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The Controversy about the Problem of Russification in the Conservative Press in Moscow in the 1860s

Научные исследования: 


For citation: Kruglikova Olga S. (2016) Obsuzhdenie voprosa o rusifikatsii inoetnicheskikh okrain Rossiyskoy Imperii v moskovskoy konservativnoy pechati 1860-kh gg. [The controversy about the problem of Russification in the conservative press in Moscow in the 1860s]. Mediaskop 4. Available at:


© Olga S. Kruglikova
PhD in Philology, Associate Professor at the Chair of Journalism History, Saint Petersburg State University (St. Petersburg, Russia),



The national question has always been acture in the multi-ethnic Russian state. The ethnic contradictions that had been accumulating in the course of history left their imprint on the mentality of the peoples inhabiting the empire. In today's political context of the post-Soviet space the traces of these contradictions continue to create points of political tension and sometimes military confrontation. Therefore, it seems extremely relevant to study the national policy of the Russian Empire, including the aspect of media perception and reflection of the issue of the other ethnic regions' Russification.

In this article this issue is analysed on the basis of publications of the most popular conservative Moscow editions of the 1860s. The purpose of the study, conducted by a comparative historical method, was the analysis of conservative publicists' (supporters of strong centralized statehood) comprehension of the main features of the national policy in post-reform Russia. Based on the study of texts of periodicals and literature relating to this period, the memoirs and correspondence of Moscow conservative publicists M.N. Katkov, I.S. Aksakov, Yu.F. Samarin and their contemporaries, as well as a wide range of studies on the history of post-reform Russia and Russian journalism, the author comes to the following conclusions.

The policy of the Empire regarding the national question was part of a complex set of foreign policy intrigues. The states that competed with Russia on the international political arena were willing to use the inciting ethnic hatred as an instrument of weakening the Russian empire. Therefore, the issue of preventing interethnic conflicts was considered by conservatives in close connection with the issue of preserving the political sovereignty of the Empire.

Russification was considered to be a possible instrument of conflict prevention, although there was no unity in defining this term, different publicists and statesmen proposed various, sometimes completely contradictory measures for the russification of foreign ethnic areas. The policy of the government on this issue was marked by fluctuations, which constantly fueled the discussion in the press on the issue of political and cultural interaction of foreign ethnicities with the imperial center.

Keywords: Russification, the national question in the Russian Empire, the uprising in Poland in 1863, the conservative Russian press.



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