Liberty, Equality, and the Market


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Essays by B.N. Chicherin

B. N. Chicherin; Translated by G. M. Hamburg; Foreword by Gary Saul Morson

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This volume brings the remarkable writings of Russian liberal thinker Boris Nikolaevich Chicherin (1828–1904) to English-language readers for the first time. The collection includes key essays in which Chicherin addresses the central political and social problems that confronted Russia from 1855 to the opening years of the twentieth century. Chicherin’s ideological alternatives to the Bolshevik plan for revolutionary transformation of Russia not only provide valuable historical insights, but also are highly relevant to current political discussion of liberalism in Russia and in the West.

In a comprehensive introduction to the book, G. M. Hamburg discusses the development of Chicherin’s thought and places it in historical context. Chicherin, Hamburg says, was a powerful and sophisticated but often misunderstood defender of civil and political rights. Like his fellow liberals in Russia, Chicherin was heavily influenced by German idealism and particularly by Hegel. He departed from many, however, in favoring a market economy and advocating that reform efforts be tailored to local conditions and traditions. In this collection Chicherin explores such contemporary issues as the abolition of serfdom, Russian education, and the need for a constitution. He also tackles broad philosophical problems—the nature of liberty and equality, styles of political discourse—and comments on such philosophers as Plato, Aristotle, More, Machiavelli, Montesquieu, Hegel, and Marx.

G. M. Hamburg is professor of Russian history at the University of Notre Dame.

"These essays by the Russian liberal B. N. Chicheren, available for the first time in English, should appeal to a wide range of scholars. . . . It is likely that as Russians attempt to consolidate a liberal society, they will find the writings of one of their own especially inspiring. Western liberals, meanwhile, will learn much from a thinker unafraid to tackle the question of what sort of culture sustains democratic freedoms, but who also eschewed ’aestheticist’ and romantics dogmas. . . . Recommended for upper-division undergraduate, graduate, and faculty collections."—Choice

"[Chicherin’s] critique of socialism and Communism . . . makes him a devastating prophet of what went wrong under communism. . . . By making Chicherin’s thoughts available to the English speaking world, Hamburg has done a service to all students of Russia."—Jackson Taylor, Jr., H-Net Reviews

"Students of political philosophy will find provocative . . . reflections on liberal ideology in this latest addition to the Yale Russian Literature and Thought Series. . . . The book brings into clearer perspective the thought world of an insufficiently understood but important political minority in prerevolutionary Russia. . . . Graduate students and faculty will find it stimulating."—Vladimir Wozniuk, Perspectives on Political Science

“Hamburg deftly and succinctly places Chicherin’s essays in their biographical and historical context, evaluating them against a rich background in European intellectual history.”—Hugh McLean, Slavic and East European Journal

ISBN: 9780300072327
Publication Date: November 10, 1998
496 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
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