the Russian-Polish peace treaty of "Eternal Peace" in 1686, if not earlier, the Russian state regularly intervened on behalf of the Orthodox minority in Poland.

Skinner shows in detail how the transnational logic of conflict defined the confessional situation in the mixed Uniate--Orthodox regions. Finding themselves in a precarious situation after Muscovy's annexation of Kiev in 1654/67, the remaining Orthodox population in Poland oriented itself more and more toward the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian tsar. The Russian side fostered this process by providing Orthodox parishes with religious literature and catechisms that contained clauses promoting loyalty toward the Russian state. Another instrument of transnational protectionist policy was the visitation of the Orthodox bishop of Pereiaslav, with his seat in Russia, to the parishes across the border in right-bank Ukraine. For example, his visitation and the consecration of new Orthodox ecclesiastical buildings in 1765 were greeted by an enthusiastic Orthodox population. The aggressive missionary methods applied by the bishop and his fellow campaigners alarmed the Uniates, who in their turn expanded their missionary activity in the region. The resulting dialectic, combining each side's sense of marginalization with aggressive efforts to strengthen its own position, eventually resulted in violence (121). Although the Polish king remained favorably disposed toward the Orthodox and reconfirmed their traditional rights in 1766, by that time Orthodox subjects had long associated the Uniates with the governing elite of the Rzeczpospolita. They therefore turned openly to the bishop of Pereiaslav and the government in St. Petersburg for assistance against "Poles and Uniates." For their part, Uniate leaders associated the Orthodox in right-bank Ukraine with foreign Russian authorities.

Skinner shows how closely regional developments were intertwined with international politics. On a regional level, a combination of confessional identity making of both Ruthenian faiths (the Uniate and the Orthodox), anxieties about missionary plans of each confession targeting the other, and accompanying violence created an extremely dynamic situation, one that became increasingly politicized on the international stage. The entry of more than 31,000 Russian troops into Poland for the purpose of suppressing rebellions and Russia's intervention in Poland's internal affairs through the creation of a Catholic confederation in 1767 were motivated and justified with reference to confessional conflict, which up until then had been a regional issue. Diplomacy proved unable to stop the development of this conflict; on the contrary, religious grievances of the Orthodox Haidamaki paramilitary bands resulted in mass violence against Uniates, Catholics, and Jews. The Confederation of Bar and the first partition of Poland, Skinner convincingly shows, was intrinsically tied to the regional history of confessional strife among the eastern-rite population.

Skinner reveals the confessional context of the three partitions of Poland, depicting 18th-century religious developments as a prehistory to the partitions. First and foremost, she tells the story as a matter of relations between Poland and Russia. Yet to a certain extent, she reaches beyond this framework by depicting the development of the international system. For example, she discusses the treaty between Russia and Prussia of 1732, by which both powers agreed on preventing another Saxon succession to the Polish throne and obstructing constitutional reforms in the Rzeczpospolita. In this context, Skinner mentions that the 1732 treaty stipulated the joint protection of Orthodox and Protestant minorities--the so-called "dissidents"--in Poland. The same stipulation was incorporated into the next Prussian--Russian treaty, signed in 1762 (117). Although it was Brandenburg-Prussia that originally promoted the protection of its favored minority in Poland, its Protestant co-religionists, Catherine II placed more emphasis on the confessional issue than Frederick II. Already in 1682, the synod of the Reformed churches of Poland sent a secret commission to the elector of Brandenburg requesting that he support the Protestant cause in Poland by means of a joint demarche of the Prussian and Russian ambassadors in Poland. Daniel Ernst Jablonski, elder of the Bohemian Brothers in Poland and court preacher in Berlin since 1693, became the central figure in creating the "problem of the dissidents" on an international stage. The policy of Prussian protection of Protestants in Poland, which was addressed to the European public at the time of the riots in Torun in 1724, later became an important precondition for the instrumental use of the confessional issue by Frederick II and Catherine II. Prussia played a significant role not only in the political story of the partitions but also in the confessional aspects. Skinner mentions this role but ultimately underestimates it. Prussia-Brandenburg's tradition of intervening on behalf of Protestant minorities in Poland can be traced back to the 17th century, and the goal of minority protection can therefore not be regarded as a result of the violent anti-Protestant riots in Torun in 1724, as Skinner proposes (118). Quite the contrary, the riots worked to the benefit of traditional Prussian policy, since they were masterfully instrumentalized by Prussian diplomats, who already at that time were seeking territorial acquisitions in Poland. The riots also allowed authors like Jablonski to depict Poland as a backward state and thus to prepare the ground intellectually for that country's partition. (6)

