The article analyzes the historical and artistic works of A.S. Pushkin dedicated to the era of Peter I and the uprising of Emelyan Pugachev. It is shown that Pushkin considers Peter I a revolutionary figure, similar to the figures of the Great French Revolution, who liberated the creative forces of Russia (later A.I. Herzen will give a similar understanding of the historical significance of Peter the Great). An analysis of Pushkin's historical writings allowed us to assert that, reflecting on the image of Peter I, the poet saw his paradoxical similarity with the image of Pugachev. In the study of this topic, an important idea of Yu.M. Lotman that Pushkin understands human life as the interaction of two polar principles – the sphere of higher values, which he represents in the images of formidable “idols”, and the irrational element, which manifests itself in the form of natural disasters and popular revolt. It has been suggested that this idea also applies to Pushkin's understanding of social life. This made it possible to argue that for Pushkin, the absolute ruler must tame, introduce both principles of social life into the proper boundaries – imperial, unlimited power and the element of the people – and carry out their fruitful synthesis. In the historical writings of Pushkin, Peter I appears close to such an absolute ruler, but he gave a fruitful, creative form only to the principle of the empire, he simply suppressed the principle of the people; that is why Pushkin draws attention to Pugachev, who, taking the title of the self-proclaimed “people's sovereign”, is trying to tame, give a fruitful form to the people's revolt and thereby demonstrate the necessary alternative to Peter. As a result, the article expresses an important assumption that Pushkin thinks of the image of the absolute ruler as a combination, a synthesis of the images of Peter and Pugachev. It is shown that the idea of a “people's empire” that arose in Pushkin's artistic imagination acquired a completely finished theoretical form in the writings of A.S. Khomyakova and I.V. Kireevsky. The main components of the idea of an ideal monarchy as a form of a communal people's state, in which the monarch serves the interests of the people, and the people give him sanction for power, are revealed.

Translated title of the contributionPeter I and Pugachev: the Birth of the Idea of a “People's Empire” in the Works of A.S. Pushkin
Original languageRussian
Pages (from-to)123-139
Number of pages17
Issue number3(75)
StatePublished - 30 Sep 2022

    Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy

    Research areas

  • Pugachev as a people's monarch, Pushkin's political views, dialectic of history, people's empire

ID: 101266100