Member of an intellectual movement in 19th-century Russia. Prominent in the 1840s and '50s, the Slavophiles believed in the uniqueness of Russian culture and contended that Russia should rely on its own character and history to determine its future development. They hoped to restore the autocracy and the church to their ideal forms before Peter I (the Great) introduced Western reforms, and they also favoured emancipation of the serfs and freedom of speech and the press. The Slavophile movement declined in the 1860s, but its principles were adapted and simplified by extreme nationalists, advocates of Pan-Slavism, and revolutionary Narodniks (Populists). It was opposed by the Westernizers, who viewed western Europe as a model for Russian modernization.
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