Yet this observation merely supplements the general idea of Skinner's book. By analyzing the conflict between Uniates and Orthodox on a regional and an international level and drawing substantially on local sources, Skinner has made an important contribution to the confessional and political history of the Polish-Russian borderland. She has added a new and important perspective to the prehistory of the partitions of Poland, which have been interpreted so far only in terms of political or diplomatic history.

Much of the territory that Skinner analyzes in her book also falls within the purview of Mikhail Dolbilov, although the latter focuses primarily on the lands of Lithuania and Belarus rather than Ukraine. Indeed, Dolbilov's book is a very thoughtful description and interpretation of confessional politics in the lands under the jurisdiction of the governor-general of Vil'na (now Vilnius), also referred to as the "northwestern region" (severo-zapadnyi krai). On that basis it, too, represents an important, innovative contribution to the history of religious policy of the Russian Empire, one that provides an epistemology for a comparative analysis of the Romanov and Hapsburg empires. The book also includes an analysis of the transfer within Europe of different modes of religious policy and accordingly contributes to a pan-European history of religion. Let me address each of these dimensions of Dolbilov's work in turn.

Dolbilov studies the ideas and practices of Russian bureaucrats of the Vil'na governor-generalship in the 1860s and 1870s with regard to Roman Catholics, Jews, and Orthodox subjects (though most of the latter had belonged to the Uniate faith until 1839). (7) If this particular constellation of confessions is in some sense unique to this corner of the empire, its study nonetheless has a broader explanatory power. After the Polish uprising of 1863, the governor-general and his bureaucracy had unprecedented freedom of action with regard to confessional minorities. The region became a laboratory for developing new modes of confessional rule with regard to Catholics and Jews. A special committee of the governor-general radically reduced the autonomy of the Roman Catholic Church in recruiting clergy and practicing its faith--in some ways anticipating Bismarck's Kulturkampf in Germany in the next decade. At the same time, Judaism not only remained unaffected by such methods for most of the 1860s but enjoyed a degree of benevolent attention from Russian bureaucrats. In alliance with reform-oriented Jews, officials treated Jews as an ethno-religious group having the potential to become a modern confession that would display enlightened religiosity and use the Russian language in synagogue services. In the 1870s, the logic of Russian confessional policy in the governor-generalship remained the same, but the roles of Catholicism and Judaism were inverted. Now the Catholics enjoyed a degree of complaisant attention. From 1870 on, Russian bureaucrats sought to reform Catholic religiosity by introducing the Russian language into church services. Although success in this enterprise proved to be limited, the Catholic minority nonetheless gained new respectability, which was especially valuable after its marginalization throughout most of the 1860s. At the same time, the reformist policy toward Judaism was abandoned; in the 1870s, the role of marginalized confession was now assigned to the Jews. Bureaucratic attempts to "cleanse" the Jewish religion while reforming it were abandoned for policies that expressed contempt for Judaism.

This is a rough outline of some of Dolbilov's findings. His analysis is highly sophisticated and goes beyond all sorts of reductionism. His interpretation of Russian policy toward religious groups takes into account all levels of players at the imperial and the regional levels. He analyzes confessional policy as a complex result of various political approaches without any teleological assumptions. It is noteworthy in this context that Dolbilov uses the concept of "tolerance" in a thoughtful manner. By tolerance, Dolbilov does not mean that the state wished to protect all religions so as to allow each to flourish, but rather that the government sought to assure the loyalty of all confessions to the state. Moreover, Dolbilov discusses the impact of imperial policies on different confessions with much methodological scrutiny: He does not assume that religious minorities were subject to total control by the empire but instead appreciates the state's restricted scope of action. According to Dolbilov, agents of the imperial state were not the only ones prepared to resort to violence; believers--for example, members of Catholic brotherhoods--at times exhibited such inclinations as well.

