The Science Work
Site is for sale:
Category: History

Karpovich Mikhail Mikhaylovich (1888 1959)


The historian and the publicist Mikhail Mikhaylovich Karpovich was born on August 3, 1888 in Tiflis. His ancestors from a father's side came from an opolyachenny Belarusian shlyakhta; the grandmother, the princess Tumanova, was Georgian; from a mother's side the Russian noblemen were his ancestors; mother, nee Presnyakova, had the sister to the famous historian. Mikhail was fond of history, still studying in a tiflissky gymnasium. Then adjoined revolutionary movement. It was close to Social Revolutionaries, promoted their views. At the end of 1905 it was arrested, sat in Mtskhetsky fortress. Later said about the eserovsky hobbies: "Lightly..., by accident". In 190 6 g he entered the Moscow university. Listened to V.O. Klyuchevsky's lectures, participated in D.M. Petrushevsky and M.M. Bogoslovsky's seminars. In 1907/08 academic year attended lectures in Sorbonne. In December, 1907 got acquainted with O. Mandelstam living then in Paris about whom wrote memoirs. In 1914 graduated from the Moscow university, and it was left at department of the Russian history for master preparation (a subject of the master thesis which is not protected because of the begun war — "Alexander I and Svyashchenny Alliance").

At the same time it worked in the Historical museum as the assistant to the scientific secretary. In 1916 Karpovich was mobilized and directed to service in the Ministry of Defence where worked as the secretary of the Special meeting on defense.

In April, 1917 B.A. Bakhmetev who was given assignment by the Russian ambassador in the USA offered it a position of the personal secretary (he well knew family Karpovichey across Tiflis). Having accepted the offer, in May went to the USA. Participated in the Parisian peace conference, was a part of the Russian political meeting advocating the interests of Russia at a conference. Already in 192 0 g when many emigrants still believed that from Bolsheviks Russia will be saved by intervention, Karpovich it is perspicacious considered: "The Bolshevism in Russia will come to an end only when it is obsolete the Russian people; it is the only way, at least for it decades were necessary".

Spring of 1924 the Russian Embassy in Washington was closed, and Karpovich moved to New York. There he made reports, earned a living by book trade. In 192 7 g he was invited in Harvard, in the most prestigious American university where Karpovich should work 30 years - at first the lecturer, then the associate professor, then professor. In 1949 — 1954 he was the dean of Slavic faculty. Gave lectures on the course "Introduction to the History of Russia", on the Western European history, on the Russian literature of the 19th century; developed the course "The History of Ideological Currents in Russia" (a chronological framework — from Peter I to

the collection "Milestones"), earlier in the USA not taught. Karpovich was invited also in other universities. At the beginning of the 30th he some time worked with the historian A.A. Kizevetter in Prague. In 1932 there was in English a book by Karpovich "Imperial Russia" on which generations of the American students studied. Karpovich shows in this book which was not translated to Russian that within 2 00 years "the Russian imperial regime did considerable evolution and underwent big changes" that these changes were "advance, but not back" that at the beginning of the 20th century Russia violently developed and that revolution was not inevitable. This conclusion based on analytical and komparativistsky approach coincides with the general

nondeterministic position of Karpovicha-istorika. "In my opinion — the pupil M. Rayev remembers it — komparativistsky approach was the most distinctive and valuable feature in his interpretation of the Russian history".

Karpovich was from among those few university professors who created the school of sciences. A.F. Kerensky who was well knowing him spoke about it "special talents of the teacher... When M.M. Karpovich was 70 years old, twenty seven of his outstanding pupils who became already professors brought to him the collection of the essays. as a sign of a worship, love and gratitude" (the New Magazine. 1959. No. 58. Page 7).

Karpovich's articles in the Russian and English languages are scattered on a number of editions. One of its most representative articles — a research about two directions of the Russian liberalism acting through his leaders — V.A. Maklakova and P.N. Milyukova (published in the Harvard collective collection "Changes and Continuity in the Russian Thought"). The way of Maklakov seeking to improve the political system proceeding from the principles of liberalism and legality, from the balanced combination of individual freedoms and the state law and order was closer to Karpovich. Karpovich was, by words P. Babbling, "the person thinking independently, widely, freely". In its research Milyukov and Maklakov's views do not protivopolagatsya, and are shown as supplementing each other. He wrote also chapter about Russia in the collective collection "Economic History of Europe". The Westerner and the liberal, he saw Russia an integral part of Europe. He highly appreciated the Russian cultural and church heritage, but emphasized not dividing, and uniting features of the ethnic groups which created European civilization and claimed that West history without inclusion in it of the Russian history cannot be clearly understood.

