Advertisement

The Role of “Europe” in Russian Nationalism: Reinterpreting the Relationship between Russia and the West in Slavophile Thought

  • Susanna Rabow-Edling

Abstract

Western analysts have commonly found Russia to be exceptional and unlike the West. In fact, their arguments are quite similar to Russian nationalists’ claims for national uniqueness. Both find the explanation for Russia’s otherness in her own distinctive culture that has been formed in separation from the development of Western culture. In the standard account, there are primarily two historical factors that justify Russia’s specific development: the reception of Christianity from Byzantium and the Mongol invasion. The impact of these events led Russia away from Western individualism toward an acceptance of Eastern absolutism. Samuel Huntington presents the most provocative argument for cultural difference based on religion. He argues that Russia is the core country of a separate civilization, “carrying and protecting a culture of Eastern Orthodoxy” and that “Europe ends where Western Christianity ends and … Orthodoxy begin[s].”1 Rchard Pipes employs a political argument for Russia’s difference. He claims that what distinguishes Western types of government from non-Western ones, is the existence of a distinction between political power and private property. In Russia, these institutions were never clearly separated, something he claims accounts for the difficulties in restraining absolutism there.2

Keywords

Western Culture National Culture European Culture Russian Philosophy Russian Culture 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Samuel Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution (New York: Knopf, 1990); Russia under the Bolshevik Regime (New York: Knopf, 1994); Russia under the Old Regime, 2nd ed. (London: Penguin, 1995).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    See, e.g., Tibor Szamuely, The Russian Tradition (London: Secker and Warburg, 1974);Google Scholar
  4. Alexander Yanov, The Russian Challenge and the Year2000 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987);Google Scholar
  5. Jonathan Steele, Eternal Russia: Yeltsin, Gorbachev, and the Mirage of Democracy (London: Faber, 1994);Google Scholar
  6. Pipes, Russian Under the Old Regime. For a more favorable view on Russia’s distinctiveness, although with different emphasis, see N.O. Losskii, History of Russian Philosophy (New York: International Universities Press, 1951);Google Scholar
  7. J.M. Edie, J.P Scanlan, M. Zeldin, eds., Russian Philosophy, vol. I (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1965);Google Scholar
  8. N. Berdiaev, The Origin of Russian Communism (London: G. Bles, 1937), The Russian Idea (London: G. Bles, 1947);Google Scholar
  9. James Billington, The Icon and the Axe: An Interpretive History of Russian Culture (New York: Vintage Books, 1966);Google Scholar
  10. P.K. Christoff, An Introduction to Nineteenth-Century Slavophilism, vol. I: A.S. Xomjakov (The Hague: Mouton, 1961); vol. II: I. V. Kireevskij (The Hague: Mouton, 1972); vol. III: K.S. Aksakov (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982); vol. IV: Iu.F. Samarin (Boulder: Westview Press, 1991); Iu.M. Lotman and B.A. Uspenskii, “Binary Models in the Dynamics of Russian Culture,” in A.D. Nakhimovsky, and A.S. Nakhimovsky, eds., The Semiotics of Russian Cultural History (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985). Tim McDaniel takes a more neutral position arguing for the uniqueness of the cultural pattern of social change in Russia in The Agony of the Russian Idea (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996).Google Scholar
  11. 4.
    Hans Kohn, The Idea of Nationalism (New York: Macmillan, 1946);Google Scholar
  12. Alexander Yanov, Russian New Right: Right-wing Ideologies in the Contemporary USSR (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978); Yanov, The Russian Challenge; Pipes, The Russian Revolution; Google Scholar
  13. Stephen Carter, Russian Nationalism. Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (London: Pinter, 1990);Google Scholar
  14. Liah Greenfeld, Nationalism. Five Roads to Modernity (Cambridge, MA, 1993);Google Scholar
  15. Thomas Parland, The Rejection in Russia of Totalitarian Socialism and Liberal Democracy. A Study of the Russian New Right (Helsinki: Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters, 1993);Google Scholar
  16. Iver Neumann, Russia and the Idea of Europe (London: Routledge, 1996).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 9.
