Gayda Fyodor

Ideas about the mission of “intelligentsia” in russian public thought of the second half of the 19th — early 20th centuries

Gayda Fyodor (2020) "Ideas about the mission of “intelligentsia” in russian public thought of the second half of the 19th — early 20th centuries ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia II : Istoriia. Istoriia Russkoy Pravoslavnoy Tserkvi, 2020, vol. 95, pp. 53-69 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturII202095.53-69


The article studies the ideas about the mission of the “intelligentsia” that developed in Russian public thought in the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries. This question has not yet been suffi ciently studied in a rich historiographic tradition devoted to the topic of the Russian intelligentsia. This topic remains largely journalistic. However, this issue turned out to be fundamentally important in the context of selfidentifi cation of the “intelligentsia” already at the end of the 19th century. The author of the article considers the formation of relevant ideas among thinkers of the conservative, liberal and socialist directions. The article concludes that discussions about the “intelligentsia” were primarily based on diff erent ideas about its attitude to the people. Both conservative “pochvenniki” (I. S. Aksakov, N. Ya. Danilevsky), and moderate liberals (A. D. Gradovsky), and socialist “narodniki” (G. I. Uspensky, N. K. Mikhailovsky) insisted on the enlightening duty of “intelligentsia”. Without this, this, the “intelligentsia” lost its meaning. Enlightenment was understood in a predominantly ideological sense. The very concept of “intelligentsia” in the discussions was revised, i.e. instead of an “educated society”, it turned into a “bearer of ideas”. Secular understanding was supplemented by religious in the early twentieth century (V. A. Ternavtsev, D. S. Merezhkovsky, Vyach. I. Ivanov, A. A. Blok, S. N. Bulgakov). In this new conception, the “intelligentsia” was to be completely transformed. Nevertheless, the transformation would preserve its leading social role for the “new intelligentsia”.


Russian intelligentsia, I. S. Aksakov, G. I. Uspensky, N. K. Mikhailovsky, V. A. Ternavtsev, D. S. Merezhkovsky, S. N. Bulgakov


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Information about the author

Gayda Fyodor

Academic Degree: Doctor of Sciences* in History;
Academic Rank: Associate Professor;
Place of work: St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University for Humanities; 6/1 Likhov per., Moscow, Russian Federation;
Post: Leading Researcher;
ORCID: 0000-0001-9586-8010;
Email: fyodorgayda@gmail.com.

*According to ISCED 2011, a post-doctoral degree called Doctor of Sciences (D.Sc.) is given to reflect second advanced research qualifications or higher doctorates.