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Hypertrophy of the State with Licentious Anarchy

Two contradictory principles lay at the foundation of the structure of the Russian soul, the one a natural, Dionysian, elemental paganism and the other ascetic monastic Orthodoxy. The mutually contradictory properties of the Russian people may be set out thus: despotism, the hypertrophy of the State, and on the other hand anarchism and license: cruelty, a disposition to violence, and again kindliness, humanity and gentleness: a belief in rites and ceremonies, but also a quest for truth: individualism, a heightened consciousness of personality, together with an impersonal collectivism: nationalism, laudation of self, and universalism, the ideal of the universal man: an eschatological messianic spirit of religion, and a devotion which finds its expression in externals: a search for God, and a militant godlessness: humility and arrogance: slavery and revolt. But never has Russia been bourgeois.

—Nikolai Berdyaev, The Russian Idea

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