A belated happy new year to all our readers and apologies for not pursuing the subject of historical dates. Fear not: it will be pursued.

In the meantime, Tory Historian is launching another idea, promised before. Books that would be of interest to those interested in conservative history but do not necessarily find space in the published journal.

The first of these is one that has been mentioned on the blog before (here and here), so little else is needed. Richard Pipes’s “Russian Conservatism and Its Critics” is an important contribution to our understanding both of Russian history and to the many varieties of conservative and conservative-liberal thought.

Professor Pipes analyzes the political reality and shows how various theories in different periods, since it is hard to see a real development of theory, supported that reality, which meant supporting autocracy either as a permanent institution or a more temporary one while Russians learn to deal with constitutionalism, liberalism and democracy.

The new Russian autocracy lacks legitimacy and has tried to invent one by producing a new autocratic ideology of “sovereign democracy”, a meaningless term but it avoids the old Russian one. There are many others, listed by Edward Lucas in “The New Cold War”.

There are two questions, one political and one theoretical. In the first place, will the new autocracy be able to create itself a legitimacy that will allow it to overcome bad times as well as good; and in the second place, will it be able to create a coherent theory to back that political legitimacy.


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