THE RUSSIAN VOLTAIRE  (320th anniversary)


This article examines the influence of the Enlightenment and freedom-loving ideas of the great French thinker and writer Voltaire on the views of progressive Russians advocating the emancipation of serfs, on the ideas of the Decembrists and on the Russian culture as a whole, especially during the eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth century. This article discusses the publication of Voltaire’s work “History of the Russian Empire under Peter the Great” as well as the nature of the extensive correspondence between Voltaire and Catherine II. Furthermore, it examines the importance of Voltaire’s work — for modern society — for understanding how social ideas evolve. Finally, the article reports about the opening of the European Centre of the Age of Enlightenment: the Voltaire Library in the Russian National Library in Saint Petersburg, which contains 6814 volumes.