Liberal Ideas in Tsarist Russia: From Catherine the Great to the Russian Revolution 1108483739, 9781108483735

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Table of contents :
Cover
Half-title
Series information
Title page
Copyright information
Contents
Acknowledgements
Note on Dates, Transliteration, and Other Conventions
Introduction: Conceptions of Liberalism in Imperial Russia
0.1 Western Theories
0.1.1 Selfhood
0.1.2 Freedom
0.2 Western Practices
0.3 Liberalism between Freedom and Justice
0.4 Making History
0.5 Conclusion
Chapter 1 Inside Out: Freedom, Rights, and the Idea of Progress in Nineteenth-Century Russia
1.1 The Emergence of Russian Liberalism
1.1.1 Russian Enlightenment
1.1.2 Westernizers and Slavophiles
1.1.3 Statist Liberalism and Positive Liberty
1.2 Individual Freedom and Social Justice in Russian Thought
1.2.1 Aleksandr Herzen
1.2.2 Russian Populism
1.2.3 From Marxism to Idealism
1.3 Religious Liberalism and Positive Liberty (Vladimir Solov'ëv)
Chapter 2 Progress, Contested: Positivist and Neo-Idealist Liberalism
2.1 Positivist and Anti-positivist Conceptions of Freedom in the European fin de siècle
2.1.1 Positivism
2.1.2 Anti-positivism
2.2 Epistemologies of Liberal Freedom in the Russian Silver Age
2.2.1 The Russian Silver Age
2.2.2 Russian Neo-Idealist Liberalism
2.2.2.1 Idealist Views of Selfhood and Liberal Theory
2.2.2.2 Idealist Views of Freedom and Liberal Theory
2.2.3 Positivist Liberalism
Chapter 3 Freedom, Differently: Liberalism in 1905 and Its Aftermath
3.1 The Liberation Movement
3.1.1 Origins and Membership
3.1.2 The Union of Liberation
3.2 Concepts of Freedom Revisited: 1905
3.2.1 Freedom and Revolution
3.2.2 Freedom and Order
3.3 Freedom and Liberal Politics, 1906–1914
3.3.1 Rule-of-Law State
3.3.2 Legislation or Revolution
3.3.3 Shifting Allies, 1907 to 1914
Chapter 4 Liberalism Undone: The Loss of Cohesion on the Eve of 1917
4.1 Outlines of a Debate: 1905–1909
4.2 The Liberalism of Landmarks
4.2.1 Positive Freedom
4.2.1.1 Social Justice
4.2.1.2 Self-Government
4.2.1.3 Culture
4.2.1.4 Nationalism
4.2.2 Landmarks and the Tensions within Liberalism
4.3 The Debate around Landmarks
Chapter 5 Conversations with Western Ideas I: Conflicts between Values
5.1 Individual Freedom and Social Justice: Bogdan Kistiakovskii's Lawful Socialism
5.1.1 Scientific-Philosophical Idealism
5.1.2 From Social Ethics to Socialism
5.2 Tensions between Freedoms and Liberal History: Pavel Novgorodtsev
5.2.1 Metaphysical Idealism
5.2.2 Natural Law and Individual Rights
5.2.3 Social Justice
5.2.4 Reassessing Freedom in the Aftermath of Revolution
5.2.4.1 A Liberal Conception of Selfhood
5.2.4.2 A Liberal Conception of Freedom
Chapter 6 Conversations with Western Ideas II: Progress and Freedom
6.1 'A Chapter in the History of Progress': The Thought of Maksim Kovalevskii
6.1.1 Intellectual Development
6.1.2 Theory of Freedom and Reality of Freedom
6.1.3 1905 and After
6.2 Between History and Politics: The Liberalism of Pavel Miliukov
6.2.1 Individual Personality between Laws and Culture
6.2.2 Instrumental Freedom
6.2.3 Sociological Liberalism
6.3 Conclusion
Conclusion
Bibliography
Unpublished Works
Russian Primary Sources
Other Published Sources
Index
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LIBERAL IDEAS IN TSARIST RUSSIA

Liberalism is a critically important topic in the contemporary world as liberal values and institutions are in retreat in countries where they seemed relatively secure. Lucidly written and accessible, this book offers an important yet neglected Russian aspect to the history of political liberalism. Vanessa Rampton examines Russian engagement with liberal ideas during Russia’s long nineteenth century, focusing on the high point of Russian liberalism from  to . It was then that a self-consciously liberal movement took shape, followed by the founding of the country’s first liberal (ConstitutionalDemocratic, or Kadet) party in . For a brief, revelatory period, some Russians – an eclectic group of academics, politicians, and public figures – drew on liberal ideas of Western origin to articulate a distinctively Russian liberal philosophy, shape their country’s political landscape, and were themselves partly responsible for the tragic experience of .   is a Branco Weiss Fellow at the Institute for Health and Social Policy and Department of Philosophy at McGill University. Previously, she was a postdoctoral fellow at ETH Zurich’s Chair for Practical Philosophy. Trained as a historian of ideas, she has a long-standing interest in how empirical examples can challenge commonly held assumptions about ideologies.

   Edited by David Armitage, Richard Bourke, Jennifer Pitts and John Robertson

The books in this series will discuss the emergence of intellectual traditions and of related new disciplines. The procedures, aims and vocabularies that were generated will be set in the context of the alternatives available within the contemporary frameworks of ideas and institutions. Through detailed studies of the evolution of such traditions, and their modification by different audiences, it is hoped that a new picture will form of the development of ideas in their concrete contexts. By this means, artificial distinctions between the history of philosophy, of the various sciences, of society and politics, and of literature may be seen to dissolve. The series is published with the support of the Exxon Foundation. A list of books in the series can be found at the end of the volume.

LIBERAL IDEAS IN TSARIST RUSSIA From Catherine the Great to the Russian Revolution

VANESSA RAMPTON McGill University

University Printing House, Cambridge  , United Kingdom One Liberty Plaza, th Floor, New York,  , USA  Williamstown Road, Port Melbourne,  , Australia –, rd Floor, Plot , Splendor Forum, Jasola District Centre, New Delhi – , India  Anson Road, #–/, Singapore  Cambridge University Press is part of the University of Cambridge. It furthers the University’s mission by disseminating knowledge in the pursuit of education, learning, and research at the highest international levels of excellence. www.cambridge.org Information on this title: www.cambridge.org/ : ./ © Vanessa Rampton  This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press. First published  Printed in the United Kingdom by TJ International Ltd. Padstow, Cornwall A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library.  ---- Hardback Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

Contents

Acknowledgements Note on Dates, Transliteration, and Other Conventions

page vii ix

Introduction: Conceptions of Liberalism in Imperial Russia Western Theories Western Practices Liberalism between Freedom and Justice Making History Conclusion



Inside Out: Freedom, Rights, and the Idea of Progress in Nineteenth-Century Russia The Emergence of Russian Liberalism Individual Freedom and Social Justice in Russian Thought Religious Liberalism and Positive Liberty (Vladimir Solov’ëv)



Progress, Contested: Positivist and Neo-Idealist Liberalism Positivist and Anti-positivist Conceptions of Freedom in the European fin de siècle Epistemologies of Liberal Freedom in the Russian Silver Age



Freedom, Differently: Liberalism in  and Its Aftermath The Liberation Movement Concepts of Freedom Revisited:  Freedom and Liberal Politics, –



Liberalism Undone: The Loss of Cohesion on the Eve of  Outlines of a Debate: – The Liberalism of Landmarks The Debate around Landmarks

v



    

   

  



  

   

Contents

vi 



Conversations with Western Ideas I: Conflicts between Values



Individual Freedom and Social Justice: Bogdan Kistiakovskii’s Lawful Socialism Tensions between Freedoms and Liberal History: Pavel Novgorodtsev

 

Conversations with Western Ideas II: Progress and Freedom ‘A Chapter in the History of Progress’: The Thought of Maksim Kovalevskii Between History and Politics: The Liberalism of Pavel Miliukov Conclusion

   

Conclusion



Bibliography



Unpublished Works Russian Primary Sources Other Published Sources

Index

  



Acknowledgements

It is a pleasure to acknowledge my gratitude to the people and institutions who helped and supported me as I wrote this book. My greatest intellectual debt is to Aileen Kelly, whose scholarly rigour and enthusiasm for Russian philosophy were formative. I was extremely lucky to have profited from her valuable insights as her doctoral student. I am profoundly grateful to André Liebich for first introducing me to Russian intellectual history, and for his backing since then. Randall Poole encouraged me in this project, helped me with numerous formulations, and allowed me to benefit from the high caliber of his own work. Many thanks to Robin Aizelwood for directing me to this topic, and to Svetlana McMillin for her gracious support. For their insightful and helpful comments on this project, I thank Simon Franklin and Emma Widdis. I am grateful to Patrick Lally Michelson, Aleksandr Litvinov, Anita Schlu¨chter, and Elena Pribytkova for taking the time to send me relevant materials. I would like to thank the participants and organizers of the numerous events where I received perceptive comments, among others at the universities of Bristol, Cambridge, Lisbon, London, Oxford, St Gallen, Wisconsin-Madison, University of Zurich, and ETH Zurich. It has been a great privilege to receive research funding from the Cambridge Commonwealth Scholarship Fund; the University of Cambridge; King’s College; the ETH Zurich Postdoctoral Fellowship; and the Branco Weiss Fellowship. Moreover, I am grateful to have had academic homes at the University of Cambridge, ETH Zurich, and McGill University while working on this book. In Zurich I have benefited a great deal from the exceptional wisdom and great personal kindness of Lutz Wingert, as well as the supportive intellectual environment he has created. I am grateful for Victoria Laszlo’s indispensable help on a number of fronts. I thank Francis Cheneval and Urs Marti for their support for my project. In Montreal, I gratefully acknowledge Daniel Weinstock’s hospitableness. vii

viii

Acknowledgements

At Cambridge University Press I am grateful to Jennifer Pitts for helping me to clarify what the Russian case could say about liberalism more generally. I thank Richard Bourke for inviting me to the Institute of Historical Research, and for the feedback received there. Liz Friend-Smith and Atifa Jiwa made the administrative aspects of producing a monograph seem effortless. Finally, I would like to thank the team involved in the production process and copyeditor Martin Barr. For their encouragement and friendship, I would like to thank Martin Beckstein, Isabelle Cornaz, Romy Danflous, Rachele Delucchi, Anna Elsner, Nadja El Kassar, Florin Ivan, Lara Keuck, Vanessa Kogan, Jérôme Léchot, Muireann Maguire, Cara McMillan, Nadine Meisner, Raphael Meyer, Silvan Moser, Mladen Ostojic, Louisa Sage, Romila Storjohann, and Vera Wolff. All scholarly endeavours rely on an incredibly large network of people – often in the background – that provide them with access to information, infrastructure, sustenance, and innumerable other forms of support, and I would like to acknowledge that network here. Most fundamentally in my case, I am very grateful to Franziska Holzegger, Fabienne Mu¨ller, Vanaja Nanthakumar, Corinna Stoeckl, and the individuals at Güxi Kinderkrippe, Kindergarten Erismannhof, Schule Sihlfeld, école Lajoie, and CPE Frisson de Colline for giving me the peace of mind necessary to conduct academic work. Most of all, I am grateful to my family: to my mother and father, and to Nicholas, Adrian, and Alexis. Finally, I would like to thank those whose lives are most bound up with mine: Maya, Nour, Anouk, and Roman. I dedicate this book to them.

Note on Dates, Transliteration, and Other Conventions

Throughout this study I have used the Library of Congress system of transliteration without diacritics. I have preferred transliterated names to translated ones, except in the case of monarchs and other members of the Russian royal family (Catherine the Great, not Ekaterina II). In general, the Ukrainian form of the names of individuals who clearly self-identified as Ukrainians has been used. For Bogdan Kistiakovskii and his family, Russian transliterations have been used as a compromise because even though Kistiakovskii identified as a Ukrainian, he did not publicly use the Ukrainian form of his name. Russian terms are given in the new orthography introduced after the orthographic reform of – (Russkie vedomosti, not Russkiia viedomosti). Dates referring to Russian events have been given according to Russian usage prevailing at the time, unless otherwise noted. The Julian calendar, used in Russia until  February , was twelve days behind the Gregorian calendar in the nineteenth century, and thirteen days behind it in the twentieth. Throughout this book, translations of Russian and other non-English texts are mine unless otherwise indicated. When referencing non-English titles (such as those of publications), I provide the reader with a translated title followed by the original and date of publication in parentheses. The following titles of books and journals have been abbreviated as follows: Osvobozhdenie Poliarnaia zvezda Problems of Idealism, ed. and trans. Poole Russkaia mysl’ Vekhi, ed. and trans. Shatz and Zimmerman Voprosy filosofii i psikhologii

ix

O PZ PI RM V VFP

Introduction Conceptions of Liberalism in Imperial Russia

By focusing on the Russian aspect, this study adds an important and neglected element to the intellectual history of liberalism. It does so at a time when transnational conversation about liberalism and its philosophy is important in areas beyond academia, and can be expected to become even more so in the near future. On the one hand, we are increasingly aware of the fragility of liberal-democratic practices and institutions (both in countries with long-standing liberal traditions and those without), and, on the other, liberalism has consolidated its status as the ‘least bad’ political ideology. The Russian part of this history, in the decades leading up to the October Revolution, offers fascinating insights into liberalism’s internal contradictions. This book examines the Russian engagement with liberal ideas during Russia’s long nineteenth century, the period stretching from the reign of Catherine the Great (–) to the Russian Revolution of . It identifies Russian thinkers with liberal sympathies and differentiates them from both conservatives and socialists, though boundaries between these groups are blurred, as they are elsewhere. The methodology used means that I discuss the ideas of some thinkers who were critical of liberalism or even dismissed it outright, in favour of Russian variants of socialism or loyalty to the Tsar. While it discusses pre-twentieth-century developments, this study focuses on the high point of Russian liberalism in the years roughly  to . It was then that a self-consciously liberal movement took shape, followed by the founding of Russia’s first liberal (Constitutional-Democratic, or Kadet) Party in . For a brief but revelatory period, some Russians, an eclectic group of academics, politicians, and public figures, drew on liberal ideas of Western origin to articulate a distinctively Russian liberal philosophy, shape their country’s political landscape, and were themselves partly responsible for the tragic historical experience of . This study, therefore, pays particular attention to the views and experiences of prominent figures of late imperial Russian liberalism including 



Introduction

Russia’s best-known liberal politician Pavel Miliukov (–), the philosophers Pëtr Struve (–), Semën Frank (–), Pavel Novgorodtsev (–), Bogdan Kistiakovskii (–), and sociologist Maksim Kovalevskii (–). Academics by training, these men laid the foundations for the emergence of liberalism as a social philosophy in Russia, while their simultaneous involvement in political movements gave them first-hand experience of the potential tensions between personal autonomy and the well-being of a community, order, and justice. For all these figures, the violence and disorder at the beginning of the twentieth century, as well as the prospects offered by Russia’s first, flawed parliamentary system in , acted as a watershed in their intellectual development. In the period covered, their views of how a liberal model could work in the Russian context were constantly evolving. As we shall see, the period witnessed increasing divisions between thinkers who were deeply concerned with the necessity of achieving a balance between individual autonomy and social solidarity, and those who sought to downplay this tension and associated individual freedom with a belief in a single path of progress, achievable through industrialization, democratization, and Westernization. Russia makes a good case study for liberalism precisely (and ironically) because historically it has been an illiberal polity. From the outset, the particular circumstances of Russia’s history – the most absolutist regime of nineteenth-century European powers, a society predominantly composed of serfs (emancipation occurred in ) – hindered the development of liberalism there. While liberals in the West were mainly hostile to revolution, in Russia the advocacy of a rule-of-law state could imply overthrowing the existing regime, thus placing liberals on the side of revolutionaries. The fact that the country had certain successful instances of top-down modernization overseen by an autocrat, and the ways that constitutionalism and laissez-faire economics risked perpetuating the dependence of Russia’s rural population support Daniel Fields’s view that ‘doctrines that naturally clustered together in Western Europe were in conflict in Russia’. The historical experience of Russia’s liberals contributed to their strong attraction to the civil and political rights they saw as a necessary protection from tyranny and autocratic rule, while their awareness of the plight of the peasant population made them wary of approaching freedom in excessively individualistic, materialistic, and 

‘Kavelin and Russian Liberalism’, Slavic Review,  (), – ().

Introduction



free-market terms. Roughly speaking, Russian thinkers were always sympathetic to a conception of liberty that contained certain aspects they hoped might redress economic inequality and restore social cohesion in a divided country. Oppressive political realities meant that Russian liberals had to defend their ideals and values with particular persuasive force, clarity, and sophistication. The intricate, dynamic, and highly instructive intellectual history they left behind is a testimony to their achievements. At the same time, when judged in terms of concrete, practical outcomes, the contributions of Russia’s liberal tradition were more limited. It is possible to argue that the liberal desire for a reasonable compromise between individual freedoms and social well-being was itself a kind of unrealizable idyll in Russian history; from the perspective of the s, the philosopher Nikolai Berdiaev characterized the wishes of Russia’s constitutional democrats to install a regime based on the rule of law and civil liberties as ‘unrealizable utopias’ and ‘senseless dreams’. While the word liberal and its derivatives (liberal’nyi, liberalizm) were imported into Russia in the s, it was in the second half of the nineteenth century that they became common in political discourse, and that Boris Chicherin (–), a seminal figure for Russian liberal theory, devoted significant efforts to highlighting the positive role that Western-style liberalism could play in the Russian context. But as of the mid s the term was predominantly used with qualifiers such as ‘gentry’ and ‘bourgeois’, and in a derogatory way to refer to a social class who – in the words of Ivan Turgenev’s character Evgenii Bazarov – embraced ‘foreign and useless words’ such as ‘[a]ristocracy, liberalism, progress, principles.’ Partly because of the scorn that the Russian radical movement heaped on those they termed ‘liberals’, liberalism did not become an actor’s category until, broadly speaking, the end of the nineteenth century. And even then members of Russia’s main pre-revolutionary party who clearly sympathized with liberal ideas (the Constitutional-Democrats, or Kadets) did not attach   

Novoe srednevekov’e: razmyshlenie o sud’be Rossii i Evropy (Berlin: Obelisk, ), pp. –. Ivan Turgenev, Otsy i deti (Moscow and Leningrad: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo detskoi literatury, Ministerstva prosveshcheniia RSFSR, ) p. . This claim is at odds with a trend in recent scholarship to trace the origins of Russian liberalism to the early nineteenth century. See, for example, Julia Berest, The Emergence of Russian Liberalism: Alexander Kunitsyn in Context, – (London: Palgrave Macmillan, ); Konstantin I. Shneider, Mezhdu svobodoi i samoderzhaviem: Istoriia rannego russkogo liberalizma (Perm: Permskii gosudarstvennyi natsional’nyi issledovatel’skii universitet, ); ‘Was There an “Early Russian Liberalism”? Perspectives from Russian and Anglo-American Historiography’, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, () (), –.



Introduction

the label ‘liberal’ willingly to themselves. But another reason that such actors did not embrace the label of liberal was that they were themselves divided as to what exactly ideas like rights, the rule of law, and a constitution ‘meant’ in an arbitrary autocracy and bureaucratic tyranny. Supporting change via legislative reforms placed them in an uncomfortable alliance with a despotic, capricious regime, while to suggest that the establishment of a legal order meant unseating the current one implied an alliance with revolutionaries. If one defines liberalism as a list of characteristics derived from Western experience – for example, respect for the rule of law and for private property, sympathy for laissez-faire economics and limited government – it is next to impossible to find any recognizably Russian liberals. The difficulty of translating liberalism conceptually into pre-revolutionary Russian culture sheds light on both the origins of the Russian Revolution, and on the nature and limitations of liberal thought. The Russian example illustrates clearly one of liberalism’s fundamental problems: that the different things that liberals value (order and justice, for example) may conflict, at times violently, and this becomes clear as ideals are given concrete embodiment. For that reason, this book approaches the development of liberal philosophy and politics in Russia as part of a transnational conversation about how to accommodate constituent liberal ideas such as freedom, progress, and rights in complex political circumstances. It draws on recent work in liberal theory concerned with recasting liberalism as a congeries of non-dogmatic theories, attempting to strike a balance between almost insurmountable contradictions (the claims of individual dignity and the principle of non-interference, for example, or between community and individualism), and aware that the resulting balance inevitably depends on the constraints of a particular cultural and historical context. This theoretical framework is crucial for moving beyond approaches to Russian liberalism that have tended to downplay the internal tensions within liberal views of freedom and selfhood. At the same time, it also shows the fragility of cohesion among liberal ideas. As intimated above, Russia is not typically associated with liberalism; indeed, the Russian intellectual tradition is often seen as primarily conducive to social utopias and hostile to the rule of law. Yet while demonstrating both the conceptual and linguistic difficulties of translating liberalism into the Russian Empire, the approach used here nevertheless allows me to



They did, however, regularly use the term when describing their political sympathies to foreign audiences.

Introduction



underscore the wide range of arguments and practices that were influenced by Euro-American liberal theories. Even though few Russian thinkers embraced the label, liberal ideas were foundational for Russian prerevolutionary politics. The guiding liberal belief in the equal moral worth of each individual animated the political discussions of the day, yet produced no consensus as to the implications of this premise for economic and social realms. Liberal ideas of progress and perfection fascinated Russian thinkers as they debated whether or not their country’s destiny consisted in ‘catching up’ with the West. The institutional practices associated with liberalism, including constitutionalism, respect for the rule of law, democracy, and press freedom were instrumental in precipitating the end of the Russian Empire, though Russian liberals struggled to use these institutions to their political advantage. By approaching liberalism as a theory aware of a potential trade-off between rights, we can see better how constituent liberal arguments and practices were repeatedly consumed and reconstructed in the light of Russian realities. This study provides an anatomy of a locally generated liberalism that seeks to contribute to the received story of the history of liberalism. As Russian thinkers appropriated and cannibalized the thought of European and American liberals, this sometimes produced surprising results. For example, Westernizers of the s used liberal theories of Western origin to justify their Hegelian interpretations of history as developing in the direction of freedom and progress. In another case, that of populists such as Pëtr Lavrov (–) and Nikolai Mikhailovskii (–), Russian thinkers were interested in the value liberal theory placed on both positive and negative freedom, but concluded that social injustice was so great in the Russia of their time that resolving it trumped the claims of individual and political liberty. In addition, the intellectual sophistication of several strands of Russian liberal theory deserves a wider audience than it currently has; the social philosophies of neo-idealist liberals such as Pavel Novgorodtsev (–, for whom no intellectual biography exists in English) and Bogdan Kistiakovskii (–) stand out for their attempt to engage with Western liberalism and to use its lessons in a 



For recent scholarship on the engagement of the Russian intellectual tradition with human dignity, also one of liberalism’s core preoccupations see, for example, G. M. Hamburg and Randall A. Poole, eds., A History of Russian Philosophy –: Faith, Reason, and the Defense of Human Dignity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ); Aileen Kelly, Toward Another Shore: Russian Thinkers between Necessity and Chance (New Haven: Yale University Press, ). I am using the West here as an umbrella term to refer to Western Europe and North America; this was common practice for the thinkers examined here.



Introduction

country that had no liberal tradition of its own. Their intellectual trajectories serve as both an important source of information and act as warning concerning the limitations of an overly simple and universalizing conception of liberalism. Finally, this book seeks to contribute to the rapidly developing field of global intellectual history by offering theoretical insights into the dislocated and fractured nature of liberalism. The Russian liberal experience demonstrates to what extent liberalism is a broad church: as Russian thinkers looked to Western liberals for theoretical and practical insights, they found significant disagreements as to whether or not the state should protect and promote the economic and social well-being of its citizens, the benefits of democracy, or the nature of liberty that liberals ought to seek, to take three issues they were interested in. In turn, Russians appropriated what they saw as useful from the liberal canon. One of the reasons they felt justified in doing so is an outsider’s awareness that, while liberalism may have universal aspirations in its beliefs about human nature and freedom, its ideals or forms (such as natural law) must be filled with concrete historical–cultural content. This drew some of them to a persistent strand within liberal theory that articulated views of human nature and of freedom in response to the constraints of political practice and insisted that there can be no universal recipe for resolving the conflict between freedom and social justice. But this theoretical flexibility also led to practical obstacles. Russia did not have the political circumstances that permitted important liberal ideas such as limited government, the sanctity of private property, and individual responsibility to coalesce and grow together; its liberal project was plagued from its inception by a lack of cohesion and focus.

. Western Theories While the controversies surrounding a definition of liberalism are sometimes perceived as of academic interest only, Russian thinkers experienced first-hand the various ‘types’ and ‘competing visions’ within liberalism. What John Gray has identified as the ‘discontinuities, accidents, variety, and historical concreteness of the thinkers indifferently lumped together 

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy begins its article on ‘Liberalism’ by observing that: ‘As soon as one examines it, “liberalism” fractures into a variety of types and competing visions’ (Gerald Gaus, Shane D. Courtland, and David Schmidtz ‘Liberalism’, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Edward Zalta (), http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/liberalism [accessed  January ]).

Western Theories



under the label of liberalism’ troubled Russian thinkers as they attempted to apply liberal insights to their own realities. Indeed, the problems surrounding a ‘definition’ of liberalism are an unavoidable aspect of attempting to export the ideas associated with liberalism of Euro-American origin to global contexts. Part of the reason for this is what philosopher Bernard Williams has called the ‘permanent possibility’ of conflict between values, arising from the fact that concepts such as liberty and equality are not the same for all people. Throughout the past two centuries, many of the thinkers we associate with liberalism have consciously tried to address the unresolved tensions between the claims of individual dignity and the principle of non-interference, between the interests of the community and the individual, and their implications for specific policies and institutions. As a result of this process, liberalism has been decisively shaped by the political and cultural contexts where it was articulated. While recent emphasis has been on its existence as an ‘essentially contested concept’, rather than its doctrinal unity, we can still identify several recurring liberal preoccupations that provide some justification for considering liberalism a single tradition. In the aftermath of the French Revolution, liberalism became associated with the idea that human persons, not social collectivities, are the fundamental units of political life; its proponents favour formal legal and political equality – and more recently some form of economic equality – derived from their conviction that each human being ought to have the opportunity to realize their full potential, or to flourish; the liberal model is underpinned by the ideal of an autonomous agent, capable of self-governance and living their life according to their own choices; liberals formulate their ideas in universal terms, based on a commitment to the existence of universal values and the moral unity of the human species; typical liberal characteristics include tolerance, support for autonomy, and an inclination to deliberate. In a less positive vein, liberals have defended their commitments to equality and the social and political emancipation of dominated groups ambivalently, resulting in recurring instances of hierarchy and exclusion. They have also  



Liberalisms: Essays in Political Philosophy (London: Routledge, ), p. . ‘Liberalism and Loss’, in The Legacy of Isaiah Berlin, ed. Mark Lilla et al. (New York: New York Review of Books, ), pp. – (p. ). For a minority view that liberal values can be harmonized, see the work of Ronald Dworkin, for example, his ‘Do Liberal Values Conflict?’, ibid., pp. –. See W. B. Gallie, ‘Essentially Contested Concepts’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society,  (), –.



Introduction

tended to argue that their own culturally informed beliefs, values, and practices constitute the foundation of a universal civilization, that history confirms their triumphalist vision of freedom, and that those who disagree with them are either deluded or depraved. Certain strands of liberalism have been criticized for their inability to deal with the facts of human neediness, dependencies, and accused of excessive individualism and abstraction. And whatever else liberalism is, it is anthropocentric, in that it places human interests and well-being above those of others (non-human animals, for example). Thus, while it is impossible to pinpoint a single set of theoretical and practical propositions at the heart of liberal ideology, we are nevertheless able to understand what people mean when they talk about liberalism, and to list what Alan Wolfe has called a set of characteristic liberal ‘dispositions toward the world’. If there was some consensus among Russian liberals about the core liberal principles, there was far less agreement about the social, economic, and cultural conditions required for self-realization and flourishing, since these conditions involve ‘essentially contested’ questions about the proper balance between negative and positive liberty. Russian thinkers engaged with the history of liberalism in all its variety and – just as its supporters and detractors did in the West – identified it with a broad range of policy positions and singled out liberal inclinations in thinkers whose body of work is difficult to classify as consistently liberal. Russians read the thinkers who repeatedly appear as figureheads of a ‘liberal tradition’ – figures as diverse as John Locke, Adam Smith, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, and Thomas Hill Green – but remained confronted with the problem that there are no definitively liberal positions in relation to any political issue or





 

For a study that emphasizes the ungenerous aspects of liberalism’s history, see Domenico Losurdo, Controstoria del liberalismo (Rome and Bari: Laterza, ). On the characteristics of liberalism, see John Gray, Liberalism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, ), p. x; Alan Ryan, ‘Liberalism’, in A Companion to Contemporary Political Philosophy, ed. Robert E. Goodin et al.,  vols. (Malden, MA: Blackwell, ), vol. , pp. –, here pp. –; Jennifer Pitts, ‘Free for All’, Times Literary Supplement,  September , pp. –; Mark Lilla, ‘Republicans for Revolution’, New York Review of Books,  (), –. For an overview of the communitarian critique of liberalism (which includes figures such as Alasdair MacIntyre, Michael Sandel, and Charles Taylor), see Patrick Neal and David Paris, ‘Liberalism and the Communitarian Critique: A Guide for the Perplexed’, Canadian Journal of Political Science,  (), –. For feminist critiques, see, for example, Martha Nussbaum, Sex and Social Justice (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ); Susan Okin, ‘Political Liberalism, Justice and Gender’, Ethics,  (), –. See Marcel Wissenburg, ‘Liberalism’, in Political Theory and the Ecological Challenge, ed. Andrew Dobson and Robyn Eckersley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. –. The Future of Liberalism (New York: Knopf, ), cited in Pitts, ‘Free for All’, p. .

Western Theories



policy, a problem compounded in tsarist Russia where social and political conditions were different from those of the West. Questions of terminology further complicated the matter: ‘liberal’ itself contains a basic ambiguity, between its early association with liberality, and therefore magnanimity, tolerance, and freedom from bias, and its later connotation of civil liberties and political rights. Yet the confusion surrounding the meaning of liberalizm and its derivatives is not merely terminological: in  Boris Chicherin, Konstantin Kavelin (–) and Nikolai Mel’gunov (–) published an article in which they called liberalism ‘the slogan of every educated and sensible person in Russia’; in  Pavel Annenkov (–) (who is himself sometimes considered a liberal) complained in a letter to Ivan Turgenev that ‘liberalism’ embodies the slogans of people in positions of power who purported to subscribe to modish slogans while pursuing selfish aims; and Pavel Miliukov, Russia’s best-known liberal politician, boasted in  that his party’s programme ‘is undoubtedly the most leftist of all those put forward by Western European groups analogous to us’. In part, this reflects the variety of possible social and economic outcomes that liberal conceptions of selfhood and of freedom might entail. .. Selfhood Liberalisms, like any other political philosophy, rest on a specific notion of what human beings are and can become. To cite John Gray: ‘[a]ny theory of the value of liberty must be part of [a] writer’s larger normative theory, and this will express or endorse some vision of human nature or some conception of the essential features of human society’. Jerrold Seigel has formalized three interconnected aspects of the self that are helpful for illustrating the major strands of thinking about the self that have inspired liberal theory and the Russian thinkers who sought to interpret it. The first 

   

The Oxford English Dictionary, ed. J. A. Simpson and E. S. C. Weiner, nd ed.,  vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ), vol. , pp. –. On the history of the term liberalism, see Jörn Leonhard, Liberalismus: Zur historischen Semantik eines europäischen Deutungsmusters (Munich: Oldenbourg Verlag, ); G. de Bertier de Sauvigny, ‘Liberalism, Nationalism, and Socialism: The Birth of Three Words’, Review of Politics,  (), –. Cited in Alexander Herzen and Nikolai Ogarëv, Golosa iz Rossii (Moscow: Nauka, ), vol.  (–), p. . Cited in Field, ‘Kavelin and Russian Liberalism’, p. . See his ‘Vstupitel’naia rech’ na uchreditel’nom s”ezde k.-d. partii -go oktiabria  goda’, reprinted in God bor’by, pp. – (pp. –). ‘Introduction’, in Conceptions of Liberty in Political Philosophy, ed. Zbigniew Pelczynski and John Gray (London: Athlone Press, ), pp. – (p. ).



Introduction

view of selfhood is of an empirical creature with physical and bodily needs, driven by desires, urges, and inclinations; the second is of a reflexive being that benefits from the ability to take distance from bodies and social bonds and examine them critically, thus participating in its own self-realization; and, third, emphasis is placed on the self as a product of the multitude of social and cultural relations it entertains with others, involving shared identities and values. By ‘empiricist views of the self ’ I mean notions of selfhood that focus on sense–experience, experiment, and observation. The first articulations of the modern, individualist outlook occurred in seventeenth-century England, and particularly in the theory of selfhood of John Locke (–). Locke’s search for a new understanding of individuality is underpinned by his reaction against the Cartesian tradition which holds that ideas are innately imprinted on the mind and that the self can be known independently of the senses. By adopting an empiricist philosophy of knowledge and an inductive approach to politics, his theory of selfhood stresses the fundamental role of experience in acquiring knowledge, and the human body as the means through which individuals implement rational choices. Rational consciousness, in Locke’s view, takes on a universal dimension through its links with the everyday, bodily existence of an individual agent; in John Yolton’s words, Lockean selfhood is always embodied, never disembodied. Lockean empiricism rejects the subordination of the senses to reason in favour of a balance between the two. While the experience of the world plays a powerful role in shaping the human personality, the individual capacity to use reason limits the powers of animal needs and social determination, which makes citizens happier and increases their capacity to engage in moral behaviour. For Locke, objective moral principles discoverable by reason are crucial for ensuring that liberty does not degenerate into licence. Reason allows individuals to discover their  

 

The Idea of the Self (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. –. Locke’s most extensive discussion of personal identity occurs in his An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, ed. Alexander Campbell Fraser,  vols. (New York: Dover Publications,  ()), vol. , book II, ch. , pp. –; see also ibid., ch. , pp. –. On Locke’s theory of selfhood, see, in particular, John Dunn, Locke (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ), pp. –, –; A. J. Simmons, The Lockean Theory of Rights (Princeton: Princeton University Press, ), pp. –. Locke and the Compass of Human Understanding: A Selective Commentary on the ‘Essay’ (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. –. Acting in accordance with the precepts of reason and morality, Locke writes, is not in any way ‘a restraint or diminution of freedom’, but rather ‘the end and use of our liberty’ (An Essay, ch.  § , p. ). In Locke’s Two Treatises of Government, ed. Peter Laslett (Cambridge: Cambridge

Western Theories



natural rights and the limits incumbent on them in the name of the equal rights of all. This conviction forms the basis of much of his defence of limited government, the separation of powers, the right to property, and arguments for toleration, freedom of conscience, and the separation of church and state. Empiricism inspired Russian thinkers both because of the emphasis it placed on pragmatic and empirical considerations as a means of fulfilling moral ends, and the resources it provided them to argue against eschatology and the utopian thought they associated with Marxism and the Left Hegelians. Furthermore, empiricism was congenial to late-imperial Russian liberals, such as Pavel Miliukov, who sought to develop an ‘empirical–positivist’ conception of liberalism that could combine the particular and the universal. While Locke’s insistence on the development of selfhood unhindered by the interference of government or other people is clearly negative, he also endorses a positive approach to freedom as moral improvement through the performance of our rational duties. His sense of the need to balance between the moral component of freedom and individual rights grounded in natural law, provided a very influential account of the defence of both positive and negative freedom and the importance of both concepts for the Russian liberal tradition. In contrast to Lockean empiricism, Immanuel Kant (–) offers an account of personal identity that places the emphasis squarely on its reflective dimension. Kant’s view of the self as a free, reflexive being with the ability to act in the light of moral conscience, rather than simply a function of material urges or desires, made a significant contribution to Russian philosophy generally and Russian liberalism in particular, which often had specifically Kantian foundations.



 

University Press,  ()), he describes reason as a God-given means allowing individuals to unite in a free and just society (‘Second Treatise’, ch. , § , pp. –,  § , pp. –,  §, pp. –). For a contemporary account of the merits of Lockean-inspired liberalism, see Nomi Claire Lazar, States of Emergency in Liberal Democracies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ). On the relationship between empiricism and liberalism in Herzen, for example, see Aileen Kelly, ‘Herzen and Francis Bacon’, in Views from the Other Shore: Essays on Herzen, Chekhov and Bakhtin (New Haven: Yale University Press, ), pp. –. The terminology is Randall Poole’s; see his ‘Editor’s Introduction’, Problems of Idealism. Essays in Russian Social Philosophy, ed., trans., and intro. (New Haven: Yale University Press, ), p. . For a comparison between the ideas of selfhood of Locke and Kant, see Ellen Meiksins Wood, Mind and Politics: An Approach to the Meaning of Liberal and Socialist Individualism (Berkeley: University of California Press, ), pp. –.



Introduction

The significance for liberalism of the Kantian theory of selfhood lies primarily in its association between reason, freedom, and morality. Kant defines the human capacity for reason as that which enables us to become conscious of moral duty and of absolute principles. Conversely, human will is autonomous because it is capable of self-determination according to the freely chosen moral law (‘ought’, das Sollen) discoverable by reason. The potential of human beings to be rational, good, and free is also the source of their absolute value, and confers on them a special status and dignity; persons, in Kant’s famous formulation, are ends in themselves and ought never to be treated merely as a means. Implicit in his understanding of freedom is its potential universality: in principle all individuals can achieve freedom through access to their reason. In addition to his powerful account of freedom as the individual’s obedience to self-made laws, Kant was one of the first thinkers to make a theoretical distinction between ‘freedom from’, in the negative sense of independence from any kind of dependency, and ‘freedom to’, connected with the idea that a subject should rule herself or himself. The Kantian description of the autonomous individual unencumbered by both social obstacles and internal constraints, who acts in accordance with the precepts of reason, has remained one of the key incarnations of positive freedom in the liberal tradition. Kant links both concepts of liberty in his political theory, where he argues that the boundaries and limitations on liberty ensured by law should coincide with general, absolute principles discoverable by reason. In turn, the sphere of independence guaranteed by law helps realize freedom as autonomy, that is the capacity of the will to legislate for itself and the ability to develop and work out one’s individuality to its fullest potential. Put differently, the existence of a civil society and the rule of law create empirical conditions that help foster the moral autonomy of individual citizens.



 

See particularly Charles Taylor, ‘Kant’s Theory of Freedom’, in Conceptions of Liberty, ed. Pelczynski and Gray, pp. –; Patrick R. Frierson, Freedom and Anthropology in Kant’s Moral Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ); Paul Guyer, ‘Kantian Foundations for Liberalism’, in Kant on Freedom, Law, and Happiness (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. –. Kant’s most in-depth study of personhood is his Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View, ed. and trans. Robert B. Louden (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,  ()). Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, ed. and trans. Mary Gregor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,  ()), p. . See Howard Caygill, A Kant Dictionary (Oxford: Blackwell, ), pp. –; Frierson, Freedom and Anthropology, pp. –.

Western Theories



For Kant, consciousness of absolute moral principles revealed by reason is our link with a realm of noumenal being, and the proof of the metaphysical ‘postulates’ – freedom, God, and immortality – he derives from the existence of that realm. Kant always claimed that a supra-sensible realm of being was unknowable yet his suggestion (in Critique of the Power of Judgment (Kritik der Urteilskraft, )), that there exists a purposiveness in nature which can help human beings realize the moral freedom associated with their reason, had a particular significance for the ways his Russian followers interpreted his thinking about the self. As a rule, Russian neo-idealist liberals linked Kantian personalism with a religious vision of a transcendent, ontological reality and based their theories of ruleof-law liberalism on these theoretical premises. It has been argued, most notably by Isaiah Berlin, but also by communitarian and postmodernist critics of Enlightenment philosophy, that making freedom contingent on the extent to which natural desires and inclinations conform with rationality and morality can be highly pernicious for freedom. If people cannot break free of their sensuous impulses and inclinations they may be compelled into realizing their higher, rational self by an external force, and freedom is transformed into coercion. As a rule, Russian neo-idealist liberals resisted the idea that Kant’s notion of freedom implies the value judgement that Berlin suggests. Yet their engagement with the tension inherent in Kant’s theory, between a rational self that autonomously generates its own ethical principles and the claims of individual diversity and cultural pluralism, took their liberalisms in new directions. Key Russian thinkers, including Boris Chicherin, Vladimir Solov’ëv (–), and other neo-idealist liberals affiliated with the Moscow Psychological Society, variously attempted to go beyond Kant, even as their work seems to illustrate the adage that one can philosophize with Kant or against Kant, but one cannot philosophize without Kant.  





See Chapter , Section .. See, for example, ‘Two Concepts of Liberty’ (), in Liberty: Incorporating Four Essays on Liberty, ed. Henry Hardy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ), pp. –; Tzvetan Todorov, In Defence of the Enlightenment, trans. Gila Walker (London: Atlantic Books, ), pp. –, for an overview of critical approaches to the Enlightenment. In particular, see Michel Foucault, ‘What Is Enlightenment?’, in The Foucault Reader, ed. Paul Rabinow (New York: Pantheon, ), pp. –; Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. –. For contemporary views on this issue, see, for example, Katrin Flikschuh, Freedom: Contemporary Liberal Perspectives (Cambridge: Polity, ), p. ; Randall A. Poole, ‘Isaiah Berlin and Andrzej Walicki as Intellectual Historians and Liberal Philosophers: A Comment on G. M. Hamburg’s “Closed Societies, Open Minds”’, Dialogue and Universalism,  (), – (p. ). See Kant i filosofiia v Rossii, ed. Z. A. Kamenskii and V. A. Zhuchkov (Moscow: Nauka, ); Randall A. Poole, ‘Review: Kant i filosofiia v Rossii’, Slavic Review,  (), –.



Introduction

German idealism was imported into Russia in the s, and its longlasting influence on Russian philosophy is reflected in various visions of personhood designed to reinstate harmony both within individuals and between individuals and their surroundings. A broadly romantic view of the self as a unique entity, capable of free and creative development, as well as an insistence on the unique attributes of national cultures, contributed to views of freedom that stressed its negative aspects. Yet the romantic emphasis on the individualist aspects of selfhood nevertheless tended to coexist with a vision of self-realization as an expression of a larger current of life or as a reflection of the ends of a specific community. It was in this context that another influential set of views about selfhood developed, which, following Charles Taylor, I refer to as ‘expressivist’. Despite their diversity, Rousseau, Herder, and Hegel all conceived of the self, not as something that could be grasped by disengaged reason, but rather as linked to self-expression and subjectivity. The radical rethinking of Enlightenment optimism about the powers of individual reason and an emerging cult of feeling is often traced back to Jean-Jacques Rousseau (–). In his autobiographical Confessions (), Rousseau emphasizes the creativity and sentiments that make up every person’s unique individuality. His longing for personal wholeness and focus on the spontaneous, generous, and virtuous qualities of individuals underpins his commitment to freedom, the defence of which was one of his foremost philosophical and political concerns. Rousseau repeatedly affirmed his hostility to the encroachment on the will of any one person by another: the essence of moral liberty, in his well-known expression, is ‘obeying a law which we prescribe to ourselves’, and this is impossible if one person’s will is subjected to that of another’s or communal pressures. This view of self-determination fed into his radical account of the connection between political freedom and democratic self-rule; individual emancipation, as set out in The Social Contract (Du contrat social, ), is paradigmatically enjoyed by human beings who participate equally in a just civil order, where lawmaking processes occur democratically, and where the general will merges with the individual will. Even as translating radical democracy into Russia was impossible, Rousseau’s work inspired Russians, such as the Decembrists, whose failed uprising in  was designed to further civil rights and limit the powers of the monarch.  

See Sources of the Self, pp. –. ‘Du contrat social’, in Œuvres complètes, ed. Bernard Gagnebin et al.,  vols. (Paris: Gallimard, ), vol. , pp. – (p. ).

Western Theories



In the words of Thomas Barran, his ideas ‘gave the individual personal authority to judge the legitimacy of the government according to his or her own conscience’. Even as Rousseau provided an influential account of the unique qualities of individuals, Russians drew on other renderings of the singular attributes of national cultures and alternative visions of progress. In Germany, Rousseau’s contemporaries Johann Georg Hamann (–) and Johann Gottfried Herder (–) drew attention to the social and historical context of reason, and thus laid the foundations for historicism, nationalism, and anthropology. Hamann compared social life to that of an organism and drew attention to the importance of the irrational in human nature, and Herder pushed further his conclusions to argue that life in society can be conceived of as an organic whole, the summation of the historical particularities of nations. Herder had a significant influence on the Slavophile movement (see Chapter ), which was highly critical of the Eurocentrism inherent in Enlightenment-era accounts of the teleological and unilinear development of history. Yet Herder’s view that individuals have their own unique destiny, as does each nation (Volk), and that all human beings and cultures are progressing together towards a higher ideal (what he refers to as ‘humanity’ (Humanität)), also influenced Russian thinkers such as Aleksandr Radishchev (–) and Timofei Granovskii (–). In different ways, they found creative inspiration in his account of the diverse ways in which humans thrive, and in his teleological historical vision – what Andrzej Walicki has called Herder’s ‘all-embracing pluralist vision of mankind’. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (–) rejected what he saw as the vague sentimentalism and irrationalism of his romantic predecessors, but there are reasons for seeing the expressivist elements of his thought as an important source of modern liberalism alongside those of Rousseau and Herder. Drawing on the supposition of his German idealist precursors 





Russia Reads Rousseau, – (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, ), p.  (on his influence on the Decembrists, see pp. –). On Rousseau’s influence in Russia generally, see the valuable bibliography compiled by Chantal Mustel, Rousseau dans le monde russe et soviétique (Montmorency: Musée Jean-Jacques Rousseau, ). See, for example, Konrad Bittner, ‘J. G. Herder und A. N. Radiscev’, Zeitschrift fu¨r Slavische Philologie,  (), –; Priscilla Reynolds Roosevelt, Apostle of Russian Liberalism: Timofei Granovsky (Newtonville, MA: Oriental Research Partners, ), pp. , . See Herder’s Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit, ed. Martin Bollacher (Frankfurt am Main: Deutscher Klassiker-Verlag,  (–)); Andrzej Walicki, The Slavophile Controversy: History of a Conservative Utopia in Nineteenth-Century Russian Thought, trans. Hilda AndrewsRusiecka (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ), p. .



Introduction

Johann Gottlieb Fichte (–) and Friedrich von Schelling (–) that the self is the means through which the whole world can be apprehended, Hegel further developed their ideas of the progression of history towards a final goal by attempting to construct a unified theory of reality based on the development of Reason in history. Seigel points to precisely this continuity when he writes that in Hegel: ‘the isomorphism of self and world . . . reached its most elaborate and consequential form’. In keeping with an idealist point of view, Hegel approached the notion of selfhood from his desire to relate it to the Absolute, the primal substance underlying all existence and knowledge. But in contrast to more abstract idealisms, he emphasized the concrete manifestations of both the self and the Absolute in the world, in an attempt to show how personhood and freedom cannot be grasped without reference to real-life circumstances. For Hegel, the modern, secular state – that mixed and updated traditional notions of statehood – represented the fullest incarnation of the Absolute/ Spirit, and the ultimate expression of human rationality and freedom. By simultaneously conveying the will of the individuals that composed it, and that of a higher, supra-individual power, this state could provide the confines within which individual self-realization would occur. Hegel’s influence on Russian philosophy and Russian liberalism in particular is difficult to overstate. Russian Westernizers of the s interpreted their country’s past and future in the light of Hegel’s account of historical progress, that is the ineluctable development of all human societies towards more rational forms of governance and a modern, constitutional state. Yet some of them were also sensitive to the fact that Hegel’s definition of liberty presupposes self-limitation and at least a partial dissolution of individual identity in a collective entity. By expressing the moral unity and harmony within society, the Hegelian state embodies the rational self-consciousness of its citizens, and any potential conflict between individual freedom and that of society disappears. On the other hand, some read Hegel through the prism of his concern with balancing between particular and universal goals, and his defence of individual rights  



Seigel, Idea of the Self, p. . Hegel’s theory of freedom is laid out in his Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts, oder, Naturrecht und Staatswissenschaft im Grundrisse (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp,  ()). See also Vorlesungen u¨ber die Philosophie der Weltgeschichte, ed. Karl Heinz Ilting et al. (Hamburg: Meiner,  (–)), especially pp. –. On the reception of Hegelianism in Russia, see, in particular, Gegel’ i filosofiia v Rossii: -e gg. XIX v. – -e gg. XX v., ed. V. E. Evgrafov et al. (Moscow: Nauka, ); David Bakhurst and Ilya Kliger, eds., Special Issue on Hegel in Russia, Studies in East European Thought,  (), –.

Western Theories



in the private sphere. For example, the late-imperial thinker Pavel Novgorodtsev took up Hegel’s notion of community as a product of history and tradition, even as he rejected the notion that historical moments represent different stages in the development of an Idea. But even then, Hegel’s historical worldview of Russia as poised between the West (the location of creative, world-historical societies) and the a-historical East, and fated to choose between the two, offered no easy solution to Russia’s dilemma. .. Freedom The gradual emergence in history of an identifiably liberal political movement and intellectual tradition was associated with the attempts of English constitutionalists to defend their rights against the encroachments of royal power, and an idea of freedom construed in essentially negative terms, resisting outside force, coercion, or interference in individual life. Sometimes called classical liberalism, this tradition’s historical origins are located in the Reformation, and the new emphasis on religious toleration that began to receive a philosophically elaborated justification in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Human dignity was regarded as the source of natural or human rights, which need to be guaranteed and enforced by the rule of law. For liberals, law has a vital role in preventing the arbitrary exercise of power and in protecting people from each other. Human dignity also entails equality: if the person is an insuperable or absolute value, then all persons are equal in value, even as human beings differ in their strengths and weaknesses, in their life circumstances, in their conduct, and in a myriad of other ways. By the early s, Hegel and his followers developed a view of freedom characterized by a more positive approach, going beyond the legal right to act to encompass the specific resources, powers, or abilities that enable individual self-development. In the nineteenth century, this positive conception of liberty was deployed by liberals in defence of participatory politics and the welfare state, an 

 

See particularly Pavel Novgorodtsev, Kant i Gegel’ (St Petersburg: Aleteiia,  (). For recent interpretations of Hegel in this vein, see, among others, Shlomo Avineri, Hegel’s Theory of the Modern State (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ); Charles Taylor, Hegel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ); Raymond Plant, Hegel, nd ed. (Oxford: Blackwell, ). On this point, see Ana Siljak, ‘Between East and West: Hegel and the Origins of the Russian Dilemma’, Journal of the History of Ideas,  (), –. Judith Shklar, for example, describes a ‘liberalism of fear’ with its roots in post-Reformation Europe, informed by the desire to protect basic rights from absolute monarchs (‘The Liberalism of Fear’, in Liberalism and the Moral Life, ed. Nancy L. Rosenblum (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, ), pp. –).



Introduction

institution with the power to advance the freedom of its citizens by providing them with the resources and opportunities to make the best of their life. This distinction between types of liberty was formalized in the late s in Isaiah Berlin’s essay, ‘Two Concepts of Liberty’, and further developed in a number of studies. As Berlin characterized it, negative freedom, in the sense of ‘freedom from’, refers to a realm in which individuals can act unobstructed and is concerned with the question ‘How far does government interfere with me?’. Negative freedom has been called an ‘opportunity concept’ that refers back to available options, regardless of whether we choose to exercise them or not. Thomas Hobbes (–) was not a liberal in the sense used here, but he laid the framework for a number of individualist doctrines by defining freedom as ‘the absence of external impediments’, and thus divorcing the concept from any moral order. In its political form, the idea of negative liberty is commonly associated with tolerance, pluralism, respect for the rule of law, individual rights including freedom of conscience, speech, and assembly, and with arguments against interventions by the state in the affairs of individual citizens. The notion of positive freedom is characterized by the claim that the lack of impediments to action is never a sufficient condition for freedom. Rather, individuals are free when they benefit from the ability and power to act, when they are in charge of their lives, and able to accomplish what



 

  

I use the terms freedom and liberty interchangeably, following current academic practice. For an argument that the terms should be distinguished to preserve their original meaning, see Anna Wierzbicka, Understanding Cultures through Their Key Words: English, Russian, Polish, German, and Japanese (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ), p. . See ‘Two Concepts’, pp. –; John Gray, ‘On Negative and Positive Liberty’, Political Studies,  (), –. ‘Two Concepts’, pp. –. Analyses of negative liberty include Friedrich A. von Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, ); J. P. Day, Liberty and Justice (London: Croom Helm, ); David Miller ‘Constraints on Freedom’, Ethics,  (), –; Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia (Oxford: Blackwell, ); Hillel Steiner, An Essay on Rights (Oxford: Blackwell, ). See Charles Taylor, ‘What’s Wrong with Negative Liberty’, in The Idea of Freedom: Essays in Honour of Isaiah Berlin, ed. Alan Ryan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ), pp. – (p. ). See Leviathan, or, The Matter, Forme, & Power of a Common-wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civill, ed. A. R. Waller (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,  ()), p. . On positive liberty, see Alan J. M. Milne, Freedom and Rights (London: Allen & Unwin, ); Benjamin Gibbs, Freedom and Liberation (London: Chatto & Windus, ); Joseph Raz, The Morality of Freedom (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ); John Christman, ‘Liberalism and Individual Positive Freedom’, Ethics,  (), –; ‘Saving Positive Freedom’, Political Theory,  (), –.

Western Theories



they aspire to do. On this view, freedom is concerned with the question ‘Who governs me?’ and associated with self-determination and the power to exercise control over one’s life; in Charles Taylor’s words, it is an ‘exercise-concept’. Thus freedom may be restricted by outside interference, by the lack of resources or abilities necessary for action, but also by the individual self’s inner conflicts or desires (personality disorders, prejudices, and so on). Unlike negative liberty, which is usually attributed to individual agents, a positive conception of freedom is often thought of as achieved through a collectivity, and is commonly assumed when individuals are considered primarily as members thereof. Rousseau’s theory of individual freedom, attained through participation in a democratic society, is an example of the collective sort. In its more individualistic form, positive liberty is associated with the notion that the state bears the responsibility for creating the conditions for the self-determination of its citizens. The idea that there are at least two distinct kinds of liberty, associated with the lack of constraints imposed on individual behaviour, on the one hand, and the Kantian idea of self-realization, on the other, has provided the broad framework for much of liberal thought. Theoretical emphasis on the individual, non-universal qualities of persons, their personal rights, and their empirical existence naturally supports a negative notion of freedom inspired by an appreciation of human diversity. Conversely, a positive conception of freedom can be detected in moral arguments for redistributive justice, for personal autonomy or self-government, and the general expression of individuality in reference to the common ends of a particular community. As liberalism developed as a philosophically elaborated doctrine in the nineteenth century, Russians observed how the above theories of selfhood and freedom were given concrete embodiment in a myriad of ways. Unlike early English liberalism which emphasized individual freedom from state  

‘Negative Liberty’, in Idea of Freedom, ed. Ryan, p. ; Berlin, ‘Two Concepts’, pp. , –. For two of the many contemporary studies that highlight the relevance of negative and positive freedom for liberalism, see Freedom: A Philosophical Anthology, ed. Ian Carter et al. (Oxford: Blackwell, ); Flikschuh, Freedom. Of course, like any broad distinction, that between positive and negative liberty has been subjected to critical inquiry ever since it was first articulated. There is something to be said for these critiques; while this study retains the distinction between positive and negative liberty as a useful organising principle to approach liberal thought, it remains sensitive to the body of literature that has helped clarify and sometimes undermine the distinction between the two. A survey of recent debates can be found in Isaiah Berlin and the Politics of Freedom: ‘Two Concepts of Liberty’  Years Later, ed. Bruce Baum and Robert Nichols (New York: Routledge, ).



Introduction

interference and the stifling potential of majority opinion, Russian liberalism – in the words of one of its foremost historians – ‘generally emphasized the importance of legality in government, the state’s positive role as a guarantor of civil liberty, and the gradual achievement of social justice through reform’. The practice of liberalism, meanwhile, offers multiple instances demonstrating that different concepts of freedom are not wholly compatible, and thereby has created a powerful intellectual legacy of its own. The notion that there can be a practical conflict between the rights and freedoms that liberals value has come to be seen as a constant feature of life in a liberal regime, and is increasingly acknowledged in both domestic legislation and international declarations of rights. As I shall argue here, there is much to be learned by examining Russian liberals in the light of their engagements with day-to-day politics.

. Western Practices Various events, including the French Revolution and the expansion of democracy in the nineteenth century, convinced Russian thinkers both of liberalism’s historical dimension, as well as introduced them to some of its normative and practical dilemmas. The French Revolution is important for the history of liberalism for many reasons, not least because its leaders sought to portray it as the moment when liberalism ceased to exist merely on a theoretical level and came of age as a concrete historical phenomenon. The revolutionaries’ belief in the emancipatory powers of the natural rights of man and the universalist assumptions of the Enlightenment are embodied in its foundational document, the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen (Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen, ). Yet the attempts of revolutionary leaders to deduce the legitimacy of certain institutions from abstract ethical principles, and the revolution’s limited fulfilment of its liberationist promises, also shed  



Gary Hamburg, ‘Liberalism, Russian’, in Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Craig et al., www.rep.routledge.com/articles/liberalism-russian [accessed  October ] (para.  of ). For example, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms () states that core rights connected with human dignity (such as freedom of conscience, of expression, and of assembly) are subject ‘to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society’. Available from Electronic Frontier Canada, www.efc.ca/pages/law/charter/charter.text.html [accessed  January ] (para.  of ). This trope has been taken up by subsequent scholars of liberalism; see, for example, Anthony Arblaster, The Rise and Decline of Western Liberalism (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, ), pp. –. For a detailed account, see The French Revolution and the Creation of Modern Political Culture, ed. Keith Baker et al.,  vols. (Oxford: Pergamon Press, –).

Western Practices



light on some of the most intractable problems surrounding liberalism’s implementation. The most important philosophical notions of the French Revolution were the ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity, and in its first stages potential problems concerning their compatibility and order of priority were glossed over. The Declaration, for example, endorses both the idea that the ‘sole purpose of any political association is to preserve the natural and imprescriptible rights of man’ (Article ) and at the same time affirms – in a phrase inspired by Rousseau’s notion of the general will – that ‘the principle of sovereignty resides essentially in the nation’ and that ‘no body nor individual can exercise any authority which does not proceed directly from the nation’ (Article ). Inspired by a belief that liberty would follow once the equality of all was ensured by law, the main players of the revolution focused in its early stages on the removal of unjust political institutions as the means for achieving liberation. Yet as the discrepancies between formal and substantive freedom became more evident, the tripartite slogan of the revolution was transformed after  into an increasing emphasis on equality. In this environment, revolutionary leaders interpreted Rousseau’s idea of the indivisibility of the general will quite literally, and were confident that their efforts to uphold it and create a rational society were justified because the equality of all would also mean the freedom of all. The problematic moral questions occasioned by the regime’s actions and the violence of the Terror confronted observers first-hand with the problems of justifying in the name of freedom ‘rational’ policies articulated by an elite. The years following the French Revolution coincided with Catherine the Great’s break with the philosophes and her persecution of Russian Enlightenment thinkers such as Aleksandr Radishchev and Nikolai Novikov (–). Yet the French Revolution remained a significant historiographical topic for intellectuals interested in the applicability of Western ideas to Russian culture, and who entertained the notion that violent upheaval might figure in Russia’s own future. Attempting to 

 

See Mona Ozouf, ‘Liberté, égalité, fraternité’, in Les lieux de mémoire, ed. Pierre Nora,  vols. (Paris: Gallimard, –), part III, vol. , pp. –. See also her articles on the respective terms in the Dictionnaire critique de la Révolution française, ed. François Furet and Mona Ozouf (Paris: Flammarion, ), pp. –, –, –. See La déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen de : histoire, analyse et commentaires, ed. Gérard Conac et al. (Paris: Economica, ), pp. –. Rousseau developed this idea in his Discours sur l’économie politique, ed. Bruno Bernardi (Paris: Librairie philosophique Vrin,  ()) where he wrote that ‘it is clear that all peoples become, in the long run, what the government makes them’ (p. ).



Introduction

summarize the influence of the French Revolution on Russian intellectuals, Dmitry Shlapentokh notes that: The French Revolution was not only a symbol of the Western pattern of development and a general assumption about the universality of world history; it also implied that democracy, in one form or another, was the future . . . Terror and despotism were temporary phenomena.

