Boris Chicherin was one of the greatest Westernizers of the second half of the 19th century. He represented the moderate liberal wing, being a supporter of a compromise with the authorities. Because of this, he was often criticized by his contemporaries. The Soviet government did not like Chicherin for his criticism of socialism. Therefore, only today can one impartially assess the significance of his activities.
Boris Nikolaevich Chicherin was born on June 7, 1828. He was a native of the Tambov noble family. His father became a successful entrepreneur selling alcohol. Boris was the firstborn of his parents (he had six brothers and a sister). All children received a quality education. In 1844, Boris, together with his brother Vasily (the father of the future People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the USSR), moved to Moscow to enter the university. The young man's teacher was Timofei Granovsky, a prominent Western liberal. He advised his protégé to go to law school, which he did.
Boris Nikolaevich Chicherin graduated from the university in 1849. The period of his studies saw the heyday of the Nikolaev reaction, which came after the defeat of the Decembrists. Freedom of speech was limited, which, of course, is notliked the liberal-minded population. Boris Chicherin belonged precisely to this stratum. Another important event of his youth was the European revolutions of 1848, which markedly influenced the formation of his views.
The most striking were the events in France. The young man at first joyfully accepted the news of the revolution, but later became disillusioned with this way of social development. Already at a venerable age, he was inclined to think that the state cannot progress in leaps and bounds. Revolution is not the way out. Gradual reforms are needed, and not the "quackery of demagogues" who lead the discontented crowd. At the same time, despite his disappointment in the revolution, Boris Nikolaevich Chicherin remained a liberal. For Russia, he actually became the founder of constitutional law.
In Nikolaev Russia
The starting point for the political and philosophical views of the thinker was the teachings of Hegel. Chicherin eventually rethought his metaphysical system. The thinker believed that there are four absolute principles - the root cause, rational and material substance, as well as the spirit or idea (that is, the ultimate goal). In society, these phenomena have their own reflection - civil society, family, church and state. Hegel argued that matter and mind are only manifestations of the spirit. In politics, this formula meant that the state absorbs all other entities (family, church, etc.). Boris Nikolaevich Chicherin repelled this idea, but did not agree with it. He believed that all four of the above phenomenaequal and equivalent. His political views throughout his life were based precisely on this simple thesis.
In 1851, Chicherin passed the exams and became a master. His dissertation was devoted to the topic of public institutions in Russia in the 17th century. The views of the professors of that era fully corresponded to the sacred idea of Nicholas I about "Orthodoxy, autocracy and nationality." Therefore, these conservatives did not accept Chicherin's dissertation, since in it he criticized the state system of the 17th century. For several years, the young man unsuccessfully knocked on the thresholds of professors so that the text would still “pass”. This was done only in 1856. This date is not accidental. That year, Nicholas I was already dead, and his son Alexander II was on the throne. A new era has begun for Russia, during which such “Fronder” dissertations were accepted on an equal basis with the others.
Westernizer and statesman
From an ideological point of view, the biography of Chicherin Boris Nikolaevich is an example of the life and work of a Westerner. Already at a young age, he attracted the attention of the country's intellectual community. His articles, published at the beginning of the reign of Alexander II, in 1858 were collected in a separate book, "Experiments in the History of Russian Law." This selection is deservedly considered the basis of the historical-legal or state school in domestic jurisprudence. Chicherin became its initiator along with Konstantin Kavelin and Sergei Solovyov.
Representatives of this direction believed that state power is the main driving force of the entire country. AlsoChicherin developed the theory of the enslavement and emancipation of estates. His point of view was that at a certain stage of historical development, Russian society allowed the emergence of serfdom. This was due to economic and social reasons. Now, in the middle of the 19th century, such a need has disappeared. State historians advocated the liberation of the peasants.
Alexander II, who came to power in 1855, realized in the lost Crimean War that the country needed reforms. His father kept Russian society in a frozen, canned state, so to speak. Now all the problems have come out. And first of all - the peasant question. Changes were felt immediately. A public discussion has begun. She unfolded in the pages of newspapers. The liberals had the Russkiy Vestnik, the Slavophiles had the Russkaya Beseda. Boris Nikolayevich Chicherin also joined the discussion of social and economic problems.
The Westerner quickly became a popular and recognized publicist. Already in his youth, he developed his own style, which consisted of numerous references to the centuries-old history of the Russian state. Chicherin was not a radical liberal and "fighter against the regime." He believed that the autocracy would be able to cope with the accumulated problems if it carried out effective reforms. The publicist saw the task of supporters of democracy in helping the authorities, and not in destroying them. The educated stratum of society should instruct the state and help it adopt the rightsolutions. These were not empty words. It is known that Alexander II read the newspapers of all political organizations every day, analyzing and comparing them. The autocrat was also familiar with the works of Chicherin. By nature, the tsar was not a Westerner, but his pragmatism forced the “advanced public” to make concessions.
