The new perspective on the political thinkers of the Enlightenment that is gained when looking from Catherine the Great and a Russian direction is exciting. These philosophes’ writing had, if any, an elusive effect on the European monarchies under which they wrote. In the least, we do not see monarchies purposefully model their reign after their ideas. At least by Mardariaga’s view, Catherine was intending to do just that and model her empire on a model underlined with “fundamental laws.” I immediately want to ask, what is the consequence of injecting a “kingdom” with a set of fundamentals that arose in the conditions of another society? If I recall Montesquieu, Rousseau, Hobbes, etc…spoke of an nascent ideal politic; an abstraction, as opposed to Catherine’s reality of preset class strata, local and macro economies, precedented foreign relationships, etc…)
I am thinking back to the conversation we had on the first day of class about the conditions that might necessitate or at least provoke a revolution. What are the points of tension that evolve out of her reforms and how do they set up a future revolution? My initial thought an introduction of advocacy into the political structure. By advocacy I mean that an individual has space within their binding political structure to insert their own interests. Self-advocacy is a form of asserting power and strips the absolute from the Monarch. Madariaga points here on page 29, but I want to keep this tension in mind as conditions for future revolution.