This book addresses fundamental issues about the last decades of Tsarist Russia, contributing significantly to current debates about how far and how successfully modernisation was being implemented by the Tsarist regime. It focuses on successive outbreaks of cholera in the city of Saratov on the Volga, in particular contrasting the outbreak of 1892, which was widely regarded at the time as a national fiasco and a transformative episode for the Russian Empire, with the 1904 outbreak, when completely new scientific and administrative arrangements successfully contained the disease. The book sets the outbreaks fully in their social, economic, political and cultural context. It explains why a medical and social disaster that had long since been overcome in other parts of Europe continued much later in Russia. It explores autocratic government, urban renewal, public health, and disaster management, including the management of widespread public hysteria and social unrest.
It analyzes the degree to which Western medical knowledge was assimilated, how far related institutional and epistemological changes resulted, and just how far public health and urban government advanced in a relatively short period.
1. Cholera in Russia 2. Saratov on the Eve of the Epidemic 3. Cholera in Saratov, 1892 4. Sanitised Politics and the Politics of Medicine 5. The Revival of Cholera: 1904-1914 Conclusion: Saratov, Cholera, and the Empire