All Russias Home Tsarist Russia Soviet Russia Russian Federation Learn Russian Images & Video
        A L L R U S S I A S . C O M
Russia from A to Z Russia on YouTube Best Student Essays Jokes about Rulers Russia with Laugh Useful Links

 
 

Political Jokes

Russian Music Samples

When Putin Retires...

 

Oriental Despotism

 
Peter the Great

The greatest paradox of Peters Reform was that by shaking up Russian society, by introducing efficient and up-to-date methods, by equipping Russia with military and economic might Peter not only preserved the most salient features of traditional Muscovite society, but actually strengthened and reinvigorated them. In other words, his version of Europeanization served only to reinforce the oppressive character of the state.

 

This paradox was forcefully expressed by the Russian philosopher George Plekhanov: In his Europeanization of Russia Peter developed to its final, logical conclusion the condition of complete helplessness of the population vis-à-vis the State that is characteristic of Oriental despotism. The rationalization and modernization initiated by the state unchecked by any kind of control from society led in practice to the creation of a police state. 

This is, perhaps, the most tragic contradiction of Russian modernization attempts. The coercive and brutal nature of these transformations meant that Russias modernization attempts often defeated their main purpose: that of creating conditions for unfettered modern social and economic development. On the contrary, the state, which remained, to a great extent, the embodiment of Oriental despotism, used modernization and westernization in order to preserve and strengthen its autocratic prerogatives and its dominance over society.

Only the ruling classes enjoyed the benefits of modernization whereas the masses remained oppressed and saw the governments reforms as something alien to them and thrust upon them by the state against their will. 

 PREVIOUS  NEXT
 
Copyrighted material
We Are Partners
 
Bookmark This Site ││Site Map ││Send Feedback ││About This Site
Lecture Bullet Points
Copyright 2007-2017 Alex Chubarov All Rights Reserved

 
 

"Non-organic" Reforms

Learn Russian with Us

Russian Federation

The "Catching up" Cycles
"Non-organic" Reforms
Great Leap to Capitalism
Russia's Privatization
Deformed Capitalism
Coping with Transition
The Yeltsin Era
Yeltsin's Legacy
Putin's Plan
Russian Federalism
The Chechen Problem
"Deprivatizing" the State
First and Second Dumas
Third and Fourth Dumas
Civil Society
"Controlled" Democracy

Post-Soviet Geopolitics

Paradoxes of Russian Mentality
Economy under Putin
The Putinite Order
Putin's Choice
People Speak (Opinion Polls)
Tables and Statistics
Maps
Links

Russia from A to Z

Images & Video