The Time of Troubles

A Historical Study of the Internal Crisis and Social Struggles in Sixteenth- and Seventeeth-Century Muscovy

S. F. Platonov. John T. Alexander, trans.

Sergei Feodorovich Platonov's Time of Troubles is a classic study of the years 1598-1613, a turbulent and decisive period in Russian history. Available for the first time in English, this work will be a valuable tool for students of the medieval as well as modern periods.

Platonov, himself a tragic victim of the regimentation imposed on Soviet cultural life in the 1920s, was born in 1860 and attained immense public and professional recognition in Russia as a leading historian. In his work he synthesized, to a high degree, two major traditions of Russian historiography: the St. Petersburg "school," which emphasized the collection and rigorous use of primary sources, and the Moscow "school" with its socioeconomic and geopolitical approaches. Time of Troubles represents the finished product of a lifetime spent in research, writing, and teaching. In broad terms it treats nearly a century and a half of Russian history (1500-1648); in detail it scrutinizes developments in the Muscovite State from 1598 to 1613. Some of the major issues covered in this volume are: the growing consolidation of Muscovite absolutism and the formation of a national state; the expansion of Muscovy to the west and southeast; the demise of the boyar class and the rise of the service-gentry; the emergence of serfdom as the social basis of Muscovite society; the cataclysmic end of one dynasty, the House of Rurik, and the beginnings of another, the House of Romanov. For Platonov—who devoted most of his career as a scholar to the study of these dramatic years—the epoch marked nothing less than the great divide between medieval Muscovy and modern Russia, witnessing the downfall of an essentially patrimonial regime and its replacement, after fierce struggles, by a more modern state founded on a new constellation of social groups.