Two sides of the coin: “Asiatic other” Russians vs. “supreme European” Germans?
Keywords:Russia, Germany, Eurocentrism, 19th century, Asiatic other
Russians and Germans have a long history of interactions with each other in which the reforms carried out during the reign of Peter the Great (1672–1725) – the first Russian Tsar – can be regarded as an important turning point. The adoption of a Western understanding in many fields under the reign of Peter the Great led to the emergence of a new type of Russia that grew to become a significant player between the eastern and western parts of Eurasia. It is obvious that, starting in the era of Peter the Great and continuing under the subsequent Tsars and Tsarinas, in the light of the continuing intimate relations with the European world, German culture and German philosophy have maintained a considerable position in the Russian state and society. Have all these reforms, however, made Russia a true member of the European family in the eyes of the “supreme” Western leaders? While keeping this question in mind, the intention in this article is to focus on the other side of the coin in terms of the relationships between Germans and Russians. To this end, taking the Euro-centrist line as the main catalyst, the approach to Russia here is not based on its well-known aggressive and expansionist identity, but rather its status as a target and victim of the enmity of a “European” power, predominantly the German political and intellectual elite of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
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