Kliuchevsky, Vasilii

Kliuchevsky, Vasilii [Ключевский, Василий; Ključevskij, Vasilij], b 28 January 1841 in Voskresenskoe, Penza gubernia, Russia, d 25 May 1911 in Moscow. (Photo: Vasilii Kliuchevsky.) Prominent Russian historian; full member of the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1900. A professor at Moscow University, Kliuchevsky was one of the most important figures in the development of Russian historiography. In his broad syntheses (eg, Kurs russkoi istorii [A Course in Russian History], 5 vols, 1904–21) he traced the history of the Russian nation back to Kyivan Rus’ and developed a systematic presentation stressing the continuity of Russian history to the modern period. In this ‘imperialistic’ approach he paid no attention to the experiences of the other nations in the Russian Empire, including Ukrainians. However, his works on social and economic history contain much important information relating to Ukraine: eg, Proiskhozhdenie krepostnogo prava v Rossii (The Origins of Serf Law in Russia, 1885), Podushnaia podat’ i otmena kholopstva v Rossii (The Poll tax and the Abolishment of Serfdom in Russia, 1885), and Istoriia soslovii v Rossii (A History of Social Classes in Russia, 1913).

Byrnes, Robert. V.O. Kliuchevskii, Historian of Russia (Bloomington, Indiana 1995)

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1988).]

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