Saturday, December 12, 2015

Russian "Absolutism"

I was at a meeting last week on Russian history at the National Archives of Norway.

The main speaker, a Norwegian author of a trilogy on Russian history, whose first volume was recently published, made some comparisons between the Stalinist and Tsarist regimes.

He got off too easily on the issue of total political power as an inherited feature in Russian political culture from Tsarist Russia.

Said Nicholas Henshall in his The Myth of Absolutism:

There is growing dissatisfaction with the belief among Western historians that Russia was an Asian despotism alien to the traditions of European monarchy.
Matthew Raphael Johnson wrote in his book The Third Rome: Holy Russia, Tsarism and Orthodoxy:
[T]he English language historical literature on Russia merely rehashes 90-year-old Bolshevik propaganda and calls it history.

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