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Slavophilia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Slavophilia was an intellectual movement originating from 19th century that wanted
the Russian Empire to be developed upon values and institutions derived from its early
history. Slavophiles opposed the influences of Western Europe in Russia.[1] There were
also similar movements in Poland, Hungary and Greece. Depending on the historical
context, its opposite could be termed Slavophobia, a fear of Slavic culture, or even what
some Russian intellectuals called zapadnichestvo(westernism).

Contents
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1History
2Doctrine
3After serfdom
4Pochvennichestvo
5See also
6References
7External links

History[edit]
Slavophilia, as an intellectual movement, was developed in the 19th-century Russia. In a
sense, there was not one but many Slavophile movements or many branches of the
same movement. Some were leftist and noted that progressive ideas such
as democracy were intrinsic to the Russian experience, as proved by what they
considered to be the rough democracy of medieval Novgorod. Some were rightist and
pointed to the centuries-old tradition of the autocratic tsar as being the essence of the
Russian nature.
The Slavophiles were determined to protect what they believed were unique Russian
traditions and culture. In doing so, they rejected individualism. The role of the Orthodox
Church was seen by them as more significant than the role of the state. Socialism was
opposed by Slavophiles as an alien thought, and Russian mysticism was preferred over
"Western rationalism". Rural life was praised by the movement, which
opposed industrialization and urban development, and protection of the "mir" was seen
as an important measure to prevent the growth of the working class.[2]
The movement originated in Moscow in the 1830s. Drawing on the works of
Greek Church Fathers, the philosopher Aleksey Khomyakov (180460) and his
devoutly Orthodox colleagues elaborated a traditionalistic doctrine that claimed Russia
has its own distinct way, which should avoid imitating "Western" institutions. The Russian
Slavophiles criticised the modernisation of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great, and
some of them even adopted traditional pre-Petrine dress.
Andrei Okara argues that the 19th-century classification of social thought into three
groups, the Westernizers, the Slavophiles and the Conservatives, also fits well into the
realities of the political and social situation in modern Russia. According to him, examples
of modern-day Slavophiles include the Communist Party of the Russian
Federation, Dmitry Rogozin and Sergei Glazyev.[3]