Yet there was not a single French Revolution from which to take lessons, and we shall see that its influence on individual thinkers (such as Maksim Kovalevskii and Pavel Miliukov) was more nuanced than Shlapentokh implies. Meanwhile, other Russians pointed out that the ambiguous and negative developments of the Revolution effectively undermined the notion, advanced by the French philosopher Marquis de Condorcet (–), that freedom is irrevocably advancing in history. The reflections of Benjamin Constant on the shortcomings of the French Revolution, for example, were an inspiration to liberals such as Pëtr Struve, Pavel Novgorodtsev, and Sergei Kotliarevskii in the aftermath of . These questions about the ability of institutional reform to improve society are closely linked to a second major event for liberalism, namely the rise of democracy in the nineteenth century. From a liberal point of view, there is a certain risk inherent in embracing ‘rule by the people’, in practice the will of the majority, without relevant mechanisms to protect individual rights and freedoms. If liberalism implies an interest in delimiting and defending a sphere of negative liberty – in John Gray’s words, liberal government ‘is constitutional government’ – democracy has a procedural aspect, and is one of many possible modes of government; the relationship between the two is multifaceted and complex. From the beginning of the nineteenth century onwards, members of the European bourgeoisie who favoured democratic ideas and personal rights were eager to extend civil rights previously held by an elite but wary of how

  

 

Dmitry Shlapentokh, The French Revolution in Russian Intellectual Life (Westport, CO: Praeger, ), p. ; John Keep, ‘The Tyranny of Paris over Petrograd’, Soviet Studies,  (), –. On Kovalevskii’s and Miliukov’s historical thought, see Chapter . See Condorcet’s Tableau historique des progrès de l’esprit humain: projets, esquisse, fragments et notes (–), ed. Jean-Pierre Schandeler et al. (Paris: Institut national d’études démographiques, ), pp. –.  See the arguments of Constant and Humboldt below. Gray, Liberalism, p. . See Norberto Bobbio, Liberalismo e democrazia, nd ed. (Milan: Angeli, ); Gordon Graham, ‘Liberalism and Democracy’, Journal of Applied Philosophy,  (), –.

Western Practices



to react to widespread claims for economic and social equality. The emergence of socialist leaders and calls for social revolution prompted a new awareness of the potentially drastic effects of popular rule, and the scope and intrusiveness of the power that a populist state might legitimately exercise. Important thinkers for the liberal canon such as Alexis de Tocqueville and J. S. Mill analysed the subtle ways in which mass public opinion shapes and limits the range of choices available to individuals, and some liberals now backtracked on the scope of freedoms they had previously advocated. Yet even as the ambiguities of liberalism’s relationship to democracy came to a head with the prospects of the enlargement of the (male) electorate, with time the experience of mass democratic politics served to mitigate these fears. As the century progressed, it became increasingly clear to liberal sympathizers in the West that the participation in democracy by those who value the protection of their rights is the best way of making sure that those who govern protect the interests of the governed. Democracy increasingly came to be seen not as an end in itself, but as a way to preserve and protect individual liberty. Liberal support for democracy in Russia was tempered by widely held fears about whether or not the peasantry was ready to perform its civic duties, and endorse the liberties that liberals valued. That said, political realities of nineteenth-century Europe, in which the democratic vision of free and equal human beings overlapped to a certain extent with liberal assumptions about personhood and freedom, assuaged some of these anxieties. Moreover, as a rule, Russian thinkers were less apprehensive about state intervention in social, economic, and cultural life than their Western counterparts, something that meshed well with the replacement throughout the nineteenth century of traditional liberal suspicion of state authority by an awareness of the benefits of regulating various aspects of citizens’ lives. Concomitantly, the period witnessed a consistent expansion of the roles and responsibilities of all levels of state activity, and the state’s new status as the provider of public goods. These political changes were accompanied by concerted efforts to redefine liberal concepts of freedom and philosophy of the state in the light of the new emphasis on positive freedom and abandonment of laissez-faire ideology. In Britain, a group of thinkers known as New Liberals expanded ideas of liberal freedom beyond their roots in civil liberty and social order, to include the well-being 

Historical accounts of the development of liberalism include Richard Bellamy, Liberalism and Modern Society: A Historical Argument (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, ); Guido de Ruggiero, Storia del liberalismo europeo (Bari: Lateraza,  ()).



Introduction

and happiness of all members of society, including its poorest ones. The philosopher T. H. Green (–) articulated a theory of freedom rooted in idealist metaphysics that favoured intervention by a welfare state to address the poverty and ignorance of society’s most underprivileged members. The statement by liberal thinker and politician L. T. Hobhouse (–) that there are ‘other enemies of liberty beside the State, and it is in fact by the State that we have fought them’ reflects this new appreciation for the role played by the state’s redistributive powers in guaranteeing freedom for all of its citizens.

. Liberalism between Freedom and Justice As liberalism emerged more clearly as a political movement in the nineteenth century, thinkers such as Mill, Tocqueville, and Constant laid the theoretical foundations for a tradition conditioned by its engagement with historical realities. These theorists are of particular interest to us here because they eschewed abstract notions of liberalism, and articulated views of the relationship between the individual and society that justified an approach to freedom as a permanent recalibration between different values and goods, dependent on the peculiarities of time and place. Inspired by the French Revolution and the restoration of , Benjamin Constant’s (–) most famous pronouncements on freedom are contained in a lecture entitled ‘Freedom in Antiquity Compared with Freedom in the Modern Age’ (‘De la liberté des anciens et des modernes’, ). His warning of the dangers implicit in Rousseau’s notion that the general will could take precedence over individual will, and its potential miscarriage in the tyranny that had been witnessed during the Terror of the French Revolution, influenced Russian thinkers from Aleksandr Kunitsyn (–) to the Decembrists, who drew parallels between Russia’s situation and that of the Ancien Régime. Constant highlighted the need for a clear boundary between public and private spheres in large, modern societies, and insisted that contemporary selfhood requires a realm of freedom protected by the state for its development. If the demands of the community are given preference over individual    

See Ben Wempe, T. H. Green’s Theory of Positive Freedom: From Metaphysics to Political Theory (Exeter: Imprint Academic, ), particularly pp. –. L. T. Hobhouse, The Elements of Social Justice (London: Allen & Unwin, ), p. . See, for example, Kunitsyn’s article ‘O konstitutsii’, Syn otechestva,  (), –. On Constant’s views on freedom, see Stephen Holmes, Benjamin Constant and the Making of Modern Liberalism (New Haven: Yale University Press, ); Jeremy Jennings, ‘Constant’s Idea of

Liberalism between Freedom and Justice



freedoms, he maintained, the theories of an elite or the wishes of the majority can be justified in the name of freedom. Constant followed Montesquieu (–) in his conviction that freedom is dependent on the conditions of a specific time and place, making him particularly sensitive to the way in which events influence the content of freedom in a given society; while he articulated a resonant critique of the excesses of the Revolution, his insights into the disintegration of freedom in public life under Napoleon reinforced his sense that excessive public disengagement in politics could also result in political tyranny. His mature philosophy argued that the modern state’s powers should be scrupulously limited, and yet benefit from the participation of elected representatives in order to remain relevant to a constantly changing society. As Constant sought to popularize a notion of liberty understood as ‘the triumph of individuality, as much over the authority that aspires to govern through despotism, as over the masses who demand the right to oppress the minority in the name of the majority’, his insights into the dangers of despotism and mass politics were taken up by both Tocqueville and Mill. A striking liberal analysis of the relationship between democracy and individual self-realization is found in the writings of Alexis de Tocqueville (–). Much of his work, and particularly Democracy in America (De la démocratie en Amérique, , ), the result of his trip to America in  to , is concerned with the relationship between individual freedom and mass involvement in the political process. In that work Tocqueville describes Russia as one of the ‘two great nations in the world [which] seem to advance towards the same goal’, and in the aftermath of the Crimean war, his oeuvre was read widely in Russia. Tocqueville’s historical method, and his premise that ‘large results . . . could be expected from the careful scrutiny of significant detail’, directly influenced a school of historians with liberal sympathies such as Pavel Vinogradov (–). But even anti-reformist government officials such as M. N. Murav’ëv who

    

Modern Liberty’, in The Cambridge Companion to Constant, ed. Helena Rosenblatt (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. –. ‘De la liberté des anciens’, reprinted in De la liberté chez les modernes: écrits politiques, ed. Marcel Gauchet (Paris: Le livre de poche, ), pp. – (pp. –). ‘Mélanges de littérature et de politique’ (), reprinted, ibid., pp. – (p. ). Alexis de Tocqueville, Œuvres, ed. André Jardin et al. (Paris: Gallimard, ) vol. , p. . See G. J. Thurston, ‘Alexis De Tocqueville in Russia’, Journal of the History of Ideas,  (), –. Herbert Fisher, The Collected Papers of Paul Vinogradoff: With a Memoir by the Right Hon. H. A. L. Fisher (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ), p. .



Introduction

read Tocqueville believed he had painted an accurate picture of modernisation processes; Murav’ëv wrote in : I advise all our statesmen to reread L’Ancien Régime et la Révolution []. There they will find a picture of Russia as she is today, both in the activities of the government and the efforts of the revolutionaries. Pray to God that we wake up in time.

What Murav’ëv feared was Tocqueville’s description of how democratic equality ceased to be simply a hypothesis, but rather became – in Pierre Manent’s characterization – an ‘infinitely active principle, disrupting all aspects of social and political life’. As Tocqueville observed the vibrant political life of American federalism, he noted the many benefits of widespread political participation, particularly its ability to promote an active sense of civic spirit and fellowship. Yet he also pointed to the dangers posed to fundamental rights, particularly freedom of thought, by the unlimited power of a democratic majority, as well as those inherent in a conformist ethos that values undifferentiated equality. He sought to mitigate this problem by identifying elements of the body politic – including local self-government institutions, a varied religious community, and a lively civil society – that could protect individual self-development by providing a source of authority and inspiration other than the state. In Germany, the French attempt to articulate a flexible response to combining the needs of the individual with those of the social whole was taken up in the political writings of Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (–), who rejected the Kantian dualism between nature and freedom in favour of a view of self-development conditioned on a dynamic equilibrium between universal precepts and the demands of specific situations. Individuals, he suggested, are subject to both rational and sensual drives, and can develop to their fullest potential by freely calibrating the relations between them. Schiller was arguably the European thinker who had the most pervasive effect on the development of Russian

 



Letter of July  in ‘Pis’ma M. N. Murav’ëva k A. A. Zelenomu, – gg.’, Golos minuvshego,  (), p. , cited in Thurston, ‘Tocqueville in Russia’, p.  [citation modified]. Histoire intellectuelle du libéralisme: dix leçons (Paris: Calmann-Lévy, ), cited in An Intellectual History of Liberalism, trans. Rebecca Balinski (Princeton: Princeton University Press, ), p. . He concludes ‘I know of no country in which, speaking generally, there is less independence of mind and true freedom of discussion than in America’ (Democracy in America, ed. J. P. Mayer and Max Lerner, trans. George Lawrence (New York: Harper & Row, ), p. ).

Liberalism between Freedom and Justice



thought and literature in the first half of the nineteenth century. His humanistic philosophy is generally thought to have fostered further reflections on the notions of freedom and justice in Russia; Aleskandr Herzen’s biographer, Aileen Kelly, argues that Schiller’s ideal of an aesthetic education was crucial for allowing Herzen to articulate his ‘far-sighted opposition to all varieties of political maximalism and utopian intransigence’. Schiller’s correspondent, Wilhelm von Humboldt (–), developed a theory of individuality with notable similarities to that of his friend, and sought to reconcile the competing claims of diversity and variety with social unity. His apprehension that a uniform environment would dampen individual aspirations for self-realization (Selbsttätigkeit) and excellence led him to support the idea of a minimal state – as set out in On the Limits of State Action (Ideen zu einem Versuch die Grenzen der Wirksamkeit des Staates zu bestimmen, ) – that allows a maximum of freedom to its members, as long as they do not interfere with the freedom of others. His fear of the levelling tendencies in democracy, or the coercion of individuals to conform to a common mean, underpinned his conviction that self-realization can best occur where the government limits itself to providing security and protecting individual rights from the encroachment of external forces. Institutional forms, he argued, should be organized to allow any equilibrium achieved to shift over time. On the Limits of State Action acted as a direct inspiration for John Stuart Mill’s (–) On Liberty (), from which the epigraph is taken: ‘The grand, leading principle, towards which every argument unfolded in these pages directly converges, is the absolute and essential importance of human development in its richest diversity’. Mill’s conviction of ‘the importance, to man and society, of a large variety in types of character, and of giving full freedom to human nature to expand itself in innumerable and conflicting directions’ was borrowed from Humboldt, and rooted in a view of selfhood that sought to find a balance between rational analysis and 

 



Though his influence extended well beyond that period; Dostoevskii, for example, deeply admired Schiller. Among the considerable literature on this topic, see Hans-Bernd Harder, Schiller in Russland: Materialien zu einer Wirkungsgeschichte – (Gehlen: Bad Homburg, ); Liudmila Fuks-Shamanskaia, Fridrikh Shiller i russkii shillerizm. Retseptsiia tvorchestva Fridrikha Shillera v Rossii – godov (Moscow: Sputnik, ); R. Iu. Danilevskii, Fridrikh Shiller i Rossiia: Monografiia (Moscow: Pushkinskii dom, ). Aileen Kelly, Views from the Other Shore, pp. –. Walter Horace Bruhford presents Humboldt’s ideas in relation to a broader, German tradition in The German Tradition of Self-Cultivation: ‘Bildung’ from Humboldt to Thomas Mann (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. –. J. S. Mill, On Liberty and Other Writings, ed. Stefan Collini (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ).



Introduction

the psychological insights of nineteenth-century romanticism. His emphasis on the benefits inherent in allowing individuals to realize their potential in their own way underpins his well-known principle that the only justifiable interference with the liberty of another is to prevent harm to others. The political environment most favourable to the development of individuality, Mill concludes, is one that leaves its citizens the maximum area of freedom compatible with social life, and thereby furthers their moral and intellectual progress. While Mill’s writings have been acclaimed as the embodiment of modern liberalism – Isaiah Berlin, for example, describes Mill as its ‘father’ – others have pointed to the difficulties inherent in categorizing his thought. This applied in Russia too, where thinkers emphasized different aspects of his writings depending on their own political sensibilities. For example, leading radical thinker Nikolai Chernyshevskii (–) translated Mill’s Principles of Political Economy into Russian in the early s, and published a series of critical expositions expounding his own views on the topic, effectively presenting Mill as making a clear case for socialism. Moreover, Mill was, in James Scanlan’s words, ‘considered the foremost evangelist’ of a positivist mood which flourished in Russia in the s and s. Yet Herzen enlisted Mill as an authoritative ally against Westernizers who agitated for Russia’s gradual – but inevitable – development in the direction of Western democracy, and cited On Liberty to argue against the concept of historical progress itself. This confusion lies, in part, in Mill’s refusal to associate his political principles with 

  

 

Autobiography of John Stuart Mill, intro. John Jacob Cross (New York: Columbia University Press,  ()), p. . His Autobiography provides an account of how the intense academic education he received from his father, James Mill (–), triggered first, a nervous breakdown, and then a revalorization of pursuits such as music, poetry, and art. Nancy Rosenblum analyses the romantic elements in Mill’s view of personhood and of freedom in Another Liberalism: Romanticism and the Reconstruction of Liberal Thought (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, ), pp. , .  On Liberty, p. . Ibid., pp. –. ‘Two Concepts’, p. ; John Rees, ‘The Thesis of the Two Mills’, Political Studies,  (), –. A contemporary observed that ‘[b]y appending notes and commentaries to the translation, the translator attempts to transform Mill into Proudhon. The translation and comments contain the entire knowledge system preached by Chernyshevskii’ (cited in Mikhail Lemke, Politicheskie protsessy v Rossii -kh gg. (po arkhivnym dokumentam) (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo, ), pp. –). On Mill’s influence in Russia and a bibliography of his works in Russian translation, see James P. Scanlan, ‘John Stuart Mill in Russia: A Bibliography’, Mill Newsletter,  (), –. ‘Mill in Russia’, p. . See Aileen Kelly, ‘A European Nanny: Herzen and Mill on Liberty’, in Views from the Other Shore, pp. –.

Making History



institutional forms, preferring the idea of a dynamic equilibrium between circumstances and fixed principles. Though he was convinced that with certain safeguards in place democracy could be very advantageous, the evidence from nineteenth-century Europe and America contributed to his fear that popular opinion and mass practices could result in a ‘collective mediocrity’ that would strangle individuality, and moral and cultural excellence. The ideal governance structures that could foster individual self-development and guarantee freedom, he concluded, are contingent on existing institutional structures and customs. His vision of the importance of experimentation and circumstances in finding the ideal political system, together with his interest in the advantages of a communal mode of production, prompted his desire to use the general principles of socialism as a potential model for social reform. This blurring of the boundaries between liberalism and other political doctrines in the name of the multifaceted development of individuality is what marks Mill as a fundamentally non-utopian thinker while keeping him squarely within the liberal tradition.

. Making History While contemporary liberal theory has gone to substantial lengths to stress the crucial importance of conflicts of interest and of values for a liberal worldview, and underscored the conflicts within the human subject itself, this approach has been less common in examining traditions on the periphery of the Western mainstream. In an article originally published in Russian, Konstantin Shneider observes that the sum of recent research on the early history of Russian liberalism ‘suggests the absence of a system of coordinates – that is, a comprehensible and contemporary methodological language’. The theoretical sophistication of its protagonists and the polarized political circumstances in which they have traditionally operated make the Russian experience of liberalism an ideal case study for those interested in the clash between freedoms and the interplay  



Social compulsion, Mill wrote in On Liberty: ‘leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself’ (p. ). In his Autobiography, Mill described his mature intellectual outlook and that of his companion Harriet Taylor thus: ‘our ideal of ultimate improvement went far beyond Democracy, and would class us decidedly under the general designation of Socialists. While we repudiated with the greatest energy that tyranny of society over the individual which most Socialistic systems are supposed to involve, we yet looked forward to a time . . . when the division of the produce of labour, instead of depending, as in so great a degree it now does, on the accident of birth, will be made by concert on an acknowledged principle of justice’ (p. ). Shneider, ‘Early Russian Liberalism’, p. .



Introduction

between theory and historical circumstances, yet Russian views do not occupy a prominent place in studies of the history and philosophy of liberalism. The Russian need to modify liberal theory in an autocratic empire and in the light of the persistence of serfdom is seldom addressed in general works devoted to the interplay between liberal politics and philosophy. Neither has the development of liberal conceptions of freedom in Russia received the attention it deserves in the light of the fact that freedom is increasingly acknowledged to be a cultural-specific concept. Russian liberalism has too often been approached using positivist assumptions about history, and with the (at times implicit) conviction that all countries around the world are slowly but inevitably converging towards adopting liberal values. That said, liberalism in Russia has long stimulated the interest of historians because of its status as an alternative historical scenario to both tsarist autocracy and communism. Russian liberals in emigration were among the first to devote scholarly attention to their movement in the s and s, but their passionate disagreements and recriminations based on hindsight at times led to an oversimplification of the terms according to which liberals disagreed with each other. The first major historian of the movement, Victor Leontovitsch (whose  book was 





 

In the same way that Guido de Ruggiero’s seminal study Storia del liberalismo europeo (Bari: Lateraza,  ()) did not take the Eastern European experience of liberalism into account, the subject is rarely addressed in general studies on liberalism’s historical emergence. See, for example, The Cambridge Companion to Liberalism, ed. Steven Wall (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ). To judge by publications such as The Idea of Freedom in Asia and Africa, ed. Robert H. Taylor (Stanford: Stanford University Press, ); Paul Michael Cohen, Freedom’s Moment: An Essay on the French Idea of Liberty from Rousseau to Foucault (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, ); Eric Foner, The Story of American Freedom (New York: Norton, ). For an interesting study of the Russian case, see Maksim Trudoliubov, Liudi za zaborom: Vlast’, sobstvennost’ i chastnoe prostranstvo v Rossii (Moscow: Novoe izdatel’stvo, ), English version Maxim Trudolyubov, The Tragedy of Property: Private Life, Ownership and the Russian State, trans. Arch Tait (Cambridge: Polity, ). See, for example, Richard Pipes, Russian Conservatism and Its Critics: A Study in Political Culture (New Haven: Yale University Press, ), p. xii; Martin Malia, Russia under Western Eyes: From the Bronze Horseman to the Lenin Mausoleum (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, ), p. , where he writes that Russia’s development ‘tended in the same direction and was governed by the same laws as in the West’. See, for example, L. I. Novikova and I. N. Sizemskaia, Tri modeli razvitiia Rossii (Three Models of Russia’s Development) (Moscow: RAN Institut filosofii, ). The idea that liberals were inherently attracted to left- or right-wing policy positions, a view associated with debates in the s and s between Kadet Party leader Pavel Miliukov and his fellow Central Committee member Vasilii Maklakov, is an appealing scholarly trope, but also one that contemporary studies have attempted to overcome. This is in line with a general trend in the study of political thought: see Steven Lukes, ‘Epilogue: The Grand Dichotomy of the Twentieth Century’, in The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Political Thought, ed. Terence Ball and Richard Bellamy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. –.

Making History



republished in English as The History of Liberalism in Russia ()), traced the history of reforms and personalities that furthered the defence of negative liberty in Russia, though he paid little attention to the way that individual figures were forced to reconsider the balance between different values in the light of a specific historical context. As of the s, despite a number of archival sources remaining inaccessible, Euro-American historiography produced a number of important contributions dedicated to better understanding the civil society, government institutions, and interest groups in Russian history. In the Soviet Union, where the study of liberalism was long constrained by official Marxist–Leninist ideology, a number of studies appeared on bourgeois society and political parties, as well as on the zemstvo institutions of local self-government, providing valuable insight into the problems of political and philosophical liberalism in Russia. Following the demise of the Soviet Union, Russia’s liberal tradition benefited from a resurgence of popular and scholarly interest. In the









Studies that discuss this division in the Russian context include Michael Karpovich, ‘Two Types of Russian Liberalism: Maklakov and Miliukov’, in Continuity and Change in Russian and Soviet Thought, ed. Ernest J. Simmons (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, ), pp. –; Oleg V. Budnitskii, ‘Maklakov i Miliukov: dva vzgliada na russkii liberalizm’ [‘Maklakov and Miliukov: Two Visions of Russian Liberalism’], in Russkii liberalizm: istoricheskie sud’by i perspektivy. Materialy mezhdunarodnoi nauchnoi konferentsii (Moskva, – maia  g.) [‘Russian Liberalism: Historical Fortunes and Prospects. International Conference Materials (Moscow, – May )’], ed. V. V. Shelokhaev et al. (Moscow: ROSSPEN, ), pp. –. Other early milestones are Donald Treadgold, ‘The Constitutional Democrats and the Russian Liberal Tradition’, American Slavic and East European Review,  (), –; George Fischer, Russian Liberalism: From Gentry to Intelligentsia (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, ). Andrzej Walicki in particular conducted important work seeking to rehabilitate Russian liberalism by emphasizing its long-standing attachment to defending the rule of law (Legal Philosophies of Russian Liberalism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, )). See also Roberta Manning, The Crisis of the Old Order in Russia: Gentry and Government (Princeton: Princeton University Press, ); Gary Hamburg, Politics of the Russian Nobility: – (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, ); Between Tsar and People: Educated Society and the Quest for Public Identity in Late Imperial Russia, ed. Edith Clowes, Samuel Kassow, and James West (Princeton: Princeton University Press, ); William G. Rosenberg, Liberals in the Russian Revolution: The Constitutional Democratic Party, – (Princeton: Princeton University Press, ). E. D. Chermenskii, Burzhuaziia i tsarizm v pervoi russkoi revoliutsii [‘Bourgeoisie and Tsarism During the First Russian Revolution’], nd ed. (Moscow: Mysl’, ); N. M. Pirumova, Zemskoe liberal’noe dvizhenie: sotsial’nye korni i evoliutsiia do nachala XX veka [‘The Liberal Zemstvo Movement: Social Origins and Development to the Twentieth Century’] (Moscow: Nauka, ); V. V. Shelokhaev, Kadety: glavnaia partiia liberal’noi burzhuazii v bor’be s revoliutsiei, – gg. (Moscow: Nauka, ); K. F. Shatsillo, Russkii liberalizm nakanune revoliutsii – gg.: organizatsiia, programmy, taktika [‘Russian Liberalism on the Eve of the – Revolution: Organisation, Programme, Tactics’] (Moscow: Nauka, ). A number of relevant publications are listed in Adele Lindenmeyr, ‘“Primordial and Gelatinous”? Civil Society in Imperial Russia’, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History,  (),



Introduction

s, several conferences brought Russian and foreign scholars together in an optimistic atmosphere to examine the legacy and potential lessons of Russian liberalism. A number of intellectual biographies of important thinkers in that tradition exist, and various institutions of Russian liberalism, such as the journals the Russian Herald (Russkii vestnik) and the Herald of Europe (Vestnik Evropy) have been the topics of book-length studies. The Constitutional-Democratic/Kadet Party itself (Russia’s main pre-revolutionary liberal party) has been the subject of a comprehensive study. Various compilations of relevant documents for Russia’s liberal past, as well as collective contributions with encyclopaedic ambitions, now exist. Recent scholarship, particularly by Randall Poole and Modest Kolerov has done much to elucidate the religious roots of Russian









–. See, in particular, L. I. Novikova and I. N. Sizemskaia, ‘Liberal Traditions in the Cultural–Historical Experience of Russia,’ Russian Studies in Philosophy,  (), –, V. I. Prilenskii, Opyt issledovaniia mirovozzreniia rannikh russkikh liberalov [‘Essay on the Worldview of Early Russian Liberals’] (Moscow: Rossiiskaia akademiia nauk, ); A. V. Gogolevskii, Ocherki istorii russkogo liberalizma XIX-nachala XX veka [‘Essays on the History of Nineteenth- to EarlyTwentieth-Century Russian Liberalism’] (St Petersburg: Izdatel’stvo Sankt-Peterburgskogo universiteta, ); V. A. Kitaev, Liberal’naia mysl’ v Rossii, – gg. [‘Liberal Thought in Russia: –’] (Saratov: Izdatel’stvo Saratovskogo universiteta, ); Marcia Weigle, Russia’s Liberal Project: State–Society Relations in the Transition from Communism (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, ). One outcome of such conferences is the valuable edited volume cited above (n. ): Russian Liberalism, ed. V. V. Shelokhaev et al. See also Liberalizm v Rossii [‘Liberalism in Russia’], ed. V. F. Pustarnakov and I. F. Khudushina (Moscow: Institut filosofii RAN, ). Biographies include Julia Berest, The Emergence of Russian Liberalism: Alexander Kunitsyn in Context, – (London: Palgrave Macmillan, ); Gary Hamburg, Boris Chicherin and Early Russian Liberalism: – (Stanford: Stanford University Press, ); Derek Offord, Portraits of Early Russian Liberals: A Study of the Thought of T. N. Granovsky, V. P. Botkin, P. V. Annenkov, A. V. Druzhinin and K. D. Kavelin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ); Melissa Stockdale, Paul Miliukov and the Quest for a Liberal Russia, – (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, ). However, two thinkers examined in detail in this study, Maksim Kovalevskii and Pavel Novgorodtsev, have no intellectual biographies available in English. On liberal institutions, see Anton Fedyashin, Liberals under Autocracy: Modernization and Civil Society in Russia, – (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, ); Daniel Balmuth, The Russian Bulletin, –: A Liberal Voice in Tsarist Russia (New York: Peter Lang, ). V. V. Shelokhaev, Konstitutsionno-demokraticheskaia partiia v Rossii i emigratsii (Moscow: ROSSPEN, ). For a study of the Kadets’ formative years, see Peter Enticott, The Russian Liberals and the Revolution of  (London: Routledge, ); Dittmar Dahlmann, ‘Parteileben in Provinzstädten. Die Konstitutionell–Demokratische Partei Russlands –’, Jahrbu¨cher fu¨r Geschichte Osteuropas, () (), –. For an extensive collection of biographical essays, see A. A. Kara-Murza, ed., Rossiiskii liberalizm: idei i liudi [‘Russian Liberalism: Ideas and People’], rd ed.,  vols. (Moscow: Novoe izdatel’stvo, ). In addition to the works of Shelokhaev already mentioned, see in particular Rossiiskie liberaly: Sbornik statei, ed. B. S. Itenberg and V. V. Shelokhaev (Moscow: ROSSPEN, ), Rossiiskii liberalizm serediny XVIII-nachala XX veka: Entsiklopediia [Russian Liberalism from the Mid-Eighteenth to the Early Twentieth Century: Encyclopedia], ed. V. V. Shelokhaev (Moscow: ROSSPEN, ), S”ezdy i konferentsii konstitutsionno-demokraticheskoi partii, – gg., ed.

Making History



liberalism and the relevance for liberalism of neo-idealist philosophy. Another important historiographic trend has focused on Russia’s prerevolutionary legal philosophy, particularly by scholars eager to draw on its lessons for the post-Soviet era. Several publications devoted to new dimensions of Russian liberalism, including its interconnections with nationalism and Russia’s republican tradition, have appeared recently. While there has been renewed interest in the topic in the post-Soviet period, Russian liberal thought remains, as Susanna Rabow-Edling recently put it, ‘a much neglected liberal tradition’, and Russia’s engagement with liberalism still offers a rich and valuable ground for scholars. Although research on liberalism and freedom in the non-Western world is vast, there are still few general studies that attempt to paint a







 

V. V. Shelokhaev,  vols. (Moscow: ROSSPEN, –), Rossiiskie liberaly: kadety i oktiabristy (dokumenty, vospominaniia, publitsistika), ed. D. B. Pavlov and V. V. Shelokhaev (Moscow: ROSSPEN, ); Protokoly Tsentral’nogo Komiteta i zagranichnykh grupp konstitutsionnodemokraticheskoi partii, -seredina -kh gg., ed. D. B. Pavlov and N. I. Kanishcheva,  vols. (Moscow: ROSSPEN –). An important precursor in this regard was George F. Putnam, Russian Alternatives to Marxism: Christian Socialism and Idealistic Liberalism in Twentieth-Century Russia (Knoxville: University of Tennessee, ). Poole’s major publications include Problems of Idealism. Essays in Russian Social Philosophy, ed., trans., and intro. (New Haven: Yale University Press, ); A History of Russian Philosophy, –: Faith, Reason, and the Defense of Human Dignity, co-edited with G. M. Hamburg (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ). Kolerov’s writings include Sbornik ‘Problemy idealizma’ (). Istoriia i kontekst [‘Problems of Idealism, . History and Context’] (Moscow: Tri Kvadrata, ); Ne mir, no mech. Russkaia religiozno-filosofskaia pechat’ ot ‘Problemy idealizma’ do ‘Vekh’ – [‘Not Peace But a Sword: Russian Religious–Philosophical Texts from “Problems of Idealism” to “Landmarks”, –’] (St Petersburg: Aleteiia, ). See, for example, Andrey Medushevsky, Russian Constitutionalism: Historical and Contemporary Development (London: Routledge, ); Frances Nethercott, Russian Legal Culture Before and After Communism: Criminal Justice, Politics, and the Public Sphere (London: Routledge, ); Anita Schlu¨chter, Recht und Moral: Argumente und Debatten ‘zur Verteidigung des Rechts’ an der Wende vom . zum . Jahrhundert in Russland (Zurich: Pano Verlag, ); S. I. Glushkova, Problema pravovogo ideala v russkom liberalizme [‘The Ideal of the Law in Russian Liberalism’] (Ekaterinburg: Izdatel’stvo Gumanitarnogo universiteta, ). See Susanna Rabow-Edling, Liberalism in Pre-revolutionary Russia: State, Nation, Empire (New York: Routledge, ); Oleg Kharkhordin, Republicanism in Russia: Community Before and After Communism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, ). For recent conference proceedings, see R. M. Cucciolla, ed., Dimensions and Challenges of Russian Liberalism: Historical Drama and New Prospects (Switzerland: Springer, ). State, Nation, Empire, p. . Alexander Etkind too refers to Russian liberal thought as ‘an understudied-area’ (cover endorsement, Berest, Alexander Kunitsyn, ). See, for example, Liberalisms in East and West: The Record of a Conference Held at the University of Oxford in January  (Oxford: Europaeum, n.d.), https://europaeum.org/wp-content/uploads/ //Liberalism-East-and-West.pdf; The Meaning of Liberalism: East and West, ed. Zdenek Suda and Jiri Musil (Budapest: CEU Press, ); The Idea of Freedom in Asia and Africa, ed. Robert H. Taylor (Stanford: Stanford University Press, ); Daniel Bell, Beyond Liberal Democracy: Political Thinking for an East Asian Context (Princeton: Princeton University Press, ).



Introduction

comprehensive picture of Russian liberalism by drawing on the insights of contemporary liberal theory, sensitive to a cultural-based understanding of freedom. This study considers Russian liberalism as a complex dialogue on the relationship between values such as freedom, individualism, and progress carried out in the light of the constraints of political practice, and thus complements the work of Poole and others. Yet by approaching Russian liberalism in the light of the extent to which its main theorists tried consciously to resolve the tensions rooted in differing conceptions of freedom and selfhood, this work offers a case study of broader processes at work in Western liberalism and thereby offers a fresh look at Russian political philosophy.

. Conclusion The above survey demonstrates to what extent liberalism is a broad church: the thinkers referenced did not agree on whether or not the state should protect and promote the economic and social well-being of its citizens, the benefits of democracy, or the nature of liberty that liberals ought to seek, to take three important issues for liberal doctrine. There was not a single liberal tradition from which Russians could draw instruction, and Russian thinkers themselves are at times elusive and difficult to classify. But the survey also demonstrates the existence of a persistent strand within liberal theory that articulated views of human nature and of freedom in response to the constraints of political practice, and insisted that there can be no universal liberal recipe for resolving the conflict between freedom and social justice. This also acts as a useful interpretative paradigm for engaging with how Russian thinkers debated what constitutes a good life, how gross economic inequality should be addressed, and the value of representative government. I approach the Russian material by discussing, first, the ideological foundations of the two dominant forms of liberalism in Russia, positivist and neo-idealist, and, second, the way in which the commitments of liberally inclined thinkers were constantly shifting between their support for a strong state, and their preference for a more democratically oriented movement. As a result, some chapters are thematic, while others focus on specific figures associated with the liberal movement. The arguments in the chapters that follow serve the same end in different ways, as different perspectives which need to be combined for an in-depth analysis of the specific problems of liberalism outlined above. My analysis of the ideological predispositions of liberal public figures, as well as the extent to

Conclusion



which events shaped their views of freedom, provides insights into the dilemmas of liberal freedom from different though related perspectives. The thinkers I discuss have at times been treated in more detail elsewhere, and my aim is not a self-contained and rounded discussion of the thought of any one figure. Rather, I preferred to seize on elements of their theory which illuminate the specific problems of liberalism and freedom as outlined above. The same principle applies to the more general chapters on Russian liberalism: I have not sought to provide a full account of actors and events, but have consciously selected specific cases and debates that illustrate the clash between opposing conceptions of freedom, both between political opponents, and within the thought of individual figures. I have tried in the notes to provide relevant references to the broader context of the theories and events that I discuss. Chapters  and  are concerned with the ways in which liberal ideas of Western origin shaped Russian political theory during two distinct periods: pre- (Chapter ) and  to roughly  (Chapter ). Chapter  deals with those pre-twentieth-century Russian thinkers who developed their views of personhood and of freedom in dialogue with Western philosophy, and articulated the broad framework for later liberalisms. With the exception of Boris Chicherin, the men discussed in this chapter did not self-identify readily as liberals, but their engagement with both the value of negative freedom enshrined in law, and the idea of a social, ethical project, provided a powerful legacy on which their successors drew. While the possibilities for political participation increased towards the end of the century, the engagement with liberalism during this period was largely an intellectual endeavour. The pan-European reassessment of many fundamental positivist assumptions after about  inspired the Russian Silver Age, and occasioned a debate between liberally inclined thinkers about the proper philosophical assumptions on which to base their views of selfhood, freedom, and history. Neo-idealist liberalism thus developed in the context of the search for new forms of understanding to accompany the social and cultural transformations that Russia was undergoing. Both positivism and neo-idealism, I argue, contained the philosophical resources to support a moderate, pluralist view of human values, but not all of their variants were liberal. Drawing on the themes of previous chapters – the appropriation of liberal ideas in a repressive political context, and the development of positivist and neo-idealist variants of liberalism in Russia – Chapter  presents a contextual



Introduction

analysis of how intellectuals engaged ever more intensely with liberal notions of a constitution, democracy, and a free press (among others), and witnessed the effects of their (flawed) implementation first-hand. It examines how liberal notions of constitutionalism, the rule of law, and democracy fared in the years around , and how these ideas were adjusted to concrete political projects. In this chapter, I recast the party politics and discussions of the period to show how Russia’s most prominent liberals systematically engaged with liberal ideas and practices of Western origin as they constantly redefined their attitudes to the important issues of the time – agrarian reform, civil liberties, political terror, and democratization – as new problems and obstacles arose. I argue that there was no easy solution that was both morally viable and tactically expedient to the Russian liberal dilemma. Primary sources demonstrate both the range of liberal views represented within the Kadet Party, and how moral, political, and legal questions concerning the defence of individual dignity during revolution were not easily resolved, particularly since they were posed during times of social confusion and political upheaval. Russian thinkers, I attempt to show, modified their views of liberal ideas such as freedom and progress in the light of circumstances which were changing all the time. Next, Chapter  examines the unravelling of Russian liberalism in the years from  to , and explores how and why other ideational currents (mysticism, communism) surpassed liberalism in the popular imagination. This chapter considers the reasons for the decline and transformation of Russian liberalisms in the years between  and the First World War, and links them with certain insurmountable contradictions within liberal theory itself. If prior to  a significant portion of Russia’s educated classes were able to put aside some of their most profound intellectual differences because of their shared belief that freedom and self-realization could be achieved following the removal of the autocratic state, diverging views of the significance and ramifications of the revolution now fed more clearly into conflicting political commitments. During this period Russian liberalism seems to lose even the limited degree of cohesion and focus it had displayed earlier. Chapters  and  seek to situate the thought of four major Russian liberal thinkers, Bogdan Kistiakovskii (–) and Pavel Novgorodtsev (–) (Chapter ), and Pavel Miliukov (–) and Maksim Kovalevskii (–) (Chapter ), in their wider intellectual context and illustrate more precisely how outstanding individuals selfconsciously reshaped their ideas in response to their understanding of

Conclusion



what liberalism meant in the West. Chapter  discusses the work of two important theorists, Novgorodtsev and Kistiakovskii, who stand out for their concern with the ongoing tensions within liberal history and theory, and their desire to place the experiences of Russia’s liberal movement in the broader historical development of liberalism. Novgorodtsev’s two book-length studies published during the period under consideration – The Crisis of Modern Legal Consciousness (Krizis sovremennogo pravosoznaniia, –) and On the Social Ideal (Ob obshchestvennom ideale, –) – were explicitly concerned with the lessons of Western liberalism, while a number of Kistiakovskii’s long articles – including ‘A Lawful Socialist State’ (‘Gosudarstvo pravovoe i sotsialisticheskoe’, ), ‘How to Realize Unified Popular Representation?’ (‘Kak osushchestvit’ edinoe narodnoe predstavitel’stvo?’, ), and ‘In Defense of Law‘ (‘V zashchitu prava’, ) – demonstrate the fluidity of the concept of liberalism. This analysis sets the stage for the detailed treatment, in Chapter , of the work of two positivist liberals, Miliukov and Kovalevskii, with particular reference to the constituent liberal idea of progress. I argue that the idea of progress played a seminal role in their understanding of the significance of liberalism for Russia, and that this is the source of both important strengths and deep tensions within their careers as liberal politicians. More specifically, I analyse to what extent their political activities and writings relied on a deterministic view of history, and how they sought to reconcile their positivist beliefs with the claims of flesh-and-blood individuals. While these men deserve a place in Russia’s liberal pantheon, the elements of their thought that support a teleological view of history as progressing upwards towards a perfect society sit in tension with non-dogmatic, pluralistic forms of liberalism. The conclusion summarizes the findings of this study and ends by suggesting how the insights of my analysis are relevant for the Western liberal tradition as well as for Russian history.

 

Inside Out Freedom, Rights, and the Idea of Progress in Nineteenth-Century Russia

The emergence of Russian liberalism has been dated to the beginning of the regime of Catherine the Great (–), and her limited attempts to establish a sphere of liberty in law by providing guarantees of individual and property rights. Yet prior to the era of the Great Reforms a century later, there was virtually no outlet for turning liberal ideals into reform plans with some realistic prospect of success. Moreover, prior to the early twentieth century, there was not a definite form of liberalism in Russia, only a set of philosophical and political ruminations about freedom that recognized the conflicts between rights. This chapter, therefore, is concerned with those pre-twentieth-century Russian thinkers who developed their views of personhood and of freedom in dialogue with Western philosophy, and blended them with Muscovite traditions to lay the outlines of the debate on Russia’s political modernization. Prior to the end of the nineteenth century, the engagement with liberal ideas was primarily an intellectual endeavour, hindered by the lack of publicly available translations and forums in which to discuss what liberalism ‘meant’ in the Russian context. The development of liberalism in Russia during the period was also constrained by pressure from thinkers to both the left 





See ‘Nachinaetsia li istoriia russkogo liberalizma v epokhu Ekaterina II?’, in Liberalizm v Rossii (), pp. –; Leontovitsch, History of Liberalism in Russia, p. ; Martin Malia, ‘What Is the Intelligentsia?’, Daedalus,  (), – (p. ); Nicholas V. Riasanovsky, A History of Russia, th ed. (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, ), p. . See Marc Raeff, ‘Some Reflections on Russian Liberalism’, Russian Review,  (), – and his ‘Review: Geschichte des Liberalismus in Russland by Victor Leontovitsch and Russian Liberalism by George Fischer’, Russian Review,  (), –; Randall A. Poole, ‘Nineteenth-Century Russian Liberalism: Ideals and Realities’, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History,  (), –. On censorship in tsarist Russia, see Mikhail Lemke, Ocherki po istorii russkoi tsenzury i zhurnalistiki XIX stoletiia (St Petersburg: Izdatel’stvo Trud, ); N. G. Patrusheva, Periodicheskaia pechat’ i tsenzura Rossiiskoi imperii v – gg.: Sistema administrativnykh vzyskanii (St Petersburg: Rossiiskaia natsional’naia biblioteka, ); Charles A. Ruud, Fighting Words: Imperial Censorship and the Russian Press, – (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, ).



Freedom, Rights, and Progress



and right, that is to say socialists and conservatives alike, who framed similar critiques of the political, social, and economic bases of Western society. Nevertheless, from the second half of the eighteenth century, different views of Russia’s future development occasioned heated debates among its intellectual elite and provided a powerful legacy on which its successors drew; late imperial Russian liberals largely saw themselves as inhabiting a tradition of oppositional thinking dating back to the Enlightenment. Because of the problems associated with reading liberalism backwards into Russian history a word about historical semantics is in order. The most central concept employed by Russian political figures to describe their experience of and aspirations to freedom, svoboda and its derivatives such as osvobozhdenie, osvobozhdat’ (liberation, to liberate), have a distinctive etymological and cultural history. Svoboda contains the root svoi (self, ours) and arose in mediaeval times as a way to describe the security and well-being that comes from living among people who share a particular way of life and values. Other Russian words which can be translated into English as freedom are derived from the root vol-, such as volia, vol’nost’, and the adjective vol’nyi. Volia means will, and has been linked to the ‘anarchic instinct’ of the expansive Russian nature (shirokaia russkaia natura), and traditional, collective lifestyles incompatible with the cold formalism of legal relations. While not fundamentally incompatible with English ideas of freedom, both svoboda and volia have less to do with the idea of rights, or the link between freedom and rational choice, than with the spatial notion of an unlimited expanse in which individuals are responsible for the moral implications of their actions. Moreover, we have already seen how the word liberal and its derivative liberalizm took on different connotations in Russia from what they had in

 



Caroline Humphrey, ‘Alternative Freedoms’, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society,  (), – (p. ). See Wladimir Weidlé, La Russie absente et présente (Paris: Gallimard, ), p. ; G. P. Fedotov, ‘Rossiia i svoboda’, Novyi zhurnal,  (), –, reprinted in G. P. Fedotov, Novyi grad: sbornik statei, ed. Iu. P. Ivaska (New York: Izdatel’stvo imeni Chekhova, ), pp. –. Lexicographer Vladimir Dal’ links svoboda with ‘one’s own will, boundless space [prostor], the ability to act as one wishes, and the absence of restraints [stesneniia]’ (‘Svoboda’, in Tolkovyi slovar’ zhivogo velikorusskogo iazyka, nd ed.,  vols. (St Petersburg: Vol’fa, –), vol. , pp. –). See also Humphrey, ‘Alternative Freedoms’, ; Anna Wierzbicka, Understanding Cultures through Their Key Words: English, Russian, Polish, German, and Japanese (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ), p. .



Freedom, Rights, and Progress

the West. Liberals were identified with men of leisure, who had a superficial interest in using European culture to reform their country, without wanting to incur any risks to their own social position; their portrayal as ‘dull’, ‘dreary’, and interested in ‘the most boring books’ is a recurring trope in Russian literature and culture of the period. In the chapters that follow, we shall see how this was to some extent linked to the problem of liberals’ perceived intellectualism and their aspiration to transcend class divisions (their vneklassovyi character). It was also aggravated by the fact that liberals were faced with the classic dilemma of political moderates: caught between two extremes, they were denounced by both. While I apply the term liberal retrospectively to actors in Russian politics and culture, as well as to artistic and scholarly manifestations concerned with advancing the ideas of human dignity and the rule of law, it is important to remember that, like all political ideas, freedom and liberalism remain sensitive indices of the cultures that adopt and develop them.

. The Emergence of Russian Liberalism Russia’s engagement with liberal ideas was affected by the fact that the country experienced neither Renaissance nor Reformation, both loosely associated with the anthropocentrism and individualism that marks liberal worldviews; moreover, it remained largely untouched by teachings on the separation of religious and secular powers characteristic of both Catholicism and the Reformation. Imperial Russia was a land of contrasts: overwhelmingly rural, poor, and illiterate, the country also had a complex bureaucracy, sophisticated military, and a small, extremely privileged elite. The peasants, who were entirely dependent on their gentry landlords, and whose labour constituted the mainstay of Russia’s economy, suffered the 





For a history of the term, see Charles E. Timberlake, ‘Introduction: The Concept of Liberalism in Russia’, in Essays on Russian Liberalism, ed. C. E. Timberlake (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, ), pp. –. P. V. Annenkov, Literaturnye vospominaniia (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo khudozhestvennoi literatury, ), p. . Dostoevskii’s work contains a number of such references. See, for example, F. M. Dostoevskii, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii v tridtsati tomakh, vol. : Pis’ma, – (St Petersburg: Nauka, ), pp. , , –. See also vol. : Idiot (), pp. –. At the fall of Constantinople in , the Russian Tsar became the only independent Orthodox ruler in the world, and Eastern Christianity was intertwined with the identity of the centralized monarchy. Marc Raeff remarks on ‘the fusion, almost an identification, of church and state’ in traditional Muscovite political culture (The Well-Ordered Police State: Social and Institutional Change through Law in the Germanies and Russia, – (New Haven: Yale University Press, ), p. ).

Emergence of Russian Liberalism



most from this constellation of power. The indeterminate status of serfs meant that they could be treated effectively as slaves, and the gentry exercised virtually unlimited powers over their individual estates. Yet the gentry also had onerous terms of service to the monarch, few opportunities to engage in local self-government, and was dependent on the Tsar for questions of promotion. The idea of the rule of law, applicable to all citizens without distinction was, in Isabel de Madariaga’s words ‘quite alien to [eighteenth-century] Russian society at all levels’. ..

Russian Enlightenment

Associated with the reforms of Peter the Great (reigned –) and, primarily, those of Catherine the Great, the Russian Enlightenment was conducted in a spirit of admiration for Western European models of government and ideals, including the attempt to recast relations between society and the state on a more rational basis. Peter’s reforms were designed to transform Muscovy and its Orthodox foundations into a secular European state, and forced Russia’s service nobility to engage with contemporary developments in European science, technology, and thought. The succession crisis following Peter the Great’s death in  demonstrates both the impact of constitutionalism on some members of the Russian nobility and the lack of circumstances enabling these ideas to become dynamic. Drawing on Western European examples, particularly the Swedish constitution of , Prince Dmitrii Golitsyn (–), a member of the ruling elite, saw the interregnum as an opportunity to offer the throne to Peter’s niece, Anna Ivanovna (reigned –), and simultaneously to impose on her a number of measures to limit the monarchy’s powers. This attempt to restrain the autocracy was undermined by divisions within the nobility itself, and its failure reflects the fact that the  



 

Isabel de Madariaga, Russia in the Age of Catherine the Great (New Haven: Yale University Press, ), p. . On the period, see Lindsey Hughes, Russia in the Age of Peter the Great (New Haven: Yale University Press, ). Peter I was proclaimed Tsar in  as a boy of  but was the de facto sole ruler only from . In addition to publishing a number of foreign treatises in Russia, Peter created scientific and educational structures (such as the St Petersburg Academy of Sciences in ) that operated independently from the Church. Peter the Great was succeeded by his widow, Catherine I (reigned –), and then by his grandson Peter II (reigned –). According to the new conditions, the Supreme Privy Council (an institution dominated by aristocratic families) would have to give its consent for important decisions concerning the



Freedom, Rights, and Progress

nobility, who profited from patronage and personal relationships, were loath to install impartial rules and standards for advancement. In Richard Pipes’s opinion, the events of  sealed ‘a compact between the crown and the Russian nobility by virtue of which the latter, in effect, surrendered any claim to political power: the crown showered the gentry with privileges in exchange for staying out of politics’. This alliance notwithstanding, a number of policies enacted in the s provided the Russian Enlightenment with imperial sanction and went some way towards the creation of a class somewhat independent from the state. In , Peter III (who reigned for six months, and whose German wife succeeded him as Catherine the Great) issued an edict abolishing compulsory state service for the gentry. This decree, which has been described as ‘one of the most important milestones in the modernization of Russia’, broke with previous tradition in which landlords completed public service in return for legal privilege. It also created the conditions for an independent gentry culture and, somewhat later, the emergence of the intelligentsia. Some aspects of Catherine’s reign continued the modernizing trends associated with the European Enlightenment; in , she convened a Legislative Commission and the Instruction she drew up to guide its work was inspired by Montesquieu’s theories of governance and Cesare Beccaria’s (–) ideas about criminal justice, as well as Cartesian rationalism and natural law. But Catherine’s

  

 

budget, military, taxation, promotions, and a royal successor. Subsequent liberals interpreted this event different ways, even as they agreed concerning its significance: see Pavel Miliukov, Iz istorii russkoi intelligentsii (St Petersburg: Znanie, ), pp. –; Pëtr Struve, ‘Istoricheskii smysl russkoi revoliutsii i natsional’nye zadachi’, in Sergei A. Askol’dov (ed.), Iz glubiny: Sbornik statei o russkoi revoliutsii (New York: YMCA Press,  []), pp. –; Maksim Kovalevskii, who dates the origins of the Russian liberal movement to this time, La crise russe: Notes et impressions d’un témoin (Paris: Girard et Brière, ), p. . See also Isabel de Madariaga, ‘Portrait of an Eighteenth-Century Russian Statesman: Prince Dmitry Mikhaylovich Golitsyn’, Slavonic and East European Review,  (), –. Pipes, Russian Conservatism, p. . The gentry benefited as well from the  charter, allowing private ownership of gentry estates. On the purposes and actual effects of this edict, see Elena Marasinova, ‘The Liberties of the Russian Nobility: Peter III’s Manifesto and the Estates Legislation of Catherine II’ (‘Vol’nost’ rossiiskogo dvorianstva (Manifest Petra III i soslovnoe zakonodatel’stvo Ekateriny II’), Otechestvennaia istoriia,  (), –. De Madariaga, Catherine the Great, p. . On the Tsar’s correspondence with French encyclopaedists, see Inna Gorbatov, Catherine the Great and the French Philosophers of the Enlightenment: Montesquieu, Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot and Grimm (Bethesda, MD: Academica Press, ). For the text of Catherine’s Instruction, see Nakaz Ekateriny II Komissii o sostavlenii proekta novogo Ulozheniia (), in  glavnykh dokumentov Rossiiskoi istorii, http://doc.histrf.ru//nakaz-ekateriny-ii-komissii-o-sostavleniiproekta-novogo-ulozheniya [accessed  August ].

Emergence of Russian Liberalism



enactment of social reforms by legislative fiat did not diminish her continued encouragement of the principle of autocracy, and her theoretical support for the values of universal human rights was in crude contradiction to her policies designed to reinforce the power of the gentry over the peasants. In turn, the nobility in large part limited itself to proposing reforms that were likely to be palatable to the Crown. It was in the context of a general intellectual climate inspired by Enlightenment faith in society’s gradual evolution in the direction of progress and enlightened monarchy, that Aleksandr Radishchev’s (–) Journey from St Petersburg to Moscow (Puteshestvie iz Peterburga v Moskvu, ) provided the Russian Enlightenment with its most radical statement. Written in a sentimental tone, the Journey is a passionate denunciation of the way that human relations can degenerate if not tempered by the existence of a social contract, and the belief in various natural and inviolable individual freedoms. Inspired by the history of England and America, as well as radical Enlightenment thought, Radishchev openly questioned the legitimacy of autocracy in the name of inalienable individual rights and humanitarian values. Like its European neighbours, he argued, Russia must progressively acknowledge that universal moral principles and natural law are grounds for limiting the personal authority of the Tsar and abolishing serfdom. The criticisms of serfdom, which occupy a significant part of the Journey, were not entirely new to Russian literature. But Radishchev’s denunciations stand out from those of his predecessors because they attacked not only isolated abuses, but the entire system. Moreover, rather  



 

See Raeff, Well-Ordered Police State, pp. –. Leading figures of enlightened public opinion include publisher Nikolai Novikov (–) and statesman Count Nikita Panin (–). Of these, Panin developed what has been called the first constitutional project in Russian history, inspired by the Swedish model of constitutional monarchy, though it left virtually no trace on Russian institutions. For a discussion, see Gary Hamburg, Russia’s Path toward Enlightenment: Faith, Politics, and Reason, – (New Haven: Yale University Press, ). Radishchev’s appeals to the readers’ sentiments and conscience were influenced by Rousseau and by Laurence Sterne’s A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy (). See Allen McConnell, ‘Rousseau and Radishchev’, Slavic and East European Journal,  (), –; Thomas Barran, Russia Reads Rousseau, – (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, ), pp. –. Reprinted in his Izbrannye filosofskie sochineniia, ed. I. Ia. Shchipanova et al. (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo politicheskoi literatury, ), pp. –. On Radishchev, see A. N. Radishchev: Issledovaniia i kommentarii: sbornik nauchnykh trudov (Tver’: Tverskoi gosudarstvennyi universitet, ); Allen McConnell, A Russian philosophe, Alexander Radishchev, – (The Hague: Nijhoff, ); David Marshall Lang, The First Russian Radical: Alexander Radishchev, – (London: Allen & Unwin, ).



Freedom, Rights, and Progress

than appealing to the potentially positive role of the enlightened state as the guarantor of individual rights, he argued that the existence of human rights themselves constituted a philosophical justification for sound government. Implicit in Radishchev’s arguments was that those who rightfully aspire to freedom can, in the long run, not be prevented from achieving it by despotic rulers. He argued that his fellow gentry landowners must renounce their privileges by gradually emancipating their serfs, and suggested that the tranquillity provided by the current system of authority was a dangerous and shameful illusion. Radishchev’s denunciation of serfdom and his emphasis on the natural freedoms of individuals resulted in his being claimed by both Russia’s liberal and radical–democratic traditions as their precursor. Both peasant revolts within the empire (the Pugachëv Rebellion attracted widespread support in –) and the radicalization of the French Revolution contributed to Catherine the Great’s abandonment of Enlightenment ideals and the increasing repression of thinkers who had proclaimed their adherence to them. The final years of Catherine’s reign and that of her son Paul I (reigned –) witnessed few attempts by autocrats or the gentry to further civil rights and social justice. The beginning of the reign of Alexander I (–) was marked by the intensive discussion of reforms; the new emperor promised to rationalize Russian administration and to further the rule of law. His endeavours in this direction were supported by the Free Association of Lovers of Literature, Science, and the Arts (Vol’noe obshchestvo liubitelei slovesnosti, nauk i khudozhestv), a group that included two thinkers greatly influenced by the Scottish Enlightenment, Ivan Pnin (–) and Vasilii Popugaev ([(?)]–). Inspired by the thought of jurist Semën Desnitskii (–), who had studied under Adam Smith in Glasgow, these men supported the emperor’s constitutional ideas and urged him to oversee Russia’s transformation from a military to a ‘commercial’ society, based on 

  

One of the most radical passages in the Journey depicts the idea that those who rightfully aspire to freedom will potentially overcome the despotic rulers who prevent them from doing so. See Radishchev’s Ode to Freedom (Vol’nost’: oda), originally written in – and published in abridged version in the chapter Tver’, A. N. Radishchev, Puteshestvie iz Peterburga v Moskvu; Volnost’, ed. V. A. Zapadov (St Petersburg: Nauka, ). See, for example, Pavel Miliukov, ‘Intelligentsiia i istoricheskaia traditsiia’, in K. Arsen’ev et al. (eds.), Intelligentsiia v Rossii: sbornik statei (St Petersburg: Zemlia, ), p. . Radishchev, for one, received a death sentence commuted to ten years of exile. Pnin’s main treatise is An Essay on Enlightenment Concerning Russia (Opyt o prosveshchenii otnositel’no k Rossii, ). See Samuel Ramer, ‘Vasilii Popugaev, the Free Society of Lovers of Literature, Sciences and the Arts, and the Enlightenment Tradition in Russia’, Canadian–American Slavic Studies,  (), –.

Emergence of Russian Liberalism



a private property regime. In turn, their ideas influenced statesman Count Mikhail Speranskii (–), a trusted collaborator of Alexander I, who submitted to him a constitutional project which sought to limit the autocracy by the rule of law, acknowledged the need for self-government principles, and the slow, gradual emancipation and enfranchisement of the peasantry. Speranskii eventually lost favour and was sent into exile, and a new nationalistic mood contributed to the growing dissatisfaction of reform-minded Russians. The major manifestation of this frustration was the Decembrist revolt of , an uprising that joined together military officers and noblemen, who were inspired by military rebellions in Western Europe in the early s, as well as the republican city-states of Novgorod and Pskov and their ‘ancient Russian liberties’. With the exception of a republicanist minority led by Pavel Pestel (–), the Decembrists aspired to a constitutional order, court reform, and the abolishment of serfdom in Russia. Yet hindered by a lack of agreement among participants, the revolt was summarily extinguished. The repressive regime of Nicholas I (–) occasioned a loss of hope in the efficacy of political action to further either individual freedom or social justice, and a new view of the relevance of philosophy in justifying Russia’s current situation. In the well-known debates of the s between Westernizers (zapadniki) and Slavophiles (slavianofily), the needs of Russian society and the prerogatives for the self-realization of its inhabitants were worked out in response to the major trends in European philosophy, and at the centre of these debates was the conflict between





 

On Speranskii, see V. A. Tomsinov, Speranskii (Moscow: Molodaia gvardiia, ); Marc Raeff, Michael Speransky: Statesman of Imperial Russia, – (The Hague: Nijhoff, ). His project is discussed in A. N. Medushevskii, Demokratiia i avtoritarizm: Rossiiskii konstitutsionalizm v sravnitel’noi perspektive (Moscow: ROSSPEN, ), pp. –. Among the voluminous literature on the Decembrists, see Vadim Parsamov, Dekabristy i russkoe obshchestvo, – gg. (Moscow: Algoritm, ); O. I. Kiianskaia, M. P. Odesskii, and D. M. Feld’man, eds., Dekabristy: aktual’nye problemy i novye podkhody (Moscow: Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi gumanitarnyi universitet, ); The Decembrist Movement, ed. Marc Raeff (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, ). Around this time, Aleksandr Kunitsyn (–) developed a defence of human dignity based on natural law and inspired by Adam Smith (the Wealth of Nations appeared in a -volume translation in – and was widely read). Kunitsyn was Aleksandr Pushkin’s (–) teacher, and is thought to have influenced his political ideas; both had many contacts with the Decembrists. On Kunitsyn, see Berest, Alexander Kunitsyn, . A draft constitution prepared by Nikita Murav’ëv (–) was inspired by the political system of the United States. Despite its failure to achieve its goals, the movement had a significant cultural impact (see Ludmilla A. Trigos, The Decembrist Myth in Russian Culture (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, )).



Freedom, Rights, and Progress

the Enlightenment idea of universal humanity and romanticism’s emphasis on the unique nature of individuals and national communities. ..

