The following is an extract from a profile on Konstantin Petrovich Pobedonostsev (1827–1907). whose pre-Marxist political thought may be taken to be representative of the historic Russian school of traditionalist conservatism:
“In Eastern Europe, prior to the arrival of the Bolsheviks, monarchism was so accepted, so bound up with the Orthodox faith and simply seen as so self-evident in its status as the best basis for government, that relatively fewer, compared to the west, saw it necessary to defend or explain in a comprehensive way. However, one man who did just that was the great Russian monarchist Konstantin Pobedonostsev. He was born on May 21, 1827 into an educated family and when still barely a teenager his literary professor father sent him to a school in St Petersburg to prepare him for the civil service. He quickly proved himself to have a brilliant legal mind and he earned rapid promotion. This gave him an intricate working knowledge of both the Imperial Russian legal system and the rather complex Russian bureaucracy. He soon became so renowned for his firm grasp of the law and the workings of government that he was being asked to lecture at Moscow State University.
A renowned lecturer while still working for the civil service, in 1860 he was formally made a law professor at the university. However, he was unable to hold that position for too long as his reputation had become so great that Tsar Alexander II appointed him tutor to his son and heir on the subjects of law and statecraft. Even after the death of the heir-to-the-throne, Pobedonostsev was retained by the Tsar to instruct his second son, the future Tsar Alexander III, in these same subjects. Pobedonostsev moved to St Petersburg because of this work and became a very familiar face among the Russian Imperial Family and had a very close relationship with his pupil and future Tsar who held his teacher in high esteem and great respect. His guidance was undoubtedly an influence on Tsar Alexander III and his strong, paternal leadership of Russia during his reign. Pobedonostsev continued to rise in important positions, in 1868 he was appointed to the Russian Senate (mostly a judicial body) and in 1874 was given a place on the Council of the Empire which served to advise the Tsar on important legal or legislative matters and included representatives from across Russian society. In 1880 he was given his highest position, that of Chief Procurator of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church.”
Published on the web-log The Mad Monarchist, 2 September 2011.