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Title: Aleksandr Prokhanov and post-Soviet esotericism.
Author: Griffiths, Edmund
ISNI:       0000 0000 5404 7614
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2007
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Aleksandr Prokhanov (born 1938) is a highly controversial novelist as well as editing Zavtra, perhaps the leading 'patriotic' newspaper in today's Russia. His writing-both fiction and non-fiction-is marked by a persistent return to the same group of themes (Empire, resurrection, Stalin, Afghanistan) and by abundant 'conspiracy theories'. These characteristics, though, are not unique to Prokhanov: he is the most eloquent representative of a set of views and attitudes that commands much wider assent, and that bears many of the hallmarks of an emergent belief system. The cornerstone of this belief system is esotericism-the belief in a hidden truth (whether or not the believer claims to know it) that is radically distinct from the official, public truth. TIlls outlook finds expression in 'conspiracy theories', in anti-Semitism, and in the tre~tment of ideological elements that are borrowed from previous thinkers; and its origin is related to a distinctively historical articulation of the 'problem of evil' after the collapse of the USSR. Nikolai Fedorov's dream of resurrection and space exploration is reinterpreted as the secret truth of the Soviet past. The Eurasian hankering after ~ lost mediaeval political economy is projected onto nostalgia for the Soviet system. The relationship between the 'Imperial' centre and the war-tom periphery is inverted after the Soviet collapse. Stalin, universally condemned in post-Soviet Russia, is interpreted esoterically as a despised 'suffering servant'. Many of these ideological manoeuvres bear strong similarities to tendencies observable in previous esoteric belief systems, including the Gnosticism of 5 ~ -; • . , the first centuries CEo The prose style in which Prokhanov expresses his worldview combines the matter-of-fact and the hyperbolic, mysticism and coarse satire, to generate a characteristic rhythm and tone.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available