Until now, generalizations in the historical literature about Russia's religious policy have been drawn primarily from studies of the empire's treatment of Islam. On the basis of his research on Muslims in Russia and Central Asia, Robert Crews has formulated the concept of the "confessional state." According to this paradigm, imperial rulers promoted political loyalty and social integration on the basis of the empire's various confessions, Orthodoxy and other faiths alike. (8) In a very general sense, Crews's thesis about the political role of the confessional state in shaping religious groups into confessions in such a way as to facilitate the task of integration can also be applied to other regions of the empire. Yet close examination of confessional politics in the western borderlands--which were particularly important for Russia's experience with religious and national diversity--makes clear that Crews's paradigm is not sufficiently complex for a general analysis of Russian imperial policy toward all confessions. It is the great merit of Dolbilov's book that it offers a more complex model, and one that is moreover based on detailed research. Dolbilov distinguishes between logics of "disciplining" and "discrediting" in Russian confessional policy, whereby each represents an ideal type for the purposes of analysis (in reality, the two were closely intertwined). According to Dolbilov, the disciplining logic was borrowed from the political repertoire of the Habsburg emperor Joseph II and featured the permanent intervention of the state into confessional affairs to assure political loyalty and social integration. This strategy required that the confessions be aligned more thoroughly with the state's basic aims, such as the proliferation of education and enlightenment. Dolbilov sees disciplining as being in permanent tension with an opposite logic of discrediting, by which state servitors questioned the loyalty and legitimacy of non-Orthodox confessions and thereby placed the policy of tolerance toward them in some doubt. In this light, the abovementioned alternations between positive and negative policies toward Catholicism and Judaism appear to have been far from accidental. The discrediting of one confession was a significant factor in the disciplining of another. Dolbilov's model is much more complex, dynamic, and situational than the model proposed by Crews. Its dichotomy should be understood not in the sense of mutually exclusive alternatives in the elaboration of concrete state measures but as a fundamental tension inherent in the logics of Russian confessional policy.

On a cognitive level, the discrediting of non-Orthodox confessions was always linked with the "othering" of religious minorities, whose members were regarded as adherents to "foreign faiths" (inostrannye ispovedaniia). Here Dolbilov draws on an ethnological concept used by A. A. Panchenko. (9) Features like backwardness, which could also have been applied to Russian Orthodoxy, were attributed to minority confessions by Russian bureaucrats. Roman Catholicism, for example, was perceived by statesmen as a confession characterized by false luster and a lack of inwardness (308). These and other cliches orientalized Roman Catholicism, even as the same cliches were applied to Russian Orthodoxy in West European discourse. By contrast, for the state to discipline a minority confession meant to embrace a "foreign" faith--to accept it as a legitimate entity, though perhaps in need of state oversight and intervention. That is why the introduction of the Russian language into Catholic or Jewish services should not necessarily be interpreted as a method of Russification. As Dolbilov points out, such a policy can instead be seen as a strategy designed to domesticate a given confessional minority. Especially in the era of Alexander II, when reformers tried to replace old concepts like obedience by newer patterns of loyalty, the disciplining and discrediting of confessions acquired an eminent emotional meaning for the new relationship between the ruler and confessional groups. In Dolbilov's interpretation, this was the "cultural and psychological framework in which secular authorities, in particular in the borderlands of the empire, began to experience an acute interest in regulating religious practices and in general in supervising the country's religious confessions. This interest corresponded to changes in the perceptions of both secular and religious elites about popular religiosity, and not just among the Orthodox" (23).

In analyzing the disciplining and discrediting logics of Russian confessional policy, Dolbilov offers a deeper understanding of the empire's cultural policy, especially for the intersections of confessional and ethnic policies. One illustrative example is his analysis of the Russian policy toward the Uniates in the first decades of the 19th century. Dolbilov argues convincingly that Russian policy was initially guided by the idea of "purifying" the Greek Catholic Church to create a confession with an educated clergy, a conscious laity, and a clear confessional identity. This policy was very much in line with the disciplining logic, but it was reinterpreted after the Polish uprising of 1830-31. Now the "reunification" of the Greek Catholics with the Russian Orthodox Church appeared on the agenda. It is remarkable that the new policy could evolve quite smoothly out of the former policy of disciplining, even though the ultimate goals of both policies were entirely different.