    Neumann, Russia and the Idea of Europe, 1–2; Ilya Prizel, National Identity and Foreign Policy. Nationalism and Leadership in Poland, Russia and Ukraine (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 16–18, 23–29, 166–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 11.
    For scholars with a more favorable view of Russian nationalism, see John Dunlop, The Faces of Contemporary Russian Nationalism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983), New Russian Nationalism (New York: Praeger, 1985); Carter, Russian Nationalism. They focus on the different strands of nationalism in the Soviet Union and their relationship to the Communist regime. In this context, nationalism appeared as a positive force fighting against a totalitarian regime.Google Scholar
  19. 12.
    The main works on the Slavophiles published in the West are F. Rouleau, Ivan Kiréievski et la naissance du Slavophilisme (Namur: Culture et vérité, 1990);Google Scholar
  20. Andrej Walicki, The Slavophile Controversy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975);Google Scholar
  21. Abbot Gleason, European and Muscovite: Ivan Kireevsky and the Origins of Slavophilism (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1972);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Christoff, An Introduction; N.V. Rasanovsky, Russia and the West in the Teaching of the Slavophiles (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1952). Notable works in Russian are E.A. Dudzinskaia, Slavianofily v obshchestvennoi borbe (Moscow: Mysl’, 1983), Slavianofily v poreformennoi Rossii (Moscow: R.A.N., 1994); B.F. Egorov, VA. Kotelnikov, and Iu.V. Stennik, Slavianofilstvo i sovremennost’ (St. Petersburg: Nauka, 1994); N.I. Tsimbaev, Slavianofilstvo: iz istorii russkoi obshchestvenno-politicheskoi mysli XIX veka (Moscow: Izd. Moskovskogo Universiteta, 1986); Iu.Z. Iankovskii, Patriarkhalno-dvorianskaia utopiia (Moscow: Khudozh. Lit., 1981).Google Scholar
  23. 13.
    See Robin Aizlewood, “The Return of the ‘Russian Idea’ in Publications, 1988–91” Slavonic and East European Review 71, no.3, (1993) and S.B. Dzhimbinov, “The Return of Russian Philosophy” in James Scanlan, ed., Russian Thought after Communism: The Recovery of a Philosophical Heritage (Armonk, NY: Sharpe, 1994), for a review of the recent revival.Google Scholar
  24. 16.
    Christoff, Xomjakov, 45–46, 232–233; Losskii, History of Russian Philosophy, 47; Nicolas Zernov, Three Russian Prophets, Khomiakov, Dostoevsky, Solovev (London: S.C.M. Press, 1944), pp. 72–73;Google Scholar
  25. A.S. Khomiakov, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii 8 vols. (Moscow: Univ. Tip., 1900–1911) vol. III, 465–466. Baron Haxthausen discussed the Russian commune as early as 1843.Google Scholar
  26. See August von Haxthausen, Studies on the Interior of Russia (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1972).Google Scholar
  27. 17.
    I.V. Kireevskii, Izbrannye stati (Moscow: Sovremennik, 1984), 160.Google Scholar
  28. 19.
    Dominic Lieven, The Aristocracy in Europe, 1815–1914 (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1992), 179–180.Google Scholar
  29. 20.
    Peter Chaadaev, Philosophical Letters & Apology of a Madman (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1969), 36–41.Google Scholar
  30. 21.
    V.G. Belinsky, Selected Philosophical Works (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1956), 5–8, 44.Google Scholar
  31. 23.
    V.F. Odoevskii, “Russkie nochi” in Sochineniia kniazia V. F. Odoevskago (St. Petersburg: Tip. E. Pratsa, 1844), vol. 1, 10.Google Scholar
  32. 24.
    D. Venevitinov, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii (Moscow: Academia, 1934), 216–217.Google Scholar
  33. 29.
    Alexander Herzen, Selected Philosophical Works (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1956), 18.Google Scholar
  34. 30.
    Herzen , “Dilettantism in Science,” in W.J. Leatherbarrow and D.C. Offord, eds., A Documentary History of Russian Thought (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1987), 140, 144.Google Scholar
  35. 32.
    There is a discussion of this idea by Raymond McNally in his introduction to Philosophical works of Peter Chaadaev (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1991), 15–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 53.
    A.S. Khomiakov, Izbrannye sochineniia (New York: Izd. im. Chekhova, 1955), 331.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Susan P. McCaffray and Michael Melancon 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susanna Rabow-Edling

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations