The influence of the French conservatives to the reception of the image of Napoleon I in Russia (on the example of the study of the epistolary heritage of Joseph de Maistre)

The article presents the analysis of the evolution of the image of Napoleon Bonaparte in Russia under the influence of the ideological principles of Joseph de Maistre, the French conservative leader, who was on a diplomatic mission at the Russian court in 1803-1817. It is important to note that this publication is actually the first example of studies of the formation and evolution of the image of Napoleon I in his historical development and in correlation with the peculiarities of mentality and cultural environment of not only Russian, but also French society. The subject of this research is the study of the Napoleoǹs image, as it reflected in the epistolary heritage of Joseph de Maistre. It was important to identify the fundamental ideological principles of the French thinker and to determine the degree of influence of his views on the transformation of the image of Napoleon I in Russia. It is noted that, due to the range of his communication, the ideas of J. de Maistre had a great influence on the Russian thinkers of the conservative movement. Among the Russian conservatives, the views of de Maistre received the greatest development and continuation. It is no coincidence that researchers tend to think of J. de Maistre as one of the founders of national conservatism in its classic sense. The accumulated scientific material enabled the authors to come to certain conclusions that are important from the point of view of study of the personality of Napoleon and the development of social thought in Russia. It is important to note that in the Russian historiographic tradition ingrained the idea that the main directions of the social movement of Russia began to take shape thanks to the discussions on the role and place of Russia in the international arena, in the world historical process, in the context of the paradigm of "Russia-West". In this sense, the personality of Napoleon and the attitude towards him are a separate aspect of this paradigm, a particular touchstone, allowing the differentiation of the main directions of social thought of Russia. Napoleon is the embodiment of Western civilization, its "product", the result of ideological aspirations, the socio-political development of European society. This is why Napoleon is an example of perception of the West as a whole, where the Emperor of the French is a part and product of the Western world. Thus, the study of the image of Napoleon in Russia expands the field of scientific research in the framework of discussions about the interrelation and confrontation of Russian and Western European civilizations. Copyright © 2018 by Sochi State University.

Sochi State University for Tourism and Recreation
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  • 1 Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, RUDN University, Russian Federation
Conservatism; France; Imagology; Joseph de Maistre; Napoleon I Bonaparte; Revolution; Russia and the west; Stereotypes; The Napoleonic wars
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