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date: 15 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

A peculiarity of the right in imperial Russia was the weakness of conservatism—that portion of the right which equates national identity with the currently dominant cultural values and social hierarchies. Instead, the Russian right was more often palingenetic, that is, it looked to the state to revitalize a nation whose potential was allegedly stifled by the very same cultural values and social hierarchies that conservatives embraced. Russia and its people appeared to lack the rootedness and the matrix of organically evolved local and communal identities that were central to conservatism’s socio-political vision elsewhere. Russians were drawn instead to Utopian schemes resting on palingenetic notions that the nation was capable of, indeed in need of, a ‘regeneration’ that hinged on remaking the collective and individual consciousness. Palingenetic nationalism proved to be a revolutionary force that both destabilized Russia itself and became one of the country’s most explosive exports.

Keywords: conservatism, nationalism, palingenesis, Utopianism, Westernization, public opinion, organic development

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