The Russian Demonrnby Wayne AllensworthrnIn the year 1818, Aleksandr Pushkin penned these lines inrnhis well-known verse “To Chaadaev,” addressed to his friendrnPeter Chaadaev, one of the leading Russian liberals of thernperiod:rnComrade, believe: joy’s star will leaprnUpon our sight, a radiant token;rnRussia will rouse from her long sleep;rnAnd where autocracy lies, broken.rnOur names shall yet be graven deep.rnThough associated in his youth with the clandestine reformistrnorganizations that came to be called the “Decembrists” afterrnthe failed anti-Czarist revolt of December 1825, Chaadaevrncame to doubt that Russia would ever “rouse from her longrnsleep.” He became profoundly pessimistic about the future ofrnhis country, so pessimistic that he would one day write in hisrnPhilosophical Letters that Russia had “given nothing to thernworld.” Russia, he thought in the late 1820’s and early 30’s, hadrn”contributed nothing to the progress of the human spirit. Andrnwe have disfigured everything we have touched of thatrnprogress.”rnFrom the pessimism of the early Chaadaev, the radical intelligentsiarnof 19th-century Russia moved to outright Russophobia,rna hatred and fear of all things distinctly Russian. In fact,rnV.S. Pecherin, a Moscow University professor whose views werernquite similar to Chaadaev’s (he left Russia for good in 1836),rnwrote this bit of verse that foreshadowed the development ofrnWayne Allensworth writes from Purcellville, Virginia.rnRussophobia within Russia itself:rnHow sweet it is to hate one’s countryrnAnd eagedy await her destructionrnAnd to see in the destruction of one’s countryrnThe dawn of a world reborn.rnRussian liberalism and radicalism had grown from the seedsrnplanted by the Petrine reforms of the late 17th and early 18thrncenturies. Peter, Czar of Russia from 1682 to 1725 (he took thernmore Western-sounding title “Emperor” in 1721), had recognizedrnthat “Westernization,” in this case the centralization ofrnpolitical power and a modernization of the military, as well asrnof trade, industry, and education, was necessary if Russia werernnot to be either dominated by the Western powers or isolatedrnand left out of the Great Came of European imperialism. Hisrnopening of a “window to the West,” however, opened up Russiarnto an intellectual and ideological ferment that the “revoluti(rn3nary Czar” had not intended. Like Peter himself, thernnascent Russian intelligentsia traveled to Europe (Chaadaevrnhad sojourned there for three years, 1823-1826), borrowing especiallyrnthe intellectual framework of the German RomanticrnIdealists, among whom Hegel eventually became the most importantrnfor Russian thinkers of the first half of the 19th century.rnIt is this intellectual, cultural, and sociopolitical “Westernization”rnthat the conservative historian Nikolai Karamzin hadrnin mind when he wrote, disapprovingly, that during Peter’srnreign “We began to be citizens of the worid, but we ceased inrnsome measure to be citizens of Russia.”rnThe intellectual encounter with the German romantics, asrn22/CHRONICLESrnrnrn