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Radishchev, Aleksandr Nikolaevich
Contents:
  1. Table of contents
  2. Главная навигация
  3. Catalog Record: A Russian philosophe, Alexander Radishchev, 1749-1802 | HathiTrust Digital Library
  4. Aleksandr Nikolayevich Radishchev
  5. Alexander Radishchev | Revolvy

Like many of his predecessors, Belinskij also condemned superstition, which he believed would disappear through the fruits of proper education.

Table of contents

Similarly, he held that there was a lack of true religiosity in Russia, something, which should prosper and cohabitate with progress as the history of France demonstrates. Accordingly for Belinskij, the role of the Church must change; religion is conceived in a socialist and humanistic way.

From a theological position, it would appear that he would like to see modifications in the actual essence of the Church, which in its new form should be dedicated principally to the service and welfare of humanity. Although Belinskij speaks of Christ in a reverent way, it would seem that the extension of his conception of the Church and religion is not theocentric nor directed to God, and least of all does his conception include the idea of a transmitter of inherited culture, that is to say, tradition.

In concluding this part of the chapter it is important to mention the famous metropolitan of Moscow, Filaret Drozdov, the author of the last draft of the 'Edit on the freeing of the Serfs', a text full of Biblical quotations. Although he himself was personally opposed to the freeing of the serfs, his influence as a church leader was highly significant. However, the emancipation of the serfs did not have the consequences that were hoped for. In fact, more and unexpected problems arose. The lot of the liberated was such that in having to pay high rates for the redeeming of the land to which they were entitled, they actually ended up in having less land at their disposal than before the emancipation of In , the situation worsened even more when the zemstva was deprived of the relative liberty in self-determination which it had acquired three years earlier.

Главная навигация

This new socio-political situation had obvious consequences in the political philosophies that circled in the russian ambient of the next decades of the nineteenth century. The main trends of particular interest in this respect are anarchistic, positivistic and populist, trends that were of a certain importance for the development of future russian marxism and communism.

Kropotkin , tended to be similar to radical nihilism, but accentuated much more the necessity of destroying state institutions. It was more than an ethics directed to intellectuals, it was rather an ideology directed to the masses. Michael Bakunin desired that anarchism bring about, by exploiting a situation of chaos and disorder, a totally new society, an organized society, in which solidarity and equality among the members would be the essential trait, marked in a secondary way by freedom.

This perfect society could only be arrived at by the destruction of all the state institutions that existed. Under the influence of french socialism, in a particular way under that of Proudhon, Bakunin became disenchanted with german idealism, thus forming his anarchistic philosophy, a philosophy which was however deeply marked by hegelian dialectics. Negation, thus, became for him solely revolution and destruction. Transferred to the religious sphere, there was a similar need for rejecting and negating religion and God, in the name of human liberty; the idea of God was for Bakunin the complete negation of human liberty, and all religions, especially Christianity, implied for him the impoverishing, the submission and the annihilation of the human in the name of the divine.

Accordingly, it was more important to eliminate God for the sake of human society than in the name of science. Consequently, Bakunin saw human liberty as opposed to every form of alienation, especially the state and religion. In the flow of his thought he came to uphold Satan as the first to fight for the freedom of the universe, the first true thinker, who through a conscious act of insubordination became a model for humanity.

Accordingly, for Bakunin religion, which he strongly and constantly associated with the state, was seen as the antithesis to human liberty; thus, religion which he held to be represented in the official Church, and in the sense of moral consciousness which people have, was the greatest hindrance to total freedom, a fundamental right of human beings.

The association of church and state, is once again quite understandable from both the historical and cultural context of Russia. Naturally, the conservative regime of Tzar Nicolaj I, with the lack of either philosophical, religious or political freedom was very much alive in the minds of men such as Bakunin. The state had its official religion, which it naturally used for its own benefit, the Church had a protector against false doctrines and anti-religious tendencies in the state. For many therefore, the condemnation and even the destruction of the state went hand in hand with the condemnation and destruction of religion and the Church.

