A colorful look at the past

My history geek-meter pegged when I stumbled on this:

With images from southern and central Russia in the news lately due to extensive wildfires, I thought it would be interesting to look back in time with this extraordinary collection of color photographs taken between 1909 and 1912. In those years, photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) undertook a photographic survey of the Russian Empire with the support of Tsar Nicholas II…

…when these photographs were taken, neither the Russian Revolution nor World War I had yet begun.

Wow. I took a history of Russia course when working on my MA degree. The instructor was an elderly gentleman who’d been an intelligence analyst before going into academia. He knew the land and its people very well, and it showed — so well, he had a certain sympathy for their sufferings under stifling social structures and inept governance. I remember him talking of the resourcefulness of the people, their resilience, and the vast natural wealth of the land. If Russia and central Asia ever developed good governance, he thought, there was no telling what they might accomplish.

So much tragedy in such a beautiful land.

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