Russian Idea sets out to show that Russian nationalism of the New Right, represented the rebirth in the 1960s of a tradition that was born at the time of the Great Reforms a hundred years earlier and which was repressed in 1917.
The book aims to discriminate between the patriotic emotions and ideological symbols of nationalism, which the regime understandably exploits, and the Russian Idea, a more offensive and militant doctrine which sees the salvation of Mother Russia in a dogmatic and violent anti-Westernism.
In the context of political stagnation within the regime, the ideas of the Russian New Right have gained a firm hold amongst the middle managers of the Soviet bureaucracy and pose a threat to Russian, and world, stability. The last chapter emphasizes the crucial importance of Gorbachev’s reforms and mounts an attack on the Western view of the Soviet Union which sees it as a monolithic bureaucracy, incapable of change; it is precisely because Russia has the capacity to change that, as Yanov sees it, the New Right is so active and so potentially threatening.
Students, professional sovietologists, political scientists and historians would find this book of special interest.