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Category “special path” in the social and philosophical discourse of Germany and Russia

Liberal Arts in Russia. 2017. Vol. 6. No. 5. Pp. 386-393.
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Malchenkov S. A.
N. P. Ogarev Mordovia State University
68 Bolshevistskaya Street, 430005 Saransk, Republic of Mordovia, Russia
Makshayeva E. N.
N. P. Ogarev Mordovia State University
68 Bolshevistskaya Street, 430005 Saransk, Republic of Mordovia, Russia


The authors of the article study various interpretations of the philosophical category “special path” (“Sonderweg”), which is very important in the context of Russia’s civilizational choice. This theme was developed by H.-U. Wehler and B. Faulenbach within the framework of German philosophy. The development of the idea of a “special path” in Russia was studied by A. S. Akhiezer, B. V. Dubin, O. E. Galkina, I. V. Kondakov, V. A. Tishkov, Y. G. Shemyakin. The authors note that the concepts of “Deutscher Sonderweg” and “the special Russian path”, which originate from various scientific schools, nevertheless have much in common. Their supporters seek to justify the uniqueness of the civilizational routes of Germany and Russia by their special geographical and geopolitical features, the centuries-old processes of “gathering land”, and a kind of political culture of a subordinate type. The authors of the article come to the conclusion that the categories “a special way of development” and “civilizational choice” are not equal. The second term seems to be more precise and involves the consideration of various trajectories of the development of the state and society. As part of the further study of Russia’s “special civilization path”, it seems important to establish whether this approach implies a synthesis of European and Asian elements or requires the construction of a fundamentally new socio-cultural identity. The question of the extent, to which Russia was formed as a unique civilization at the current time, is also of high importance.


  • • Deutscher Sonderweg
  • • special path
  • • Deutscher Sonderweg
  • • civilization
  • • civilizational choice
  • • civilizational identity
  • • Russian World
  • • subordinate culture


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