Vasily Klyuchevsky bigraphy, stories - Historians

Vasily Klyuchevsky : biography

1841 - 1911

Vasily Osipovich Klyuchevsky ( January 16 (January 28) 1841 in Voskresnskoye Village, Penza Governorate, Russia – 12 May (May 25) 1911, Moscow) dominated Russian historiography at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. He is still regarded as one of three most reputable Russian historians, alongside Nikolay Karamzin and Sergey Solovyov.


Early life

A village priest's son, Klyuchevsky, of Mordvinian ethnicity, studied in the Moscow University under Sergey Solovyov, to whose chair he succeeded in 1879. His first important publications were an article on economic activities of the Solovetsky Monastery near the old Russian town of Belozersk (1867) and a thesis on medieval Russian hagiography (1871).


Kluchevsky was one of the first Russian historians to shift attention away from political and social issues to geographical and economical forces. He was particularly interested in the process of Russian peaceful colonisation of Siberia and the Far East. In 1882, he published his landmark study of the Boyar Duma, whereby he asserted his view of a state as a result of collaboration of diverse classes of society.

In 1889, Klyuchevsky was elected to the Russian Academy of Sciences. Although his lectures were highly popular, he published but a handful of biographies of "representative men", including Andrei Kurbsky, Afanasy Ordin-Nashchokin, Feodor Rtishchev, Vasily Galitzine, and Nikolay Novikov.

Later life

The last decade of his life was spent preparing the printed version of his lectures. He also became interested in politics, and joined the Constitutional Democratic party.


English Translations

  • A History of Russia, (4 Volumes), J.M. Dent/E.P. Dutton, London/NY, 1911.
  • Peter the Great, Beacon Press, Boston, 1984.
  • Rise of the Romanovs, Barnes & Noble, 1993.
  • Two samples of his prose can be found in Crimean-Nogai Raids#Historians on the Tatar Raids

Further reading

  • Mazour, Anatole G. "V.O. Kliuchevsky: The Making of a Historian", Russian Review, Vol. 31, No. 4. (Oct., 1972), pp. 345–359.
  • Mazour, Anatole G. "V.O. Kliuchevsky: The Scholar and Teacher", Russian Review, Vol. 32, No. 1. (Jan., 1973), pp. 15–27.
  • Vasily Klyuchevsky. "The course of the Russian history", ISBN 5-244-00072-1, (in Russian)

See also

  • List of Russian historians

Category:1841 births Category:1911 deaths Category:Russian historians Category:Full Members of the St Petersburg Academy of Sciences Category:Honorary Members of the St Petersburg Academy of Sciences Category:Historians of Russia Category:Mordvin people

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