Russian Conservatism and Its Critics: A Study in Political Culture / Edition 1

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Russian Conservatism and Its Critics provides the first account of Russia's immemorial commitment to the theory and practice of autocracy, the most formative and powerful idea in Russia's political history. Richard Pipes considers why Russian thinkers, statesmen, and publicists have historically argued that Russia could prosper only under an autocratic regime.
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Editorial Reviews

New York Sun
“Concise and lucid. . . . It provides an illuminating outline of Russian history. . . .”

— Paul Hollander

Professor Marc Raeff
"This book fills a blank space in the English language literature on Russia, and it is also a summation of Pipes's own views on the course of Russian history."—Professor Marc Raeff, Columbia University, Emeritus
New York Sun - Paul Hollander
“Concise and lucid. . . . It provides an illuminating outline of Russian history. . . .”
Foreign Affairs
Unless one buys into historical determinism or believes autocracy to be a genetic Russian trait, nothing says that Russia cannot escape its past. Yet, as Vladimir Putin's Russia again flirts with authoritarian shortcuts, the resonance of that past grows louder. No contemporary historian has thought longer or harder about the intellectual and political roots of Russian absolutism than Pipes, and in this taut, elegant essay, he compresses five centuries of "conservative ideology" into a deft portrait of adherents from Joseph of Volokolamsk (1439-1515) to the liberal conservatives at the end of the nineteenth century. The tradition, he argues, originated in the Muscovite notion of the country and all within it as literally the private patrimony of the ruler. This in turn denied Russia the two institutions that eventually tamed kings in the West: an "independent nobility and middle class, and private property in land." But so too did the fear of losing control of an ungainly, piebald empire sustain faith in autocracy as Russia's natural and necessary form of government.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300112887
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 1/8/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.23 (h) x 0.26 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Pipes is Baird Professor of History Emeritus, Harvard University.  
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Table of Contents

1 Russian autocracy defined 1
2 The birth of conservative ideology 27
3 The onset of the conservative-liberal controversy 64
4 Postreform Russia 115
5 Liberalism's short-lived triumph 154
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