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Unusual flourishing of Russian realistic literature in the second half of the 19th century was going on against the background of social and political distemper that started in the 1840s, under the reign of Nicholas I (18251855).

The first forty years of the 19th century are called the Golden Age of Russian poetry, and it is certainly due to the greatest Russian poet Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin (17991837), whose first triumph was the poem Ruslan and Lyudmila (1820).

The inevitable consequence of Russian and West European literatures drawing together was that the former, being less mature fell under the influence if the latter as a more developed one. With the introduction of a more refined lifestyle in the courts of the post-Peter the First epoch the encouraging of sciences and arts became sort of a fashion. Subtle poetry starts to be appreciated.

As compared to West European countries Rus adopted Christianity rather late, not before the 10th century. Initial development of Russian literature was under the influence of Byzantium, i.e. the Eastern Roman Empire with the capital of Constantinople.

Great Russian poets and writers have always been the voice of this people's conscience and soul, and had to suffer for it.

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