In the context of a symposium on enmity, this article—the product of extensive research done by a group of colleagues in St. Petersburg—concerns characteristic types of friendship in Russia. The author distinguishes in particular between instrumental political friendship, which Russians tend to scorn, and the intensely emotional and intimate sort of friendship, usually shared in a group rather than a dyad, that Russians consider uniquely their own. Both types, however, have long histories in Russia, which this article undertakes to trace. Intimate friendship appears to be an overlay of attitudes and characteristics, originating in the age of sensibility, onto medieval notions about friendship in Christ. An argument is made for a more general acceptance by Russians of instrumental friendship, since even friendship in Christ can be shown to depend extensively on things held in common. The essay argues too, however, for bringing some of the peculiarities, especially the linguistic peculiarities, of intimate friendship to Russian political friendship, in both domestic and international contexts.

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