Russian Autocratic System of Rule

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2007.03.04
For citation:

Lipkin A.I. Russian Autocratic System of Rule . – Polis. Political Studies. 2007. No. 3. P. 39-52. (In Russ.).


The article offers an attempt to present a system of notions required for an adequate description of cyclic processes in Russian political history of the 18th – 20th centuries. The author’s concept emphasizes two main points. First, that Russia belongs to the autocratic system of rule, typical for non-European societies, which is based on masses (peasant masses initially and urban – nowadays) that always delegate responsibility for state government to a tsar, who creates the estate of agents (nobles as the tsar’s servants) for administering the masses. Second, that these agents become accustomed to Western culture and education, based on anti-autocratic ideals of individual freedom and law; it was an objective process of “catching-up” Europe in the military and technological spheres since the 18th century. As a result, this autocratic system began to swing between (1) reforms under the slogan “Russia is a European state”, which are useful for the process of catching-up, but unhealthy for autocracy-type system of rule, and (2) counter-reforms under the slogan “Russia is not Europe”, which are useful for the latter, but unhealthy for the former. And the stability of this swinging (in the agent stratum mainly) of the autocratic system of rule is based on masses.

Content No. 3, 2007

See also:

Dubovtsev V.A., Rozov N.S.,
The Nature of «Russian Power»: from Metaphors to a Conception. – Polis. Political Studies. 2007. No3

Pastukhov V.B.,
Sombre Age (Post-Communism as a “Black Hole” of Russian History). – Polis. Political Studies. 2007. No3

Chirikova A.Ye.,
The Power Vertical in the Estimation of Regional Elites: Dynamics of Changes. – Polis. Political Studies. 2008. No6

THESAURUS. – Polis. Political Studies. 1992. No1

Alekseyeva T.A.,
Reflections on modern world politics. – Polis. Political Studies. 2010. No3



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