The Idea of the Church as the Best Social Structure: F.M. Dostoevsky and V.S. Soloviev

Cover Page

Cite item


The article presents the reconstruction of the views of F.M. Dostoevsky and Vl.S. Solovyov on the nature of relations between church and state. A line of mutual influence of thinkers in the context of the perception of Christian truth is drawn. It is shown that Dostoevsky was impressed by a series of lectures by Solovyov's "Readings on God-manhood" and adopted from them the idea of the possibility of religious and moral improvement not only of an individual, but of society as a whole. The article shows that not without the Solovyov's influence Dostoevsky arrives at the Slavophil idea of sobornost and the impossibility of salvation outside of church communion, while speaking of the Church as an ecclesia, that is, an assembly of believers. The author of the article shows that the sophistic and mystical moments in the novel "The Brothers Karamazov" appear under direct influence on Dostoevsky's "Readings on God-manhood" and a joint trip of thinkers to the Optina Pustyn monastery. It is also noted that in the novel "The Brothers Karamazov" the idea was expressed about the gradual growth of the state into the truth of the Church. Solovyov continued this line within the framework of his project of free theocracy in the 1880s, developing the thought of F.M. Dostoevsky - about the Church as the best social order. At the same time, the article shows the principled position of both thinkers on opposing the ideal of socialism and the idea of the Christian community, within which the term "Russian socialism", formulated in the "Diary of a writer". The author shows that Solovyov in his work "Three speeches in memory of Dostoevsky" was the first to explain the term "Russian socialism" precisely through the concept of the Christian community.

About the authors

Elena V. Besschetnova

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Author for correspondence.

Candidate of Sciences (PhD), Faculty of Humanities, School of Philosophy and Cultural Studies

20, Myasnitskay st.,101000, Moscow, Russian Federation


  1. Rozenblyum LM. Dostoevsky's creative diaries. Literaturnoye nasledstvo. 1971;83: 9—92. (In Russian).
  2. Solovyov SM. Life and Creative evolution of Vladimir Solovyov. Brussels: Zhizn's Bogom; 1977. 443 p. (In Russian).
  3. Kibalnik SA. Dispute about Church court in the novel "Brothers Karamazov". Problemy istoricheskoy poetiki. 2018;2(16): 140—157. (In Russian).
  4. Solovyov VlS. Three Speeches about Dostoevsky. In: Solovoyv Vl.S. Collected works in 10 vol. Vol. 3. St Petersburg: Prosveshenie publ.; 1912. P. 194—227. (In Russian).
  5. Bonetskaya NK. Forerunners of Russian hermeneutics. Voprosy filosofii. 2014;4: 90—99. (In Russian).
  6. Solovyov VlS. History and future of theocracy. In: Solovoyv Vl.S. Collected works in 10 vol. Vol. 4. Saint Petersburg: Prosveshenie publ.; 1914. P. 243—643. (In Russian).
  7. Dostoevsky FM. Brothers Karamazov. In: Fedor Dostoevsky. Collected works in 30 vol. Vol. 14. Leningrad: Nauka publ.; 1976. P. 5—511. (In Russian).
  8. Dostoevsky FM. Letters from Dead House. In: Fedor Dostoevsky. Collected works in 30 vol. Vol. 4. Leningrad: Nauka publ.; 1972. P. 6—130. (In Russian).
  9. Kasatkina TA. Christ outside the truth in Dostoevsky's works. Dostoyvsky i mirovaya kul'tura. 1998;11: 113—120. (In Russian).
  10. Solovyov VlS. Spiritual foundations of life. In: Solovoyv VlS. Collected works in 10 vol. Vol. 3. Saint Petersburg: Prosveshenie publ.; 1912. P. 309—423. (In Russian).
  11. Dostoevsky FM. Diary of the writer. In: Fedor Dostoevsky. Collected works in 30 vol. Vol. 23. Leningrad: Nauka publ.; 1980. P. 5—125. (In Russian).
  12. Dostoevsky FM. Demons. Chapter "At Tikhon". In: Fedor Dostoevsky. Collected works in 30 vol. Vol. 11. Leningrad: Nauka publ.; 1974. P. 5—31. (In Russian).
  13. Yudakhin AA. Dosotoevsky and Roman question (1862—1865). Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Svyato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitranogo universiteta. Seriya 1. Bogosloviye. Filosofiya. Religiovedeniye. 2019;84: 50—64. (In Russian).

Copyright (c) 2021 Besschetnova E.V.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies