Political and Religious Influences

on Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Political Influences

  • In 1847 Dostoyevsky began to participate in the Petrashevsky Circle, a group of intellectuals who discussed utopian socialism.He eventually joined a related, secret group devoted to revolution and illegal propaganda.
  • He and the other members of the Petrashevsky Circle were arrested spent 8 months in prison until December 18th when they were led to Semyonovsky Square to be executed by a firing squad. Instead of being executed, however, they were sent to spend 4 years in another prison. This influenced his novels because a lot of them included characters who repeatedly imagine the state of mind of a man who is about to die.
  • He was also associated with a group that was devoted to revolution and illegal propaganda. He strongly disapproved of serfdom, an intense form of slavery.
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Religious Influences

  • He was sentenced to four years in a Siberian prison when he became fond of Russian Orthodoxy, which was “the faith of the common people”.
  • Fyodor was raised as a Christian by a very pious, Christian family. His faith and beliefs are what helped him get through the hardships of prison and his many other punishments. Many themes of Christianity are apparent throughout his novels.

  • He was always torn between his skepticism and faith. He says in a letter, “if someone proved to me that Christ is outside the truth, and that in reality the truth were outside of Christ, then I should prefer to remain with Christ rather than with the truth.”