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   Course Title    National idea in Russian conservative press in the second half of XIXth and the beginning of XXth centuries
Lecturer    Leonov Mikhail Mikhailovich
Institution    Samara State Academy of Culture & Arts
Country    Russian Federation

Aims of the course

Studying the main tendencies in the development of Russian conservative press in the second half of XIX. and the beginning of XX. centuries, investigation of well-known conservative thinkers’ participation in the governmental reforms, comparative analysis of the "black hundred" ideology and the nationalism of XIX-century conservators.


Chronological borders of the course

The period from the "Great Reforms" till the beginning of World War I, including the time when conservatism became a governmental ideology and the right-wing press had extreme influence on governmental strategy.


Role of the course in the overall degree curriculum

This special course is part of the long-term course on Russian history and culture. It is the addition of the above mentioned course for second year students.



Russian conservatism in the second half of XIX and the beginning of XX centuries as a national ideology. Western political ideas and their influential on evolution of Russian thought. The main sources on history of "Russian idea" and conservative press.

Different types of methodology in pre-Revolutionary Russia: liberal historiography (L.Z. Slonimsky, A.A. Kornilov), conservative historiography (S.S. Oldenburg, V.V. Nazarevsky), Marxist historiography. Ideological barriers for researches on conservative press in 1920-30.

Unsuccessful attempts of investigation during the Stalin regime. Soviet historiography of 1960-70. (B.P. Baluev, P.A. Zayonchkovsky, V.A.Tvardovskaya, etc.) Fresh view of historians of 1980-90. (K.A.Soloviev, A.S.Kartsov, N.A.Rabkina). First fundamental works.

England, American, German and French historical investigations on Russian conservative press. Scholar literature of 1930-1940. (B. Pares, B. Sumner). "Cold war" and studies on "history of ideas" in USA and Europe (A. Adams, M. Katz, R. Byrnes, M. Raeff, H. Kohn). Foreign historiography of 1970-80. (W. Mosse, H. Whilan, M. Ferro). R. Pipes and his attempts to classify Russian conservatism of XIX century. Newest works on history of conservatism and right-wing press (A. Martin, D. Lieven, T. Weeks).


Conservatism and nationalism

National elements in the program of Russian conservative nationalists. "Nationality" as a symbol Russian conservatism in the second half of XIX century. "Religious tolerance" and struggle against western churches.

The attitude to national minorities living in Russia. The Jewish question. Separatism in Poland.

"New formation" of ideologists in Russian conservatism: M.N. Katkov, K.P. Pobedonostsev, and D.A. Tolstoy. Katkov’s position on national question. Polish rebellion in 1863 and Russian conservative society. Conservative thinkers and government: problem of communication.

"Great Reforms" and their interpretation by right-wing newspapers. Russian conservative bureaucracy. Liberal and revolution movements in the end of 1870 and beginning of 1880. Assassination of Alexander II. Alexander III and his counter-reform politic.

Autocracy, Orthodoxy and nobility in the works of Russian conservative thinkers.


Right-wing press and propaganda of national idea during the reign of Alexander III

Government and the press in Russia at the end of XIX - begin of XX centuries. "Oficiozy" (Government-managed press).

Subside question in the time of Alexander III. Prince V.P. Meshchersky and his "Grazhdanin".

Financial problems of Russian conservative press. Debts of "Moskovskie vedomosti" (Moskow news), "Russkiy vestnik" (Russian courier) and "Sovremennye izvestiya" (Contemporary news). M.N. Katkov’s and N.P. Gilyarov-Platonov’s money sources.

R.A. Fadeev as publicist and public figure.

Right-wing press and censorship.

Political, religious, satiric publishing of the conservative camp. Light-reading literature for low-educated people.


"A face of enemy": liberalism and socialism in interpretation of Russian nationalistic press.

Cosmopolite character of the liberal and socialist doctrines. Western models of the democratic state. Liberal press in Russia. K.P. Pobedonostsev and his articles about democracy and parliament. "A Great deceit of our time".

Founding of "national school" in Russian villages and activity of the liberal teachers. Conservative press’ reaction. "All liberal teachers must be dismissed from school and are placed in psychiatric hospital": V. P. Meshcherskiy claimed.

The liberal professors and Russian students.

Conservative press and offers to forbid liberal propagation.

