Russian Prince Peter The Great Essays

Russian Prince Peter The Great Essays

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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 their distrust of Western philosophy and Russian government respectively.
The practice and role of Christianity took much different forms in the minds of Slavophiles than it did in the minds of westernizers. To Slavophiles the ideal was to go back to the form of Christianity that they had been practicing previous to the reign of Peter the great. They were highly dedicated the idea that Russia was an “Orthodox nation” which they believed to be “the closest to the divine city.” (Herzen, 549) This fell into direct contradiction with the ideals of the westernizers who felt that Russia should be “a socialist people, that is to say, the closest to realizing one aspect of that economic order, that worldly city.” (Herzen, 549)
Herzen references the idea that Slavophiles put emphasis on religion and piety, seeing themselves as in someway more divine than the cultures surrounding them, while westernizers put their efforts almost entirely in the physical world and how Western culture could improve th...

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...te their many differences in opinion regarding the direction that Russian culture and society should be going in, both Slavophiles and Westerners were dedicated to the idea that Russia in the state that it was in could not continue to be. This dissatisfaction with the current direction of Russia and the desire to create an ideal civilization led to two very different pools of thought. One group believing that the best method to deal with this was to emulate the civilizations around them and the other believing that they best response was to return to the culture and tradition of the past and withdrawing from the civilizations around them. Their differences of opinion can be seen throughout their opinions on things like philosophy, religion and government; all of which they disagreed on and all of which played a fundamental role in the shaping of their society.

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