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Terror and GreatnessIvan and Peter as Russian Myths$
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Kevin M. F. Platt

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801448133

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801448133.001.0001

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(p.51) Chapter Two Trauma
Terror and Greatness

Kevin M. F. Platt

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines how unofficial and countertraditional representations of Russian history charted subterranean relationships between the tsars and between the conceptions of collective greatness associated primarily with Peter and of historical trauma tied to Ivan's name. As the historical writings of Hegelians such as Konstantin Kavelin and as Aleksandr Pushkin's masterwork The Bronze Horseman each reveal, in the historical thought of Official Nationality, Peter's greatness is predicated on a disavowal of the mayhem and trauma of his reign; analogously, Ivan may just as easily be viewed as a hero as a tyrant, with the worst excesses of his reign recast as historically necessary bloodshed. In sum, the two figures were from the start of the century used to construct collective identity on a base of disavowed trauma.

Keywords:   Russian history, tsars, Peter the Great, Ivan the Terrible, Konstantin Kavelin, Aleksandr Pushkin, collective identity

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