Skip to main content Skip to navigation


Week 3: Russian History

  • What are – according to Karamzin – the characteristic features of Russian history?

  • What does Chaadaev criticise?
  • How does Kireevskij describe the relationship between European and Russian culture?
  • Is there a 'special path' in Russian history?

Essential Reading

Karamzin, N.M., ‘Love of Country and National Pride’ [1802], in Raeff, Marc (ed.), Russian Intellectual History: An Anthology (New York, 1966), pp. 107-112.

Chaadaev, Petr I., ‘Letters on the Philosophy of History: First Letter’ [1836], in ibid., pp. 160-173.

Kireevski, Ivan V., ‘On the Nature of European Culture and its Relations to the Culture of Russia’ [1852], in ibid. pp. 175-207.

The (downloadable) book with the three sources (Karamzin, Chaadaev, Kireevski) and much more can be found here.

Hamburg, Gary M., 'Russian Political Thought, 1700-1917', in Dominic Lieven (ed.), The Cambridge History of Russia (Cambridge, 2006), pp. 116-135. E-Book

Recommended Reading

Lieven, Dominic, Empire. The Russian Empire and Its Rivals (London, 2000), pp. 201-261 [= Chapter 6: ‘The Russian Empire, Regions, Peoples, Geopolitics; Chapter 7: ‘The Tsarist State and the Russian People’], p. 262-287 [= Chapter 8: Tsarist Empire: Power, Strategy, Decline]

Mocha, Frank, ‘The Karamzin-Lelewel Controversy’, Slavic Review 31 (1972), pp. 592-610.

Hosking, Geoffrey, Russia: People and Empire, 1552-1917, (London, 1998), pp. 3-285.

Further Reading

Black, J. L., Nicholas Karamzin and Russian Society in the Nineteenth Century: A Study in Russian Political and Historical Thought (Toronto, 1975).

Kappeler, Andreas, The Russian Empire: A Multiethnic History, (Essex, 2001), pp. 213-282 [= Chapter 6: ‘The National Challenge’, Chapter 7: ‘The Reaction of the State. Policy on Nationalities 1831-1904’].

Lieven, The Russian Empire and Its Rivals, pp. 158-198 [= Chapter 5: ‘The Habsburg Empire’].

Miller, Alexei, 'Russification or Russifications?', in Alexei Miller, The Romanov Empire and Nationalism (Budapest, New York 2008), pp. 45-65

Knight, Nathaniel, ‘Science, Empire, and Nationality: Ethnography in the Russian Geographical Society, 1845-1855’, in Jane Burbank and David L. Ransel (eds.), Imperial Russia. New Histories for the Empire (Bloomington 1998), pp. 108-141.

Saunders, David B., ‘Historians and Concepts of Nationality in Early Nineteenth-Century Russia’, The Slavonic and East European Review, 60 (1982), pp. 44-62.

Suny, Ronald G., ‘The Empire Strikes Out. Imperial Russia, “National” Identity, and Theories of Empire’, in Suny, and Martin, Terry (eds), A State of Nations. Empire and Nation Making in the Age of Stalin (Oxford, 2001), pp. 23-66. (electronic resource – University Library).

Thomas, Kevin Tyner, 'Collecting the Fatherland: Early-Nineteenth-Century Proposals for a Russian National Museum', in Jane Burbank and David L. Ransel (eds.), Imperial Russia. New Histories for the Empire (Bloomington 1998), pp. 91-107.