“Chieftain” Subculture in Russia in Search of Historical Alternatives

Russian Journal of Philosophical Sciences 62 (4):7-24 (2019)
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Abstract

The article examines the views of the prominent Russian politician and publicist Vasily Vitalyevich Shulgin, whom the author considers to be the largest ideologist of the “chieftain” political subculture in Russian political culture. Following Shulgin, the author distinguishes two fundamentally different models of power: “monarchical” type of power and “chieftain” type of power. V.V. Shulgin was one of the first Russian thinkers who, after Alexander Pushkin and Sergei Solovyov, considered the “golden age” of the Russian society to be under the rule of “leaders-heroes”. Shulgin explained many of the problems of Russian statehood revealed in the early 20th century by the degradation of the Russian ruling class and specifically the Romanov dynasty. Under these conditions, the national leader P.A. Stolypin, able to bring the country out of crisis by evolution, had appeared “next to the monarch,” but he has not been appreciated by Russian society and it has caused a national catastrophe. The First World War has accelerated the degradation of the Russian government. The “democratic forces” that came to power in Russia for a short time could not nominate a new “leader” from their ranks. Shulgin foresaw that “intermediate figures” like the White generals or the Red diarchy of Lenin and Trotsky would eventually give way to the autocratic rule of an all-Russian “Chief,” who would combine the ideology of the Whites and the will of the Reds.

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Aysun Kara
Istanbul University

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