Dolbilov's study offers many insights into the intersections of religion and nationalism in the mindset of Russian bureaucrats. The putative fusion of Catholicism and Polish nationalism caused alarm in the Russian public and Russian policy makers. Yet views on the nature of this connection differed widely. When Fedor Tiutchev observed the performance of Catholic rituals in Vil'na in 1862, this was a "real discovery" for him; the scales fell from his eyes as to the true nature of the "so-called Polish question" (239). He realized that the real menace to Russia was not Polishness but Catholicism. Tiutchev's was perhaps an extreme interpretation, but, as Dolbilov shows, many Russian bureaucrats in the 1860s shared the opinion that being Russian was defined by belonging to Orthodoxy; therefore, most bureaucrats saw Catholicism as a foreign and potentially hostile confession, which could not be fully adapted to imperial Russian conditions. One official typified this approach: he interpreted all manifestations of long-term contacts between Catholics and Orthodox (for example, the use of iconostases in Catholic churches) as signs of cunning Catholic mimicry, designed to make proselytes of the Orthodox population (252). The Russian bureaucratic mainstream rarely embraced an alternative approach to Catholicism, such as the one articulated by A. M. Gezen, an official in the administration for foreign confessions. Agitating for Russian-language services for Catholics and the replacement of Poles by an ethnically Russian Catholic hierarchy loyal to the Russian government, Gezen aimed at the transformation of the Catholic Church into a Russified institution, domesticated and fully recognized (231).

Russian policy toward Catholics in the empire developed between these two poles of disciplining and discrediting. The forms this policy took can be analyzed with regard to Judaism in the Russian Empire as well, although concrete policies toward Jews and Catholics were quite different. As "ideal types," the concepts of disciplining and discrediting and the distinctions between them will prove valuable in facilitating interconfessional comparison. Dolbilov's study is fascinating in its analysis of patterns of Russian religious policy toward different confessional groups. Indeed, the flexibility and contingent character of Russian confessional policy can be understood only on the basis of the analytical tools Dolbilov offers in his book.

While Dolbilov is mainly interested in the interconfessional comparison of religious policies within Russia itself, his book offers path-breaking considerations and findings with regard to other East European empires. Although much research has been done in this field in recent years, many specific dimensions of imperial integration remain quite unclear. The discussion of how integration processes differed in empires as opposed to nation-states remains vague. Jorn Leonhard and Ulrike von Hirschhausen propose that the fatal error of these empires was their adoption of national modes of integration in the second half of the 19th century, which triggered centrifugal forces. (10) This is an interesting approach, as it underlines the connections between imperial and national histories. But it is predicated on the narrative that empires were overcome by the national paradigm, an assumption that needs to be questioned. Dolbilov offers another view, which puts the concept of loyalty at the center of the analytical framework. The main mode of imperial integration, he claims, was the creation of loyalties toward the ruler, a process in which religion played a crucial role. Since the time of Peter I, religiosity had become a central criterion for ascertaining subjects' fidelity toward the emperor. The regulation of religiosity concerned the Russian Orthodox Church first, and later all recognized minority confessions.

