What is Tolstoy's view on Russian imperialism?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Tolstoy completely opposed Russian imperialism. When Tsar Nicholas II supported European imperialism in China in 1902, Tolstoy referred to his monarch's action as "barbaric." 

Tolstoy admired the Chinese people for taking a stand against the European imperialists, who, he contended, had badly abused and exploited China out of greed. Tolstoy argued that the Chinese people were tranquil and patient, traits he deeply admired. He condemned the Europeans in China as little more than selfish animals, challenging the stereotypes that depicted Europeans as more civilized than Asians.

Tolstoy, who turned to spirituality in his later life, was a firm believer in nonviolence. He called for colonized peoples of the Middle East and Asia to resist imperialism through the use of nonviolent protest and action. Tolstoy wrote encouragingly to Gandhi to resist British domination. Although his stance was radical in his day, people today typically agree with him and condemn the excesses of imperialism. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial