Slavophile Empire: Imperial Russia's Illiberal Path by Laura EngelsteinSlavophile Empire: Imperial Russia's Illiberal Path by Laura Engelstein

Slavophile Empire: Imperial Russia's Illiberal Path

byLaura Engelstein

Paperback | October 30, 2009

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Twentieth-century Russia, in all its political incarnations, lacked the basic features of the Western liberal model: the rule of law, civil society, and an uncensored public sphere. In Slavophile Empire, the leading historian Laura Engelstein pays particular attention to the Slavophiles and their heirs, whose aversion to the secular individualism of the West and embrace of an idealized version of the native past established a pattern of thinking that had an enduring impact on Russian political life.

Imperial Russia did not lack for partisans of Western-style liberalism, but they were outnumbered, to the right and to the left, by those who favored illiberal options. In the book's rigorously argued chapters, Engelstein asks how Russia's identity as a cultural nation at the core of an imperial state came to be defined in terms of this antiliberal consensus. She examines debates on religion and secularism, on the role of culture and the law under a traditional regime presiding over a modernizing society, on the status of the empire's ethnic peripheries, and on the spirit needed to mobilize a multinational empire in times of war. These debates, she argues, did not predetermine the kind of system that emerged after 1917, but they foreshadowed elements of a political culture that are still in evidence today.

Title:Slavophile Empire: Imperial Russia's Illiberal PathFormat:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.27 inPublished:October 30, 2009Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801475929

ISBN - 13:9780801475924

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Editorial Reviews

"Laura Engelstein's writing is always thoughtful and instructive. The essays in Slavophile Empire are a pleasure to read. They illuminate the battle that Russian thinkers and artists waged with one another and with the government to define the terms of Russia's encounter with modernity and indeed to define what it meant to be Russian in a modern world whose categories of thought derived primarily from Europe."—David L. Ransel, Robert F. Byrnes Professor of History and Director of the Russian and East European Institute at Indiana University, Bloomington, author of A Russian Merchant's Tale: The Life and Adventures of Ivan Alekseevich Tolchënov, Based on His Diary