A Russian intellectual in the Ottoman Empire : Konstantin N Leontiev (1831-1891) on the Eastern question
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This thesis intends to analyze the ideas of a nearly forgotten Russian intellectual, Konstantin Nikolaevich Leontiev on the Eastern Question in the light of his opinions on democracy, liberalism, nationalism, and the East-West dichotomy. Leontiev spent nearly ten years in various parts of the Ottoman Empire as a diplomat, where he had made noteworthy comments about international politics, as well as interesting observations about the Balkan peoples. Leontiev’s political utopia, namely Byzantinism, was formed during his diplomatic service. Byzantinism came into being as a result of the interaction of various aesthetic and religious elements with Leontiev’s unique theory of history. It may be claimed that at the basis of Leontiev’s approach to politics, history, and iv religion laid a theory of aestheticism. Leontiev, in line with his historical theory explaining the rise and fall of civilizations, underlined the necessity for Russia to hold fast to the Byzantine heritage in order to escape from cultural decline. The anti-nationalist but theocratic Byzantinist discourse, accompanied by aesthetic considerations, is instrumental in understanding his approach to the Eastern Question, the Ottoman Empire, and its peoples, particularly, Turks, Greeks, and Bulgarians. Leontiev’s conservative utopia, though it is far from desirable, presents a sui generis assessment of the theoretical deficiencies of such concepts like nationalism, democracy, and liberalism.
Philosophy of history
D374 .U74 2008
Eastern question (Balkan)