As I've written before here, Belinsky is my favorite character from Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia. I just came across a posting on a previously unknown, to me, blog called BookSlut all about Isaiah Berlin and his chronicle of Russian intellectuals.
The post calls out Berlin's opinion of Bakunin (negative) and Belinsky (positive). Here's the quote from Berlin that the post extracts:
The original prototype of these sincere, sometimes childish, at other times angry, champions of persecuted humanity, the saints and martyrs in the cause of the humiliated and defeated -- the actual, historical embodiment of this most Russian type of moral and intellectual heroism -- is Vissarion Belinsky.
And this is from the post's author:
Belinsky is the thread that unites the disparate patterns within the tapestry of early socialism: German idealism, Russian lucidity, French decadence. Everyone, in Russian Thinkers and The Coast of Utopia alike, is perpetually debating Belinsky’s ghost. This is convenient all around, for Belinsky said many contradictory things, as prolific and impoverished writers must. This combination of humble origins and elite approval ensured his place in Russian history, and his views about the "social" criticism of literature, were the battleground for the next century of Russian thought. Belinsky’s premature death in early 1848 installed him as an icon for the next generation of "violent" thinkers like Chernyshevsky and Pisarev, officially the fathers of Bolshevism.
Overall, I'm very impressed by the post and think it does a great job of illuminating the historical figures Stoppard uses for The Coast of Utopia.