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Article

“From Top Down” and “from Bottom Up” Factors of Inversions in Russian History

Explanation of inversions in Russian history causes major conceptual problems. The traditionally used conceptual apparatus and its theoretical schemes does not seem to really “grasp” this reality, at best, it only describes the Russian reality to some extent. It simply fails to capture the nature and mechanisms that lie in the specifics of Russian society and its dynamics. Hence, there are widespread conclusions about “pathology,” historical “rut,” constant matrix, and endless reproduction of the “predetermined” characteristics of social life in Russia. However, expanding the conceptual apparatus with a constructive approach, combined with a specific historical approach, makes it possible to single out more than one agent of modernization processes (political elite, merged with state authorities), but at least two – authority and society taken discreetly. From this point of view, the inverse nature of Russian modernization has two causes. One of these is social, associated with the peculiarities of Russian society, where underdeveloped social forces are dominated by the imperious will. The second cause is related to modernization attempts based on external historical experience. However, due to the former cause, these attempts turn out to be premature and ill-conceived, giving rise to new conflicts and deformations in society. Both causes are complementary and intertwined. At the same
time, there are general civilizational processes, such as urbanization and formation of a mass society, modernization processes in Russian society, including the formation of national identity. This creates prerequisites for a qualitative change in the development of society. If the main factors of inversion “from top down” are hasty and imitative, then doing things “from bottom up” presupposes slow development of the middle class, which, nevertheless, creates conditions for real mediation.