St. Petersburg built from nothing in 1700s as the door to Europe, build on marshy land, in styles borrowed heavily from Vienna (?Venice?) and Paris. Everything French was considered superior to backwoods Russian until the War of 1812 when Napolean invaded. Then the backlash against the French language began, the upperclass had to teach themselves Russian from the peasants. The Decemberists born out of the war of 1812, eager to grant freedoms to the serfs. Pushkin the poet did much to create the Russian language, which was missing many of the nuanced terms; there were basic terms but not many for ideas of the mind. Anything sneaky or dishonest was said in French.
Stranding this one b/c of the onslaught of other books hitting my desk. This is a thick one, and something I’ll revisit later.
sub=A Cultural History of Russia