Many have portrayed death and taxes as life’s only certainties. Yanni Kotsonis’ book masterfully disrupts many of our certainties about Russian history by examining taxation as a nexus of key categories (state, economy, and people), and the role taxation played in the mutually constitutive processes whereby the modern state, the modern economy, and the modern population came into existence. In Russia, perhaps even more than in other states, ‘new kinds of taxes helped define [create] these categories, introduced a fundamental duality to each of them, and put each in tension with the others’ (8). The modern imperial state thrived on these dualities (particularly those involving personhood) and the new Bolshevik regime attempted to eliminate them once and for all (thereby acting as a truly new regime built upon the foundation prepared by the fiscal practices of the old).
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/david_darrow/6/