Since the basis in New York of "the New Magazine" (1942) Karpovich for the rest of the natural was closely connected with this quarterly magazine — at first as the author, since 1943 as the coeditor (with M. Tsetlin, instead of M. Aldanov who left an editorial position), and after M. Tsetlin's death (1945) as individual

editor. At him the magazine accepted the modern look. "As the editor M.M., of course, was irreplaceable — R. Gul remembered. — And this indispensability not only in its big intellectual and spiritual culture, but also in sincere properties. Full tolerance to any opinion if it is only serious also at truly cultural level..., and therefore always the wide range of employees of the magazine" (the New Magazine. 1959. No. 58. Page 27 - 28). Karpovich spoke about quarterly magazine tasks as the edition in which "there is no place for negationists of freedom and preachers of intolerance. Our magazine presents to the employees a full opportunity to state the most various obshchestvennopolitichesky, philosophical and esthetic views., bearing in mind that maintenance of cultural tradition and recognition of autonomy of culture are a necessary condition of spiritual health and one of powerful means in fight against totalitarian barbarity". Karpovich published in "the New Magazine" more than 7 0 articles and reviews. In particular, he wrote about "large people", the contemporaries. In article about I.V. Gessen, the political figure and the publisher of 22 volumes of "Archive of the Russian revolution", Karpovich speaks about transformation of the Russian liberalism from a current of social thought in organized political force and claims that "the idea of legality in itself does not lead neither to political liberalism, nor to the constitutional democratism yet". In article "P.N. Milyukov as Historian" he proves the aspiration to "historical synthesis"; according to him, "works of widely synthetic character in historical literature each and all". In the review of the collection of speeches of "the knight of legality" V.A. Maklakova Karpovich divides his view of the appointment of the state which is in that "to create conditions in which its free activity can prosper for the people". Reviewing the historical novel by M.A. Aldanov "Sources", Karpovich notes that history is important for this writer "not in itself, and only as it affects the fate of people and first of all people & #34; неисторических"". And "the trial of history" is more important than court of history for Karpovich. Historical assessment, he considered, inevitably includes also moral judgment. Those from historians who apply for full objectivity "take out such judgment too, only do it in the illicit way, often without understanding that".

An important part of heritage of Karpovicha-publitsista — his "Comments" published in "the New Magazine" from 1951 to 1958. In some of "Comments" his views of the nature of historical process reveal. In "Case philosophy" (the New Magazine. 1954. he tells No. 37) about dogmatism of deterministic approach: destroying determinism, we open an opportunity for reasonable intervention of the person "in the blind course of events" — a possibility of conscious fight against accident. Applied

a conclusion consists of this theoretical thought for Karpovich in combination of humanistic efforts against "growth of inhumanity in the world". Thematic range of "Comments" is wide. It and problems of nationalities in Russia, both the Russian-American relations, and an emigration role in preservation of cultural heritage. The headings which are found in "Comments" can give an idea of a circle of subjects: "Compromise philosophy", "The revolution price", "America and its allies", "About the Russian Messianizm", "To a dispute on Dostoyevsky", "A problem of freedom of creativity in the Soviet Russia", "Several thoughts of the historical novel", "After Stalin: in Russia", "After Stalin: in the West", "About difficulties of the Western world", "Concerning the American elections", "Emigration and policy".

Karpovich's views of emigration were characterized precisely in 1959 by A.F. Kerensky: "In conditions in which there is the Russian emigration, Karpovich, for real political struggle which demands exact division of the fighting parties thought, there is no place. Its other task: to keep in itself the core religious, intellectual and cultural values, mature the Russian people for long centuries, and most not to degenerate in a congestion of faceless refugees. This task to hold emigration at the high cultural and spiritual level at which there was already Russia war of 1914, to keep in it on the future of a basis of this culture, this task and was pursued by Karpovich, and in it there was his service of Russia; and therefore it held such specific place in emigre circles" (the New Magazine. 1959. No. 58. Page 8).

Mikhail Mikhaylovich Karpovich in Cambridge (USA) died on November 7, 1959.

Publications of documents:

M. Karpovich's letters to G. Vernadsky//New Magazine. 1992. No.



Hull R.Ya carried away Russia: Apology of emigration. T. 3. Russia in America. New York, 1989.

A.F. Kerensky. M.M. Karpovich//New Magazine. 1959. No. 58.


Vernadsky G.M.M. Karpovich: Memories of the friend//New Magazine. 19 60. No. 59.

Vishnyak M.M.M. Karpovich is a politician//the New Magazine. 1960. No.


Hull R.M.M. Karpovich is a person and the editor//the New Magazine. 19 60. No. 59.

S. Zenkovsky. Way of the historian//Experiments. 1958. No. 9.

Rayev M.M.M. Karpovich: the Russian historian in America//the New Magazine. 1995. No. 200.

Timashev N.M.M. Karpovich//New Magazine. 19 60. No. 59.

Vadim Kreyd

Dennis Wells
Other scientific works: