By Stephen White (auth.)
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Indeed it was in many ways this close association between belief, nationality and citizenship-expressed in the celebrated formula Samoderzhavie, Pravoslavie, Narodnost' (Autocracy, Orthodoxy, Nationality)-which was the most distinctive contribution of the old regime to the political culture of the Soviet government which succeeded it. 3 The Social Fabric of Absolutism In the previous chapter it was suggested that the 'traditional' Russian political culture had a number of features which served to distinguish it fairly sharply from most other European states of the same period.
The earliest extant reference to the granting of a benefice of this kind appears to be in a will made by Ivan I of Moscow in 1328. It became increasingly common thereafter, and by the sixteenth century, following a substantial extension in the territorial dimensions of the Muscovite state, the practice had become widespread. 6 Part of the newly-conquered lands were retained by the Tsar (as he was now called) for himself; but the major part of it was distributed upon service or pomest'e tenure to the nobility, either to the original residents or to those who had been resettled from elsewhere.
56 This brings one to the third and final point which must be given at least preliminary consideration at this stage, the question of the causal status of the political culture approach. Clearly we cannot argue, as some have been prepareo to do, 5 7 that a country's political culture provides a necessary and sufficient explanation of the manner in which its political system operates. We should then be unable to account for the fact that political systems, in a variety of cases, have changed with a rapidity greatly in excess of that of any conceivable change in the political culture which underlies them; nor should we be able to explain the fact that apparent similarities 20 Political Culture and Soviet Politics in political culture, such as (if we are to believe Almond and Verba) in Britain and the USA, should give rise to political systems of a rather different character.
Political Culture and Soviet Politics by Stephen White (auth.)