Two years ago, the International Laboratory for the study of Russian and European intellectual dialogue was established in the National Research University “The Higher School of Economics” by professor Vladimir Kantor on the Russian side and by the German professor Leonid Luks on the Western European side. In the two years of its work the Laboratory has organized six international conferences. The first three events were held under the auspices of the commemorative project “Russia one hundred years after the revolution of 1917,” which analyzed and discussed not only the spiritual, cultural and social-political causes of the emergence of the revolutionary situation in Russia, but also its historical and civilizational consequences for the fate of Russia, Europe and the world. A review of these conferences was published in the first issue of the journal Zeitschrift für Slawistik in 2018.
The article discusses the cultural phenomenon of the Florentine Renaissance in relation to the aesthetic program of the art association “Mir Iskusstva” (“World of Art”). As Russian modernism reflects the transformation of artistic and spiritual culture that took place in Russia in the late 19th and early 20th century, the author attempts to point out and analyze the main philosophical and aesthetic principles of the Italian Renaissance discussed among some of the important voices of the “World of Art” with particular attention on Sergej Djagilev and Aleksandr Benois. The author considers the logic of the continuity of artistic ideas of the Renaissance in the aesthetic concept of the founders of the “World of Art”. In order to demonstrate the strong link between the Renaissance past and the pre-revolutionary present the author analyzes the main literary, philosophical and memoir sources related to the legacy of Sergej Djagilev and Alexander Benois.
This article reconstructs and analyzes the philosophical hermeneutics of the political events of perestroika and regime change in Russia in 1991 as well as the political and economic atmosphere of the “wild 90s” proposed in the works of Russian philosopher Vladimir Bibikhin. Bibikhin’s attention to this theme owes as much to the traditional themes of Russian philosophy as to Heidegger’s thesis on historical factuality of thought. An examination of Bibikhin’s philosophy is impossible if these two sources are separated: it is only by mutually enriching each other that they contributed to the specificity of Bibikhin’s philosophical work linked with contemporary events. Characteristically, while recognizing the significance of historical context for Bibikhin’s thought different researchers often propose opposite interpretations of the philosopher’s reaction to current events. While Artemy Magun believes that Bibikhin fully shared the political enthusiasm of the pioneers of perestroika, Mikhail Bogatov discerns Bibikhin’s critical attitude to such enthusiasm. Looking at the whole body of Bibikhin’s texts it becomes clear that the reason for such a wide spread of possible interpretations was the complexity of Bibikhin’s attitude to the events referred to. On the one hand, the philosopher, while being highly critical of the scale of privatization, was also very sensitive to the change of ideology; on the other hand, Bibikhin recognized the significance of the events that happened and urged intellectuals to think about them deeply. Bibikhin believed that the only adequate response to the newly available freedom was philosophical work that links the interpretation of historical context to eternal themes of the original philosophy. At the same time, he stressed the significance of the Russian philosophical tradition for such interpretation and therefore perceived perestroika and the 1990s as a new chance for the evolution of Russian philosophy. His main intent was the search for non-ideological thinking.
This article discusses Vladimir Vasil’evich Veidle (1895–1979), a philosopher and scholar of cultural study of the Silver Age and a brilliant expert on Alexander Pushkin’s works. The focus is on the evolution of Veidle’s views on Russian-European identity. The unique aspect of the thinker’s position, especially given that his émigré works belong to what scholars have called “New Westernism,” is that, in contrast to the Russian “anti-Westernizers,” who defended the concept of a separate and self-sufficient “Russian civilization,” Veidle believed that Russia loses nothing by being in Europe; on the contrary, it acquires its cultural identity. Veidle considered the work of Pushkin, whose “Europeanness” and “Russianness” were inseparable, as evidence of this. In his émigré works, Veidle challenged Dostoevsky’s hypothesis about the “universal responsiveness” of Pushkin’s art and, through profound philosophical and cultural study analysis, showed that Pushkin himself “set limits” on his own “omni-responsiveness,” while remaining a principled disciple of “cultural Europeanism.”
The Petrine-Pushkinian era lasted no more than two hundred years. It originated at the Battle of Poltava, where Russian troops first showed themselves not just equal to the Swedes, who were otherwise the best European troops at the time, but even surpassed them. Russia became a part of Europe. As both poets and historians (Fyodor Tyutchev, Vasilii Kliuchevskii) have said, Peter the Great’s empire rose in response to Charles the Great’s, just as Russian state power rose in response to its Roman-German counterparts. Peter declared Russia an empire in 1721, giving it both a supra-confessional and supranational idea, creating a legal framework, the first step toward freedom of man. Pushkin sang the work of Peter, imbuing the new capital, Petersburg, with a soul. This allowed Georgy Fedotov to call Pushkin a singer of both empire and freedom. The October Revolution of the 1917 and Civil War, that broke out in late 1917, served as the tragic end to the era.
