Russian Sociological Review 13 (2):25-32 (2014)

The paper briefly analyzes the main aspects of the interest in Ottoman agenda in the Russian intellectual environment during the 19–20th centuries. It pays attention to the Orientalist nature of this interest and its interrelation to the application of Orientalist models of description to the Russian agenda when an “internal observer” identified her/himself with “the West”. The comparison of the Russian Empire and the Ottoman Empire in Russia rarely went beyond oppositions, whereas describing the Ottoman Empire Russian observers allowed convergences and analogies built, however, on the essential mal-synchronization: the position of the observer in this case appealed to Russia’s past, whereas in the present Empires were treated as incommensurable. Turning to the history of “Young Ottomans” we are able to emphasize the closeness of issues related to the formation and status of “imperial nation”. The paper mainly focuses on the development of the conceptual apparatus. The transit of concepts in the Ottoman Empire during 1850-1870’s is characterized by the simultaneous presence of a wide range of alternative options to form a new political unity, which in the case of Western European social thought evolved over a considerable period of time and were consistent. In the Turkish thought these conceptions were present not only almost concurrently, but often in the works of the same author
Keywords Young Ottomans   nationalism   Ottoman Empire   Turks   imperial nation   Orientalism
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