The conservative journalists and socialists: mutual hatred. The requirements of retaliatory measures against socialists.


"Socialism and Christianity are opposite each other". Orthodox Christianity conservatism

F.M. Dostoevsky, his life and thought. Orthodoxy and morality in novels and articles of great writer. Dostoevsky as a redactor in chief of magazine "Grazhdanin" (The Citizen): his political program and activity. Special features of Russian Orthodoxy conservatism.

K.N. Leont’ev and his central works. Russia and Slave in Leont’ev’s thought. "Messiah" idea. New estimation of Peter the Great reforms. The idea of theocratic autocracy. Comparison of political and Orthodoxy conservatism in works of Leont’ev.


Conservative nationalists at the tsar’s court and government

K.P. Pobedonostsev’s and D.A. Tolstoy’s power at the court and their participation in making of high officials during the Alexander III reign. Struggle against liberal circles. Right-wing press and critics of "inconvenient" ministers. Retire of N.H. Bunge. I.A.Vyshnegradsky, S.U.Witte appointments.

"Camarillo" and intrigues at the court of Nicholas II. Powerful circles of V.P. Meshchersky and N.F. Burdukov, K.F. Golovin, M.M. Andronnikov. Realization of political reforms and "dirty" financial business. Rasputin and his relation to Meshchersky & Burdukov conservative circle. Appointments of N.A. Maklakov, A.V. Krivoshein, L.I. Goremykin.

P.A. Stolypin’ and V.N. Kokovtsov’ struggle against "Camarillo". Retire of V.N. Kokovtsov.


Right-wing press and the conservative journalists at the beginning of XX century

The ideologists of Russian conservatism at the beginning of XX century. L.A. Tikhomirov phenomena.

Nicholas II and prince V.P. Meshchersky: making of "secret defending union". Preparation of profound conservative reforms. Manifest of 26.2.1903. Russian-Japanese war and destroying of "secret defending union".

Modernization of the Russian conservatism social conception in the years of First Russian Revolution. Public basis of Parliament convocation. New tactic of compromises.

Agrarian and labor problems at works of XX century conservative publishers. New purposes for the foreign affairs.


"Black hundred" nationalism: ideologists, newspapers, readers

First Russian Revolution and masses monarchical organizations appearance. "Monarchical party", "Union of Russian People", "Mikhail Archangel’ Union". Using of old conservative slogans and new interpretations of them. Chauvinistic ideas and aggressive character of the "black hundred". Pogroms. Russian autocracy and the monarchical organizations.

New life of "Moskovskie vedomosti".

Chiefs of the "black hundred" movement. V.A. Gringmut, V.M. Purishkevich. Different points of view on Katkov’s, Meshchersky’s and Tikhomirov’s programs. Periodical press of local monarchical unions. Crisis of the "monarchical idea" at the beginning of XX century.



Seminar #1. The most important conservative newspapers: history and political program

  1. Mass-circulation press and propaganda of Russian conservatism
  2. Liberal and conservative periods of M.N. Katkov’ "Moskovskie vedomosti" and "Russkiy vestnik".
  3. "Grazhdanin" and conservative circle of V.P. Meshchersky.
  4. N.P. Gilyarov-Platonov as editor-in-chief and publisher.

Seminar #2. Conservative press and censorship

  1. Censorship in late imperial Russia.
  2. "Crimes" and punishments in the life of conservative newspapers.
  3. K.P. Pobedonostsev as "Supreme censor".
  4. Financial problems of right-wing press ("Sovremennye izvestiya", "Moskovskie vedomosti", etc).

Seminar #3. Conservative press and the "Great Reforms" of Alexander II.

  1. Conservative press and disputes about necessarily of "Great Reforms".
  2. Freedom, as conservators understood it.
  3. Zemstvo, court and church school in conservative reviews.
  4. Conservative press and reassessment of Alexander II liberal reforms after 1881.

Seminar #4. Conservative journalists and their enemies

  1. Image of the conservative journalists in the Russian educated society.
  2. "Okhraniteli" ("Defenders") about nihilism, socialism and revolution. "Propagation of the order" against "propagation of revolt".
  3. Anti-socialistic projects by "Grazhdanin".
  4. Conservative thinkers and their articles about "black hundred" and the chiefs of monarchical organizations.


