Open main menu

Pochvennichestvo (/ˈpɒvɛnɪɛstv/; Russian: Почвенничество, IPA: [ˈpot͡ɕvʲɪnnʲɪt͡ɕɪstvə], roughly "return to the native soil", from почва "soil") was a late 19th-century Russian movement tied in closely with its contemporary ideology, the Slavophile movement.


Both the Slavophiles and the pochvennichestvo movement were for the complete emancipation of serfdom, stressed a strong desire to return to the idealized past of Russia's history and opposed Europeanization. The movement also chose a complete rejection of the nihilist, classical liberal and Marxist movements of the time. Their primary focus was to change Russian society by the humbling of the self and social reform through the Russian Orthodox Church rather than the radical implementations of the intelligentsia.

The major differences between the Slavophiles and the movement were that the former detested the Westernization policies of Peter the Great, but the latter praised what were seen as the benefits of the notorious ruler but maintained a strong patriotic mentality for the Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality. Another major difference was that many of the movement's leaders and supporters adopted a militantly anti-Protestant, anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic stance.

The concept had its roots in the works of the German philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder, who focused primarily on emphasizing the differences among people and regional cultures.[1][2] In addition it rejected the universalism of the Enlightenment period. The most prominent[according to whom?] Russian intellectuals who founded the ideology were Nikolay Strakhov, Nikolay Danilevsky and Konstantin Leontyev.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky also held such views, as he expressed in his novel Demons. The ideology was later adopted by Alexander III and Nicholas II.

See alsoEdit