Chicherin Boris Nikolaevich remained a supporter of absolutism also because he considered this system effective when it came to making unpopular decisions. If the autocratic power decides to carry out reforms, then it will be able to do this without looking back at parliament and any other form of opposition. The king's decisions were executed by the vertical system quickly and unanimously. Therefore, Boris Nikolayevich Chicherin has always been among the supporters of the centralization of power. The Westerner turned a blind eye to the vices of this system, believing that they would go away by themselves when the state made the first fundamental transformations.
Disputes with associates
In Soviet textbooks, the biography of Chicherin Boris Nikolaevich was considered casually and incompletely. Socialist power contradicted many of the ideas defended by this jurist. At the same time, during his lifetime, he was criticized by many of his fellow Westerners. This was due to the fact that Chicherin advocated a compromise with the authorities. He did not seek drastic changes, mindful of 1848.
For example, the writer believed that an ideal state should have representative bodies of power, including parliament. However, in Russia he did not see the conditionsto create such institutions. The society was still insufficiently developed for their appearance. It was a balanced position. In serf Russia, with its mass illiteracy of the peasantry and the social passivity of the majority of the population, there simply was no political culture that could be compared with the standard Western one. Most of the liberals and haters of the autocracy thought otherwise. These people considered Chicherin almost an accomplice of the regime.
For example, Herzen compared him with Saint-Just, the inspirer of terror and the Jacobin dictatorship in revolutionary France. Chicherin met him in London in 1858. Herzen lived in exile, from where, thanks to his active journalistic activity, he had a significant influence on the state of Russian minds. Chicherin in response to criticism of the author of the novel "Who is to blame?" answered that he "does not know how to keep a reasonable middle ground." The disputes between the two most prominent writers ended in nothing, they parted ways, not agreeing on anything, although they had mutual respect for each other.
Criticism of bureaucracy
Historian and publicist Boris Nikolaevich Chicherin, whose works did not criticize the basis of the autocratic system (the sole power of the monarch), singled out other obvious problem areas of the Russian state. He understood that a serious flaw in the administrative system was the dominance of the bureaucracy. Because of this, even intellectuals, in order to achieve something in life, have to become officials, Chicherin B. N.
The biography of this man is a biography of a native of a noble family who achieved success thanks to hisdiligence and talent. Therefore, it is not surprising that the writer saw the need for the emergence of a cohesive layer of influential landowners who advocated liberal reforms. It is these enlightened and we althy people who could become an obstacle to the dominance of bone officials, on the one hand, and anarchy arranged by the lower classes, on the other.
The bureaucratic sedentary and inefficient system was repugnant to many, and Chicherin B. N., no doubt, was in these ranks. The biography of the writer includes an interesting and revealing fact. After he became a professor, he was en titled to the rank of State Councilor. However, the publicist refused it and did not begin to receive a mark in the table of ranks, even "for show". By inheritance, he received from his father part of the family estate. Being a prudent and careful landowner, Chicherin was able to save the economy. Throughout the life of the writer, it remained profitable and profitable. This money made it possible to spend time not on public service, but on scientific creativity.
After the abolition of serfdom
On the eve of the peasant reform, Boris Nikolaevich Chicherin (1828-1904) went on a trip to Europe. When he returned to his homeland, the country became completely different. Serfdom was abolished, and society was torn from disputes about the future of Russia. The writer immediately joined in this controversy. He supported the government in its undertaking and called the Regulations of February 19, 1861 "the best monument of Russian legislation." At the same time, in the two main universities of the country (Moscow andPetersburg) the student movement became more active. Young people came up with a variety of slogans, including political ones. The leadership of higher education institutions hesitated for some time and did not know how to respond to the unrest. Some professors even sympathized with the students. Chicherin advocated meeting the demands of students regarding their direct educational process (improvement of conditions, etc.). But the writer criticized the anti-government slogans, considering them to be ordinary youthful fervor, which will lead to nothing good.
Chicherin Boris Nikolaevich, whose political views, of course, were Western, nevertheless believed that the country first of all needed order. Therefore, his liberalism can be called protective or conservative. It was after 1861 that Chicherin's views were finally formed. They took the form in which they remained known to posterity. In one of his publications, the writer explained that protective liberalism is the reconciliation of the beginning of law and power and the beginning of freedom. This phrase has become popular in the highest government circles. She was highly appreciated by one of the main associates of Alexander II - Prince Alexander Gorchakov.
