As forewarned, this was a pretty dry reading on the whole, but riddled with demographic trends. For some reason I really enjoy studying demography, so although the reading was dry I managed to maintain some focus, but I digress. Reading this article, at least for me, was the first time I was really able to see the differing ethnicities that comprise(d) Russia. the demographic knowledge at the author’s disposal, Kappeller manages to differentiate between these ethnic groups with this demographic knowledge because it is what the author had to work with to explore these differences. For example, Kappeller writes about how many different ethnic groups, after years of mobilization, began to urbanize. Kappeller writes, “In the case of ethnic groups which for a long time had performed the function of mobilized diaspora groups within the Russian Empire, the degree of urbanization was considerably higher than the 13.4 per cent average… this was true of the Germans (23.4 per cent), the Armenians (23.3 per cent), the Greeks (18 per cent) and, to a lesser extent, of the Tatars…” (287). Russians surprisingly only ranked eleventh on this list of diasporas, although it is important to note that many of the ethnicities mentioned in Kappeller’s work that were part of the Russian Empire during the period examined weren’t always part of the Russian Empire and aren’t today, or aren’t in nearly as great a force (i.e. Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Tadzhiks, Lithuanians, Latvians [Kappeller mentions Riga in the reading, which is the present day capital of Latvia]. If Kappeller were to survey present-day Russia in the same fashion, what demographic results would he come up with? Kappeller even admits to the difficulties of this endeavor, mentioning present day Belarus (Belorussia-Lithuania) and Ukraine as contributing to his difficulties. I feel like it’s very important to point out that Kappeller points his focus towards urban areas because, although not Kievan Rus’, I imagine it would still be much more difficult to come across demographic documentation regarding rural areas than in urban areas, because urban areas are where most of the knowledge and politics of the land spawned from. If Kappeller pointed his focus more towards predominately rural areas, again, I wonder, what results he would find? I’m guessing he’d have a lot of trouble.
Another point that Kappeller inexplicitly makes that I think we often overlook in class is how huge Russia really is, and how the time period we’re examining didn’t have the technological luxuries. What I’m referring to is Kappeller’s examination of Siberian communities that were seemingly weren’t phased by the urban developments that defined western and South-Western Russia. These communities went unphased because they were so monumentally far away from western Russia that it would be impossible for the Siberian communities to have the same development as those in Western Russia.