Tsarist Russia: Unrest in Russia/ Slavophiles and Westernisers


  • Challenges to authority included riots, mutiny and rebellion
  • Most revolts by peasants, cossacks and military colonists due to serfdom and forced labour
  • Violence like illegal timber cutting, destruction of crops and murder of landowners occurred
  • They were spontaneous and short lived with no leaders
  • Motivated more by resentment than political inspiration
  • It effected individual noble families rather than the Tsar
  • Debates were created between intellectuals about:
    • Relationship between individuals and autocracy
    • Relationship between Russia and Europe
    • Gulf between upper and lower class
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Slavophiles and Westernisers: Similarities

  • Influenced by European philosophers
  • Loved Russia
  • Feared Government Incompetence
  • Wanted Serf Emancipation
  • Defended the Mir and Commune as specifically Russian institution
  • Pressed for reforms in society
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  • Slavophiles: Non-Political with conservative outlooks
  • Westernisers: Believed development based on class struggle within capitalist system
  • Slavophiles: Emphasised 'Slavic' values of togetherness (Sobornost), the Unity of the Tsar and people broken by Peter the Great
  • Westernisers: Valued western ways of industrialisation and urbanisation
  • Slavophiles: Opposed individualism as associated with freedom
  • Westernisers: Valued right of individuals (Democracy)
  • Slavophiles: Devout Christians to Orthodoxy
  • Westernisers: Non-Believers
  • Slavophiles: Wanted to unite all Slavs which would challenge traditional regimes, they wanted to return to purity

Tsars married to Germans perferred Westerners

Most Slavophiles and Westerners belonged to small groups of intellectuals

As a political programme they hadf little effect

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