Essay On Westernizers And Slavophiles

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Despite the considerable effort put in by Russian Monarch Peter the Great, Russia remains to this day in many ways separate from modern Europe. This is mainly because of the influence of prominent Slavophiles, who were deeply concerned with the preservation of Russian culture in the aftermath of a time when Peter and the Monarchs who followed after him were concerned with the Westernization of Russia. These Slavophiles came into direct conflict with people known as Westernizers who felt that the best way to improve Russia was through the enlightenment teachings, which were at this time popular among scholars in Western Europe. The differences in the opinions of Westernizers and Slavophiles can be seen through their treatment of Religion and…show more content…
These fundamental conflicts in priority are indicative of a larger scale of philosophical differences which these two groups of people. Slavophiles felt that the old world of Russia was the ideal version of Russia, while Westernizers felt that the highly modern Western Europe held a much preferable model for how to run a civilization. One Westernizer, Belinsky writes, “Russia sees her salvation not in mysticism or asceticism or pietism, but in the successes of civilization, enlightenment, and humanity.” The Westernizers focus on the ideals of the enlightenment was in direct contradiction with the Slavophiles fears that these ideals would negatively impact Russian…show more content…
They were resentful of measures used to censor philosophical thought, a practice that was common in Russia at this time. Belinsky, a prominent Westernizer wrote that “fresh forces are seething and struggling for expression; but weighed down by heavy oppression, and finding no outlet, they induce merely dejection, weariness, and apathy. Only literature, despite the Tartar censorship, shows signs of life and progressive movement.” He makes it clear that he, at least, feels that Russia as it was at that time was a system of oppression that had to be dismantled in order for Russia to take it’s place as a prominent member of European
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