However, this principle has not become fundamental for future decisions of the government. Weak power and restrictive measures - this is how Chicherin Boris Nikolayevich characterized it in one of his publications. A brief biography of the writer says that his life was soon marked by an important event. His articles and books were popular with the king. direct consequencesuch an attitude was the invitation of Chicherin to become a mentor and teacher of Nikolai Alexandrovich, the heir to the throne. The historian happily agreed.
However, tragedy struck soon after. In 1864, Nikolai Alexandrovich set off on a traditional journey through Europe. Chicherin Boris Nikolaevich was among his escorts. The photo of this writer more and more often found its way to the pages of newspapers, he became a significant figure among the Russian intelligentsia. But in Europe, he had to temporarily stop his journalistic activities. He was busy as an heir and, in addition, in Florence fell ill with typhus. Chicherin's condition was terrible, but he suddenly recovered. But his student Nikolai Aleksandrovich was less fortunate. He died of tuberculous meningitis in Nice in 1865.
The story of his own recovery and the unexpected death of the heir to the throne greatly influenced Chicherin. He became more religious. In Nikolai Alexandrovich, the teacher saw a person who in the future would be able to continue the liberal transformations of his father. Time has shown that the new heir turned out to be a completely different person. After the assassination of Alexander II, Alexander III curtailed the reforms. Under him, another wave of state reaction began (as under Nicholas I). Chicherin lived up to this era. He was able to see firsthand the collapse of his own hopes regarding the children of the liberator-king.
Teacher and writer
Recovered andReturning to Russia, Chicherin began teaching at Moscow University. He began the most fruitful period of scientific creativity. Since the second half of the 60s. fundamental books were published regularly, the author of which was Boris Nikolaevich Chicherin. The main works of the author concerned the state and social structure of Russia. In 1866, the philosopher and historian wrote the book On the Representation of the People. On the pages of this work, Chicherin admitted that a constitutional monarchy is the best state system, but in Russia the conditions necessary for its approval have not yet developed.
His work went almost unnoticed in the circles of the progressive public. Boris Nikolaevich Chicherin once spoke directly and frankly about the liberals of that time - it is pointless to write profound scholarly books in Russia. All the same, radical supporters of democracy and revolution will let them through or accept them as just another reactionary work. The fate of Chicherin as a writer was indeed ambiguous. Criticized by his contemporaries, he was not accepted by the Soviet authorities, and only in modern Russia his books were for the first time subjected to an adequate, objective assessment outside the political situation.
In 1866, Boris Chicherin gave up teaching and devoted himself entirely to writing scientific books. The writer resigned in protest. He and several other liberal professors (who also defiantly left their positions) were outraged by the actions of the rector of Moscow University, Sergei Barshev. He, together with officials from the MinistryNational Education attempted to extend the powers of two conservative teachers, although these actions were contrary to the charter.
After this scandal, Chicherin moved to the Karaul family estate in the Tambov province. He wrote continuously, except for the period of 1882-1883, when he was elected mayor of Moscow. As a public figure, the writer was able to solve many economic problems of the capital. In addition, he took part in the coronation ceremony of Alexander III.
What are the most significant books left by Chicherin Boris Nikolaevich? "Philosophy of Law", published in 1900, became his final generalizing work. In this book, the writer took a bold step. The idea that a legal system could have its own philosophy was contested by then-influential positivists. But Chicherin, as always, did not look back at the opinion of the majority, but consistently and firmly defended his own position.
Firstly, he condemned the widespread opinion that law is a way of confrontation between different social forces and interests. Secondly, the author turned to the experience of ancient philosophy. From ancient Greek works, he drew the concept of "natural law", developing it and transferring it to the Russian realities of his time. Chicherin believed that legislation should proceed from the recognition of human freedoms.
Today we can safely say that Boris Nikolaevich Chicherin is the founder of Russian political science. On liberalism and other ideological directions, hewrote at a young age in numerous articles. In the 80-90s. the scientist was engaged directly in the theoretical side of politics. He wrote fundamental books: "Property and the State" (1883), as well as "Course of State Science" (1896).
In his writings, the researcher tried to answer a variety of questions: what are the permissible limits of the activity of the administrative machine, what is “the public good, what are the tasks of bureaucracy, etc. For example, analyzing the role of the state in the economic life of the country, Chicherin criticized too a lot of government interference. The theorist believed that in this part of the economy, private initiative should come first.
Boris Chicherin died on February 16, 1904. A week before, the Russo-Japanese War began. The country finally entered its 20th century, full of upheavals and bloodshed (the first revolution soon broke out). The writer did not catch these events. But even during his lifetime, he was aware of the danger of political radicalism and tried with all his might to prevent a catastrophe.