Defensive Social Practices in the History of Russia: the Early Formation of “Cancel Culture” or a Rare Event of the Past?

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While the concept of “cancel culture” is already a given in contemporary culture; through this article, the authors propose to illustrate a comparable concept/term “defensive practice” in a broader historical retrospective. The authors emphasize that in general there were relative few examples of such “defensive practices” in Russian history, but analyzes the two earliest of them. The first is at the end of the XVII century, when a conflict broke out between the religious and political groups of “Latinisers” and “Graecophils.” Patriarch Joachim played an active role in resolving the conflict by unequivocally taking the side of the “Graecophils.” As a result, the writings of “latinising heretics” were banned, and they were either executed or condemned by the local council of the Russian Church. In the XVIII century manifestations of comparable defensive practice became even rarer, but already at the very end of the century, under Emperor Paul I, the highest authorities again re-used this technique. Fearing the spread of revolutionary “contagion,” Paul I set the goal of banning the spread of “French fashions” in Russia, individual French words, as well as writings by French authors (or those who sympathized with the events of the French Revolution). However, all these measures had no effect and were eventually ended under Alexander I. As a result, the authors come to the conclusion that at the initial stage of the Modern era and even in the XVIII century, practices comparable to modern cancel culture were not widespread in Russian life, and were an exception rather than socio-political practice.

About the authors

Nikolay A. Mogilevskiy

MGIMO University

ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3186-6256

Dr. Habil. Hist., PhD in History, Ass. Professor of the Department of World and Domestic History

76, Prospekt Vernadskogo, Moscow, 119454, Russia

Alexey V. Skizhenok

MGIMO University

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0624-6258

PhD in History, Senior Lecturer of the Department of World and Domestic History

76, Prospekt Vernadskogo, Moscow, 119454, Russia

Tatiana V. Chernikova

MGIMO University

Dr. Habil. Hist., Professor of the Department of World and Domestic History 76, Prospekt Vernadskogo, Moscow, 119454, Russia


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Copyright (c) 2023 Mogilevskiy N.A., Skizhenok A.V., Chernikova T.V.

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