Synopses & Reviews
Russian Conservatism and Its Critics provides the first account of Russiaand#8217;s immemorial commitment to the theory and practice of autocracy, the most formative and powerful idea in Russiaand#8217;s political history. Richard Pipes considers why Russian thinkers, statesmen, and publicists have historically always argued that Russia could prosper only under an autocratic regime.Beginning with an insightful study of the origins of Russian statehood in the Middle Ages, when the state grew out of the princely domain but was not distinguished from it, Russian Conservatism and Its Critics includes a masterful survey of Russiaand#8217;s major conservative thinkers and demonstrates how conservatism is the dominant intellectual legacy of Russia. Pipes examines the geographical, historical, political, military, and social realities of the Russian empireand#151;fundamentally unchanged by the Revolution of 1917and#151;that have traditionally convinced its rulers and opinion leaders that decentralizing political authority would inevitably result in the countryand#8217;s disintegration. Pipes has written a brilliant thesis and analysis of a hitherto overlooked aspect of the Russian intellectual tradition that continues to have significance to this day.
"This book fills a blank space in the English language literature on Russia, and it is also a summation of Pipes's own views on the course of Russian history."and#8212;Professor Marc Raeff, Columbia University, Emeritus
and#8220;Concise and lucid. . . . It provides an illuminating outline of Russian history. . . .and#8221;
Why have Russians chosen unlimited autocracy throughout their history? Why is democracy unable to flourish in Russia?
About the Author
is Baird Professor of History Emeritus, Harvard University. He is the author or editor of more than twenty books, including Vixi: Memoirs of a Non-Belonger, The Degaev Affair: Terror and Treason in Tsarist Russia,
and The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive,
all published by Yale University Press.