MOKSHIN G.N. “Cultral” or “Kulturnichesky” Populism? (on the Meaning of Concepts in the History of Russian Populist Studies)

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2016.1.8

Gennadiy Nikolaevich Mokshin

Doctor of Sciences (History), Professor, Department of Russian History,

Voronezh State University

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Universitetskaya Sq., 1, 394006 Voronezh, Russian Federation.


Abstract. The article is devoted to the origin and content of the concept of “cultural” and “kulturnichesky” populism in the Russian populist studies.

Both terms appeared in the early twentieth century to refer to the right wing of the liberal populism. But they reflect different interpretations of the populist ideology: wide (of populism) and narrow (of marxism). The term “cultural populism” (originated from “cultural work”) reflects the desire of right-wing populists to create sociocultural prerequisites for changing the existing social order. The term “kulturnichesky populism” (from the German “kulturträger”), by the recognition of the Marxists themselves, was designed to discredit the populist program of social work in the countryside, allegedly aimed at reconciliation with reality.

Most modern scholars following the tradition continue to use the concept of “kulturnichesky populism” and “cultural work”, sharing their biased interpretation. Not by chance in the scientific and educational literature, culturalpopulism direction is still associated with indifference with respect to political life and at the same time petty-bourgeois liberalism. According to the author, this approach not only distorts the ideas of populists-uplifters but also diminishes their contribution to the development of populist ideas of 1880-1890s. Therefore, for specialists in the history of legal populism it is recommended to use a more correct terms “cultural populism” and “cultural work”.

Key words: populist studies, populism, kulturnichestvo, “cultural populism”, “cultural work”, theory of “small deeds”.

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“Cultral” or “Kulturnichesky” Populism? (on the Meaning of Concepts in the History of Russian Populist Studies) by Mokshin G.N. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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