Volume 38, 2008
Philosophy of History
Crisis of the Tradition
Russian Conservative Thought from West to East
Theorists of the Russian conservatism have made a considerable contribution to the development of axiology, the philosophy of history and comparativistics. In their studies of the local civilisations existing at different times and at different places they have focused on the dynamics of their origin, development, collapse or transformation into new civilisational forms. The best known slavophiles such as A. Khomyakov, K. Axakov, I. Kireyevskiy saw the mission of the Russian civilisation in synthesising Europe and Russia which has preserved the true Christianity – the Orthodoxy. According to N. Danilevskiy, the founder of the culturohistorical school of thought, Europe has an irreconcilable hostility towards Russia. He proves that Europe and Russia are two different culturohistorical
types (local civilisations). He understood Russia’s mission as that of unification of Slavic peoples. K. Leontiev develops the so-called theory of Byzantism, according to which the West is doomed and Russia will be saved thanks to its Orthodoxy and the oriental despotism underlying its statehood. He advocates a merger between Russian and oriental traditions. From the point of view of the proponents of the Eurasian theory such as P. Savitskiy, N. Trubetskoy, etc., the merger has already occurred, so Russians should be viewed as Eurasians and Russia as a Eurasian civilisation. Russian thinkers were criticising the so-called Eurocentrism in their efforts to prove that progress should be measured not only by the accumulation of material wealth, but also by the development of various spiritual aspects of human beings. The anthroposociogenesis does not have any predetermined patterns, its development is of co-evolutionary, often broken, discrete nature.