Samobytnost

   The term samobytnost, from the Russian sam (“myself”) and bytnost’, which is a derivative of byt (everyday practices), is a term central to Russian debates about national identity. Used in early Russian literature to mean individuality and by the Russian Orthodox Church to mean independence, the term became politically charged in the 19th century during the debates between Slavophiles and Westernizers. The term defines a specifically Russian way of living and emphasizes the originality, uniqueness, and messianic role of the Russian people. The term was used in the Soviet Union to denote local culture and unique everyday practices. The term’s 19th-century meaning was resurrected in the 1990s when the newly independent Russia embarked on a journey in search of a new national identity and role in the world.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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