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Response to Review no. 241

I am very grateful to Dr. Vera Tolz for the attention she has given to my book and the kind and thoughtful review she has written. I should like to respond briefly on two points.

It is true that I did not have enough space to discuss in detail many of the theoreticians of Russian messianism with whom I was concerned. This led to something of a ‘cataloguing approach’. I did, however, provide references to original texts and to the secondary literature to enable readers to follow interests in particular thinkers. I wanted to provide a sense of the breadth of views within Russian messianism, which would not have been possible if I had concentrated on only a small number of writers. I had to cut around two thirds of the material from the original thesis in the pre-Brezhnev-era part of the book in order to meet the book’s word limit. Anyone who wishes to read the PhD thesis, ‘Russian Messianism: A Historical and Political Analysis’ (1990) will find it in the Glasgow University Library.

It is also true that I gave attention to some Russian nationalist views, which do not fall into the category of Russian messianism. Indeed, my two chapters on the Brezhnev era are sub-titled ‘cultural Russian nationalism’, focussing on officially permitted work, and ‘dissident Russian messianism’, focussing on samizdat and underground organisations. I thought it was helpful to present the development of Russian messianism in the context of the growth of Russian nationalism. Perhaps I did not do enough explicitly to separate messianist and non-messianist strands within Russian nationalism.

Again I should like to thank Dr Tolz for her useful comments.