Two sides of the coin: “Asiatic other” Russians vs. “supreme European” Germans?




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.


Baranowski, Shelley. 2011. Nazi empire: German colonialism and imperialism from Bismarck to Hitler. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Borowska, Ewa. 2002. “Marx and Russia”. Studies in East European Thought. Volume 54. 87–103.

Chamberlin, William Henry. 1960. “Russia Between East and West”. Russian Review, Vol 19, No.4. 309-315.

Delanty, Gerard. 1995. Inventing Europe: Idea, Identity, Reality. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Florinsky, Michael. 1953. Russia: A History and An Interpretation. New York: Macmillan Press.

Gesemann, Wolfgang. 1965. “Herder’s Russia”. Journal of the History of Ideas. Vol 26, No.3. 424-434.

Hansen-Löve, Aage. 2021. “East Looks West and West Looks East”, European Studies. Vol.37. 136-137.

Hildebrand, Klaus. 2017. “Bismarck und Russland. Aspekte der deutsch-russischen Beziehungen 1871 – 1890”, in Otto von Bismarck und das lange 19. Jahrhundert. Ulrich Lappenküper (ed.). Leiden: Brill. 454-466.

Kettler, Mark. 2020. “What did Paul Rohrbach Actually Learn in Africa? The Influence of Colonial Experience on a Publicist’s Imperial Fantasies in Eastern Europe”. German History. Vol. 38, No. 2. 240–262

Kulski, Wladyslaw Wszebor (ed.). 1941. Thus Spake Germany. London: Routledge Press.

Laqueur, Walter. 1990. Russia and Germany: A Century of Conflict. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.

Lehovich, Dimitry.V. 1948. “The Testament of Peter the Great”. American Slavic and East European Review. Vol. 7, No. 2. 111-124.

Lobanov-Rostovsky A. 1943. “Russia and Germany an Historical Survey of Russo-German Relations”. Russian Review. Vol.2, No.2. 27-44

Meyer, Henry Cord. 1955. Mitteleuropa: In German Thought and Action 1815-1945, Hague: Martinus Hijhoff.

Meyer, Henry C. 1942. “Rohrbach and His Osteuropa”, Russian Review. Vol.2, No.1. 60-69.

Meyer, Henry C. 1946. “Mitteleuropa in German Political Geography”. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. Vol.36, No.3. 178-194.

Mogk Walter. 1972. Paul Rohrbach und das “Größere Deutschland“. Ethischer Imperialismus im Wilhelminischen Zeitalter. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des Kulturprotestantismus. München: Wilhelm Goldmann.

Paddock, Troy R.E. 1998. “Still Stuck At Sevastopol: The Depiction of Russia during the Russo-Japanese War and the Beginning of the First World War in the German Press”, German History, Vol.16, No.3. 358-376.

Plamenatz, John. 1954. German Marxism and Russian Communism. London-New York: Green and Co.

Riasanovsky, Nicholas. 2000. A History of Russia. New York: Oxford University Press.

Rohrbach, Paul. 1908. Deutschland Unter den Weltvölkern: Materialien zur Auswärtigen Politik. Berlin: Buchverlag der Hilfe.

Rohrbach, Paul. 1915. Russland und Wir. Stuttgart: J. Engelhorns nachf.

Schlesinger, Walter. 1970. “Der Osten”, Gebhardt Handbuch Der Deutschen Geschichte-Die Deutschen Territorien, Stuttgart: Deutsche Taschenbuch Verlag. 203-221.

Smith, Woodruff D. 1986. The Ideological Origins of Nazi Imperialism. New York: Oxford Uni. Press.

Wertheimer, Milfred S. 1971. The Pan-German League 1890-1914. New York: Octagon Books.

Williams, Robert C. 1966. “Russians in Germany: 1900-1914”. Journal of Contemporary History. Vol.1, No.4. 121-149.




How to Cite

Demirtaş, M. (2021). Two sides of the coin: “Asiatic other” Russians vs. “supreme European” Germans?. Cappadocia Journal of Area Studies, 3(1), 43–62.



Research articles