Required books


  1. Bogdanovich A.V. Tri poslednih samoderzhtsa. Moscow, 1990.
  2. Gringmut V.A. Rucovodstvo monarhista-chernosotentsa. Moscow, 1910.
  3. Golovin K.F. Komu nuzhna reforma mestnogo upravlenija?// Russkiy Vestnik. 1886. #12.
  4. Katkov M.N. O samoderzhavii i konstitutsii. Moscow, 1905.
  5. Katkov M.N. Sobranie peredovyh statey "Moskovskih Vedomostey" 1863 g. Moscow, 1897.
  6. Lenin V.I. O russkom pravlenii i russkih reformah// Poln. Sobr. Soch. T.24. Moscow, 1961.
  7. Leont’ev K.N. Vostok, Rossia i slavjanstvo. Philosophskaja i politicheskaja publicistika. Duhovnaja proza (1872-1891). Moscow, 1996.
  8. Meshchersky V.P. 30-letie izdanija gazety-zhurnala "Grazhdanin". St. Petersburg, 1901.
  9. Meshchersky V.P. Moi vospominanija. T.1-3. St. Petersburg, 1897-1912.
  10. Meshchersky V.P. Chto nam nuzhno? Razmyshlenija po povodu poslednih sobytiy. St. Petersburg, 1880.
  11. Mosolov A.A. Pri dvore poslednego rossiyskogo imperatora. Zapiski nachal’nika kanceljarii ministerstva imperatorskogo dvora. Moscow, 1993
  12. Pazukhin A.A. Sovremennoe sostoyanie Rossii i soslovniy vopros// Russkiy vestnik. 1885. #1.
  13. Pobedonostsev K.P. Moskovskiy sbornik. Moscow, 1901.
  14. K.P. Pobedonostsev i ego korrespondenty. Pis’ma i zapiski/\. Tom 1. Polutom 2. Moscow - St. Petersburg, 1923.
  15. Polovtsov A.A. Dnevnik gos. Sekretarja A.A. Polovtseva. V dvuh tomah. T.2. 1887-1892. Moscow, 1966.
  16. Tikhomirov L.A. Vospominanija L’va Tikhomirova. Moscow, 1927.
  17. Tikhomirov L.A. Edinolichnaja vlast’ kak princip gosudarstvennogo stroenija. Moscow, 1993.
  18. Fadeev R.A. Russkoe obshchestvo v nastojashchem i budushchem (Chem nam byt’?) St. Petersburg, 1874.
  19. Feoktistov E.M. Za kulisami politiki i literatury. 1848-1896. Moscow, 1991.

Russian literature:

  1. Anan’ich B.V. Rossija i mezhdunarodniy kapital. 1897-1914. Jcherki istorii finansovyh otnosheniy. Leningrad, 1970.
  2. Arhipov I.L. Krivoe zerkalo rossiyskogo parlamentarizma. Traditsija politicheskogo skandala: V.M. Purishkevich// Zvezda. 1997. #10.
  3. Baluev B.P. Politicheskaya reakcija 80 godov XIX veka russkaja zhurnakistika. Moscow, 1987.
  4. Vlast’ i reformy. Ot samoderzhavnoy k sovetskoy Rossii. St. Petersburg, 1996.
  5. Gnevushev M.V. K.P. Pobedonostsev. Kiev, 1907.
  6. Gusev V.A. K.P. Pobedonostsev - russkiy konservator-gosudarstvennik// Social’no-politicheskiy zhurnal. 1993. #11-12.
  7. Dalin V.M. Poslednie Romanovy i knjaz’ Meshchersky// Voprosy istorii vneshney politiki SSSR i mezhdunarodnyh otnosheniy. Moscow, 1976.
  8. Dam’e N.V. K.N. Leont’ev i klassicheskoe slavjanofilstvo// Kentavr. 1994. #1.
  9. Esin B.I. Russkaja dorevoljucionnaja gazeta. 1902-1917. Kratkiy ocherk. Moscow, 1971.
  10. Zayonchkovkiy P.A. Rossiyskoe samoderzhavie v kontse XIX stoletija. (Politicheskaya reakcija 80 - nachala 90-h godov) Moscow, 1970.
  11. Isaev I.A. Politiko-pravovaya utopija v Rossii. Konets XIX - nachalo XX vv. Moscow, 1991.
  12. Kavtorin V.V. Pervy shag k katastrophe. Leningrad, 1992.
  13. Kartsov A.S. knjaz’ V.P. Meshchersky: semeynye svjazi// Iz glubiny vekov. St. Petersburg, 1996. #6.
  14. Nazarevsky V.V. Tsarstvovanie imperatora Aleksandra III. 1881-1896. Moscow, 1910.
  15. Ol’denburg S.F. Tsarstvovanie imperatora Nikolaja II. Moscow, 1991.
  16. Rabkina N.A. Konstantin Petrovich Pobedonostsev// Voprosy istorii. 1995. #2.
  17. Rossiyskie konservatory. Moscow, 1997.
  18. Solov’ev Yu. B. Samoderzhavie i dvorianstvo v kontse XIX veka. Leningrad, 1973.
  19. Stepanov S.A. Chernaja sotnja v Rossii (1905-1914). Moscow, 1992.
  20. Tvardovskaya V.A. Ideologija poreformennogo samoderzhavija (M.N. Katkov i ego izdanija). Moscow, 1978.