Dolbilov's book raises other interesting points about comparative (and entangled) history. As the author points out, the specific approach of the imperial state in managing confessional identities was influenced by the Habsburg Empire, which had a strong interest in disciplining confessions, especially in the reign of Joseph II. Vienna approached confessions in light of the presumption that religion could foster enlightenment. The idea of the well-regulated state pushed rulers to emphasize the utility of religion. This meant that irrational, "fanatical" forms of religion were marginalized or repressed as being incompatible with the raison d'etre of the enlightened imperial state. The dialectics of disciplining and discrediting that determined Russian confessional policy during the 19th century can be traced back to patterns of religious policy in the Habsburg Empire, even if Russian bureaucrats were not eager to admit this connection. "Ibis framework for the comparison of religious policies and loyalty building in both empires has the advantage that it is not an analytical ex post facto construction of historians but is instead based primarily on a genetic connection between the empires. Framing the Habsburg-Romanov connection in this way is preferable to Andreas Kappeler's proposal that we compare the East European empires to the Ottoman Empire's millet model. (11) To be sure, one can observe a certain "milletization" in the Russian and the Habsburg empires, in the sense that both states cooperated with nondominant confessional groups. This can explain the special form of tolerance that was characteristic for the three East European empires. But the concept of the "milletization" of the empires is surely insufficient for understanding the complex dynamics of religious policies in Russia. These dynamics were instead, first and foremost, the result of the persistent tensions between disciplining and discrediting efforts. The rise of nationalism did not fundamentally alter this situation but, as Dolbilov suggests, served primarily to reinforce the mode of discrediting minority confessions, especially if these confessions had co-religionists beyond the Russian border. More than before, non-Orthodox faith was associated with national enemies, and Russian religious policy therefore tended toward discrediting rather than disciplining of confessions as the 19th century progressed.

Indeed, the impact of the Josephine system of church policy is an important point of reference for Dolbilov's study. The transfer of ideas about the well-regulated state between Vienna and St. Petersburg in the Age of Enlightenment is the historical basis for the parallels that Dolbilov observes between the church policies of both empires. Yet Russian confessional policy was also influenced by other factors, and Dolbilov goes beyond a comparison of empires. He provides an excellent elaboration of the impact that the confessional situation in Prussia-Germany had on Russian policy. Russian bureaucrats, for example, feared that Jews in Russia's northwest region would orient themselves toward Germany. Efforts at disciplining the Jews of that region--for example, by introducing Russian language into services--aimed to make German influences less attractive. Bismarck's Kulturkampf was likewise a factor that could not leave the Russian confessional situation unaffected. Although Russia had taken some steps to marginalize the Catholic Church already after the Polish uprising of 1863, statesmen were reluctant to prolong this approach in the 1870s. Russian officials were aware that confessional politics had different logics in a nation-state like Germany as opposed to an empire like Russia. (12) They argued that the Prussian-German state claimed absolute obedience of the population to the laws that were enacted by the majority. In contrast, legitimacy in the Russian Empire was built on religion, and it lacked a culture of legality comparable to the constitutionally based Prussian order (662). Russian bureaucrats watched the Kulturkampf closely, but ultimately they did not embrace it. The reference point of the German Kulturkampf is only one example of the broad European perspectives that characterize Dolbilov's book. Thanks to his familiarity with the recent research about the cultures of Catholicism in 19th-century Europe, Dolbilov is able to show what was specific about the development of Catholicism inside the Russian Empire. In doing so, he provides valuable insights for a European history of religion.

In short, given its close analysis of the logics and mentalities of Russian confessional policy and its attention to the European framework, Dolbilov's book represents an outstanding contribution to the study of empire and religious culture in Russia.

The monographs of Skinner and Dolbilov address political and confessional conflicts in the same region. Moreover, they refer to each other in manifold ways. For Skinner, the 1873 study of the Belorussian historian Mikhail O. Koialovich on the "history of the reunification of the Western Russian Uniates" is an important source, while the same historian is an object of study for Dolbilov, who characterizes him as "the main, yet involuntary architect of the discursive construction of ethnocentric Belorussian nationalism" (204). (13) More important is the studies' complementary structure: Dolbilov refers to the framework of the empire and draws his explanations from different, complementary logics of Russian confessional policy. His book is a valuable contribution to the general discussion about the management of confessions in empires. Skinner studies the dynamics of transnational interventions and the construction of identity in both Russia and Poland; the scope of the explanatory power of her study is admittedly less than Dolbilov's, but it is very well presented and constitutes an impressive example of transnational history.

Though both books treat similar problems in the same region, there is a considerable tension between them. Skinner's book is fascinating in its recounting of a conflict between confessions that unfolded in a field of increasingly antagonistic political loyalties. Yet by focusing on a struggle over boundaries, her narrative is close to Eduard Winter's monumental study on Russia and the papacy, published in 1960-72. That study represents a valuable empirical contribution to the international dimensions of the history of religion in Russia, but at the same time, it was highly politicized: Winter perceived the contemporaneous conflict between the Soviet Union and the Vatican as a legacy of the conflict between the Eastern and the Western Churches. (14) To a certain degree, Skinner's story about the "Western front of the Eastern Church" represents a continuation of Winter's antagonistic narrative. There is no doubt that the nexus between confessional affiliation and political loyalties that Skinner observes was real. But the book lacks self-reflection on the paradigms of interpreting confessional history. Winter's book, for example, is not among the works Skinner cites.

