Myths about Russian Political Culture and the Study of Russian History
The central and significant reality of Russian politics has been its predominantly autocratic character. Unlike its western European neighbours, Russia had not experienced a prolonged feudal phase. The overthrow of the Tartar yoke gave rise to an increasingly assertive and dominant autocracy. Property and people were the possessions of the state, personalised by the Autocrat (designed as such explicitly and proudly). The obligation of well-nigh complete subordination of any individual to the personalised symbol of the state was expressly asserted. Control over society — including the church by the state — among other means, through a census mechanism adopted centuries ahead of any corresponding European device, was reminiscent of Oriental despotisms and, in fact, was derived directly from that historical experience.
KeywordsPolitical Culture Twelfth Century Russian State Russian Culture Russian History
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