English Summary
Summary Fedor Stepun (1884–1965) was born in Moscow as the oldest son of an East-Prussian tradesman. His assimilated mother was of a Calvinist family by Finish-Swedish origins. After university studies in Germany (Heidelberg, Freiburg i.B.; 1903–10) he worked in various professions before 1914. He became a Russian officer during the First World War and he was the leading expert for anti-Bolshevik propaganda in the War office of the Provisional government under Kerensky. After the Bolshevik upheaval he gave up his political activities and concentrated on cultural activities as an journalist in oppositional newspapers, a theater producer, orator and publicist in Moscow. When Lenin decided to expel a large group of national intelligentsia from Soviet-Russia to Germany in autumn 1922 Stepun was one of them. He lived as a privileged exile in Germany to his death in 1965. Fedor Stepun is the author of a three-volume autobiography (Vergangenes und Unvergängliches. München 1946–50; Russian edition New York 1956), giving a complex description of Russian society at a time of change and depicting his life as a remarkable political intellectual in the first half of the 20th century. Stepun is a gifted portraitist of the political establishment and of both the scientific and artistic elites, but also a keen analysist of political events and social movements. His autobiography includes philosophical reflection about the epoch, which in general was seen by the author in terms of the decay of democracy and the rise of totalitarism. This work was written when Stepun had lost his job at the Technische Universität Dresden, where he had been a professor of sociology between 1926 and 1937. The book is also reflects the hopeless situation of Russian ŽmigrŽ community in Western Europe under Hitler and Stalin. Stepun, who was never a member of a political party, but remained in close contact to right-wing leaders of the Social Revolutionary Party (PSR), continued to be a notable critic of the radical intelligentsia in exile. He published his Reflections on Russia in SOWREMENNYE ZAPISKI (Contemporary annals), the leading ŽmigrŽ journal in Paris, from 1923 on. With his articles and speeches he fought for the unification of anti-Bolshevik Russian democrats. But when all his attempts failed and it became clear that the Russian exile community had no more political influence in Europe, Stepun and some friends founded NOWY GRAD (New catacombs, Paris 1931–39). There they published theoretical works outlining their concept of the Russian emigration as the safeguard of Russian culture and they proposed models for both a future Russian democracy and the opposition of Christian Democratic European intellectuals to totalitarism. Stepun as publicist, literary critic and theorist of the Russian emigration is today as unknown in Germany as his Russian articles on Germany and his vision of a transnational European culture are. My dissertation investigates the intellectual life and works of Fedor Stepun between 1922 and 1940. I begin with a critical analysis and reconstruction of the first part of his biography (1884–1922), where I devolop my interpretation of Stepun as an outsider in pre-revolutionary Russian society (Chapter I). The following main part of the dissertation shows how, after he had been expelled from Soviet-Russia in 1922, Stepun succeeded in establishing his position in Germany with the help of German-Jewish collegues and in Russian-ŽmigrŽ Paris with the help of Russian-Jewish friends (Chapter II). There follows detailed information on his career as a sociologist in Dresden and about Stepun as a public figure in both Germany and the Russian diaspora (Chapter III). Finally I consider Stepun's role as a professor and his position in the intellectual oppositional in Nazi-Germany. There are at least three main points that make Stepun an intellectual figure worthy of further studies. 1.) His life and work after 1922 show in an exemplary way how he survived and continued to work under the new conditions of exile. 2.) He was a political intellectual, who established dialogue and public work to break the self-isolation of both Russian and German intellectuals before and between the wars. He was the first professor who taught the history of the Russian revolution at German universities. My dissertation contains the first compilation of his texts and history of his life during his Dresden years. 3.) We can now understand Stepun as a European intellectual, who was forced by his outsider position to work for cultural emancipation. Here we can observe continuity from his work as co-founder of LOGOS, the first international philosophical journal (Tübingen 1909–14, Moscow 1910–14) to NOWY GRAD in the 1930s.