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The History of Russia - Possibilities of Studying

The History of Russia - Possibilities of StudyingThe outlook of the chroniclers - the first historians - was a religious one. They interpreted the history of state and society as realization of God's Providence - recompense for virtue and punishment for sin. In chronics the history of state got mixed with religion - Christianity. The beginning of the state was connected with the adoption of Christianity in Kiev in the year of 988, then with moving of the centers of religion and state into Vladimir (the seat of metropolitan) and later into Moscow (the seat of metropolitan and patriarch). Taking it into account, one can say that the history of society was regarded as the history of state based on Christianity - Orthodoxy. Moreover, the extension of the state and spreading of Christianity were linked. From the chronicals times on, there was a tradition to divide the population of Eastern Europe and Siberia into 'ours' - members of Orthodox Church and 'not ours' - infidels.
The idea of the unique way of Russia different from Western and Eastern countries was first formulated in 15-16 centuries by Philophey, an elderly monk from Eleazarov monastery. It was his doctrine - 'Moscow - the Third Rome' according to which the Third Rome - Roman Empire - came to end, as its citizens fell into heresy and refused from true piety. The Second Rome - Byzantium - fell under the Turkish attacks. 'Thus two Rome fell, the third is, as for the fourth, it has no right for existence', wrote the elderly monk. From this followed that Russia had some messianic role - to remain faithful to true Christianity, lost in other countries, to show the way of development to the rest of the world.
In the 18th century Russian historians, influenced by western ones, took the stand of the world-wide theory - Russian history is a part of the world's history. However, the idea of the unique development of Russia went on to exist in the Russian society. It was embodied in the theory of 'official national character', the fundamental features of which were formulated in the 30-s of the 19th century by Minister of Education of Russia count S.S. Uvarov. The essence is that social life of Russia in contradiction to Europe is based on the three main principles: 'Autocracy, Orthodoxy, National Character'.
P. Chaadaev's 'philosophic' letter published in 'Telescope' in 1836 made the impression of a burst bomb. He regarded the difference in religious background - Catholicism and Orthodoxy - as the main one causing different ways of Europe and Russia development. He took Western Europe for the repository of Christian world, but Russia - for a country standing outside the world's history. According to P. Chaadaev the best way of salvation for Russia is taking in Western Catholicism as soon as possible.
The letter influenced intellectuals' thoughts greatly. It gave way for starting arguments about the fortune of Russia and for springing up of some trends, so called 'Westernists' - supporters of the world - wide theory - and 'Slavophils' - supporters of local historical theory.
The conception of Westernists was based on the unity of the world and they believed that Western Europe was at the head of the world, implementing the principles of humanity, freedom and progress and showing the way to the rest of mankind. The mission of Russia, a backward and ignorant country, the country that took the way of cultural and common to all mankind developmThe History of Russia - Possibilities of Studyingent just since Peter the Great, is to overcome stagnation and barbarous way of life as soon as possible and then after adjoining the European West - to form a single, common to all mankind family.
The local historical theory was widely spread in the middle and in the second half of the 19th century. The representatives of the theory, Slavophils and Narodniks (Populists), believed that there was no unity common to all mankind and as a result - no single way of development for all nations. Every nation has the life of its own, the life based on the ideas expressing the 'spirit of nation'. As for Russia it is Orthodox, the principles of inner truth and spirit of freedom. According to the theory, peasants' world and community, as a voluntary union for mutual help and assistance, are the embodiment of the above mentioned principles into life.
In Slavophils' view, the western principles of formal and legal justice as well as forms of organization were alien to Russia. Peter the Great reforms turned Russia from its own natural way of development to the western one alien to it.
With the spreading of Marxism in Russia at the turn of the 19th - 20th centuries the worldwide historical theory ousted the local historical one. After 1917, one of the branches of the worldwide historical theory - materialistic became an official one. The scheme of society development proceeding from the theory of social and economic structures was developed. Thanks to this materialistic theory, a new treatment of the position of Russia in the worldwide history appeared. The October Revolution of 1917 was regarded as a socialist one and the established system - as socialism. According to Marx, socialism is a social system to change capitalism. Consequently from a backward European country, Russia was turning automatically into 'the first country in the world, the country of the victory of socialism', the country ' showing the way of development to the whole of mankind'.
Some Russians who happened to be in immigration after the events of 1917 - 1920 adhered to religious views. General P.N. Krasnov wrote a number of historical works interpreting the events from the religious point of view. His interpretation of the events of 1917 as well as the interpretation given by his followers was the view of an orthodox. The key problem for them 'the loss of God for Russia' that is the oblivion of Christians values and yielding to temptation. Another general A.I. Denikin called his work about Civil War just as 'Studies in Russian Disturbance'.
Emigrants showed great interest in the local historical theory, which gave rise to 'European trend'. A collection of works as well as Manifesto 'Eurasianess' (1926), annuals such as 'Eurasian Annals ' and 'Eurasian Chronicle' were published. Some people considered themselves relevant to Eurasian trend. They were P.N. Savitsky, an economist, N.S. Trubetskoy, an ethnographer, G.V. Vernadskiy, a historian, and others. Their main idea is the idea of the unique mission of Russia, which is the result of the unique 'place of its development'. They considered the Russian roots to be not only the Slavonic ones, but Turkic and Finnish Ugric as well as though tribes inhabited one and the same place of development and constantly interacted with the Eastern SlThe History of Russia - Possibilities of Studyingavs. As a result of such an interaction, the Russian nation was formed, the nation, which united people speaking different languages into a single state - Russia.
At the turn of the 20th - 21st centuries the historical technological trends as a branch of the worldwide historical trend starts spreading. It was fully reflected in S.A. Nefedov's textbooks. According to the trend, history is a dynamic picture of spreading fundamental discoveries in the form of cultural and technological spheres - circles radiating all over the world. Those circles could be compared with the ripples on water radiating from a thrown stone. Those cultural and technological spheres include fundamental discoveries in the field of food production as well as in the field of disarmament giving the possibility of widening the borders of environment at the expense of neighbours. The effect of those discoveries is that they give pioneers a crucial advantage over others. During the second half of the 18th century the borders of Russia reached the Vistula and the Danube and the population increased more than twice.

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