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Book chapter

The Political Language of the Europeanized Military Elite in the Early Nineteenth Century: The Unpublished Diary and Letters of Vasilii Viazemskii

P. 176-196.
Translator: А. Иосад.

The economic weakness of the state, the dimensions of the country, and the lack of effective communications in the end of 18th century in Russia made centraliazed control all but impossible and endowed Russian officers with full responsability for the everyday life of their units. Such relative interdepence, as demonstrated in Mikhail Velizhev's contribution, which is based on the unpublished diaries of General Vasilii Viazemskii, provided more social space for independent thinking than many institutions of civil society. It quite possibly contributed to Russian officer's ability to withstand the challenges of military campaigns. In Viazemskii's cse, both his critical attitude to current authorities including the tsar and his fervent patriotism were magnified by the fact that his brigade was stationed outside the country. Velizhev concludes that it is in the army that one ought to search for the early symptoms of a developing public sphere in Russia.