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Carolina Seminar: Russia and its Empires, East and West

January 21, 2016 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Andrew Ringlee (History, UNC-CH) will present on “The Russian Red Cross in War and Revolution, 1904-1907: A National Aid Society Confronts the Public.

Paper abstract

This essay analyzes the Russian Society of the Red Cross’s activities during the Russo-Japanese War and famines of 1905-7. War with Japan prompted the Russian Red Cross to dispatch medical brigades to treat tens of thousands of soldiers at the front and introduce medical innovations such as the aseptic treatment of wounds and the first psychiatric wards for soldiers suffering from psychological trauma. Despite these achievements, the Red Cross clashed with the military’s medical services, and accusations in the press of mismanagement caused popular support for the Red Cross to diminish as the war progressed. Still, Russian society yearned to play a positive role in wartime, and the zemstvos, committees that provided limited government in the provinces, outfitted their own medical brigades to serve in the Far East. Following the war, as Russia descended into revolution and famine, the zemstvos and the Red Cross changed course and began to deliver food and medical aid to the afflicted peasants. This essay explores the cooperation and rivalries between a state-sponsored aid society, the Russian Red Cross, aid societies created by zemstvos, and the tsarist state. I seek to identify the peculiar way civil society developed in tsarist Russia and determine the challenges voluntary associations faced when trying to define and represent the public’s interest.

‣ About the speaker

Andrew Ringlee is a Ph.D candidate in the History Department at UNC-Chapel Hill. He received a Fulbright-Hays to conduct research in Moscow in 2013 for his dissertation on the Red Cross in tsarist Russia. Andrew graduated from Providence College with a B.A. in history and has an M.A. in Russian studies from Indiana University. He has presented his research at academic conferences in Makuhari, Japan, and Lexington, Kentucky.


January 21, 2016
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm