Reports Of Liberalism’s Death


The liberals had been and nonetheless are the ideologists of the bourgeoisie, which may reconcile itself to serfdom but is afraid of revolution, is afraid of the mass movement which might be capable of overthrowing the monarchy and abolishing the rule of the landowners. The consolidation of revolutionary forces within the Zemlia i Volia (Land and Freedom) group and within the Polish Uprising of 1863–64 sharpened the demarcation between liberalism and the revolutionary democrats and contributed to the evolution of Russian liberalism into an unbiased present. The shaping of the ideology of Russian liberalism started in the late 1830’s with disputes between the Westernizers and the Slavophiles over the country’s future improvement. “Accusatory literature,” which criticized officers and specific administrative shortcomings but which did not cope with the foundations of the system of autocracy, acquired considerable affect in liberal journals (Morskoi sbornik, Russkii vestnik, and Otechestvennye zapiski, for example).

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