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First Slavic Congress in the Confession of Mikhail Bakunin

Liberal Arts in Russia. 2013. Vol. 2. No. 4. Pp. 323-331.
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Lutsevich L. F.
University of Warsaw
26/28 Krakow Suburb Street, 00-927, Warsaw, Poland


The paper examines the work of the Russian revolutionary Mikhail Bakunin "Confession" which belongs not only to the category of personal, but also historical, political, journalistic documents. The “Confession” focuses on the contemporary problems of European politics, among them a special place is occupied by the description of the First Slavic Congress (1848) and the idea of pan-Slavic unity expressed for the first time by Croatian thinker, theologian and linguist Yury Krizhanich. In“Confession” Bakunin has colourfully reflected a number of facts, events, ideas and opinions related to the first Slavic Congress: the author describes the background (“origin”) of the Congress and the Congress itself, its structure, the alignment of political forces, fighting parties, he focuses on national opposition of Germans and Slavs, gives vivid sketches of various national types. In the first point Bakunin primarily has payed attention not to political but cultural, literary and linguistic components in national self-determination of the Slavs. Bakunin also has described the structure of the Congress and determined his own position in it. Bakunin has “joined the North, i.e. Polish branch” and in his introduction speech stressed that Russia has broken away from the Slavs as a result of “enslavement of Poland”. In order to “return to Slavic unity and brotherhood”, Russia should withdraw from Poland. Furthermore, Bakunin analyzed the alignment of political forces in the Congress: 1) the number of Slavic leaders supported Krizhanich's idea of political, cultural and linguistic unification of the Slavs under patronage of Russia, 2) Czechs as supporters of Austroslavism could not accept the primacy of the Russia absolutely, 3) Poles had powerful and long existed both pro-Russian and anti-Russian feelings, the representatives of the last believed that Poland should play the main role in the unification of all Slavs 4) southern Slavs did not participate in the debate; 5) there were only two of Russian at the Congress: Bakunin and a monk Alimpy Miloradov. At the congress Bakunin passionately urged Slavs to destroy all the Slavs inhabited empires (Ottoman, Austrian, Russian), and to build on their ruins the Great Free Slavic Federation and make Constantinople its capital. The Bakunin's attitude to ambitions of Russian Empire to be the leader of all the Slavs was sharply negative. Bakunin gave overall estimate of the Slavic Congress, on the one hand he noted its importance on the other hand he pointed out its tiny practical significance. The idea of Slavic unity for many years would be one of the Russian anarchist's most favorite.


  • • Mikhail Bakunin
  • • First Slavic Congress
  • • idea of pan-Slavic unity
  • • Russian radicals
  • • Nicholas I
  • • Russian Empire


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