Both church and state were inseparable, in reality as well as in the minds of the friends and foes of both. Bakunin understood God as a consequence of human attempts to explain good and evil. Consequently, God is not real, but becomes an enslaving psycho-projection; a folly of human nature. Accordingly, if God is not a reality, then the Church, theology and religion are to be seen in another light, which in the bakuninian context is anything but positive.

Another philosophical phenomenon of the 's was populism, a fruit of Russian agrarian socialism, a philosophy that exalted the common people, narodnichestvo, who as we have already noted, suffered greatly form many forms of injustice.

Catalog Record: A Russian philosophe, Alexander Radishchev, 1749-1802 | HathiTrust Digital Library

The two main representatives, Pyotr Lavrov and Nikolaj K. Michajlovskij were both of a positivist orientation, partially due to the european trends of the time and due to their own scientific competencies. For both the ethical problem of man immersed in society was most at heart. For Pyotr Lavrov it was necessary to overcome both idealistic metaphysics and materialism, and this he attempted to do in proposing a scientific vision of the social reality, a vision which could not avoid ethical considerations.

In the sociological ethics of Lavrov, it was the thinking man, the intelligentsia who were capable of choosing the historical moments most fitting for social developments.

Aleksandr Nikolayevich Radishchev

The intelligent are capable of discerning the good from the bad, and the more men are conscious of their moral dignity, the more developed they are. Thus, Lavrov is very much a moralist due to the way in which he privileges moral and intellectual progress more than either physical or psychological. Only a small minority is capable of thinking critically and securing progress, while the majority must suffer so that these intellectuals may work creatively. The extension of Lavrov's thought included strong criticisms of all institutions existent in the Russia of his days, whether the state, the family, property contracts and religion, as well as a call on critical minds to organize themselves in a party.

Assassination of Paul the First of Russia (March 24, 1801)

The revolutionary spirit of Lavrov is quite mild: in certain cases it might be necessary to shed blood. A social revolution was seen as an inevitable consequence of class struggle. What is of particular interest in Lavrov's thought, is the importance which is assigned to the intellectual, thinking man, the type of man necessary for progress of society and culture.

Similar to Chaadaev , although somewhat different, the concept of development in culture and society in Lavrov tends to be dynamic and looks forward into the future, rather than into the past. Consequently, institutions, such as the state, the family, the Church and private property, all of which tend to be conservative and resisting and hindering change, are perceived as being obstacles to development and to progress, be it on the social level or be it on the level of human personality. Eventhough by Lavrov's time, the Church had developed certain intellectual traits, these often were unrecognized and were not considered to be of any great importance by the other dimensions of Russia's nineteenth-century intellectual world.

More than often, and frequently due to the experience of ignorance, common among clerics, the Church and religion were not perceived as being of any significant value for the thinking world and the intellectual needs of society nor were they seen as possible contributors to the type of progress which occupied the mind of Lavrov. While Lavrov was open to the idea of revolution, Michajlovskij on the other hand presented a non-revolutionary populism, which can be called a "legal" or "critical" populism.

For Michajlovskij it was not just economics that was at issue, but also the moral question. Like Lavrov, Michajlovskij presented a subjective dimension to both his anthropology and sociology, whereby man begins to understand that he possesses in an objective way duties and rights, all of which must be judged from the perspective of one's indivisible human individuality. Thus, progress only occurs when the division of work and specialization contribute to the integral development of the individual diversity in work leads to a greater heterogeniality of the individual and thus helps the full development of human personality.

Technical progress must therefore lead to moral equality among men and not to an opposition between servant-master. Finally, Michajlovskij desired to see a combination of scientific knowledge with a moral sense of duty; this would allow for a replacement of religious beliefs by knowledge. One might see in the ethical dimension of the philosophy of Michajlovskij as also of Lavrov, the religious roots of russian popularism, many of whose exponents dreamed of a birth of a new and better society, founded on a new Christianity free of dogmas but marked essentially by morality.

Thus, for many of these authors a religious model was to be found in the Old Believers and their martyr Avvakum who strongly condemned the official Church and the state. Religious doctrines were considered to be superstitious and incompatible with the rationalistic world which had been penetrating Russia for already many decades. Similarly, religious doctrines were often perceived as being too close to the politics of the civil powers, due to the close relation of church and state, be it in the sense of the cultural-national identity, or be it in the way in which Orthodoxy was the official religion of the regime of someone like Nicolaj I ; an official religion which was manipulated for political purposes.

