The Myth of the Russian Intelligentsia: Old Intellectuals in the New Russia, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Myth of the Russian Intelligentsia

Old Intellectuals in the New Russia, 1st Edition

By Inna Kochetkova


206 pages

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Russia is one of the few countries in the world where intellectuals existed as a social group and shared a unique social identity. This book focuses on one of the most important and influential groups of Russian intellectuals - the 1960s generation of shestidesyatniki - often considered the last embodiment of the classical tradition of the intelligentsia. They devoted their lives to defending 'socialism with a human face', authored Perestroika, and were subsequently demonised when the reforms failed. It investigates how these intellectuals were affected by the transition to the new post-Soviet Russia, and how they responded to the criticism.

Unlike other studies on this subject, which view the Russian intelligentsia as simply an objectively existing group, this book portrays the intelligentsia as a cultural story or myth, revealing that the intelligentsia's existence is a function of the intellectuals' abilities to construct moral arguments. Drawing from extensive original empirical research, including life-story interviews with the Russian intellectuals, it shows how the shestidesyatniki creatively mobilised the myth as they attempted to repair their damaged public image.


'Kochetnikova’s emphasis on the intelligentsia as a social and discursive construct, and her anthropologically-framed examination of how this construction is enacted through very concrete, complex and ambiguous practices of group or personal self-presentation must be taken seriously and properly integrated into our understanding of the history of Russia’s field of intellectual production.'Andy Byford, University of Durham, published in Slavonica Vol. 17 No. 1, April, 2011, pp. 46-50

Table of Contents

1. What is Russian Intelligentsia 2 Dead or Alive: The Discourse on Intelligentsia in Russia at the Turn of the Millennium 3. The Story of a Fallen or Failed Intelligentsia: Outsiders On The Shestidesyatniki 4. Intelligentsia as Fallible: The Shestidesyatniki ’s Self-Image 5. Becoming and Being the Intelligentsia 6. Accounts of Fear, Relations with Power and Conformism 7. A Story of a Happy Man

About the Author

Inna Kochetkova is Lecturer in Qualitative Research Methods at the University of Bradford, UK.

About the Series

BASEES/Routledge Series on Russian and East European Studies

This series is published on behalf of BASEES (the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies). The series comprises original, high-quality, research-level work by both new and established scholars on all aspects of Russian, Soviet, post-Soviet and East European Studies in humanities and social science subjects.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Europe / Former Soviet Republics
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General