In the face of political rhetoric about Russia being outside of Europe both in the West and in Russia itself, it is all the more necessary to remember that European and Russian culture grew out of the same source: Christianity. Therefore, inter-confessional dialogue between Russian Orthodoxy and the Roman Catholic Church is particularly relevant today. In this context, scholars have focused attention on the Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyov, who has been described as a forerunner of the ecumenical movement. This article enriches accounts of his thought by shining a spotlight on the context of spiritual and moral thought in Russia in his day. The article also shows how Russian emperors of the nineteenth century (in particular Alexander III) promoted the idea of a rapprochement with the Holy See. The author argues that these mutual initiatives of the Holy See and the Russian government were the political foundation for Solovyov’s theocratic project. The mid-nineteenth century was remarkable both for the flowering of Russian culture and the strengthening of Russian statehood, which together promoted the formation and articulation of key ideas in Russian intellectual history. The author shows that Russia’s mission to restore Christian unity was central to nineteenth-century Russian thought.
Abstract. The history of Russian liberalism reflects the transformation of intellectual and political culture that took place in Russia from the eighteenth to the beginning of the twentieth century. The legacy of the Russian liberal thinkers requires close attention and study because it allows us to formulate the most important and relevant question: is the liberal project even possible in Russia? This chapter attempts to analyze the main ideas of the political philosophy of Russian liberalism and considers different national models of liberalism, such as those allowing for traditional cultural values, among other things. This analysis proposes a new intellectual tradition of Russian liberalism, as distinct from the Soviet version, and also introduces the reader to the historical-philosophical tradition of research on Russian liberalism from the eighteenth to the beginning of the twentieth century.Abstract The history of Russian liberalism reflects the transformation of intellectual and political culture that took place in Russia from the eighteenth to the beginning of the twentieth century. The legacy of the Russian liberal thinkers requires close attention and study because it allows us to formulate the most important and relevant question: is the liberal project even possible in Russia? This chapter attempts to analyze the main ideas of the political philosophy of Russian liberalism and considers different national models of liberalism, such as those allowing for traditional cultural values, among other things. This analysis proposes a new intellectual tradition of Russian liberalism, as distinct from the Soviet version, and also introduces the reader to the historical-philosophical tradition of research on Russian liberalism from the eighteenth to the beginning of the twentieth century.
This article is devoted to Russian religious thinker Semyon L. Frank’s philosophical interpretation of Alexander S. Pushkin’s work. The article identifies the place and significance of the Pushkin theme in Frank’s legacy. The author believes that Pushkin’s creative example was, for Frank, a key moment in the national culture’s self-cognition, defining its spiritual and moral ideal. In Pushkin’s work, Frank sees a synthesis of European rationality and mystical intuition that is characteristic of the Russian spiritual tradition. Frank endows Pushkin’s aesthetics with the features of religious gnosis, finding there an embodiment of his ideal of “living knowledge” or “wise ignorance.” The article expands on the thesis that Frank’s research on Pushkin is an important structural element in the development of his original metaphysical system. In a unique essayistic form, his articles on Pushkin represent an independent, complete version of Frank’s ontological aesthetics and philosophy of culture.
The concept of Dionysianism becomes fundamental in the work of Russian symbolist Vyacheslav Ivanov in the 1900–1910s, which led him to development of an original theory of symbolism. For this poet and thinker, symbolism becomes an integral philosophy of art. Ivanov’s theory of symbolism incorporates aesthetics, ethics, theory of knowledge, philosophy of culture. The concept of Dionysianism formed in the process of Ivanov’s philological studies of Greek religion was marked by the influence of F. Nietzsche. However, under the influence of Russian religious and philosophical thought, Ivanov comes to conclusions that contradicted Nietzsche, concerning both philological and cultural-philosophical aspects of the origin of the tragedy. The present article discusses Ivanov’s perception of F. Nietzsche’s philosophy as well as points of divergence between Nietzsche and Ivanov in understanding the mythologem of Dionysus. Particular attention is paid to the theory of realistic symbolism, understood by Ivanov as a religious symbolism, with its focus on acquiring realia in rebus, which is, at its core, a noumenon. The article also discusses Ivanov’s ideas of convergence of the myth of Dionysus with the Christian religion, his interpretation of the cult of Dionysus as well as Ivanov’s main conclusions regarding the Dionysian cult and Christianity.
