The Origin of Russian Communism

The Origin of Russian Communism

The Origin of Russian Communism

The Origin of Russian Communism

Excerpt

Russian Communism is difficult to on account of its twofold nature. On the one hand it is international and a world phenomenon; on the other hand it is national and Russian. It is particularly important for Western minds to understand the national roots of Russian Communism and the fact that it was Russian history which determined its limits and shaped its character. A knowledge of Marxism will not help in this. The Russian people in their spiritual make-up are an Eastern people. Russia is the Christian East, which was for two centuries subject to the powerful influences of the West, and whose cultured classes assimilated every Western idea. The fate of the Russian people in history has been an unhappy one and full of suffering. It has developed at a catastrophic tempo through interruption and change in its type of civilization.

In spite of the opinion of the Slavophils it is impossible to find an organic unity in Russian history. The Russians held sway over too vast an expanse of territory--the danger from the East, from the Tartar invasions (from which it protected the West as well), was too great. And the danger from the West itself was also great.

We distinguish five different Russias in history: the Russia dominated by Kiev, the Russia of the Tartar period, the Russia of the Moscow period, the imperial Russia of Peter and finally the new Soviet Russia. It would not be true to say that Russia is a land of new culture, that not long ago she was still half barbarous; in a definite sense Russia is a land of ancient culture. The Russia of the Kiev period gave birth to a higher culture than that of the contemporary West. Already in the fourteenth century there existed . . .

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