Foreign literature:

  1. Adams A.E. Pobedonostsev: preserve the autocratic system and its institutions// Imperial Russia after 1861. Peaceful modernisation or revolution? Boston, 1965.
  2. Backor J. M.N.Katkov: introduction to his life and his Russian national policy program, 1818-1870. Indiana, 1966.
  3. Byrnes R.E. Pobedonostsev. His life and thought. Bloomington-London, 1968.
  4. Costello D.R. "Novoe vremia" and the conservative dilemma, 1911-1914// The Russian review. 1978. Vol.37. N1.
  5. Edelman R. The Russian nationalist party and political crisis of 1909// The Russian review. 1975. Vol.34. N1.
  6. Gleason A. The emigration and apostasy of Lev Tikhomirov// Slavic review. 1967. Vol.XXVI. N3.
  7. Hardesty V.D. Lev A. Tikhomirov and the autocratic principle: a study of his conservative thought. Ann Arbor, 1974.
  8. Katz M. Mikhail N. Katkov. A political biography. 1818-1887. The Hague-Paris, 1966.
  9. Kipp J.W., Lincoln W.B. Autocracy and reform: bureaucratic absolutism and political modernization in nineteenth century Russia// Russian century. 1979. Vol.6. Part 1.
  10. Kohn H. The idea of nationalism. A study of its origin and background. Toronto, 1969.
  11. Lieven D. Russia's rulers under the old regime. New Haven - London, 1989.
  12. Lieven D. Nicholas II: twilling of the empire. New York, 1993.
  13. Martin A.M. Romantics, reformers, reactionaries. Russian conservative thought and politics in the reign of Alexander I. Dekalb, 1997.
  14. McKean R.B. The Russian constitutional monarchy. 1907-1917. London, 1977.
  15. McReynold L. The news under Russia's old regime. The development of a mass-circulation press. New Jersey, 1991.
  16. Mosse W.E. Imperial favourite: V.P.Meshchersky and the Grazhdanin// The Slavic and East European review. 1981. Vol.59. N4.
  17. Moynahan B. Rasputin. The saint who sinned. New York, 1997.
  18. Pares B. A fall of the Russian monarchy. A study of the evidence. New York, 1939.
  19. Pipes R. Russian conservatism in the second half of the nineteenth century// Slavic review. 1971. Vol.30. N1.
  20. Raeff M. A reactionary liberal: M.N.Katkov// The Russian review. 1952. Vol.11. N3.
  21. Rawson D.C. Russian rightists and the revolution of 1905. Cambridge, 1995.
  22. Riasanovsky N.V. "Nationality" in state ideology during the reign of Nicholas I //The Russian review. 1960. Vol.19.
  23. Thaden E.C. Conservative nationalism in nineteenth-century Russia. Seattle, 1964.
  24. Verner A.M. The crisis of Russian autocracy. Nicholas II and the 1905 revolution. New Jersey, 1990.
  25. Weeks T.R. Nation and State in late imperial Russia. Nationalism and russification on the Western Frontier, 1863-1914. Dekalb, 1996.
  26. Whelan H.W. Alexander III and the State Council. Bureaucracy and counter reform in late imperial Russia. New Jersey, 1982.

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