Russian messianism : a historical and political analysis
This is an analysis of the nature and political significance of Russian messianism: the idea that the Russian people or the Russian State is the `chosen people' or the `chosen instrument'. I outline the genesis of the theory of Moscow, the Third Rome and discuss the ideas and activities of the nineteenth-century Slavophils, the pan-Slavists, Dostoevsky and Vladimir Solovyov. I examine the influence of messianism on Russian Communism, considering Berdiaev's views. The main part of the work investigates the rebirth of interest in Russian messianism in the Brezhnev period. I try to investigate the links between this cultural movement and the Russian nationalist elements within the political éite. My main sources for this are samizdat journals and articles, in particular the journal Veche, cultural journals such as Novyi mir, Molodaia gvardiia and Nash sovremennik, Party documents and éigré/ journals. I find that Russian messianism has been especially important at times when the country is in crisis: Russia is in Golgotha, but where there is suffering there is also redemption, not only for Russia but for humanity. It has by no means been always dominant in intellectual thought. It has had little influence (under either tsars or Communists) on the fields of nationality policy, policy towards religion or foreign policy. Today, as in the nineteenth century, its adherents can be opponents or supporters of the existing State structure. The growth of non-Russian nationalism under Gorbachov, combined with glasnost', has fuelled Russian nationalism. This is unlikely to be co-opted into the official ideology, because it would increase the dissatisfaction of the non-Russians.