Westernizers and Slavophiles

A loose alliance of potentially divergent trends, Westernizers admired the progressive and democratic elements of Western Europe and subscribed to a Hegelian vision of the continuous development of the personality principle and individual freedom in history. They saw the achievement of freedom in Russia as part of the universalist Enlightenment project of rationally reconstructed social relations and liberation from traditional superstitions and faiths. By embracing a view of freedom as rational self-determination, Westernizers placed themselves within an influential strand of thinking which can be traced beyond Hegel via Kant to the eighteenth-century project to free individual consciousness from its subjection to dogma, tradition, and superstition. Their political conclusions, however, were not always liberal. Initially thinkers such as future anarchist Mikhail Bakunin (–) and Vissarion Belinskii (–) interpreted freedom as demanding reconciliation with existing reality as the expression of historical reason. But the reality of the reactionary reign of Nicholas I coexisted uneasily with its philosophical justification as an instrument for the realization of the transcendent goals of history. Both Belinskii and Bakunin went on to revolt against the quiescence of conservative historicism by interpreting the dialectic as a call for radical change. Other, more moderate Westernizers concluded that Russia was gradually, yet ineluctably, moving towards an increasingly modern, secular society along European lines, in which the autonomous personality would be protected by laws and rights. For them, history progressed via step-by-step convergence on liberal values. In various salons and circles in Russia’s major cities, Westernizer theories were opposed by Slavophile approaches to the questions of national identity, religion, freedom, and personhood. The core features of the Slavophile view of history were developed primarily by Ivan Kireevskii (–), who argued that the destructive influence of rational 

On the reception of Hegelianism in Russia, see the pioneering work by Dmitrii Chizhevskii, for example ‘Hegel in Russland’ (doctoral thesis, Halle, ); Gegel’ i filosofiia v Rossii: -e gg. XIX v.– -e gg. XX v., ed. V. E. Evgrafov et al. (Moscow: Nauka, ); Guy Planty-Bonjour, Hegel et la pensée philosophique en Russie, – (The Hague: Nijhoff, ); Siljak, ‘Between East and West’; Isaiah Berlin, Russian Thinkers, ed. Henry Hardy and Aileen Kelly (London: Penguin, ), pp. –.

Emergence of Russian Liberalism



philosophy in Western Europe produced citizens more concerned with pursuing personal advantage than maintaining their organic unifying bonds. By relying excessively on reason, citizens in the West had lost their capacity for achieving integral personhood, which included spiritual life. Writing in the s and s, Konstantin Aksakov (–) perhaps best articulated Slavophile views on the supposedly apolitical nature of the Russian people. He described the peasant commune in pre-Petrine Russia as an instance of ‘free unity’ in which the behaviour of individuals was regulated from ‘within’; that is, by the dictates of conscience and the living traditions embodied in communal life. He contrasted this with ‘external’ – political and juridical – relations which, in his view, irreparably damaged authentic moral reflection and spirituality. This contrast between ‘internal truth’ and ‘external law’ underpinned the broader Slavophile view of the state as a necessary evil. Freedom for the Slavophiles did not imply political or civil liberty, but rather ‘freedom from politics’ and was therefore compatible with an autocratic state that did not interfere in its citizens’ ways of life and time-honoured traditions (a covenant that Peter the Great broke). Concretely, Slavophiles were not particularly concerned with the means of protecting individual rights. They were in favour of politics remaining the exclusive prerogative of the government, which in turn should refrain from interfering in the inner lives and moral freedom of its subjects. While they advocated some limitations to autocracy, and demanded freedom of thought and association, they refused to endorse legal guarantees against absolute power because of the risks this would pose to a way of life that embodied the principles of faith, tradition, and custom. Despite its obvious conservatism, Slavophile depictions of a mutually respectful relationship between the people and the state aroused the suspicions of the government, who rightly saw in it a critique of the bureaucratic and allpervasive nature of absolutism. Indeed, in the s many who 





See Kireevskii’s unpublished article ‘V otvet A. S. Khomiakovu’ (), reprinted in Polnoe sobranie sochinenii v chetyrëkh tomax, ed. A. F. Malyshevskii (Kaluga: Grif, ), vol. , pp. – and his essay ‘O kharaktere prosveshcheniia Evropy i o ego otnoshenii k prosveshcheniiu Rossii. Pis’mo k grafu E. E. Komarovskomy’ (), ibid., pp. –. Other prominent Slavophiles include Aleksei Khomiakov (–), their leading mouthpiece on religious matters, and Iurii Samarin (–). On the debate, see Andrzej Walicki, The Slavophile Controversy: History of a Conservative Utopia in Nineteenth-Century Russian Thought, trans. Hilda Andrews-Rusiecka (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ). Nicholas I thought of himself as the heir to Peter the Great and wanted to be a European emperor rather than an ancient Russian Tsar. On the ‘liberal’ nature of Slavophile views, see Mikhail Suslov, “‘Slavophilism Is True Liberalism’: The Political Utopia of S. F. Sharapov (–)’, Russian History,  (), –.



Freedom, Rights, and Progress

considered themselves Slavophiles, such as Aleksandr Koshelev (–) and Iurii Samarin, wholeheartedly supported the notion of modernizing land reforms and played an important part in implementing them (see Chapter ). While the rejection of the principle of the rule of law as a safeguard for negative liberty is fundamentally illiberal, the Slavophile development of the romantic notion that the self is embodied in the world, and that social background and cultural values are an intrinsic part of who we are, was taken up by thinkers interested in the culture-specific aspects of freedom and reason. Their ideals and protest against the rationalization of social life directly influenced – among others – Aleksandr Herzen, Fëdor Dostoevskii, and Vladimir Solov’ëv. .. Statist Liberalism and Positive Liberty In the middle of the s, Russian Westernizers split into two groups: a more moderate one including the professor of history Timofei Granovskii and historian and jurist Konstantin Kavelin (–), and a radical faction, including Belinskii, Herzen, and Bakunin. In contrast to the latter, moderate Westernizers mistrusted revolution and argued that democratic and constitutional developments in Western Europe represented a model for Russia’s own future; Kavelin and Granovskii were part of a group Derek Offord refers to as ‘early Russian liberals’. Yet as they appropriated and reconstructed liberal arguments and practices in the light of Russian realities, this produced surprising results. Granovskii adopted a centrist interpretation of Hegel to argue that recent European history offered a prototype of the process of individual emancipation from external authority and customary traditions, and implied that Russia too must develop in the light of the universal laws of reason. This glorification of the state as a source of progress and freedom owed much to Hegel’s philosophy of history and depiction of the rationalistic state, as well as the Russian state’s perceived positive role in bringing about social change. Personal motivations mattered too: Granovskii was

  

They saw in the zemstvo local self-government structures, which were created in , a return to pre-Petrine ideas about self-government. Offord, Portraits of Early Russian Liberals. For a discussion of moderate Westernism, see also Roosevelt, Timofei Granovsky. See, for example, his essay ‘O sovremennom sostoianii i znachenii Vseobshchei Istorii’, reprinted in Sochineniia, th ed. (Moscow: Mamontov,  ()), pp. –.

Emergence of Russian Liberalism



widely remembered as a man of conciliatory temper, whose search for a unifying idea should be considered in the light of his desire to reconcile the divisions within the Russia of his time. Yet central to this variant of Westernism was Granovskii’s view of the historical role of ‘great men’ (Alexander the Great (– ), Charlemagne (742–814), and Peter the Great) supposedly sent by Providence. Granovskii did not baulk at the ruthlessness with which these rulers set about translating their vision into reality, at the expense of unfortunate individuals whose interests they claimed to protect. Kavelin, Granovskii’s friend and follower, further developed the latter’s Westernizing philosophy of history by applying it to Russia. His bestknown work, An Examination of Ancient Russia’s Juridical Life (Vzgliad na iuridicheskii byt drevnei Rossii, ), describes the Russian historical process as the gradual breaking down of traditional patrimonial relationships and their reconstitution on rational foundations (such as the reforms enacted by Peter the Great) more propitious for individual emancipation. Yet while he admired enlightened legislation and public figures, Kavelin also extolled brutal rulers such as Ivan the Terrible (reigned –) and Alexander the Great, and saw their reigns as exemplifying Hegel’s portrayal of the strong, centralized state. Like that of Granovskii, his reverence for such figures seems at odds with his commitment to the gradual emancipation of the individual from subjection to contingency, and may be best explained by the nature of the Russian regime he was compelled to take into account. Granovskii’s historical scholarship and Kavelin’s sociopolitical studies were important sources for subsequent thinkers, including Boris Chicherin and the historian Sergei Solov’ëv. These debates about Russia’s history and nationality took place against the backdrop of new developments in the country’s political scene. Russia’s defeat in the Crimean War in  and the death of Nicholas I offered new opportunities to engage in political practice. While the new Tsar Alexander II (reigned –) retained an essentially conservative mentality, he enacted a number of fundamental reforms designed to address the most pressing problems in Russian society. Emancipation and the land settlement edicts were proclaimed in , while zemstvo institutions set up in  were designed to modernize and democratize local self-government (mestnoe samoupravlenie). Significantly, they gave  

See Field, ‘Kavelin and Russian Liberalism’. Originally published in Sovremennik,  (), the essay is reprinted in his Sobranie sochinenii, [n. ed.],  vols. (St Petersburg: Glagolev, ), vol. , pp. –.



Freedom, Rights, and Progress

Russian citizens the chance to participate in elective institutions and the opportunity to address issues such as education, health services, infrastructure, and agriculture at the local level. The public mood, however, was far from appeased by these measures, and the intellectual gulf between government supporters and its radical opponents became increasingly impassable. Peasant riots, student disturbances, the arson fires of , the Polish rebellion of , the unsuccessful attempt on the life of Alexander II in  – all these were signs of protest against the fact that individual freedom continued to be ephemeral so long as the structure of tsarist absolutism remained intact. It was in the second half of the nineteenth century that the word liberal and its derivative liberalizm became common in political discourse, and that Boris Chicherin (–), a seminal figure for Russian liberal theory, articulated the country’s most comprehensive statement of statist liberalism. In an intellectual climate increasingly dominated by positivism (about which more will be said in Chapter ), Chicherin helped pioneer the revival of the idealist tradition in philosophy, and thus acted as a bridge between the Hegelianism of the s and the neo-idealism of the s–s. Like the earlier Westernizers inspired by Hegel, he perceived history as a slow, gradual process dependent on the unfolding of a metaphysical idea in concrete, historical time. Chicherin interpreted Russia’s historical experience of strong government in the light of a Hegelian scheme, yet he went further than other statist liberals in his association between Russia’s current imperial regime and Hegel’s rationalistic account of the modern state as a final synthesis in which the individual and general wills come together. The main influences on Chicherin’s conception of freedom were Hegel’s philosophy of history and defence of the law in Elements of the Philosophy of Right (Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts, ), and Kant’s account of personhood. Like Kant, Chicherin emphasized the metaphysical foundations of personhood and freedom, as well as the





On the reforms, see Daniel Field, The End of Serfdom: Nobility and Bureaucracy in Russia, – (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, ); The World of the Russian Peasant: post-emancipation Culture and Society, ed. Ben Eklof and Stephen Frank (Boston: Unwin Hyman, ); Velikaia reforma: Russkoe obshchestvo i krest’ianskii vopros v proshlom i nastoiashchem, ed. A. K. Dzhivelegov et al.,  vols. (Moscow: Sytin, ). On Chicherin, see Hamburg, Early Russian Liberalism; Walicki, Legal Philosophies, pp. –. On statist liberalism, see Pavel Miliukov, ‘Iuridicheskaia shkola v russkoi istoriografii (Solov’ëv, Kavelin, Chicherin, Sergeevich)’, RM,  (), –; V. E. Illeritskii, ‘O gosudarstvennoi shkole v russkoi istoriografii’, Voprosy istorii,  (), –.

Emergence of Russian Liberalism



notion that human beings must never be treated as a means, but rather as ends in themselves. He also closely followed Kant’s teachings on moral autonomy, referring to human conscience as the ‘expression of the individual’s internal freedom’, that place where human beings ‘are selfdetermining and therefore moral beings’. For him, the task of the law is to guarantee a sphere of non-interference in which moral decisions can be freely taken, thereby allowing human beings to fully realize their potential. In , Chicherin identified freedom of conscience as ‘the first and most sacred right of a citizen’, and later went on to link the defence of inner, moral freedom explicitly with religious belief. Throughout his work, he remained critical of the notion that government legislation could justifiably be used to regulate the ethical lives of individuals or go some way towards institutionalizing morality by legal means. In Walicki’s words, for Chicherin, distributive justice ‘always implies hierarchical subordination and arbitrary commands’, and socialism represented one of the main threats to Russia’s well-being. Chicherin’s understanding of the welfare state and democracy was informed by how he conceived of the logic of human history. He argued that while internal liberty derives immediately from human dignity, external liberty is determined by historical factors and the social, political, and legal awareness of citizens. Gary Hamburg summarizes Chicherin’s position thus: ‘we must logically believe in the possibility of realizing our inner dignity in the external world before we can actually build free institutions’. In the Russia of his time, where democratic thought was dominated by populist anti-liberal theories, this goes some way towards explaining his suspicion of self-determination via participation in the political process.



  

 

On Kant’s influence on Chicherin, see Randall A. Poole, ‘Kantian Foundations of Russian Liberal Theory: Human Dignity, Justice, and the Rule of Law’, presentation at conference ‘The Weimar Moment: Liberalism, Political Theology and Law’, University of Wisconsin,  October . ‘O nachalakh etiki’, VFP, :, bk  (), – (p. ). Filosofiia prava (St Petersburg: Nauka,  ()), for example pp. –. For the English translation, see his ‘Contemporary Tasks of Russian Life’, in Liberty, Equality and the Market: Essays by B. N. Chicherin, ed. and trans. G. M. Hamburg (New Haven: Yale University Press, ), pp. – (p. ). On freedom of conscience in Russia, see Paul Werth, The Tsar’s Foreign Faiths: Toleration and the Fate of Religious Freedom in Imperial Russia (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ).  See, for example, Filosofiia prava, pp. –. Legal Philosophies, p. . ‘Boris Chicherin and Human Dignity in History’, in Russian Philosophy, Hamburg and Poole, eds., pp. – (p. ); G. M. Hamburg, ‘Introduction: An Eccentric Vision: The Political Philosophy of B. N. Chicherin’, in his Equality and the Market, pp. – (pp. –).



Freedom, Rights, and Progress

Chicherin’s mistrust of democracy and respect for tradition was well received by supporters of the autocracy interested in limited reforms without disrupting the status quo. His refusal to make a clear distinction between the Hegelian Rechtsstaat and the imperial regime has led one historian of ideas to argue that his respect for the imperatives of reason and logic over the claims of individual freedom disqualifies him as a liberal. Moreover, the societal conditions required for self-development are conspicuous by their absence in Chicherin’s philosophy. For our purposes, more interesting is the question of whether his efforts to secure human freedom through the respect for the rule of law and rational political change sufficiently acknowledged liberalism’s internal conflicts. Evgenii Trubetskoi (–), a neo-idealist religious philosopher who admired Chicherin, described him as someone who ‘could not tolerate any amalgams, nor was able to make any concessions, compromises, or enter into agreements’. Chicherin, Trubetskoi observed, was searching for a ‘pure liberalism’ which did not exist in Russia. While certain elements of Chicherin’s writings sit uncomfortably with the philosophy of liberalism as understood today, his theory remained a powerful inspiration for subsequent defenders of liberalism in Russia. Russia’s Westernizers and theoreticians of statist liberalism such as Chicherin were partly inspired by Enlightenment universalism. While the defence of universal human values is not incompatible with forms of liberalism that acknowledge the conflicts between such values, teleological views of the historical process tend to present one set of liberties, that which they support, as the only legitimate one. For this reason, Westernizer claims that Russia’s development is governed by the same laws as in the West is a generalization that sits uneasily with a liberalism alive to the tensions between different concepts of freedom. The same is true of statist liberalism that reflects Enlightenment optimism about the ineluctable triumph of rational and scientific modes of thought, as well as the Hegelian notion, outlined in Philosophy of Right, that the ideal state has the potential to reconcile contradictions between the individual and society. In Russia, these assumptions were critically assessed both by liberalism’s detractors, as well as by subsequent generations who sought to recast its foundations without reference to a positivist view of history.

 

Aileen M. Kelly, Toward Another Shore, pp. –. Vospominaniia (Sofia: Rossiisko-bolgarskoe knigoizdatel’stvo, ), pp. –.

Individual Freedom and Social Justice



. Individual Freedom and Social Justice in Russian Thought While gradualist Westernism represents one important influence on early twentieth-century liberalism, a second strand of thought about freedom can be conceived as a loose continuum stretching from Aleksandr Herzen to Pëtr Lavrov and Nikolai Mikhailovskii, and beyond them to revisionist Marxism. Common to all these thinkers is a concern for the moral implications of a philosophical outlook in which a higher value – whether the laws of nature, a transcendent state, or a collectivity – downplays the importance of individual development. While they valued both positive and negative freedom, the thinkers examined in this section reordered the relationship between these concepts based on the specificities of the Russian situation. In some cases, this led them to discount the value of negative freedom enshrined in law in favour of the benefits of social justice. While this denial of the need to protect individual rights is one of the limitations of their views of personhood, it is important to remember that Herzen and his followers were attempting to provide an empirical solution to the problem of the relationship between positive and negative liberty. In Aileen Kelly’s words: ‘in the context of nineteenth-century Russia the populists’ option can be seen as no more utopian than the hopes of liberal constitutionalists’. ..

Aleksandr Herzen

Aleksandr Herzen (–) was the first to offer a philosophically elaborated statement of the nascent radical tradition; the non-authoritarian ‘Russian socialism’ that he began to develop in the s was founded on the belief that Russia could find a solution to the problems of inequality and bad governance by combining its native institutions with the most advanced philosophical doctrines of the West. Although his early work is infused with the kind of dialectical thinking made popular by Young Hegelians such as August Cieszkowski (–) and Ludwig Feuerbach (–), with its focus on the perpetual struggle required to achieve a higher stage of historical progress, by the late s Herzen rejected Hegelian ideas of historical necessity in favour of a more voluntaristic



Toward Another Shore, p. .



Freedom, Rights, and Progress

philosophy of history in which free will plays a crucial role. In his book From the Other Shore (S togo berega, ), he proclaims his mistrust of all teleological positions in favour of the unpredictability of the historical process. History, he writes, has ‘no libretto’, and from this ‘one thing alone is clear; that one should make use of life, of the present’. History is not a random process, as probabilities and laws exist, but rather an ‘improvisation’ based on a specific set of circumstances and possibilities available at any given historical moment. Herzen’s views of life and history are bound up with his claims concerning the inviolability and sanctity of the individual person. ‘The liberty of the individual is the greatest thing of all’, he wrote in , ‘it is on this and on this alone that the true will of the people can develop’. From these premises concerning personhood and freedom, Herzen derived his theory of socialism based on his belief that Russia could avoid the ordeal of capitalist development by using a federative model based on its peasant commune. As a justification for this approach, he quoted John Stuart Mill’s view of freedom and his rejection of the idea that development is a linear advance towards a single goal in support of the human right to self-direction and alternative development models. Liberty, Herzen concludes, can be achieved only where cooperative principles are harmonized with the drives of individuals to self-fulfilment, a situation which both Russia and the West had yet to attain. To accomplish his ideal vision, he campaigned in favour of wide-ranging, immediate reforms to be enacted preferably by the government, but if necessary following a revolution from below. As might be expected, Herzen clashed



 

 



Among the substantial literature on Herzen, see especially Berlin, ‘Herzen and Bakunin on Individual Liberty’ and ‘Alexander Herzen’, in Russian Thinkers, pp. –, –; Martin Malia, Alexander Herzen and the Birth of Russian Socialism, – (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, ); Aileen Kelly, The Discovery of Chance: The Life and Thought of Alexander Herzen (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, ); Toward Another Shore; Views from the Other Shore. From the Other Shore and the Russian People and Socialism, intro. Isaiah Berlin, trans. Moura Budberg and Richard Wollheim (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ), pp. , . Ibid., p. . For a study that emphasizes the role of improvisation in Herzen’s thought, see Ruslan Khestanov, Aleksandr Gertsen: Improvizatsiia protiv doktriny (Moscow: Dom intellektual’noi knigi, ). From the Other Shore, p. . Thus, Herzen and conservative, religious Slavophile thinkers both considered the peasant commune a native Russian institution that could help the country avoid the ordeals of capitalist development. Aileen Kelly, in her Discovery of Chance, discusses the sources and limitations of the attraction of Slavophile thought for Herzen. On Herzen’s affinities with Mill, see Kelly, Views from the Other Shore, pp. –.

Individual Freedom and Social Justice



with a Westernizer like Chicherin over the latter’s ideological commitment to Russia’s slow evolution in the direction of European democracy. In particular, Chicherin countered that Herzen, by calling for revolution and failing to advocate slow, patient changes designed to ensure a ‘peaceful and lawful outcome’, had failed to understand the proper development of history in the direction of a rule-of-law state. The dispute between Herzen and gradualist Westernizers in the s highlights some of the difficulties in determining where the boundaries of liberalism might be drawn. Herzen’s exaltation of individual liberty, his opposition to the Russian autocratic state, and his rejection of a conservative interpretation of Hegel bear witness to his support for the idea of negative freedom. Moreover, his emphasis on maintaining a dynamic equilibrium between individual liberty and social cohesion, and his sense that there are a multitude of answers to that problem represent fundamentally liberal preoccupations. Yet the importance of his defence of freedom and personhood notwithstanding, Herzen remains a controversial figure in the liberal canon. His criticisms of the record of the Western institutions of his time, including parliamentary democracy and the rule of law, are unsettling for those who associate liberalism with the protection of liberty by legal, political, and institutional safeguards. The academic differences over Herzen’s intellectual legacy turn, in part, on the vexed question of the definition of liberalism itself. ..

Russian Populism

In the latter half of the nineteenth century, Herzen’s ideas were taken up and reworked by the leading theorists of Russia’s populist movement, Pëtr Lavrov (–) and Nikolai Mikhailovskii (–). Following Herzen, they rejected the assumption that progress follows a   





See Hamburg, Early Russian Liberalism, pp. –. ‘Obvinitel’nyi akt’ (title given by Herzen), Kolokol,  December , pp. – (p. ). On this issue, see Aileen Kelly (A. Kelli), ‘Byl li Gertsen liberalom?’, trans. S. Silakova and E. Kanishcheva, Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie,  (), in Gor’kii Media, https://magazines .gorky.media/nlo///byl-li-gerczen-liberalom.html [accessed  October ], where she answers a resounding ‘yes’. In the tradition of Isaiah Berlin, Kelly identifies Herzen as a precursor who provided distinctive answers to fundamental liberal preoccupations. See Gary Hamburg and Randall Poole, ‘Introduction’, in Russian Philosophy, ed. Hamburg and Poole, pp. – (p. ); Derek Offord, ‘Alexander Herzen’, ibid., pp. – (pp. –); Walicki, Legal Philosophies, pp. –. On the movement, see Franco Venturi, Roots of Revolution: A History of the Populist and Socialist Movements in Nineteenth-Century Russia (New York: Knopf, ); Arthur P. Mendel, Dilemmas of Progress in Tsarist Russia: Legal Marxism and Legal Populism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University



Freedom, Rights, and Progress

predetermined pattern, because of the threat this posed to individual freedom. Populists considered the individual ‘sacred’ and ‘inviolable’, and devoted much of their work to refuting the arguments of those socialists who emphasized common goals over the sanctity of individual life. In contrast to those who sought to apply methods from the natural sciences to study the development of history (such as positivist evolutionists who subscribed to the theories of Herbert Spencer and social Darwinism), legal populists favoured a ‘subjective method’ designed to explain social life and the moral decisions of individuals. For them, the fact that knowledge of the world is inevitably mediated by the conscious subject, and varies according to time, space, and any given person’s ethical standards, also means that values are relative, not absolute. Observing the Russia of their time, Lavrov and Mikhailovskii concluded that the maximum personal development of peasants could only be achieved following the resolution of pressing social and economic problems. The protection of natural rights via constitutionalism and liberal parliamentarism, albeit a valid aspiration in itself, risked being instrumentalized and manipulated against the interests of the majority of the population. In  Mikhailovskii reflected as follows on the tension between individual freedom and social justice in Russia’s unequal society: ‘freedom is a great and tempting thing, but we do not want [political freedom, freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, and so on] if, as in Europe, it only increases our longstanding debt to the people’. As Walicki has claimed, for Mikhailovskii and his followers, ‘this rejection of freedom meant the victory of conscience (a sense of moral duty) over honour (a feeling for one’s rights)’. Individual and political freedom, in short, was trumped by the claims of social justice. The concerns of the populist movement with social redistribution, individual freedom, and their mistrust of the benefits of capitalist development directed its leaders towards socialism. The populists of the s and s highlighted the advantages of the principles organizing peasant life,





 

Press, ); B. P. Baluev, Liberal’noe narodnichestvo na rubezhe XIX–XX vekov (Moscow: Nauka, ). See, for example, N. K. Mikhailovskii, ‘Pis’ma o pravde i nepravde ( g.)’, in Sochineniia N. K. Mikhailovskogo, [n. ed.],  vols. (St Petersburg: Russkoe bogatstvo, –), vol. , pp. – (pp. –). In this context the adjective ‘legal’ distinguishes those who published in legal journals and who favoured more moderate programmes and tactics from those who were active in illegal propaganda and underground activities. ‘Literaturnye zametki  g.’, in Sochineniia N. K. Mikhailovskogo, vol. , pp. – (p. ). Legal Philosophies, p. .

Individual Freedom and Social Justice



including cooperation and the custom of collective decision-making within the communes, and elaborated a vision of Russia’s future society as a federation of socialist, self-governing units that had notable similarities with Herzen’s. Their legacy for Russian liberalism, meanwhile, consists in both their conscious engagement with the clash between positive and negative liberty, and their desire to provide an empirical solution to the problem of social justice. For subsequent generations of liberally inclined thinkers, the populists’ cultural relativism and ethical subjectivism was philosophically suspect, but its merit lay in its attempt to recast the individual person as the moral foundation of politics. .. From Marxism to Idealism As the examples of Herzen and the populists show, thinkers who framed similar critiques of the political, social, and economic bases of Western society differed in the remedies they proposed for Russian society. Following the arrest of its leaders in the s and the progressive destruction of the peasant commune through industrialization, the populist movement lost much of its potential to act as an intellectual inspiration. Marxists took advantage of the situation to argue that populists were simply blind to ‘objective’ facts: Russian society was developing according to the ineluctable laws of history as interpreted by the theorists of the Marxist alliance, the Second International. As advanced by its founder, Georgii Plekhanov (–), Russian Marxist theory presented conscious, rational identification with the principles of necessity as the ultimate realization of freedom. Drawing on Friedrich Engels’s (–) interpretation of Hegel, expounded in his Anti-Du¨hring (), Plekhanov adopted a fatalistic approach that stressed the identity between the ‘ought’ (das Sollen) and the ‘is’ (das Sein). In this positivistic reduction, freedom and necessity are virtually identical; 

 

Another telling example can be found by contrasting the views of Nikolai Chernyshevskii and Fëdor Dostoevskii (the first an adamant materialist, the second concerned with exploring the reality of religious experience), who developed similar critiques of the bourgeois individualism they associated with the West. These ideas were first articulated in Winter Notes on Summer Impressions (), Dostoevskii’s record of his travels in Western Europe, and taken up again in his novel The Adolescent (). Chernyshevskii’s criticisms of European liberalism are developed in a series of articles on French political history, including ‘The Party Struggle in France in the Reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles X’ (), ‘Cavaignac’ (), and ‘The July Monarchy’ (). On the Marxist–populist controversy, see Shmuel Galai, The Liberation Movement in Russia, – (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. –. For a concise overview of Marx’s conception of freedom, see Andrzej Walicki, ‘The Marxian Conception of Freedom’, in Conceptions of Liberty, ed. Pelczynski and Gray, pp. –.



Freedom, Rights, and Progress

Plekhanov describes the principle of necessity as ‘an absence of freedom [which] at the same time [is] its fullest manifestation’. This emphasis on the affinity between individual freedom and the objective laws of history pushed Russian thinkers towards comprehensive visions of social development that tended to discount the tensions between different kinds of freedom and conceived of social harmony as an attainable future goal. Yet even as Marxist theory was gaining new adherents in Russia, it was being undermined in Europe at both the theoretical and practical levels. The travails of nineteenth-century European history offered little support for Marx’s description of a revolutionary dialectic, according to which the struggle between social classes inevitably culminated in the seizure of power by the proletariat via revolution. Revisionist theories in Germany, including those of Eduard Bernstein (–), challenged the idea that a revolution conducted by force was a necessary precursor to a socialist society, and pointed to the fact that socialism could have an evolutionary character. It was in the broader context of the realignment in Russian public opinion away from grand historical narratives that several prominent Russian Marxists drew on Kantian philosophy to subject their former conceptions of freedom to radical critiques. In a process that will be examined in more detail in Chapter , legal Marxist theorists Pëtr Struve, Nikolai Berdiaev, Sergei Bulgakov, and Semën Frank completed a transition known, following the title of Bulgakov’s personal account of the process, as From Marxism to Idealism (Ot marksizma k idealizmu, ). The central target of this realignment was the Marxist denial of 







‘K voprosu o roli lichnosti v istorii’, Nauchnoe obozrenie, – (), reprinted in Izbrannye filosofskie proizvedeniia v  tomax (Moscow: Izdatel’stvo sotsial’no-ekonomicheskoi literatury, –), vol. , pp. – (p. ). See also his K voprosu o razvitii monisticheskogo vzgliada na istoriiu, th ed. (St Petersburg: Obshchestvennaia pol’za,  ()). See his series of articles ‘Probleme des Sozialismus’, published in Die Neue Zeit, –, and his Die Voraussetzungen des Sozialismus und die Aufgaben der Sozialdemokratie (Stuttgart: Dietz Nachf, ). In a preliminary period the theories of Marx and Kant were seen as compatible: see Leszek Kolakowski, Main Currents of Marxism: The Founders, the Golden Age, the Breakdown, trans. P. S. Falla, nd ed. (London: Norton, ), pp. –. Classic studies of the philosophical evolution of these thinkers include Richard Kindersley, The First Russian Revisionists: A Study of ‘Legal Marxism’ in Russia (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ); Mendel, Dilemmas of Progress. Autobiographical accounts include Ot marksizma k idealizmu: sbornik statei (–) (St Petersburg: Obshchestvennaia pol’za, ); Struve, Na raznye temy (– gg.): sbornik statei (St Petersburg: Tipografiia Kolpinskogo, ); Berdiaev, Russkaia ideia, pp. – and his Samopoznanie: opyt filosofskoi avtobiografii (Paris: YMCA Press,  ()), pp. –. These thinkers were called legal Marxists because they believed in ‘legal’ methods of political activity and interpreted Marxism as a theory that confirmed the need for the capitalist

Religious Liberalism and Positive Liberty



universal values, and the ramifications of this for human freedom. One fundamental error of positivism, legal Marxists pointed out, was to reduce ethical ideas to empirical reality, and to subordinate them to the idea of historical lawfulness (zakonomernost’). To undermine this premise, they pointed to the role of individual consciousness in revealing absolute values and emphasized that the individual person must be the measure of the absolute good, and thus must be regarded always as an end and never as a means. ‘The individual as an end in itself (samotsel’)’, Berdiaev wrote, ‘represents for us a formal and objective norm’. The legal Marxists agreed that freedom is a prerequisite for morality, though, as we shall see, further agreement among them was tenuous. Yet for the time being they found common cause in their condemnation of the philosophical deficiencies of Marxism, and their desire to reclaim the unique potential of individual freedom against the reduction of individual persons to ‘products’ of historical development.

. Religious Liberalism and Positive Liberty (Vladimir Solov’ëv) The final section of this chapter considers the contribution to liberalism of Vladimir Solov’ëv (–), and in particular the force of his appeal to the right for a dignified human existence, resting on a religiously inspired view of personhood. As Russia’s greatest religious philosopher, and an early critic of the merits of positivism and Marxism, Solov’ëv provided a powerful legacy for late imperial liberalism via his conception of the interventionist welfare state that not only recognized the right of its citizens to a dignified existence, but actively enabled them to achieve it. In contrast to Chicherin, the other major intellectual influence on



  



development of Russian society. See Kindersley, First Russian Revisionists, Appendix II: ‘The Origin of the Terms “Legal Marxist” and “Legal Marxism”’, pp. – and n.  above. See, for example, Nikolai Berdiaev, Sub”ektivizm i individualizm v obshchestvennoi filosofii. Kriticheskii etiud o N. K. Mikhailovskom, intro. Pëtr Struve (Moscow: Astrel’,  (); Sergei Bulgakov, ‘O zakonomernosti sotsial’nykh iavlenii’, VFP, :, bk  (), –. See P. B. Struve (P. G.), ‘Toward Characterization of Our Philosophical Development’, in PI, pp. – (p. ). Sub”ektivizm i individualizm, p. . See, in particular, part III of his influential work Opravdanie dobra: nravstvennaia filosofiia Vladimira Solov’ëva (St Petersburg: Tipografiia Stasiulevicha, ); cited here from The Justification of the Good: An Essay on Moral Philosophy, ed. Boris Jakim, trans. Nathalie A. Duddington (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, ), pp. –, –, –. See Walicki, Legal Philosophies, pp. –; Paul Valliere, ‘Vladimir Soloviev (–)’, in The Teachings of Modern Christianity: On Law, Politics, and Human Nature, ed. John Witte Jr. and Frank S. Alexander,  vols. (New York: Columbia University Press, ), vol. , pp. –



Freedom, Rights, and Progress

the period, Solov’ëv advanced the idea that a government should create the conditions necessary for individuals to be self-sufficient, and this notion formed the core of his conception of positive freedom. At the same time, while his theory can be selectively appropriated for liberalism, Solov’ëv’s support for a theocratic utopianism, which violated the principle of freedom of conscience and rejected the notion of the necessary autonomy of the church and the state, cannot be easily classified within a selfconsciously liberal tradition. In Solov’ëv’s account of selfhood, individuals combine three principles within themselves – the divine (religious or mystical), the material, and rational autonomy (reason and morality) – and he associated the fullest development of personhood with the realization of individuals’ divine potential (bogochelovechestvo) and union with God. Yet rational autonomy has a crucial role to play in the process by guiding our aspirations to perfect ourselves. It is only in the exercise of free will to choose a moral course of action that individuals draw closer to God: ‘the divine content must be appropriated by a human being from within himself, consciously and freely’. As Poole points out, in this way Solov’ëv’s ‘concept of Godmanhood strikingly combines Orthodox theological ideas of deification (theosis) with a Kantian conception of human autonomy (or morality)’. Beginning with his doctoral dissertation, ‘A Critique of Abstract Principles’ (Kritika otvlechënnykh nachal, ), Solov’ëv clearly marked out his differences with the Slavophile approach to individual rights by emphasizing that these rights must be enshrined in and protected by law. His major treaty on ethics and the philosophy of law, The Justification of the Good (Opravdanie dobra, ), is a defence of the notion that personal freedom in the negative sense is a condition ‘apart from which human dignity and higher moral development are impossible’. Yet by defining



 



(pp. –); A. F. Losev, Vladimir Solov’ëv i ego vremia, ed. L. V. Blinnikov (Moscow: Progress, ), pp. –. See P. L. Mikhel’son (Patrick Lally Michelson), ‘Svoboda sovesti i ogranichennost’ zapadnogo predstavleniia o liberal’nosti Solov’ëva’, Solov’ëvskie issledovaniia,  (), – [in English: ‘Freedom of Conscience and the Limits of the Western Interpretation of a Liberal Solov’ëv’]; Randall A. Poole, ‘Utopianism, Idealism, Liberalism: Russian Confrontations with Vladimir Solov’ëv’, Modern Greek Studies Yearbook, – (–), –. Randall Poole, ‘Vladimir Solov'ëv's Philosophical Anthropology: Autonomy, Dignity, Perfectibility’, in Russian Philosophy, ed. by Hamburg and Poole, pp. –, here –. ‘Istoricheskie dela filosofii’ (), reprinted in Sobranie sochinenii Vladimira Sergeevicha Solov’ëva, ed. S. M. Solov’ëv and E. L. Radlov, nd ed.,  vols. (St Petersburg: Knigoizdatel’skoe tovarishchestvo Prosveshchenie, –), vol. , pp. – (p. ), cited ibid., p. .  Poole, ‘Kantian Foundations’, p. . Justification of the Good, p. .

Religious Liberalism and Positive Liberty



legal justice ‘as a compulsory demand for the realisation of a definite minimum of the good, or for a social order which excludes certain manifestations of evil’, Solov’ëv gave the notion of a legal order a positive component as well. In addition to a sphere of external liberty, the realization of human potential involves securing certain means of existence including education, food, medical assistance, and even ‘clothes and a warm and airy dwelling’, ‘sufficient physical rest’, and leisure ‘for the sake of [one’s] spiritual development’. The positive element in Solov’ëv’s theory of freedom was derived from his religiously inspired view of an objective, moral universal order in which all beings have the right to a dignified existence by virtue of being human. For him, the coherence in God’s world derived from the principle of allunity (vsëedinstvo), according to which history is the unfolding of a divine plan in which all nations and individuals play a preordained role, is also the justification for enshrining the principles of social justice in law. In Solov’ëv’s words: ‘[f]reedom is the necessary subject matter (soderzhanie) of all law, while equality is its necessary form’. The freedom and equality of individuals, in his view, are what give positive law its normative content and guarantee the freedom of all. There is a scholarly disagreement around Solov’ëv’s liberalism that, to a large degree, turns on his commitment to the idea of freedom of conscience. Solov’ëv’s description of the Russian state as a potentially ideal theocracy able to oversee the realization of the Kingdom of God on earth (tsarstvo Bozhie na zemle) has been justly described as ‘mystical utopianism’, and has little in common with the idea of a provisional balance between competing goals. As Patrick Michelson puts it, this project ‘was not grounded in the tenets of political and civic liberalism, but in a universalist Christian narrative about returning to the Church and inspired by Slavophile thought’. Yet in the debate as to whether materialistic socialism, positivism, and utilitarian realism could provide sound philosophical foundations for individual freedom, Solov’ëv made a key contribution. He was an important source for subsequent liberals because    



 Ibid., p. . Ibid., pp. , . Kritika otvlechënnykh nachal, reprinted in Sobranie sochinenii Solov’ëva, ed. Solov’ëv and Radlov, vol. , pp. – (p. ). Patrick Lally Michelson presents the debate well in his ‘Svoboda sovesti’ [in English]. Ruth Coates, ‘Religious Renaissance in the Silver Age’, in A History of Russian Thought, ed. William Leatherbarrow and Derek Offord (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. – (p. ). ‘Svoboda sovesti’, p. .



Freedom, Rights, and Progress

of his Kantian-inspired view of personhood and engagement with the idea that each society ought to recognize the right to a dignified existence of its members. Because Solov’ëv valued both negative and positive liberty, and sought to anchor these concepts in a level of trans-empirical being, he laid the groundwork for the attempts of late imperial Russian neo-idealists to raise liberalism to an ontological level. As we shall see in the next chapter, they drew on Solov’ëv’s ideas while attempting to anchor liberal values in an idealist outlook, even as they remained divided among themselves on the extent to which a tension between conceptions of liberty is a fruitful starting point for a theory of social reform.

 

Progress, Contested Positivist and Neo-Idealist Liberalism

In , the neo-Kantian philosopher Boris Iakovenko (–) expressed the following view of recent developments in Russian philosophical thought: After fifty years during which Russian philosophy could be characterized by two terms – ‘positivist Weltanschauung’ – philosophical questions are starting to take on a new importance in Russian society . . . Simultaneously, we are also witnessing a revival of interest in religious questions . . . So there is a danger that we will careen away from a positivist Weltanschauung and fall into the embrace of a religious-metaphysical one.

Iakovenko is referring to an important debate conducted by Russian intellectuals in the decades before the  revolution as to the relative value of a worldview founded on empirical–positivist principles as opposed to metaphysical–religious ones. Russian liberal philosophers and social thinkers took prominent roles in this debate, and used both positivist and neo-idealist philosophical assumptions to defend their views of selfhood, freedom, and history. While the previous chapter examined the views of human nature and freedom that influenced the liberal tradition in pre- Russia, the present one addresses the engagement of Russian thinkers with notions of freedom and selfhood in the context of the articulation of two different concepts of liberalism at the turn of the twentieth century. Both positivism and neo-idealism, I argue, contained the philosophical resources to support a commitment to both positive and negative liberty, and yet not all of their variants were liberal. In Russia, positivist liberalism was associated with some of the most prominent leaders of liberal politics, including the future head of the Kadet Party, Pavel Miliukov, who adhered to a positivist view of the historical process, characterized by a general belief that history is developing in the 

‘O zadachakh filosofii v Rossii’ (), reprinted in Moshch’ filosofii (St Petersburg: Nauka, ), pp. – (pp. –).





Progress, Contested

direction of progress, individual freedom, and social justice. Rejecting the idea that ethics are grounded in a metaphysical or religious absolute, positivist liberals approached moral action as choosing between a number of competing conceptions of the good, which are themselves socially generated. Representatives of neo-idealist liberalism, on the other hand, resisted the concept of historical lawfulness (zakonomernost’) because of the threat they felt it posed to individuality and to freedom. In general, neoidealists emphasized aspects of human consciousness and experience that go beyond the realm of positively given data, and this was also the source of their conviction that human beings have an absolute value and can never be sacrificed for any goal related to political expediency. While this chapter treats the theories of freedom of both positivist and neo-idealist thinkers, it gives primary consideration to neo-idealist liberals. Recent scholarship in Slavic studies, particularly by Randall Poole and Modest Kolerov, has done much to elucidate their theoretical sophistication, their religious and theological concerns, and their relevance for Russian philosophy more widely. My analysis draws on existing research, but it seeks to provide a unique perspective by approaching the commitment of neo-idealist thinkers to potential tensions between values as an interpretative paradigm through which to assess their liberalism. Against the background of the development of positivism and neo-idealism, the experience of Russian liberals in a revolutionary period and the conclusions they drew from it pose in acute fashion some of the most fundamental questions concerning the limits and remit of liberalism. Before I proceed to an analysis of the early writings of the main protagonists of these two schools, it is important to understand that the debate between Russian positivists and neo-idealists is best considered as part of a pan-European reassessment of many fundamental positivist assumptions that inspired the Russian Silver Age. By the end of the nineteenth century, the widespread fascination with science and progress in the West was matched with a search of equal intensity for new conceptual frameworks and methodological approaches. Thinkers with varied intellectual backgrounds sought to assail positivist views of freedom and



In addition to the multiple works by Poole already cited, see his ‘Sergei Kotliarevskii and the Rule of Law in Russian Liberal Theory’, Dialogue and Universalism,  (), –. Kolerov’s writings include Sbornik ‘Problemy idealizma’ (). Istoriia i kontekst (Moscow: Tri Kvadrata, ); Ne mir, no mech. Russkaia religiozno-filosofskaia pechat’ ot ‘Problemy idealizma’ do ‘Vekh’ – (St Petersburg: Aleteiia, ); (M. A. Kudrinskii), ‘Arkhivnaia istoriia sbornika “Problemy idealizma” ()’, Voprosy filosofii,  (), –.

Positivist and Anti-positivist Conceptions of Freedom



selfhood from different angles, and to defend the general thesis that positivism offered an insufficient philosophical basis for protecting individual freedom.

. Positivist and Anti-positivist Conceptions of Freedom in the European fin de siècle ..

Positivism

Associated with the desire of Auguste Comte (–) and Herbert Spencer (–) to investigate human problems scientifically, without recourse to metaphysics, by the late nineteenth century positivism came to signify the application of the methods and laws of the natural sciences to all spheres of human knowledge, including history, culture, and social life. Adherents of positivism generally subscribed to reductionism, that is the idea that metaphysical speculations that go beyond the realm of sensory experience are meaningless and, in keeping with their rejection of a domain of values existing independently of natural phenomena, a belief in the historicity and relativity of all human values. In general, positivist thought has been allied with an optimistic view of history, according to which societies across the globe will progressively discard those traditional attachments and values unable to withstand the critique of reason. While the general appeal of using empirical methodology in social life is old, the cult of scientific progress and belief in laws of historical progress reached new heights in the second half of the nineteenth century. Described by a well-known historian as ‘the most pervasive intellectual tenet’ of the s, positivism was bolstered by the advances in mathematics, astronomy, physics, and chemistry, their dependence on the positive laws of science, and potential unification in a Newtonian physical universe. The publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species () was hailed as proof that biology had also reached the positive state, and reinforced the conviction of positivist sympathizers that the human 

 

The following section draws on Melissa Lane, ‘Positivism: Reactions and Developments’, in Twentieth-Century Political Thought, ed. Ball and Bellamy, pp. –; Leszek Kolakowski, The Alienation of Reason: A History of Positivist Thought, trans. Norbert Guterman (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, ). For an overview, see Walter Michael Simon, European Positivism in the Nineteenth Century: An Essay in Intellectual History (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, ). H. S. Hughes, Consciousness and Society: The Reorientation of European Social Thought, – (London: MacGibbon & Kee, ), p. .



Progress, Contested

sciences, Geisteswissenschaften, could also be approached using rational and experimental modes of thought. In their most reductive forms, positivist assumptions concerning the possibility of the scientific prevision of social and cultural developments constitute a fundamental threat to individual freedom, and are incompatible with liberalism as defined here. The idea of historical inevitability, in particular, poses an existential threat to negative freedom because it links personal identity with an awareness of the direction in which the world is inexorably moving. To the extent that history follows a predetermined course, free will, moral responsibility, and human dignity lose value. Some of Comte’s and Spencer’s followers subscribed to a fatalistic belief in the power of environmental and hereditary factors to determine the course of human life, while Marxist emphasis on the economic and socially conditioned aspects of human life presents a form of positivism which diminishes the importance of the self-development of each individual person. Today the consensus among historians is that such views are ethically suspect, and seem to be empirically wrong as well. Describing the positivist view of history as the belief ‘that all societies across the globe will gradually discard their traditional attachments . . . because of the need for rational, scientific and experimental modes of thought which a modern industrial economy involves [,] [and] that there must be a step-by-step convergence on liberal values, on “our values”’, Stuart Hampshire concludes that it has been roundly disproved: ‘We now know there is no “must” about it and that all such theories have a predictive value of zero’. Yet in its more nuanced incarnations, positivist thinkers underscored the heuristic value of a ruling idea about historical progress, without excluding the importance of psychological factors in human life. John Stuart Mill, for example, broadly shared the Comtean attachment to the idea of a science of society and the notion of humanity’s progressive development in the direction of freedom. At the same time, Mill never envisaged using the idea of progress to justify the curtailment of the

  

Offord frames the problem in a similar way in his ‘Alexander Herzen’, pp. –. For a survey of the complexity of the relationship between positivism and Marxism, see Hughes, Consciousness and Society, pp. –. ‘Justice Is Strife’, Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association,  (), – (–), cited in John Gray, Two Faces of Liberalism (New York: New Press, ), p. . See also William Pfaff, ‘How Much “Progress” Have We Made?’, New York Review of Books,  (), –. For an opposing view that highlights progress in history, see, for example, Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and Its Causes (London: Allen Lane, ).

Positivist and Anti-positivist Conceptions of Freedom



individual freedoms associated with a sphere of negative liberty, or the dominance of one conception of freedom at the expense of another. He differed from a number of positivists in his emphasis on the psychology of self-formation and the importance of the cultural conditions in which freedom can be achieved. As we saw in the Introduction, it is difficult to ground a liberal defence of the inherently progressive development of history and individuals in empirical fact, but such a position may still be compatible with support for different kinds of freedom and an awareness of their differing aims. ..

Anti-positivism

By the end of the nineteenth century, the widespread fascination with science and progress in the West was matched by a significant revolt against the view that the future development of human societies could be planned according to scientific laws. Major social and economic changes, including accelerated industrialization, the recession lasting roughly between  and  commonly referred to as the ‘Long Depression’, and new opportunities for the expression of the political aspirations of the lower classes contributed to a sense that old practices and assumptions in social thought were being surpassed by new realities. In a number of scientific fields (physics, for example), positivist postulates based on the Newtonian physical universe were increasingly difficult to reconcile with current experimental results. New insights into the subjective element of individual life and human consciousness, as well as the unconscious and irrational aspects of urges and desires, all contributed to a critical revision of collectivist and determinist views of social development. While not hostile to science or rationalism per se, anti-positivists in different fields searched intensively for new conceptual apparatuses to refute the materialist and positivist worldviews that had dominated the latter half of the nineteenth century. Neo-idealism was one current (along with mysticism, pragmatism, and others) enlisted to disprove the idea that mental or cultural phenomena are

 

John Gray, Mill on Liberty: A Defence, nd ed. (London: Routledge, ), p. . On Mill’s relationship to positivism, see Simon, European Positivism, pp. –. Surveys of the cultural and intellectual history of the epoch include Hughes, Consciousness and Society; Robert Wohl, The Generation of  (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, ); Fin de siècle and Its Legacy, ed. Mikulás Teich and Roy Porter (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ).



Progress, Contested

subject to the same laws as natural sciences. The fundamental premise of idealism is that the mind and its ideals are not merely epiphenomena of the brain. Ideals have their own causal power, which for philosophical idealism indicates that there is more to reality than the physical world. This premise offered a natural counterbalance to the positivist emphasis on the empirical. In Germany, different neo-Kantian movements – the Marburg School, centred on the works published by Hermann Cohen (–), and the Southwest German (or Baden) School, led by Wilhelm Windelband (–) – sought to redefine the limits and scope of the natural sciences as part of the ‘war against positivism’ Windelband had declared in . While some neo-idealists limited their critiques of scientism to strictly methodological questions, for others, the celebration of consciousness as the indispensable basis of both knowledge and freedom led them to supplement Kant’s theory with increasingly religious and even mystical insights. As we saw in Chapter , the implications of idealism for liberalism were complex and ambivalent. Yet the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries witnessed a number of attempts by thinkers as varied as T. H. Green, D. G. Ritchie (–), Benedetto Croce (–), and Guido de Ruggiero (–) to explore idealism’s capacity for providing a viable metaphysic for liberal politics. In general, these thinkers and others saw in idealism the philosophical foundation for linking freedom more explicitly with morality, and for the idea of a community in which individual desires can work towards the realization of the collective good. As intimated in the Introduction, Green emphasized freedom in the positive sense, which he characterized as ‘the liberation of the powers of all men equally for contributions to a common good’. He combined an idealist belief that the self-realization of each individual person tends towards the unity of all in a single, eternal self-consciousness, which he identified with God, and a conviction that state legislation must be







Following Poole, I use the term neo-idealism to refer to idealist philosophies of the last third of the nineteenth century and the first quarter of the twentieth century, which were indebted to Kant but had other philosophical influences as well. See his ‘Review: Kant i filosofiia v Rossii’, Slavic Review,  (), – (p. ). See Hughes, Consciousness and Society, p. . Good surveys include Hans-Ludwig Ollig, ‘NeoKantianism’, trans. Jane Michael and Nicholas Walker, in Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Edward Craig et al.,  vols. (London: Routledge, ), vol. , pp. –; Herbert Schnädelbach, Philosophie in Deutschland, – (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, ). ‘Lecture on Liberal Legislation and Freedom of Contract’ (), in Works of Thomas Hill Green, ed. R. L. Nettleship,  vols. (London: Longmans and Green, ), vol. , pp. – (p. ).

Positivist and Anti-positivist Conceptions of Freedom



concerned with enabling individuals to act autonomously and therefore pursue the common good. The contribution of idealism to the development of ‘new’ liberalism notwithstanding, a holistic view of experience based on notions such as a ‘single, eternal self-consciousness’ creates problems for the defence of negative freedom. Following the First World War and the rise of authoritarian regimes in the s and the s, idealist metaphysics were criticized for justifying political doctrines that denied the tensions between conceptions of liberty and identified the putative will of the individual with the general will of the state. More recently, John Rawls has argued that metaphysical systems pose a danger to the moral responsibility and free will that characterize liberalism. While the Russian neo-idealists most pertinent for this study sought to carefully balance material necessity with spiritual freedom, not all idealisms were liberal in their application. While neo-idealists countered positivist views of the rational agent by emphasizing the importance of subjective consciousness, thinkers including Sigmund Freud (–), Henri Bergson (–), and Max Weber (–) – to name but a few luminaries of the era – complemented their analysis by exploring the role of the unconscious in behaviour and the irrational origins of sentiments. The insights of Friedrich Nietzsche (–) into the natural drives of individuals and their hidden sources of vitality and strength constituted a new approach to the possibility of self-development and social progress. By proclaiming the ‘death of God’ and rupturing the unity between truth, moral values, and salvation intrinsic to the Christian tradition, Nietzsche threw into question the notion of whether values could ever be considered objective and universal. His theory symbolized the loss of confidence in the belief in progress and universal knowledge comprising the foundation of the positivist edifice. Despite the profound differences between them, both neo-idealist attempts to reassert the value of subjective existence as well as emphasis on the unconscious were all in some way concerned with the displacement of social thought from the realm of the external and objectively verifiable to the subjective one of unexplained motivation. At some level the Nietzschean concept of a ‘will to power’, the Freudian notion of ‘libido’,  

The classic text in this regard is L. T. Hobhouse, The Metaphysical Theory of the State: A Criticism (London: Routledge/Thoemmes Press,  ()). See his ‘Justice as Fairness: Political Not Metaphysical’, Philosophy and Public Affairs,  (), –.



Progress, Contested

and Bergson’s ‘élan vital’ all refer to the notion that the enrichment and multifaceted development of the personality, not grasped by positivist accounts of human experience, is also a condition of social and political progress. It was these ‘new’ theories of consciousness that profoundly influenced Russian thinkers embarked on their own attempts to re-evaluate positivist dogmas in the context of the Silver Age, and concerned with elaborating theories of liberalism.

. Epistemologies of Liberal Freedom in the Russian Silver Age .. The Russian Silver Age Neo-idealist liberalism developed in Russia in the s and s, a period marked by a burst of creative activity in Russian literature, art, philosophy, psychology, and politics, and a reorientation in cultural and spiritual life that shared many traits with the broader European rejection of radical positivist philosophies and ‘objectivizing’ approaches to the self. During that time, Russia’s cities became the sites of a burgeoning cultural and intellectual life, manifested in the numerous journals, exhibitions, theatres, literary events, and philosophical gatherings of the period. Taken as a whole, the so-called Silver Age witnessed multiple attempts to oppose positivist, materialist, and rationalist claims that human consciousness is reducible to sense experience, and the use of the methods derived from the natural sciences to resolve social problems. Advocating what has been described as a ‘revolution of the spirit’, its leading theorists called for ‘a new kind of human being – spiritual, aesthetic, sensitive, and loving – the very opposite of rationally calculating economic man – and a new society based on the ideal of sobornost’ (a collective body in which the elements retain their individuality)’. Writer Dmitrii Merezhkovskii’s (–) 



Surveys of the period include Nicolas Zernov, The Russian Religious Renaissance of the Twentieth Century (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, ); James H. Billington, The Icon and the Axe: An Interpretive History of Russian Culture (New York: Vintage, ), pp. –, –. On Solov’ëv’s influence on individual thinkers, see P. P. Gaidenko, Vladimir Solov’ëv i filosofiia Serebrianogo veka (Moscow: Progress-Traditsiia, ). For a recent study that disputes the classification of the period as a ‘Silver Age’, see V. F. Pustarnakov, Universitetskaia filosofiia v Rossii: idei, personalii, osnovnye tsentry (St Petersburg: Izdatel’stvo Russkogo Khristianskogo gumanitarnogo instituta, ), p. . Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal and Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak, ‘Introduction’, in A Revolution of the Spirit: Crisis of Value in Russia, –, ed. Bohachevsky-Chomiak, trans. Marian Schwartz (Newtonville, MA: Oriental Research Partners, ), p. . Slavophile thinker Aleksei Khomiakov had given prominence to the ideal of sobornost’, which he associated with the togetherness or oneness of life.

Liberal Freedom in the Russian Silver Age



call for a ‘new religious consciousness’ was in many ways emblematic of the new era, while his collaborators, including Andrei Belyi (–), Aleksandr Blok (–), and Viacheslav Ivanov (–) developed this idea in a myriad of different ways. Within this dynamic and diverse period, the notion that human life is anchored in a trans-empirical level of being represents a persistent strand with subsequent importance for neo-idealist liberalism. Surveying the epoch, Georgii Florovskii remarked that in those years ‘many suddenly became aware that individuals are metaphysical beings’. For many, speculation on the existential status of human life led in the direction of religion, and the attempt to ground metaphysics and political theories in a Christian worldview became increasingly relevant. In some instances, this was a natural result of the fact that Russia’s four spiritual academies (dukhovnye akademii), religious institutions of higher education, were an important centre for the reception and elaboration of philosophy; Marc Raeff has argued that this is ‘the reason for the close connection between twentieth-century Russian philosophy and religious thought as shown by its ontological orientation’. In the context of the desire to challenge established authorities and seek out new values, Nietzsche’s thought struck a particular chord in fin-desiècle Russian culture. Russian intellectuals approved of the seriousness with which Nietzsche addressed religious questions, particularly the importance he attached to the loss of faith, and saw him as a potential ally in the battle to make people face up to the spiritual penury that materialism and Darwinian science had helped create. Religious thinkers and neo-idealist intellectuals such as Semën Frank, Nikolai Berdiaev, and others drew on Nietzsche to argue that moral liberation based on free will and ardent conviction is the precondition for broader cultural renewal and  





‘Nakanune’, in Puti russkogo bogosloviia, rd ed. (Paris: YMCA Press,  ()), pp. – (p. ). For surveys, see Elena M. Amelina, Problema obshchestvennogo ideala v russkoi religioznoi filosofii kontsa XIX–XX vv. (Kaluga: Eidos, ); Christopher Read, Religion, Revolution and the Russian Intelligentsia: The Vekhi Debate and Its Intellectual Background (London: Macmillan, ). ‘Enticements and Rifts: Georges Florovsky as Historian of the Life of the Mind and the Life of the Church in Russia’, Modern Greek Studies Yearbook,  (), –, cited in Poole, ‘Kant i filosofiia’, p. . See Nietzsche in Russia, ed. Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal (Princeton: Princeton University Press, ); Iuliia Sineokaia, Tri obraza Nitsshe v russkoi kul’ture (Moscow: Institut filosofii RAN, ); Nel Grillaert, What the God-Seekers Found in Nietzsche: The Reception of Nietzsche’s Übermensch by the Philosophers of the Russian Religious Renaissance (Amsterdam: Rodopi, ); Ann M. Lane, ‘Nietzsche in Russian thought, –’ (doctoral thesis, University of Wisconsin, ).



Progress, Contested

a return to faith. Nietzsche’s advocacy of the liberation of human instincts and vision of self-development in which individuals create their own moral values provided an attractive corrective to the Kantian notion of duty. To varying degrees, his vision of a ‘new nobility’ and the Übermensch, a spiritual elite engaged in creating new values and a new culture, confirmed the sense of mission of the Russian cultural elite. Drawing inspiration from the neo-Kantian revival of metaphysics, Nietzschean philosophy, a myriad of other European thinkers, as well as Russian predecessors like Fëdor Dostoevskii (–), Lev Tolstoi (–), and Solov’ëv, representatives of the Silver Age expressed their dissatisfaction with the ability of existing philosophies to provide guiding principles for Russia’s social and political development. Berdiaev described in  the efforts being expended in order to validate metaphysical and religious principles, and concluded that metaphysical idealism, not positivism, must form the basis of a philosophical outlook designed to validate all aspects of human experience. For liberally inclined thinkers, the critique of deterministic, positivistic development schemes represented a crucial preliminary step in articulating a view of freedom that could act as a potential answer to Russia’s pressing social problems. .. Russian Neo-Idealist Liberalism The revival of neo-idealism was, therefore, one event in the complex process during which members of the Russian intelligentsia searched for new forms to accompany the social and cultural transformations their country was undergoing. Neo-idealism received a particular impetus 



 

The interpretation of Nietzsche as a philosopher of individualism was common in Europe at this time. See Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal, New Myth, New World: From Nietzsche to Stalinism (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, ), p. . Among others, psychologist Sigmund Freud (–), physicist and philosopher Ernst Mach (–), philosopher Richard Avenarius (–), linguist Ferdinand de Saussure (–), philosopher Henri Bergson, sociologist Georg Simmel (–), symbolist poet Emile Verhaeren (–), and sociologist Max Weber were widely read in Russia at the time. ‘Bor’ba za idealizm’, Mir bozhii,  (), reprinted in Sub specie aeternitatis. Opyty filosofskie, sotsial’nye i literaturnye (– g.) ([St Petersburg]: [n. pub.], ), pp. – (p. ). For more on the reception of idealist philosophy in Russia, see Thomas Nemeth, ‘Kant in Russia: The Initial Phase’, Studies in Soviet Thought,  (), –; ‘Neo-Kantianism in Russian Thought’, special issue of Studies in East European Thought, guest ed. Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal,  (), –; Kant i filosofiia v Rossii, ed. Z. A. Kamenskii and V. A. Zhuchkov (Moscow: Nauka, ); A. I. Abramov, ‘Kantianstvo v russkoi universitetskoi filosofii’, Voprosy filosofii,  (), –.