Doctrine[edit]
The doctrines of Aleksey Khomyakov, Ivan Kireyevsky (180656), Konstantin
Aksakov (181760) and other Slavophiles had a deep impact on Russian culture,
including the Russian Revival school of architecture, The Five of Russian composers, the
novelist Nikolai Gogol, the poet Fyodor Tyutchev and the lexicographer Vladimir Dahl.
Their struggle for purity of the Russian language had something in common with ascetic
views of Leo Tolstoy. The doctrine of sobornost, the term for organic unity, intregration,
was coined by Kireyevsky and Khomyakov. It was to underline the need for cooperation
between people, at the expense of individualism, on the basis that opposing groups focus
on what is common between them. According to Khomyakov, the Orthodox Church
organically combines in itself the principles of freedom and unity, but the Catholic Church
postulates unity without freedom, and in Protestantism, on the contrary, freedom exists
without unity.[4] In the Russian society of their time, the Slavophiles saw sobornost ideal in
the peasant obshchina. The latter recognized the primacy of collectivity but guaranteed
the integrity and the welfare of the individual within that collective.[5]
In the sphere of practical politics, Slavophilism manifested itself as a pan-Slavic
movement for the unification of all Slavic people under leadership of the Russian tsar and
for the independence of the Balkan Slavs from Ottoman rule. The Russo-Turkish War,
1877-78, is usually considered a high point of this militant Slavophilism, as expounded by
the charismatic commander Mikhail Skobelev. The attitude towards other nations with
Slavic origins varied, depending on the group involved. Classical Slavophiles believed
that "Slavdom", alleged by Slavophile movement common identity to all people of Slavic
origin, was based on Orthodoxreligion.[6]
The Russian Empire, besides containing Russians, ruled over millions of Ukrainians,
Poles and Belarusians, who had their own national identities, traditions and religions.
Towards Ukrainians and Belarusians, the Slavophiles developed the view that they were
part of the same "Great Russian" nation, Belarusians being the "White Russians" and
Ukrainians "Little Russians". Slavophile thinkers such as Mikhail Katkov believed that
both nations should be ruled under Russian leadership and were an essential part of the
Russian state.[7] At the same time, they denied the separate cultural identity of Ukrainian
and Belarusian people,[7] believing their national as well as language and literary
aspirations were a result of "Polish intrigue" to separate them from Russians.[8] Other
Slavophiles, like Ivan Aksakov, recognized the right of Ukrainians to use the Ukrainian
language but saw it as completely unnecessary and harmful.[9] Aksakov, however, did see
some practical use for the "Malorussian" language: it would be beneficial in the struggle
against the "Polish civilizational element in the western provinces".[7]
Besides Ukrainians and Belarusians, the Russian Empire also included Poles, whose
country had disappeared after being partitioned by three neighboring states, including
Russia, which after decisions of the Congress of Vienna expanded into more Polish-
inhabited territories. Poles proved to be a problem for the ideology of Slavophilism.[10] The
very name Slavophiles indicated that the characteristics of the Slavs were based on their
ethnicity, but at the same time, Slavophiles believed that Orthodoxy equaled Slavdom.
This belief was belied by very existence of Poles within the Russian Empire, who, while
having Slavic origins, were also deeply Roman Catholic, the Catholic faith forming one of
the core values of Polish national identity.[11] Also, while Slavophiles praised the
leadership of Russia over other nations of Slavic origin, the Poles' very identity was
based on Western European culture and values, and resistance to Russia was seen by
them as resistance to something representing an alien way of life.[12] As a result,
Slavophiles were particularly hostile to the Polish nation, often emotionally attacking it in
their writings[13]
When the Polish uprising of 1863 started, Slavophiles used anti-Polish sentiment to
create feelings of national unity in the Russian people,[14] and the idea of cultural union of
all Slavs was abandoned.[15] With that Poland became firmly established to Slavophiles as
symbol of Catholicism and Western Europe, that they detested,[16] and as Poles were
never assimilated within the Russian Empire, constantly resisting Russian occupation of
their country, in the end, Slavophiles came to believe that annexation of Poland was a
mistake since the Polish nation could not be russified.[17] "After the struggle with Poles,
Slavophiles expressed their belief, that notwithstanding the goal of conquering
Constantinople, the future conflict would be between the "Teutonic race" (Germans), and
"Slavs", and the movement turned into Germanophobia.[18]
It should be noted that most Slavophiles were liberals and ardently supported the
emancipation of serfs, which was finally realized in the emancipation reform of 1861.
Press censorship, serfdom and capital punishment were viewed as baneful influences of
Western Europe.[19] Their political ideal was a parliamentary monarchy, as represented by
the medieval Zemsky Sobors.

After serfdom[edit]
After serfdom was abolished in Russia and the end of the uprising in Poland,
Slavophilism began to degenerate and turned into narrow minded Russian aggressive
nationalism.[citation needed] New Slavophile thinkers appeared in the 1870s and 1880s,
represented by scholars such as Nikolay Danilevsky, who expounded a view of history as
circular, and Konstantin Leontiev.
Danilevsky promoted autocracy and imperialistic expansion as part of Russian national
interest. Leontiev believed in a police state[citation needed]to prevent European influences from
reaching Russia:[20]

Pochvennichestvo[edit]
Main article: Pochvennichestvo
Later writers Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Konstantin Leontyev, and Nikolay
Danilevsky developed a peculiar conservative version of
Slavophilism, Pochvennichestvo (from the Russian word for soil). The teaching, as
articulated by Konstantin Pobedonostsev (Ober-Procurator of the Russian Orthodox
Church), was adopted as the official tsarist ideology during the reigns of Alexander
III and Nicholas II. Even after the Russian Revolution of 1917, it was further developed by
the migr religious philosophers like Ivan Ilyin (18831954).
Many Slavophiles influenced prominent Cold War thinkers such as George F.
Kennan[citation needed], instilling in them a love for the Russian Empire as opposed to
the Soviet Union. That, in turn, influenced their foreign policy ideas, such as Kennan's
belief that the revival of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate, in 1943, would lead to the
reform or overthrow of Joseph Stalin's dictatorship.