The Madariaga reading seems to suggest that Empress Catherine II believed that education and free inquiry would lead people to support her absolute monarchy. She attacked vices such as “ignorance” (92), she had the power to censor books but did not use it much before the french revolution (94), and she even had French political works translated into Russian (95) which increased the audience within Russia. Radishchev seems to look at things is a similar way, even saying in “Torzhok” that “To prohibit foolishness is to encourage it. Give it free reign; everyone will see what is foolish and what is wise. What is prohibited is coveted.”
Seeing these two agree fundamentally on how information should be treated is surprising given Catherine II prosecuted him and sent him into exile. It also seems to indicate that Catherine may have become less confident in her belief that, through education, people would realize that absolute rule is what is best for Russia. Was this a reflection of her own realization, or a lack of belief in her own people being able to see the same “truth” that she saw?