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Illiberal Russia and the Varieties of Slavophilism

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As evidenced by the essays and articles collected in Slavophile Empire: Imperial Russia's Illiberal Path, few scholars have more thoroughly or provocatively explored the ideological, legal, and cultural dilemmas that shaped the course of modern Russian history than Laura Engelstein. While acknowledging the importance of her contribution to this field of study, the present review seeks to demonstrate that Slavophile Empire commonly relies on notions about the Enlightenment and modernity that recent scholarship has shown to be contested, even untenable. Moreover, there is good historical evidence to suggest that the anti-liberal consensus that took shape in Russian public opinion in the last decades of the old regime emanated from an array of sources, not just "the Slavophile paradigm," and that Slavophilism itself was a contingent, multivalent phenomenon that encompassed and expressed a variety of intellectual positions.


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