Liberal Freedom in the Russian Silver Age



due to the tradition of sustained contacts between Russian and German academia; members of Russia’s intellectual elite often studied in Germany where the neo-Kantian movement was established as a powerful force in academic life. In the late s and early s, German neo-idealism reached Russia more directly with the translation into Russian of various neo-Kantian and idealist works, and the appointment, in , of neoKantian Aleksandr Vvedenskii (–) as professor of philosophy at St Petersburg University. Several influential faculty members and former students at Russia’s four spiritual academies played an important role in the Russian reception of Kant; they sought to combine a respect for freedom of conscience and the relative autonomy of the spheres of the church and the state with their theological commitments. The principal institution for the development of the neo-idealist critique of positivism, and eventually of neo-idealist liberalism, was the Moscow Psychological Society (Moskovskoe psikhologicheskoe obshchestvo, –), a learned society founded by Moscow University professors, frequented by prominent philosophers such as Solov’ëv and Chicherin as well as a younger generation of neo-idealists including Prince Sergei Trubetskoi (–), Prince Evgenii Trubetskoi, Sergei Kotliarevskii (–), and Pavel Novgorodtsev. A specialized philosophical journal, Questions of Philosophy and Psychology (Voprosy filosofii i psikhologii), published by the Society five times a year from  to , acted as the primary forum for the dissemination of idealist philosophy and many seminal texts of Russian liberalism. Members of the Psychological Society knew and collaborated with the four most prominent erstwhile Marxists, Struve, Frank, Bulgakov, and Berdiaev, cooperation evinced in the publication entitled Problems of







See Claudie Weill, ‘Les étudiants russes en Allemagne, –’, Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique,  (), –; Dittmar Dahlmann, ‘Bildung, Wissenschaft und Revolution. Die russische Intelligencija im Deutschen Reich um die Jahrhundertwende’, in Intellektuelle im Deutschen Kaiserreich, ed. Gangholf Hu¨binger and Wolfgang J. Mommsen (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch, ), pp. –. See A. I. Abramov, ‘Kant v russkoi dukhovno-akademicheskoi filosofii’, in Kant i filosofiia, ed. Kamenskii et al., pp. –. On the various theological and philosophical positions within the academies, see V. A. Tarasova, Vysshaia dukhovnaia shkola v Rossii v kontse XIX – nachale XX veka: Istoriia imperatorskikh pravoslavnykh dukhovnykh akademii (Moscow: Novyi khronograf, ). On the Psychological Society, see Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak, ‘Filosofiia, religiia i obshchestvennost’ v Rossii v kontse -go i nachale -go vv’, in Russkaia religiozno-filosofskaia mysl’ XX veka, ed. Nikolai P. Poltoratskii (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, ), pp. –; Randall A. Poole, ‘The Moscow Psychological Society and the neo-idealist development of Russian liberalism, –’ (doctoral thesis, University of Notre Dame, ).



Progress, Contested

Idealism (Problemy idealizma) that appeared in late , often described as the manifesto of the neo-idealist movement in Russia. Problems of Idealism was a crucial volume for the development of the neo-idealist movement and of philosophical liberalism more generally. Originally conceived as a volume in defence of freedom of conscience, it also served as a platform for the theoretical justification of rule-of-law liberalism and constitutional reform. The collective authorship of the volume reflected the intellectual affinity between the philosophical premises of neo-idealism and the diverse forces in Russian society working to press the autocratic regime to recognize the value of constitutional reform. The twelve authors were all involved to some extent in the work of the Psychological Society, and several were active in the zemstvos, institutions of limited local self-government in Russian provinces. The four ex-Marxists – Struve, Berdiaev, Bulgakov, and Frank – participated in the project and were simultaneously involved in Russia’s reform movement, as was Bogdan Kistiakovskii, a Ukrainian legal scholar with a similar intellectual trajectory. The volume’s editor, Pavel Novgorodtsev, pointed to the connection between neo-idealist philosophy and constitutional reform when he wrote in the preface that ‘[n]ew forms of [social and political] life now no longer represent the simple demand of expediency, but the categorical imperative of morality, which gives primary importance to the principle of the absolute significance of personhood [lichnost’]’. ... Idealist Views of Selfhood and Liberal Theory A crucial component of the neo-idealist commitment to liberalism was its focus on the value of the individual person, rather than a larger group or collectivity in which the individual could be subsumed. In an article on Kant’s philosophy published in , Novgorodtsev clarified his sense of the German philosopher’s contribution to a theory of identity centred on the value and dignity of the human person when he wrote: ‘[t]he enormous significance of Kant consists precisely in the fact that he again   



Problemy idealizma: sbornik statei, ed. P. I. Novgorodtsev (Moscow: Moskovskoe psikhologicheskoe obshchestvo, ); references here are to PI, ed. Poole. See Kolerov, ‘Arkhivnaia istoriia “Problemy idealizma”’ and his Sbornik ‘Problemy idealizma’. Sergei Trubetskoi, Evegenii Trubetskoi, Sergei Ol’denburg (–), and Dmitrii Zhukovskii (–) were constitutionalists involved in the zemstvo self-government structures, and two other zemstvo men associated with the project were the well-known geologist Vladimir Vernadskii (–) and Sergei Kotliarevskii. For more on the zemstvos, see Chapter . ‘Foreword to the Russian Edition’, in PI, pp. – (p. ).

Liberal Freedom in the Russian Silver Age



directed thought to the depths of self-consciousness, to the . . . internal sources of the spirit in which man knows his infinite vocation and absolute worth’. Randall Poole, who also quotes these words, highlights the connection they imply between the Kantian conception of the irreducibility of consciousness and the core value liberal theory allocates the human person. As Russian neo-idealists sought to refine and redefine the Kantian idea of personhood (lichnost’), they pushed further the metaphysical implications of Kant’s idea of autonomy. For many neo-idealists, consciousness of absolute moral principles revealed by reason creates a link with a realm of noumenal being, distinct from the phenomenal world. While Kant always claimed that this supra-sensible realm of being was unknowable, his assertion that its existence constitutes the proof of freedom, God, and immortality inspired Russian philosophers in their attempt to link Kantian personalism and a belief in the divine. By positing a transcendent ontological reality that grounds all things, in Novgorodtsev’s words a realm of ‘free, creative, uncaused being’, a number of Psychological Society professors saw the individual person in relation to a higher synthesis that joins all aspects of human life. In a passage written in  that his biographer refers to as his philosophical Rubicon, Struve describes the existence of a divine principle that is also the source of human value: Once we admit the impossibility of resolving the moral problem objectively (that is, empirically), we acknowledge at the same time the objective nature of ethics as a problem, and, accordingly, arrive at a metaphysical postulate of the moral world order, independent of subjective consciousness.

While not all Russian neo-idealists drew ontological conclusions from idealism – Kistiakovskii remained a notable exception, and Frank did   

 

‘Kant, kak moralist’, VFP, :, bk  (), – (p. ). ‘The Neo-Idealist Reception of Kant in the Moscow Psychological Society’, Journal of the History of Ideas,  (), p. . For a discussion of the meanings of lichnost’ in Russian history, see V. V. Vinogradov, Istoriia slov: okolo  slov i vyrazhenii i bolee  slov, s nimi sviazannykh, nd ed., ed. N. Iu. Shvedova (Moscow: Institut russkogo iazyka RAN, ), pp. –; Derek Offord, ‘Lichnost’: Notions of Individual Identity’, in Constructing Russian Culture in the Age of Revolution, –, ed. Catriona Kelly and David Shepherd (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ), pp. –; G. P. Aksenov, ‘Lichnost’ kak osnova liberal’noi idei’, in Russkii liberalizm, ed. Shelokhaev et al., pp. –. ‘K voprosu o sovremennykh filosofskikh iskaniiakh. (Otvet L. I. Petrazhitskomu)’ (), cited in Poole, ‘Editor’s Introduction’, in PI, pp. – (p. ). ‘Predislovie’, in Berdiaev, Sub”ektivizm i individualizm, pp. – (pp. –). See Pipes, Liberal on the Left, p. .

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Progress, Contested

not do so in the early stages of his intellectual development – many who did were inspired in their attempt to link Kantian personalism with their own religious vision. In supplementing the Kantian ethical principle of absolute individual dignity by giving it religious roots, neo-idealist liberals saw themselves as providing a more robust justification of the absolute value of the person. Their conceptions of personhood took shape in response to the intellectual legacy of the central concept of Solov’ëv’s philosophy, Godmanhood (bogochelovechestvo) or the potential identity between the divine and the human. The reality of a ‘divine principle (bozhestvennoe nachalo)’ that ‘rises above human life at an inaccessible height’, Sergei Kotliarevskii wrote in , is what confers on individuals their unique worth and also confirms their intrinsic equality. Frank and Struve made a similar argument when they used the idea that ‘the human person is a sacred entity (sviatynia)’ to substantiate the claim that no individual ‘could be used as a means by other people nor to achieve any objective goals outside themselves’. ... Idealist Views of Freedom and Liberal Theory Even as neo-idealists supported what Evgenii Trubetskoi describes as an ‘empyrean sphere of what ought to be [dolzhnoe], the kingdom of ends that, rising above man, gives direction to his consciousness and activity’, their simultaneous commitment to the well-being of the empirical person made them representatives of liberalism as defined here. Bulgakov, at the end of his contribution to Problems of Idealism, describes the task of moral life as ‘to fill the empty form of absolute “ought” with concrete relative content, to find a bridge from the absolute to the relative’. In particular, a number of Russian neo-idealists associated the fullest development of personhood with the defence of civil and political rights in a liberal social order. In some cases, this was directly derived from their Kantian conception of the absolute value of the human person, and their conviction that moral      

On Kistiakovskii’s views, see Chapter . On Frank’s attempt at a strictly axiological idealism, see Poole, ‘Introduction’, in PI, p. . On the concept of Godmanhood, see Paul Valliere, Modern Russian Theology. Bukharev, Soloviev, Bulgakov: Orthodox Theology in a New Key (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, ), pp. –. ‘Predposylki demokratii’, VFP, :, bk  (), – (p. ). ‘Ocherki filosofii kul’tury. . Kul’tura i lichnost’’, PZ,  (), – (p. ). ‘Toward Characterization of the Theory of Marx and Engels on the Significance of Ideas in History’, in PI, pp. – (p. ). ‘Basic Problems of the Theory of Progress’, in PI, pp. – (p. ).

Liberal Freedom in the Russian Silver Age



life must be both free and inviolable. ‘Freedom’, Kotliarevskii wrote, is an integral part of the ‘concept of a human person, whose spiritual selfpreservation requires the possibility of expressing thoughts and feelings, as well as interacting with other people’. Struve adopted a similar premise when he wrote in : ‘All that impedes my freedom of action also infringes upon any moral judgement (reshenie), the content of which consists precisely in action.’ In a number of writings, Russian neoidealists considered a sphere of non-interference guaranteed by law necessary for the development of personhood, spirituality, and culture, and made it the foundation of their support for a constitutional system. Frank concluded succinctly that ‘freedom of conscience and of thought, freedom of speech and of the press, freedom of association to come together in meetings and unions and express common interests represent the essence of the inviolable rights of the individual, deriving from his fundamental right to self-realization and free development’. To various degrees, neo-idealists emphasized the importance of guaranteeing inner, spiritual freedom by limiting governmental power as an important step in the development of liberalism in Europe and America. While Russian neo-idealists typically derived their support for a sphere of negative liberty from the absolute value of the individual, they also supported freedom as a positive value, inspired by Solov’ëv’s conception of personhood and his simultaneous justification of guaranteeing the individual dignity of all citizens through concrete measures to address material insufficiencies and economic dependency. Some neo-idealists further enriched his conception of positive freedom by highlighting the potential of empirical, Christian principles such as goodness, humility, and love to become embodied in reality through law. Religious consciousness, in this view, helps human persons become aware of their intrinsic equality, and thus become alive to the importance of exercising freedom in accordance with the demands of solidarity; an awareness of the bond between them

    



‘Politika i kul’tura’, VFP, :, bk  (), – (p. ). ‘V chem zhe istinnyi natsionalizm?’, VFP, :, bk  (), – (pp. –). See, for example, Sergei Bulgakov, ‘O sotsial’nom ideale’, in Ot marksizma k idealizmu, pp. – (pp. –) and Berdiaev, ‘Bor’ba za idealizm’, pp. –. ‘Politika i idei. (O programme “Poliarnoi zvezdy”)’, PZ,  (), – (p. ). S. A. Kotliarevskii, Konstitutsionnoe gosudarstvo: opyt politiko-morfologicheskogo obzora (St Petersburg: Tipografiia Al’tshulera, ), pp. –; Struve, ‘V chem zhe’, especially pp. –; P. I. Novgorodtsev, Iz lektsii po istorii filosofii prava: ucheniia novogo vremeni, XVI–XVIII vv. (Moscow: Knizhnoe delo, ), especially pp. –. See Chapter .



Progress, Contested

liberates individuals from the ‘cold formalism’ of Kantian views of justice (spravedlivost’). In the words of Frances Nethercott, neo-idealists conceived of personhood as ‘the integral link between normative law and a higher moral justice predicated on charity, compassion, love, and forgiveness’. For some, such as Kistiakovskii and Struve during this period, ‘the creation of a free personality, its liberation from the political and social-economic yoke’ was a key point of connection between liberalism and socialism. The theories of personhood and freedom of Russian neo-idealists are distinctive because they typically understood the unfettering of the individual personality not as something overseen by human powers and aspirations alone, but rather granted by God. Thus conceived, freedom is not merely one aspect of the modernization process, but an ontological phenomenon, organically linked to the well-being of Russian citizens and the Russian state. Many neo-idealists considered the development of the personality a ‘moral task’, and argued that participation in a reformist political movement would be motivated – as Bulgakov put it – not by egotistic class interest, but by ‘an absolute order of the moral law, by a dictate of God’. These premises resulted in a varying commitment to both positive and negative liberty, and we shall see in the next chapters the increasing divisions between neo-idealist liberals as they sought to apply their approaches to freedom and selfhood in practice. The most consistently liberal neo-idealist thinkers sought to recover individual freedom from its utopian and supra-personal incarnations in both positivist doctrines and more monistic, absolute idealisms (such as those of Fichte or Schelling). To the extent that they saw the specific institutions and mechanisms of a constitutional–democratic state as the means of approximating absolute ideals, without ever attaining them in concrete historical time, they were partisans of the compromises I have identified as the heart of the liberal tradition. As neo-idealist thinkers became increasingly involved in politics in the revolutionary years that



   

S. A. Kotliarevskii, Vlast’ i pravo. Problema pravovogo gosudarstva (Moscow: Tipografiia Mysl’, Mesniankin, ), p. . See also his ‘Politika i kul’tura’, p.  and E. N. Trubetskoi, ‘Filosofiia prava Prof. L. I. Petrazhitskogo’, VFP, :, bk  (), – (pp. –). ‘Russian Liberalism and the Philosophy of Law’, in Russian Philosophy, ed. Hamburg and Poole, pp. – (p. ). See, for example, Struve, ‘Germanskie vybory’, O,  () ( June ), –. (p. ). On Kistiakovskii’s rule-of-law socialism, see Chapter , Section .. See, for example, Struve, ‘Ot redaktora’, O,  ( June ), –. ‘Basic Problems’, in PI, p. .

Liberal Freedom in the Russian Silver Age



followed, they further clarified their sense of how the challenges of reconciling the imperatives of free will (svoboda vnutrenniaia, svoboda ubezhdenii) and human action (svoboda deistvovaniia) could be achieved. As figures such as Berdiaev, Bulgakov, and Frank eventually moved away from politics to their own forms of religious philosophy, and as Struve became an increasingly vocal supporter of a chauvinistic, intolerant nationalism, they also lost interest in the tensions between competing claims that underpin a liberal view of social development. The intellectual trajectory of Nikolai Berdiaev provides perhaps the most acute illustration of the development of neo-idealism in illiberal directions. In Problems of Idealism, Berdiaev enlisted idealism in support of the ‘natural rights of the person’, while emphasizing that freedom is not a ‘negative concept or only the absence of constraint, as bourgeois thinkers contend’, but rather ‘a positive concept, a synonym for all the inner, spiritual creativity of the human person’. Yet the free human person who benefited from absolute value was not, in Berdiaev’s account, coextensive with the empirical person. In the same essay, he writes: ‘in empirical reality a human being too often fails to be a human being, a human being whom we consider an end in itself and who must be sacred’. In his view, empirical, everyday people are often unworthy of the status of ends in themselves, this being reserved for ideal, spiritual beings. We shall see in Chapter  the extent to which Berdiaev’s engagement with idealism was conditioned by his search for a final answer to social development, while his references to ‘pure, true, liberalism, untouched by contact with social forces, which betray freedom in the name of their interests’, make clear the discomfort he must have felt in the face of the liberal desire for compromise between conflicting values. .. Positivist Liberalism As neo-idealist liberalism was developing as a philosophically elaborated and politically coherent movement at the beginning of the twentieth

   

See, for example, Struve, ‘V chem zhe’, pp. –. ‘The Ethical Problem in the Light of Philosophical Idealism’, in PI, pp. – (pp. , ). Ibid., pp. –. ‘N. K. Mikhailovskii i B. N. Chicherin (O lichnosti, ratsionalizme, demokratizme i proch.)’, Novyi put’,  (), reprinted in Sub specie aeternitatis, pp. – (p. ). See also his ‘Ethical Problem’, in PI, p. .



Progress, Contested

century, a significant strand of positivist liberalism was also gaining in momentum. Its most visible representative was Pavel Miliukov, the academic historian who went on to become the leader of Russia’s only significant liberal party, and it is associated with the careers of prominent university professors such as Maksim Kovalevskii, Nikolai Kareev (–), Sergei Muromtsev (–), and Aleksandr Kizevetter (–). Yet, as Dana Dragunoiu notes, the majority of Kadet Party leaders subscribed to what might be called ‘soft’ positivism, associating much of Russian liberal politics with a positivist view of history. Indeed, despite the challenge that neo-idealism mounted against the tenets of positivism, the confidence of positivist thinkers was such that philosopher Pavel Iushkevich (–) wrote optimistically at the beginning of the twentieth century: ‘Humankind is moving towards positivism – that is the line of development which is clear to any observer’. For students roughly of Miliukov’s generation, their first introduction to Comte’s historical thought often occurred at the history–philology department of Moscow University. Two of the most outstanding professors there, Vasilii Kliuchevskii (–) and Pavel Vinogradov (–), relied on a broadly Comtean-inspired approach when teaching that history could be studied scientifically and that it was developing in the direction of progress, namely rationality, science, and respect for the





  

On positivism in Russia, see Andrzej Walicki, A History of Russian Thought from the Enlightenment to Marxism, trans. Hilda Andrews-Rusiecka (Stanford: Stanford University Press, ), pp. –. For a discussion of positivist texts in Russia, see P. K. Mokievsky, ‘Philosophy in Russia’, Mind,  (), –, who claims that by the end of the s, ‘Auguste Comte, John Stuart Mill, [George] Lewes and Mr. Herbert Spencer became the favourite authors in Russia’, p. . All were associated with the Kadet Party, though Kovalevskii was a founding member of the Democratic Reform Party (Partiia demokraticheskikh reform), a Kadet splinter group. The definitive biography of Miliukov in English is Stockdale, Paul Miliukov. For autobiographical information on Miliukov, see his God bor’by: publitsisticheskaia khronika, – (St Petersburg: Obshchestvennaia pol’za, ); Tri popytki: k istorii russkogo lzhe-konstitutsionalizma (Paris: Izdatel’stvo Franko-russkaia pechat’, ); Vospominaniia (–), ed. M. M. Karpovich and B. I. El’kin,  vols. (New York: Izdatel’stvo imeni Chekhova, ). Vladimir Nabokov and the Poetics of Liberalism (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, ), p. . Novye veianiia: ocherki sovremennykh religioznykh iskanii (St Petersburg: Prometei, ), p. . See Miliukov, Vospominaniia (–) (New York: Izdatel’stvo imeni Chekhova, ), vol. , pp. –, –; V. A. Maklakov, Iz vospominanii (New York: Izdatel’stvo imeni Chekhova, ), pp. –; E. P. Kovalevskii, ‘Otryvki iz vospominanii prof. Maksima Kovalevskogo’, in Moskovskii universitet, –: iubileinyi sbornik, ed. V. B. El’iashevich et al. (Paris: Sovremennye zapiski, ), pp. –. This topic is discussed further in Chapter .

Liberal Freedom in the Russian Silver Age



individual person. Without discounting entirely the role of historical circumstances and individual will, their courses attempted to use empirical observation to demonstrate that history contains certain regularities, and develops according to natural laws. These intellectual figures who profoundly influenced their students presented the idea of progress as a unifying characteristic of history associated with the inexorable affirmation of liberal freedoms and democratic principles. Positivist and neo-idealist liberals reached some of the same institutional conclusions, but their methodologies rested on different epistemologies. As a rule, positivists strongly resisted the notion that the science of society and history should contain an ethical element. Instead, they pointed to the evolutionary physical development of living things evinced by Charles Darwin and his contemporaries, and derived from this an evolutionary explanation for history and social life. By transferring Darwinian principles into cultural and social life, they argued that the fittest of political arrangements – constitutional democracy – is also the one that has the best chance of survival. Just as science had replaced religious explanations of empirical phenomena by hard facts, positivist liberals adopted secular approaches to the value of personhood and the origins of individual rights. They privileged the sociological and historical context of the emergence and expansion of individual rights in Europe and in North America, and derived the moral implications of these rights from the picture of evolution in the direction of progress. In contradistinction to neo-idealists, positivists conceived of the transformation of the individual personality as the by-product of institutional and social change. Rather than giving individual self-realization an essentialist, absolute value, they adopted a more mundane approach, placing the emphasis squarely on the benefits of political reform: in keeping with the ‘regularity’ of historical processes, an increasingly democratic and just 

 

 

Biographical works include Aleksandr Antoshchenko, Russkii liberal-anglofil Pavel Gavrilovich Vinogradov: monografiia (Petrozavodsk: Izdatel’stvo PetrGU, ); M. V. Nechkina, Vasilii Osipovich Kliuchevskii: istoriia zhizni i tvorchestva (Moscow: Nauka, ); Robert F. Byrnes, V. O. Kliuchevskii: Historian of Russia (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, ). See, for example, P. G. Vinogradov, ‘O progresse’, VFP, :, bk  (), –. See, for example, M. M. Kovalevskii, ‘Predislovie’, Obshchinnoe zemlevladenie: prichiny, khod i posledstviia ego razlozheniia,  vols. (Moscow: Miller, ), vol. , pp. i–vii (p. i); S. A. Muromtsev, Grazhdanskoe pravo drevnego Rima: lektsii (Moscow: Mamontov, ); P. G. Vinogradov (Vinogradoff ), ‘Preface’, Villainage in England: Essays in English Mediaeval History (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ), pp. v–x (pp. vi–vii). This approach was exemplified by Kovalevskii’s Tableau des origines et de l’évolution de la famille et de la propriété (Stockholm: Samson & Wallin, ). Kovalevskii wrote extensively on comparative history, as did Vinogradov and Miliukov.



Progress, Contested

atmosphere would teach the population the value of both positive and negative liberty. While positivists of all shades highlighted the role of culture in creating a modern citizenry in Russia – Miliukov, for one, listed the ‘lack of any definite individuality’, lack of ‘social tradition’, and insufficient ‘social education’ as profound hindrances to Russia’s development – they nevertheless privileged reformatting Russia’s social and political institutions over eliciting transformations in individual consciousnesses. What Sabine Breuillard has called the Kadets’ ‘essentially political’ approach to social change is visible in the priorities that positivists identified for Russian liberalism. Ivan Petrunkevich (–), a well-known activist close to Miliukov who went on to play a prominent role in the Kadet Party, declared in reference to the agrarian problem that ‘social and economic reform is the precondition for any political improvement’. While the political convictions of liberal positivists varied greatly between thinkers, an optimistic view of historical development and a conviction that social, economic, and political reforms are intrinsically linked led them away from neo-idealist liberals. Miliukov, for example, was consistently willing to ally with political groups that held fundamentally different values in order to further his vision of freedom. Drawing on the recent history of Western European politics to support his case, he argued that incendiary rhetoric from revolutionary parties would necessarily be moderated by the practice of general suffrage, and that a broad-based campaign for action led by liberals and socialists would work towards the goals of liberal democracy and a more just society. ‘Russian liberalism and Russian socialism’, he inferred, are ‘not at all mutually exclusive’. Miliukov’s shifting attitude towards Russia’s revolutionary parties in the wake of  will be examined in the next chapter, but it is important to note that this optimistic confidence in the experience of history and the possibility of social change achieved via political reform informed the goals he set for his party.  

  

(Milyoukov), Russia and Its Crisis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, ), pp. , , . ‘Russian Liberalism – Utopia or Realism? The Individual and the Citizen in the Political Thought of Milyukov’, in New Perspectives in Modern Russian History, ed. Robert B. McKean (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, ), pp. – (p. ). Quoted by Miliukov in his ‘Liberalizm, radikalizm i revoliutsiia’, Sovremennye zapiski,  (), – (p. ). See ‘Derzhavnyi maskerad’, O,  ( March ), – and his Russia and Its Crisis, pp. –. Russia and Its Crisis, p. . See also Thomas Riha, A Russian European: Paul Miliukov in Russian Politics (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, ), pp. –; Stockdale, Paul Miliukov, pp. –. Socialists were not nearly as optimistic concerning the prospects of working with liberals as liberals themselves were.

Liberal Freedom in the Russian Silver Age



While positivists did not necessarily exclude the role of ideals in human activity, nor did they deny that individual personalities had a role to play in the course of history, a crucial question regarding their liberalism concerns the potential incompatibilities between a deterministic view of history and the claims of flesh-and-blood individuals. To the extent that positivists argued that the requirements of progress justified the restriction of individual liberty, or adopted a teleological view of history as progressing towards a perfect earthly society, their inclusion in the liberal tradition outlined here is problematic. The Slavophile thinker N. M. Sokolov, for example, decried the ‘despotic’ nature of Miliukov’s philosophy, while Vasilii Maklakov (–), a prominent member of the Kadet Party who distanced himself from the policies of its leaders, accused Miliukov in emigration of having justified on positivist grounds the political decisions that pushed Russia into revolution. The debate between Maklakov and Miliukov, as well as the latter’s concrete policies and ideological premises will be presented in more detail in the following chapters, where we will find both evidence of his attention to empirical detail and willingness to conform to the laws of history, leaving him with mixed credentials as a liberal. To highlight the differences between positivist and neo-idealist approaches to freedom is not to obscure many of the profound disagreements within these groups, nor to suggest that there were no grounds for cooperation between them. As we shall see in Chapter , positivist and neo-idealist liberals worked closely together in attempting to raise the political consciousness of liberally inclined members of society who were not yet committed to a political doctrine, and many of them went on to join the Kadet Party. In , Berdiaev explained these opportunities for cooperation as follows: We never tried to encroach on the sublime virtues of positivists, we simply pointed to their philosophical shortcomings, the simplicity and primitive nature of their worldviews . . . The actions of positivists are infinitely superior to their theories, and we would like to see their theories become worthy of their actions, and for the great struggle for liberation to be based on a worthy philosophy of freedom.

More generally, both idealism and positivism functioned as umbrella terms, covering a range of philosophical and political positions. In the  

Ob ideiakh i idealakh russkoi intelligentsii (St Petersburg: [n. pub.], ), cited in Read, Religion, Revolution and the Russian Intelligentsia, p. . ‘O novom russkom idealizme’, VFP, :, bk  (), – (p. ).



Progress, Contested

years of revolutionary turmoil that followed, Russian thinkers were faced with urgent questions of how to make their theories of liberalism translate into concrete policies. While this process accentuated the ideological and philosophical divisions between them, it also gave Russian politicians unique theoretical and practical insights into the problems facing liberalism.

 

Freedom, Differently Liberalism in  and Its Aftermath

In the Introduction I argued that crucial to any correct understanding of liberalism is an awareness of its historicity. The advent of a ‘liberal’ intellectual tradition and political current is indissociable from the rise of individualism in the early modern period, just as the rise of modern or revisionary liberalism owes much to the nineteenth-century idea that government intervention is necessary to correct market processes. One of the merits of this approach is to underline the extreme complexity of the events that contributed to shaping the liberal tradition, and the multiplicity of strands within it. As one of its historians has stated: ‘[i]t is far easier – and wiser – to describe liberalism than to attempt a short definition. To suggest a theory of liberalisms, old and new, one ought to proceed by a comparative description of its historical manifestations’. While there is no space here for a comparative study, this chapter explores how participation in concrete politics confronted Russian liberals with a number of difficult political and moral choices that shaped their insights into progress and its dilemmas. By focusing on the high point of liberal participation in Russian politics – the lead-up to the revolution of  and its aftermath (the revolution is often associated with the years –) – it also examines how liberals were themselves responsible for the ambiguous outcomes of . The revolution of  represents a particularly significant event for Russian liberalism for two main reasons. Liberals were active participants in the mass movements that were instrumental in forcing the autocracy to make concessions to public opinion, and they were also dominant in the Duma, the elected legislature with some real powers that was created in early . Yet liberal approaches to freedom throughout the period are  

J. Merquior, Liberalism Old and New (Boston: Twayne Publishers, ) p. . See Abraham Ascher, ‘Introduction’, The Russian Revolution of : Centenary Perspectives, ed. by Jonathan D. Smele and Anthony Heywood (Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, ), pp. – (p. ).





Liberalism in  and Its Aftermath

marked by a fundamental dilemma. On the one hand, liberals were highly aware that the most brutal and lawless aspects of government policy presented a stark contrast to the appropriate conduct of a lawful state. On the other, they were also mindful of the fact that calling to replace the current government with an ‘authentic’ legal order would place them in a de facto alliance with revolutionaries, whose social and economic demands were unacceptable to most liberals. Vying to retain the support of different swathes of the population and political allies, as well as articulate policy positions that were ethically tenable, the party’s leadership was forced to constantly redefine its attitude to freedom as new problems and obstacles arose. Political responses to the important issues of the time – agrarian reform, civil liberties, political terror, and democratization – were elaborated on the ground, as part of protracted negotiations and compromises occasioned by the political process. Drawing on the themes of the previous chapters – awareness of a tension between different goods and values as a measure of liberalism, and the development of its positivist and neo-idealist variants – this chapter presents a contextual analysis of how Russian liberals modified their views of freedom in response to the specificities of time and place. In particular, by emphasizing the extent to which Kadet Party members were concerned with finding a practical resolution to the tensions between positive and negative liberty, this study of the dilemmas of Russian liberalism is intended to nuance the widespread view that liberal policy of the time was determined largely by emotions or an inherent attraction to right- or left-wing policy positions. Subsequent debates in emigration such as those in the s and s between Kadet Party leader Pavel Miliukov and his fellow Central Committee member Vasilii Maklakov, who have been classified in historiographical studies as representatives of ‘left’ and ‘right’ liberalism respectively, have sometimes led to an oversimplification of the terms according to which party members disagreed with each other. In this chapter, I shall recast the discussions of the period to 

See Michael Karpovich, ‘Maklakov and Miliukov’; Oleg V. Budnitskii, ‘Maklakov i Miliukov’, pp. –; Anthony Kröner, ‘The debate between Miliukov and Maklakov on the chances for Russian liberalism’ (published doctoral thesis, University of Amsterdam, ). For Miliukov’s own views on the question, see, in particular, his ‘Sud nad kadetskim liberalizmom’, Sovremennye zapiski,  (), –; ‘Liberalizm, radikalizm’; Pavel Miliukov, Vospominaniia (–), ed. by M. M. Karpovich and B. I. El’kin,  vols. (New York: Izdatel’stvo imeni Chekhova, ). Maklakov’s views are contained primarily in his Iz vospominanii; Pervaia gosudarstvennaia duma: vospominaniia sovremennika (Paris: Beresniak, ); Vtoraia gosudarstvennaia duma: vospominaniia sovremennika (Paris: Renaissance, [(?)]); Vlast’ i obshchestvennost’ na zakate staroi Rossii: vospominaniia sovremennika,  vols. (Paris: Illiustrirovannaia Rossiia, ).

The Liberation Movement



show that Kadet Party members believed that Russia’s particular historical circumstances required a unique balance between different conceptions of freedom, and that internal disagreements within the party, articulated in the context of circumstances that were changing all the time, were fundamentally concerned with what such a balance might look like. After presenting Russia’s nascent liberal movement, I examine how the views of freedom of its participants were shaped by the experience of  and parliamentary politics, and how the Kadet Party’s defence of freedom itself influenced the course of events. Against this background, my concluding chapters treat the diverging views of prominent Russian liberals on the lessons to be learned from Russia’s first experience of liberalism as political practice.

. The Liberation Movement By the end of the nineteenth century, the special circumstances of oppression which shaped the nascent liberal movement blurred the distinction between democratically inclined members of the landed gentry and those willing to resort to violence in the hopes of overthrowing the tsarist regime. At the macro level, the progressive dismantlement of the noble estate and the damages it incurred as a result of Russia’s economic crisis produced a more politically active gentry. Government insensitivity towards reformist appeals (Tsar Nicholas II, who came to the throne in , referred to requests for limited reforms as ‘senseless dreams’ in his coronation speech of January ), and the conviction that the autocracy was embarked on a disastrous set of policies that would merely stimulate revolutionary ferment (government policies were perceived as responsible for the famine of , the war with Japan that began in , as well as the most noxious aspects of capitalist development), all served to encourage members of Russian society to engage in political action. In this context, the zemstvo institutions of local self-government, a system of elected councils designed to administer local affairs introduced as part of the reforms initiated by Tsar Alexander II, acted as a forum for the



Among the extensive literature on the Liberation Movement, see, in particular, Galai, Liberation Movement; K. F. Shatsillo, Russkii liberalizm nakanune revoliutsii – gg.: organizatsiia, programmy, taktika (Moscow: Nauka, ).



Liberalism in  and Its Aftermath

development of oppositional attitudes among the landed gentry. Memoirs from the period, meanwhile, describe a number of multifaceted, personal motivations that prompted individuals to adopt a more overtly political attitude than they had previously. As a result, local self-government activists from the zemstvo structures, professional people, and figures associated with Marxist or populist currents temporarily united in a rough consensus that autocracy should be repudiated through peaceful means, and that a liberal-democratic regime was its most desirable replacement. Russian liberalism thus took shape within a broader oppositional movement that contained both actors who recognized a tension between different conceptions of freedom and those who did not. The divisions between liberals and non-liberals, and among liberals themselves, became more consolidated as the movement disbanded in  and more ideologically coherent political parties were formed. The first section of this chapter presents in some detail the social origins of the Liberation Movement, and tracks how democratically inclined members of Russian society concerned with preserving individual dignity in a rule-of-law state gradually became willing to accept that violent means might be necessary to install a liberal regime in tsarist Russia. This development was so marked that by the beginning of  there were many superficial similarities between the formal positions of the Liberation Movement and those of two other major oppositional forces, the Social Democrats (Rossiiskaia sotsial-demokraticheskaia rabochaia partiia) founded in  and the Socialist Revolutionaries (Partiia sotsialistovrevoliutsionerov), established in , that both held that the autocracy could only be destroyed through violence. ..

Origins and Membership

While the zemstvo institutions established in most Russian provinces by law in  provided an important institutional setting for the development of reformist attitudes, it was a small number of prominent personalities – including 





See Kermit E. Mackenzie, ‘Zemstvo Organization and Role within the Administrative Structure’ and Roberta Thompson Manning, ‘The Zemstvo and Politics, –’, in The Zemstvo in Russia: An Experiment in Local Self-Government, ed. by Terence Emmons and Wayne S. Vucinich (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. –, –. Ol’ga Trubetskaia, for example, called the famine of  to  a turning point in the life of her brother Sergei Trubetskoi. See Kniaz’ S. N. Trubetskoi: vospominaniia sestry (New York: Izdatel’stvo imeni Chekhova, ). Historiography of the Liberation Movement has traditionally respected this division into three groups, while acknowledging the porousness of these boundaries.

The Liberation Movement



Ivan Petrunkevich, princes Pavel Dolgorukov (–) and Pëtr Dolgorukov (–), Fëdor Rodichev (–), Prince Dmitrii Shakhovskoi (–), Count Pëtr Geiden (–), and Dmitrii Shipov (–) – who were able to transform the apprehensions and grievances of the gentry into something politically concrete. Zemstvo congresses at the national level began to occur more regularly and the first organized society of the Liberation Movement, a group called the Colloquium (Beseda), was founded in  and provided a forum where links between gentry interests and constitutional reform became more explicit. The involvement of zemstvo men in the politics of the Liberation Movement constituted one broad strand within the campaign that favoured what Vasilii Maklakov referred to in his memoirs as the ‘tradition of the s’, designed to further ‘cooperation between the state (vlast’) and society’. A significant portion of zemstvo leaders were sceptical of an immediate transition to constitutionalism, and argued instead that reforms should be widened and limitations on autocratic power introduced within the existing legal framework. Dmitrii Shipov was the most prominent of those who rejected the notion that freedom could be guaranteed in a constitutional regime, what he saw as underpinned by constant competition between society and the state, and merely designed to further individual self-interest. Instead, he maintained that individual rights must be considered in the light of the larger picture of a society in which citizens are bound to their rulers in a spirit of moral solidarity. In its ideal form, a hereditary autocracy standing above political and social strife would be able to rule in accordance with the basic tenets of Christianity and thus with the needs of society; for him, cooperation with the current autocracy was the best way to realize this ideal state of affairs. Often arraigned for their lack of commitment to a sphere of negative liberty, this group was nevertheless temporarily able to cooperate with those who favoured constitutionalism and held that significant guarantees 

 



See Terence Emmons, ‘The Beseda Circle, –’, Slavic Review,  (), –; Dmitrii Shakhovskoi, ‘Soiuz osvobozhdeniia’, Zarnitsy. Literaturno-politicheskii sbornik, , part  (), – (–). Maklakov, who acted as secretary, provides a retrospective account of the group in his Vlast’ i obshchestvennost’, vol. , pp. –. Maklakov, Vlast’ i obshchestvennost’, vol. , p. . See his Vospominaniia i dumy o perezhitom (Moscow: ROSSPEN,  ()), pp. –, –. See also P. G. Vinogradov, ‘Review: Thoughts and Reminiscences of D. N. Shipov’, Slavonic Review,  (), –. Shipov’s views were often termed ‘Slavophile’, though he rejected the label. Other representatives of this tendency include Nikolai Khomiakov (–) and Mikhail Stakhovich (–).



Liberalism in  and Its Aftermath

for personal and political freedom could only be introduced as part of a broader parliamentary system and a state order founded on the rule of law. Those members of the zemstvos who did associate freedom with constitutionalism (participants in the Union of Zemstvo Constitutionalists (Soiuz zemtsev-konstitutsionalistov), established in ), together with certain groups within the intelligentsia, notably the legal Marxists and legal populists, made up the bulk of the Liberation Movement together with democratically inclined professionals. Throughout the s, government infringement of professional autonomy encouraged a number of professors, lawyers, writers, doctors, and engineers to engage with the problem of political reform. Academics in particular became increasingly involved in politics; the intellectual and political trajectory of Pavel Miliukov, who trained as a historian, is a case in point. Convinced by the intransigence of the regime that it was necessary to persuade the autocracy to engage in reforms, the alliance between zemstvo leaders and ‘new liberals’ took the form of a public opinion campaign designed to attract members of Russian society who were not already committed to a political party to values such as political pluralism, respect for individual rights, and the rule of law. ..

The Union of Liberation

The Liberation Movement (referred to from its inception as the Liberal Movement) took shape around certain fundamental institutions such as the newspaper Liberation (Osvobozhdenie), edited by Struve in Germany, the Friends of Liberation (Druz’ia osvobozhdeniia) circles (founded in ), the Union of Zemstvo Constitutionalists, and especially the Union of Liberation (Soiuz osvobozhdeniia), which held its founding congress in





Zemstvo members included Ivan Petrunkevich, the Trubetskoi brothers, Kotliarevskii, Maklakov, and Fëdor Golovin (–). In his pioneering study George Fischer suggested that Russian liberalism first took root among the gentry and then broadened to include the ‘new liberals’, Russian Liberalism. See also Gregory L. Freeze, ‘A National Liberation Movement and the Shift in Russian Liberalism, –’, Slavic Review,  (), –. Prominent professionals subsequently involved in liberal politics include Novgorodtsev, Vladimir Vernadskii, Viacheslav Iakushkin (–), and Mikhail Petrunkevich (–); see David Wartenweiler, Civil Society and Academic Debate in Russia, – (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ). Many liberal professionals often had a zemstvo background as well, see N. M. Pirumova, Zemskoe liberal’noe dvizhenie: sotsial’nye korni i evoliutsiia do nachala XX veka (Moscow: Nauka, ), pp. –.

The Liberation Movement



St Petersburg in January . Adopted following its constituent congress, the Union’s programme defined its priorities as the achievement of the ‘political liberation of Russia’ via the ‘abolition of autocracy and establishment of a constitutional regime’. Its members held that such a regime should be established through the peaceful convocation of a constituent assembly, and that the democratic principles of universal, equal, secret, and direct elections should be the foundation of political reform. Once the full range of civil and political rights had been guaranteed for all adult males (including peasants) and the nobility’s privileges had been abolished, social measures to alleviate income inequality and deal with the most urgent economic aspects of the peasant question must be introduced. This catch-all programme was explicitly conceived as vague enough to appeal to the broadest possible membership; in a programmatic article in Liberation Struve declared that the cultural and political liberation of Russia ‘cannot be accomplished by a single party, or even less by a single doctrine’; it must be a truly ‘national cause’. Despite this optimism, from its inception, the Union’s programmatic statements were the results of hard compromises between zemstvo and gentry representatives wary about replacing the autocracy by mass democracy, and more radical members of the movement who had fundamentally different views of freedom. The question of the desirability of government measures to ensure the well-being of peasants and urban workers was particularly divisive. After emancipation in , the financial obligations incumbent on peasants continued to grow, while significant population growth increased pressure on arable areas. Most members of the Liberation Movement, informed by their sense that the scarcity of land was the source of the peasant problem, advocated its more equal distribution and held that a new regime should have the right of compulsory expropriation. Landowners countered with arguments concerning the 

   

For references to a ‘liberal’ movement, see, for example, Struve’s programmatic article ‘Ot redaktora’, p. . Constitutionalist sympathizers decided to publish their journal abroad to avoid the censorship in Russia. After assuming the position of editor, Struve emigrated to Germany with his family. See Pipes, Liberal on the Left, pp. –. On the journal, see Shatsillo, Russkii liberalizm, pp. –; A. A. Kizevetter, Na rubezhe dvukh stoletii (Vospominaniia –) (Prague: Izdatel’stvo Orbis, ), pp. –. The main source on the activities of the Union of Liberation is Shakhovskoi, ‘Soiuz osvobozhdeniia’, pp. –. The original Russian text of the Union’s statutes is reprinted in Terence Emmons, ‘The Statutes of the Union of Liberation’, Russian Review,  (), –. See [Miliukov], ‘Ot russkikh konstitutsionalistov’, O,  ( June ), –. ‘Ot redaktora’, p. . See David A. J. Macey, Government and Peasant in Russia, –: The Prehistory of the Stolypin Reforms (Dekalb: Northern Illinois University Press, ); Lazar Volin, A Century of Russian



Liberalism in  and Its Aftermath

inviolability of private property and maintained that peasants could receive the land to meet their agricultural needs without infringing on the freedom of landowners to dispose of their land as they saw fit. In an urban setting, the emergence of workers as an increasingly active oppositional force brought to the fore the question of whether the Liberation Movement would support a social programme – involving measures such as an eighthour working day, and public old-age insurance – along the lines of socialist parties. In view of discussions concerning to what extent the Liberation Movement could adopt the immediate goals of socialist parties as its own, the question of the ideological affinity and prospects for cooperation between the two groups became increasingly pressing. Since , the Liberation Movement had adopted a policy known as ‘no enemies on the left’, and this opening to radical groups found further justification in the writings of the movement’s leading theoreticians, Miliukov and Struve, who argued that there was a natural affinity between liberal and socialist ideas of freedom. While in , most liberationists believed that public pressure and persuasion had the potential to trigger fundamental reforms ‘without leaving the path of legality (zakonnosti)’, increasing doubts about this premise occasioned a slow radicalization of the movement as a whole. Notwithstanding the concerns of a number of its members, the majority of liberationists became increasingly willing to condone revolutionary violence, viewing it as a response to the intrinsic violence of the regime. Struve expressed the new mood well when he wrote in Liberation: ‘[we] must recognize that when it comes to national liberation, both the revolutionary struggle and peaceful and moderate opposition cannot do without one another’. Irrespective of the fact that Social Democrats were themselves profoundly sceptical of cooperation with the liberationists, for the time being the movement remained, in the words of one of its former

    

Agriculture: From Alexander II to Khrushchev (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, ), especially pp. –; O. G. Vronskii, Gosudarstvennaia vlast’ Rossii i krest’ianskaia obshchina v gody “velikikh potriasenii” (–) (Tula: Tul’skii poligrafist, ). They pointed to the fact that in European Russia peasant holdings exceeded those of landowners by almost three to one, so expropriation was not a sufficient answer to the problem. On the demarcation of the Union and more conservative groups, see P. N. Miliukov, ‘K ocherednym voprosam. I.’, O,  ( February ), – (–). See, for example, Struve, ‘Germanskie vybory’, and his ‘Voprosy taktiki’, O,  ( March ), –; Miliukov, Russia and Its Crisis, pp. – and ‘Derzhavnyi maskerad’, pp. –. Letter published in Liberation signed by zemstvo representatives, cited in Shatsillo, Russkii liberalizm, p. . ‘Liberalizm i t. n. “revoliutsionnye” napravleniia’, O,  ( September ), –.

Concepts of Freedom Revisited



participants: ‘a kind of war coalition of diverse groups, monarchists and republicans, liberals and socialists, temporarily united to carry on a guerrilla fight against the common enemy – autocracy’. In this context, liberals were the willing allies of revolutionaries and socialists who viewed freedom not so much as something that must be guaranteed by political and legal structures, but rather as the product of a new, more rational social order.

.

Concepts of Freedom Revisited: 

The question of to what extent a liberal outlook is compatible with revolution was not an abstract one in  Russia. As they sought to install an order concerned with individual dignity and the rule of law, liberationists were forced to acknowledge that the government was not influenced by various forms of civil protest, while its indiscriminate use of violence against peaceful protestors (symbolized by Bloody Sunday,  January ) gave extremist groups a certain claim to virtue. Yet even as the revolutionary movement gathered momentum, with a rash of terrorist attacks and violent strikes and mutinies, liberationists became increasingly aware of the value of the state for guaranteeing order, and the extent to which order is necessary to defend the rights and freedoms they valued. As they passionately debated the question of the appropriate conduct vis-à-vis the tsarist state, the responses of the members of the Union of Liberation (which subsequently transformed itself into the Kadet Party) were shaped by fast-moving events. In this setting, the appropriate balance between positive and negative freedom was part of a broader question that engaged all Russians eager to participate in political life and yet aware of the deficiencies of the political system on offer.







Ariadna Tyrkova-Williams, ‘The Cadet Party’, Russian Review,  (), – (p. ). On divisions between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks with regard to cooperation with the movement, see Abraham Ascher, The Revolution of : Russia in Disarray (Stanford: Stanford University Press, ), pp. –. See Anna Geifman, Thou Shalt Kill: Revolutionary Terrorism in Russia, – (Princeton: Princeton University Press, ) and ‘The Kadets and Terrorism, –’, Jahrbu¨cher fu¨r Geschichte Osteuropas,  (), –; Melissa K. Stockdale, ‘Politics, Morality and Violence: Kadet Liberals and the Question of Terror, –’, Russian History,  (), –. On the increasing politicization of worker and peasant demands, see D. F. Sverchkov, ‘Soiuz soiuzov’, Krasnaia letopis’,  (), –; Shmuel Galai, ‘The Role of the Union of Unions in the Revolution of ’, Jahrbu¨cher fu¨r Geschichte Osteuropas,  (), –.



Liberalism in  and Its Aftermath ..

Freedom and Revolution

It was in the context of widespread unrest among industrial workers and peasants that news of the Russian loss to Japan in Tsushima Strait in May  turned an unstable situation into an explosive one. The ensuing revolutionary upheaval, including a near general strike, street clashes in Odessa, and a mutiny on the battleship Potemkin, made that much more tangible the possibility that revolutionary parties could trigger a national uprising. Observers who had argued that reforms could take place within the existing legal framework and in cooperation with the government were consistently disappointed by the government’s refusal to promulgate widereaching reforms, and its readiness to resort to physical force against the protestors. The failure of a direct appeal to the Tsar by a prominent neoidealist thinker and zemstvo representative, Prince Sergei Trubetskoi, pushed well-known moderates to entertain the possibility of more confrontational methods. Even Maklakov, who subsequently argued that liberals should have been more accommodating of the existing regime, reflected at this time that Russia’s existing economic relations and system of governance were solely to blame for a series of peasant uprisings. Many of those zemstvo men who had been firmly opposed to political terror were nevertheless willing to concede that violence had been effective in prompting the regime to agree to the limited reforms it was willing to accept. In these circumstances, it was a small minority who used the absolute value of human dignity to reject outright the premise that violence could ever be theoretically justified. 

  



For an account of these events, see John S. Bushnell, Mutiny amid Repression: Russian Soldiers in the Revolution of – (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, ); Shmuel Galai, ‘The Impact of the Russo-Japanese War on the Russian Liberals, –’, Government and Opposition,  (), –. Ivan Petrunkevich describes the situation in his memoirs: Iz zapisok obshchestvennogo deiatelia (Berlin: Arkhiv russkoi revoliutsii, vol. , ), pp. –. ‘Agrarnye bezporiadki: Dolbenkovskoe delo ( iuniia )’, in Rechi: sudebnye, dumskie i publichnye lektsii, – gg. (Paris: Izdanie iubileinogo komiteta, ), pp. –. See the discussions in ‘Zemtsy-konstitutsionalisty o konstitutsionno-demokraticheskoi partii’, Zhurnal s”ezda gruppy zemtsev-konstitutsionalistov – iiulia  goda v Moskve, reprinted in ‘Prilozhenie k No. /’, O, ( October ), –. For example, Semën Frank explained to Struve his reasons for withdrawing from the Liberation Movement as follows: ‘No matter how much I might thirst for freedom, I cannot kill people for it, nor call for death nor – to be completely honest – die myself as cannon fodder’. Meanwhile, ‘those who want to take action must in effect adopt the position of the Socialist Revolutionaries and not shy away from their tactics’ (‘Pis’ma S. L. Franka k N. A. i P. B. Struve’, No. ,  May , reprinted in Put’: Mezhdunarodnyi filosofskii zhurnal,  (), – (p. )).

Concepts of Freedom Revisited



Others, meanwhile, had been moving in a more radical direction ever since the events of Bloody Sunday, a time at which Struve had described the Crown as ‘the clear enemy and executioner of the people’. In the pages of Liberation he advocated an ‘active, revolutionary tactic as the only sensible one for constitutionalists to adopt’. In May  Miliukov drafted an appeal to the Russian nation that his biographer describes as ‘the most radical document he ever composed’. In it he stated: ‘We must act, each as he can and according to his own political convictions. Do as you like, but act! All means are now legitimate against the terrible threat latent in the very fact of the continued existence of the present government’. He concluded that pacifism during revolution was in its own way a moral hypocrisy, dependent as it was on abstaining from physical coercion oneself yet benefiting from the outcomes gained by physical force. While the movement as a whole was moving closer to the tactics of socialist parties, liberationists were also moving towards positive conceptions of freedom. The socioeconomic platform of the Union of Liberation, adopted at its third congress in March , reflected peasant and worker wishes in that it provided for expropriation of land with compensation and various measures of labour legislation including the introduction of the eight-hour workday. In the course of the summer zemstvo representatives, traditionally the most cautious of the movement, now called for genuinely democratic suffrage, autonomy for Poland and other borderlands, and endorsed limited economic and social reforms designed to attenuate inequality, as well as the principle of expropriation. In a period of social turmoil, liberally inclined thinkers who founded the Union of Liberation were increasingly willing to entertain the possibility that revolution might be the best way to achieve their commitments to human dignity, a lawful state, and freedom as an end in itself. Yet this conclusion presented liberationists with a profound dilemma. In the words of one historian of the period: ‘[e]thical and legal questions, among them of the relationship of ends and means and the bounds of the permissible in politics, were not easily resolved, particularly since the questions were posed not in the abstract, but in the midst of tremendous social and    

 ‘Palach naroda’, O,  ( January ), p. . ‘Voprosy taktiki’, pp. –. Stockdale, Paul Miliukov, p. . The original appeal is reprinted in Sverchkov, ‘Soiuz soiuzov’, p. ; Miliukov, Vospominaniia, vol. , pp. –. See ‘Iiul’skii zemskii s”ezd: protokol’ s”ezda’, O,  ( September ), –; Nathan Smith, ‘The Constitutional-Democratic Movement in Russia, –’ (doctoral thesis, University of Illinois, ), pp. –, –.

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Liberalism in  and Its Aftermath

political upheaval’. The fact that terror benefited from support among the liberals’ potential electorate, as well as the parties they saw as crucial allies, provides some indication of the tactical considerations they had to face. The tendency to perceive terrorists as heroic martyrs dedicated to the liberation and well-being of Russian citizens further complicated the ethical dilemma, as evinced by the sanction of terrorism at certain points during  by figures such as Struve and Maklakov, who were genuinely repulsed by violence. ..

Freedom and Order

Throughout  Russian liberals became increasingly aware that the ability of the state to maintain order has a moral aspect that is intrinsically connected to the preservation and protection of freedom. Yet as they became progressively conscious of the links between order and freedom, important divisions remained about the relationship between those two concepts. In particular, those who went on to become members of the Kadet Party largely agreed that Russia’s historical situation required certain positive measures to improve the life of the poorest members of the country’s population, yet their views of whether the tsarist state would be able to preserve order while sufficiently protecting individual rights varied greatly. Miliukov, whose opinions had an enormous influence on party policy, drew on his historical training to argue that in complex situations, freedom should be approached as a good whose value must be measured against other, competing goods. In a series of lectures he gave in the United States in , he reflected that ‘political freedom and individual liberty no longer seem to be the absolute good that they were considered when the era of liberty dawned in France’. In times of crisis, he was willing to envision significant sacrifices of negative liberty to ensure more propitious conditions for the self-realization of all. Maklakov, whose background was in jurisprudence and who went on to become one of the harshest critics of Miliukov’s policies in emigration, also believed that the

 

 

Stockdale, ‘Politics, Morality’, pp. –. For a study of the dilemma facing those with conservative sympathies at this time, see Vanessa Rampton, ‘The Impossibility of Conservatism? Insights from Russian History’, The Monist,  (), –. As Lazar points out, States of Emergency, p. , a ‘liberal democratic order has no content or actuality without rights or the moral information they carry, and rights have no actuality without order’. Russia and Its Crisis, p. .

Concepts of Freedom Revisited



Russian situation called for more positive liberty than that of its European counterparts, but in his mind a strong state was necessary to compensate for the fact that the Russian population was profoundly unaccustomed to negative liberty. The views he developed in his memoirs, centred on the idea that individual freedom could never be achieved in violation of the rights of the state, became associated with a specific strand within the Kadet Party that will be examined in more detail in Chapter . As the Union of Liberation was dissolved and party politics became more ideologically coherent, those who remained committed to the idea of a fruitful tension between values stayed within the Kadet Party, while the lack of commitment of other major groups to this tension became progressively clearer. In October , as part of preparations to participate in a consultative national legislature – one of the Tsar’s concessions – the Union of Liberation disbanded to reform as the Constitutional-Democratic Party. Like that of its predecessor, the party’s programme was designed to appeal to the broadest possible membership among the non-revolutionary intelligentsia, including minority nationalities in Poland and Finland. Demands included the equality of all citizens before the law and the guarantee of basic civil liberties, including freedom of speech, religion, movement, and assembly. Political stipulations were centred on a national legislative assembly elected by universal, equal, direct, and secret suffrage (known as the four-tailed formula) for which the government would be held accountable. The party supported women’s suffrage by a very narrow margin, and even then did not make this support binding for party members; those against the measure argued that it was too radical to allow them to garner support

 



On measures taken by the Tsar to assuage public opinion, see Ascher, Russia in Disarray, pp. –. The platform of the Kadet Party is discussed in Enticott, Russian Liberals, pp. –. See Article  of the ‘Programma konstitutsionno-demokraticheskoi partii (partii narodnoi svobody)’, reprinted in Rossiiskie liberaly, ed. by Pavlov and Shelokhaev, pp. –. For an analysis, see Chermenskii, Burzhuaziia i tsarizm, pp. –. On the historical context of the Kadet plank on freedom of conscience, see Werth, Tsar’s Foreign Faiths. Other relevant sources are Patrick Lally Michelson, ‘ “The first and most sacred right”: religious freedom and the liberation of the Russian nation, –’ (doctoral thesis, University of Wisconsin-Madison, ); Randall A. Poole, ‘Religious Toleration, Freedom of Conscience, and Russian Liberalism’, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History ,  (), –; and the contributions to the edited volume Religious Freedom in Russia, ed. Randall A. Poole and Paul W. Werth (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, ).



Liberalism in  and Its Aftermath

among peasants. On this issue, Miliukov, who argued that genuinely universal suffrage should be postponed for tactical reasons, was vocally opposed by his wife, Anna Sergeevna Miliukova (–), who had co-founded the League for Women’s Equality in May . The subject of agrarian reform was particularly acrimonious, and one on which party members had highly divergent views. In the end, the programme provided for the possibility of expropriation with compensation (at ‘equitable’, not market prices) of the privately owned land necessary to meet the peasants’ land requirements. In his opening address to the congress, Miliukov pointed out that the boundary to the left of the Kadets was adjustable and porous: ‘[o]ur party stands closest to those groups among Western intellectuals who are known under the name of “social reformers”’, he stated, and the Kadet programme ‘is undoubtedly the most leftist of all those put forward by Western European groups analogous to us’. Indeed, Kadet policy positions – particularly those concerning agrarian reform and labour legislation – have been subsequently criticized for being scarcely compatible with liberalism. Their support for expropriation, for example, was later arraigned for its denial of the value of the principle of private property. Yet if we proceed from the framework for approaching liberalism outlined in this study, the Kadet agrarian policy represents one example of a response to the tensions between wide-scale redistribution to the benefit of the autonomy and 

 

 

On the campaign for women’s suffrage in Russia, see Linda Harriet Edmondson, Feminism in Russia: – (London: Heinemann, ); Richard Stites, The Women’s Liberation Movement in Russia: Feminism, Nihilism, and Bolshevism, – (Princeton: Princeton University Press, ); Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild, Equality & Revolution: Women’s Rights in the Russian Empire (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, ). On Miliukova, see A. Zhikhareva, ‘Anna S. Miliukova. Zhiznennyi put’’, Poslednie novosti ( and  April ). The party’s radical wing favoured a programme similar to that of the Socialist Revolutionaries and Social Democrats involving the confiscation of all gentry lands and granting peasants a sufficient amount of land for their subsistence. Another view associated with Mikhail Gertsenshtein (–), one of Russia’s foremost agrarian economists, considered expropriation permissible exclusively in exceptional cases. The collection Agrarnyi vopros: sbornik statei, nd ed. (Moscow: Knigoizdatelʹstvo Beseda, ) contains the opinions of several leading Kadets, including that of Gertsenshtein (pp. –). See also V. V. Shelokhaev, ‘Agrarnaia programma kadetov v pervoi russkoi revoliutsii’, Istoricheskie zapiski,  (), –; Judith Zimmerman, ‘Between revolution and reaction: the Russian Constitutional Democratic Party, October,  to June, ’ (unpublished doctoral thesis, Columbia University, ), pp. –. See his ‘Vstupitel’naia rech’ na uchreditel’nom s”ezde k.-d. partii -go oktiabria  goda’, reprinted in God bor’by, pp. – (pp. –). See Shmuel Galai, ‘Konstitutsionalisty-demokraty i ikh kritiki’, Voprosy istorii,  (), –; Viktor Leontovitsch, Geschichte des Liberalismus in Russland, –, nd ed. (Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, ), pp. –.

