Izvestiya of Saratov University.

Philology. Journalism

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L. N. Tolstoy and P. A. Stolypin: Land issue (A historical confrontation of the writer and the politician)

Novikova Natalya Vladislavovna, Saratov State University

The image of P. A. Stolypin, who was burdened by the task of agrarian changes in the country, still remains the object of the “arguments of the parties”. As a rule, one of the arguments ‘for’ or ‘against’ Stolypin’s agrarian policy is drawn from the content of L. Tolstoy’s letters of 1907-1909 to the reformer and his only reply. All these letters date to the most intense period of the land “revolution” in the sovereign state, which only started half a century after serfdom had been abolished. The current epistolary situation is really indicative because it reveals the views and aspirations of the two most prominent fi gures of the beginning of the 20th century, who had diff erent opinions on the solutions of the most signifi cant issue for Russia – the one of the land. The author of the present paper has a goal to study the epistolary sources anew, to sort through the essence of the program attitudes of each of the participants of the epistolary communication, and, where practicable, fi gure out the history of how these attitudes had been formed; reveal the ethical, psychological and intonation texture of the letters, which should facilitate the recreation of the more precise idea of the personalities of the writer and the politician, as well as the atmosphere of the epoch. Equally wishing well-being to their compatriots, separately L. N. Tolstoy and P. A. Stolypin were convinced that the way off ered by each of them was the only way to achieve this well-being, which is demonstrated in the letters, as well as the speeches of the Prime Minister at the State Duma. The confrontation of the sender and the addressee was supported by the opponents and advocates of Stolypin’s reforms. L. Tolstoy, arguing for the abolition of land ownership, for the introduction of the “single tax”, by the strength of his infl uence on the contemporaries objectively hindered the historically reasonable innovations, proposed by the head of the government, who considered it necessary to discontinue the commune and to encourage the working peasant, by making him the owner of the land. The letter refl ects the dramatic intensity of the reform implementation process and the dramatic state of their initiator and leader.


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