October 1, 2012

Putin's Slavophiles Gain on Westernizers

Alexei Bayer, Moscow Times

AP Photo

In Russia, the past is never left alone. Passionate debate still rages in the country about Josef Stalin, and it is not uncommon to hear political arguments about Nicholas II, Peter the Great and even Ivan the Terrible. William Faulkner must have had Russia in mind when he wrote: "The past is never dead. It isn't even past." Since the early 19th century, the central divide in Russia has been between Slavophiles and Westernizers. The latter wanted Russia to be part of the European civilization and to adopt modern democracy. The Slavophiles, meanwhile, saw Russia as separate and special. They regarded the West with suspicion, accusing it of meddling and insisting that the government ban damaging foreign influences.

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TAGGED: Russia, Vladimir Putin

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