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Capitalism in Russia: look of the conservative (prince V.P. Meshchersky)

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capitalism in Russia: look of the conservative (prince of accusative Meshchersky)

Development of capitalism in Russia in the second half of the 19th century led to rapid growth of the industrial cities and generated deep social contradictions. Degradation of the agrarian sector, ruin of landowner and country farms caused a protest both in democratic, and in conservative sections of society. In article the conservative criticism of various aspects of capitalist modernization is considered.

The development of capitalism in Russia in the second part of the 19th century resulted in rapid growth of industrial towns and deep social antagonisms. The degradation of agriculture, devastation of landowners and peasants caused the protest in democratic and conservative circles. This article deals with conservative criticism of different aspects of capitalist modernization.

industrialization, bourgeoisie, peasantry, land nobility, intellectuals, mass society; industrialization, bourgeoisie, peasantry, landlord class, intelligentsia, mass society


Evgenyevich — to. and. N, the associate professor of history of the Russian state agricultural university — MSHA of

K.A. Timiryazeva Ivan

During the first millennium of the existence Russia remained the agrarian, country country. No manufactories spread by Peter I, the state industry serving military needs of the empire could change this fundamental fact essentially. The majority of the Russian cities was much more obliged by the existence to administrative and military needs of the state, than development of trade and craft. The urban population, in number insignificant, on the life and a way of life a little in what differed from rural. Therefore there were no serious reasons for economic contradictions and the sociocultural conflicts between the city and the village. Only the reform of 1861 which finished the serfdom, created conditions for formation of the capitalist relations, for growth of the industrial enterprises and population shift from the village to the city generated considerable tension in their relations.

The Russian social thought vividly responded to these new and difficult processes in country life. The populism, Marxism, the liberal currents gave the answers to the sensitive issues raised by capitalist modernization. These answers reflected expectations of the main classes of society (the peasantry, workers, the bourgeoisie) on behalf of which various directions of social thought acted.

The analysis of contradictions of the present and the image of "bright future" (or more likely "the light past") were offered also by conservatives. Post-reform Russian conservatism is rich with bright names and the original ideas. In the present article we will stop on works of the famous publicist, publisher of the Grazhdanin magazine, the prince V.P. Meshchersky (1839 — 1914). Unlike such pillars of post-reform conservatism as K.P. Pobedonostsev, K.N. Leontyev, M.N. Katkov guarding, first of all, a political regime of autocracy, Meshchersky paid huge attention to social and economic problems of the city and village in the journalism, expressing views of rural landowner estate.

At the beginning of the 20th century, summing up the results of post-reform development of the country, Meshchersky wrote: "In Russia there were kind of two Russia: liberal

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Russia of the capitals and cities which borders come to an end in stations of the railroads, and Russia of common sense beginning outside these lines and city oases disseminated through them". City bourgeois Russia with its artificial habitat, a way of life and even categories of thinking was, according to the prince, is entirely imported from the West. "Other Russia" is Russia agrarian, Russia country, keeping traditional, pre-capitalistic living arrangement. And this "other Russia lives own mind, wishing organization of the life on own understanding, on fundamentals of the history, in aspiration to the ideals... Country (it Christian) Russia calls Christ and asks about organization of the life according to its doctrine, in an acceptable way, on justice, but not on the invented latest theories from which any did not take root to life yet and did not give happiness to mankind" 1.

Drawing a sharp distinction (up to the deepest religious, value conflict — "for Christ" and "against Christ"), Meshchersky unconditionally supports "country", "rural" Russia. In what way did this irreconcilable discord, almost an abyss, in the uniform people arise? Meshchersky began to notice some external signs of the ripening contradictions in the 1860th, observing development of the industry in the province during the trips around the country as the official of special orders of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. A burdensome impression on it was made then by "the Russian Manchester" (Bogorodsk situated near Moscow) where through smoke of factory pipes "illuminated domes and crosses of orthodox churches a little". This eminence of a factory pipe over the church bell tower visibly expressed approach of an industrial and capitalist civilization to foundations of patriarchal old times for Meshchersky. He already then was disturbed by "influence of factories and crafts on destruction of health and corruption of morality" of the people, thus that "our manufacturers are so indifferent to this important question as far as they are not indifferent to increase in the income" 2.

1 V.P. Meshchersky Liberalizm and common sense//Citizen, April 1902, 4, No. 26, page 4.
2 Meshchersky — to Crown Prince Alexander, on June 12, 1867 g/HECTARE - the Russian Federation, t. 677, op. 1, unit hr. 894, l. 238 (about).

