browsenews and eventsordering informationfor authorsprizesfor instructorsrights and permissionsdigital editionsEBooksAuthor Videoabout the pressSupport the Presscontact us
January 2012
392 pages  

6 1/8 x 9 1/4
9780822944157
Hardcover $55.00 Add to cart

View Cart
Check Out
Other Ways to order
The History of Liberalism in Russia
Leontovitsch, Victor, Leontovitsch, Parmen
Foreword by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

In this highly original study, Victor Leontovitsch offers a reinterpretation of liberalism in a uniquely Russian form. He documents the struggles to develop civil society and individual liberties in imperial Russia up until their ultimate demise in the face of war, revolution, and the collapse of the old regime.

This is the first English-language translation of Leontovitsch’s monumental work, which was originally published to critical acclaim in German in 1957.
Victor Leontovitsch was a lecturer at the Friedrich Wilhelm University, Berlin, and professor of history at Frankfurt University. He was the author of The Legal Revolution under Ivan the Terrible.
Parmen Leontovitsch is the former head of Modern Languages and English as a Foreign Language at Barnet College in London.
Complete Description Reviews
Pitt Series in Russian and East European Studies Table of Contents
Russia and East Europe/History Read a selection from this book
close 

Foreword by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The influence of liberalism in tsarist Russia is deeply problematic to most historians. In this highly original study, Victor Leontovitsch offers a reinterpretation of liberalism in a uniquely Russian form. He documents the struggles to develop civil society and individual liberties in imperial Russia up until their ultimate demise in the face of war, revolution, and the collapse of the old regime. From Catherine the Great’s proposal of freedom for serfs born after a predetermined year, through the creation of zemstvos by Alexander II, and the emergence of the State Duma and a quasi-constitutional monarchy under Nicholas II, Leontovitsch chronicles the ebb and flow of liberal thought and action in the difficult circumstances of tsarist Russia. He cites numerous examples of debates over civil rights, property laws, emancipation, local jurisdiction, political rights, and constitutional proposals. Focusing on liberal reforms and reformers within the governing elite, Leontovitsch draws important distinctions between factions of radical (but fundamentally illiberal) progressives and true (but often concealed) liberalism. This is the first English-language translation of Leontovitsch’s monumental work, which was originally published to critical acclaim in German in 1957. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn sponsored a Russian edition in 1980, and his introduction is translated for the foreword of this edition. With a wide readership in today’s Russia, The History of Liberalism in Russia continues to resonate as a penetrating analysis of the historical precedents of liberal thought and its potential as a counterweight to current autocratic tendencies and the uncertainties of Russia’s political future.

close 
close 

“An illuminating and profound analysis . . . one of the most thoughtful and penetrating studies that have appeared in the field of Russian history in any country for some time.”—Donald Treadgold, American Historical Review

“The legend still persists that there was never any choice in Russia between dark reaction and red revolution, and that liberal order was an alien plant which could never have taken root . . . Leontovitsch has done a great service by restoring some of the true perspective.”—Leonard Schapiro, Times Literary Supplement

“This book has that elegant quality of successful works that, while elucidating a specific subject, throw light in passing on other questions that are sometimes of greater significance. Thus, we find in this history of liberalism a profound analysis of some of the key factors that made revolution possible in Russia.”—Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, from the Foreword

“The range and depth of Leontovitsch’s learning, his insights and probing questions on the nature of Russian liberalism make the work extremely satisfying. . . . The endurance of strong central government in Russia today shows that Leontovitsch’s ideas still have much to contribute to our understanding of that country, over half a century on.”—European History Quarterly

“The English translation of this seminal work, originally published in German in 1957, has appeared at a timely moment: liberal and radical elements are currently battling for the upper hand in a fragmented opposition movement against Russia’s autocratic regime, just as they did just over 100 years ago. . . . An exceptionally illuminating work and will surely become a key text for students of both historical and contemporary politics in Russia. his book has enormous relevance not only for those studying the political history of the late Tsarist era, but also those wishing to embed the current chasm between state and society in historical context.”--Europe-Asia Studies


close 

© 2014 University of Pittsburgh Press. All rights reserved.