A couple of years ago, I bought an interesting book: Langenscheidts Land und Leute in Rußland. It describes the Russian Empire just before it collapsed. It is a topical dictionary published in 1909 in Berlin by Langenscheidt. The book has articles on various aspects of Russian society: Land and People; State, Government and Rule of Law; Holidays; Religion; Spiritual Life; Agriculture; Nature and Cities; Social Affairs; The Russian; Transportation and other topics.
By far the chapters that describe the Russian soul are my favourite. The book is certainly not free from bias, but probably that is what makes it more interesting. It describes the Russians as seen through the eyes of contemporary Western Europeans. And it appears to be quite accurate in doing so.
I will try to share some of the chapters here with you. One problem is the language. It’s in German.
(on the painting: Marc Chagall, Russian Wedding (1909) - Sammlung Emil Bührle)