Obrazovanshchina (Russian: образованщина, 'educationdom', 'educaties',[1] 'smatterers') is a Russian ironical, derogatory term for a category of people with superficial education who lack the higher ethics of an educated person.[2]

The term was introduced by Alexander Solzhenitsyn in his 1974 essay "Obrazovanshchina" (translated as "The Smatterers") as a criticism of the transformation of the Russian intelligentsia, which, in his opinion had lost high ethical values.[3] The essay and the term caused criticism from liberal intelligentsia, such as Solzhenitsyn's long-time opponent Grigory Pomerants[4] and Boris Shragin [ru],[5] as well as being among the reasons of the bitter contention between Solzhenitsyn and the Russian "third wave" of emigration (of dissidents).[6]

Wykształciuchy is a similar term used in Poland, a country that shares the concept of 'intelligentsia' with Russia.[7][8]

Solzhenitsyn defines obrazovanshchina as the category of people who refer to themselves as "intelligentsia" solely on the basis of having a higher than middle education. Solzhenitsyn explains the selection of the term by reference to Vladimir Dahl's dictionary, which distinguished the terms образовать ('to educate') and просвещать ('to enlighten'), the former concept having a superficial character, "external gloss."[3]

A similar criticism of Russian intelligentsia came from Nikolai Berdyaev, who coined the ironic word intelligentshchina for the part of intelligentia locked in their own world, isolated from the rest of the Russian society.[9]

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  1. ^ Note: 'образован-' + '-щина': a noun derived from 'образование', education with suffix '-щина', similar in funcions with English suffixes such as -ism, -ness, -dom, -ing
  2. ^ Geoffrey A. Hosking, "The First Socialist Society: A History of the Soviet Union from Within", 1993, ISBN 0674304438, p. 403
  3. ^ a b ОБРАЗОВАНЩИНА, Obrazovanshchina essay at Solzhenitsin's official website (retrieved February 15, 2014)
  4. ^ Григорий Померанц. Сон о справедливом возмездии (Мой затянувшийся спор) Archived 2010-12-16 at the Wayback Machine, Синтаксис. Публицистика, критика, полемика. — Париж, 1980, no. 6, pp. 13—87
  5. ^ "АНТОЛОГИЯ САМИЗДАТА :: Самосознание". Antology.igrunov.ru. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
  6. ^ "Russian Intellectuals, the Hand that Feeds Them", The Economist editorial, August 7, 2008 (retrieved February 18, 2014)
  7. ^ Tomasz Zarycki, "On the Contemporary Polish Perception of Russian Intelligentsia", in: Europe-Russia: Contexts, Discourses, Images, Rīga: LU DZSC - LEVIRA, pp. 130-141.
  8. ^ "Dumny sztandar wykształciucha"
  9. ^ Н. А. Бердяев. Философская истина и интеллигентская правда. Статья опубликована в книге: "Вехи. Сборник статей о русской интеллигенции", Москва, 1909 год, http://www.yabloko.ru/Themes/History/berd-2.html