Concepts of Freedom Revisited



dignity of a substantial proportion of the Russian population, and the negative liberty of landlords, established and preserved thanks to the arbitrariness of autocracy and its officialdom. Novgorodtsev, a Kadet Party member, demonstrates a quintessentially liberal attitude when, writing about the agrarian question, he claims that the ideas of the rights of the individual person (prava chelovecheskoi lichnosti), human dignity, and freedom ‘eliminate the idea of inalienable property rights, replacing it with the principle of public legal regulation of acquired rights and a necessary reward to their holders in the case of their infringement’. The Kadets’ consistent defence of the value of individual rights in other circumstances, and the general liberal consensus that the right to private property is not ‘inviolable’, provides further justification for the argument that the party was attempting to achieve a reasonable balance in difficult historical circumstances. As the Kadets were debating their programme against the background of a country-wide strike and mounting revolutionary unrest, the government made its first substantial political concession in the form of the October Manifesto, which promised to introduce a range of civil liberties and political rights, and grant a future Duma full legislative powers. Divided over the sincerity of the government’s willingness to reform, the liberationist camp reacted by splintering into several political parties. A number of representatives of the propertied classes split off from the Kadets to form the Union of October , a party based on the premise that cooperation with the tsarist authorities was necessary for the advent of liberalism in Russia, and whose members were less committed to a tension between positive and negative liberty than the Kadets. Though Shipov and other founding members had been able to find common ground with future Kadets in the Union of Liberation, their party developed increasingly in the direction of intolerance, Great Russian chauvinism, and conservatism. In contrast to those who became known as Octobrists, the bulk  





‘Dva etiuda I. Pered zavesoi. II. Pravo na dostoinoe chelovecheskoe sushchestvovanie’, PZ,  (), – (p. ). For example, the right to property is guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (), which also states that people can be deprived of their property so long as this is not done arbitrarily. See the United Nations website www.un.org/en/documents/udhr [accessed  March ] (Article ). See ‘Oktiabria . Manifest’, in Polnoe sobranie zakonov Rossiiskoi Imperii (–), [n. ed.],  vols. (St Petersburg: Otdelenie svoda zakonov Gosudarstvennoi kantseliarii et al., –), vol. , part , No. , pp. –. See Shmuel Galai, ‘The True Nature of Octobrism’, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History,  (), – and ‘Programma “Soiuza  oktiabria”’, reprinted in Rossiskie liberaly, ed. by Pavlov and Shelokhaev, pp. –. For a comparison between the Octobrists and Kadets, see

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Liberalism in  and Its Aftermath

of Kadets greeted the provisions of the October Manifesto with scepticism. The subsequent actions of the regime, including the use of the death penalty, and the political weakness of Count Sergei Witte (–), the minister behind the concession, made them more doubtful than ever that the government was actually willing to implement the Manifesto’s provisions. As liberal confidence in the government dwindled, revolutionaries intensified their attacks on the state, and the possibility that the old order could not withstand their armed assault became increasingly likely. Continuous strikes, land seizures, and calls for the use of force to introduce social reforms culminated in the Moscow uprising of December , organized by Mensheviks, Bolsheviks, and Socialist Revolutionaries, to which the government responded by using artillery to shell the positions of the rebels. As the social movement gathered momentum, Kadet leaders avoided general condemnation of the revolutionary parties and, at least formally, continued to assign the blame for the violent disorder to the government’s ruthless behaviour and procrastination. By the end of , party members had seen first-hand that the rights and liberties they prized could not be guaranteed in times of social unrest and economic disturbances. Individual Kadet writings bear witness to the authors’ unease at the prospects of cooperation with a determinedly revolutionary movement that disparaged the existential value of a state able to maintain order and provide a forum to oversee compromises between different rights. Struve, for example, characterized at this point the cult of power of the authorities and the revolutionaries as equally dangerous: ‘Social Democracy wishes to use the revolutionary power of the people to overcome the reactionary violence of the autocracy’, he wrote. ‘It has in common with its enemy the cult of power: it merely desires a different holder of power and entrusts it with different tasks. In its worldview, law is not the idea of the just (dolzhnogo) but the command of the strong’. As we shall see in the next chapter, it was at this time that he formulated his theory of the incompatibility of revolutionary violence with freedom and culture. While the long-term priorities of the liberal



Terence Emmons, The Formation of Political Parties and the First National Elections in Russia (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, ), pp. –. ‘Zametki o sovremennykh delakh’, O, – ( October ), – (p. ). A different view was expressed by Aleksandr A. Chuprov, for example, who called for practical cooperation between Kadets and socialists; see his Konstitutsionno-demokraticheskaia partiia i sotsializm (Moscow: Lissner i Sobko, ). Ivan Petrunkevich also spoke out in favour of cooperation between liberals and revolutionaries: see Emmons, Formation of Political Parties, pp. –, fn. .

Freedom and Liberal Politics



movement were irrevocably forged in the context of its long-standing cooperation with revolutionary parties, Kadet politicians now believed that if the state’s capacity to maintain order and fulfil its normal functions is threatened, the very existence of rights and freedoms is jeopardized. Newly mindful of the value of state structures, yet despairing of the goodwill of the tsarist state, party members began preparing for their first experiment in parliamentary politics.

. Freedom and Liberal Politics, – The Russian constitutional experiment is notable for its brevity: the First Duma lasted seventy-three days and the Second Duma a little more than three months. The change to electoral law in the summer of , one that was arbitrary and unconstitutional, effectively ended the experiment by creating a Duma much more open to cooperation with the government. Yet during the two Dumas of  to , the Kadets played a significant, even dominant role thanks to the advantage of numbers, and the fact that their leadership was competent, articulate, and well-versed in parliamentary procedures. To a non-negligible degree, their proposals in parliament aimed at defining the contours of freedom in the Russian context. At the same time, the Kadets’ leadership was limited by tactical considerations concerning political allies, and the dynamics of parliamentary work with a hostile government. In the final section of this chapter, the focus is on how the party reassessed its ideas of how tensions between freedoms should be resolved in the light of political expediency. .. Rule-of-Law State As the Kadets prepared for the First Duma, the ambiguities contained in the Manifesto (codified in the Fundamental Laws of April ) and the fact that, in Geoffrey Hosking’s words, the Tsar wanted ‘to have both the autocracy and the October Manifesto’, resulted in a tense uncertainty as to the locus and confines of power. Though the government was prepared to endorse limited civil rights and political participation, the benefits of rights remained tied to a specific social station, while the legal system continued to recognize that the sovereign’s authority permitted him to act



The Russian Constitutional Experiment, Government and Duma, – (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), p. .

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Liberalism in  and Its Aftermath

in contravention of the law. Existing institutional arrangements raised the question of whether cooperation with the regime was viable, or even morally justified. There was no coherent response to this strained situation within the party. Some felt that the Kadets should enter the Duma only with the goal of broadening its franchise so that a fundamental restructuring of the political system could occur. Others, including most members of the party’s Central Committee, were adamant that constructive work within the Duma was necessary to pacify the country and restore confidence in governing structures. Linked to these substantive differences were differing views on tactics, that is whether the Kadets should press for concessions by aligning with revolutionary socialists, or support government attempts to reinstall order. In an effort to make their position more acceptable to the establishment, party leaders foreswore their claims to a ‘constituent assembly’ (as an institution distinct from the Duma proposed by the government) and a ‘democratic republic’ in favour of a constitutional and parliamentary monarchy. Yet for both emotional and tactical reasons, the Kadets could not entirely distance themselves from the goals of parties who were in favour of merely opposing and obstructing work with the government, and refrained from fully embracing the idea of constructive legislative work within the Duma. Miliukov, the main author of the Kadet strategy during this time, describes it in his memoirs as ‘liberal tactics with the threat of revolution’. From the authorities’ perspective,





 



See ibid., pp. – for an overview of legislative ambiguities at that time. For example, the Fundamental Laws provided for a State Council which was to act as an upper chamber of parliament and benefit from equal legislative rights as the Duma. This reform was very negatively received and described as a ‘coup d’état’ (Struve) and an ‘insult to the Duma’ (Miliukov). Struve, ‘Zametki publitsista: I. Coup d’etat  fevralia. II. O boikote. III. Smertnaia kazn’’, PZ,  (), –; Miliukov, ‘Novoe “uchrezhdenie gosud. dumy” -go fevralia’, , in God bor’by, pp. – (p. ). For the text of the Fundamental Laws, see Polnoe sobranie zakonov, vol. , part , No. , pp. –. See the discussions during the ‘Vtoroi s”ezd Konstitutsionno-demokraticheskoi partii – ianvaria  goda’, in S”ezdy i konferentsii konstitutsionno-demokraticheskoi partii, – gg., ed. by O. V. Volobuev et al.,  vols. (Moscow: ROSSPEN, –), vol. , pp. –. See Ascher, Revolution of , pp. –; Miliukov, ‘Taktika k.-d. bol’shinstva v dume po otnosheniiu k levym i k pravym’, Rech’,  March , reprinted in God bor’by, pp. –. See the discussions in ‘Utrennee zasedanie  aprelia’, in Protokoly III obshcheimperskogo delegatskogo s”ezda partii narodnoi svobody (konstitutsionno-demokraticheskoi), [n. ed] (St Petersburg: Obshchestvennaia pol’za, ), pp. – (pp. –). At party congresses in early  the words ‘Party of Popular Freedom’ (Partiia narodnoi svobody) were added to the party’s name, and the vote was to be extended to women. Vospominaniia, vol. , p. .

Freedom and Liberal Politics



the Kadets could never completely break their ties with revolutionary parties, and their ambivalent positions remained highly suspicious. The impressive Kadet victory in the First Duma elections, achieved primarily thanks to their skilful use of the press and awareness campaigns, as well as the boycott by revolutionary parties of the elections, increased the sense of power of party members vis-à-vis the government. It also brought to the fore the question of the political expediency of the defence of freedom in flawed institutional arrangements. The formation of a majority government required that the Kadets cooperate with approximately  deputies from the Trudovik group (populist socialists) and those classified as nonaligned (mostly peasant deputies). The structure of this alliance made the land question paramount in the First Duma, while it also introduced the Kadets to the difficulties of forging tactics that would satisfy the militant mood of Duma deputies without inviting a break with the government. The Address to the Throne drafted by delegates concluded with the injunction that the ‘vital need’ of the ‘toiling peasantry’ be satisfied by requisitioning ‘state, appanage, cabinet, and monastery lands, and by the compulsory expropriation of privately owned lands’. The government was adamant in its rejection of this proposition, consistently reiterating that property was inalienable and inviolable. In this conflictual atmosphere, it was not long before relations reached an impasse, and in the end the Duma’s insistence on expropriation served as the final pretext for its dissolution. On  July , the Duma was dissolved and Ivan Goremykin (–), who had been acting as prime minister for several months, was replaced by the more authoritative Pëtr Stolypin (–). At Kadet initiative, about one-third of Duma deputies gathered at Vyborg just across the Finnish border where they issued an appeal condemning the dissolution of the Duma as unlawful,  

 

See Pipes, Liberal on the Right, pp. –; Chermenskii, Burzhuaziia i tsarizm, pp. –. The party was only registered as a legal association in . There is an abundance of literature on the activities of the Kadets in the First and Second Dumas. The newspapers Pravo, Birzhevye vedomosti, Narodnoe pravo, and Russkie vedomosti were all sympathetic to the party; Rech’, founded in , acted de facto as the party’s official organ, even though the role was officially incumbent on Vestnik partii narodnoi svobody. Pervaia gosudarstvennaia duma: sbornik statei, ed. by A. A. Mukhanov and V. D. Nabokov,  vols. (St Petersburg: [n. pub.], ) contains a number of articles by leading Kadets. Important retrospective works are M. M. Vinaver, Konflikty v pervoi Dume (St Petersburg: Minkov, ); Maklakov, Pervaia gosudarstvennaia duma and Vtoraia gosudarstvennaia duma. See Shmuel Galai, ‘Kadet Domination of the First Duma and Its Limits’, in Russian Revolution, ed. by Smele and Heywood, pp. –. Stenograficheskii otchet. Gosudarstvennaia Duma (St Petersburg: Gosudarstvennaia tipografiia, ), vol. , session , sitting ,  May , pp. –.



Liberalism in  and Its Aftermath

explaining that the government wished to prevent the Duma from carrying out its proposed reforms, and calling for civil disobedience to compel the government to immediately summon a new one. Neither the dissolution nor the appeal triggered significant interest from the population, and the Kadets were forced to concede that their oppositional stance had resulted in a rupture with the government without simultaneously engendering the support of the masses. The current within the party that had argued for the redistribution of land as the sine qua non condition for the authentic liberation of Russia now lost power in relation to those who argued that freedom must come gradually, through the slow extension of civil and political rights. ..

Legislation or Revolution

In his new tenure Stolypin was prepared to cooperate with the Duma, but anxious to ensure that any cooperation would take place on his own terms. In the summer and fall of  he enacted several important measures – a law on field courts-martial and a project of agrarian reform – under the emergency provisions of Article  of the Fundamental Laws, thus circumventing the legislature and presenting the parties with a fait accompli. As the Kadets articulated their campaign strategy, they were forced to conjure with both the lessons of the First Duma concerning the impotence of radical action, and Stolypin’s ‘illegal’ reforms. After acrimonious debates, the party agreed on an essentially defensive strategy, adopting a politics ‘not of assault, but of orderly siege’ (ne shturm, a pravil’naia osada). Aware of the risk that they might fundamentally damage the credibility of their party in the eyes of peasants and socialists, and divided as to whether acknowledging Stolypin’s reforms meant repudiating their own programme, Kadets nevertheless agreed that moderate tactics and





The most important of Stolypin’s agrarian reforms was the law of November , which allowed peasants to withdraw from the commune and claim their share of allotment land as private property. For a discussion see Ascher, Authority Restored, pp. –. An imperial decree issued in August stated that if it was ‘obvious’ that a civilian was guilty of a revolutionary crime the accused could be tried by a military field court, normal procedures could be bypassed, and a verdict (most likely a death sentence) could be immediately given. In a country where there was a strong tradition hostile to the death penalty, this provoked widespread outrage and hostility. Miliukov, Vospominaniia, vol. , p. . See Zimmerman, ‘Revolution and Reaction’, pp. –; Chermenskii, Burzhuaziia i tsarizm, pp. –; Alfred Levin, The Second Duma: A Study of the Social-Democratic Party and the Russian Constitutional Experiment (New Haven: Yale University Press, ), pp. –.

Freedom and Liberal Politics



slightly more modest demands were the best ways to achieve their longterm goals regarding freedom. This defensive strategy was severely tested in a Duma that was far more polarized than its predecessor and where the Kadet Party was much less well represented. Any attempts to engage in sober and constructive legislative work, including bills on civil liberties and local self-government, were undermined by the fact that there were too many delegates interested in raising issues that would necessarily lead to a confrontation with the government. While their new strategy dictated that they should delay consideration of agrarian reform for as long as possible, in a radical Duma concerned with recent peasant unrest shelving the question proved impossible. All hope of compromise with the government ended in May  when the Duma’s agrarian committee adopted a measure favouring the expropriation of large amounts of privately owned land, the establishment of a land fund, and the annulment of the government’s legislation passed under Article . Afraid of losing the support of increasingly combative peasant deputies, the Kadets supported the measure. During this period, the question of the Kadets’ ambiguous stance on political terror became once again a critical indicator of the party’s broader ethical, legal, and political platform. After October , the justification or condemnation of revolutionary terror increasingly served to divide Russian politics into those who supported revolution and those who favoured law and order. As a party, the Kadets were committed to embracing peaceful methods over violent ones, yet from a pragmatic perspective there were a number of considerations that induced them to maintain an equivocal attitude to terror. As stated earlier, there were good grounds for arguing that prior to  attempts at persuasion had failed to occasion changes in tsarist policy, while violence had been able to trigger reforms. From a moral standpoint, many liberals believed that the 



  

In the Duma that opened in February  the conservatives were strengthened while socialists gained even more. See Levin, Second Duma, pp. –. Despite their reduced numbers the Kadets remained a dominant force in the Duma: for a discussion, see Ascher, Authority Restored, pp. –; Emmons, Formation of Political Parties, pp. –. On Kadet objectives and tactics, see [n. a.], Novaia Duma: platforma partii narodnoi svobody (St Petersburg: Avidon, ) pp. –; Levin, Second Duma, pp. –; Judith Zimmerman, ‘Kadets and the Duma, –’, in Russian Liberalism, ed. by Timberlake, pp. – (especially pp. –). See Ariadna Tyrkova-Williams (Tyrkova-Vil’iams), Na putiakh k svobode (Moscow: Moskovskaia shkola politicheskikh issledovanii,  ()), pp. –; Kizevetter, Na rubezhe, pp. –.  Ascher, Authority Restored, p. . Stockdale, ‘Politics, Morality’, p. . See Geifman, ‘Kadets and Terrorism’; Shmuel Galai, ‘The Kadet Quest for the Masses’, in Perspectives in Russian History, ed. by McKean, pp. – (pp. –).



Liberalism in  and Its Aftermath

government’s repressive measures were the main cause of terror by the opposition; its lax attitude towards violence by conservative and nationalist groups only aggravated the matter. Moreover, Kadets depended on the support of socialist parties if they were going to obtain any kind of majority for their initiatives. In the end, this inconclusive attitude to violence served to alienate the party from other political entities, while the Kadet refusal to condemn terror further damaged the party’s prospects of reaching an agreement with the existing government. By spring  it was clear that the Kadet policy of promoting concrete legislation in the Duma was untenable in an atmosphere in which virtually all other parties were focused on either perpetuating or stamping out revolution. Stolypin was eager to reorganize the Duma and, using the pretext of contacts between members of revolutionary parties and soldiers, ended its deliberations on  June . He then immediately passed a new electoral law designed to benefit those the government deemed most trustworthy. It was no accident that the two groups who saw their representation most drastically reduced were peasants and national minorities (especially Poles). By turning the provisions of the October Manifesto into a semblance of democracy, the law effectively symbolized the end of the revolution and the triumph of the authorities. .. Shifting Allies,  to  The reassertion of the regime’s political might in  marked the beginning of a new epoch in which liberal sympathizers had to operate. The experience of the First and Second Dumas had occasioned a certain rethinking of the relationship between the Kadets and parties that openly embraced revolution; Miliukov acknowledged in  that it was more

 

 

Stolypin’s law on field courts-martial was a clear violation of due process and provided support for the arguments that the government employed terror itself. A reactionary group was responsible for the murder of two well-known Kadets, Mikhail Gertsenshtein (July ) and Grigorii Iollos (March ), for a number of death threats, and for assaulting Miliukov in April . See Napadki na partiiu narodnoi svobody i vozrazheniia na nikh, ed. by A. A. Kizevetter (Moscow, Lissner i Sobko, ), for example pp. –. See Miliukov, Vospominaniia, vol. , pp. –, where he recalls his meeting with Stolypin in early  concerning whether or not the Kadet Party would condemn revolutionary terror. The law increased representation of large private landowners and of ethnic Russians at the expense of other nationalities. For an analysis of the recent rise in conservative sentiments in the zemstvos, see Manning, ‘Zemstvo and Politics’, pp. –. See also Alfred Levin, ‘The Russian Voter in the Elections to the Third Duma’, Slavic Review,  (), –; Emmons, Formation of Political Parties, pp. –.

Freedom and Liberal Politics



appropriate to speak not of friends but of ‘rivals’ among revolutionary socialists. Meanwhile, any idealized vision of the parliamentary setting as the external forum through which to engineer social change was profoundly thrown into question. For many, upholding the rule of law and individual dignity in a simulacrum of a parliamentary government was no longer possible: as we shall see in the following chapter, a number of figures formerly involved in politics took to other means – including literature, philosophy, religion, and art – to express their desire for social change. For those who remained convinced of the powers of parliamentary politics, Stolypin’s reforms left the Kadet Party with limited options. The Third and Fourth Dumas were fundamentally conservative: dominated by the Octobrists, the Kadets were very much on the political sidelines. In the new configuration of power, the party adopted a cautious position, distancing themselves from the outspoken opposition of revolutionaries, and open to cooperation in domestic policy with the Octobrists and some of their allies. Yet the Octobrist-led majority and the government promulgated a highly nationalistic domestic policy designed to create a majority among Duma representatives, which simultaneously forced the Kadets to confront a number of unresolved issues concerning their own position on the question of national rights. While the party programme demanded equality and cultural autonomy for all citizens without distinction, a number of party members, influenced ideologically by Pëtr Struve, were eager to associate Kadet policies more explicitly with a vigorous Russian nationalism. Moreover, defending the equal rights of   







He developed the argument in the article ‘U nas net vragov sleva’, Rech’,  September , pp. –. See Chapter , Section .. Emmons highlights the atrophy of the Kadet Party network as evidence of a disinterest in politics following the summer of  (Formation of Political Parties, pp. –). For an analysis of the figures, see Hosking, Russian Constitutional Experiment, pp. –. In general, on this understudied period of Kadet history, see Shelokhaev, Konstitutsionno-demokraticheskaia partiia, pp. –. On the work of the Third Duma, see Ben-Cion Pinchuk, The Octobrists in the Third Duma, – (Seattle: University of Washington Press, ); Alfred Levin, The Third Duma, Election and Profile (Hamden, CT: Archon Books, ); Denis V. Shchukin, ‘Deiatel’nost’ fraktsii partii kadetov v III gosudarstvennoi dume’ (unpublished doctoral thesis, Voronezh State University, ). Nationalism had a particular appeal in the light of Russia’s recent international humiliations (by Japan in  and Austria’s annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in ). The rise of nationalism was part of a broader pan-European phenomenon: see Hosking, Russian Constitutional Experiment, p. ; Robert J. Scally, The Origins of the Lloyd George Coalition: The Politics of Social-Imperialism, – (Princeton: Princeton University Press, ), pp. –. This group included Aleksandr Izgoev (–), Ariadna Tyrkova (–), Nikolai Gredeskul (–), and Dmitrii Protopopov (–). For a study of nationalism in



Liberalism in  and Its Aftermath

minority nationalities was far from politically expedient in the current nationalistic mood, as even a moderate defence of minority interests was perceived as a lack of patriotism and indifference to state interests. While Kadets opposed new government legislation that threatened the rights of certain well-established minorities such as Finns, they remained faced with the uncomfortable truth that the ‘democratic’ consensus favoured going even further than the proposed legislation in embracing a narrow, chauvinistic policy. The Kadets faced a dilemma of similar magnitude concerning the most important government bill of the Third Duma, designed to regularize the agrarian reforms Stolypin had enacted between the First and Second Dumas, which provided for the dissolution of the village commune and the extension of property rights to peasants. The majority of Kadets opposed the bill primarily due to political considerations: Stolypin’s reforms had been passed in contravention of the parliamentary system, while their substance was influenced by the government’s political aims. Making a bid for peasant support for the party, its leaders argued that introducing the ‘theory’ of private property to the countryside as an absolute good violated traditional peasant support for communal rights. Others approached the policy from their commitment to the ideal of the rule of law and rational compromise, and cautioned that it was necessary to avoid overly politicizing the issue, and support the bill because it provided for the protection of the rights of peasants in law, and allowed them to benefit from legal equality. While policy disagreements such as these have been cited as evidence of an









 

the context of the First World War, see Melissa K. Stockdale, Mobilizing the Russian Nation: Patriotism and Citizenship in the First World War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ). For a study that contrasts the national visions of Struve and Miliukov, see Rabow-Edling, State, Nation, Empire, pp. –. See also Oleg Petrovich-Belkin, Konstantin Kurylev, Nadezhda Smolik, and Daria Stanis, ‘Russian Liberals and the Conceptual Foundations of Russian Foreign Policy in the Early Twentieth Century’, Revolutionary Russia, () (), –, for an analysis of how these visions influenced Kadet foreign policy. Finland’s constitutional structure made it semi-autonomous; Kadets rejected the proposition of the government (and various other groups) that Finland should simply be a province of the Russian Empire. On this issue the government benefited from what came to be known as the June rd alliance between the State Council, Octobrists, and various conservative parties based on the defence of the inviolability of private property. Kadets also objected to the harshness of the bill, which threatened to drive the poorest peasants off the land to fend for themselves wherever they could. Their alternative bill proposed individual withdrawal from the commune. Though expropriation was not mentioned, it was intended to act as a complement to the bill. This was the essence of Miliukov’s position on the subject. See Stockdale, Paul Miliukov, pp. –. See Walicki, Legal Philosophies, pp. –.

Freedom and Liberal Politics



unbridgeable divide between those who believed that historical compromise with the state would facilitate the liberation of Russia, and those who favoured further political struggle as a means to achieve freedom, we shall see in the next chapters some of the defects of this approach, which takes no account of the extent to which individual Kadets constantly reassessed their views of freedom in the throes of the political process. Though Kadet policies in the Third Duma were designed to avoid criticism from both reactionaries and revolutionaries, by adopting a middle course they incurred the wrath of both. Meanwhile, Stolypin’s political demise following the Western Zemstvo crisis in spring , and his attempt to ensure the predominance of conservatives in the electoral system, served to demonstrate the government’s unconvincing commitment to constitutionalism and the growing strength of reactionaries. Influenced by these factors, the Kadets adopted a slightly more confrontational tone in the Fourth Duma (–), calling for the revision of the electoral law of  June, State Council reform, and the creation of a ministry responsible to the people’s representatives. This more combative stance accommodated the militant mood of many provincial Kadets, but it also provoked increasing tensions between delegates. A number of latent disagreements soon came into the open, threatening to split the party. The debate over the soundness of Kadet policy positions concerning the rule of law, the state, and individual dignity continued after emigration, and the radical nature of party policies has since been used to discredit their claim to being liberals. Yet if we conceive of liberalism as a compromise between conflicting values, there is no a priori reason for the Kadets and their various splinter parties to be disqualified. The above analysis makes clear that there was no easy solution that was both morally viable and tactically expedient to the Russian liberal dilemma. Primary 



 

On the Western Zemstvo crisis, see Hosking, Russian Constitutional Experiment, pp. –; A. Ia. Avrekh, ‘Vopros o zapadnom zemstve i bankrotstvo Stolypina’, Istoricheskie zapiski,  (), –. Stolypin was assassinated in . The sharper parliamentary tactics included a concerted effort to force discussion of Kadet bills on civil liberties and universal suffrage, greater use of interpellations with regards to government behaviour, and more aggressive use of the Duma’s budgetary rights. See E. D. Chermenskii, ‘Vybory v IV Gosudarstvennuiu dumu’, Voprosy istorii,  (), – and IV Gosudarstvennaia duma i sverzhenie tsarizma v Rossii (Moscow: Mysl’, ). The Octobrists consolidated their differences in  by breaking into three factions, and it was expected that the Kadets might do the same. This is also the opinion of one of the foremost historians of : Ascher, ‘Introduction’, p. . See also Samuel D. Kassow, ‘Russia’s Unrealized Civil Society’, in Between Tsar and People: Educated Society and the Quest for Public Identity in Late Imperial Russia, ed. by Edith W. Clowes et al. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, ), pp. –.



Liberalism in  and Its Aftermath

sources demonstrate both the range of views of freedom within the Kadet Party, and how moral, political, and legal questions concerning the defence of individual dignity during revolution were not easily resolved, particularly since they were posed during times of social confusion and political upheaval. Maklakov’s statement in his memoirs that the Kadet Party – and Miliukov personally – ‘pushed Russia with increased energy into the abyss of revolutionary chaos’ suggests a certainty that events, and his own opinions at the time, belie. In fact, when measured by their commitment to both positive and negative liberty, Kadet members are all liberal to a greater or lesser extent. By constantly reworking liberal views of the individual and society, they continually reinterpreted their commitment to the idea of private property and the possibility of revolution in the context of Russia’s political scene. As party members campaigned for ambitious changes, and the government consistently offered too little, alternative development paths presented themselves at various junctures of the political process. Freedom, as the Kadet leaders experienced it, was a concept that was relative and variable, and progress was an elusive, constantly shifting goal. In turn, as one of the most significant forces in the  revolution, the policy positions they adopted contributed to freedom’s ambiguous status in tsarist Russia. Yet liberalism in the Russian context was also broader than Kadet Party members. 

Pervaia gosudarstvennaia duma, p. .

 

Liberalism Undone The Loss of Cohesion on the Eve of 

In the summer of , Russian jurist and religious philosopher Evgenii Trubetskoi expressed the following view of the link between internal moral life and external legal and political forms: The recognition of the primacy of spiritual life by no means implies renouncing or withdrawing from societal life and activity. On the contrary, the rise of inner, spiritual life should have as its inevitable consequence the renewal and revival of society (obshchestvennost’); since the internal gives meaning to the external, it also imparts value to the outer transformations of society (obshchezhitie).

Trubetskoi’s remarks were programmatic for the articulation of different views concerning the relationship between internal and external freedom that revealed significant divisions within the liberal camp in the aftermath of the  revolution. During this period, the question of whether the guarantee of individual rights by political and civil institutions would be sufficient to oversee the rise of an emancipated society, or whether these reforms were necessarily accompanied by a spiritual transformation within individual citizens themselves, preoccupied and divided members of Russia’s liberally inclined intellectual elite. While the previous chapters avoided focusing on the thought of any one politician, in favour of a range of arguments and practices which can broadly be identified as liberal, this chapter treats the diverging ways in which members of the liberal philosophical tradition conceived of the

 

‘“Vekhi” i ikh kritiki’, Moskovskii ezhenedel’nik,  (), – (p. ). Studies that deal with this period include Geir Flikke, Democracy or Theocracy: Frank, Struve, Berdjaev, Bulgakov, and the  Russian Revolution (Oslo: Meddelelser, ); Kolerov, Ne mir no mech; Read, Religion, Revolution; Revolution of the Spirit, ed. Glatzer Rosenthal and BohachevskyChomiak; Jutta Scherrer, Die Petersburger religiös-philosophischen Vereinigungen. Die Entwicklung des religiösen Selbstverständnisses ihrer Intelligencija-Mitglieder (–) (Berlin: Harrassowitz, ); Zernov, Russian Religious Renaissance.

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Liberalism Undone

lessons to be learned from  and the constitutional experiment, and thus probes the ‘liberalism’ of individual figures in more detail. If prior to the revolution the majority of Russia’s educated classes were able to put aside some of their most profound intellectual differences because of their common belief that freedom could be achieved following the removal of the autocratic state, diverging views of the significance and ramifications of  now fed more clearly into conflicting political commitments. As we saw in the previous chapter, there was no consensus among Kadets concerning how exactly Russia’s political transformation would occur; in general, the political preferences of those who had previously found common ideological ground within the Union of Liberation now splintered into a myriad of competing views on liberty, and the internal differences between them were often as great as those between ex-liberationists and other movements. At the centre of the debate around post- liberalism was the Landmarks (Vekhi) symposium, a collection of articles written by seven prominent intellectuals who argued that the transformation of internal spiritual life would play a critical role in Russia’s transition from autocracy to a regime that valued political and civil liberty. The publication of Landmarks in  represents a crucial event for Russian intellectual history in general – Gisela Oberländer likens its resonance to Pëtr Chaadaev’s (–) renowned philosophical letter – and for Russian liberalism in particular. Not only had its main contributors done much to lay the groundwork of a self-consciously liberal tradition (five of them, Struve, Frank, Berdiaev, Bulgakov, and Kistiakovskii contributed to Problems of Idealism), they had also participated in the Liberation Movement and, with the exception of Berdiaev and Bulgakov, were closely affiliated with the Kadet Party. Their sharp critique of the revolutionary intelligentsia, its positivist assumptions about historical development, and failure to appreciate the relationship between external forms organizing society and internal psychological processes, was not only directed at Social Democrats and Socialist Revolutionaries, but also at the Kadet Party





References are to Vekhi. Landmarks: A Collection of Articles about the Russian Intelligentsia, ed. and trans. Marshall S. Shatz and Judith E. Zimmerman (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, ), abbreviated as V. ‘Die Vechi-Diskussion (–)’ (published PhD dissertation, University of Cologne, ), p. . For an interesting study of the connections between Chaadaev and Vekhi, see Robin Aizlewood, ‘Chaadaev and Vekhi’, in Landmarks Revisited: The Vekhi Symposium  Years On, ed. Robin Aizlewood and Ruth Coates (Boston: Academic Studies Press, ), pp. –.

Liberalism Undone



which, as Struve pointed out in his essay, ‘feels duty bound to wear’ the ‘intelligentsia uniform’. Partly because of its repudiation of the revolutionary sympathies of Russian liberalism, Landmarks has at times been presented as a return to a ‘tenuous but more truly liberal Russian tradition’ than that embodied by the Kadets. In recent years the volume has been cited by Gary Saul Morson as a critique of dogmatic thought in the tradition of Mikhail Bakhtin (–), and the refusal to link all moral questions with political ones. A pioneering scholar of Russian liberalism, Judith Zimmerman, has argued that, with one exception, the authors adhere to a modernized liberalism that confronts the theoretical ramifications and metaphysical uncertainties of irreconcilable values. Yet at the time of its publication, there was no consensus as to Landmarks’ affiliation with liberalism. Prominent Kadet Party members were swift to denounce the volume as fundamentally reactionary and undertook a substantial publicity campaign devoted to refuting its ideas and reaffirming what they saw as liberalism’s progressive credentials. Miliukov, who dedicated a lecture tour to criticizing Landmarks, saw its authors as representative of a decadent attitude to politics and described their position as a return to the conservative formula ‘Not institutions, but people; not politics, but morals’. ‘The seeds that the authors of Landmarks are sowing’, he wrote, ‘are poisonous seeds’. The notion that Landmarks embodied reactionary ideas seemed to be confirmed by the fact that it was well received by controversial figures close to the government whose political preferences had very little to do with liberalism. As the volume was republished in post-Soviet Russia, it was enlisted by some commentators in

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   

‘The Intelligentsia and Revolution’, in V, pp. – (p. ). Translation slightly modified. The most notable proponent of this view is Leonard Schapiro: see his ‘The ‘Vekhi’ Group and the Mystique of Revolution’, Slavonic and East European Review,  (), reprinted in Russian Studies, ed. Ellen Dahrendorf (New York: Viking Penguin, ), pp. – (p. ). Andrzej Walicki refers to Landmarks as a ‘manifesto of rightwing, anti-revolutionary liberalism’ in his ‘Milestones and Russian Intellectual History’, Studies in East European Thought,  (), – (p. ). See his ‘Prosaic Bakhtin: Landmarks, Anti-intelligentsialism, and the Russian Counter-Tradition’, Common Knowledge,  (), –. ‘The Political Views of the Vekhi Authors’, Canadian–American Slavic Studies,  (), – (–). ‘Intelligentsiia i istoricheskaia traditsiia’, in Intelligentsiia v Rossii: sbornik statei, ed. K. Arsen’ev et al. (St Petersburg: Zemlia, ), pp. – (pp. , ). Archbishop Antonii (A. P. Khrapovitskii), for example, greeted Landmarks as a ‘great and wonderful (prekrasnyi) feat’. ‘Otkrytoe pis’mo avtoram sbornika “Vekhi”’, Slovo,  May , reprinted as an appendix in Nikolai Berdiaev, Dukhovnyi krizis intelligentsiia: stat’i po obshchestvennoi i religioznoi psikhologii (– g.) (Moscow: Kanon + Reabilitatsiia,  ()), pp. – (p. ).

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Liberalism Undone

support of their own brand of religious nationalism, and claimed as a foundational text by radical nationalists. The debate over the liberal credentials of Landmarks illustrates a certain chaotic confusion as to what liberalism was in early-twentieth-century Russia. This chapter attempts to provide insight into the matter by examining the discussion in the light of the different protagonists’ commitment to the idea of a tension between competing views of freedom. As I shall show, the Landmarks symposium and Kadet reactions to it provide little evidence of an easily identifiable liberal approach to freedom. Instead, the issue is more complex: while the conceptions of freedom of some Landmarks’ authors illustrate how they moved beyond liberalism, others who engaged in a more sustained fashion with conflicts between values nevertheless demonstrate that searching for liberals who exemplify moral or ideological purity remains a futile exercise. The analysis of the Landmarks debate sets the stage for the more detailed treatment, in Chapters  and , of the ideas of progress and freedom of several associated figures, including Pavel Miliukov, Maksim Kovalevskii, Pavel Novgorodtsev, and Bogdan Kistiakovskii. The arguments of the first two, that there existed a mutually reinforcing relationship between freedom and equality, for example, were representative of certain intelligentsia assumptions that Landmarks’ authors sought to nuance and at times to question. Discussing Kistiakovskii’s work in a subsequent chapter, while he was a Landmarks contributor, does have disadvantages, particularly since his essay is often cited as the ‘classic’ article in the Russian tradition on the need to enlist law in the preservation of liberal values. There are several reasons, however, for considering Kistiakovskii’s thought, together with that of his colleague, Novgorodtsev, in a separate section. Most importantly, their discussions of freedom stand out from those of other participants in the debate in their attempt to make sense of the Russian experience of liberalism by drawing on the insights provided by Western 

 

For example, beginning in  a major theoretician of radical patriotism, Aleksandr Dugin, anchored a weekly broadcast on geopolitics with the referential title Vekhi. See Vekhi: Geopoliticheskaia programma Aleksandra Dugina na telekanale “Spas” , http://vehi.evrazia.org/ index.php?module=&start_from= [accessed  March ]. On Dugin’s philosophy, see Alexander Höllwerth, Das sakrale eurasische Imperium des Aleksandr Dugin: Eine Diskursanalyse zum postsowjetischen russischen Rechtsextremismus (Stuttgart: Ibidem, ). See Poole, ‘Introduction’, in PI, p. ; Walicki, Legal Philosophies, p. . Kistiakovskii’s singularity within the volume was also highlighted by contemporary observers who praised his essay: see Miliukov, ‘Intelligentsiia i istoricheskaia’, pp. –, –; Viktor Chernov (Ia. Vechev), ‘Pravovye idei v russkoi literature’, in “Vekhi” kak znamenie vremeni: sbornik statei, ed. N. Avksent’ev et al. (Moscow: Zveno, ), pp. – (pp. –).

Outlines of a Debate

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theory and practice. Because they approached Russian liberalism with the awareness that the historical development of European liberalism was marked by tensions and ambivalences, they conceived of the dynamic interaction between liberal ideas and concrete historical reality as both eternal and fruitful. As with the case of the most consistently liberal Landmarks contributors, their defence of tensions between the interests of the state and those of the individual illustrates better the liberal process at work, rather than any specific notion of what its final outcome should be. Juxtaposing Kistiakovskii’s and Novgorodtsev’s politics and scholarship with Kovalevskii’s and Miliukov’s provides an in-depth picture of the neoidealist and positivist meanings of liberalism.

. Outlines of a Debate: – Roughly speaking, if the mood in Russian society prior to  was one of revolutionary optimism, the feeling in its aftermath was one of profound malaise. The rapid and extensive restoration of autocratic rule, anticonstitutional machinations on the part of the regime, the dissolution of the Second Duma, and the character of the Third Duma seemed to some not just temporary setbacks, but rather evidence of the futility of politics. This scepticism of the value of the existing ‘constitutional’ system, and thus of the ability of political and legal forms to guarantee freedom, resulted in a widespread reassessment of freedom’s internal, moral dimensions. In Frances Nethercott’s words, a number of liberal theorists now ‘argued that the secular, rational concept of negative liberty needed to be supplemented by a religiously inspired view of man and culture’. The renewed emphasis on potential affinities between liberal values and religious belief in fin-de-siècle Russia was part of a broader turn towards religion within Russian society, which intensified after . In the opinion of Nicolas Zernov, the reinvigorated interest and participation in Christian religion is such that the period can be designated the ‘Russian religious renaissance of the twentieth century’. New emphasis on the currents of spirituality deriving from Orthodoxy and religious dissent – a movement galvanized by the decrees on religious tolerance of April  and October  – coexisted with significant popular interest in occultism, theosophy, and philosophies of the apocalypse.  

See Boris Elkin, ‘The Russian Intelligentsia on the Eve of Revolution’, in The Russian Intelligentsia, ed. Richard Pipes (New York: Columbia University Press, ), pp. – (pp. –).  ‘Russian Liberalism’, p. . See his Russian Religious Renaissance.

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Liberalism Undone

This turn towards religious mysticism in questions of belief was accompanied by the conversion of an increasing number of Russian intellectuals to aestheticism in art, and a number of efforts to endow historical and everyday events with symbolic significance. This tendency is evinced in the propensity to discuss both freedom and the revolution of  in highly symbolic terms. The Symbolist writer Dmitrii Merezhkovskii, who posed many of the key themes of the period, interpreted the revolution as the prelude to the Second Coming, a new era in which a theocracy would enable all potential opposition between the individual and society to be overcome. His fellow Symbolist Viacheslav Ivanov (–) developed a vision of society peopled by mystical beings who sought to fuse with others through love, to the detriment of the empirical person whose social needs and rights are protected by law. Berdiaev, meanwhile, argued that historical progress can occur only when humankind is ‘purified from all its filth (skverna) in the name of God’. The above examples and many others exemplify what Robert Bird has called ‘a discourse dominated by apocalyptic images of the end, frequently indifferent to the means of its achievement and to the complexities of historical process’. Thanks to the substantial press freedom that arrived in Russia following the abolition of censorship in , an extremely varied range of attitudes to the country’s future and the freedom of its citizens gained increasing circulation. It was during the proliferation of a heady number of journals and newspapers in the aftermath of revolution that different groups within the liberal camp sought to reassess the failure of  and incorporate its lessons into new visions of Russia’s future. Disillusionment with political 

   



See Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal, ‘Religious Humanism in the Russian Silver Age’, in Russian Philosophy, ed. Hamburg and Poole, pp. – (p. ) and ‘The Transmutation of the Symbolist Ethos: Mystical Anarchism and the Revolution of ’, Slavic Review,  (), –; Evelyn Bristol, ‘Symbolism’, in Handbook of Russian Literature, ed. Victor Terras (New Haven: Yale University Press, ), pp. –. See, for example, his Ne mir, no mech: k budushchei kritike khristianstva, in Polnoe sobranie sochinenii Dmitriia Sergeevicha Merezhkovskogo, [n. ed.],  vols (Moscow: Sytin, ), vol. . On Ivanov, see Robert Bird, The Russian Prospero: The Creative Universe of Viacheslav Ivanov (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, ). ‘Bunt i pokornost’ v psikhologii mass’, Moskovskii ezhenedel’nik, (), reprinted in his Dukhovnoi krizis intelligentsiia, pp. – (p. ). ‘Imagination and Ideology in the New Religious Consciousness’, in Russian Philosophy, ed. Hamburg and Poole, pp. – (p. ). This tendency was also visible in the attempts of radical socialists to synthesize the revolution and religion. Aleksandr Bogdanov (–), Anatolii Lunacharskii (–), and a number of Marxist figures developed the idea of God as a political project, what commonly became known as God-building (Bogostroitel’stvo). See Vlast’ i pressa v Rossii: k istorii pravovogo regulirovaniia otnoshenii, – (Khrestomatiia), ed. T. S. Ilarionova et al. (Moscow: RAGS, ), pp. –.

Outlines of a Debate

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activism and the politics of confrontation with the government resulted in the consolidation of an existing tendency within the Kadet Party that stressed absolute values and the primacy of the individual above partisan calculations. Influenced ideologically by the arguments first developed by Semën Frank and Pëtr Struve in their journal Polar Star (Poliarnaia zvezda), this group of thinkers, several of whom went on to contribute to Landmarks, argued that the positivist worldview and moral relativism of Kadet leadership (and the intelligentsia generally) threatened to undermine the liberal project because it focused, not on preserving values such as culture and order (gosudarstvennost’), but on destroying government authority. Kadets such as Vasilii Maklakov, politician Ariadna Tyrkova (–), law professors Evgenii Trubetskoi, Novgorodtsev, Kotliarevskii, and Aleksandr Izgoev (–) were profoundly critical of mass and revolutionary violence, highlighting the need for a more fruitful and mutually respectful relationship between the state and society. Even though they were suspicious of tsarist authorities, they emphasized the legitimizing role of the state in a transitional order for a new society. While some of those associated with this tendency were interested in idealist philosophy, the support for the idea that political change and the advent of freedom must necessarily be accompanied by certain social and psychological attitudes rested on varied philosophical premises. The critique by Struve and his associates of the experience of  was in part directed at the predominant strand within the Kadet Party as represented by its leader, Pavel Miliukov, which broadly favoured cooperation with socialist parties, mass movements, and emphasized that freedom has little meaning if divorced from the effective power to act or to pursue one’s ends. The representatives of Russian liberalism for whom this critique was intended focused not on individual self-transformation as the means for the renewal of society, but on the power of law and institutions to effect social change and create the conditions for individual selfrealization. The most prominent versions of this position were associated with socialists who justified participation in a liberal party by the fact that 



In the aftermath of , Struve was the ideological leader of a faction – sometimes referred to as right-wing (though this denomination is not wholly satisfactory) and also called verkhovniki – composed of approximately eight out of forty Central Committee members. See the discussion in A. Ia. Avrekh, Stolypin i tret’ia duma (Moscow: Nauka, ), pp. –. For more on Struve’s interpretation of , see George Putnam, ‘P. B. Struve’s View of the Russian Revolution of ’, Slavonic and East European Review,  (), –. See, for example, S. A. Kotliarevskii, ‘Klassovye interesy i gosudarstvennye tseli’, PZ,  (), –.

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Liberalism Undone

the conditions for the victory of socialism were not yet assured, and this political attitude was common in certain rural areas. The Landmarks criticism of the revolutionary intelligentsia struck a particular chord among Kadet Party members and their affiliates. In particular, it devalued the traditional cultural and educational work that formed the long-standing basis of their political programme, while the suggestion that the oppositional movement might share some of the responsibility for the failure of the revolution was generally anathema to party members. By raising the question of the proper role of the intelligentsia in Russian society, Landmarks offered Kadets a platform to defend and justify their conceptions of progress and their own political role. As we shall see, the appearance of Landmarks at a time of increasing disillusionment with politics allowed the Kadets to use it as an opportunity to redefine their own place on the Russian political scene. Yet the debates around Landmarks also illustrate how Russian liberalism struggled to regain the limited degree of cohesion and focus it had displayed only five years previously.

. The Liberalism of Landmarks Although the contributions to Landmarks were written without prior consultation among the authors, they criticized the traditional assumptions and beliefs of Russian radicals from complementary perspectives: Berdiaev highlighted their contempt for philosophical truths which had no social value; Frank opposed their denial of absolute and religious values, as well as a utilitarian commitment to the satisfaction of the needs of the majority; Kistiakovskii highlighted the intelligentsia’s lack of legal consciousness; Mikhail Gershenzon (–) argued that its preoccupation with revolutionary agitation had led it to neglect the spiritual transformation necessary for social development; Aleksandr Izgoev decried the erroneous priorities of young radicals who considered the readiness to die for a cause the ultimate ideal; and Bulgakov argued that the intelligentsia’s distorted approach to religion underpinned its doctrinaire political positions. 



In the period – approximately one-third of delegates were considered adherents of these views. Their leaders included Aleksandr Koliubakin (–) from Novgorod and Nikolai Nekrasov (–) from Tomsk. A prominent group collaborated in the publication Life (Zhizn’), led by Moscow lawyer Mikhail Mandel’shtam (–) and other Marxist revisionists such as Evgenii Shchepkin (–). See Modest Kolerov, ‘Arkhivnaia istoriia sbornika Vekhi’, Vestnik Moskovskogo Universiteta, series : Istoriia,  (), –; V. Proskurina and V. Alloi, ‘K istorii sozdaniia “Vekh”’, in Minuvshee: istoricheskii al’manakh, ed. V. Alloi (Moscow: Atheneum, ), pp. –.

Liberalism of Landmarks

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In his introduction to Landmarks, Gershenzon attempted to provide a common thread binding together these arguments by suggesting that the contributors’ ‘common platform’ is their ‘recognition of the theoretical and practical primacy of spiritual life over the external forms of community. They mean by this that the individual’s inner life is the sole creative force in human existence, and that this inner life, and not the self-sufficient principles of the political realm, constitutes the only solid basis on which a society can be built’. Yet Gershenzon’s statement is most pertinent in relation to his own indifference towards politics, and to Bulgakov’s and Berdiaev’s hostility to the bourgeois values and culture they associated with a liberal democratic state. The premises of several other authors present evident exceptions to this ‘common platform’: instead of exploring how society could be regenerated via internal moral renewal, Kistiakovskii focused precisely on the significance of the rule of law, an external means of shaping new cultural values. Frank and Struve both stressed that the intelligentsia’s maximalism threatened to devalue the multiple social, political, and cultural forms that guarantee the ability of individuals to pursue the truth in their own way. And Izgoev explicitly distanced himself from Gershenzon’s introduction in a footnote to his article. Consciously or unconsciously, these essays were devoted to elucidating a more complex relationship between internal and external freedom than that presented by Gershenzon. 

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

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‘Preface to the First Edition’, in V, pp. xxxvii–xxxviii (p. xxxvii). For a discussion of the attempt to enlist like-minded contributors, see Brian Horowitz, ‘Unity and Disunity in Landmarks: The Rivalry between Petr Struve and Mikhail Gershenzon’, Studies in East European Thought,  (), – (–). For more on Gershenzon’s views, see Arthur A. Levin, ‘The life and work of Mikhail Osipovich Gershenzon (–): a study in the history of the Russian Silver Age’ (doctoral thesis, University of California, Berkeley, ); Vera Proskurina, Techenie gol’fstrema: Mikhail Gershenzon, ego zhizn’ i mif (St Petersburg: Aleteiia, ); N. M. Gershenzon-Chegodaeva, Pervye shagi zhiznennogo puti: vospominaniia docheri Mikhaila Gershenzona (Moscow: Zakharov, ). ‘On Educated Youth: Notes on Its Life and Sentiments’, in V, pp. – (p.  fn. ). See also his ‘Intelligentsiia i “Vekhi” (Vmesto predisloviia)’, in Russkoe obshchestvo i revoliutsiia (Moscow: Russkaia mysl’, ), pp. –. Christopher Read, Religion, Revolution (p. ) describes the disunity within the symposium by dividing it into three groups: Gershenzon, who stood apart from the others in his Tolstoian rejection of the notion that the political process could result in meaningful change; Berdiaev and Bulgakov who had come to Landmarks from the ‘heady atmosphere of mystical anarchism and symbolism’ and approached political ideas in the light of their overarching interest in religious questions; and those – Struve, Frank, Kistiakovskii, and Izgoev – whose ‘main interest was in political and social problems related to a humanistic cultural concern rather than to a primarily religious outlook’, and whose premises are most obviously liberal. Analyses of the different strands within Landmarks include Horowitz ‘Unity and Disunity’ and Kelly, Toward Another Shore, pp. –.



Liberalism Undone

While Landmarks’ authors were generally committed to a positive view of freedom based on individual autonomy and dignity, their defence of positive liberty very often did not acknowledge the need for a sphere of negative liberty. Even contributors such as Frank and Struve, who did believe that values might conflict, were not wholly consistent in providing a philosophical justification for the idea of a potential clash between them. An analysis of Landmarks thus illustrates to what extent even the most ‘liberal’ of its contributors betray significant blind spots regarding the more utopian aspects of their own doctrines. .. Positive Freedom As stated in Chapter , around the time of Problems of Idealism’s publication, a significant number of Russian thinkers were attempting to derive support for rule-of-law liberalism and constitutional reform from neo-idealist ethical and theoretical premises. By , the emphasis was different. In part, this was a product of a widespread reaction to what some members of Russia’s intellectual elite perceived as the excessive focus of their peers on problems of social justice; in Gershenzon’s words, the intelligentsia was guilty of having embraced the idea that ‘it is egotistical and indecent to think about one’s own personality, and the only real man is the one who thinks about public affairs, is interested in society’s problems, and works for the common good’. By shifting the emphasis of freedom from the provision of social welfare rights to the cultivation of the individual personality, some Landmarks authors moved from a conception of positive freedom centred on the right to a dignified existence and political participation, to one that emphasized the internal forum of the individual agent, and the constitution of his or her selfhood. Only once we free ourselves ‘from internal bondage’ (that is, accept responsibility and cease blaming everything on external forces), Berdiaev wrote, will we ‘be freed from external oppression’. ... Social Justice Along with the majority of Russia’s liberally inclined society, Landmarks’ authors were generally supportive of the positive view that true freedom   

Izgoev presents an exception among the Landmarks group as he was not much interested in idealist philosophy. ‘Creative Self-Consciousness’, in V, pp. – (p. ). ‘Philosophical Verity and Intelligentsia Truth’, in V, pp. – (p. ).

Liberalism of Landmarks



implies the satisfaction of worthwhile desires, and includes the idea of minimal wealth and well-being. As a rule, contributors were in favour of government involvement to ensure the economic conditions in which all could achieve their full potential. At the same time, the deep ambivalence of some Landmarks authors towards the prospects of industrialization and capitalism also undermined their commitment to the social and economic aspects of freedom. Landmarks authors took issue with the utilitarian premises inherent in the socialist conviction that economic freedom can be achieved via redistribution and equalization. The problem they highlighted was that the emphasis on equalizing material conditions for the benefit of the peasantry and the proletariat implied a view of egalitarian justice based on a feeling of pity, which denied the absolute significance of each individual and their divine origins. Inspired by Vladimir Solov’ëv’s formulation of the right to a dignified existence, contributors sought to present the idea of wealth as broader and richer than the notion of redistributive justice, and rooted in the dignity of each individual personality. Frank analysed this point at length in his Landmarks essay ‘The Ethic of Nihilism’. While he concedes that social redistribution is necessary, he argues that it is a ‘philosophical error and a moral sin to absolutize distribution and forget production or creation for its own sake’. Emphasis on material security and the satisfaction of subjective needs makes for an excessively restrictive view of life that divorces wealth from its crucial spiritual component, one that connects it to the broader idea of culture. In the year following Landmarks, Frank wrote that ‘the development of internal, spiritual culture’ could accompany the development of ‘external, material culture’, but that excessive faith in material culture and the wellbeing of the majority could devalue the spiritual, aesthetic, and religious values that govern individual lives. While Frank did not, at this stage in his career, denounce the mass prosperity and material wealth associated with a ‘bourgeois’ lifestyle, Berdiaev and Bulgakov did. In this they differed markedly from other authors such as Izgoev, Kistiakovskii, and Struve. Berdiaev repeatedly stressed that as    

In fact, Kistiakovskii and Bulgakov considered a socialist state the ideal form of governmental organization. ‘The Ethic of Nihilism: A Characterization of the Russian Intelligentsia’s Moral Outlook’, in V, pp. – (p. ). Ibid., pp. , . Moskovskii ezhenedel’nik, (), pp. –, cited in Jeffrey Brooks, ‘Vekhi and the Vekhi Dispute’, Survey,  (), – (p. ).



Liberalism Undone

soon as the material world loses its connection to a higher, more spiritual culture, the result is a demonic philistinism. Bulgakov too was ambivalent as to the ultimate value of ‘everyday virtues’ that, in his mind, were associated with bourgeois philistinism. For these authors, the social and economic aspects of living an autonomous life must be connected to what Bulgakov called ‘the spirit of the world . . . where the enigmatic mystical experience of all-human solidarity is a voice [that] rises from its depths’. As we shall see, their notion of individual dignity had less to do with enshrining certain positive rights in law, than uncovering the connections between individual existence and the mystical essence of the world. ... Self-Government The idea of positive freedom, an answer to the question ‘who is to govern us?’, has clear political implications in that it refers to the form of political community that enables individuals to live their lives autonomously. In contrast to the more individualist aspects of the obligations of a government to provide for its citizens, positive freedom can take on a collectivist form when its achievement is associated with participation in a collectivity. Yet as we saw in the Introduction, such a positive commitment to selfgovernance can, paradoxically, result in the oppression in the name of liberty by one social group of another. Thus, liberal support for democracy is sometimes qualified by a fear of the ‘tyranny of the majority’ and the anxiety that if democracy is introduced into a politically ignorant society, it does not result in properly informed decisions. While the most consistently liberal among Landmarks’ contributors insisted that democratic government can help to protect the sphere of negative liberty crucial for their concept of citizenship, others saw constitutional democracy as a fundamentally flawed way of achieving the kind of freedom they ultimately desired. Landmarks’ authors developed their various criticisms about the extent to which a democratic society is also a self-determined society in the aftermath of the violence of . Bulgakov, for example, recalled the 





See, for example, Nikolai Berdiaev, ‘Demokratiia i meshchanstvo’, Moskovskii ezhenedel’nik,  (), –, reprinted in Sub specie aeternitatis, pp. – and ‘O novom religioznom soznanii’, Voprosy zhizni,  (), – (). See his ‘Heroism and Asceticism: Reflections on the Religious Nature of the Russian Intelligentsia’, in V, pp. – (pp. , ) and ‘Dushevnaia drama Gertsena’, in Ot marksizma k idealizmu, pp. – (pp. –). Gershenzon as well stressed the danger of ‘wallowing in petty-bourgeois felicity’ (‘Creative Self-Consciousness’, p. ). ‘Religiia chelovekobozhestva u L. Feierbacha’, Voprosy zhizni,  (), –;  (), – (p. ).

Liberalism of Landmarks



period as marked by ‘flaming and unadulterated despotism’, a population ‘demoralized by demagogy, by frenzied burning class hatred’. A general apprehension concerning mass society, and a fear of the ‘unculturedness’ and intuitional worldview of the majority of the population, contributed to their sense of the potential damage that could result from unbridled rule by the people. By and large, Landmarks’ authors agreed that the revolution should have been concluded following the promulgation of the October Manifesto, and warned that continuing confrontational tactics merely reinforced the divide between the government and society. In the light of this, contributors urged the country’s progressive forces to take care to preserve certain aspects of an authority that had taken shape over centuries and whose inheritance retained a certain value. In this vision, struggle against the existing state was not only counterproductive but fundamentally misguided, as it threatened to undermine any potential foundations on which positive social construction might be based. In its broad outlines, this position was potentially reconcilable with the Kadet commitment to political pluralism and the rule of law. Izgoev and Kistiakovskii, for example, emphasized both the value of a free political community and of safeguards for the individual against a democratic government wielding power arbitrarily. Frank and Struve, meanwhile, admired the ability of Western European democracies to balance between the requirements of society and the individual, yet their conviction of the link between culture, order, and discipline led them to argue at an early stage for an ‘aristocratic despotism’, which would invest the cultured and self-conscious segment of society with political power. Both authors extolled the idea of continuity and slow changes in custom and tradition, while defending the notion that a powerful state authority is necessary to maintain political stability while the consciousness of the ‘masses’ is gradually raised to a higher level. In contrast to the above, Berdiaev, Gershenzon, and Bulgakov were all sceptical of political pluralism and adhered to different versions of the view that the political process could eventually, under the right circumstances, 

 



Moskovskii ezhenedel’nik, (), p. , cited in Brooks, ‘Vekhi and the Vekhi Dispute’, p. . See also Struve ‘Kak naiti sebia?’, O,  ( May ), pp. –; P. Struve and S. Frank, ‘Ocherki filosofii kul’tury. . Chto takoe kul’tura?’, PZ,  (), – (p. ). See Struve, ‘Intelligentsia and Revolution’, pp. , , ; S. L. Frank, Biografiia P. B. Struve (New York: Izdatel’stvo imeni Chekhova, ), for example pp. , . On Kistiakovskii, see Chapter ; see Izgoev, ‘Samoderzhavie i obshchestvennaia zhizn’’, RM, (), reprinted in Russkoe obshchestvo, pp. – and his article ‘Likvidatsiia’, RM,  (), –. ‘Ocherki filosofii kul’tury. .’, p. .



Liberalism Undone

result in complete harmony between individual life and that of society. Bulgakov, the least utopian among them, described the ‘division into parties on the basis of different political opinions, social positions, and property interests [as a] necessary evil’, which ‘destroys the spiritual and cultural continuity of a nation’. Gershenzon advocated living by ‘the one and indivisible Divine truth’, and described the Slavophile concept of ‘the organic wholeness of the people’s way of life[,] the source of the country’s higher culture’ as a ‘radiant ideal’. Whatever forms of self-governance their preferred visions of society involved, they did not always include a commitment to a sphere of negative liberty in which citizens can exercise their free will. ... Culture While the positive commitment of Landmarks’ authors to the development of personhood engaged with both individual dignity and self-government, its main focus was the idea of culture. Contributors insisted that specific communities provide the framework in which individuals learn about morality, as well as that within which they are introduced to the concepts and values they require to make meaningful, autonomous choices. In  in their journal Polar Star, Frank and Struve outlined the philosophical premises based on which the respect for and preservation of culture is an element of freedom itself. In two ‘Essays on the Philosophy of Culture’, the co-authors defined culture as follows: Culture is the totality of absolute values created and being created by humanity and composing its spiritual and social life. A number of eternal ideals – truth, goodness, beauty, and holiness – reside in the consciousness of humanity and advance its scientific, artistic, moral, and religious creativity. The fruits of this creativity, all the spiritual acquisitions relayed from generation to generation, make up the living ambience of conscious being, the gradual embodiment of an absolute ideal in the collective life of humanity. 

 

 

‘Heroism and Asceticism’, p. . On Bulgakov’s Christian socialism, see Catherine Evtuhov, The Cross and the Sickle: Sergei Bulgakov and the Fate of Russian Religious Philosophy (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, ). ‘Creative Self-Consciousness’, pp. , . For a contemporary argument in this direction, see David West, ‘Beyond Social Justice and Social Democracy: Positive Freedom and Cultural Rights’, in Social Justice from Hume to Walzer, ed. David Boucher and Paul Kelly (New York: Routledge, ), pp. –. This was also a recurring theme in the journal Freedom and Culture (Svoboda i kul’tura) on which they collaborated in . ‘Ocherki filosofii kul’tury. .’, p. ; see also Frank’s definition of culture in ‘Ethic of Nihilism’, pp. –.

Liberalism of Landmarks



Thus conceived culture acts as a crucial spiritualizing force that enables self-development by providing a link between individual creativity and absolute ideals. As individuals work to realize absolute values in empirical life, their consciousness can grow and develop, and social progress can occur. For Frank and Struve, culture was explicitly linked to safeguards for a sphere of negative liberty. In  they asserted that ‘sufficient space (prostor) for spiritual creativity, the unconditional recognition of the right of each individual to create an ideal and to act in its name, constitutes the principle directly underlying the very idea of culture’. Because the individual is the sole ‘creator and bearer of absolute values’, the only conduit for those values to be actualized in the real world, they concluded that ‘the freedom of the person is the first and most essential condition of culture’. By linking culture and constitutional liberties, Frank and Struve sought to emphasize that culture is embedded in an empirical present, not located in a remote future. In Landmarks, Frank stressed that culture could not be sacrificed to a distant vision of human happiness when he wrote that ‘culture exists not for some good or purpose, but only for itself; cultural creation signifies the improvement of human nature and the embodiment of ideal values in life, and as such it is in itself a superior and self-sufficient object of human activity’. In the words of intellectual historian Aileen Kelly, culture, for these thinkers, represents ‘tangible and visible proof that we should think of humanity’s freedom and self-fulfillment not as a future goal but as a present process, acted out through the artifacts, institutions, and social structures which human beings create and sustain in their struggle to shape the contingent world’. By characterizing cultural creation as the embodiment of cosmic, superhuman values in terrestrial life, Struve and Frank were also criticizing traditional views of culture that had a utilitarian bent, including ‘naive, unadulterated respect for education’, Marxism’s exclusive emphasis on ‘material culture’, the preoccupation of ‘progressives of all kinds with the enlightenment of the people’, and ‘liberal notions of victorious institutions in the cultural sphere’. Time and again they pointed out that while a love

  

‘Ocherki filosofii kul’tury. .’, p. . See also Philip J. Swoboda, ‘Semën Frank’s Expressivist Humanism’, in Russian Philosophy, ed. Hamburg and Poole, pp. – (pp. –).  ‘Ethic of Nihilism’, p. . Toward Another Shore, p. . ‘Ocherki filosofii kul’tury. .’, pp. –. See also Brooks, ‘Vekhi and the Vekhi Dispute’, p. .



