Slavophiles. Adherents of a philosophical, ideological, social, and political movement in Russia in 1840–70 that idealized everything Russian; their outlook was opposed to that of the Westerners, who advocated a broad adoption of Western ways in Russia. The Slavophiles celebrated the difference between Russia and the West; they contrasted Orthodoxy (‘the only true Christian religion’) with Catholicism and Protestantism and Muscovite traditions with Western ones, and advocated a Pan-Slavic unity under Russia's hegemony. They praised the old way of life and the social system of Muscovy, particularly of the pre-Petrine (see Peter I) period, including the commune, artel, and village assembly. The chief spokesmen of Slavophilism—A. Khomiakov, I. Kireevsky, I. and K. Aksakov, Yu. Samarin, and I. Beliaev—advocated the abolition of serfdom and the introduction of some democratic rights, but they also favored a centralized Russian Empire and Russia's leadership among the Slavic nations. They opposed independence for Ukraine and even for Poland. Among Ukrainians the Slavophiles had little influence. Some ethnographic and historical works of Mykhailo Maksymovych and Osyp Bodiansky (both worked in Moscow) reflect Slavophile ideas. The attempts of the Aksakov brothers to gain the co-operation of Taras Shevchenko, Mykola Kostomarov, and Panteleimon Kulish with the Slavophiles proved unsuccessful.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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