The Baltic Region

2012 Issue №1(11)

Lithuania of the 11th—14th centuries in the works of Russian historians of the 1850—1870s


The article analyses the works on the history of medieval Lithuania (11th—14th centuries) by I. D. Belyaev, K. N. Bestuzhev-Ryumin, N. I. Kostomarov and M. O. Koyalovitch. It focuses on Russian scholars’ perception of Lithuania in 1850—870. Employing the comparative historical method and content analysis, the authors identify the key characteristics underlying the perception of Lithuania in research discourse in the 1850s—1870s. Particular attention is paid to an analysis of preconceptions that affected the presentation of Lithuania’s past by Russian historians who studied it in the context of history of western Russia rather than as an independent subject. Special attention is paid to the process of formation of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Lithuanian State of the 14th century is perceived as "ours" in the historiography of the second half of the 19th century. The main thesis of Russian scholars — in line with their Slavophil positions — is that Russian culture is more developed than Lithuanian and more perspective for the Balts than the Polish one.

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