Accepted Paper:

The image of Europe among Russian political and intellectual elites  


Andrés Barrera-González (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)

Paper short abstract:

The paper explores ideas and images of Europe andthe Europeans held by intellectual and political elites in Russia. It aims at setting up a general framework for the analysis of a recurrent theme in Russia's history: how Russians perceive themselves as a nation, in the mirror of the Western Other.

Paper long abstract:

The purpose of this paper is to look at the ideas and the images of Europe and the Europeans (and the Western world more generally) held by intellectual and political elites in Russia along the last two or three centuries. Given the limited span of a workshop paper, I will aim at just setting a general framework for the analysis of a theme which is recurrent in Russia's Modern and Contemporary history, through the selection of a sample of issues and characters in this Russian national identity drama.

Thus, the paper will elicit images and ideas of Europe and the West as conveyed in the writings of a few intellectuals and political rulers, the great Russian novelists and artists, and selected more popular or <i>folk</i> productions.

Moreover, in looking at the ideas and images held by Russians about Europe (and the West), we would be amassing loads of empirical evidence as regards how the Russians see themselves as a nation. For Europe (the West) is a reference of crucial importance in defining Russia's national identity in the Modern era. Consequently, this paper will also yield, eventually, a summary interpretation about Russian collective identities over time and in different contexts. Namely, as they reflect in the mirror of Europe and the diverse Western nations.

Panel W064
The idea and the image of Europe in the world