Liberalism Undone

of culture in its metaphysical sense had deep roots in certain swathes of European society, it remained foreign and even inimical to educated Russians. In Russia, they lamented, culture takes on an excessively functional role, and its association with the satisfaction of life’s subjective needs is incommensurable with its pure incarnation. At first glance, Frank and Struve’s account of culture, and its dependence on a minimum area of freedom that must in no account be violated, seems to point in the direction of a cultural pluralism, and the recognition of the variety of ultimate ends within a given society and culture. Yet Struve in particular developed his theory of culture in the direction of a militant nationalism that took little account of the conflicting claims, demands, and identity-defining influences in Russian culture. The nonliberal implications of the above theory of culture, focused on the ability of conscious individuals to engage in their own self-perfection and thereby further the spiritual development of history, are particularly visible in Struve’s theory of how cultural unity represents the essential condition for Russia’s political and moral regeneration. ... Nationalism Struve linked his concern for the cultural creativity of Russian citizens to the power of the Russian state and advocated an aggressive nationalism in various writings of the period, the most renowned of which were ‘Great Russia’ (‘Velikaia Rossiia’, ) and ‘The Intelligentsia and the National Face’ (‘Intelligentsiia i natsional’noe litso’, ). In his organic conception of national culture, the state is a ‘mystical being’, a fact manifested in the willingness of its citizens to enable it to assert itself militarily by giving their lives to it. At a time when a number of national minorities suffered from persecution from the tsarist state, and that virtually all oppositional parties associated nationalism with reaction, Struve’s calls for the active promotion of ethnic Russian (russkii) identity within national borders, and for an aggressive expansionist policy in the direction of the Black Sea, were met with derision and distress. As a party that supported equal rights for  



‘Ocherki filosofii kul’tury. .’, p. ; Frank, ‘Ethic of Nihilism’, pp. –; see also Kotliarevskii, ‘Politika i kul’tura’, p. . ‘Velikaia Rossiia. Iz razmyshlenii o probleme russkogo mogushchestva’, RM,  (), – and ‘Intelligentsiia i natsional’noe litso’, Slovo,  March , reprinted in Po vekham: sbornik statei ob intelligentsii i “natsional’nom litse”, ed. P. D. Boborykin et al., nd ed. (Moscow: Obshchestvennaia pol’za, ), pp. –. Izgoev, Frank, and Gershenzon were Jewish, and Kistiakovskii was Ukrainian. ‘Оtryvki o gosudarstve i natsii’, RM,  (), – (p. ).

Liberalism of Landmarks



national minorities and a cosmopolitan view of culture, Kadet representatives sought to distance themselves from his views, and Struve’s particular brand of nationalism influenced the reception of Landmarks as a whole. There is nothing inherent in Struve’s metaphysical view of culture that leads to ideological support for chauvinism and imperialism; other Landmarks’ contributors and neo-idealists were careful to distinguish their commitment to both universal values and the cultural individuality of the Russian nation from the excesses of vigorous nationalism, of which they were well aware. Nevertheless, by the time of Landmarks’ publication, Struve’s romantic ideas about the state were echoed by several other contributors, particularly Bulgakov, who argued that patriotism must play a fundamental role in the revitalization of Russian cultural life. Frank, meanwhile, listed ‘state power’ and ‘national pride’ alongside ‘theoretical scientific truth’, ‘artistic beauty’, and the ‘object of religious faith’ in his enumeration of the objective values which guide human activity. While Struve’s nationalism had its origins in his desire to link individual moral creativity to cultural well-being and unity, his nationalist views are difficult to reconcile with his defence of the ability of each individual person to create ideals for themselves and to pursue them in their own way. In this, his nationalism can be read as a positive conception of freedom in which the answer to the question about a particular form of government is provided by feelings and emotions, not reason. To the extent that this brand of nationalism promotes the culture of certain national groups while denying the rights of others, and that the implications of nationalist policies interfere with the autonomy of individual citizens, it is impossible to reconcile with the liberal defence of the clash between values. .. Landmarks and the Tensions within Liberalism At times, the views of Landmarks’ authors on the value of culture, national might, and self-governance make them seem like typical adherents of positive liberty as described by Isaiah Berlin: they believe the purpose of society is to create the conditions which allow individuals to attain their  



Struve’s increasing nationalism was the subject of a dispute between him, Kistiakovskii, Kotliarevskii, and Evgenii Trubetskoi. See, for example, ‘Heroism and Asceticism’, pp. –. On the foundations of his nationalism, see Evtuhov, pp. –. See also Izgoev’s praise for the nationalist Young Turk movement, ‘On Educated Youth’, p. , fn. , and his ‘Natsional’nye i religioznye voprosy v sovremennoi Rossii’, RM,  (), –. ‘Ethic of Nihilism’, p. .



Liberalism Undone

‘higher nature’, a true self that contrasts with their empirical existence, governed by the pursuit of immediate pleasures. As we have seen, in some cases the rejection of ‘philistinism’ I highlighted in the previous section resulted in a certain ambivalence as to the value of negative freedom enshrined in legal and political institutions. For example, Berdiaev’s religious view of law as derived from divine rule alone became increasingly incompatible with the possibility of a clash between conflicting values. In addition, his rejection of ‘bourgeois philistinism’ in all its manifestations led him in the direction of a utopian political vision of a free, stateless theocracy in which negative liberty guaranteed by law and the need for a concept of freedom based on citizenship played no role. Frank too eventually retreated from his earlier defence of the importance of freedom’s legal guarantees and the economic foundations of human dignity, partly because he associated mass prosperity with ‘bourgeois’, and therefore negative values. In the decades that followed, his metaphysical premises concerning the fusion of the individual self with the total unity of being led him to reject explicitly the idea that the object of society is to protect a sphere of negative liberty necessary for self-realization. In other cases, the commitment of Landmarks’ authors to a sphere of negative liberty, and their persistent engagement with the problems of setting limits to the exercise of state power and the power of one person over another is well documented. The philosophical premises of Izgoev and Kistiakovskii coexisted with their support for a political community founded on the rule of law (pravovoe gosudarstvo) and individual freedoms. With the exception of his increasing Russian nationalism, Struve remained committed to the principles of law and rights his entire life. In the words of his biographer, Richard Pipes, he understood the ‘principal objective of the political and social order [as creating] conditions optimally conducive to man’s untrammelled “cultural” activity, whether this expressed itself in artistic creativity or in economic entrepreneurship’. Although there is some evidence that Landmarks reflects certain liberal dispositions about the world, the above analysis suggests that the volume as  

  

‘Two Concepts’, pp. –. See Kelly, Toward Another Shore, pp. –; Kelly considers Bulgakov and Berdiaev together to exemplify a utopian, illiberal strand within Russian neo-idealism. See also Poole, ‘Introduction’, in PI, p. , fn. . See Swoboda, ‘Semën Frank’s Expressivist Humanism’, p. . See his Dukhovnye osnovy obshchestva: vvedenie v sotsial’nuiu filosofiiu, ed. P. V. Alekseev (Moscow: Respublika,  ()), for example p. . Liberal on the Right, p. .

Liberalism of Landmarks



a whole is very far from adopting a consistently liberal critique of the Russian intelligentsia. Yet the inconsistent liberalism of Landmarks, and therefore of some of the most prominent figures associated with Russia’s liberal movement, serves to illustrate a more fundamental point. Thinkers such as Struve and Frank, despite the liberal elements of their views, might not have been as attuned to the worth of different forms of freedom as we might like. While their example and others in Landmarks remind us of the difficulty of classifying any one thinker as impeccably liberal, they also recall the unlikelihood of finding any liberal who can claim moral and doctrinal purity. Liberals, like any political thinkers, can fall victim to blind spots, or to the conviction of the superiority of their own views, and thus may deny a tension between values in favour of their own dogmatic interpretation of the best ways to develop society and individual life. These ubiquitous instances within Landmarks are interesting because they enable us to assess the extent to which certain thinkers moved beyond liberalism around , but also because they illustrate liberalism’s blurred boundaries and the shifting, transitory forms it can assume. Viewed in this light, the distinction within Landmarks, between those thinkers who acknowledge the element of unpredictability at the heart of the idea of individual freedom, social life, and the development of history, and those who do not, is crucial for liberalism more broadly. In  Struve implicitly acknowledged this distinction when he observed that Russian literature and philosophy in general must break free from the traditional constraints that determine its ideological orientation, and adopt a ‘non-dogmatic’ worldview. While the adherents of more positive views of freedom in Landmarks believed in the possibility of achieving an earthly paradise, capable of liberating an oppressed society (Berdiaev, for one, refers to the best representatives of Russian philosophy as those concerned with establishing a ‘kingdom of God on earth’), the volume itself contains powerful refutations of the notion that ‘God’s kingdom’ was something that could be realized in the physical world, rather than as a spiritual entity, located in the human soul. Writing in Landmarks, Frank spurned an optimistic theory of progress oriented towards a future goal in favour of ‘direct, altruistic, day-to-day service to the people’s immediate  

‘Na raznye temy’, RM,  (), – (–). ‘Philosophical Verity’, p. . Bulgakov criticized the intelligentsia’s misguided ideas of what constitutes the kingdom of God on earth, but devoted his efforts to elucidating a correct interpretation of an earthly paradise, rather than denying its existence. See, for example, ‘Heroism and Asceticism’, pp. , . See also his ‘Religiia i politika. (K voprosu ob obrazovanii politicheskikh partii)’, PZ,  (), – (for example, p. ).



Liberalism Undone

needs’. Struve too criticized the dogmatism and determinism of the intelligentsia, and its misguided belief that a period of cruelty and cleansing could be followed by the achievement of absolute happiness. He concluded his Landmarks article on a distinctly liberal note, by calling for ‘persistent cultural work’, ‘ideas and the creative struggle of ideas’.

. The Debate around Landmarks The controversy that ensued after the publication of Landmarks illustrates some of the obstacles that prevented liberals from openly advocating the need to compromise between different views of freedom. Much of the debate triggered by Landmarks was negative; Nikolai Poltoratzky sums up the mood thus: ‘Nearly everything which Vekhi criticized was defended; nearly everything which Vekhi offered as a solution was rejected’. One reason for this was the volume’s positive reception in reactionary circles close to the government, most memorably by the controversial Archbishop Antonii. This support for Landmarks from the church, appearing as it did in the middle of controversy over the latter’s well-documented involvement with proto-fascist politics, changed the symposium, in the eyes of many, ‘from a purely literary phenomenon into some kind of criminal act’. The relatively few positive responses to Landmarks appeared in Struve’s publication, Russian Thought (Russkaia mysl’), that of the Trubetskoi princes, Moscow Weekly (Moskovskii ezhenedel’nik), the St Petersburg newspaper Word (Slovo), the semi-governmental newspaper, New Times (Novoe vremia), and the Symbolist magazine Scales (Vesy). While Landmarks elicited a significant amount of press coverage and triggered a debate that carried on until well after the revolution of , it was, in Jeffrey Brooks’s words, ‘of central importance only to the liberals’. The Kadet Party roundly denounced the symposium, and responded with several publications – the most important of which was The Intelligentsia in Russia: A Collection of Articles (Intelligentsiia v Rossii: sbornik statei) – and talks of their own. At a time when the Kadet Party  

  

 ‘Ethic of Nihilism’, p. . ‘Intelligentsia and Revolution’, p. . ‘The Vekhi Dispute and the Significance of Vekhi’, Canadian Slavonic Papers,  (), – (p. ). A number of Landmarks’ contributors remarked on this as well. See, for example, Berdiaev, ‘Philosophical Verity’, p. , fn. : Note to the Second Edition.  See n.  above. Rech’,  May , cited in Brooks, ‘Vekhi and the Vekhi Dispute’, p. . Ibid., p. . Other publications in which Kadets participated were: V zashchitu intelligentsii: sbornik statei, ed. K. K. Arsen’ev et al. (Moscow: Zaria, ); Po vekham, ed. Boborykin et al. For a thorough

Debate around Landmarks



benefited from limited political influence, Landmarks acted as an internal challenge – coming as it did from within the party – to Kadets, prompting them to provide an intellectual defence of the role of the intelligentsia (whose revolutionary legacy they valued) and of their vision of liberalism more generally. Yet the Kadet critique of Landmarks is noteworthy for the limitations of its attempt to analyse and develop the issues raised in the volume. There is little evidence in the Kadet responses of party members’ belief that the volume was misguided because it failed to pay sufficient attention to both individual dignity and the rule of law. In the next section I want to examine in more detail the ideological and philosophical premises that limited the Kadets’ ability to engage with the challenges to their political position and attitude to the revolution implicit in Landmarks. One of early-twentieth-century Russia’s most important liberal debates is best characterized, as Kelly has noted, not so much as a debate as ‘a succession of dogmatic professions of faith by mutually hostile political groups’. The Kadets caricatured the suggestion in Landmarks, that internal selfperfection is a prerequisite for political change, as ‘first believe, then you will receive a constitution’. In general, they emphasized that Landmarks’ contributors had set up a false relationship between two kinds of freedom: ‘the self-perfection to which they attach such great importance’, wrote one critic, ‘requires not only internal but also external freedom’. Another argued that what the intelligentsia really needed was ‘first reform, then making peace, first an improvement in the conditions of social life, then the improved, more peaceful, more complete (sovershennyi) individual’. Even Aleksandr Kizevetter, a Kadet who had some positive things to say about the idea of individual self-improvement, stressed that ‘active work at the level of society, constant participation in developing the “external”





  

examination of the reactions to Landmarks, see Oberländer’s ‘Vechi-Diskussion’ and Vekhi: Pro et Contra, ed. V. V. Sapov (St Petersburg: RCHGI, ) (a compilation of views about the debate). For a discussion of internal challenges to Russian liberalism, see George Putnam, ‘Russian Liberalism Challenged from within: Bulgakov and Berdyayev in –’, Slavonic and East European Review,  (), –. ‘Signposts Movement’, in Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Craig et al., www.rep.routledge .com/articles/thematic/signposts-movement/v-/sections/utopianism-versus-humanism [accessed  March ] (para.  of ). L. Ia. Shternberg, ‘Starye i novye bogoiskateli’, Zaprosy zhizni,  (), – (p. ). K. K. Arsen’ev, ‘Prizyv k pokaianiiu’, Vestnik evropy,  (), reprinted in Nevostrebovannye vozmozhnosti russkogo dukha (Moscow: Institut filosofii RAN, ), pp. – (p. ). I. Ignatov, ‘Intelligentsiia na skam’e podsudimykh’, Russkie vedomosti, nos. ,  reprinted in V zashchitu intelligentsii, ed. Arsen’ev et al., pp. – (p. ).



Liberalism Undone

conditions of our lives is a necessary element of this education’. And he underscored the fact that the problem of Russia’s educated classes was not their inability to engage in ‘religious confession’, but to transform the results of self-knowledge into positive outcomes for Russian society more broadly. But the emphasis the Kadets placed on first providing political and civil liberties, before concerning themselves with the internal, moral aspects of autonomy, was often underpinned by a positivist view of history, rather than the belief that values cannot be reconciled. In many cases this philosophical premise was the source of their optimistic assessment of the events of  (in marked contrast to the pessimism of Landmarks) and led them to exaggerate both the implications of the revolution for individual freedom, and its effects on the Russian intelligentsia. In particular, Kadets generally believed that the intelligentsia would slowly leave its ‘ideological’ predispositions behind and become more like the educated classes of the West: ‘the majority of intellectuals occupied in various fields of cultural work will increasingly specialize as culture itself develops’, wrote one prominent party member, ‘and will find that this very work, with its obvious benefits and creativity, allows them to find the meaning of life. In doing so their work will become less ideological’. Through history’s very development, they implied, the ideological burden currently impinging on the inner freedom of Russia’s educated classes would simply wither away. Often, this conviction was accompanied by a general sense that freedom and equality were steadily increasing, and ultimately compatible principles. In his article in The Intelligentsia in Russia, Maksim Kovalevskii, a founder of the Democratic Reform Party (Partiia demokraticheskikh reform), a Kadet splinter group, traced the history of Western political thought in precisely this vein. Kadet leader Pavel Miliukov was one of the most vocal advocates of the fact that potential incompatibilities between individual autonomy and the claims of citizenship could be overcome. His rationalist approach to   

 

 ‘O sbornike “Vekhi”’, RM,  (), – (p. ). Ibid. See Oberländer, ‘Vechi-Diskussion’ and Vekhi, pp. –. Maklakov’s views present an obvious exception to this mindset: see Chapter  in this volume. D. I. Ovsiannikovo-Kulikovskii, ‘Psikhologiia russkoi intelligentsii’, in Intelligentsiia v Rossii, ed. Arsen’ev et al., pp. – (p. ). See also M. I. Tugan-Baranovskii, ‘Intelligentsiia i sotsializm’, ibid., pp. –. ‘Vzaimootnoshenie svobody i obshchestvennoi solidarnosti: glava iz istorii progressa’, ibid., pp. –; see also Chapter  in this volume. See ‘Intelligentsiia i istoricheskaia’, p. . See also Oberländer, ‘Vechi-Diskussion’ and Vekhi, pp. –, .

Debate around Landmarks



history led him to believe that Russia was developing according to the same laws as Western Europe, and contributed to his optimism that any revolution would come to its natural end after its bourgeois phase. While Miliukov did pay some consideration to the moral aspects of social life, he approached the problem of the relationship between internal and external freedom first and foremost through the prism of how to establish constitutionalism and create politically minded citizens. In , in his first sustained evaluation of the outcome of the revolution, Miliukov assigned its failure to three actors – the revolutionaries, the tsarist government, and the nobility – all of whom had turned the struggle for a constitution into a ‘violent class struggle’ based on their irresponsible attitude to the agrarian problem. Eventually, he refined his interpretation of the revolution, taking into account moral factors and what he referred to as a weakly developed ‘national tradition’ in his country. But this approach to freedom did not fully engage with the potentially irreconcilable interests of individuals and society. In contrast to Landmarks’ authors, the Kadets and their affiliated press organs emphasized the importance of external, active involvement in social and cultural life as the path to achieving knowledge. They rejected what they saw as the main message of Landmarks, namely that philosophy, reflection, and ideas should replace political action. In particular, they saw the emphasis on absolute ideals that guide social activity as a potentially dangerous path leading to abstract maximalism if they are divorced from real interests. As Miliukov explained in November , the gradual enlightenment of the masses, their growing consciousness of new needs ‘in culture, on the soil of educational institutions, in economics, on the group of cooperatives and professional organizations, administration of the economy, on the soil of local self-government’ was what was needed to produce gradual reform. Once political and economic reform was achieved, it was implied that individual autonomy would follow. In polarized political circumstances, a simultaneous commitment to the rights of individuals to pursue their own concept of the good in their own    

 

Breuillard, ‘Russian Liberalism – Utopia or Realism?’, p. . (Milyoukov), Constitutional Government for Russia (New York: Civic Forum, ), p. . See his Russia Today and Tomorrow (New York: Macmillan, ), pp. –. See S. V. Lur’e, ‘O sbornike “Vekhi”’, RM,  (), reprinted in Vekhi: Pro et Contra, ed. Sapov, pp. – (for example, p. ). See also his ‘Zhizn’ i idei (Otvet S. L. Franku)’, RM,  (), –. Lur’e, ‘O sbornike’, p. . Rech’,  November , cited in Brooks, ‘Vekhi and the Vekhi Dispute’, p. .



Liberalism Undone

way, and to the task of social reform, often meant emphasizing one to the detriment of the other, or claiming that they were fully compatible. Both the Kadet reaction to Landmarks and the volume itself bear witness to the political considerations of the time. For tactical reasons, it was important to Kadet leaders that the intelligentsia remain unified, while the premise that there was a potentially irreconcilable conflict between individual freedom and social justice would imply alienating their allies among socialists. Rather than seeking to blame certain strands within the intelligentsia for a flawed approach to freedom, they sought to paint a positive and inclusive picture of the class that had brought about the revolution, depicting its achievement as progressive, concomitant increases of freedom and equality. These political concerns informed their desire to reaffirm the necessity of the social and political commitment that Landmarks’ authors disputed, and to denounce apolitical, religiously inspired attempts to seek spiritual self-perfection. In a related fashion, the Landmarks critique of the Russian intelligentsia was focused on that group’s dogmatic defence of revolution and flawed vision of freedom, but was inconsistent in offering a liberal alternative. The engagement of some contributors with the complexities of the relationship between moral responsibility, on the one hand, and the instauration of civil rights and political liberties, on the other, was no less dogmatic than that of their opponents, while still others offered impure defences of the liberal commitment to both liberty and equality. Landmarks today is as interesting as a reflection of the deviations of liberalism, as it is a consistent defence of liberal humanism.  

See, for example, I. I. Petrunkevich, ‘Intelligentsiia i “Vekhi”: vmesto predisloviia’, in Intelligentsiia v Rossii, ed. Arsen’ev et al., pp. iii–xv. See the argument in Brooks, ‘Vekhi and the Vekhi Dispute’, p. .

 

Conversations with Western Ideas I Conflicts between Values

The previous chapters attempted to show how contemporary theoretical approaches that describe liberalism as a range of attitudes to human nature and to freedom, what might be called ‘liberalisms rather than liberalism’, can shed new light on Russia’s liberal project. This study has focused on the substantial tensions in liberal views of personhood, freedom, and society, and emphasized that politically active figures rarely, if ever, correspond to a liberal ideal type that exemplifies some sort of ideological and moral purity. The liberal awareness of universal ideals in a pluralistic society has, at times, been undermined by individuals’ conviction of the rightness of their own views, while the defence of liberal ideals can result in unexpected policy outcomes. Since it is difficult to locate a well-defined, philosophical core of the liberal tradition that applies in the Russian situation, I have attempted to demonstrate the usefulness of approaching liberalism as an openness to permanent compromise between sometimes competing goods and values. This chapter analyses in detail the work of two figures, Pavel Novgorodtsev and Bogdan Kistiakovskii. Close to the Landmarks’ authors and active in the Kadet Party, these thinkers stand out for their attempt to maintain a vision of liberalism based on an ongoing concern with its tensions, and their desire to place the experience of Russia’s liberal movement in the context of the historical development of liberalism and its ambivalences. Novgorodtsev’s two book-length studies – The Crisis of Modern Legal Consciousness (Krizis sovremennogo pravosoznaniia, –) and On the Social Ideal (Ob obshchestvennom ideale, –) – were explicitly concerned with the lessons of the West’s experience of liberalism, while a number  

Ryan, ‘Liberalism’, . According to Susan Heuman, Kistiakovskii never actually became a party member. Kistiakovsky: The Struggle for National and Constitutional Rights in the Last Years of Tsarism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Series in Ukrainian Studies, ), p. .





Conversations with Western Ideas I

of Kistiakovskii’s long articles – including ‘A Lawful Socialist State’ (‘Gosudarstvo pravovoe i sotsialisticheskoe’, ), ‘How to Realize Unified Popular Representation?’ (‘Kak osushchestvit’ edinoe narodnoe predstavitel’stvo?’, ), and ‘In Defense of Law’ (‘V zashchitu prava’, ) – demonstrate the fluidity of the concept of liberalism. For this reason, many themes taken up in this chapter return to my discussion of the meanings, uses, and significance of liberal philosophy and politics outlined in the Introduction. Juxtaposing what Novgorodtsev and Kistiakovskii consider to be liberalism’s most important issues with the material covered there allows us to approach their work as a prolonged attempt to come to grips with the importance for Russia of the legacy of Western liberalism. In the aftermath of , Novgorodtsev and Kistiakovskii were confronted with the same fundamental dilemmas that faced other liberally inclined members of Russian society. Like them, they were aware of the contradiction between their avowed preferences for peaceful, gradual reforms, and the active (at times revolutionary) role they had played in the events of . Simultaneously, they pondered the question of whether legislative reforms designed to foster freedom were its best guarantee, or whether these were useless in the absence of profound changes to individual personalities and mentalities. Compounding this question concerning the proper sequencing of Russia’s development was the aggressive insistence of revolutionary parties on the potential identity of equality and liberty, and the limited room for manoeuvre between government supporters and radicals. Both thinkers were well placed to attempt to answer these questions, and their contributions to the intellectual legacy of Russian liberalism have been noted. Kistiakovskii’s Landmarks article ‘In Defense of Law’ (‘V zashchitu prava’, ) has been lauded repeatedly (recently, Laura Engelstein singled out his insights concerning the connection between law and discipline as complementing those of Foucault), and his biographer Susan Heuman characterizes him as a visionary whose ‘modern view of human rights predated the formulation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by forty-three years’. Novgorodtsev’s contribution to Russian liberal theory has been praised in similar terms: he has been described as ‘the most consistent and profound Kantian philosopher in 



‘Combined Underdevelopment: Discipline and the Law in Imperial and Soviet Russia’, American Historical Review,  (), –, reprinted in Slavophile Empire: Imperial Russia’s Illiberal Path (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, ), pp. –. Kistiakovsky, p. .

Individual Freedom and Social Justice



the [Moscow] Psychological Society’, and the person who ‘spearheaded the revival of natural law in Russia’. Given the importance of their views, this chapter is devoted to analysing their theories of liberalism in some detail. While there were notable differences between the authors’ philosophical premises and political conclusions, both of their visions of neoidealist liberalism stand out from those of their associates for their concern with the defence of the empirical person and willingness to confront the tensions within the liberal worldview. Their respective intellectual trajectories demonstrate the value of their attempt to learn from Western liberal history, while simultaneously illustrating some of the difficulties they had in using its lessons for Russia.

. Individual Freedom and Social Justice: Bogdan Kistiakovskii’s Lawful Socialism ..

Scientific–Philosophical Idealism

Kistiakovskii was a member of Russia’s neo-idealist movement, but several aspects of his intellectual trajectory mark his differences with his colleagues. Born into a prominent Ukrainian family in Kyiv, Kistiakovskii was exposed from a young age to the study of law (his father, Aleksandr Kistiakovskii (–), was a renowned criminal lawyer) as well as to the Ukrainian national movement. Kistiakovskii’s father, his uncle, Volodymyr Antonovych (–), and eventually his wife, Mariia Berenshtam (–), were all deeply involved in the rise of the Ukrainian national awakening; he himself was profoundly influenced by the movement’s simultaneous advocacy of federalism, constitutionalism, and socialism, a theory made popular by Mykhailo Drahomanov (–), a family

  

‘Introduction’, in Problems of Idealism, p. . Frances Nethercott, ‘Russian Liberalism and the Philosophy of Law’, in Russian Philosophy, ed. Hamburg and Poole, p. . The most comprehensive studies of Kistiakovskii’s life and work are Larysa Depenchuk, Bohdan Kistiakivs’kyi (Kyiv: Osnovy, ); Heuman, Kistiakovsky. See also Susan Heuman, ‘A Socialist Conception of Human Rights: A Model from Prerevolutionary Russia’, in Human Rights: Cultural and Ideological Perspectives, ed. Adamantia Pollis and Peter Schwab (New York: Praeger, ), pp. –. The argument here expands on that in Vanessa Rampton, ‘Individual Freedom and Social Justice: Bogdan Kistiakovskii’s Defense of the Law’, in Landmarks Revisited: The Vekhi Symposium One Hundred Years On, ed. Ruth Coates and Robin Aizlewood (Brighton, MA: Academic Studies Press, ), pp. –. The Ukrainian form of his name is Bohdan Kistiakivs’kyi and the Russian is Bogdan Kistiakovskii. Transliteration and usage are explained at the beginning of the book.



Conversations with Western Ideas I

acquaintance. In Heuman’s words, this exposure to the Ukrainian movement reinforced Kistiakovskii’s sense that ‘universal values and truths, such as natural laws, had to be expressed in the social and political language of a specific society’. His involvement in Ukrainian political activities, as well as his early interest in Marxism, resulted in his expulsion from the Russian university system and forced him to continue his studies abroad. He travelled to Germany in , eventually enrolling at the University of Berlin’s Philosophy Faculty, which marked the beginning of a significant new phase in his intellectual development. As Kistiakovskii began his studies, the neo-Kantian movement was established as a powerful force in German philosophy, and most university chairs of philosophy were occupied by academics who were at least somewhat influenced by this approach. In Berlin Kistiakovskii studied under the well-known sociologist Georg Simmel (–) and, after a brief sojourn in Paris, moved to Strasbourg where he completed his doctoral dissertation under one of the luminaries of the ‘back to Kant’ movement, Wilhelm Windelband. Equally noteworthy is the influence on his politics of the democratic socialism of the Marburg neo-Kantians, whose leading representative was Hermann Cohen. Though Kistiakovskii returned to Russia in , his interaction with German academics continued: he regularly spent several months of the year abroad, cultivating and deepening his ties in Europe. During many of these annual trips he stayed in Heidelberg, a centre for both German academia and Russian émigré culture, where he attended the well-known seminars of his acquaintance, the neo-Kantian legal theorist Georg Jellinek (–), and frequently 

 

 



For example, Antonovych collaborated with Drahomanov on an important text on Ukrainian ethnography, Istoricheskie pesni malorusskogo naroda, ed. M. P. Dragomanov and V. B. Antonovich (Kyiv: Frits, ). Heuman notes that throughout his life ‘Kistiakovsky dedicated a considerable part of his scholarly activity to Drahomanov’s life and work in his effort to present the legacy of the Ukrainian national movement to Russian readers’ (Kistiakovsky, p. ). Ibid., p. . Mykola Vasylenko, ‘Akademik Bohdan Oleksandrovych Kistiakivs’kyi’, in Zapysky sotsial’noekonomichnoho viddilu (Kyiv: Ukrains’ka akademiia nauk, ), vol. , pp. viii–xli, reprinted as Nikolai P. Vasilenko, ‘Akademik Bogdan Aleksandrovich Kistiakovskii’, Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniia,  (), – (–);  (), –;  (), –. See Chapter . Kistiakovskii acknowledges this influence in the dedication of his doctoral dissertation. In Strasbourg he also studied under the economist Georg Friedrich Knapp (–) and philosopher Theobald Ziegler (–). Kistiakovskii’s affiliation with the Baden School of neo-Kantianism has been noted, while the influence on him of the Marburg neo-Kantians is often overlooked. For example, Nina Dmitrieva does not discuss Kistiakovskii’s political affiliations with Cohen in her Russkoe neokantianstvo: “Marburg” v Rossii. Istoriko-filosofskie ocherki (Moscow: ROSSPEN, ).

Individual Freedom and Social Justice



collaborated with Max Weber and Wilhelm Windelband (who was nominated professor there in ). The intellectual resources he gained in Germany, as well as the analytic distance it afforded him on the Russian political situation, contributed significantly to his sense of what liberalism meant in the Russian context. Like other Russian neo-idealists, Kistiakovskii drew on Kant’s thought to articulate a response to pervasive positivist claims that everything intellectual can be reduced to the natural, and to argue that the ‘incontrovertible ability’ of individuals to evaluate reality ‘independently and autonomously’ presupposes their freedom, and simultaneously indicates their existence as moral beings. Yet what led Kistiakovskii to reject Marxism in favour of neo-Kantianism was also what distinguished him from thinkers such as Pëtr Struve, Nikolai Berdiaev, Sergei Bulgakov, and Semën Frank. Like other proponents of the Southwest German school of neo-Kantianism, Kistiakovskii found in idealism a justification for the differentiation between the natural and ‘cultural’ sciences, as well as a rigorous method for the scientific study of society. He followed Windelband and Heinrich Rickert (–) as he argued that the study of society should be approached as a science (Naturwissenschaft) with a correspondingly stringent methodology and in the light of the Kantian categories of understanding. As in the natural sciences, social phenomena should be broken down into isolated instances; only then could one determine the causal relations between them and the general laws that govern social relations. Kistiakovskii was associated with the axiological approach of the Southwest German school of Windelband and his followers, which left open the possibility that the problem of the objectivity of values can be solved transcendentally, without resorting to metaphysics, but he pushed further the anti-ontological implications of neo-idealism than many other





 

Vasilenko, ‘Bogdan Aleksandrovich Kistiakovskii’,  (), p. . See also B. A. Kistiakovskii, ‘Georg Jellinek kak myslitel’ i chelovek’, Russkaia mysl’,  (), –. Kistiakovskii provided significant resources to Max Weber who wrote Zur Lage der bu¨rgerlichen Demokratie in Russland () and Russlands Übergang zum Scheinkonstitutionalismus (), reprinted in Max Weber Gesamtausgabe, ed. Horst Baier et al. (Tu¨bingen: Mohr, ff.), vol. , pp. – and –. ‘V zashchitu nauchno-filosofskogo idealizma’, Voprosy filosofii i psikhologii, :, bk  (), –, reprinted with slight modifications in Sotsial’nye nauki i pravo: ocherki po metodologii sotsial’nykh nauk i obshchei teorii prava (Moscow: Sabashnikovy, ), pp. – (p. ). On Kistiakovskii’s anomalous position within Landmarks, see Rampton, ‘Bogdan Kistiakovskii’s Defense of the Law’, pp. –. See, for example, (Theodor Kistiakowski), Gesellschaft und Einzelwesen: Eine methodologische Studie (Berlin: Liebmann, ), p. .



Conversations with Western Ideas I

thinkers. In doing so he drew on the teachings of Georg Simmel, who insisted on the epistemological limitations of the cultural sciences, and the need for the scientific study of society uninhibited by ontological conclusions. Kistiakovskii repudiated the reduction of all processes and structures to a single governing principle, a reductionism that led many neo-idealists to formulate metaphysical postulates about a moral world order and religious belief. ‘All monisms’, he wrote in the preface to his doctoral dissertation, ‘Society and the individual: a methodological study’ (‘Gesellschaft und Einzelwesen: Eine methodologische Studie’, ), ‘both materialist and idealist, must necessarily be metaphysical. They construct a final objective for scientific development instead of beginning with its starting point’. Kistiakovskii prided himself on a more inductive approach, concerned not so much with the origins (metaphysical or not) of a moral world order, but rather with what the scientific study of moral behaviour can reveal about social processes. He was adamant that ethics must remain within the realm of pure science and that ethical problems could be approached (and solved) scientifically, without reliance on metaphysics. In his article written for Problems of Idealism, Kistiakovskii stressed that ‘[w]e strive for the realization of our ideals not because they are possible, but because our conscious duty imperatively demands it of us and everyone around us’. Eventually, he came to associate this ‘consciousness of duty’, which has its own type of objectivity or necessity, with a realm he defined as transcendental–normative. In , Berdiaev distinguished between two neo-idealist approaches in Russia, based on the above-mentioned distinction regarding metaphysics: ‘one is decisively metaphysical, and attracted to a religion of the transcendent’, he wrote, while ‘the other is ethical–epistemological, drifting in the









For an overview, see Hans-Ludwig Ollig, ‘Neo-Kantianism’, pp. –. On the approaches of Windelband and Rickert, see Frederick Copleston, A History of Philosophy,  vols. (New York: Continuum,  []), vol. , pp. –. See Alexander Vucinich, ‘A Sociological Synthesis: B. A. Kistiakovskii’, in Social Thought in Tsarist Russia: The Quest for a General Science of Society, – (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, ), pp. – (pp. , ). Kistiakovskii was involved in introducing Simmel’s work to Russia: see his ‘Predislovie’, in G. Zimmel’, Sotsial’naia differentsiatsiia. Sotsiologicheskie i psikhologicheskie issledovaniia (Moscow: Sabashnikovy, ), pp. i–x. Kistiakovskii’s doctoral dissertation, defended in , was a major success, and was widely read in the German academic community. Reviews were published in Kantstudien,  (), –; Zeitschrift fu¨r Sozialwissenschaft,  (), –; Archiv fu¨r öffentliches Recht,  (), –; Jahrbu¨cher fu¨r Nationalökonomie und Statistik,  (), –. Kistiakovskii, B. A., ‘The “Russian Sociological School” and the Category of Possibility in the Solution of Social–Ethical Problems’, in Problems of Idealism, ed. Poole, pp. – (p. ).

Individual Freedom and Social Justice



channel of Kantian transcendental idealism’. In , Kistiakovskii further clarified his aspiration to be associated with a separate branch of ‘ethical–epistemological’ idealism in his article ‘In Defence of Scientific– Philosophical Idealism’ (‘V zashchitu nauchno-filosofskogo idealizma’). His reluctance to ground the self and ideals in a higher, ontological reality had important consequences for his liberalism. Rather than focusing on the origins of Kant’s description of individual autonomy (speculations that led many other neo-idealists in the direction of metaphysics and religion), Kistiakovskii concentrated on the implications of individual moral consciousness for life in society. The affinity he suggests between individual autonomy and moral worth led him to consider social justice a universal imperative. In turn, this chimes with his interest in the idea (elaborated in more detail in his political writings) that we necessarily pursue selfperfection in a social context and our individual goals are inextricably bound up with how we relate to others. Because he refrained from adopting an exclusively personalist approach to freedom and morality, and sought to expand the Kantian idealist project beyond the private, individual sphere, Kistiakovskii was naturally drawn to a conceptual apparatus in which justice, law, and civic consciousness each played a fundamental part. .. From Social Ethics to Socialism Kistiakovskii’s explorations, in various publications of the period, of the ramifications of individual freedom and morality for social well-being, were informed by his early acquaintance with Struve during in his student years in Germany and his participation in the Liberation Movement. In July  he took part in the meeting in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, that laid the groundwork for the Russian constitutional movement, and later on, he became actively involved in the Kadet Party. Throughout the period examined, his editorial work on the journals Juridical Messenger

 

‘O novom russkom idealizme’, Voprosy filosofii i psikhologii, :, bk  (), p. . ‘V zashchitu nauchno’, p. . Kistiakovskii maintained that metaphysical idealists had negated Kant’s distinction in The Critique of Pure Reason between the transcendental forms and the content of knowledge; the desire of thinkers such as Struve for ‘wholeness, finality, and completeness’ had led them in the direction of metaphysics, and resulted in their mistaken refusal to maintain a separation between the absolute and the relative, between ‘ought’ (dolzhenstvovanie) and ‘is’ (bytia). One could also note Kistiakovskii’s religious differences with other neo-idealists: while most were believers, his religious beliefs and belonging are not known.



Conversations with Western Ideas I

(Iuridicheskii vestnik) and Critical Review (Kriticheskoe obozrenie) occupied him significantly, as did his role as teacher of law. Many of Kistiakovskii’s political conclusions are informed by his Kantian premises and Kant’s account of individual moral responsibility. In ethics, Kistiakovskii took as his starting point the idealist notion that the form of ‘ought’ is permanent but its content changes with progress, and that moral principles represent common reference points for all individuals without exception. Yet he was particularly interested in linking Kantian practical reason and broader social processes, and in the question of how universal ethical principles might be historically embodied in a unique ‘cultural community’. Kistiakovskii sought to bridge the social and personal implications of Kantian thought by designating the category of justice (spravedlivost’) an objective and universally valid category for understanding social processes, even if it only applies to the social and not the natural world. In his reading, the desire for justice, a moral yet inherently social principle, is one of the innate and incontrovertible attributes of the human condition. In particular, individuals’ equal moral worth validates universal aspirations for respect and recognition. Kistiakovskii observes that the moral commitment to improving the life of the individual within society has traditionally been expressed in the creation of legal norms. Law, therefore, takes on the historically and scientifically necessary task of expressing social justice: the generalized social feelings and aspirations that encourage us to form legal norms (pravovye normy) are also characterized by categorical necessity (bezuslovnaia neobkhodimost’). Like Kant, Kistiakovskii developed an account of law as the basis of civil society, but he went further than the German philosopher in assigning law a crucial role in fostering social discipline. In particular, he argued that    

 

He was appointed professor at Kyiv University in . See Nethercott, Russian Legal Culture, pp. –, fn. ; Heuman, Kistiakovsky, p. . Gesellschaft und Einzelwesen, p. . ‘V zashchitu nauchno’, p. , cited in Alexander Vucinich, ‘Sociological Synthesis’, p. . ‘Kategorii neobkhodimosti i spravedlivosti pri issledovanii sotsial’nykh iavlenii’, Zhizn’, (), reprinted in Sotsial’nye nauki, pp. – (pp. , ). He refers to justice as ‘inalienable and universally valid’ (allgemeingu¨ltig). For Kistiakovskii, assigning social justice an a priori value did not compromise in any way the attempt to study society in a scientific fashion. Ibid., p. . Kant was also extremely interested in the idea of discipline (see, for example, his Über Pädagogik, ed. Friedrich Theodor Rink (Königsberg: Nicolovius, ), p. , where he writes that ‘Der Mensch kann nur Mensch werden durch Erziehung. Er ist nichts, als was die Erziehung aus ihm macht’). Kistiakovskii, however, made the link between discipline and law more explicit, claiming that law ‘disciplines a person much more than does logic or scientific method or any systematic exercise of the will’ (‘In Defense of Law: The Intelligentsia and Legal Consciousness’, in V, pp. – (p. )).

Individual Freedom and Social Justice



the external discipline provided by law helps further individual awareness of moral duty: ‘legal convictions [provide] internal discipline’ and thereby facilitate the development of a civil society founded on respect for the rights of all. Thus law (and political institutions generally) play a crucial role in the process whereby individual awareness of duty translates into active citizenship. In essence, legal and political institutions have the power to instantiate the neo-idealist ideal of community in which individual desires work towards the realization of the collective good. In this reading, state institutions play a crucial didactic role, one that involves making their citizens aware of their rights and shared interests, as well as allowing them to develop their full potential: the state ‘ennobles and elevates the individual. It gives [him or her] the opportunity to develop the best part of [his or her] nature and implement ideal goals’. Kistiakovskii stressed that in addition to acting as a vehicle for social justice, law played a crucial role in ensuring legal guarantees of rights. He emphasized that a rule-of-law state is founded on the recognition of a sphere of negative liberty, that is the inviolable, indestructible rights of individuals, and his insistence on this point – particularly visible in his devotion to Ukrainian cultural autonomy – remained constant throughout his career. In his view, each individual personality requires freedom to attain the absolute ideals it strives for, and defining the scope of that freedom is the task of law. Kistiakovskii acknowledged that the precise contours of negative liberty are impossible to define a priori, as the different freedoms and interests of individuals will inevitably clash, but this merely reinforced his commitment to the value of law. Law’s relevance, he wrote, consists not only in creating a sphere in which absolute ideals can be realized, but in reflecting the embodiment of ideals in specific economic and social conditions. In his famous defence of law in  – directed against the intelligentsia’s disregard for law, but also against the tradition stretching back to Herzen and the Slavophiles of considering Russia’s lack of commitment to legal ideas an advantage – he reflected on the history of legal ideas to conclude that the ‘ideas of     



Ibid., p. . See also Engelstein, pp. –. ‘Prava cheloveka i grazhdanina’, Voprosy zhizni,  (), – (p. ). ‘Gosudarstvo pravovoe i sotsialisticheskoe’, VFP, :, bk  (), –, reprinted in Voprosy filosofii,  (), – (p. ). Heuman devotes considerable space to Kistiakovskii’s views on the Ukrainian question. ‘Gosudarstvo pravovoe’, p. . See also Anita Schlu¨chter, ‘Zashchita prava B. A. Kistiakovskogo v kontekste filosofskikh diskusii nachala XX v. v Rossii’, in Sbornik “Vekhi” v kontekste russkoi kul’tury, ed. A. A. Takho-Godi and E. A. Takho-Godi (Moscow: Nauka, ), pp. – (p. ). ‘Prava cheloveka’, p. .



Conversations with Western Ideas I

individual freedom, the rule of law and the constitutional state are not identical for every era, any more than capitalism or any other social or economic system is identical in all countries. All legal ideas take on their own special coloring and nuances in the consciousness of each individual nation’. Despite his emphasis on law and ‘negative freedoms’ as the foundations of a viable state, Kistiakovskii went further than most Russian liberals in arguing that a socialist political order was best able to protect both individual rights and promote self-realization. In particular, he stressed that individual and political liberties lose their value unless their affinity with economic and social aims is acknowledged. Negative liberties, in his view, cannot be fully realized if one class has a dominant position in relation to another or certain positive measures designed to attenuate social inequality are not introduced. These positive steps necessary for individual self-development (the rights Kistiakovskii referred to as socialist [sotsialisticheskie prava]) include the right to work, the right to receive care in the event of illness, old age, and inability to work, the right to develop fully one’s capacities, and the right to a proper education; all of these, he wrote, come together in the concept of the right to a dignified human existence. The willingness of a socialist state to enshrine this last right in law was what led Kistiakovskii to consider this political order superior to a rule-of-law state. ‘A legal order’, he wrote in Landmarks is a system of relationships whereby all members of a given society possess the greatest freedom of action and self-determination. But a legal order defined in this way cannot be contrasted to a socialist order. Quite the contrary, a more profound understanding of both leads to the conclusion that they are closely related, and that from the juridical point of view a socialist order is simply a more rigorously implemented legal order.

Drawing on the work of theorists who had contributed to elaborating the relationship between socialism and law such as Anton Menger  

 



‘In Defense of Law’, p. . See ‘Gosudarstvo pravovoe’ p. . On neo-Kantian socialism in Germany, see Timothy Keck, ‘The Marburg School and Ethical Socialism’, Social Science Journal,  (), –; Thomas Willey, Back to Kant: The Revival of Kantianism in German Social and Historical Thought, – (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, ); Harry van der Linden, Kantian Ethics and Socialism (Indianapolis: Hackett, ).  See, for example, ‘Prava cheloveka’, p. . See ‘Gosudarstvo pravovoe’, p. . Ibid., p. , he wrote as follows: ‘[i]n a socialist society the right to a dignified human existence is not merely the realization of social justice, something similar to charity for the poor, but rather the substantial (deistvitel’nyi) personal right of every individual and citizen’. ‘In Defense of Law’, p. .

Individual Freedom and Social Justice



(–), Georg Jellinek, and Otto von Gierke (–), Kistiakovskii defended his view that a socialist state represents the best political form to guarantee both negative liberties and the achievement of social and economic equality. In doing so he pointed to European history, where he found evidence of the progressive readjustment between citizens’ rights and freedoms, and the widening of the spheres of activity of the state. While he took care to point out the shortcomings of contemporary Western states, he nevertheless saw their trajectories as useful lessons in the process of compromise by which state laws are worked out with the participation of all political parties (including socialists). While some of his comparisons between Russia and ‘other civilized nations’ strike an anachronistic note, by and large his theory stands out for its desire to construct a political and social philosophy informed by practice. In his own country’s case, Kistiakovskii advocated the construction of a new society informed by both European political theory as well as Russia’s own resources and traditions. Professing cautious optimism regarding what he refers to as the traditional consciousness of right and non-right in Russian society, he pointed to the forms of redistributive justice in Russia’s communal social structures (the agrarian commune and artel, for example) as examples of the externalization of moral rules. Russians’ legal consciousness could be developed both by formalizing the elements of customary morality as well as performing inner soul searching: in order to reconnect with the legal convictions that were part of its spiritual make-up, the intelligentsia ‘must withdraw into itself and plunge deeply into its own inner world in order to bring fresh air and health to it’. Both respect for the law and personal self-development would help promote a legal order and a socialist state. Kistiakovskii identified his view of ‘internal’ and ‘external’ freedom (what we might call moral and political freedom respectively) with Kant’s, and stressed that the relationship between external freedom guaranteed by law and internal spiritual development had the potential to be complementary. ‘Inner, more absolute spiritual freedom is possible only when external freedom is present’, he wrote, ‘and the latter is the best school for the former’. Yet neither did he deny the possibility of a tension between different kinds of freedoms; as he conceived it, the limits law places on    

Kistiakovskii frequently referenced England, as well as France, Germany, and Austria.   ‘Prava cheloveka’, p. . ‘In Defense of Law’, p. . Ibid., p. . Ibid., p. . Ibid., p. . On Kant’s concept of external freedom see his The Metaphysics of Morals, trans. Mary Gregor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,  []); Guyer, ‘Kantian Foundations for



Conversations with Western Ideas I

state power and the power of one person over another must be constantly readjusted in order to maximize the possibility for each person to develop their individuality. In a socialist state, he argued, positive measures designed to reduce inequality would impinge to a certain extent on the individual’s sphere of negative liberty. But he concluded that this may be no bad thing: in Kistiakovskii’s mind, as long as the incontrovertible right to exist of both spheres was acknowledged, the denominations lawful and socialist collapsed into one another. His argument in favour of law thus presents an attempt to reconcile concepts of freedom that are at the heart of both liberalism and socialism, while acknowledging that because they exist in constant interaction there can never be a final balance between them.

. Tensions between Freedoms and Liberal History: Pavel Novgorodtsev .. Metaphysical Idealism Pavel Novgorodtsev did not write his memoirs, and a scant number of sources provide substantial biographical materials on his life. He was born in Bakhmut, a major centre in the Ekaterinoslav province of Ukraine, into a well-off family. After an early educational career marked by success, he enrolled in the Law Faculty of Moscow University in . Between  and  he spent four years in Europe, primarily in Germany (Freiburg and Berlin), but also in Paris. Novgorodtsev’s travels abroad were designed to broaden his studies and complete his doctorate, with the

 

Liberalism’, pp. –; Peter Benson, ‘External Freedom according to Kant’, Columbia Law Review,  (), –. ‘Gosudarstvo pravovoe’, p. . The information here relies primarily on A. N. Litvinov, ‘Molodoi Pavel Novgorodtsev: rozhdenie kontseptsii “vozrozhdennogo estestvennogo prava” v russkoi filosofii prava (o vremeni, zhizni i tvorchestve: – gg.)’, in Problemy filosofii prava: sbornik statei. K -letiiu co dnia rozhdeniia Pavla Ivanovicha Novgorodtseva, ed. A. N. Litvinov (Lugansk: RIO LGUVD, ), pp. –. Other sources on Novgorodtsev’s life include G. D. Gurvich, ‘Prof. P. I. Novgorodtsev kak filosof prava’, Sovremennye zapiski,  (), –; I. A. Il’in, ‘Pamiati P. I. Novgorodtseva’, RM, – (–), –; G. V. Florovskii, ‘Pamiati professora P. I. Novgorodtseva’, (), reprinted in Iz proshlogo russkoi mysli (Moscow: Agraf, ), pp. –; George F. Putnam, Russian Alternatives to Marxism: Christian Socialism and Idealistic Liberalism in Twentieth-Century Russia (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, ). The argument here draws on that in Vanessa Rampton, ‘Religious Thought and Russian Liberal Institutions: The Case of Pavel Ivanovich Novgorodtsev’, in Thinking Orthodox in Modern Russia: Culture, History, Context, ed. Patrick Lally Michelson and Judith Deutsch Kornblatt (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, ), pp. –.

Tensions between Freedoms and Liberal History



goal of assuming a full professorship in mind. Occurring roughly during the period in which his main philosophical and legal premises were being formed, these sojourns had a powerful influence on his thought. In  he began lecturing at Moscow University and published two works shortly thereafter – his master’s dissertation ‘The Historical School of Jurists, its genesis and fate’ (‘Istoricheskaia shkola iuristov, eë proiskhozhdenie i sud’ba’, ) and his doctoral dissertation entitled ‘Kant and Hegel and their teachings on law and the state’ (‘Kant i Gegel’ v ikh ucheniiakh o prave i gosudarstve’, ) – that reflected his growing interest in neo-idealism. Novgorodtsev was one of the outstanding legal philosophers of his generation, a member of the Moscow Psychological Society and the Kadet Party, as well as a devout Orthodox believer. While he was at the very centre of the revival of neo-idealism in Russia, much of his work was devoted to overcoming certain fundamental deficiencies he identified in Kant’s thought, which he saw as too abstract, and thus failing to provide a clear bridge between moral life and social well-being. In Novgorodtsev’s view, the Kantian separation of material necessity and spiritual freedom offered too little in the way of concrete, tangible guidance for individual moral behaviour. Inspired by Hegel’s observation that the problem of freedom and equality must be resolved in a determinate historical epoch, if it can be resolved at all, much of his work was devoted to demonstrating that morality can only take on meaning if it is implemented by empirical beings in the light of real-life circumstances. In stark contrast to Kistiakovskii, Novgorodtsev saw in religious belief and the ontological implications of idealism a crucial way to flesh out the concrete, objective aspects of freedom whose absence had troubled him in Kant’s thought. He argued that only by acknowledging that there is a higher authority than human beings themselves – a supersensible reality he claims we experience as a ‘living God in our spirit’ – can we avoid utopian approaches to personhood and freedom, and benefit from moral  

   

See Litvinov, ‘Molodoi Pavel Novgorodtsev’, p. . This argument is developed in his Kant i Gegel’ (St Petersburg: Aleteiia,  ()). See also ‘Moral i poznanie’, VFP, :, bk  (), – (especially pp. –); ‘Pravo estestvennoe’, in Entsiklopedicheskii slovar’, ed. I. E. Andreevskii et al.,  vols. (St Petersburg: Brokgauz i Efron, ), vol. , – (p. ). See, for example, ‘Nravstvennaia problema v filosofii Kanta’, VFP, :, bk  (), – (–) and ‘Moral i poznanie’, p. . See Kant i Gegel’, for example, pp. , . On the religious element of Novgorodtsev’s thought, see Rampton, ‘Religious Thought and Russian Liberal Institutions’. ‘Kant, kak moralist’, p. .



Conversations with Western Ideas I

guidance in a concrete historical epoch. By revealing the individual’s link with God and the ‘absolute principle of the good’, the existence of an eternal, divine reality confirms the importance of Christian principles such as love, harmony, and solidarity in earthly life. These moral principles have both the potential to endow the notion of ‘ought‘ with content, as well as infuse and direct social life and progress. For Novgorodtsev, the divine (or transcendental) element in each individual person is necessarily realized in his or her earthly vocation: flesh-and-blood individuals become persons in the fullest sense of the word by seeking to approximate God. For him, as for a number of Psychological Society professors, this religiously inspired vision, in which human dignity takes on an objective, theistic dimension, is what confirms the freedom of each human person, as well as their worth and vocation. ..

Natural Law and Individual Rights

As a philosophical idealist, Novgorodtsev believed that the ‘absolute form can never be filled by an adequate content, and the moral call can never be satisfied by an achieved result’. Moral autonomy is required to uncover the absolute nature of moral law, while its empirical content is worked out in reference to concrete historical circumstances. His religiously inspired concern with enriching this ‘absolute form’ led him in the direction of natural law, which he defines as ‘the sum total of ideal, moral notions about law’ which have their source in ‘nature, reason, a higher moral order, and the like’. Thus conceived, natural law derives from the highest moral norms associated with the absolute significance of personhood. As the earthly expression of the transcendental values of human dignity, freedom, and equality, it provides a just, objective standard for social and political life. Law that is grounded in morality, Novgorodtsev wrote, can attenuate the arbitrariness of human passions (strasti), and ‘mitigate the selfish nature 

   

Ob obshchestvennom ideale, rd ed. (Berlin: Slovo, ), p. . See also ‘Pravo i nravstvennost’’, in Sbornik po obshchestvenno-iuridicheskim naukam, ed. Iu. S. Gambarov (St Petersburg: Popov, ), pp. – (p. ). See his ‘Ideia prava v filosofii Vl. S. Solov’ëva’, VFP, :, bk  (), – (p. ). See Kotliarevskii, ‘Predposylki demokratii’, p. ; Struve and Frank, ‘Ocherki filosofii kul’tury. .’, p. . ‘Ethical Idealism in the Philosophy of Law (On the Question of the Revival of Natural Law)’, in PI, pp. – (p. ). Istoricheskaia shkola iuristov, eë proiskhozhdenie i sud’ba (Moscow: Universitetskaia tipografiia, ), p. .

Tensions between Freedoms and Liberal History



of individual ambitions in the interests of the common good and in the light of the requirements of justice’. It also helps to establish the moral atmosphere necessary for the execution of law. Because justice (spravedlivost’) is a necessary part of our moral outlook, law can play a powerful role in orchestrating relations between social classes and individuals, introducing the principles of limitation and levelling (uravnenie). The role of the state, to act ‘against unlawfulness and inequality, against privileges and monopolies, against segregations and exclusions’ is thus rooted in the moral requirements of personhood and sanctioned by law. Novgorodtsev saw natural law as creating a bridge between internal, moral freedom and external freedom in the social and political spheres. In particular, guaranteeing a sphere of negative freedom helps individuals to make moral decisions in the light of higher moral laws, and thereby realize their moral freedom as legislators and develop as members of society. Underlying this claim is his fundamentally non-dogmatic notion of historical progress: he observes that if seeking the truth amounts to an eternal quest, and the ‘truth has yet to be fully revealed, and there are no limits to searching for it’, a realm of non-interference protected by law is what enables each individual to find his or her own, unique truth. Novgorodtsev recognized the importance in the history of liberalism of allowing inner, spiritual freedom to be guaranteed in visible, public ways. In his lectures on the history of the philosophy of law, he emphasizes that the principle of freedom of conscience and its derivatives were the first applications of the idea of negative freedom in the sense of an inviolable human right. ‘Without requisite guarantees from the law and the state’, he writes, moral freedom ‘remains a mere fiction’. He uses historical examples to argue that natural law is particularly well equipped to guarantee the ‘inalienable rights’ of individuals, and a sphere of freedom free from the interference of the state. Natural law, he writes, ‘is the expression of the autonomous, absolute significance of the person, a significance that must belong to it in any political system’. With the Russian case in mind, Novgorodtsev argued that natural law represents the ‘demand for better      

‘Pravo i nravstvennost’’, p. . Ibid., p. . See also Istoricheskaia shkola, p. , where he writes that without ‘moral sympathy and support’, ‘law turns into a dead letter, without any living meaning’. ‘Pravo i nravstvennost’’, p. . The article from which this quote is taken was published in two instalments: ‘Gosudarstvo i pravo’, VFP, I, :, bk  (), –; II, :, bk  (), – (here, p. ).  Istoricheskaia shkola, p. . ‘Pravo i nravstvennost’’, pp. –.   Iz lektsii po istorii, p. . ‘Ideia prava’, p. . ‘Pravo estestvennoe’, pp. –.



Conversations with Western Ideas I

legislation’ as well as ‘the protest of the person against state absolutism’. It was from these premises that he endorsed a constitutional state based on natural law as the one best suited to the self-realization of Russian citizens. In the run-up to , Novgorodtsev took care to stress that no specific institutions or legal forms can definitively guarantee freedom; in scholarly articles such as ‘The State and the Law’ (‘Gosudarstvo i pravo’, ), he argued that a constantly evolving dualism of the concrete historical process and living, moral consciousness ensures, not a harmony, but an eternal, fruitful tension. Yet his pronouncements concerning developments in his own country betray the difficulties involved in repudiating dogma for openness in a tense political situation. Novgorodtsev attacked the supporters of D. N. Shipov, whom he termed ‘twentieth-century Slavophiles’, for their political quietism and misguided disdain for a sphere of negative liberty, but he also saw them as refusing to acknowledge that Russia should join the rest of the ‘civilized world’ by striving for ‘direct and open constitutionalism’. His insistence at that time on applying in Russia a political system that had been elaborated in the West, and his conviction that it was successfully embarked on such a path, inspired, in later years, some of his most profound reflections on whether or not the models of the democracies of Western Europe were universally significant. ..

Social Justice

As stated above, Novgorodtsev’s philosophical premises underpinned his belief in the equal moral worth of individuals. In response to political developments in the Russian scene, and in the light of his increasing involvement in politics – first with the Union of Liberation and then with the Kadet Party – a positive conception of freedom based on individual dignity became increasingly central to Novgorodtsev’s political and social philosophy. In an article published in December , he affirmed the crucial importance of the right to a dignified existence, the only concept that ‘can save us from both despotism and anarchy in Russia’. Without denying the need for a sphere of negative liberty, he now argued that the     

‘Ethical Idealism’, p. . See primarily ‘Goduarstvo i pravo’. For a summary of the article, see Walicki, Legal Philosophies, pp. –. ‘Gosudarstvo i pravo’, p. . ‘Sovremmenye otzvuki slavianofil’stva’, Voprosy zhizni,  (), – (, , –).  See Section ... ‘Dva etiuda’, p. .

