Denken over Rusland : Europese beschouwingen over de grote hervormingen, 1861-1881

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Denken over Rusland : Europese beschouwingen over de grote hervormingen, 1861-1881

Type: Doctoral Thesis
Title: Denken over Rusland : Europese beschouwingen over de grote hervormingen, 1861-1881
Author: Kern, Johan Hendrik Caspar
Publisher: Uitgevrij Pegasus, Amsterdam
Faculty of the Humanities, Leiden University
Issue Date: 2008-12-04
Keywords: European image of Russia
Russian late-imperial history
Russian Studies
The Great Reforms (1861)
Tsar Alexander II (1855-1881)
Abstract: The theme of this dissertation relates to the perception of Russia as this is evidenced in European reflections on the Great Reforms in Russia during the period from 1861 to 1881, under the rule of Tsar Alexander II. The Russian Empire had suffered a humiliating defeat in the Crimean War (1853-1856) by a coalition of modern Western powers. As a result, the Russian government felt compelled to introduce drastic reforms in order to modernise the country. The authorities sought to maintain the autocratic political system by incorporating elements borrowed from Western types of societies. This attracted a new generation of Western observers and researchers who strove for a more empiric factual knowledge and a more realistic understanding of Russia. Journalists and scholars spent several months, or even years, in Russia, learned the language, made personal contacts with Russians and studied official and unofficial sources to improve their knowledge of the contemporary situation. They also published their findings in the different countries of Europe, both in popular and in more scientific works. The images presented in these works ensured a certain demythologizing of Russia and contributed to the formation of a richer and more refined image of the Russians than previously. In this way, these works lay the foundation for the subsequent systematic and scholarly study of Russia .
Description: Promotor: M.E.H.N. Mout, Co-promotor: C. Musterd
With summary in English
Faculty: Faculteit der Letteren
Citation: Kern, J.H.C., 2008, Doctoral thesis, Leiden University
Series/Report no.: Pegasus Oost-Europese Studies ; 15

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