Who Speaks the Truth? Writers vs . Lawyers

In the study of Russian civil society before the Revolution, what a researcher discovers depends on whose viewpoint is accepted as most authoritative. For example, the judicial reforms implemented in the 1860s and the tsarist-era Dumas are historical facts, but their civic legacy has been evaluated in fundamentally different ways. If you look through the eyes of eloquent lawyers active in the courts, zemstvos, and the parliament, you see an incredible burst of energy for the public good and a passionate search for truth and justice during trials and at public meetings. If, however, you look through the lens of Russia’s most revered writers – a more common path for readers both inside Russia and abroad – what you see are study circles that accomplished nothing, salons that were a ‘vanity fair’, courtrooms where legal careerism triumphed over the common good, and a parliament whose ultimate accomplishment was the destruction of a thousand-year old civilization. Who speaks the truth?

Imperial Retrospect: Peter the Great’s Ideologists Look Back on Kyiv

This paper is part of a much larger project that examines the cohort of Ukrainian (or Ruthenian) clerical hierarchs who were trained at the Kyivan Academy and abroad n the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, but who went on to serve in the Muscovite Church. Collectively they constituted the backbone of diocesan administration in Russia during the first four decades of the eighteenth century as well as participating actively in important monastic institutions. Of greater relevance here is the impact that a handful of them had upon the formation of political ideology during Peter’s reign, especially once empire was officially declared in 1721. The two towering figures in this process, Stefan Iavorskii and Feofan Prokopovich are extremely well known and they continue to attract the attention of scholars. Although they came from somewhat different generations (Iavorskii was older), and over time developed a bitter rivalry, they each participated actively in presiding over the reconfiguration (what Ernst Zitser has termed the “transfiguration”) of notions of divine sanction, sovereignty, casesaropapism, succession, and the like. After the death of the last patriarch, Adrian, in 1702 each in succession emerged as the leader of the Russian Orthodox even though neither of them held the formal title as such.

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