May 01, 2020

Sergei Solovyov

Sergei Solovyov

May 5 marks the bicentennial of the birth of one of Russian history’s greatest scholars: Sergei Mikhailovich Solovyov. Born in Moscow, he for 34 years taught at Moscow University, while also publishing and delivering lectures. In the 1870s Solovyov served as the university’s rector, but he gave up that post because he could not abide the government’s interference in higher education.

Solovyov’s most important contribution was his massive History of Russia from Earliest Times («История России с древнейших времен»). To be honest, few can boast of having read all 29 volumes from cover to cover, but anything you might want to know about Russian history, from ancient Rus through the eighteenth century, can be found within them.

Solovyov mentored another great historian: Vasily Klyuchevsky. Furthermore, a number of his eight children left their own imprints on Russian culture. His son Vsevolod wrote historical novels; his daughter Maria authored children’s books; Poliksena was a poet; and Vladimir became one of Russia’s greatest philosophers and had a profound influence on the Silver Age.

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