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Article published on 9 March 2013
last modification on 4 October 2014

by r-c.
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On May 30, 2014 we will be celebrating 200 years of Mikhail Bakunin
(1814 – 1876), a famous activist of the Russian and international
revolutionary movement, a social thinker and one of the founders of
the international anarchist movement.

From his arrival to the Moscow philosophical circle of Stankevich in
the 1830s and then to the European revolutionary circles in the 1840s,
Bakunin attracted attention of his contemporaries. He has influenced
the history of the Russian and international revolutionary, social
liberation and anarchist movements of the XIXth and XXth centuries in
some decisive ways. Bakunin’s libertarian socialist ideas also
featured a visionary critique of the “state socialism” well before
this political model was implemented in the Soviet Union and the
countries of the “Eastern bloc”. His critique of religion, patriotism,
liberalism, the principles of authority and hierarchy remains modern
even a century and a half later, in the XXIst century.

In Russia Bakunin’s name and ideas were subject to censorship and
slander first during the Tsarist regime and later during the
“Communist” power. His works were almost completely banned and
remained unpublished for half a century. His activities were either
silenced or presented in a caricatured manner. Unfortunately, this
tradition continues to exist in our times as well. The number of
honest, objective studies of Bakunin’s life and ideas in Russia
remains very limited, while foreign studies are still not always
accessible or known to Russian researchers. (Likewise, Russian studies
of Bakunin are not always known to foreign researchers due to language
and informational barriers.)

It is no coincidence that the controversial figure of Mikhail Bakunin
is often subject to rushed and subjective judgements, he is still a
victim of misinformation and ideological aberrations, which are the
legacy of the hegemony of liberal, conservative and Marxist

In the village of Pryamukhino, where Bakunin was born, for more than
ten years now (since 2001) annual summer conferences, the Pryamukhino
Readings, are held. This is an independent space for discussing
anarchist philosophy, its actual ideas and practices, the history of
the Russian and international anarchist and liberatory movements, the
history of the Bakunin family and the life and ideas of its most
famous member, Mikhail. (Minutes of these annual conferences are
available in Russian at http://bakunin-fund.hut2.ru and are also
published in a book form.)

The organizing committee of the Pryamukhino Readings, ahead of the
bicentennial of Mikhail Bakunin, invites you to participate in an
international conference, which will be devoted to discussions about
his life and ideas. We aim to get together the researchers of Bakunin
and all those inspired by his ideas. We hope that such a conference in
Russia will be just one in a series of events marking Bakunin’s 200th
birthday. We invite historians, social scientists, other researchers,
Bakunin enthusiasts and anybody who is interested in Bakunin and
anarchism, past and present, to participate. We hope that the
conference in Pryamukhino will be a platform for mutually beneficial
exchange of information and ideas between Russian and foreign
researchers and anarchists and will serve to improve the links between
them. We look forward to have an active discussion about the relevance
of the ideas and activities of this great rebel to the modern world.

Our conference will be held on July 12-13, 2014 (exact dates may
change a little, but not radically – we plan to hold the conference in
mid-July). We invite organizers of similar events marking Bakunin’s
bicentennial to coordinate the time of their events so that potential
participants have a chance to take part in all of them without the
dates clashing.

The working languages of the Pryamukhino conference will be English
and Russian. To communicate with the organizers by email click here. We ask you to send the proposed
topics and theses of reports to us no later than December 1, 2013.
Complete texts of reports should be provided not later than January
31, 2014, so that we have enough time to translate them into Russian.

We will be in touch with all those who inform us about their wish to
take part in the conference, and will send updates on the details or
possible changes of schedule.

We would be very interested to learn about any other events marking
Bakunin’s 200th jubilee and exchange information with their

We would be grateful if you spread, publish, translate this text into
any other languages so that as many people as possible learn about
this conference. (We are sending out this text in English, French and

If you specialize in studies related to Mikhail Bakunin, we also
invite you to participate in a newly created English-language
electronic mailing list ‘Bakunin Studies’, which will be used for
exchange of information between researchers . In order to be included write a letter to ( click here

Organizing committee of Pryamukhino Readings 2014,
International conference marking 200 years of Mikhail Bakunin

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