Tensions between Freedoms and Liberal History



well-being of the empirical person must be guaranteed by law as a necessary counterbalance to freedom’s more anarchic forms. In particular, concrete measures to ensure individual dignity – including legislation on the rights of workers, the right to help in the case of sickness, inability to work, or old age, the establishment of professional unions, and the general right to work (which constituted the basis of his approach to land reform) – are crucial for developing the legal existence of this right. Without these guarantees, and the state structures they rely on for their implementation, excessive emphasis on negative freedom risks undermining the basis of civil society. And he concluded that ensuring the right to a dignified human existence is of the same magnitude as freedom of thought or conscience, in that it ensures propitious external conditions for the achievement of the ‘positive realization of the ideal of internal freedom’. Novgorodtsev’s concern with both negative liberty and the right to a dignified existence was reflected in his political activities. In the run-up to the First Duma he lobbied for inserting into the Kadet programme a point about the recognition of the right to work as a constitutional part of the right to a dignified human existence, attempting to link the agrarian question to individual autonomy. Significantly, he argued in the Duma that the agrarian question and that of the inviolability of the person (deistvitel’naia neprikosnovennost’ lichnosti) were the two most important issues facing the deputies. On the latter subject, he sponsored a bill structured around two separate but interrelated ideas: the rights of individuals and the responsibilities of authorities, some provisions of which were modelled on English precedents. Yet Novgorodtsev’s career as a deputy – if not his involvement in Kadet activities – ended with his signing the Vyborg Manifesto in . The emphasis we have seen throughout his work on the need for the rule of law to ensure both positive and negative freedom provides some insight into the painful dilemma he must have faced when signing this document, one that appealed to citizens to break

 





  Ibid., p. . Ibid., pp. , –, –. Ibid., p. . On Novgorodtsev’s multiple roles as a Central Committee member of the Kadet Party, see Protokoly tsentral’nogo komiteta i zagranichnykh grupp konstitutsionno-demokraticheskoi partii,  – seredina -kh gg, ed. D. B. Pavlov et al.,  vols. (Moscow: Progress-Akademiia, –), vol. , pp. , . The party rejected the suggestion on the grounds that it was superfluous in the light of other provisions. See Vtoroi vserossiiskii s”ezd Konstitutsionno-demokraticheskoi partii, – ianvaria  g., ed. Raymond Pearson (White Plains, NY: Kraus International, ), p. . For Novgorodtsev’s interventions, see Stenograficheskii otchet, [n. ed.], vol. , session , sitting ,  May , pp. –, –; session , sitting ,  May , –.



Conversations with Western Ideas I

the law. Novgorodtsev subsequently justified the decision as a ‘moral’ one, occasioned by a sense of ‘duty’; in tsarist Russia, those who saw the rule of law as the primary means of guaranteeing freedom could at times only conceive of achieving their goal by calling for illegal measures. .. Reassessing Freedom in the Aftermath of Revolution In the period immediately following , Novgorodtsev’s views underwent a notable transformation. At a time when mainstream Kadets were devoting significant efforts to identifying Western democracy as the natural outcome of liberal philosophy, and attempting to achieve social and political change by improving institutional mechanisms, he produced two scholarly studies containing nuanced accounts of the conditions required for full self-realization in a constitutional order and rule-of-law state. By attempting to locate the experience of Russian liberalism in its broader intellectual and historical context, he was able to draw attention to the liberal notion that achieving a balance between competing values is ultimately dependent on a specific historical context. While we lack an autobiographical account of the precise events that triggered his new approach to the problems of Russian liberalism, it is clear that his own experience of revolution and in the First Duma played a determining factor in modifying his views. His next major academic project, a study entitled The Crisis of Modern Legal Consciousness, took as its starting point something he had witnessed first-hand in Russian politics: the difficulties of preserving a sphere of negative liberty while enabling the community to exercise collective control over the affairs of its citizens. While analysing this problem, Novgorodtsev drew on previous critiques of the notion that individual will and freedom can be fully expressed by political institutions – elaborated by thinkers such as John Stuart Mill, Georg Jellinek, the Irish scholar William Edward Hartpole Lecky (–), British jurist James Bryce (–), and Russian Jewish political sociologist Moisei Ostrogorskii (–) – to develop his own insights into the quantitative and qualitative shortcomings of all

  

‘Prof. V. I. Ger’e o pervoi gosudarstvennoi Dume’, RM,  (), – (p. ). See Max Laserson, The American Impact on Russia: Diplomatic and Ideological,  – , nd ed. (New York: Macmillan, ), p. . Vvedenie v filosofiiu prava. Krizis sovremennogo pravosoznaniia (St Petersburg: MVD Rossii SanktPeterburgskii Universitet, ); the book was first published in serial form in VFP between  and , and in book form in .

Tensions between Freedoms and Liberal History



forms of political representation, including those in democratic regimes. Novgorodtsev highlighted a number of factors, including the predominance of an influential minority group of opinion-makers, the force of political parties, and the discipline within parties themselves, that present a danger to the free formation of individual opinion. In addition, the notion that the majority can comprehensively defend the principles of individual well-being and social justice poses serious normative and empirical problems. Representative government, he pointed out, is merely one means towards a more fully developed political system, a lawful state that can defend both freedom and equality. Political institutions and practices, he concluded, are important, but will never be wholly sufficient to resolve liberalism’s constant demand for a recalibration between conflicting values, nor constitute ‘the alpha and omega of political life’. ... A Liberal Conception of Selfhood Novgorodtsev traced this excessive confidence in collectivist, positive freedom to flawed views of personhood that focus on the generic essence (rodovaia sushchnost’) of individuals, rather than on individual well-being. Particularly problematic, in his view, was that this approach justified the notion that freedom has the potential to be fully harmonized with equality. European philosophy, he noted, contained both the origins of this misguided understanding of selfhood, as well as the intellectual resources to overcome it. In Novgorodtsev’s account, Rousseau was the first to elaborate philosophically a notion of selfhood from which the ultimate harmony between the concepts of freedom and equality could be derived. Rousseau identified freedom with the ‘individual right to participate in popular sovereignty’, while he characterized equality ‘as the fact that this right belongs to all in equal measure’, effectively presenting them as two aspects of the same concept. Kant, in Novgorodtsev’s eyes, further contributed to the problem by defining freedom (‘independence from being constrained by 



See, for example, ibid., pp. –. Lecky published two volumes entitled Democracy and Liberty (London: Longmans and Green, ), in which he considered some of the problems of modern democracies with special reference to Britain, France, and America. Bryce was best known for his book, The American Commonwealth,  vols. (London: Macmillan, ), which analysed the institutions and processes of the United States. Ostrogorskii was the author of La démocratie et l’organisation des partis politiques (Paris: Calmann-Lévy, ). While his views were close to those of the Kadets, his mistrust of political parties led him to be elected to the First State Duma as a nonparty candidate. See Gaetano Quagliariello, ‘Contributo alla biografia di Ostrogorski’, Ricerche di storia politica,  (), –.   Vvedenie v filosofiiu prava, pp. , . Ibid., p. . Ibid., p. .



Conversations with Western Ideas I

another’s choice . . . insofar as it can coexist with the freedom of every other in accordance with a universal law’) in such a way that it already contains the germ of his notion of equality (‘independence from being bound by others to more than one can in turn bind them’). The Kantian notion of the free personality as the bearer of ‘universal and necessary laws’ precludes the idea that freedom and equality are distinct and sometimes conflicting principles. Kant’s idea was further developed by Hegel, while Ludwig Feuerbach, Karl Marx (–), and Ferdinand Lasalle (–), Novgorodtsev argued, were all guilty of presenting humanity as a fundamentally abstract notion, something reflected in their deluded claims that individual freedom and social life can be fully harmonized. He dismisses Feuerbach’s theory as follows: ‘freedom and happiness are promised to the individual only when he conforms with society and merges with political life’. Novgorodtsev was concerned to point out that the views of selfhood derived from Rousseau’s philosophical premises are flawed because they place excessive emphasis on what individuals share, and not enough on the manifestations of will and creativity that mark their differences. In practical terms, this could result in both an excessive confidence in the ability of the government to create free and fulfilled individuals or the other extreme (inspired by English theorists such as Adam Smith (–) and Jeremy Bentham (–)), namely the belief that once individual freedom was established, a free and satisfactory government would follow. The task, as he understood it, was to occupy the narrow political space between those opposing views. In Novgorodtsev’s view, European intellectual history contained certain valuable ideas of selfhood incorporating ‘the rich variety of [each individual’s] unique features and creative acts’, and capable of providing the conceptual underpinnings for a potential conflict between equality and freedom. He singles out Benjamin Constant as the first to enrich significantly Rousseau’s idea of freedom by differentiating conceptually between individual freedom – ‘true (istinnyi) freedom’ – and political freedom ‘its guarantee’. Constant’s stress on these different kinds of freedom led to a new awareness of their potential incompatibilities and underpinned his emphasis on the fact that the ‘moral education of citizens’ was required to help find a balance between them. Alexis de Tocqueville   

Ibid., p. . The citations are taken from Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals, p. .   Ibid., pp. –. Ibid., pp. , . Ibid., pp. , , . Ibid., pp. –.



Ibid., p. .

Tensions between Freedoms and Liberal History



followed Constant by arguing that political power is not necessarily harmonious with individual freedom; part of the reason he foresaw the need to strengthen individual independence and autonomy (samobytnost’ litsa) was his fear that democracy promotes equality but can also be damaging to freedom. John Stuart Mill further clarified this process in his account of how the rise of the lawful state might hinder the development of culture and individual freedom, bringing with it the equalization that Novgorodtsev himself identified as a grave danger for freedom. Novgorodtsev believed that these authors and others had done much to illuminate the goal of social development, namely ‘individual and social self-improvement, and the distinctive and original development of persons’. Echoing the Landmarks’ contributors, he now highlighted the importance of individual self-perfection in the light of ideals that reside not ‘in the cultural and social manifestations of the personality, but in the depths of its own consciousness, in its moral and religious needs’. Political mechanisms and institutions are important, but they cannot address the entire range of individuals’ needs and desires, nor can they protect all aspects of individual freedom from the more pernicious results of cultural levelling (niveliruiushchie vliianie kul’tury), which has profound roots in social and individual life. The role of the state consists in creating a sphere of freedom in which individuals are able to develop an independent mindset and will, as well as a more equal social environment, in order to foster a sense of justice and solidarity within society. While the state is responsible for these preliminary conditions, it cannot be expected to provide a comprehensive moral education, which can occur in internal conscience alone. And he concluded that ‘the aspiration to be one’s own self, to be true to one’s inner ideal, the voice of one’s own soul (dusha) is what constitutes each individual’s most precious asset (dostoianie). This asset cannot be replaced by any external, material comforts or property, by which one person becomes more equal to another’. Novgorodtsev pointed to the examples of contemporary European states to illustrate how a balance between different kinds of freedom might be achieved in practice, and the potential dangers implicit in the process. In England, liberal politicians such as H. H. Asquith (–) had arrived at what seemed to Novgorodtsev to be a very promising practical solution to the problem: he quotes approvingly Asquith’s support for a positive conception of freedom, understood as the capacity ‘to make the  

Ibid., p. . Ibid., p. 

 

Ibid., pp. , . Ibid., pp. , .



Ibid., p. .



Ibid., pp. , .



Conversations with Western Ideas I

best use of faculty, opportunity, energy, life’. The effects of the British politician’s approach were visible in policies regarding popular education, anti-alcoholism, housing, and in general improvements to the conditions of social and industrial life. By shifting the emphasis within the concept of equality from the idea of equality before the law to the idea of equality as a starting point (iskhodnyi punkt), English liberalism offered practical proof of the value of approaching freedom by taking into account both the requirements of justice and individual creativity. And Novgorodtsev concluded that ‘equality as a starting point does not exclude freedom, but rather presumes it (predpolagaet её): the free development of individuals is equalized only at the initial point of that development, since it depends on common and external conditions of social life. Subsequently, their freedom is guaranteed’. The case of France provided a similar example of the attempt to resolve the potential conflict between freedom and justice, but also a demonstration of how a flawed conception of personhood could miscarry in unfreedom. In the debate over cultural unity in French society, particularly with respect to the value of clerical schools, Novgorodtsev observes that anti-clericalists lost sight of the absolute worth of each individual person, arguing instead that the ‘common spirit’ of the nation justified the interests of the collective over those of the individual. Novgorodtsev quotes Struve and Frank approvingly on this point: if individuals can in some respects unite, harmonize their desires, actions, and ideals, they cannot delegate their entire soul to anyone, nor can they unreservedly appropriate another person’s rights to cultural creativity . . . If [сultural creativity] is not to die and decay, it needs space and freedom, it must be nourished and renewed via free development.

In his view, the imposition of specific cultural practices and forms was incompatible with the sphere of negative liberty that constitutes the foundation of citizenship. Novgorodtsev diagnosed the crisis in contemporary European political thinking about liberalism as a reflection of the need to supplement a legal definition of freedom with considerations relating to the moral consciences of individuals. He cites approvingly Kotliarevskii’s formulation of the 

  

Ibid., p. . Cited here from H. H. Asquith, ‘Introduction’, in Herbert Samuel, Liberalism: An Attempt to State the Principles and Proposals of Contemporary Liberalism in England (London: Richards, ), pp. vii–xi (p. x).    Ibid., p. . Ibid., p. . Ibid., p. . Ibid., p. . Ibid. p. . Novgorodtsev quotes Struve and Frank, ‘Ocherki filosofii kul’tury. .’, pp. –. Ibid, pp. , .

Tensions between Freedoms and Liberal History



dynamic relationship between law and morality: ‘just as the omnipotence of popular sovereignty requires a counterweight in the form of inalienable individual rights, the latter must also be freely limited by feelings of solidarity’. At the same time, Novgorodtsev insists that his prescriptions for social improvement are necessarily modest. Human nature cannot be transformed, nor can a perfect society be established; individuals will maintain their ‘selfish impulses’ and ‘self-serving aspirations’, and these must be factored in to any account of human behaviour. By this account, any progress that is made will only be partial and slow: achieving individual well-being is a complex process, involving gradual improvement in the light of an absolute, unattainable ideal. In this way, Novgorodtsev profoundly nuanced his earlier belief in the teleological development of history in the direction of constitutional democracy. J. S. Mill had taken the lead in pointing out that individual freedom suffered alongside the rise of democracy and equality in European history; Novgorodtsev’s own conclusion is that philosophical liberalism cannot be associated with any one political regime, that liberties wax and wane, and this is a direct product of the conflicting claims that arise when absolute principles take on a concrete historical embodiment. ... A Liberal Conception of Freedom In his mature work of political philosophy, On the Social Ideal, Novgorodtsev elaborated further on the dangers of a positivist view of history in which human societies converge on a single way of life and a specific set of liberties. Freedom, he affirms, is fundamentally incompatible with the idea that humankind is ‘approaching the final, blissful stage of its existence’ and that there exists a ‘salvatory truth’ (spasitel’naia istina) ‘that will lead people to this highest and last epoch (peredel) of history’. As in his previous book, Novgorodtsev highlighted elements of the theories of Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, and Marx, as well as positivists such as Comte and Spencer, that supported a potentially utopian belief in a final, realizable stage of human history and distorted the complex and multifaceted relationship between freedom and equality. For Rousseau this took the form of the theory of popular sovereignty; for Kant it was the conviction of the existence of an ‘eternal world’ (vechnyi mir), and the belief that humanity is ‘slowly and persistently approaching its goal’. But common   

Ibid., pp. –. The quote is from ‘Predposylki demokratii’, p. .  Ibid., p. . It was first serialized in VFP (–).  Ob obshchestvennom ideale, p. . Ibid., p. .



Ibid., p. .



Conversations with Western Ideas I

to all these theories of social development, Novgorodtsev argues, is the misplaced attempt to try to locate a social or political structure in which the individual can achieve full harmony with the social environment, and merge unconditionally with it. Whatever the form, the belief in a final, realizable stage of human history (absolut-rechtlicher Zustand, das letzte Stadium der Geschichte, l’état final, das Reich der Freiheit) laid the groundwork for the attempts to create the social utopias that Novgorodtsev observed in his own day. While Novgorodtsev had some positive things to say about the ideas of the French socialist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (–), in general he saw socialism, as embodied by the theories of Marx and Engels, as presenting the most evident refusal to engage with the contradictions inherent in individual freedom and social life. In his view, Marx’s social theory, designed to achieve a ‘state of total freedom, where all forms of oppression and injustice disappear, divisions between people collapse, and there is no national strife, class hatred, or domestic despotism’, actively denies the potential persistence of value conflicts. Instead of considering the opposition between state and society an expression of the freedom and diversity of private life, Marx and his followers sought to absorb and suppress this diversity by emphasizing the unity of public purposes. By failing to see how values conflict, the above theories go beyond the boundaries of freedom and become damaging to it. Novgorodtsev’s own theory of freedom was derived from his conviction that the ‘very principle of moral striving contains the principle of eternity’, and an ideal that presents itself as achievable and final ‘negates the infinite power of moral striving and the absolute nature of the ideal, its existence outside contingent forms’. Neither freedom nor moral progress can be achieved in some kind of earthly paradise, but rather through ‘tireless work, derived from our duty to strive constantly towards eternal and increasingly complex goals’. Those desiring social progress could address this dilemma through their involvement in practical politics, but they could not hope to overcome it. As history develops and political forms are forced to orchestrate new compromises between competing visions of freedom, absolute ideals will be approximated through the interaction between the complementary institutions of society, including the church,  



  Ibid., p. . Ibid., p. . Ibid., pp. , . Ibid., p. . Novgorodtsev acknowledged his intellectual debt to E. N. Trubetskoi for his idea of a ceaseless, infinite striving for perfection and quotes his Mirosozertsanie Vl. S. Solov’ëva,  vols. (Moscow: Mamontov, ). Ibid., p. .

Tensions between Freedoms and Liberal History



government, and national unit. Novgorodtsev took care to emphasize that his own preferences concerning ‘equality as a starting point’ represent one possible realization of the principle of eternal striving and creative tension at the basis of moral progress. Despite the fact that the lawful state could not live up to all the expectations vested in it, it nevertheless remains a valid basis for further improvements, particularly because it provides a certain amount of external freedom and involves a substantial portion of society in the political process. In his later years, affected by war, emigration, and the revolution of , Novgorodtsev moved in the direction of a more religious worldview, which betrayed a selective blindness regarding the utopian dimensions of freedom he had done so much to disprove in his earlier work. Novgorodtsev’s hope for the advent of the kingdom of God in certain miraculous circumstances, his claim that one particular way of life (Orthodoxy) can take on a global dimension, and his suggestion that this element is historically inevitable bear witness to the limits of his liberalism towards the end of his life. Yet in On the Social Ideal, he wrote: One or the other: either harmony or freedom; either a coercive regime of complete agreement, in which all contradictions and differences are erased and destroyed, and any unforeseen complications of the initial plan are preemptively occluded; or a clear path for the broad exercise of all kinds of new opportunities and creative powers, a free arena for all contradictions and conflicts from which the human personality matures and grows.

There can be no doubt that during the period examined here, Novgorodtsev was exceptionally attentive to the way in which policy must address the potentially conflicting values of its citizens. In his works and those of Kistiakovksii this tension was placed within the context of liberalism’s mixed intellectual legacy. The differences between their metaphysical and scientific–philosophical neo-idealisms conditioned their respective understandings of freedom and personhood, but were not the main issue here. Rather, what makes them crucial figures in the history of Russian liberalism is their attempt to highlight the very substantial tensions in liberal  

 

 Ibid., pp. , . Ibid., pp. , , . His later works include ‘Sushchestvo russkogo pravoslavnogo soznaniia’, in Pravoslavie i kul’tura: sbornik religiozno-filosofskikh statei, ed. V. V. Zenkovskii (Berlin: Russkaia kniga, ), pp. – and ‘Pravoslavnaia tserkov’ v eë otnoshenii k dukhovnoi zhizni novoi Rossii’, RM, – (), –. The limitations of Novogorodtsev’s liberalism have been explored more fully in Rampton, ‘Religious Thought and Russian Liberal Institutions’. Ob obshchestvennom ideale, p. .



Conversations with Western Ideas I

views of selfhood, freedom, and society. Significantly, both of them rejected the idea that an abstract model of a liberal democratic state along Western lines was the necessary outcome of liberal philosophy. On the contrary, Kistiakovskii’s idea that a socialist state had the potential to defend liberal values, and Novgorodtsev’s criticisms of democratic procedures suggest that they were ahead of their time in refusing to associate their political principles with schematic institutional forms, preferring the idea of a dynamic equilibrium between circumstances and fixed principles. Novgorodtsev and Kistiakovskii were part of a broader trend of thinkers who had conservative sympathies regarding change and detested both the idea and practice of violence. Yet at the turn of the twentieth century they were begrudgingly forced to concede that the current state of affairs was worthy of contempt. In these circumstances, disparate individuals were united by their belief that the autocratic system could be improved, and that participating in its transformation was both morally necessary and safer than leaving it to hardcore revolutionary groups. In the years leading up to the Russian revolution, these conservative-liberals temporarily united with others from varied backgrounds in a rough consensus that the autocracy should be reformed through peaceful means, and that a representative, ruleof-law regime was its most desirable replacement. The experience of the revolution of  marked the Russian political elite profoundly. Roughly speaking, if prior to  those who intuitively favoured conservative forms of change had been temporarily converted to revolutionary optimism, the feeling in the revolution’s aftermath was one of profound malaise. In particular, the views of a number of thinkers who had been intimately involved in elaborating a legal philosophy applicable to Russia now distanced themselves from an optimistic theory of historical change, in favour of a much more nuanced view that bears a substantial debt to conservative philosophy. The result was a sustained reflection on the merits of a conservative approach to change from precisely those thinkers who had been temporarily involved in revolutionary activities. In the light of recent developments in liberal philosophy and intellectual history, it is not surprising, then, that interest in their philosophy at the end of the Soviet Union experienced an unprecedented surge – A. N. Litvinov, for one, referred in this context to a ‘Novgorodtsev boom’. Whether this popularity will extend outside of Russia remains to be seen.  

On this topic, see Rampton, ‘Impossibility of Conservatism?’. ‘Molodoi Pavel Novgorodtsev’, p. .

 

Conversations with Western Ideas II Progress and Freedom

‘Positivist liberalism’, Charles Kurzman observes, ‘might seem to be a contradiction in terms[,] but intellectuals in the first decade of the twentieth century considered the two ideological elements to be necessary complements’. The previous chapters demonstrated that the majority of Kadet Party leaders subscribed to what might be called ‘soft’ positivism, and that much of Russian liberal politics is associated with a positivist view of history. This chapter scrutinizes in more detail how ideas about progress and freedom informed Pavel Miliukov’s and Maksim Kovalevskii’s liberalism, and shows how this shaped their political careers. In particular, I analyse the extent to which Miliukov’s and Kovalevskii’s scholarly work and political activities relied on a deterministic view of history, and how they sought to reconcile their positivist beliefs with the claims of moral responsibility and free will. While these men are key figures for Russia’s liberal movement, the elements of their thought that support a view of history as inevitably progressing towards a perfect society sit in tension with non-dogmatic, pluralistic forms of liberalism. Both Miliukov and Kovalevskii were prolific scholars of uncommon breadth, and produced numerous works attempting to place developments in Russian history in their broader, European context. Kovalevskii wrote extensively on the history of Western institutions, the dissolution of communal property regimes, and comparative history (his major works include the four-volume The Origins of Modern Democracy (Proiskhozhdenie sovremennoi demokratii, –) and the three-volume Economic Growth in Europe Prior to the Emergence of Capitalism (Ekonomicheskii rost Evropy do vozniknoveniia kapitalisticheskogo khoziaistva, –)). He was also a prominent public figure, well known in both Russia and Western Europe; his death in  was described by a contemporary as ‘Russian culture’s 

Charles Kurzman, Democracy Denied, –: Intellectuals and the Fate of Democracy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, ), p. .





Conversations with Western Ideas II

biggest lost since the death of Tolstoi’. In addition to being an internationally renowned politician, Miliukov was one of Russia’s foremost historians: his three-volume Studies of Russian Culture (Ocherki po istorii russkoi kul’tury, –) went through seven editions and is often referred to as his most brilliant and enduring work, while his Russia and its Crisis (), prepared for an American audience, provided a novel historical account of the relationship between liberalism and socialism in Russia. Both men spent long sojourns in Western and Central Europe, as well as in America; their knowledge of the West was based on extensive personal experience as well as academic study. Miliukov and Kovalevskii met at the history–philology department of Moscow University, where Kovalevskii (then a young professor) introduced Miliukov to Auguste Comte’s Cours de philosophie positive (–), with its presentation of the three stages of world history: theological, metaphysical, and positive. For both Kovalevskii and Miliukov, the influence of Comte was profound; both men remained throughout their lives self-proclaimed positivists. Their explicit references to the heuristic value of historical progress are also what mark them most clearly as nineteenth-century thinkers. But neither Kovalevskii nor Miliukov was a reductive positivist: they thought of themselves as ‘empiricists’ who sought to develop conclusions based on observation and investigation. Neither did they deny the importance of psychological (and therefore subjective) factors in human life, and they were interested in how culture shaped concrete manifestations of freedom. One of their challenges as scholars and politicians was that Russian realities persistently resisted their attempts to ground a defence of the progressive development of history in empirical fact.





  

Leo Pasvolsky, ‘M. M. Kovalevsky’, Russian Review,  (), p. . French sociologist René Worms described him as Russia’s most outstanding social scientist (‘Maxime Kovalewsky’, Revue internationale de sociologie,  (), –), while Dmitrii Shlapentokh refers to him as ‘the most prominent Russian liberal intellectual’ (French Revolution in Russian Intellectual Life, p. ). At the turn of the twentieth-century, Pëtr Struve remarked that he was the ‘best of the gifted new generation of historians’ (‘Review of Miliukov’s Ocherki po istorii russkoi kul’tury, vol. ’, Novoe slovo,  (), –, cited in Stockdale, p. xii). For Thomas Riha’s assessment of Studies, see Russian European, p. . For an account of their participation in a lecture series hosted by the University of Chicago, see Yurij Holowinsky, ‘Promoting Russian Liberalism in America’, Russian Review,  (), –. Miliukov, Vospominaniia, vol. , pp. –. On Comte’s translation and wider reception in Russia, see P. K. Mokievsky, ‘Philosophy in Russia’, p. . Kovalevskii’s last words were reported by his friends as the injunction to ‘love liberty, equality, and progress’ (Pasvolsky, ‘M. M. Kovalevsky’, p. ).

‘A Chapter in the History of Progress’



. ‘A Chapter in the History of Progress’: The Thought of Maksim Kovalevskii .. Intellectual Development Despite Kovalevskii’s academic achievements and eventful life, his legacy is relatively little known. He was born in  in an aristocratic family in the Kharkiv province (guberniia) in Ukraine, and received his earliest education from French and German tutors. He studied at Kharkiv University, where law professor D. I. Kachenovskii (–) exercised an important formative influence on him. It was Kachenovskii who, drawing on Comte and Mill, exposed him to the idea that social phenomena could be studied scientifically, without recourse to metaphysics. He also introduced his student to the notion that it was possible to develop a ‘comprehensive view of the major and fundamental traits of the progressive development of sociopolitical forms’, something that foreshadowed Kovalevskii’s subsequent interest in comparative history. In his memoirs, Kovalevskii recalls that Kachenovskii: largely determined my future fate, planting in me the first seeds of political free-thinking, giving me my first information about the constitutional orders of Western European countries, and sparking in me the desire to devote myself to preaching the origins of civil freedom, local selfgovernment, popular representation and the judicial responsibility of all authorities from the highest to the lowest.





 

In English-language scholarship Kovalevskii is primarily remembered as an acquaintance of Karl Marx (see below). Kovalevskii described his life in ‘Moe nauchnoe i literaturnoe skital’chestvo’, RM,  () section , – and a compilation of his memoirs Moia zhizn’: vospominaniia (Moscow: ROSSPEN, ) was recently published. Biographies include Boris Safronov, M. M. Kovalevskii kak sotsiolog (Moscow: Izdatel’stvo Moskovskogo universiteta, ); Nikolai Kuprits, Kovalevskii (Moscow: Iuridicheskaia literatura, ); Giovanna Cigliano, Liberalismo e rivoluzione in Russia: Il  nell’esperienza di M. M. Kovalevskij (Naples: Liguori, ). For an incomplete (but nevertheless very useful) list of his publications, see N. D. Kondrat’ev, ‘Spisok trudov M. M. Kovalevskogo’, in M. M. Kovalevskii: Uchenyi, gosudarstvennyi i obshchestvennyi deiatel’ i grazhdanin, ed. K. Arsen’ev (St Petersburg: ) pp. –. Kachenovskii was a close associate of Aleksandr Herzen’s and Timofei Granovskii’s, and, according to Kovalevskii, an ‘Anglomaniac’ (‘Moe nauchnoe i literaturnoe skital’chestvo’, p. ). See also Kovalevskii’s contribution to the collection D. I. Kachenovskii. Kharakteristika D. I. Kachenovskogo v sviazi s lichnymi o nëm vospominaniiami (Kharkiv: Soobshchenie v torzhestvennom zasedanii Khar’kovskogo Iuridicheskogo Obshchestva, ), pp. –.  Ibid., p. . Kovalevskii, ‘Moe nauchnoe i literaturnoe skital’chestvo’, p. . He also shared his teacher’s interest in ‘the peaceful cohabitation of citizens (poddannye) without distinction between nationalities and faiths, under free institutions’ (Moia zhizn’, p. ).



Conversations with Western Ideas II

After graduating from university in , Kovalevskii continued his studies in Western Europe, where he was exposed to a wide variety of intellectual influences. In Berlin he attended classes of the constitutional history expert and member of Germany’s National Liberal Party, Rudolf von Gneist (–), and had contacts with representatives of the German historical school of economic thought (including Gustav von Schmoller (–)), a school he credited with fostering his interest in studying the ‘economic regimes that preceded the triumph of capitalism and that persisted in a more or less endangered state following the triumph of the former’. He spent most of his time in France where he followed the establishment of the Third Republic, attended lectures at the École des chartes and the Collège de France (for example those of jurist and politician Édouard Laboulaye (–)), and made friends within positivist circles in the French capital. In England, where he spent one year, Kovalevskii met preeminent positivist philosopher George Henry Lewes (–) and Henry Sumner Maine (–), whose comparative histories of village communities exerted a profound influence on him. Moreover, Kovalevskii’s encounter at this time with the work of Anglo-Saxon anthropologists such as Lewis Morgan (–) and John McLennan (–), sometimes called ‘classical evolutionists’, contributed to his interest in correlating 

 



His bachelor’s dissertation ‘On national movements in Austria and the agreement between Czechs and Germans during Hohenwart’s government’ [Karl Sigmund von Hohenwart, in office in ]) (‘O natsional’nykh dvizheniiakh v Avstrii i o soglashenii chekhov s nemtsami v ministerstve Gogenvarta’), was concerned with national movements in the Habsburg Empire, a subject that would continue to preoccupy him. See Cigliano, Liberalismo e rivoluzione in Russia, p. . On Kistiakovskii’s student years in the West see Moia zhizn’, pp. –. The school drew on Hegelian philosophy and evolutionary theory to elaborate alternatives to neoclassical economic theory associated with David Ricardo (–). Moia zhizn’, p. . In Paris he became friends with Grigorii Vyrubov (–) a Russian émigré who, together with Émile Littré (–), published the journal La philosophie positive: revue and I. V. Luchitskii (–) a pioneer in the study of the peasantry and the land question in France, who went on to become a member of the council of the Union of Liberation. On Luchitskii, see Sergei Pogodin, “Russkaia shkola” istorikov: N. I. Kareev, I. V. Luchitskii, M. M. Kovalevskii (St Petersburg: Izdatel’stvo SPBGTU, ), and on Vyrubov [Wyrouboff], see Walicki, Russian Thought, pp. –. On Lewes and English positivism, see T. R. Wright, The Religion of Humanity: The Impact of Comtean Positivism on Victorian Britain (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), pp. –. Maine was a leading jurist and legal historian who (through his distinction between progressive European societies and static Asian ones) played an important role in shaping the practical work of the imperial administration of India. See Karuna Mantena, Alibis of Empire: Henry Maine and the Ends of Liberal Imperialism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, ). Kovalevskii also became acquainted with Frederic Harrison (–), on whom, see M. S. Vogeler, Frederic Harrison: The Vocations of a Positivist (Oxford: Clarendon Press, ).

‘A Chapter in the History of Progress’



sociocultural phenomena and evolutionary schemes of development. In London he formed a close acquaintanceship with Karl Marx, under whose influence he learned to appreciate further the correlations between the history of landownership, economic growth, and political change. Kovalevskii’s European encounters reflect the considerable fluidity between different intellectual currents (for example, English positivists and Marx’s followers) at the time. Kovalevskii himself had diffuse academic interests and sought to combine both the German historical school’s emphasis on the unique nature of individual societies and AngloSaxon aspirations (associated with Herbert Spencer, for example) to apply natural scientific methods to social problems. Despite his longstanding association with Marx, Kovalevskii had serious reservations about historical materialism, which he saw as excessively focused on an ‘economic explanation of history’ and ‘Hegelian’ rather than positivist. Moreover, Kovalevskii found Marxian thought prone to underplay and misconstrue individual action in history. Rejecting the idea that individuals are expressions of larger, natural forces, Kovalevskii’s own view was that the interests of individuals and collectivities would necessarily clash: ‘the individual’, he wrote in an article on Marx’s philosophy, ‘cannot be sacrificed to the state or even to an international union, just as he cannot merge (stushevat’sia) with his family, clan, estate, or class’.







 



Moia zhizn’, p. . On McLennan’s and Morgan’s speculations about human progress, see George W. Stocking Jr., ‘Rousseau Redux, or Historical Reflections on the Ambivalence of Anthropology to the Idea of Progress’, in Progress: Fact or Illusion?, ed. Leo Marx and Bruce Mazlish (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, ), pp. –. Moia zhizn’, pp. , . The influence was not one-sided: Kovalevskii introduced Marx to the historical situation in Russia and Marx referred to Kovalevskii as his ‘scientific friend’. See Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Perepiska K. Marksa i F. Engel’sa s russkimi politicheskimi deiateliami, nd ed. (Moscow: Gos. izd. polit. lit., ). On Kovalevskii and Marx, see the work of James D. White, particularly Karl Marx and the Intellectual Origins of Dialectical Materialism (London: Macmillan, ), p. . See Chapter . See also Royden Harrison, ‘E. S. Beesly and Karl Marx’, International Review of Social History,  (), –; Wright, Religion of Humanity, p. ; James D. White, ‘Rosa Luxemburg and Maxim Kovalevsky’, in Rosa Luxemburg: A Permanent Challenge for Political Economy, ed. Judith Dellheim and Frieder Otto Wolf (London: Palgrave Macmillan, ), pp. –. See Alexander Vucinich, ‘Comparative History and Sociology: M. M. Kovalevskii’, in Social Thought in Tsarist Russia, pp. –. See ‘Pis’mo M. M. Kovalevskogo k I. I. Ianzhulu ot  oktiabria  g.’ in Arkhiv AN SSSR, f. , op. , no. , l., cited in A. P. Kazakov, Teoriia progressa v russkoi sotsiologii kontsa XIX veka: P. L. Lavrov, N. K. Mikhailovskii, M. M. Kovalevskii (St Petersburg: Izdatel’stvo Leningradskogo Universiteta, ), p. . ‘Dve zhizni’, Vestnik evropy,  (), –, reprinted in Moia zhizn’, cited here at p. . See also the accompanying article ‘Dve zhizni’, Vestnik evropy,  (), –.



Conversations with Western Ideas II

In , three years after his return to Russia, Kovalevskii received a full professorship at Moscow University, where he lectured on constitutional law. At the university he figured prominently in a circle of young professors with constitutional sympathies who, broadly speaking, were interested in empiricism, comparative methods, and the ‘regularities’ in history and social life. Members of this group, which included linguist Vsevolod Miller (–), jurist Ivan Ianzhul (–) and Pavel Vinogradov, adopted a sociological approach in which they amassed empirical data and, by way of analogies and comparisons, used it to explain patterns and laws in history and social life. As a rule, these men were in favour of more legality and rationality in political life, more civil liberties, and for gradual change through legal and non-revolutionary means. These Moscow circles would exert an important formative influence on the young Pavel Miliukov. By its nature, Kovalevskii’s academic engagement with and favourable portrayal of Western parliaments and constitutions were political. Moreover, his close association with journals such as the Juridical Messenger (Iuridicheskii vestnik) and Critical Review (Kriticheskoe obozrenie), which aimed at diffusing political ideas of Western origin, aroused the authorities’ suspicions. In  Kovalevskii was forced to resign from his teaching position and spent the next two decades in exile, lecturing at Stockholm University, University of Oxford, the Collège libre des sciences sociales in



   

He received a master’s degree for his study of local self-government structures in English history ‘History of police administration and police courts in English shires from their origins to the death of Edward III. On the origins of local self-government in England’ (‘Istoriia politseiskoi administratsii i politseiskogo suda v Angliiskikh grafstvakh s drevneishikh vremen do smerti Eduarda III-go. K voprosu o vozniknovenii mestnogo samoupravleniia v Anglii’, Prague: ) and was appointed a lecturer (dotsent) of constitutional law in . Three years later he was awarded a PhD for his study of English society in the late medieval period Obshchestvennyi stroi Anglii v kontse srednikh vekov (Moscow: ). The term ‘young professors’ is Kovalevskii’s; they were  or under in . See also Stockdale, Paul Miliukov, p. . See M. M. Kovalevskii, ‘Moskovskii universitet v kontse -kh godov proshlogo veka’, Vestnik evropy,  (), reprinted in Moia zhizn’, pp. –. It was in this context that Kovalevskii and Miliukov first met. See Miliukov, Vospominaniia, I, p. ; Stockdale, Paul Miliukov, pp. –; and Section .. The Juridical Messenger was edited by Kovalevskii’s close collaborator, Moscow professor and jurist Sergei Muromtsev, who went on to become a leading member of the Kadet Party. Kovalevskii cofounded Critical Review and jointly edited it for its first eighteen months. He also participated, together with other confirmed constitutionalists, in the zemstvo congress of . See Galai, Liberation Movement, p. .

‘A Chapter in the History of Progress’



Paris, the Free University of Brussels, as well as the University of Chicago. During these years of exile (he returned to Russia in ), he produced many of his major works and developed personal contacts with leading Western scholars including Gabriel Tarde (–), Émile Durkheim (–), and René Worms (–). .. Theory of Freedom and Reality of Freedom Much of Kovalevskii’s power as a comparative historian stems from his careful study of historical and ethnographic materials, and detailed use of archival resources (such as those of the India Office). He spent several summers among remote groups in the Caucasus, gathering material on diverse social forms within the Russian Empire. Yet his work is also remarkable for its scope: he was a pioneer in using sources from virtually all continents and a range of epochs for comparative, cross-cultural research on economic, political, and legal institutions. Thus in several studies – including Communal Landownership: Causes, Process and Effects of Its Dissolution (Obshchinnoe zemlevladenie, prichiny, khod i posledstviia ego razlozheniia, ), and Tableau des origines et de l’évolution de la famille et de la propriété () – he sought to link the questions raised by Russia’s economic modernization with those in countries ranging from Switzerland to Mexico, Peru, India, and Algeria. Kovalevskii’s starting point was his conviction that human beings are alike in some fundamental ways, in that they need to satisfy basic physiological requirements, to live in a society in which there is some form of authority and some formulation of rules, and to avoid certain primary evils, such as being tortured or exploited. The desire to satisfy these universally shared needs is, in his view, what drives the universal laws of







He co-founded the Institut international de sociologie in Paris, of which he became vice-president in  and president in . Kovalevskii spoke English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish, and read Latin and Greek; he had a vast library which he took with him in exile. In  he was instrumental in founding the Russian School of Advanced Social Studies in Paris, which operated for five years and offered courses in Russian society, economy, and politics. The materials collected during these sojourns in the s were published as articles and in his works Modern Customs and Ancient Laws of Russia: The Ilchester Lectures for – (London: David Nutt, ) and Coutume contemporaine et loi ancienne. Droit coutumier ossétien, éclairé par l’histoire comparée (Paris: Larose, ). M. M. Kovalevskii, Obshchinnoe zemlevladenie, prichiny, khod i posledstviia ego razlozheniia (Moscow: F. B. Miller, ), photomechanical reprint (Frankfurt: Campus, ). Kovalevskii refers to legal historian Georg Ludwig von Maurer (–) and Henry Maine as inspirations for this work, see ‘Predislovie’, pp. i–vii.



Conversations with Western Ideas II

human evolution. Kovalevskii’s assumption regarding the psychological unity of humankind led him to nuance the idea (as developed, for example, by his acquaintance Gabriel Tarde) that societies evolve primarily by imitating each other (zaimstvovanie). Rather, independent invention occurs – often in parallel – as peoples adapt their own institutions and practices to changes in external circumstances. Kovalevskii emphasized that while social change is anchored in the transformation of the individual personality, any one self is tributary to an entire set of beliefs, institutions, practices, and customs – all of which are shaped by history. And he concluded that ‘at the basis of all social evolution we find a change in the collective psyche’. Yet Kovalevskii was never interested in a purely descriptive approach, and always sought to join empirical material with broader patterns in social and political life. In turn, his preconceptions about social evolution in the direction of progress influenced the material he collected from ethnographic and historical sources. His reflections on the respective legitimacy of deduction and induction as methods of social inquiry are conspicuous by their absence; for this reason Alexander Vucinich claims that his continued use of deduction made his ‘comparative history a subsidiary of cultural evolutionism, which gave primacy to theory over empirical analysis’. Thus a persistent motivation for Kovalevskii’s scholarship was to make clear, despite discontinuities of history and language, how different conceptions of liberty could be explained by the position that specific societies held in a universal development scheme. This also helped him to argue against views of historical progress in which the West was the locus of individualism and freedom, and Russia was unhistorical, stationary, and had a uniquely ‘communal’ spirit. His research on communal property in Germanic culture, as well as in Scandinavia, England,  

 

 

See, for example, his ‘Psychologie et sociologie’, Annales de l’Institut International de Sociologie, (), p. . Kovalevskii’s article ‘Psychologie et sociologie’ is devoted to how his view of social change differs from that of Tarde. See also his ‘Teoriia zaimstvovaniia Tarda’, Vestnik vospitaniia,  (), –; L. V. Selezneva, ‘Rossiiskii liberalizm i evropeiskaia politicheskaia traditsiia: sozvuchiia i dissonansy’, in Russkii liberalizm, pp. –.  ‘Psychologie et sociologie’, pp. –. Ibid., p. . See his ‘Préface’, in Tableau des origines et de l’évolution de la famille et de la propriété (Stockholm: Samson & Wallin, ) and his Istoriko-sravnitel’nyi metod v iurisprudentsii i priemy izucheniia istorii prava (Moscow: ). Vucinich, ‘Comparative History’, p. . See Alexander Semyonov, ‘Russian Liberalism and the Problem of Imperial Diversity’, in Liberal Imperialism in Europe, ed. Matthew F. Fitzpatrick (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, ), p. ; Siljak, ‘Between East and West’.

‘A Chapter in the History of Progress’



and France, attempted to demonstrate that private property (and by implication the negative forms of liberty he associated with liberalism) was not an essential characteristic of the West, but rather the reflection of a particular stage of universal development. Thus in the preface to his case study of the dissolution of communal landownership in the Swiss canton of Vaud, he observed that the issue had a direct bearing on the question of whether the Russian government ‘should guarantee the share of all members of the peasant commune in communal land (Communal-Gu¨ter), or whether it should devote all its efforts to enabling the Russian peasant to acquire private property out of communal property’. By failing to provide a consistent answer to that question, however, Kovalevskii’s scholarship illustrates an unresolved tension between deductive and inductive approaches. On the one hand, he argued that it was time to overcome all sentimentality in the study of the commune, and to introduce a ‘positive’ approach, based on the historical comparative method. As a rule, the generalizing statements in his many contributions convey the message that universal laws, which replaced ‘archaic communism’ the world over, are ushering in a new era of the triumph of the bourgeoisie and commercial society. On the other hand, the details of his scholarship show that he was sensitive to the complex, dynamic aspects of the village commune which he considered a viable economic institution, capable of increasing productivity and adjusting to changing circumstances. He cited evidence from Russian history to show that communal structures were well adapted to Russian socioeconomic and geographical contexts. Furthermore, he criticized the ‘ineptitude, incomprehension,  



  

See his ‘Le passage historique de la propriété collective à la propriétè individuelle’, Annales de l’Institut International de Sociologie,  (), –. Umriss einer Geschichte der Zerstu¨ckelung der Feldgemeinschaft im Kanton Waadt (Zurich: Schmidt, ), p. i. The work was first published as Ocherk istorii raspadeniia obshchinnogo zemlevladeniia v kantone Vaadt (London, ). See also his ‘Predislovie’ to Obshchinnoe zemlevladenie, pp. i–vii. The following authors also draw attention to ambivalences in Kovalevskii’s work: P. A. Sokolovskii, ‘O prichinakh raspadeniia pozemel’noi obshchiny’, Slovo,  (), –; Vucinich, ‘Comparative History’, p. ; Esther Kingston-Mann, In Search of the True West: Culture, Economics, and Problems of Russian Development (Princeton: Princeton University Press, ), pp. –. Obshchinnoe zemlevladenie, p. i. See also Pëtr Frolovich Laptin, Obshchina v russkoi istoriografii poslednei treti XIX- nachala XX v. (Kyiv: Naukova dumka, ). See, for example, Obshchinnoe zemlevladenie, p. iii and Tableau des origines, p. . See, in particular, ‘Le passage historique’, p. ; Maksim Kovalevskii, ‘The Origin and Growth of Village Communities in Russia’, Archaeological Review,  (), p. . Evgeny Badredinov analyses Kovalevskii’s writing on the village commune in Problems of Modernization in Late Imperial Russia: Maksim M. Kovalevskii on Social and Economic Reform (published PhD dissertation, Louisiana State University, ).



Conversations with Western Ideas II

and prejudice’ with which colonial powers destroyed communal property regimes according to ‘fabricated principles (iskusstvennye prichiny)’. Moreover, in his analysis of the relationship between capitalism and democracy in European history, Kovalevskii cited evidence that economic freedoms do not necessarily result in the well-being of the broader population. In fact, much of his work is devoted to disproving the colonial assumption he criticizes, namely that ‘private property is a necessary condition for every form of economic and social progress’. ..

 and After

When Kovalevskii returned to Russia in  he was a highly esteemed academic and public speaker, a regular contributor to academic journals, and an intellectual leader of the Russian emigration. In Russia he immediately became an active participant in academic and political life and, together with Miliukov, was involved in the process of transforming the Union of Liberation into a political party. However, Kovalevskii did not join the Kadet Party, and co-founded the small Party for Democratic Reforms, around the editorial board of the Herald of Europe. In  he was elected member of the First Duma where, according to Terence Emmons, ‘[i]n most respects the Democratic Reform fraction operated as an appendage of the Kadet Party’. A contemporary recalls that M. M. Kovalevskii spoke to almost every issue by ‘painting in bright colours’ and ‘providing information about the history of parliamentary regimes and existing legislation in England, America, and France’.  

  

 

Obshchinnoe zemlevladenie, p. . In general, see his case studies of India and Algeria. See Kovalevskii, ‘Rabochii vopros vo Frantsii nakanune revoliutsii’, RM,  (), – and his Proiskhozhdenie sovremennoi demokratii,  vols. (Moscow: Mamontov, –). Shlapentokh makes the same point (French Revolution in Russian Intellectual Life, p. ). Obshchinnoe zemlevladenie, p. . He was appointed professor at the St Petersburg Polytechnical Institute, and worked on the staff of several journals including the Herald of Europe (Vestnik evropy). Members included M. M. Stasiulevich (–), I. I. Ivaniukov (–), V. D. Kuz’minKaravaev (–), and K. K. Arsen’ev (–). The party self-identified as slightly to the right of the Kadets and had several distinctive points in its programme, including support for a twochamber legislature, acceptance of regional autonomy only in exceptional cases, and a qualified rejection of Kadet agrarian policies. See Emmons, Formation of Political Parties, p. , pp. –, fnn. , . Ariadna Tyrkova recounts that Kovalevskii wanted to play a more prominent role as leader of his own party than would have been possible within the Kadet Party, with its numerous illustrious members. See her Na putiakh k svobode. Emmons, Formation of Political Parties, p. . With six elected members, the party was the smallest fraction in the First Duma. See V. Kuz’min-Karavaev, ‘M. M. Kovalevskii v pervoi Dume’, in M. M. Kovalevskii. Uchenyi, p. .

‘A Chapter in the History of Progress’



The same electorate rejected his candidacy in , at which point he became the representative of the academies of sciences and universities in the State Council, the upper chamber of parliament. In his meditation on the Revolution of , La crise russe: notes et impressions d’un témoin (), Kovalevskii attempted to make sense of the revolution in reference to other European social crises dating back to the Middle Ages. Yet he also emphasized the unique nature of events in Russia, which were distinguished by their scope, intensity, and urgency. Reflecting on possible solutions to Russia’s problems, Kovalevskii observed that there was scant support for the view that they could easily be resolved by adopting a single type of political or economic institution. He was disposed to a federal republic, universal suffrage, and measures to improve the lives of workers and peasants, but unwilling to support policies designed to immediately replace the autocracy with a parliamentary republic, extend suffrage to all without exception (he was in favour of criteria such as a fixed domicile and minimal education), and an agrarian policy that would set arbitrary rents on land. And he observed that he was ‘necessarily monarchist in Russia, even as [he] retained a great predilection for a federal republic’, and therefore at odds with major Russian political parties and programmes. Kovalevskii’s apprehensions about unqualified democracy and sweeping social reforms coexisted with his positivist conviction that the accumulation and dissemination of knowledge could act as a civilizing force. He bemoaned the ‘barbarous acts’ of , including Jewish pogroms and the massacre of students and academics; Russia, he observed, is ‘fully in the Middle Ages, with its ignorance, its superstition and its barbarity, maintained by priests, monks, agents of power (both civil and ecclesiastical), and the mass (meute) of people interested in pillage’. This sense of the need to educate the Russian population regarding violence also made him reject the premises of Russian revolutionaries; Kovalevskii reproached Miliukov in  for not having ‘the courage to break with [those] who, in the end, are signally unappreciative of his conciliatory attitude’.  

 

See Kovalevskii, ‘The Upper House in Russia’, Russian Review,  (), –; A. F. Koni, ‘M. M. Kovalevskii v Gosudarstvennom Sovete’, in M. M. Kovalevskii. Uchenyi, pp. –. Maxime Kovalewsky, La crise russe: Notes et impressions d’un témoin (Paris: V. Girard & E. Brière, ), p. . To recall, at least four distinct social groups – liberals, industrial workers, peasants, and national minorities – took part in the disturbances.   Ibid., pp. –. Ibid., p. . Ibid., pp. –. It is noteworthy, however, that in  Kovalevskii emphasized that Russian social democracy was no different from its German, French, or Italian counterparts, and mocked those who feared it for being excessively ‘petit bourgeois’ (ibid., p. ).



Conversations with Western Ideas II

De facto, Kovalevskii acknowledged that the Russian revolution of  had unleashed many different and conflicting aims that would be reflected in representative institutions. He wrote that the success of Russia’s constitutional movement would depend on the ‘way we shall be able to reconcile the claims of different nationalities with Russian unity and the freedom (libre élan) now given to both individual and collective desires’. Part of his support for a strong, centralized government in Russia stemmed from his elitist conviction that the rule of intellectuals was the prerequisite for establishing a proper education regime. Kovalevskii’s theoretical commitment to the idea that modern societies largely share the same characteristics was further tested in the context of Stolypin’s land reforms. In various publications devoted to the subject he argued that introducing private ownership rights and unduly accelerating the disintegration of the Russian commune risked impoverishing the peasantry, and resulting in a social and economic crisis. He justified these arguments by pointing to the flaws associated with private agriculture itself (such as increased inequalities within villages) as well as the benefits of the commune (the security provided by traditional communal guarantees). Thus even as he acknowledged that private property enhances the negative liberty of individuals, he warned that communal property was particularly adapted to early-twentieth-century Russia. Though he was not immune to the elitism inherent in Comtian notions about the role of intellectuals as enlighteners, he pointed to instances of productive change within the village commune itself. Despite Russian realities, in the years following  Kovalevskii remained disposed towards Comte’s ‘optimistic rationalism’ concerning the harmonization of social goals, and the notion that freedom and equality are mutually reinforcing principles. During these years he also reflected more systematically on the idea of progress as an objective value, approximated by the ‘growth of solidarity within both politically united

 





 Ibid., p. . See Chapter . Kovalevskii commented on Stolypin’s reforms in his ‘Spor o sel’skoi obshchine v Komissii Gosudarstvennogo Soveta’, Vestnik evropy,  (), –, and  (), –; ‘Sud’by obshchinnogo zemlevladeniia v nashei verkhnei palate’, Vestnik evropy,  (), – and ‘Proshloe i nastoiashchee krest’ianskogo zemleustroistva’, Vestnik evropy,  (), –. Vucinich refers to this as the ‘inner conflict between Kovalevskii the scholar and Kovalevskii the politician’ (‘Comparative History’, p. ). See also Kingston-Mann, In Search of the True West, pp. , . S. A. Kotliarevskii calls Kovalevskii an optimistic rationalist in his ‘M. M. Kovalevskii i ego nauchnoe nasledie’, in M. M. Kovalevskii. Uchenyi, p. .

‘A Chapter in the History of Progress’



national groups and mankind’. In his commentary on Landmarks, published in The Intelligentsia in Russia (), he reproached Landmarks’ contributors for defending the argument that ‘freedom and equality are in necessary, organic contradiction’, something Kovalevskii associated with despotic government and delusions as to what freedom actually consists in. Inspired by Simmel, Durkheim, and the constitutional lawyer Léon Duguit (–), Kovalevskii developed his idea that progress occurs as each society expands its sphere of moral concern, and that citizens are increasingly bound by their sense of common needs. Kovalevskii credited Locke with providing the theoretical justification of the idea that freedom and equality can be harmonized, and England in particular for providing concrete evidence of the parallel development of these concepts through its electoral reforms, laws favouring toleration, and replacement of militarism through industrialization. ‘Equal freedom’, Kovalevskii argued, ‘is not a chimera, but a positive demand of modern citizenship, that recognizes the autonomy of the individual not as an obstacle but as a condition for the development of social solidarity’. Typically, in a historical survey designed to show the compatibility of the rule of law, free trade, and the welfare state, Kovalevskii provided multiple examples of instances (for example the French Revolution) in which he considered it ‘absolutely justified to say that freedom and equality contradict each other[,] as Benjamin Constant had shown’. In his later writings, Kovalevskii was not able to reconcile his sympathy for Enlightenment-era projects of a universal civilization and his concern for the specificities of Russian history. He increasingly saw the task of the critical observer not as limited to tracing universal laws, but as discerning the particular conditions that make any society unique. Pitrim Sorokin claims that this emphasis on the ‘multiplicity (mnozhestvennost’) of factors’ influencing social life is what distinguishes Kovalevskii’s later work from earlier texts. It is also during this period that Kovalevskii came closest to a conscious engagement with the notion of a pragmatic politics, committed to both positive and negative liberty but eschewing any particular system   

 

Kovalevskii, ‘Sovremennye frantsuzskie sotsiologi’, Vestnik evropy,  (), pp. –. See his ‘Vzaimootnoshenie svobody’, in Intelligentsia v Rossii, p. . Ibid., pp. –. Kovalevskii interpreted Locke as having provided an account of the best life for humankind. For a contemporary explanation of this point, see John Gray, Two Faces of Liberalism, p. .  Ibid., p. . Ibid., p. . Pitrim Sorokin, ‘Teoriia faktorov M. M. Kovalevskogo’, in M. M. Kovalevskii. Uchenyi, p. . See also Kovalevskii, ‘Sovremennye frantsuzskie sotsiologi’ and his Sotsiologiia,  vols. (St Petersburg: ).



Conversations with Western Ideas II

of government. In a text entitled ‘Progress’ (‘Progress’)’ written in , he drew on the history of European institutions to argue that while political forms are gradually evolving, there is scant evidence that this evolution amounts to a shift from monarchical to republican forms of government. In characterizing European history in this way, Kovalevskii was primarily concerned to show that not every state that presents as a republic is the best way to protect its citizens’ freedoms and ensure their self-determination. Moreover, he wanted to convince the reading public that in the Russian context a monarchy could be very advantageous. Yet by arguing that political regimes should be measured in terms of their commitment to ‘individual autonomy’ and ‘the participation of all citizens in a country’s governance processes’, he was also questioning the notion that one political system is associated with modernization processes. In conclusion, he offered a pragmatic defence of principles, including secularization, (economic) interdependence through trade, representative government, and equality, as those best able to enhance individual freedom. Even as Kovalevskii’s writings cannot be understood without reference to his belief in the universality of progress, his work also showed the multiple incarnations of so-called progress.

. Between History and Politics: The Liberalism of Pavel Miliukov .. Individual Personality between Laws and Culture Historian Donald Treadgold has written that ‘[t]he strengths and weaknesses of liberalism in Russia were more or less those of Miliukov himself’, and this study has emphasized how Miliukov’s life was inextricably bound up with the fate of the Russian liberal movement. Yet analyzing the foundations of his sociological liberalism nevertheless serves as a useful background for understanding the broader strand of positivist liberalism he influenced. Miliukov was born in  in Moscow, and his intellectual curiosity and academic self-discipline were apparent as of his teenage years. He enrolled at Moscow University in , the year after    

 M. M. Kovalevskii, ‘Progress’, Vestnik evropy,  (), –. Ibid., pp. –.  Ibid., p. . Ibid., p. . Donald Treadgold, ‘Foreword’, Russia and Its Crisis, p. . Miliukov’s memoirs were edited by M. Karpovich and B. El’kin and published as Vospominaniia (–),  vols. (New York: Izdatel’stvo imeni chekhova, ). The seminal work on Miliukov is Melissa Stockdale’s Paul Miliukov and the Quest for a Liberal Russia.

Between History and Politics



Kovalevskii returned from his first sojourn abroad, and was quickly exposed to the circle of young Moscow professors, whose scientific orientation, comparative methods, and predilection for authors such as Comte and Spencer profoundly influenced him. Under the influence of two outstanding historians, Pavel Vinogradov and Vasilii Kliuchevskii, who convinced him that history must be both broadly conceived and studied scientifically, Miliukov chose Russian history as his subject of specialization. In his Course on Russian History (Kurs russkoi istorii, well known as university lectures before it was published in ), Kliuchevskii argued that the history of any one nation was reflected in universal historical processes (an idea Miliukov took up in Studies of Russian Culture). In this sense, Kliuchevskii and his pupil Miliukov both grappled with the tension between Russian particularity and Russia’s general development in a European direction. Much of Miliukov’s subsequent work was devoted to discerning the fundamental patterns influencing Russian history (zakonomernost’ istoricheskogo protsessa) by paying particular attention to the history of institutions and of ideas. Miliukov’s positivism and historicism led him to view the human personality as influenced both by context and social laws. In Studies of Russian Culture he depicted human nature as concerned with securing its own survival, even as he emphasized that self-interested motives could vary according to time and place. But because individual behaviour was itself to some extent determined by laws, Miliukov depicted the conscious actions of individuals as tributary to the same ‘lawful (zakonomernyi) process transferred from the realm of the external world to the realm of psychic life’. Even as he acknowledged that individual personalities could influence history, at least temporarily, Miliukov portrayed their freedom as fundamentally limited; he wrote in  that the ‘free creative work of the individual personality can never be set against the laws of the historical process, since this work is contained within those very laws’. Despite his emphasis on zakonomernost’, Miliukov was concerned to show  



  

See his Vospominaniia, I, pp. –; Section .. above. In addition to Miliukov’s Vospominaniia, e.g. p. , see also his ‘Moi universitetskie gody’, in Moskovskii universitet, pp. –; Terence Emmons, ‘Kliuchevskii’s Pupils’, California Slavic Studies,  (), –. Melissa Stockdale argues that Kliuchevskii’s work ‘represented the application of the methods and orientation of the “Moscow young professors” to the study of Russian history, though he was not himself a part of that circle’ (Paul Miliukov, p. ). On Miliukov’s treatment of the concept of historical ‘laws’, see ibid., p. . See, for example, Ocherki po istorii russkoi kul’tury (St Petersburg: Mir bozhii, ), vol. , p. .  Ocherki, vol. , p. . Ibid.



