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Ministry of Darkness: How Sergei Uvarov Created Conservative Modern Russia

Lesley Chamberlain

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Bloomsbury
31 October 2019
History; Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900
There is nothing new about the Russian conservatism Putin stands for, acclaimed writer Lesley Chamberlain argues. Rather, as Ministry of Darkness reveals, the roots of Russian conservatism can be traced back to the 19th century when Count Uvarov's notorious cry of 'Orthodoxy, Autocracy, Nationality!' rang through the streets of Russia.

Sergei Uvarov was no straightforward conservative; indeed, this man was at once both the pioneering educational reformer who founded the Arzamas Writers' Club to which Pushkin belonged, and the Minister who tyrannised and censored Russia's literary scene. How, then, do we reconcile such extreme contradictions in one person? Through Chamberlain's intimate examination of Uvarov's life and skilled analysis of Russian conservatism, readers learn how the many paradoxes that dominated Uvarov's personal and political life are those which, writ large, have forged the identity of conservative modern Russia and its relationship with the West.

This fascinating book sheds new light on an often overlooked historical actor and offers a timely assessment of the 19th-century 'Russian predicament'. In doing so, Chamberlain teases out the reasons why the country continues to baffle Western observers and policymakers, making this essential reading both students of Russian history and those who want to further understand Russia as it is today.
By:   Lesley Chamberlain
Imprint:   Bloomsbury
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 156mm, 
Weight:   506g
ISBN:   9781350116689
ISBN 10:   1350116688
Pages:   328
Publication Date:   31 October 2019
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Lesley Chamberlain is an independent scholar and novelist. She is the author of a number of critically acclaimed books, including Arc of Utopia: The Beautiful Story of the Russian Revolution (2017), The Philosopher Steamer: Lenin and the Exile of the Intelligentsia (2006), Motherland: A Philosophical History of Russia (2004) and Nietzsche in Turin (1996).

Reviews for Ministry of Darkness: How Sergei Uvarov Created Conservative Modern Russia

Too long dismissed as a cartoon reactionary villain, Sergei Uvarov emerges in the pages of Chamberlain's fascinating biography as a contradictory figure who, in the shadows cast by Europe's revolutionary upheavals, grappled with the apparently incompatible demands of internal stability and cultural progress. Essential reading for anyone interested in the history of Russia's tortured relationship with the West. * Dr Daniel Beer, Royal Holloway University, University of London, UK * A wise, nuanced, and admirably readable work of intellectual history, this book is indispensable for anyone wishing to understand the complexities and contradictions of Russian conservatism. * Dr Rachel Polonsky, University of Cambridge, UK * Lesley Chamberlain's portrait of Sergei Uvarov is a marvel of erudition and elegance. Her study of the 19th-century Tsarist minister of education reveals a complex and compelling figure whose life, which combined great power and even greater impotence, anticipates the tragic predicament of contemporary Russia and those who seek to reform it. * Prof Robert Zaretsky, University of Houston, USA *


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