Pipes, Richard 1923-

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PIPES, Richard 1923-

(Richard Edgar Pipes)

PERSONAL: Born July 11, 1923, in Cieszyn, Poland; immigrated to the United States with parents, c. 1940; son of Mark (in business) and Sophia (Haskelberg) Pipes; married Irene Roth, September 1, 1946; children: Daniel, Steven. Education: Attended Muskingum College, New Concord, OH, 1940–43; Cornell University, B.A., 1945; Harvard University, Ph.D., 1950.

ADDRESSES: Home and office—7 Berkeley St., Cambridge, MA 02138. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, faculty member, 1950–96, professor of history, 1958–96, associate director of Russian Research Center, 1962–64, director of Russian Research Center, 1968–73, Frank B. Baird, Jr., Professor of History, 1975–96, Frank B. Baird, Jr., Professor of History, Emeritus, 1996–.

Stanford Research Institute, senior consultant, 1973–78; Central Intelligence Agency's "Team B"(formed to review strategic intelligence estimates), member, 1976; Executive Committee of the Committee on the Present Danger, member, 1977–92; Reagan Transition Team, Department of State, member, 1980; East European and Soviet Affairs, National Security Council, director, 1981–82; U.S.-Soviet Relations Task Force, Dole for President Campaign, director, 1988; trial of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Russian Constitutional Court, expert, 1992.

Member of editorial boards for periodicals, including Strategic Review, Orbis, International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Comparative Strategy, Continuity, Journal of Strategic Affairs, and Arkana. Also a consultant for the Encyclopedia Britannica, and a contributing Editor for Intellectual Capital. Military service: U.S. Air Force, 1943–46.

MEMBER: Council on Foreign Relations, Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences.

AWARDS, HONORS: Guggenheim Fellow, 1956 and 1965; fellow, American Council of Learned Societies, 1965; fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1965; fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, 1969–70; honorary L.L. D., Muskingum College, 1988; Walter Channing Cabot Fellow, Harvard University, 1990–91; honorary D.H. L., Adelphi College, 1991; speaker, Annual Spring Lecture of the Norwegian Nobel Peace Institute, 1993; Doctor Honoris Causa, University of Silesia, Poland, 1994; Commander's Cross of Merit, Republic of Poland, 1996; Honorary Consul, Republic of Georgia, 1997–.


Formation of the Soviet Union, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1954, published as The Formation of the Soviet Union: Communism and Nationalism, 1917–1923, 1964, with a new preface, 1997.

Moslems of Soviet Central Asia: Trends and Prospects, Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA), 1954.

Karamzin's Memoir on Ancient and Modern Russia, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1959, published as Karamzin's Memoir on Ancient and Modern Russia: A Translation and Analysis, University of Michigan Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 2005.

(Editor) The Russian Intelligentsia, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1961.

Social Democracy and the St. Petersburg Labor Movement, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1963.

(Editor) Oskar Anweiler, Revolutionary Russia, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1968.

Europe since 1815, introduction by William L. Langer, Harper and Row (New York, NY), 1970.

Struve, Liberal on the Left, 1870–1905, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1970.

(With J. H. Hexter and Anthony Molho) Europe since 1500, Harper and Row (New York, NY), 1971.

International Negotiation: Some Operational Principles of Soviet Foreign Policy, U.S. Government Printing Office (Washington, DC), 1972.

(Editor) Peter Berngardovich Struve: Collected Works in Fifteen Volumes, University Microfilms International (Ann Arbor, MI), 1973.

Russia under the Old Regime, Scribner (New York, NY), Weidenfeld and Nicolson (London, England), 1974, with a new foreword, Collier (New York, NY), 1992, Penguin (New York, NY), 1995.

(Editor) Soviet Strategy in Europe, Crane, Russak (New York, NY), 1976.

Struve, Liberal on the Right, 1905–1944, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1980.

U.S.-Soviet Relations in the Era of Detente, Westview Press (Boulder, CO), 1981.

Survival Is Not Enough: Soviet Realities and America's Future, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1984.

Social Democracy and the St. Petersburg Labor Movement, 1885–97, C. Schlacks (Irvine, CA), 1985.

Russia Observed: Collected Essays on Russian and Soviet History, Westview Press (Boulder, CO), 1989.

The Russian Revolution, Knopf (New York, NY), 1990.

Russia under the Bolshevik Regime, Knopf (New York, NY), 1990.

Communism, the Vanished Specter (The Norwegian Nobel Institute Lecture), Oxford University Press (New York, NY), Scandinavian University Press (Oslo, Norway), 1994.

(Editor, with David Brandenberger) The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive, with translations by Catherine A. Fitzpatrick, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1996.

A Concise History of the Russian Revolution, Knopf (New York, NY), 1996.

Three "Whys" of the Russian Revolution, Vintage Books (New York, NY), 1997.

Property and Freedom, Knopf (New York, NY), 1999.

Communism: A History, Modern Library (New York, NY), 2001.

Land Tenure in Pre-Roman Antiquity and Its Political Consequences, Self-published (Cambridge, MA), 2001.

The Dagaev Affair: Terror and Treason in Tsarist Russia, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2003.

Vixi: Memoirs of a Non-Belonger, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2003.