Conversations with Western Ideas II

that sociological laws interact constantly with infinitely variable conditions such as geography, history, and culture, and must be grasped ‘in all their concreteness’. Acknowledging that laws are transformed in a particular context enabled him to resist overly deterministic views of history while retaining his conviction that there exist ‘internal laws governing social life’. As a scholar and a politician, Miliukov emphasized that empirical inquiry supported the notion that the historical process contained certain regularities, even as abstract ideals are always adapted to specific situations. While Russia’s historical development tended towards Western Europe, it also contained unique features that would allow Russia to develop along its own path. Reflecting on the variety of such paths, Miliukov observed that ‘similar as the aims and the general drift of civilization may be, the conditions under which progress is achieved in various countries are widely different’. His comparisons of Russia and the West (which he largely portrayed as embodying the highest stage of political life) were themselves designed with an educational purpose: he wrote that ‘the closest acquaintance with a foreign national character (tip) is, in practice, the first stimulus that produces changes in an existing national consciousness’. As a positivist, Miliukov believed that epistemic progress consists in the accumulation of knowledge and the increased ability to explain and predict social phenomena. Yet he simply assumed that historical knowledge could objectively represent the past, and his presentist history writing was tributary to his political aspirations and hopes concerning Russia’s immediate future. In particular, his histories of the Russian political tradition bear witness to his view that Russian history was heading towards constitutional democracy and a social reformist state. In the decades leading up to , Miliukov was reticent to claim that progress was the leitmotif of history and in his Lectures on Russian History (Lektsii, –) he told his students that the notion that humanity could make its history was ‘a golden dream of the future transferred onto the past’. By , however,   





  Ibid., pp. , . Ibid., p. . Russia and Its Crisis, p. . Cited in L. V. Selezneva, ‘Rossiiskii liberalizm i evropeiskaia politicheskaia traditsiia: sozvuchiia i dissonansy’, in Russkii liberalizm, ed. Shelokhaev, p. . Miliukov stated that his principal objective was to ‘explain the present by means of study of the past’. Lektsii po ‘Vvedeniiu v kurs Russkoi istorii’ (Moscow, –), cited in Stockdale, Paul Miliukov, p. . For a study attempting to place Miliukov’s oeuvre and that of the ‘Moscow School’ more generally in relation to history-writing trends, see Thomas M. Bohn, Russische Geschichtswissenschaft von  bis : Pavel N. Miljukov und die Moskauer Schule (Köln: Böhlau Verlag, ). Cited in Stockdale, Paul Miliukov, p. .

Between History and Politics



his tone had changed from cautionary to galvanizing; addressing an American audience, Miliukov concluded with the statement that ‘if the law of Russian history is progress, as we have tried to demonstrate, political reform may not be avoided’. ..

Instrumental Freedom

In his memoirs, Miliukov underplayed the contacts he had in his early years with radical student associations and claimed to have been a liberal since his university days. But Melissa Stockdale has convincingly demonstrated that his views at the time were not liberal in any meaningful way. In fact, because of the significance he assigned to social justice and his emphasis on the laws that constrain individual freedom, Miliukov’s thought had many similarities with Marxism. At the time, his dispute with Russian Marxists was mainly concerning tactics. That said, Miliukov also objected that Marxism did not acknowledge the multiplicity of factors influencing history, and was overly focused on economic explanations of phenomena. This lack of a firm political affiliation during his early years is the prelude to several complex shifts in his worldview that occurred in the years roughly between  and . Miliukov began to play an active political role in Russian society by the late s. Despite having been an industrious and conscientious student, a fallout with his former supervisor Kliuchevskii in  (as to whether his ambitious master’s thesis on Peter the Great could be accepted as a doctoral dissertation) effectively blocked his academic career at Moscow University, and his political and extracurricular activities intensified. Miliukov’s participation in public lecture series and the university extension movement (which he was involved in organizing) were concrete manifestations of his general conviction that education is inextricably bound up with the demands of citizenship, since it furthers individual freedoms while equipping people to use them properly. In addition to    

 

Russia and Its Crisis, p. . See Vospominaniia, vol. , p. ; Riha, Russian European, p. . See Stockdale, Paul Miliukov, p. . Miliukov emphasized the need to find a middle ground between Marxist determinism and the emphasis that Russian populists placed on human will as a factor determining the course of history in Ocherki, vol. , pp. –. See, for example, Ocherki, vol. , p. . Miliukov himself participated in the university extension series in Cambridge, UK. See Vospominaniia, vol. , pp. –; Vera Kaplan, Historians and Historical Societies in the Public Life of Imperial Russia (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, ), pp. –.



Conversations with Western Ideas II

his contacts with radical sections of society, he now began to give public lectures celebrating the Russian oppositional tradition (including Radishchev, the Decembrists, and Herzen) while criticizing government authorities; neither did he disavow the possibility that a revolution could be a necessary means for achieving a constitution in Russia. These ‘disruptive’ lectures soon aroused the suspicion of the authorities who took a number of subsequent measures against Miliukov, including expulsion, exile, and imprisonment. In the years between  and  (what he refers to in his memoirs as his ‘years of wandering’ (gody skitanii)) his persona became that of an unfairly persecuted accomplished scholar and public figure, something that helped him gain in public stature and authority. This period also contributed to his interest in the success of other government systems and politics, which he experienced first-hand during prolonged sojourns in the Balkans (particularly Bulgaria), England, and the United States. His experience of Bulgaria’s decadesold successful experiment with a constitutional regime prompted him to observe in  that the conservative argument ‘that Russia is not ready for a constitution is cut short by this example of Bulgaria’. Miliukov concluded that the practice of constitutionalism ‘proved highly valuable as a means of promoting [the] political education’ of the Bulgarian people, something that would guide his actions in the years that followed. Crucially, Miliukov’s Bulgarian sojourn helped to convince him of the dynamism of a social reformist liberalism and its applicability in Russia. As we have seen, he was one of the ‘new liberals’ who argued that there was a natural affinity between negative and positive conceptions of liberty in the Russian context. The discernible changes of liberal theory and practice in both England and France provided him with a further ‘validation’ – in Melissa Stockdale’s words – of what he saw as the distinctive characteristic



   

In a well-known statement made several years later in  he claimed that Russia was approaching a point where ‘neither you, nor Plehve [Minister of Interior], nor any Tsarist manifesto will be of any use. Truly gentlemen, you must make haste: that juncture is not far off’ (Miliukov, ‘Derzhavnyi maskerad’, Osvobozhdenie ( March/ April ), pp. –). Miliukov spent a year lecturing at the University of Sofia. He also spent time in Moscow, Riazan’, Bulgaria, St Petersburg, and Finland, at times in prison or internal exile. Russia and Its Crisis, p. . Ibid. See also his ‘Bolgarskaia konstitutsiia’, parts –, Russkoe bogatstvo (August ) –; (September ), –; (October ), –. See Chapter .

Between History and Politics



of Russian liberalism. It was in a programmatic article ‘On Forthcoming Questions’ (‘K ocherednym voprosam’) published in  in Osvobozhdenie that he referred to himself as a liberal for the first time. Though he was an influential oppositional spokesman, and affiliated with the Finnish branch of the Liberation Movement, Miliukov spent the years between  and  outside of Russia, returning only in April , and the movement proceeded largely without him. ..

Sociological Liberalism

Miliukov elaborated his conception of the relativity and contextdependent nature of values in the early s when he rejected the idealist premise that ethics are grounded in a metaphysical or religious realm. In the introduction to the second volume of his Studies of Russian Culture he argues that spiritual culture is the product of human society and therefore constantly evolving. Moreover, he highlighted the importance of circumstances and role models in defining which behaviours are ethical, and in producing morally improved human beings. This claim foreshadowed his later accusation that Landmarks’ authors were misguided in privileging self-perfection over institutional reforms. Generally speaking, Miliukov believed that empirical measures of population welfare should be the standard informing moral choices, and he emphasized injustice and inequality as a direct motive for action. The result of this ethical relativism and desire for action meant that there were no moral certainties as to the ‘correct’ action at any time; for example, in  he defended the view that women’s suffrage, rather than being a necessary part of universal suffrage, could be postponed because of tactical considerations. Miliukov adopted a similarly evolving view of intellectual culture and argued that governmental bodies, social values, and even a ‘national ethos’ were historically determined and subject to change. His impatience    

   

Stockdale, Paul Miliukov, p. . P. N. Miliukov, ‘K ocherednym voprosam’, –. See also Chapter  in this volume; Stockdale, Paul Miliukov, p. , fn. . He did not attend the Schaffhausen meeting in Switzerland, for example. See, for example, his lecture on Slavophilism of  January  (cited here from ‘La décomposition du Slavophilisme: Danilevski, Léontiev, W. Soloviev’ reprinted in Le mouvement intellectuel russe, trans. J. W. Bienstock (Paris: Editions Brossard, ), pp. –.  Ocherki, vol. , pp. –. See Chapter . See, for example, ‘Chapter : The Crisis and the Urgency of Reform’ in Russia and Its Crisis, pp. –. See the account in Iosif Gessen, V dvukh vekakh: zhiznennyi otchet’ (Berlin, ). See Ocherki, vol. , ‘Natsionalizm i evropeizm’.

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Conversations with Western Ideas II

with autocracy can be framed in the light of his optimism regarding the potential for change in political and social orders, and the empirical material he produced to show that states can and do change over time. Miliukov’s analysis of the Russian national type which he saw as ‘amorphous’ and ‘adaptable’ contributed to his conviction that the Russian national character is receptive to new political experiences and traditions. At the same time, he thought of the Russian people as inherently predisposed towards the democratism and social justice that he associated with liberalism. Miliukov described Russian political opinion in  as ‘having had no chance to back the private interests of any particular group or person . . . disinterested, abstractly humanitarian, largely democratic, and thus naturally radical’. While he characterized the autocracy as having had a positive influence, in that it was able to hold the nation together as the citizenry matured, it was now stunting the growth of the Russian nation, who were tending towards ‘united and common action against the general enemy’. Similarly important at this time was his emphasis on practicality and pragmatism as specifically liberal characteristics, deriving from his view that politics is ‘the art of the possible’. This belief reinforced his confidence that the actual practice of general suffrage would ultimately moderate socialist rhetoric and actions. Miliukov thus developed what has been called ‘an eclectic but empirically and logically consistent sociological perspective’, or a sociological rather than philosophical liberalism around . His first contributions to Osvobozhdenie make clear that he considers personal freedom and equality before the law to have an instrumental value, as the ‘elementary and necessary preliminary conditions’ for free social life in a civilized state. The programmatic articles he wrote at the time emphasized the structural incompatibility of a modernizing, increasingly complex society with tsarist political institutions. In , Miliukov expressed the point as follows:   

   

Miliukov made this point in an early text ‘Iuridicheskaia shkola v russkoi istoriografii (Solov’ëv, Kavelin, Chicherin, Sergeevich)’, Russkaia mysl’ (June ), –. Miliukov, Russia and Its Crisis, p. . See also Selezneva in Russkii liberalizm, p. . Miliukov, Russia and Its Crisis, pp. . Stockdale describes Miliukov as having an ‘almost transcendent faith’ (Paul Miliukov, p. ) in democracy, though see Laurie Manchester on his ‘contempt for the masses’ in ‘“Contradictions at the Heart of Russian Liberalism”: Pavel Miliukov’s Views of Peter the Great and the Role of Personality in History as an Academic, a Politician, and an Émigré’, Russian History,  (), –.  Russia and Its Crisis, p. . Ibid. See Chapter , Section ... Miliukov, Russia and Its Crisis, pp. –, –. Stockdale, Paul Miliukov, p. . In stark contrast with, for example, Struve’s view of achieving freedom as an ethical imperative developed in Chapter .

Between History and Politics



Representative institutions in our country, as everywhere else, inevitably will assume a special coloration, corresponding to the peculiarities of Russian cultural and political life. But the free forms of political life are no more national than the use of the alphabet or the printing press, steam or electricity . . . The adoption of these forms becomes inevitable when public life becomes so complex that it can no longer be accommodated within the framework of a more primitive order.

Miliukov therefore saw the constitutional framework as able to outline the negative forms of liberty on which universal modernization processes depend. As a proponent of parliamentary reform as a force for societal change, Miliukov emphasized the ability of the rule of law to prompt society to change its mind on fundamental issues. But his emphasis on the evidence that values are socially generated made him sensitive to the fact that ‘new values’ cannot be created by legal reforms alone. This notwithstanding, the guarantee of certain basic liberties was, in Miliukov’s view, instrumental for reinforcing democratic consciousness and, therefore, achieving historical progress. ‘From  to ’, writes Donald Treadgold, ‘Miliukov’s story is part of the history of his country’. In his own words, Miliukov underwent a transformation from historian to politician, but as a politician he was always trying to understand events in their historical context. Moreover, his career as a politician strained his account of freedom as a universal phenomenon, bound up with the regularities of the historical process. In his subsequent reflections on nationalism, he modified his account of the Russian national character he had elaborated in Studies of Russian Culture, by emphasizing more than he had previously the importance of a shared history or tradition, and a sense of common values and goals in the present. He became, as we have seen, increasingly sceptical of the possibility of cooperation with socialists, recalling wryly in his memoirs that ‘I considered it unquestionable that the [] revolution could succeed in achieving its immediate goal of political liberty only on the basis of a peaceful agreement between the “liberals” and the “revolutionaries”’. Finally, Miliukov presciently recognized the consequences of the     

‘Ot russkikh konstitutsionalistov’ reprinted in Rossiiskie liberaly, ed. Pavlov and Shelokhaev, pp. –.  See Stockdale, Paul Miliukov, p. . ‘Foreword’, Russia and Its Crisis, p. . Vospominaniia, vol. , p. . See for example Miliukov, Natsional’nyi vopros: Proiskhozhdenie natsional’nosti i natsional’nye voprosy v Rossii (Prague: ), which contains materials from lectures given in previous decades. Vospominaniia, vol. , p. .



Conversations with Western Ideas II

end of the monarchy in  and played an important role in trying to save it, calling attention to the value of a strong state. This stance was directly at odds with his previous account of the parallel increases of freedom and progress. Miliukov’s earlier historical oeuvre and political journalism have much to offer in the way of clues for understanding how his view of the tension between Russia’s specificity and its general development along Western lines changed over time, and act as a valuable corrective and supplement to his émigré writings. Ultimately, Miliukov’s sense of whether Russia would pursue its own path or a European one reflected the chaotic experience of Russian politics. One could say that he observed the workings in Russian society of two kinds of progress, one goal-oriented towards a ‘European’ model, and the other more pragmatic and open-ended. The tumultuous events of the pre- period forced him to constantly reassess his preferred version of progress. This notwithstanding, it is possible to argue that Miliukov never abandoned his theoretical commitment to the notion that progress and freedom are always mutually compatible goals; in his  eulogy for Kovalevskii, he acknowledged that even if progress ‘does not always mean progress in the sense of a regular forward movement’, Kovalevskii (and Miliukov) knew that the future course of their country’s ‘development will be carried out by that internal, universal law’ that shapes the political growth of all progressive modern democracies.

. Conclusion In his study of positivism in Britain, T. R. Wright remarks that ‘Comte’s desire for unity eventually overcame his principle of verification’, and that ‘[i]n order to achieve the intellectual synthesis required for moral and social harmony [he] consciously relaxed the burden of proof’. The tension between the optimism inherent in a positivist approach to history and its simultaneous call for a realistic appraisal of the current situation created a theoretical problem that neither Miliukov nor Kovalevskii could resolve. As academics, these men saw their task as discerning the fundamental patterns of historical development that could explain current social phenomena by naturalistic means. By contributing empirical, ‘scientific’ data to their disciplines, they saw their scholarship as containing in itself a  

On Miliukov’s role during the war years, and his tenure as foreign minister, see Rosenberg, Liberals in the Russian Revolution.  Miliukov, ‘M. M. Kovalevskii’, pp. , . Wright, Religion of Humanity, p. .

Conclusion



progressive element. As politicians, their universalist, positivist ideas about human nature, freedom, and historical progress led them to argue that Russia would roughly follow European patterns of development. But their empiricist sympathies pulled them in the opposite direction, and they emphasized that there were factors beyond the ‘laws’ of history that shaped each country’s development. Writing in , Miliukov attributed the tendency in his Studies of Russian Culture to emphasize the peculiarities of Russia’s historical process rather than its conformity to a general (European) one, to the influence of his teacher Kliuchevskii: [I] constructed the Russian historical process on a synthesis of both features – similarity and peculiarity [skhodstvo i svoeobrazie]. Nevertheless, features of peculiarity are emphasized rather more sharply than features of similarity. In this is reflected, most likely, the influence of my university teacher, V. O. Kliuchevskii – the most original [svoeobraznyi] of Russian historians.

In their meditations on  and its aftermath both men acknowledged (though Kovalevskii more than Miliukov) that positivist liberalism had difficulty reconciling the rule of the intellectuals with the democratic wishes of the people. Their awareness of this problem, and sense that only an enlightened population would freely choose liberal leaders, informed their persistent emphasis on education. Moreover, they were aware that economic development along a Western, capitalist model focused on property rights could be very detrimental to the interests of the country’s peasantry and therefore its stability. But neither Kovalevskii nor Miliukov ever entirely discarded the doctrine of historical inevitability, nor did they doubt that the setbacks Russia experienced were more than what Terence Emmons has characterized ‘a temporary “interruption” or detour from the historically determined path of Russian development’. Even as it became clear that the gradual ‘occidentalization’ of Russia would not occur

   

George W. Stocking makes a similar point about Anglo-American anthropologists. See his ‘Rousseau Redux’, in Progress: Fact or Illusion?, ed. Marx and Mazlish, p. . Cited in Terence Emmons, ‘Kliuchevskii’s Pupils’, California Slavic Studies,  (), p. , translation slightly modified. For an exploration of this point in an international context, see Kurzman, Democracy Denied, p. . T. Emmons, ‘On the Problem of Russia’s “Separate Path” in the Late Imperial historiography’, in Historiography of Imperial Russia. The Profession and Writing of History in a Multinational State, ed. T. Sanders, (New York: Routledge, ), p. .



Conversations with Western Ideas II

according to their anticipated timeframe, they did not doubt that such a transformation would take place. The belief that even the most nonsensical, chaotic human actions will produce a rational outcome contains an element of reassurance that is difficult to forego. While neo-idealist liberals were more sceptical of the belief that we can find a definite formula that will maximize freedom, equality, progress, and the good, the notion that progress in some areas likely means regressions elsewhere clashed with Kovalevskii’s and Miliukov’s universalist, positivist epistemology. The neo-idealists were more likely to embrace the tension between liberal ideals and concrete historical realities as dynamic, creative, and indeed truly progressive, whereas the positivists were more likely to resist it and explain it with reference to a scheme of historical inevitability. Neo-idealist liberals conceived progress as a moral task to be accomplished by real human beings working for the good in specific historical circumstances; positivists generally conceived progress as a historical law and necessarily leading to a more perfect human society. Paradoxically, to read Russia’s positivist liberals today is also a reminder of the whims of history and the fact that as politicians and public figures these men experienced history as by some means unfolding of its own accord. In the run-up to , they continued to see the possibility of a liberal Russia as a real, tangible option. In a tribute to Kovalevskii, written in the immediate aftermath of his death in , oppositional journalist Leo Pasvolsky (–) reflected: He died at the time when the clouds, grown darkest and blackest, were just beginning to roll away, when the rays of the rising sun were beginning again to make their way into the open, piercing the sombre shadows, when the promise of a glorious sunrise was unmistakable on every side. His great body will not have been lying long in the ground when the sun of liberty, equality, and progress will shine forth upon the political and social firmament of Russia.

 



Cigliano, Liberalismo e rivoluzione in Russia, pp. –, discusses this view with reference to contemporary Western historiography. See Massimo L. Salvadori, L’idea di progresso: possiamo farne a meno? (Rome: Donzelli, ). Isaiah Berlin, for example, has argued that ‘[o]ne of the deepest of human desires is to find a unitary pattern in which the whole of experience, past, present, and future, actual, possible, and unfulfilled is symmetrically ordered’ (‘Historical Inevitability’, in Four Essays on Liberty (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ), pp. –). Pasvolsky, ‘M. M. Kovalevsky’, p. .

Conclusion

This book is a comparative intellectual history of liberalism, a crucially important topic at all times but perhaps especially now when liberal values and institutions are in retreat in countries where they once seemed relatively secure, and when prospects for liberal development in countries such as Russia and China seem as remote as ever. The idea of liberalism as a persistent compromise between sometimes competing claims provides a useful interpretative paradigm for understanding the experience of Russian liberalism, the variety of strands within it, and its relation to similar movements in other countries. This study draws on the insights of contemporary research in liberal theory concerning multiple conceptions of liberal freedom to assess the degree to which Russian liberals engaged with the tensions between potentially conflicting values, and the extent to which they tried consciously to resolve them. The thinkers examined in most detail here illustrate both the complex nature of striking a balance between clashing values, as well as the inherent validity of the attempt to compromise between, for example, positive and negative liberty. I argue that such an approach highlights both a persistently liberal preoccupation with value conflicts in late imperial Russia, while simultaneously uncovering traces of the illiberal belief that a specific set of liberties is universally legitimate. The theoretical approach used here illustrates that the boundaries between liberalism and other political doctrines are irrevocably blurred, and that a fundamentally liberal commitment to both positive and negative liberty is not necessarily associated with any one political regime. As Jeremy Waldron has observed: ‘[l]iberal moderatism fades into conservatism; the conservative’s concern for community matches the socialist’s; the socialist claims to take the liberal concern for freedom more seriously than





Conclusion

the liberals themselves; and so on’. We have seen in various chapters how there has never been a consolidated or definitive liberal position about any question or policy, including the scope of basic liberties such as freedom of speech, the role of the state in attenuating social inequality, the status and role of minority nationalities in liberal society, or even revolution. A liberal answer to the problem of the balance between different kinds of freedom is necessarily dependent on the peculiarities of time and place. A study of liberalism that illustrates its inherent complexity, adaptability, and multifaceted quality has important practical implications. In practical terms, a clearer understanding of the interplay between liberal values within the constraints of history and culture can reduce the potential for dangerous rhetoric concerning liberalism’s ineluctable historical expansion, based on a positivist view of history. This is not just a matter of academic concern: liberalism continues to be a vital topic for scholars and the informed public, in part because it claims to be about promoting our most deeply held values and interests as human beings. At a minimum, it is important as the dominant political ideology in the global North, and the central focus of the discussion as to which direction ‘regime change’ in non-liberal countries might take. The view that there is more than one liberalism is generally accepted by scholars of the subject, but the belief in a single path of historical progress – made famous by Hegel and continued in a policy context by various American administrations – is still deeply ingrained in our culture. From post-communist Russia to Iraq and Afghanistan, the consequences of prescribing a liberal regime as an obligatory step on the way to achieving freedom can be devastating for the societies forced to adopt it. At the same time, the material in this book clearly shows that liberalism is important for Russia and other countries because of its potential to provide a viable means for protecting universal human rights, and giving human persons the opportunity to realize their full potential, or to flourish. I do not wish to imply that it is the only way to do so; as stated previously, part of my argument is that liberalism shares many features

 

‘The Theoretical Foundations of Liberalism’, Philosophical Quarterly,  (), –, . Francis Fukuyama’s claim that liberal democracy is ‘the end of history’ is perhaps the best-known example of this approach. See his The End of History and the Last Man (New York: Free Press, ). From a similar perspective, a report by a group within the US Congress concluded in  that ‘[t]he United States offers the quintessential model for Russia’s future’. Cited in Stephen F. Cohen, Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia, nd ed. (New York: Norton, ), p. .

Conclusion



with other ideologies and contains several deep and unresolved tensions. Nevertheless, the success of contemporary liberal democracies – loosely defined as states that benefit from representative institutions based on majority rule, clearly defined limitations on the powers of government, and an independent judiciary – at protecting certain core rights connected with human dignity continues to make them relevant, without making them an ideal type. Seen from this perspective, the Russian experience of the early-twentieth century points in the direction of a more general statement concerning the value of political practice for liberal theory. In particular, it suggests that a pragmatic liberalism – committed to both positive and negative liberty, and to principled ends, but alive to potential clashes between values and grounded in empirical life – seems best equipped to avoid the pitfalls of excessively doctrinaire forms of liberalism. While positivist liberals ran the risk of jettisoning the clash between liberal values too easily, due to their commitment to the idea of progress, neo-idealists needed to avoid an excessively abstract approach to freedom that discounted the value of negative liberty for the well-being of the empirical person. Yet if liberalism acknowledges that conflicts between values are a persistent part of human life, and that there can be no future ideal society or system to which progress can be directed, it has the potential to act as a fundamentally antiutopian doctrine. In practical terms, the question for those concerned with facilitating the emergence of a liberal society in any given context is not ‘what is an ideal liberal society?’, but rather ‘in turbulent historical circumstances, how can we best defend and further the values of negative and positive liberty in political life?’. While attempting to engage in social reform, liberals should avoid focusing on any absolute goal, in favour of creating institutions in which different forms of life and values can coexist, and a compromise between them can be sought in a process that takes into account the role of experience. Beyond the contemporary relevance of studies of liberalism that illustrate its inherent complexity and multifaceted quality, the study of an unsuccessful movement in Russian history is important and valid in its own right. In a publication devoted to ‘vanished kingdoms’, historian Norman Davies has pointed out that the study of history is all too often



See J. Denis Derbyshire and Ian Derbyshire, Political Systems of the World, nd ed. (New York: St Martin’s Press, ), p. .



Conclusion

the study of success. This contribution points to the centrality of the ethical dilemmas of Russian liberals, while seeking to give their aborted project some of the recognition it deserves. Forced into emigration in the early Soviet period, as a rule the protagonists of this study observed the events in their native country from various European capitals; for obvious reasons, the study of their movement was severely limited during the Soviet period and many primary sources were destroyed. Yet the history of liberalism is constantly being rewritten, and recovering its Russian aspect is a crucial, and often missing, element of a larger story. Elucidating how Russian thinkers understood liberal values in their particular historical circumstances, and how they tried to apply them to improve Russian society (especially in the period –) helps to clarify how their efforts changed their (and our) understanding of what liberalism is. Concrete disagreements among Russian liberals resonated with specific theoretical and practical problems plaguing liberalism in a similar historical period. Vladimir Lenin referred to  as launching ‘the period of bourgeois–democratic revolutions’ as oppositional movements swiftly deposed long-standing autocrats in Iran ( and ), the Ottoman Empire (), Portugal (), Mexico (), and China (). These cases were all distinguished by the support of the intellectual elite for positivist liberalism, and uneasy alliances between intellectuals, workers, capitalists and parts of the military. Yet the new regimes all struggled to survive: significant disorder accompanied democratization processes, and in numerous instances the new state structures failed to protect the freedoms they deemed important. With the exception of Portugal, where democracy remained until , these liberal-democratic experiments were quickly undermined. Such failed experiments shed valuable light on the specific historical circumstances that act as preconditions for liberalism’s consolidation. The categories and concerns of early-twentieth-century Russian liberalism also resonate in different time periods. In Russia, the muted attractiveness of liberal principles in the post-Soviet period illustrates the

 



Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe (London: Allen Lane, ). For a recent attempt to recover the ‘lost history’ of liberalism focusing on France, Germany, Britain, and the United States, see Helena Rosenblatt, The Lost History of Liberalism: From Ancient Rome to the Twenty-First Century (Princeton: Princeton University Press, ). On this wave, see Kurzman, Democracy Denied; Vladimir Lenin, ‘O prave natsii na samoopredelenie’, Prosveshchenie, – (June ), reprinted in Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, vol. , p. .

Conclusion



significant challenges that remain for liberal sympathizers there. In July , two of Russia’s best-known writers, Mikhail Shishkin and Boris Akunin (real name Grigorii Chkhartishvili), posed the problem as follows. Repeating the question that had tormented morally conscious Russians in the imperial period, ‘What is to be done?’, Shishkin asked Akunin: What is to be done? What should you do today if, on the one hand, you do not want to become part of a criminal structure – and the entire state and life in Russia has become one huge criminal structure – and, on the other hand, you do not want to launch a revolution?

While this discussion concerns the outlines of Russia under President Vladimir Putin, examples of the dilemma Shishkin outlines, between support for a flawed present and equally flawed alternatives, could probably be found in all cultures and historical periods. The dilemma of defending the rule of law under despotism, the ability of revolution to produce desirable changes, the benefits and limits of democracy: the contemporary engagement with many of these questions bears a striking resemblance to the period discussed here. The insights of the most prominent thinkers in that tradition are as relevant for contemporary liberalism as they were at the time. 





For example, Yabloko, Russia’s main post-Soviet liberal party, failed to win a seat in the Russian parliament in the legislative elections of September , and its leader, Grigorii Iavlinskii, received  per cent of the overall vote in the  presidential election. For discussions of liberal inclinations in post-Soviet Russia, see B. G. Kapustin and I. M. Kliamkin, ‘Liberal’nye tsennosti v soznanii rossiian’, Polis,  (), –;  (), –; B. G. Kapustin, Ideologiia i politika v postkommunisticheskoi Rossii (Moscow: Editorial URSS, ). In an article written from prison in , Mikhail Khodorkovskii argued that President Vladimir Putin was ‘neither liberal nor democratic, but he is nevertheless more liberal and more democratic than  percent of the Russian population today’ (‘Krizis liberalizma v Rossii’, Vedomosti,  ( March ), www.vedomosti .ru/newspaper/articles////krizis-liberalizma-v-rossii [accessed  March ]). Recent roundtables devoted to the problem include Vitalii Tret’iakov et al., ‘Liberalizm i Rossiia: vechnyi mezal’ians?’, Chto delat’,  ( April ), www.youtube.com/watch?v=busSG_Xo [accessed  March ]; ibid., ‘Kto diskreditiruet liberalizm v Rossii?’, Chto delat’,  ( February ), www.youtube.com/watch?v=txX-BivWg [accessed  March ]. Mikhail Shishkin and Boris Akunin, ‘Razgavory o sud’bakh Rossii’ (‘Discussions about Russia’s Fates’), Afisha,  ( July– August ), available at Afisha Daily, https://daily.afisha.ru/ archive/gorod/archive/akounin-vs-shishkin [accessed  January ]. President Vladimir Putin has expressed his admiration of Pëtr Stolypin’s policies, and others have been quick to point out that the challenges for his opponents are similar to the dilemmas that faced early-twentieth-century liberals. See, for example, Fiona Hill and Clifford G. Gaddy, ‘Putin and the Uses of History’, National Interest,  January , http://nationalinterest.org/article/putin-theuses-history-?page=show [accessed  March ]; Jean Radvanyi, ‘Continuité de façade en Russie’, Le Monde diplomatique,  (), pp. , ; Marcia Weigle, Russia’s Liberal Project, pp. –.

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In order to limit the amount of material in the bibliography, I have given the shortest intelligible form of the title of a book or article when it is cited more than once. Variant spellings, pseudonyms, and alternative names appear in parentheses after the name cited. Original dates of publication appear in parentheses after the dates of versions cited. Abbreviations are listed at the beginning. U N P UB L I S H E D W O R K S Lane, Ann M., ‘Nietzsche in Russian thought, –’ (doctoral thesis, University of Wisconsin, ) Levin, Arthur A., ‘The life and work of Mikhail Osipovich Gershenzon (–): a study in the history of the Russian Silver Age’ (doctoral thesis, University of California, Berkeley, ) Michelson, Patrick Lally, ‘“The first and most sacred right”: religious freedom and the liberation of the Russian nation, –’ (doctoral thesis, University of Wisconsin-Madison, ) Poole, Randall A., ‘The Moscow Psychological Society and the neo-idealist development of Russian liberalism, –’ (doctoral thesis, University of Notre Dame, ) Shchukin, Denis V., ‘Deiatel’nost’ fraktsii partii kadetov v III gosudarstvennoi dume’ (doctoral thesis, Voronezh State University, ) Smith, Nathan, ‘The Constitutional-Democratic movement in Russia, –’ (doctoral thesis, University of Illinois, ) Zimmerman, Judith E., ‘Between revolution and reaction: the Russian Constitutional Democratic Party, October,  to June, ’ (doctoral thesis, Columbia University, ) R U S SI A N P R IM A RY S OU R CE S The journals Osvobozhdenie and Voprosy filosofii i psikhologii have been cited with slightly more information than other journals, for additional clarity. [n. ed.], Agrarnyi vopros: sbornik statei, nd ed. (Moscow: Knigoizdatelʹstvo Beseda, ) 

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Index

absolute, the, –, , , –, – agrarian question, , –, see also peasants Duma, – Kadets, – Kovalevskii, – Liberation Movement, – Miliukov,  Novgorodtsev,  Aksakov, Konstantin,  Akunin, Boris,  Alexander I,  Alexander II, –,  Alexander the Great,  An Examination of Ancient Russia’s Juridical Life (Kavelin),  Annenkov, Pavel,  anti-positivism, – anti-Semitism,  Antonovych, Volodymyr,  Archbishop Antonii, ,  Arsen’ev, K. K.,  Asquith, H. H., – autocracy, , , –, , , ,  Liberationists’ views of, –, – Miliukov on, – October Manifesto and, – post- views of, ,  Struve on,  autonomy, concept of, , , , ,  Avenarius, Richard,  Bakhtin, Mikhail,  Bakunin, Mikhail, ,  Bazarov (Ivan Turgenev),  Beccaria, Cesare,  Belinskii, Vissarion, ,  Belyi, Andrei,  Bentham, Jeremy,  Berdiaev, Nikolai, , –, –, , , , , , – illiberalism of, , , , –, 

Bergson, Henri, –,  Berlin, Isaiah, , , , , ,  Bernstein, Eduard,  Beseda circle,  Bird, Robert,  Blok, Aleksandr,  Bloody Sunday ( January ), ,  Bogdanov, Aleksandr,  Bolsheviks, ,  Breuillard, Sabine,  Brooks, Jeffrey,  Bryce, James, – Bulgakov, Sergei, , , –, , , ,  illiberalism of, , –, – Bulgaria,  Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,  Catherine the Great, , , –,  Chaadaev, Pëtr,  Charlemagne,  Chernyshevskii, Nikolai, ,  Chicherin, Boris, , , , , –, –, ,  China, ,  Christianity: see religion; neo-idealism Chuprov, A. A.,  Cieszkowski, August,  Cohen, Hermann, ,  compromise, , , , , –, , ,  liberal virtue, , –, , ,  utopian,  Comte, Auguste, –, –, , ; see also positivism Kovalevskii on, –,  Miliukov on, ,  Condorcet, Marquis de,  Constant, Benjamin, , – Kovalevskii on,  Novgorodtsev on, –



Index Constitutional-Democratic Party (Kadets, Party of People’s Freedom), , , , –, –, –; see also Duma; Landmarks (Vekhi); Miliukov, Pavel; positivism agrarian question, –, – attitudes towards government, , –, –, – establishment of,  liberalism of, , , –,  nationality policy, –, – positivism of, , , – radical wing of, , – reform priorities of, , , – relations with Octobrists, – relations with revolutionaries, –, – right wing of, , – split in emigration, , , ,  constitutionalists, , , –, ,  Crimean War,  Critical Review (Kriticheskoe obozrenie), ,  Critique of Abstract Principles, A (Solov’ëv),  Croce, Benedetto,  culture, theory of, –, , , , –, – Darwin and Darwinism, , , ,  Davies, Norman,  Decembrists, , , ,  Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen,  democracy, –, , ,  Chicherin on, –, – Herzen on, – Kovalevskii on,  Liberationists on,  Mill on, – Novgorodtsev on, , ,  Tocqueville on,  Democratic Reform Party, ,  Desnitskii, Semën,  dignity, human, , , , , –,  Chicherin on,  Landmarks on, – Novgorodtsev on, , , –,  Solov’ëv on,  Dolgorukov, Pavel,  Dolgorukov, Pëtr,  Dostoevskii, Fëdor, , , , ,  Dragunoiu, Dana,  Drahomanov, Mykhailo,  Duguit, Léon,  Duma, First, , – Kovalevskii in,  Novgorodtsev in,  Duma, Fourth,  Duma, Second, , –



Duma, Third, – Durkheim, Émile, ,  duty, , , , , , –,  emancipation of serfs, , , ,  empiricism, –, , , –,  Engels, Friedrich, ,  Engelstein, Laura,  England, , , , , , , , ,  Enlightenment, , , – equality, , , , , , –, , , , , –,  Novgorodtsev’s views on, – ethical–epistemological idealism, – Feuerbach, Ludwig, ,  Fichte, Johann Gottlieb, ,  Fields, Daniel,  Finland, , , , – Florovskii, Georgii,  Foucault, Michel,  France, , , , –,  Frank, Semën, , , –, , –, –,  Free Association of Lovers of Literature, Science, and the Arts,  freedom developing gradually in history, , –, –, –, ,  rejection of, –, , ,  institutions and, –, , , –, ,  liberal and socialist views of, , , , –, , –, , – necessity and, – noumenal being and,  order and, –,  reconciliation with reality and,  Russia, , –, ,  terminology,  Western theories of, , –, –, – freedom of conscience, , , , , –, , ,  Novgorodtsev on, –,  Solov’ëv on, – freedom of press, , ,  freedom, internal and external, , , , –, , –, – Kistiakovskii on, – Novgorodtsev on, – freedom, negative, , –, , , –, , –, , ,  Kistiakovskii on, – Kovalevskii on, –



Index

freedom, negative (cont.) Miliukov on, – neo-idealism and, , – Novgorodtsev on, – positivism and,  rejection of, , , , , , , , – freedom, negative and positive, , , –, , , , , –, ,  Kadets and, –,  Kistiakovskii on, – Kovalevskii on, – Liberationists and, ,  Miliukov on, , , ,  neo-idealism and, – Novgorodtsev on, –, – positivism and, – post-, , – freedom, positive, –, –, –, – Kistiakovskii on,  Kovalevskii on,  Landmarks and, –, – Liberationists and,  Novgorodtsev on, – statist liberalism and, – French Revolution, –, , ,  Freud, Sigmund, –,  From the Other Shore (Herzen),  Fukuyama, Francis,  Geiden, Pëtr,  gentry, –, –, , see also zemstvo institutions Germany, , , , , , –, , –, – Gershenzon, Mikhail, –, – Gertsenshtein, Mikhail, ,  Gierke, Otto von,  Gneist, Rudolf von,  God-Building (Bogostroitel’stvo),  Godmanhood, ,  Golitsyn, Dmitrii,  Golovin, Fëdor,  Goremykin, Ivan,  Granovskii, Timofei, , –,  Gray, John, , ,  Gredeskul, Nikolai,  Green, Thomas Hill, , ,  Hamburg, Gary,  Hampshire, Stuart,  Hegel, G. W. F., –, –, , , , ,  Herald of Europe (Vestnik Evropy), , 

Herzen, Aleksandr, –, , –, , ,  Heuman, Susan, – historical materialism,  Hobbes, Thomas,  Hobhouse, L. T.,  human rights, –, ,  Humboldt, Wilhelm von, – Iakovenko, Boris,  Iakushkin, Viacheslav,  Ianzhul, Ivan,  Iavlinskii, Grigorii,  idealism and neo-idealism, , , –, , see also Kistiakovskii, Bogdan; Novgorodtsev, Pavel; ontological orientation; religion, and neo-idealism Chicherin on, – German idealism, – liberalism and, –, –, –, –, , ,  Marxism and, –,  positivism and, –, – In Defence of Scientific–Philosophical Idealism (Kistiakovskii),  In Defense of Law (Kistiakovskii), , , see also Kistiakovskii, Bogdan Intelligentsia in Russia: A Collection of Articles (Intelligentsiia v Rossii sbornik statei), , ,  intelligentsia, Russian, , , , , , –, –, , ,  Iollos, Grigorii,  Iran,  Iushkevich, Pavel,  Ivan the Terrible,  Ivaniukov, I. I.,  Ivanov, Viacheslav, ,  Ivanovna, Anna,  Izgoev, Aleksandr, , –, ,  Jellinek, Georg, , ,  Journey from St Petersburg to Moscow (Radishchev),  Juridical Messenger (Iuridicheskii vestnik), ,  Justification of the Good (Solov’ëv),  Kachenovskii, D. I.,  Kant and Hegel and Their Teachings on Law and the State (Novgorodtsev),  Kant, Immanuel, , –, see also idealism and neo-idealism; neo-Kantianism; ontological orientation Chicherin on, –

Index Kistiakovskii on, –,  Novgorodtsev on, –, , , –, – Russian religious philosophy and, – Solov’ëv on,  Kareev, Nikolai,  Kavelin, Konstantin, , – Kelly, Aileen, , , , ,  Khodorkovskii, Mikhail,  Khomiakov, Aleksei, ,  Khomiakov, Nikolai,  Kireevskii, Ivan,  Kistiakovskaia, Mariia Berenshtam,  Kistiakovskii, Aleksandr,  Kistiakovskii, Bogdan, , , , , – anti-ontological position, , – influence of German academia, – influence of Kant, –,  Landmarks essay, , , –, –, , , ,  socialism, , – Ukrainian national movement, –,  Kizevetter, Aleksandr, ,  Kliuchevskii, Vasilii, , , ,  Kolerov, Modest, ,  Koliubakin, Aleksandr,  Koshelev, Aleksandr,  Kotliarevskii, Sergei, , –, –, , , ,  Kovalevskii, Maksim, , ,  comparative history, – compatibility of freedom and equality, , – death,  exile, – political career, – travels to Europe, – Kunitsyn, Aleksandr, ,  Kurzman, Charles,  Kuz’min-Karavaev, V. D.,  La crise russe: notes et impressions d’un témoin (Kovalevskii),  Laboulaye, Édouard,  Landmarks (Vekhi), –, , , see also freedom, positive; religious renaissance, Russian ambivalence towards negative liberty, – common platform,  Kadet reactions to, , , –,  liberalism and, –, –,  neo-idealism and,  Lasalle, Ferdinand, 



Lavrov, Pëtr, , , – law, rule of, –, , –, –, –, –, , –, –, –, , , , see also freedom alien to Russia, , , – criticisms of, –, , , , ,  historiography,  Kistiakovskii on, , , , , , – Miliukov on,  neo-idealism and, – Novgorodtsev on, –, – social justice and, , , –,  Lawful Socialist State, A (Kistiakovskii), ,  Lecky, William Edward Hartpole,  Lenin, Vladimir,  Leontovitsch, Victor,  Lewes, George Henry,  liberal, terminology definition of, , ,  Russia, –, , –,  liberalism historiography, –,  tensions within, – Western practices, – Western theories of, – liberalism, Russian: see ConstitutionalDemocratic Party (Kadets, Party of People’s Freedom); Kistiakovskii, Bogdan; Kovalevskii, Maksim; Miliukov, Pavel; Novgorodtsev, Pavel  and, , –,  emergence of, , –, – Herzen on, – Landmarks, –, –,  legacy of, – neo-idealism and, –, –, –, –, , ,  populism and, – positivism and, –, –, , –,  socialism and, , –, ,  Solov’ëv on, – statist, – utopianism of, ,  Liberation (newspaper), –, , – Liberation Movement, – Littré, Émile,  Litvinov, A. N.,  Locke, John, , – Luchitskii, I. V.,  Lunacharskii, Anatolii,  Mach, Ernst,  MacIntyre, Alasdair,  McLennan, John, 



Index

Maine, Henry Sumner, ,  Maklakov, Vasilii, , , –, , , ,  Mandel’shtam, Mikhail,  Manent, Pierre,  Marx and Marxism, , , –, , , –, ,  criticisms of, ,  Kovalevskii on, – Miliukov on, – transition to idealism, –,  Mel’gunov, Nikolai,  Menger, Anton,  Mensheviks, ,  Merezhkovskii, Dmitrii, ,  metaphysics, , , –, , –, –, , – Kistiakovskii critique of, – Novgorodtsev on, – rejection by positivists, ,  Mexico, ,  Michelson, Patrick,  Mikhailovskii, Nikolai, , , – Miliukov, Pavel, , , , –, , , – academic historian, –, – emphasis on historical laws, –,  empiricist–positivist liberalism, , , –, , –, – ethical relativism, – Kovalevskii and, , – Landmarks and, , –,  Maklakov and, , ,  Marxism and, – overlap between liberalism and socialism, ,  political career, – revolutionary tactics, , –, , , ,  Russia’s national character, – Miliukova, Anna Sergeevna,  Mill, John Stuart, , , –, –, , ,  Miller, Vsevolod,  Montesquieu, ,  morality, –, , , ,  creativity and, , –,  freedom and reason, –, , , –, , –, –, ,  institutions and, , , , – Kistiakovskii on, – Miliukov on,  moral law, ,  moral progress, , , ,  Novgorodtsev on, –, –

positivist liberals and, , , –,  responsibility and, , , – Morgan, Lewis,  Morson, Gary Saul,  Moscow Psychological Society, , –, – Moscow University, , , , , , ,  young professors, ,  Moscow uprising,  Moscow Weekly (Moskovskii ezhenedel’nik),  Murav’ëv, M. N., – Murav’ëv, Nikita,  Muromtsev, Sergei, ,  Muscovite Russia, – mysticism, ,  Napoleon,  nationalism, , – Miliukov on,  post-Soviet, – Russian liberalism and,  Struve on, , , – natural law, , , –,  Novgorodtsev on, , – necessity, historical, , –, , , see also Kovalevskii, Maksim; positivism Miliukov on, –,  neo-idealist critique of,  Nekrasov, Nikolai,  neo-Kantianism, –, – Nethercott, Frances, ,  New Liberals, British,  New Times (Novoe vremia),  Nicholas I, –,  Nicholas II, , , ,  Nietzsche, Friedrich, – Novgorodtsev, Pavel, , , , –,  freedom, –, –, – idealism and liberalism, – natural law, , – religious belief and idealism, –,  right to a dignified existence, –,  selfhood, – shift of views post-, , – tensions between values, , –, – theory of progress, –, – Novikov, Nikolai, ,  Oberländer, Gisela,  October Manifesto, –, ,  Octobrist Party (Union of  October), –, – Offord, Derek,  Ol’denburg, Sergei, 

Index On the Social Ideal (Novgorodtsev), , , ,  ontological orientation, , –, , , –,  Frank on, –,  Kistiakovskii critique of, , – Novgorodtsev on, , – positivist rejection of, , ,  Orthodox Church, Russian, –, , see also religion, and neo-idealism Ostrogorskii, Moisei,  Ottoman Empire,  ought (dolzhnoe, das Sollen), , , ,  conflation with is, ,  Panin, Nikita,  Party for Democratic Reform,  Pasvolsky, Leo,  Paul I,  peasants, , –, , –, –, , , , see also agrarian question commune, , , –,  Duma, – Kovalevskii on, – person, personhood, –, ,  Chicherin on, – Herzen on,  Kadets on, – Kistiakovskii on, , – Kovalevskii on,  Landmarks on,  Miliukov on, – neo-idealist views of, , –, – Novgorodtsev on, , –, – populists on, – positivist views of, , – Slavophiles on, – Solov’ëv on, – Pestel, Pavel,  Peter III,  Peter the Great, , , ,  Petrunkevich, Ivan, , –,  Petrunkevich, Mikhail,  Pipes, Richard, ,  Plehve, Viacheslav,  Plekhanov, Georgii, – pluralism, , , ,  Landmarks authors’ skepticism towards, – liberalism and, ,  negative freedom and,  Pnin, Ivan,  Poland, ,  Polar Star (Poliarnaia zvezda), ,  Poltoratzky, Nikolai,  Poole, Randall A., , –, , , , 



Popugaev, Vasilii,  populism, Russian, –, ,  Portugal,  positivism, –, –, , see also antipositivism; Kovalevskii, Maksim; Miliukov, Pavel basic error of,  empirical–positivist,  historiography,  Kadets and, , – Kistiakovskii on,  Mill on,  Novgorodtsev on, – war against,  post-Soviet Russia, , ,  pragmatism, , –, , ,  Problems of Idealism, –, , , , ,  progress, , see also Kovalevskii, Maksim; Miliukov, Pavel history as, , –, , , , ,  liberalism and, –, ,  moral, , , ,  neo-idealists and, –, –,  Novgorodtsev on, –, – positivists and, –, –,  rejection of theory of, , , – Protopopov, Dmitrii,  Proudhon, Pierre-Joseph,  Pugachëv Rebellion,  Pushkin, Aleksandr,  Putin, Vladimir,  Questions of Philosophy and Psychology,  Rabow-Edling, Susanna,  Radishchev, Aleksandr, , , –,  Rawls, John,  Read, Christopher,  reason, –, –, , , , , , ,  religion, and neo-idealism, , , , , –, , –, , , see also Landmarks (Vekhi); theism Chicherin on,  Slavophiles and, – Solov’ëv on, – religious renaissance, Russian, , –, – revolution of  Miliukov on,  significance for liberalism, , , –, , , see also Landmarks (Vekhi) Kovalevskii on, – Rickert, Heinrich,  Ritchie, D. G.,  Rodichev, Fëdor, 



Index

Romanticism, –, , , ,  Rosenblatt, Helena,  Rosenblum, Nancy,  Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, –, , , , –,  Ruggiero, Guido de,  Russia and Its Crisis (Miliukov),  Russian Herald (Russkii vestnik),  Russian revolution (), ,  Russian Thought (Russkaia mysl’),  Samarin, Iurii, – Sandel, Michael,  Saussure, Ferdinand de,  Scales (Vesy),  Scanlan, James,  Schapiro, Leonard,  Schelling, Friedrich von, ,  Schiller, Friedrich, – Schmoller, Gustav von,  science, natural, , – Kistiakovskii on, – as model for social sciences, , –, , –,  Seigel, Jerrold, ,  Shakhovskoi, Dmitrii,  Shchepkin, Evgenii,  Shipov, Dmitrii, , ,  Shishkin, Mikhail,  Shklar, Judith,  Shlapentokh, Dmitry, – Shneider, Konstantin,  Silver Age, Russian, , , – Simmel, Georg, , , ,  Slavophiles and Slavophilism, , –, , –, , , , ,  Smith, Adam, , –,  sobornost’,  Social Democrats, , , ,  social sciences and sociology, , , –, , see also science, natural Socialist Revolutionaries, , ,  socialist rights, , see also freedom, positive Society and the Individual: A Methodological Study (Kistiakovskii),  Sokolov, N. M.,  Solov’ëv, Sergei,  Solov’ëv, Vladimir, , , –, –, –,  Sorokin, Pitrim,  Spencer, Herbert, , –, , ,  Speranskii, Mikhail,  spiritual academies, ,  Stakhovich, Mikhail,  Stasiulevich, M. M., 

State Council, , –,  Stockdale, Melissa, , – Stolypin, Pëtr, –, ,  Struve, Pëtr, , , –, , –, , –, , –, , ,  Liberation, –, – nationalism, , – theory of culture, –,  Studies of Russian Culture (Miliukov), , , , ,  Supreme Privy Council,  svoboda, ,  Switzerland, , ,  symbolism,  Tarde, Gabriel, – Taylor, Charles, , ,  The Crisis of Modern Legal Consciousness (Novgorodtsev), , ,  theism,  Tocqueville, Alexis de, , –,  Tolstoi, Lev, ,  transcendental–normative idealism, – Treadgold, Donald, ,  Trubetskoi, Evgenii, , –, , , , , , ,  Trubetskoi, Sergei, –, , , ,  Trudoviks,  Turgenev, Ivan, ,  Tyrkova-Vili’ams, Ariadna, ,  Ukraine, , –, , ,  Union of Liberation, –, , , , , ,  Union of Zemstvo Constitutionalists,  United States, , , , , , , , – universal suffrage, –, , ,  university extension,  University of Berlin,  University of Chicago, ,  utopianism, , , , ,  Herzen on,  Landmarks and, , ,  Marxism and,  Novgorodtsev on, , – Solov’ëv and, – Verhaeren, Émile,  Vernadskii, Vladimir, ,  Vinogradov, Pavel, , , ,  violence, political, –, –, , ,  Kadets and, –, –,  volia,  Vucinich, Alexander,  Vvedenskii, Aleksandr, 

Index Vyborg Manifesto, ,  Vyrubov, Grigorii,  Waldron, Jeremy,  Walicki, Andrzej, , , , ,  Weber, Max, , ,  Western Zemstvo crisis,  Westernizers, , , , –,  Windelband, Wilhelm, , – Witte, Sergei,  women’s suffrage, ,  Word (Slovo), 



World War I, ,  Worms, René,  Wright, T. R.,  Yolton, John,  zakonomernost’: see necessity, historical zemstvo institutions, , –, , –, –,  Zernov, Nicolas,  Zhukovskii, Dmitrii,  Zimmerman, Judith, 

IDEAS IN CONTEXT Edited by DAVID ARMITAGE, RICHARD BOURKE, JENNIFER PITTS and JOHN ROBERTSON .  , . .  and   (eds.) Philosophy in History Essays in the Historiography of Philosophy PB  . . . .  Virtue, Commerce and History Essays on Political Thought and History, Chiefly in the Eighteenth Century PB  . . .  Private Vices, Public Benefits Bernard Mandeville’s Social and Political Thought HB  .   (ed.) The Languages of Political Theory in Early Modern Europe PB  .   The Judgment of Sense Renaissance Naturalism and the Rise of Aesthetics PB  .   Hegel Religion, Economics and the Politics of Spirit, – PB  .   Christian Humanism and the Puritan Social Order PB  .    Gassendi the Atomist Advocate of History in an Age of Science PB  .   (ed.) Conscience and Casuistry in Early Modern Europe PB 

.   Between Literature and Science The Rise of Sociology PB  .  ,   and  .  (eds.) Political Innovation and Conceptual Change PB  .   et al. The Empire of Chance How Probability Changed Science and Everyday Life PB  .   That Noble Dream The ‘Objectivity Question’ and the American Historical Profession HB  PB  .   The Province of Legislation Determined Legal Theory in Eighteenth-century Britain PB  .   Faces of Degeneration A European Disorder, c.-c. PB  .   Inventing the French Revolution Essays on French Political Culture in the Eighteenth Century PB  .   The Taming of Chance HB  PB  .  ,      (eds.) Machiavelli and Republicanism PB  .   The Origins of American Social Science PB  .    The Rise of Neo-Kantianism German Academic Philosophy between Idealism and Positivism HB 

.   Interpretation and Meaning in the Renaissance The Case of Law HB  PB  .   From Politics to Reason of State The Acquisition and Transformation of the Language of Politics – HB  PB  .    The Political Thought of the Dutch Revolt – HB  PB  .      (eds.) Political Discourse in Early Modern Britain HB  .   An Approach to Political Philosophy: Locke in Contexts HB  PB  .   Philosophy and Government – PB  .   Defining Science William Whewell, Natural Knowledge and Public Debate in Early Victorian Britain HB  PB  .   The Court Artist On the Ancestry of the Modern Artist HB  .  .  Defining the Common Good Empire, Religion and Philosophy in Eighteenth-Century Britain HB  PB  .  .  The Idea of Luxury A Conceptual and Historical Investigation PB 

. . .  The Enlightenment’s ‘Fable’ Bernard Mandeville and the Discovery of Society HB  PB  .   Englishness and the Study of Politics The Social and Political Thought of Ernest Barker HB  PB  .   Strategies of Economic Order German Economic Discourse, – HB  PB  .   The Transformation of Natural Philosophy The Case of Philip Melanchthon HB  PB  .  ,   and   (eds.) Milton and Republicanism HB  PB  .   Classical Humanism and Republicanism in English Political Thought – HB  PB  .   The Social and Political Thought of Bertrand Russell The Development of an Aristocratic Liberalism HB  PB  .  ,  ,   and  .  Otto Neurath Philosophy between Science and Politics HB  .   Riches and Poverty An Intellectual History of Political Economy in Britain, – PB 

.   A History of Sociological Research Methods in America HB  PB  .   (ed.) Enlightenment and Religion Rational Dissent in Eighteenth-Century Britain HB  PB  . . . .  Adversaries and Authorities Investigations into Ancient Greek and Chinese Science HB  PB  .   The Reportage of Urban Culture Robert Park and the Chicago School HB  PB  .   Liberty, Right and Nature Individual Rights in Later Scholastic Thought HB  PB  .  .  (ed.) William Robertson and the Expansion of Empire HB  .   Rousseau and Geneva From the First Discourse to the Social Contract, – HB  PB  .   Pluralism and the Personality of the State HB  PB  .   Early Modern Liberalism HB  PB 

.   Equal Freedom and Utility Herbert Spencer’s Liberal Utilitarianism HB  PB  .       (eds.) Pedagogy and Power Rhetorics of Classical Learning HB  PB  .   The Shaping of Deduction in Greek Mathematics A Study in Cognitive History HB  PB  .  .     (eds.) Models as Mediators Perspectives in Natural and Social Science HB  PB  .   Measurement in Psychology A Critical History of a Methodological Concept HB  PB  .  .  The American Language of Rights HB  PB  .    The Development of Durkheim’s Social Realism HB  PB  .   Political Culture in the Reign of Elizabeth I Queen and Commonwealth – HB  PB 

.   (ed.) Renaissance Civic Humanism Reappraisals and Reflections HB  PB  . ..  Natural Law Theories in the Early Enlightenment HB  PB  .   The Ideological Origins of the British Empire HB  PB  .   Rival Enlightenments Civil and Metaphysical Philosophy in Early Modern Germany HB  PB  .     - (eds.) The History of Political Thought in National Context HB  .   Logic, Signs and Nature in the Renaissance The Case of Learned Medicine HB  .   Elizabethan Rhetoric Theory and Practice HB  PB  .   The Ambitions of Curiosity Understanding the World in Ancient Greece and China HB  PB  .   The Duel in Early Modern England Civility, Politeness and Honour HB  PB 

.   Judaism and Enlightenment HB  PB  .   Humanism and America An Intellectual History of English Colonisation, – HB  .   Self-Interest before Adam Smith A Genealogy of Economic Science HB  PB  .   The Greek Tradition in Republican Thought HB  PB  .   Jesuit Political Thought The Society of Jesus and the State, c.– HB  .   Machiavelli and Empire HB  .   Freedom of Speech in Early Stuart England HB  .   The Case for the Enlightenment Scotland and Naples – HB  PB  .   Locke, Shaftesbury, and Hutcheson Contesting Diversity in the Enlightenment and Beyond HB  .   The Constitutionalist Revolution An Essay on the History of England, – HB 

.   Locke, Language and Early-Modern Philosophy HB  .  ,      (eds.) The Philosopher in Early Modern Europe The Nature of a Contested Identity HB  .   The Worlds of Renaissance Melancholy Robert Burton in Context HB  .   Roman Monarchy and the Renaissance Prince HB  .   Language, Mind and Nature Artificial Languages in England from Bacon to Locke HB  .   The Young Karl Marx German Philosophy, Modern Politics, and Human Flourishing HB  .   Taming the Leviathan The Reception of the Political and Religious Ideas of Thomas Hobbes in England – HB  .   Utilitarianism and the New Liberalism HB  .   The Feminist Avant-Garde Transatlantic Encounters of the Early Twentieth Century HB  .   Lévi-Strauss, Anthropology and Aesthetics HB  .   (ed.) Victorian Visions of Global Order Empire and International Relations in Nineteenth-Century Political Thought HB 

.   The Secularisation of the Confessional State The Political Thought of Christian Thomasius HB  .    Friedrich Nietzsche and the Politics of History HB  .    French Political thought from Montesquieu to Tocqueville Liberty in a Levelled Society? HB  .   Thinking About Property From Antiquity to the Age of Revolution HB  PB  .   The Philosophy of Simone de Beauvoir Ambiguity, Conversion, Resistance HB  .   Liberal Values Benjamin Constant and the Politics of Religion HB  .   Public Philosophy in a New Key Volume : Democracy and Civic Freedom HB  PB  .   Public Philosophy in a New Key Volume : Imperialism and Civic Freedom HB  PB  .   Wealth and Life Essays on the Intellectual History of Political Economy in Britain, – HB  PB  .  - Adam Smith and the Circles of Sympathy Cosmopolitanism and Moral Theory HB 

.   Imperial Sceptics British Critics of Empire – HB  .   The Young Derrida and French Philosophy, – HB  .   Republic of Women Rethinking the Republic of Letters in the Seventeenth Century HB  . . .  Recovering Liberties Indian Thought in the Age of Liberalism and Empire HB  PB  .   Montaigne and the Life of Freedom HB  .   Max Weber in Politics and Social Thought From Charisma to Canonization HB  .   (translated by Ciaran Cronin) Toleration in Conflict Past and Present HB  .   Eucharist and the Poetic Imagination in Early Modern England HB  .   The Italian Renaissance in the German Historical Imagination – HB  .   Liberty Abroad J. S. Mill on International Relations HB  .   Sovereignty, Property and Empire, – HB 

.   Roman Law in the State of Nature The Classical Foundations of Hugo Grotius’ Natural Law HB  .   The Crisis of German Historicism The Early Political Thought of Hannah Arendt and Leo Strauss HB  .    Enlightenment and Utility Bentham in French, Bentham in France HB  .   The Scottish Enlightenment and the French Revolution HB  .   Free Trade and its Enemies in France, – HB  .   Ancient Wisdom in the Age of the New Science HB  .   Italian Renaissance Humanism in the Mirror HB  .   The World of Mr Casaubon Britain’s Wars of Mythography, – HB  .  ö Trust in Early Modern International Political Thought, – HB  .   The Emergence of Modern Aesthetic Theory Religion and Morality in Enlightenment Germany and Scotland HB  .  ’ Utilitarianism in the Age of Enlightenment The Moral and Political Thought of William Paley HB 

.   Parliament the Mirror of the Nation Representation, Deliberation, and Democracy in Victorian Britain HB  .   The History of the Arthaśāstra Sovereignty and Sacred Law in Ancient India HB  .   Parliamentarism From Burke to Weber HB  .   Revolutionary Thought after the Paris Commune, – HB  .  .  Gendering the Renaissance Commonwealth HB  .   Raymond Aron and Liberal Thought in the Age of Extremes HB  .   Counsel and Command in Early Modern English Thought HB  .   Liberal Ideas in Tsarist Russia From Catherine the Great to the Russian Revolution 