However in post-reform Russia, the prince Meshchersky considered, capitalist modernization did not reach "a non-return point" yet. In the West, he wrote, industrial capitalism, an industrial city civilization, perhaps, are the social and economic order which naturally grew in the bowels of society and historically developed, for Russia the capitalism is inorganic and alien as in it other economic laws work absolutely. "It is necessary to recognize — Meshchersky insisted — that Russia economically one in own way state to which to apply the all-European principles and the truth — at least is doubtful". Therefore he considered a course towards capitalist industrialization of Russia deeply wrong and even antinational. "Every time when the interests of agriculture face the interests of industrialists — everything is on the side of these last — "Citizen" was indignant. — Meanwhile, it would be possible to expect the absolutely return because agriculture with us there live more than hundred million, or more than 85 percent of the population".

The main instrument of economic regulation in Russia — the customs tariff — created hothouse conditions to the factory industry at the expense of the agrarian sector. It sparked furious criticism of Meshchersky to the Ministry of Finance. "True protectionism — the prince insisted — has to aspire to an agriculture raising. And it has to be so because Russia is the country mainly agricultural".

From the point of view of Meshchersky, in the patriarchal country the rates of industrialization forced, urged on by an imperious hand, artificial planting of the most advanced modern forms of industrial production are not acceptable. It generates deep disproportions in an economic organism and involves inevitable social cataclysms. The strengthened transfer of means from the agricultural sphere in industrial at the price of ruin of the village leads to undermining reproduction base of the industry: "These 40 years (after reform of 1861 — the Editor's note) we took away from the earth everything almost money, all

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almost intellectual forces, having exhausted the earth and having destroyed all types of land economy, also received in exchange by the beginning of new century in addition to the ruined agriculture — the banks and factories and the plants which are gradually narrowing the production hanging on a thread" 1.

Especially dangerous, from the point of view of Meshchersky, became made by an age of steam and electricity "omassovleny" societies — the phenomenon which is brightly described in the western politological literature of the 20th century. The son became a symbol of invasion of "the mass person" for the prince, owing to the Russian specifics, notorious "kukharkin": "Conservatives, or conservatives, in disputes with progressionists and liberals are divided by the famous kukharkiny son; the first say: why to it to climb upward when it can be useful in the environment; the second with foam at a mouth object: designate old noble legends — the person is ennobled by education, but not origin!. They want the mass of kukharkiny, dvornikovy children to climb on the top of and owing to education took those places which were provided before owing to the education connected to family legends!" On the example of the French bourgeois revolution of 1789 the prince Meshchersky predicted "the end of the state as the nations human" after which "there is its similarity as an ant hill without God, without honor and without the truth!" 2 It write about "Americanized", "to the ill-bred, semi-developed "intellectuals" in which it brings down everything that managed to break from somewhere or is dexterous skrast money" as "money and impudence" — and are the claim raised by it.

1 V.P. Meshchersky. Diary, on July 9//Citizen, July 1901, 12, No. 52, page 21.
2 V.P. Meshchersky. Diary, on February 15//Citizen, February 1894, 16, No. 47, page 3.

From the point of view of Meshchersky, the only exit — to stop burzhuaznokapitalistichesky "progress" which in practice appears regress, "rotting" and to return to landed gentry its natural role of political and cultural elite, having protected it from flow of alien elements and having strengthened its land character. The last was represented to Meshchersky especially important as "the land nobility is, first of all, establishment historical which the inner world of legends and ideals, passing from generation to generation, was formed mainly under the influence of the land tenure attitudes towards the country population surrounding it, having with the world of the merchant or manufacturer on the party nothing in common". The mission of the nobleman is to be the barin and at the same time the authoritative head of the people.

In earth fortress the prince saw a source of conservative potential of the land nobility which the mobile city layers applying for leadership (the bourgeoisie, the intellectuals) connected with manipulation of signs are deprived: goods and money — some, words and texts — others.

the Sociological analysis of development of post-reform Russian society which is contained in V.P. Meshchersky's articles is of undoubted interest as attempt of conservative judgment of modernization processes in the second half of the 19th century. This analysis contains many deep observations and a tag of criticism of painful manifestations of capitalist transformation on the Russian soil, opens the sharp conflict between violently growing industrial city and the depressive, "becoming scanty" village.

Massari Francesca Olivia
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