Experts or Prophets? Liberal Intellectuals in Politics: A Comparative History of Intellectual Elites in late Imperial Russia and the British Empire

Doctoral Researcher
Olga Tartygina

Ilja Jefimowitsch Repin, Maxim Gorky reading in The Penates his drama Children of the Sun (1905). Public Domain via

This dissertation comparatively analyzes the evolution and typology of the intellectual in the political life of Great Britain and the Russian Empire during the first two decades of the 20th century. It pays special attention to the socio-cultural characteristics of types of liberal intellectuals, who were recognized in the political life of both empires.

The project intends to solve the following main tasks: To consider the specifics of the processes of formation of intellectual elites in the Russian Empire and Great Britain in the first decades of the 20th century; To compare the social origin, position, and status, as well as the level of prosperity of representatives of the Russian and British intellectual elite; To designate the basic components of the worldview of representatives of the intellectual elite and to recognize the importance of liberalism in its value system; To analyze the evolution of the relationship of intellectual elites to the political process, the change in their ideas of their own position, and their roles in the political sphere, as well as to cover the events that contributed to this evolution; And to investigate the practices of intellectual participation in politics using the examples of the intellectual leaders and to analyze their efficiency.