The fledgling democracy of Russia is facing many challenges. Perhaps the most dangerous of all is the rise of an aggressive chauvinistic nationalism. Initially, political analysts regarded it as a “recent” phenomenon which was filling in the ideological vacuum left by communism. As time went on, however, scholars began to grasp its deep historical roots and investigate its ideological evolution during the Soviet period. In this process, they tended to focus on the “legitimate” domains of the Soviet system – such as the official press, the literary field of socialist realism, and so on – in order to investigate how “the Russian idea” overtly coexisted or even covertly prospered within the boundaries of officially sanctioned ideology. The main goal of this paper is to bring a new dimension to our understanding of contemporary Russian nationalism, by approaching the whole phenomenon from below. While focusing on the Soviet period, this paper traces the ideological evolution of Slavophiles and their selective degeneration into chauvinism at the social level. In particular, it analyzes the underground ideological field of samizdat – uncensored illicit publications – where Slavophiles played a significant role. In this way, we can hear the “unfiltered” voices of rising Russian nationalists during the Soviet era.

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