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The article deals with the specific features of the formation of the Russian workingclass mentality during the post-reform and prerevolutionary periods and the refl ection of this process in the German historiography of the XX century. The author focuses on the Ural region, which is one of the oldest industrial centers of the country. The complex and contradictory nature of the Russian working-class (proletariat) and its regional units’ formation (including the Urals) created an uneasy historiographical situation in terms of identifying its social nature. So far this problem has been differently treated by Russian and foreign experts. This is largely due to the difference in the approaches to the defi nition of a socio-economic nature of the Ural and Russian industry. Depending on the accent of its capitalist entity or the transitional nature, the Russian worker’s image is defi ned either as a proletarian or as a kind of “demi-worker and demipeasant”. Here, a certain role was played by the fact that direct manufacturers were related to land as well as there was forming specifi c mentality and competencies. Considering that there was a long tradition of industrial production, in the Urals, the mentioned processes of formation of an independent working class had gone far enough by that time. At the same time the landed property belonging to workers was a kind of insurance policy and objectively might encourage their participation in the strikes. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t be right to state the full elimination of the peasant psychology in the workers’ environment in the Urals in the prerevolutionary times. The regional working class, according to the most historians, was still of the transitional type. In this connection, the article analyses the historiographical context including the contradictory character of the mentality of the working class before the revolution, both in Russia and in the Urals in particular. It is marked that there is the combination of traditional peasant mentality and proletarian outlook in the workers’ consciousness and concluded about certain closeness of the interpretation problem in the German and Russian historical scholarship.


Ural, workers, mining industry, German historiography

Andrey G. Dorozhkin. Nosov Magnitogorsk State Technical University, Russia, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Yuri D. Korobkov. Nosov Magnitogorsk State Technical University, Russia, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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