Prokudin-Gorskii: Metal Truss Railroad Bridge on Stone Piers

Railroad Bridge on Stone Piers

The image above is one of the many pictures taken by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, the photographer to Nicholas II,  Tsar of Russia. He  is most known for the work that he did creating color in his images. This particular image is titled  Metal Truss Railroad Bridge on Stone Piers and was taken between 1907 and 1915. It is in an unknown location, but crosses one of the wide Siberian rivers that flow towards the Artic.
I found this image to be particularly interesting, because although it is just in general a beautiful picture, it also showcases on of the many results of the reforms that were occurring in Russia at the time.  According to the Freeze text, the reforms included the creation of the zemstvo, which was meant to be a form of local self-government. The zemstvo had many different responsibilities, such as providing certain social services, promoting industry and building and maintaining an infrastructure.
Although there were many other elements of reform happening at this time in Russia, I think that the creation of the zemstvo is of particular importance. Before their creation, government was heavily concentrated in the major cities. The zemstvo, was a way to bring the people living in the agricultural and less populated areas into the government.
Before this reform, the government simply didn’t have the resources or the people to establish a local government , leaving the people who did not live in heavily populated areas with no local government and no real way to contact or influence the means by which they were governed. The reform and creation of the zemstvo allowed the peasant and agricultural workers to not only have the benefits like infrastructure, but also to be closer to their governing body.

Sources:

Freeze, Gregory L. Russia A History. 3rd ed. Oxford University Press, 2009. 199-233. Print.

http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/empire/transport.html

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/prok/biography.html

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