Jędrzej Paszkiewicz, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland

The image of Russia in Greek political ideas in the 18th and 19th centuries

The ideology of the Greek national movement was developed under prominent influence of Russia and its imperial plans against Turkish lands. A major role played the fixation of the Greek political circles, at the turn of the 18th and 19th century, on the political and economic capabilities of the Russian Tsardom. As a country, which was related with regards to the religion, culture and civilization, Russia was an inspiration for the state-building activities within the Greek national movement. It was the carrier of modern political ideas connected with the European Enlightenment. Russia offered standards to Greeks, which enabled the transformation of the cosmopolitan, Byzantine universalism into modern nationalism, based on the re-construed social and political space.

The process of transformation of the Greek relation to the Orthodox and Byzantine tradition, which is generally close to Russian experiences, lasted in Greece until the mid-nineteenth century. As a result, the romantic version of panhellenism was created, which was the basis for the Great Idea. Despite the visible connotation with the Russian imperial ideology, which was also based on the tradition of Orthodox Church, the panhellenism was opposed to pan-slavism and neo-slavism, political programs executed by Russia. It was pointed out that Russia was rather willing to support the Slavic “Orthodox brothers” from Balkans than the anti-Turkish irredentism of Greeks. Conflicting territorial and strategic interests significantly restricted also the further adaptation of the Russian solutions in the Greek political practice.