In the Wake of Empire
In the Wake of Empire

In the Wake of Empire

Anti-Bolshevik Russia in International Affairs, 1917–1920


572 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Hardcover, Mobipocket, ebook: PDF, ebook: EPUB

Hardcover, $49.95 (US $49.95) (CA $66.95)

Publication Date: January 2021

ISBN 9780817924249


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Even as a country ceases to be a great power, the concept of it as a great power can continue to influence decision making and policy formulation. This book explores how such a process took place in Russia from 1917 through 1920, when the Bolshevik coup of November 1917 led to the creation of two regimes: the Bolshevik "Reds" and the anti-Bolshevik "Whites." As Reds consolidated their one-party dictatorship and nursed global ambitions, Whites struggled to achieve a different vision for the future of Russia. Anatol Shmelev illuminates the White campaign with fresh purpose and through information from the Hoover Institution Archives, exploring how diverse White factions overcame internal tensions to lobby for recognition on the world stage, only to fail—in part because of the West's desire to leave "the Russian question" to Russians alone. In the Wake of Empire examines the personalities, institutions, political culture, and geostrategic concerns that shaped the foreign policy of the anti-Bolshevik governments and attempts to define the White movement through them. Additionally, Shmelev provides a fascinating psychological study of the factors that ultimately doomed the White effort: an irrational and ill-placed faith in the desire of the Allies to help them, and wishful thinking with regard to their own prospects that obscured the reality around them.


"Shmelev demonstrates that although the diplomats who served the White cause had a weak hand to play, nevertheless they remained faithful to the cause of a united, powerful Russia." —Peter Kenez, professor emeritus, University of California, Santa Cruz

"A tour de force that unravels the complex and tragic story of the Russian diplomats stranded abroad by the Bolshevik revolution." —David McDonald, Alice D. Mortenson-Petrovich Distinguished Chair in Russian History, University of Wisconsin-Madison

"Engagingly written, erudite, and encyclopedic in scope, the definitive study in any language of the 'other Russia's' ultimately doomed attempt to retain great power status. Shmelev's archival research is nothing short of herculean." —David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, professor of Russian history, Brock University 

"By illuminating a neglected aspect of a doomed cause, In the Wake of Empire invites the thought that victors may write history, but losers have more interesting things to say." —John J. Stephan, professor of history emeritus, University of Hawaii

Author Biography

Anatol Shmelev is a research fellow and Robert Conquest Curator for Russia and Eurasia at the Hoover Institution. His area of specialization is the Russian Civil War, 1917–22.