Saturday, July 29, 2023

For Russians, Liberalism isn’t Antithetical to Imperialism in Part Because of Their Belief in the Universalistic Nature of Their Culture, Kalinin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 23 – Many non-Russians have been outraged by what they see as the imperialistic views of ethnic Russians who call themselves liberals. For non-Russians, liberalism and imperialism are antithetical, but for Russians, they are not, at least in part because of Russian beliefs in the universalism of their culture, Ilya Kalinin says.

            This faith in the universalism of Russian culture can be positive, the Russian historian at Princeton University says, in that it makes Russian culture attractive to many. But when combined with the state-centric view of Russians about their history, it can lead to imperialism (

            And because this imperialism is wrapped up with a worshipful attitude toward Russian culture as such, Russian liberals often are just as imperialist as political figures like Vladimir Putin who may care far less about culture than they do and leave them as his allies on questions regarding both revolutions and the rights of other nations. 

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