Inventing Russian History: ‘Reflections on Russia’ – an unearthed essay by Yakov Ivanovič Bulgakov (1743-1809)

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dc.contributor.author VELIZHEV, Mikhail
dc.date.accessioned 2009-01-26T14:10:12Z
dc.date.available 2009-01-26T14:10:12Z
dc.date.issued 2008
dc.identifier.issn 1830-7728
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1814/10291
dc.description.abstract This paper analyzes the anonymous article “Reflections on Russia, or Some Remarks on Russians Civil and Moral Status Until Peter I’s Reign” published in 1807 in the Moscow literary magazine “Messenger of Europe”. ‘Reflections’ can provide us with an excellent example of the circulation of ideas between Russia and Western Europe. It elaborated the mythology of Russian history in the seventeenth- and eighteenthcenturies idealizing Russian patriarchal antiquity and strongly criticizing Peter the Great’s reformist activity as an attempt “to transform Russians into foreigners” (as stated previously by J.-J. Rousseau). The anonymous writer argued that to be Russian meant to follow Russian “national” moral rules stamped in history. ‘Reflections on Russia’ are attributed here to the well-known diplomat and man of letters Jakov Ivanovič Bulgakov who might have written the piece in order to convince a part of the European, French-speaking (probably, Polish) aristocracy to change positively its views on Russia and its history in the 1790s. “Reflections” remained a manuscript until the Napoleonic wars when its rhetoric was claimed again as an instrument to win the sympathy of the European public towards Russia. The paper seeks to grasp the moment of the birth of Russian public spaces for debating the problems of Russian history. The publication of the ‘Reflections’ in 1807, through the mechanism of noble patronage, points out the moment of the construction of Russian public space when the common and most famous form of sociability (the salon) starts to be substituted by a new form – by the printed press. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher European University Institute
dc.relation.ispartofseries EUI MWP en
dc.relation.ispartofseries 2008/37 en
dc.subject History of Russian diplomacy in the eighteenth-century en
dc.subject transnational history en
dc.subject Russian nineteenth-century nationalism en
dc.subject public sphere in Russia en
dc.subject Russo-Polish relations en
dc.subject Russian historiography in the eighteenth-century en
dc.subject history of Russian journalism at the beginning of the nineteenth-century en
dc.title Inventing Russian History: ‘Reflections on Russia’ – an unearthed essay by Yakov Ivanovič Bulgakov (1743-1809) en
dc.type Working Paper en
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