The notion that “Westernization” is a process that is unconditionally positive in its impact has dominated both Western and Soviet accounts of Russian intellectual and cultural history during the period before the Emancipation of 1861. As a consequence, Westernization has been described as synonymous with progress, rational economic behavior, greater tolerance, civilization, and the advancement of individual freedom. Although this rather uncritically pro-Western approach to the study of Western influences has produced important research and analytical insights, the assumption that a homogeneous Western culture everywhere generates liberal and democratic influences is in fact highly problematic. As I have suggested elsewhere, it is very difficult to make the empirical case that any one Western political or economic model can be applied to Germany, France, and Italy as well as England. And in the Russian context, a belief in the unmixed benefits of Westernization obscures some of the most important ironies and contradictions that characterize Russian economic debates and strategies in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.