Thus, religious beliefs were considered to belong to the ignorant. In a despondent Radishchev - possibly rebuked in a friendly manner, for expressing radical ideas, by Count Zavadovsky who in his reproof spoke of another exile to Siberia [8] - committed suicide by drinking poison. During the author's last years, his Moscow apartment became the center of several literary circles who extolled similar views and most outspokenly mourned his death. The Russian autocracy, however, managed to prevent A Journey from St.

Petersburg to Moscow from being published until , during which time it circulated through radical groups and was translated into several languages. Alexander Pushkin , sympathetic to Radischev's views and passion, undertook to write a sequel to his inflammatory book, which was unfortunately never finished and early on faced pressure from the censors.

Following the and revolutions, however, Radischev was accepted into the radical canon and became widely read throughout Russia and Europe.

Despite the discrepancies between the author's ideal and the Soviet reality, authorities managed to paint him as "a materialist, an active fighter against autocratic tyranny, and a veritable forefather of Bolshevism. As a true student of the Enlightenment, Radischev held views that favored the freedom of the individual, Humanism, and patriotism. Echoing the sentiments of Catherine herself, he advocated education for all classes, a system he had the fortune to witness in a school in Irkutsk. Of all of Russia's social ills, Radischev especially despised the inequality and prolongation of serfdom, rooted in a traditional social system that enforced a strict hierarchy and permitted abuses and exploitation.

Ironically, under Catherine's enlightened reign, serfdom was intensified and spread to newly conquered territories.

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Alexander Radishchev | Revolvy

Though influenced by Adam Smith , Radischev maintained protectionist views, condemning unnecessary international trade and proposing stronger domestic production. In the debate over Sino-Russian trade relations, he believed Russia's own resources were enough to support it. Criticizing the history of arbitrary rule in Russia, Radischev called autocracy the system of governance "most contrary to human nature".

He extends this system to master-serf relations as well, noting that seeking unlimited power is a natural human vice. Radischev does not sweepingly criticize all autocrats, but only tyrants, praising, in fact, Lycurgus , the philosopher king of Sparta who promoted equality and civil rights. Radischev's religious and philosophical views were incredibly liberal for his time.

Denying the belief that sensory experience is primary, Radischev, in On Man, His Mortality, His Immortality , speaks in favor of man's higher virtues as the main elements in complex human thought. He believed that man's hereditary faculties have as much influence on his development as the external environment.

He also points out, however, that there are common, innate traits that bind all people, particularly the belief in a higher power.


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The belief in immortality remains particularly potent for him, both as a factor of faith and as a solace amidst the difficulties of life. The court sentenced him to death, but the empress commuted this to deprivation of his rank in the service and his status as a member of the gentry and to exile for ten years to the Ilimsk Prison in Siberia. While in exile, he wrote the philosophic treatise On Man, His Mortality and Immortality —95 , works in the fields of economics and history, and poetry.

Table of contents

His essay Monument to a Dactylotrochaic Knight —02 laid the foundation of scholarly prosody in Russia. In his juridical works and legislative projects of and , he adhered to his former ideas, demanding the abolition of serfdom and class privileges. His ideas had an important influence on A. Pushkin, the Decembrists, and A.


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Herzen and on all later generations of Russian revolutionaries; they influenced Russian poetry and the development of realism in Russian literature. Radishchev museums are located in Saratov and in the village of Verkhnee Abliazovo now Rad-ishchevo, Kuznetsk Raion, Penza Oblast , where Radishchev spent his childhood. Gukovskii, G. Moscow-Leningrad, Orlov, V. Radishchev i russkaia literatura, 2nd ed. Leningrad, Makogonenko, G. Radishchev i ego vremia. Moscow, Startsev, A. Universitetskie gody Radishcheva. Blagoi, D. Kariakin, Iu. Kulakova, L. Shtorm, G. Potaennyi Radishchev.