why russian culture should inspire us

Gagged, censored, persecuted, Russian culture has never stopped opposing power. Power, for its part, from the Paleolithic to the present day, whatever color it may be, always wants the same thing: approval or silence. Of all the European countries, Russia is undoubtedly one where cultural repression has shed the most blood: its history is dotted with despotic leaders who violently silenced all forms of dissent.

Beginning of Empress Catherine II the Great, late 18th centuryY century: after having courted and financed the French encyclopedists, after having opened the doors of their palaces to Voltaire and Diderot, when he realizes that the Enlightenment leads directly to the Revolution and the guillotine, he conceives what could have been the first iron curtain in history and threw freethinkers, opponents and dissidents into its prisons.

His grandson Alexander IAhem [sur le trône de 1801 à 1825] he did no better: if, it is true, he defeated Napoleon and freed Europe from a tyrant, he understood too late that his officers, while celebrating victory in the streets of Paris, were breathing deeply the seditious airs of Jacobins and Girondins. Back in his homeland, his soldiers fomented the first and only real revolution of the 19th century.Y Russian century: the Decembrist uprising. In December 1825, a handful of high-ranking officials and aristocrats took to the streets in front of the Winter Palace, shouting: “Down with the autocracy, long live the Constitution!” Immediately, the repression is uncompromising: whoever, among the insurgents, manages to avoid the gallows is condemned to exile in perpetuity in distant Siberia.

repressive apparatus

After that fateful month of December, Emperor Nicholas IAhemhis successor [de 1825 à 1855], crushes Russia under a cloak of lead. For thirty years, the country no longer breathes. Police, secret police (including the famous third section [une officine au service de la chancellerie impériale]), spies, informers, control committees scrutinize the smallest writing. Alexander Pushkin is the object of a very particular surveillance: he does not write a line, not a verse that is not examined, weighed, dissected: his Boris Godunov must wait thirty years before he can be created on stage and his novel Eugene Onegin It is composed of an entire chapter. Nicolas Gogol is no exception: a long passage from dead souls disappears As for Fyodor Dostoyevsky, a rising star of the new prose, he was sentenced to death (before, pardoned, sent to hard labor) for having dared to rise up, in a circle of friends, against censorship.

The new Tsar, Alexander II [1855-1881]extremely slowly and without intelligence, implements essential reforms (not

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