Wilson Center Experts

Pal Kolsto

Short-Term Grant
Kennan Institute

Expertise:
Russia and Eurasia
;
Russia
Affiliation:
, University of Oslo
Wilson Center Project(s):
Ex Oriente Lux: Slavophil Elements in the Thinking of Some Russian ’Universalists’
Term:
Nov 01, 1985
-
Nov 01, 1985

Project Summary

This project explored the tradition of Slavophil ’kruzjok’ in Moscow, concentrating on the influences of A Khomyakov, I Kireyevsky and Kaksakov, whose work developed a concept of Russia independent of the West. Their work sought to place Western thought within a Russian context so that it wasn’t adapted blindly. Dr. Kolsto’s work seeks to widen the spectrum of the academic focus, noting that even critics (M Bakunin, A Herzen, Vl Solovyov, L Tolstoy and Vl Lenin) occassionally have supported the Slavophil tradition. In this regard, the boundary between Slavophil and universalist thinking needs to be further investigated. Dr. Kolsto proposed to explain why the Slovophil idea was powerful enough for use among it opponents, asking do their nationalistic statements express sincere convictions, or are they merely ploys to make the audience more receptive to anarchism, catholicism, tolstoyanism or marxism? Dr. Kolsto was primarily occupied at the Library of Congress during his grant, discovering books that were hiterto unknown to him, yet of great use. In addition, he visited local Byzantine and Orthodox centers, collecting a great wealth of material that promised to be useful.