Juraj Krizanic

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Križanić, Juraj


Born circa 1618 in Obrh, near Gorica; died Sept. 12, 1683, near Vienna. Writer; representative of 17th-century Slavic scientific, social, and political thought. Of Croatian nationality. Received his theological training in Zagreb, Bologna, and Rome. He was a missionary priest in the service of the Vatican’s Office of Propaganda. He traveled extensively throughout Europe, visiting Vienna, Warsaw, and other cities.

Križanić was a proponent of Slavic unity. In attempting to find ways of bringing about the cultural and political renaissance of the Slavs, he advocated, in particular, union of the Orthodox and Catholic churches. He believed that the Russian state, which he visited for the first time in 1647, ought to assume the leading role in effecting Slavic unity. He came to Moscow in 1659 and, for unknown reasons, was exiled to Tobol’sk in 1661. In 1676 he received permission to leave Russia.

Križanić possessed encyclopedic knowledge: his works, most of which were not published until the 19th century, include treatises on philosophy, political economy, history, and music. He held a providential view of the development of society, but he believed that providence intervened only at history’s turning points. He regarded world history as a process in which certain nations decline and others reach their culmination. Krizanic believed that a state’s wealth lay in its national production and not, as the mercantilists thought, in its money. He created a “common Slavic language,” which he used in his books.

Križanić was one of the first to criticize the chronicle legends about the “invitation of the Varangians” to Rus’ and the “gifts of Monomakh,” and he showed the tendentious nature of many contemporary foreign works on Russia (A. Olearius, P. Petrejus). In his political writings, he showed the necessity of strengthening ties between the Ukraine and Russia. In the works written in exile—Politico (1663–66), On God’s Care (1666–67), and Interpretation of Historical Prophecy (1674)—Krizanic criticized various aspects of contemporary Russian society and set forth a program of reorganizing the Muscovite state based on his analysis of its economic situation and domestic political conditions. In order to strengthen Russian power, Krizanic considered it necessary to consolidate the centralized state bureaucracy, reform the army, ensure the rights of all members of Russian society through legislation, master the new branches of agricultural and industrial production, and reorganize both foreign and domestic trade. Proceeding from his plan for a Slavic renaissance, he appealed to Russia to play a more active role along its southwestern borders and opposed its efforts to secure an exit to the Baltic Sea.

Križanić’s program was, on the whole, directed toward strengthening the absolute monarchy and reflected the interests of the service nobility. His principle of “universal good” and “justice for all” was an ideological cover for the class demands of the nobility.


Russkoe gosudarstvo vpolovine XVII v.: Rukopis’ vremen tsaria Alekseia Mikhailovicha, issues 1–6. Moscow, 1859–60.
Sobr. soch., issues 1–3. Moscow, 1891–93.
O promysle. Moscow, 1860.
In Russian translation:
Politika. Moscow, 1965.


Val’denberg, V. E. Gosudarstvennye idei Krizhanicha. St. Petersburg, 1912.
Datsiuk, B. D. lu. Krizhanich. [Moscow] 1946.
Picheta, V. I. “lu. Krizhanich i ego otnoshenie k Russkomu gosudarstvu.” In Slavianskii sbornik. [Moscow] 1947.
Gol’dberg, A. L. “lu. Krizhanich o russkom obshchestve serediny XVII v.” Istoriia SSSR, 1960, no. 6.
Mordukhovich, L. M. “Filosofskie i sotsiologicheskie vzgliady lu. Krizhanicha.” Kratkie soobshcheniia Instituta slavianovedeniia AN SSSR, 1963, no. 36.
Jagic, V. život i rad J. Križanića. Zagreb, 1917.
Goljdberg, A. “Juraj Križanić i Rusija.” Historijskizbornik, vols. 21–22. Zagreb, 1971.
Golub, J. “Život i djelo Jurja Križanića.” Encyklopedia moderna. Zagreb, 1972, no. 18.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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