On the contrary, Dolbilov presents an interpretation of Uniate history that does not highlight confessional antagonism--at least not exclusively. The study focuses on the ways in which the empire's bureaucracy regulated intraconfessional conflicts and relations between the state and its religious communities. The main form of interaction in Dolbilov's book is not conflict among confessions but the cooperative and conflicting relationship between the empire and its various confessions.

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(1) Paul W. Werth, At the Margins of Orthodoxy: Mission, Governance, and Confessional Politics in Russia's Volga-Kama Region, 1827-1905 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2002); Robert P. Geraci and Michael Khodarkovsky, eds., Of Religion and Empire: Missions, Conversion, and Tolerance in Tsarist Russia (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001). On the research on borderlands, see the general remarks of G. M. Hamburg: "Imperial Entanglements: Two New Histories of Russia's Western and Southern Borderlands," Kritika 9, 2 (2008): 407-31.

(2) Serhii Plokhy, The Origins of the Slavic Nations: Premodern Identities in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

(3) Mikhail Dolbilov and Aleksei Miller, eds., Zapadnye okrainy Rossiiskoi imperii (Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2006).

(4) Darius Staliunas, Making Russians: Meaning and Practice of Russification in Lithuania and Belarus after 1863 (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2007).

(5) G. M. Hamburg, "Religious Toleration in Russian Thought, 1520-1825," Kritika 13, 3 (2012): 515-59. Important for the general discussion of the concept of tolerance is the work of Rainer Forst, Toleranz im Konflikt: Geschichte, Gehalt und Gegenwart eines umstrittenen Begriffs (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2003).

(6) Martin Schuhe Wessel, "Religiose Intoleranz, grenzuberschreitende Kommunikation und die politische Geographie Ostmitteleuropas im 18. Jahrhundert," in Europaische Offentlichkeit: Transnationale Kommunikation seit dem 18. Jahrhundert, ed. Jorg Requate and Schuhe Wessel (Frankfurt am Main: Campus Fachbuch, 2002), 63-78.

(7) Just as a significant portion of Uniates had been "reunited" with Orthodoxy in the 1790s, as Skinner recounts, the remaining Uniates in the Russian Empire became Orthodox formally in 1839.

(8) Robert Crews, "Empire and the Confessional State: Islam and Religious Politics in Nineteenth-Century Russia," American Historical Review 108, 1 (2003): 50-83.

(9) A. A. Panchenko, Khristovshchina i skopchestvo: Fol "klor i traditsionnaia kul'tura russkikh misticheskikh sekt (Moscow: OGI, 2002).

(10) Jorn Leonhard and Ulrike von Hirschhausen, Empires und Nationalstaaten im 19. Jahrhundert (Gottingen: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 2009).

(11) Andreas Kappeler, "Tsentr i elity periferii v Gabsburgskoi, Rossiiskoi i Osmanskoi imperil (1700-1918)," Ab imperio, no. 2 (2007): 26-31, 46-48.

(12) The Prussian-German state can, of course, also be regarded as an empire. But Germany's confessional policy in the Kulturkampf aimed at the enforcement of state law in all confessional matters. In that regard, the perception of Germany in terms of a national state was more consequential.

(13) M. O. Koialovich, Istoriia vossoedineniia zapadnorusskikh uniatov (St. Petersburg: Mikhail Osipovich, 1873).

(14) Eduard Winter, Russland und das Papsttum, 3 vols. (Berlin: Akademie, 1960-72).
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Title Annotation:Russian Borderlands, Alien Faith: Imperial Ethnocultural Policy in Lithuania and Belorussia Under Alexander II and The Western Front of the Eastern Church: Uniate and Orthodox Conflict in 18th-Century Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia
Author:Wessel, Martin Schulze
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jan 1, 2014
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