An Anglo-Russian Critic of the Abolition of Serfdom

DAVID SAUNDERS
THE SLAVONIC AND EAST EUROPEAN REVIEW 92.2 (2014): 255-283

Abstract: Early in 1870, Thomas Michell completed a 75,000-word exposition of the view that the terms on which the tsarist government abolished serfdom in 1861 had failed to give the serfs meaningful freedom. He spoke with authority, for he had been born and brought up in Russia and had been working at the British Embassy in St Petersburg since 1860. Although his reputation today rests mainly on the fact that he produced the many editions of John Murray’s Handbook for Travellers in Russia, his critique of abolition is a more substantial piece of work. This article sets it in context.