The above picture depicts a Sunni Muslim man in the early 1900’s before World War 1 began. In this time, what would later be known as the Soviet Union, was extremely diverse. Only about half of the 150 million people were ethnic Russians. Later, during forced Russification, there was not only a desire for administrative unity but also cultural unity. This caused great tension as people sought to keep their cultural and ethnic practices alive. Prokudin-Gorskii was able to capture photographs that showed the great diversity before Russification. His pictures show class and cultural diversity before many peoples ways of life changed.
Russia A History by Gregory L. Freeze