The article attempts at a polemics with the widespread view on Żeromski’s Russophobia. The analysis of his Diaries – being a social life chronicle under Russian partition at the end of 19th century, a private document and at the same time Żeromski’s artistic technique – proves that Żeromski did not occupy an unambiguous position towards Russia and Russians.
The diary is obviously dominated by the notes in which the future writer, as a Pole-patriot, views the czarist Empire and the Muscovites as uncompromising, hateful and often vulgar. However, on a private ground he proves to be ambivalent, full of contradictions, and torn between enchantment by casual meetings with Russian women and hostility to his Muscovite friends. To add, when commenting the writings by Pushkin, Lermontov, and Turgenev, he totally rejects national categories and assesses Russian literature as ambitious, modern and inspiring. Such clearly-cut disjoin of national and cultural presence of Russia in the Diaries leads to formulating a thesis that there is not one Russia in Żeromski’s work. Most noticeably represented is, naturally, the militant and radical Russia but there is also a “hidden” Russia acceptable and respected due to unquestionable value of the most eminent 19th century Russian works of art.