Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Democracy: Russian Perspectives
The first use of the word ( demokratiia ) in Russian can be traced to the translation of Samuel Pufendorf's (1718) Introduction to the History of the Principal Kingdoms and States of Europe . But this does not mean that there was no idea of democracy in Russia before that time. Russian chroniclers or statesmen have, centuries earlier, described some democratic practices with words such as ( samoderzhavie —literally “ self-consolidation ”), ( samovlastie —literally “ self-rule ”), and ( samovolie —literally “ self-will ”), and they called some Cossack communities “a kind of a republic” using a transliterated Polish word ( rzeczpospolita ) or simply called democratic orders “free” ( — svobodyi) or “unrestricted” ( — vol'nyi ). This entry discusses some of the historical roots and various interpretations of democracy in Russia. Despite the relatively late use of the term, democracy was quickly given a very specific obschina ...