“1866” in Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace: The Depiction of Militia Gathering in the Socio-Political Context of the 1860s
In the paper, we examine chapters XXI–XXIII of War and Peace Book 3 Part 1, where Tolstoy depicts the preparations of the Russian nation to the war of 1812. He portrays the visit of Alexander I to Moscow and his meeting with people: first in the Kremlin, then in the Sloboda Palace, where nobles and merchants are gathered to define the conditions on which militia should be organized. The political problem stated in these chapters could be formulated as the problem of legitimacy of the supreme power, as well as of its relationship with the citizens. We state that the Kremlin scene in chapter XXI shows an archaic scenario of power that could remind of the old Russian tradition of the Zemsky Sobor. The next two chapters represent a more modern and more western scenario of power in the form of the advisory assembly with estate representation. In our opinion, Tolstoy, while creating these episodes, was deeply impressed by publications on D. V. Karakozov’s attempt on the life of Alexander II and by the Slavophiles’ and Westernizers’ (mainly B. N. Chicherin’s) works on the Ancient Russian and Western models of popular representation.
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