A corrupted commonwealth
Fletcher’s representation of Russia
in Exploring Russia in the Elizabethan commonwealth
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Giles Fletcher analysed every aspect of Russian society in order to show the extent of the degradation of the land under tyrannical government. The Russian parliament existed like everything else in the emperor's realm, purely to reinforce the tyrannical power that the emperor wielded over his people, under the thin guise of civil 'commonwealth'. Fletcher's positive depiction of the Tartars and his suggestion that they were antagonistic towards the Russian religion because of Russian corruption reveals an underlying axiom of his treatise. Scythians had been completely dissuaded from Christianity because of their hatred of Russian falsehood and corruption, pointing to Fletcher's last word. In contrast to the popular images used to represent Russia as idolatrous or spiritually barren by Western Europeans in the period, Fletcher's assertion of God's providence at work in the country sheds a different light on Russia's situation.

Exploring Russia in the Elizabethan commonwealth

The Muscovy Company and Giles Fletcher, the elder (1546–1611)

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