In contemporary journalism, it is often argued that Europe is now experiencing a kind of re-emergence of the crisis that shook the continent in the 1930s. This analogy of thinking ignores the fundamental differences between the unprecedented erosion of European democracies that took place 80-90 years ago and Europe's identity crisis today. The differences between these two eras and the specific nature of the European crisis of the 1930s are dedicated to this essay collection.
The object of the study is the view of V. S. Solovyov on the nature and task of
language. The main attention is paid to the process of creating philosopher’s
own metaphysics of language in the context of its main philosophical brand — the
concept of all-unity. Philosopher considered the testimony of common sense as
the main task of the language. Such common sense according to the philosopher
is already given. In addition, language is a natural ability of person, it cannot be
artificially created, language is a divine gift, the purpose of which is to transform
the space surrounding us. Answering the question about the nature of language
Solovyov thought universally. He considered the diversity of languages as a nec-
essary condition of harmony, implying that the basis of any word formation and
actual use of words has a common root, so even in the situation of diversity of
languages there is unity and solidarity. The article notes that according to the
philosopher, the Russian language is the language of the Empire, stressing that
even in the field of language, Russia should follow its historical task and promote
There is an ongoing debate regarding the dialectics of secularization in the Western Europe and USA. For instance, one of the key works in the field is Charles Taylor's A Secular Age dedicated to the role of metaphysics in the development of Western secularism. However, the process of secularization in the Russian context remains beyond the scope of the current scholarly discussions. Dealing with the dialectics of secularization in the history of Russian philosophy, the author draws a parallel between Charles Taylor’s fundamental work A Secular Age and Vasily Zenkovsky’s History of Russian Philosophy. The aim of the paper is to show that Zenkovsky’s work can be viewed as an analysis of secular and antisecular discourses in the Russian intellectual landscape. Despite the major methodological shortcomings in the analysis of secularization, Zenkovsky does a brilliant work as a historian of thought. The detailed examination he provides helps us to trace the influence of secular ‘Nova-Effect’ in the Russian context. Taylor coines the term for the intellectual consequences of the ‘exclusive humanism’ in Europe. Among the main disadvantages of History of Russian Philosophy are insufficient conceptual articulation of the notion of secularism as well as inattention to the political context of Russian philosophical discourse. Nevertheless, it is demonstrated that accurate analysis of Zenkovsky’s work can ground further research of the dialectics of secularization in the history of Russian thought.
The idea of Christian unity occupied the minds of many Russian intellectuals. Particular attention was paid to it in the second half of the XIX century. The most famous intervention was the works of Vl.S. Solovyov, which caused a heated discussion in both Russian and Western European intellectual circles. One of the most prominent publicists who entered into a dialogue with Solovyov was Slavophil General A.A. Kireev. The author shows that both thinkers spoke about necessity to find paths of overcoming the existing contradictions in European society. Both wrote about the implementation of the Ecumenical Church, but they chose different paths. Kireev adhered to the traditional position of the Slavophiles that all Russian Christians are eager for the unity of the Church, but only if they obey the dogma of the 7th Ecumenical Councils, he wrote about the restoration of the autocephalous Orthodox Church of the West. Solovyov proposed a theocratic project, speaking of the Eternal Spiritual Rome as the center of the Christian world and of the Primacy of the Roman Pontiff. For the sake of the universal Christian universal idea, he urged to Russian people to rise above dogmatic differences, and truly be the Third Rome, which not only excludes and replaces the first two, but also reconciles and unites them into a single whole. This article reveals the main aspects of thinker’s dialogue on the paths and character of Christian unity on the basis of their correspondence, journalistic articles, as well as previously unknown archival materials. The author shows that the idea of Russian mission to restore the unity of the Christian world was the central idea of Russian thought.
The author seeks to destroy the myth surrounding the personality of Mikhail Katkov, one of Russia’s most prominent thinkers and journalists, who defended the Russian imperial ideology, believing it to have descended from European views to take root in the local culture. The author invokes two major figures of Russian history and culture: Peter the Great and the poet Aleksandr Pushkin. Katkov argued that Russia owed its successful integration into European history to Peter the Great, who transformed the country into a powerful empire and created an independent space for spiritual experiments. So it no longer seems accidental that Pushkin was referred to as ‘the singer of the empire and freedom’. It was for that reason that Katkov jumps to the defense of the Russian empire, fearlessly opposing the government, no less, who, he thought, had lost touch with reality. Eventually, Katkov was fighting two enemies: Russian nihilists (with Herzen in the lead), who wasted no time undermining the empire, and Russian liberals, who would stop at nothing, even welcome a foreign invasion, in order to bring down the empire (the so-called ‘Polish intrigue’). The author sets out to reconstruct the writer’s true image through his work.