Chaadayev, Piotr Yakovlevich

Chaadayev, Piotr Yakovlevich pyô´tər yä´kəvlyĭvĭch chädä´yĕv [key], 1794–1856, Russian philosopher. An aristocrat by birth, he was converted to Roman Catholicism. In 1836 the first of his Philosophical Letters appeared in a Moscow journal. Its devastating attack on Russian institutions, such as autocracy, the church, and serfdom, created a sensation. Chaadayev was declared insane and was confined to his home. His vigorous writings helped clarify the basic differences between the Slavophiles and Westernizers .

See his major works, ed. by R. T. McNally (1969); study by R. T. McNally (1971).

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