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Journal Article

Empire by Consent: Strakhov, Dostoevskii, and the Polish Uprising of 1863

Edyta M. Bojanowska
Slavic Review
Vol. 71, No. 1 (SPRING 2012), pp. 1-24
DOI: 10.5612/slavicreview.71.1.0001
Stable URL:
Page Count: 24

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Topics: Russian culture, Slavic culture, Nationalism, Countries, Government, Exile, Biography, War, Democracy, Serfdom
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Empire by Consent: Strakhov, Dostoevskii, and the Polish Uprising of 1863
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Abstract In this article Edyta Bojanowska explores the circumstances surrounding the publication, in 1863 in the Dostoevskii brothers’ journal Vremia, of a pro-Polish article by Nikolai Strakhov that led to the journal’s closing. Bojanowska argues against accepting Strakhov’s and Fedor Dostoevskii’s retroactive explanations that the article was misunderstood. She analyzes Strakhov’s article and the entire issue of Vremia in which it appeared and finds a consistent message in both: that Russia should withdraw from Poland, where imperial success would be either unlikely or too costly, shift its attention from imperial expansion to a domestic agenda, and restructure the empire into one based on the constituent populations’ consent. Given Dostoevskii’s endorsement of Strakhov’s article and his hands-on editorial work on Vremia, this affair suggests a tolerant and pragmatic phase in Dostoevskii’s imperial ideology that contrasts with the militant imperialistic punditry of his later period.

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