This article analyzes the city of St. Petersburg, Russia's imperial capital, as a psychocultural setting conducive for the upsurge of political extremism. The new type of radicalism, which emerged around the turn of the 20th century, targeted the existing sociopolitical establishment and cultural conventions, rather than specific political leaders or institutions; the revolutionaries' aim was to uproot the entire traditional way of life. The article scrutinizes the emergence of St. Petersburg as the embodiment of the country's historical and cultural inconsistencies and contradictions, as well as the city's uncanny development. Psychologically, its "as-if"setting and experience contributed to the undermining of the customary way of life not only in the capital, but also across the empire, for which St. Petersburg defined cultural tends and modes of behavior. The article examines the reasons why Russian radicals intentionally choose St. Petersburg to be the "cradle of the revolution."Few, if any of them, however, were conscious of the fact that, due to its impact on the inhabitants' mentality, the city was a genuine player in Russia's prerevolutionary politics and a potent subversive agent.
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- Silver age
- St. Petersburg