Russian Conservatism and Its Critics: A Study in Political Culture, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2005.

Also author of Jews in Poland: A Documentary History, 1997. Contributor of numerous articles to periodicals and books, including Commentary; Of the Russe Commonwealth, edited by Giles Fletcher, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1966; and Revolutionary Russia, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1968. Also a contributor to numerous periodicals, including the National Review, New York Times, Moscow Times, and the New Republic.

Author's books have been published in twelve languages.

SIDELIGHTS: Writing in the National Review, Charles Murray described Richard Pipes as "one of the world's leading scholars of Russian history." Charles R. Morris of the New York Times Book Review calls Pipes "massively erudite." Morris also noted: "Richard Pipes … has had the satisfaction, rare among academics, of seeing his once unpopular views adopted as American policy. During the early days of Soviet-American arms limitations talks, Pipes was one of a handful of academics who continued to insist on the criminal nature of the Soviet regime." In the 1980s Pipes served on the National Security Council as an advisor to the Reagan administration on Eastern European and Soviet policy. He is the author of twenty books and dozens of articles on Russia and the Soviet Union, a number of which have become standards in the field.

Pipes's 1997 volume Three "Whys" of the Russian Revolution comprises a distillation of much of his earlier work. The three "whys" of the title are: (1) Why did Tsarism fall? (2) Why did the Bolsheviks triumph? (3) Why did Stalin succeed Lenin? On each count Pipes takes issue with what he dubs a "revisionist" interpretation of the Russian Revolution, more specifically, the view that history is the result of irresistible social forces generated from many different sources. It is Pipes's contention that it is the political actions of individuals that often dictate the course of historical events, and that in the case of the Russian Revolution such actions played a determining role. For example, Pipes argues that the Bolshevik coup of October, 1917, was successful not because it was responding to the popular will of the Russian people, but because of Lenin's individual will to seize power. Steve Smith of History Today found this thesis less than convincing: "The curious feature of Pipes's account is that it manages to combine a highly voluntaristic explanation of October—which ascribes to the Bolsheviks a virtually limitless capacity to achieve their ends—with a deterministic account of Russian political culture which, in effect, rules out any outcome in 1917 other than an authoritarian one."

The 1999 volume Property and Freedom marked a significant departure for Pipes. Rather than dealing specifically with Russian-Soviet history, Property and Freedom moves into the realm of political philosophy by examining the role that attitudes toward property rights play in determining the nature of a society. Using both historical and sociobiological evidence to support his position, Pipes argues that strong property rights not only generate economic prosperity but also contribute significantly to the development of democratic political and legal systems. Although property rights have contributed greatly on both these fronts to the success of the West, Pipes feels that in recent years such rights have been gradually eroded by reformers of a socialist bent who seek to redistribute and equalize wealth. Central to Pipes's argument is the belief that property rights are not an artificial construct of the social order, as Rousseau, Marx, and some on the Left would contend, but endemic to the nature of the human species and human society. According to Murray, Property and Freedom is "splendid" because despite the fact that it is making a political case "it retains the perspective and sweep of great historical scholarship." Murray bemoaned the fact that "the politicians of the Right … [cannot] express themselves as eloquently, with as deep an understanding of freedom, as this retired professor of Russian history from Harvard." In contrast, Morris found Property and Freedom to be "a considerable disappointment, especially the querulous broadside against the welfare stare with which it concludes." "Does Pipes read the newspapers?" Morris asks. "Raising a clamor that the Morlocks are taking over, in a country that has just severely limited public assistance and one in which economic inequality is increasing rapidly, seems like piling on, if not actually paranoid." Morris believed that "the distribution of property may be a far more important condition of freedom than the protection of property per se," and that the "challenge is to tease out the balance between insuring a broad distribution of economic stakes and limiting intrusive state power."

In The Dagaev Affair: Terror and Treason in Tsarist Russia, Pipes tells the story of Sergei Degaev, a radical in Russia who killed Russian security chief Georgii Sudeikin and then fled to the United States in the 1880s to established a new life. Much of Pipes's story focuses on the early 1880s while Degaev was essentially working as a double agent in Russia and actually providing information to Sudeikin, whose murder was Degaev's way of paying back for his transgressions against his radical group. In the United States, Degaev eventually earned a doctorate at Johns Hopkins University under the name Alexander Pell and went on to teach at the University of South Dakota and the Illinois Institute of Technology. "This story is complex and fascinating, and Pipes narrates it well," wrote Ann Hibner Koblitz in Isis. Writing on the First Things Web site, J. Bottum called the book "marvelously written."

In Vixi: Memoirs of a Non-Belonger, Pipes recounts his life and career. Pipes reveals that he initially wanted to be an art historian or a musicologist but then decided to focus on history, becoming a specialist in Russian history. The memoir also includes an inside look at Pipes's time as a Washington insider from the late 1970s through the early 1980s, which included his serving as head of the National Security Council's East European and Soviet sections. Writing in the Spectator, David Pryce-Jones called the author "a man of immense learning" and noted, "Most unusually, Vixi is also the work of an intellectual for whom beauty is truth, and truth beauty." A contributor to the Brothers Judd Web site commented that "the tale [Pipes] has to tell—of how one man's contrarian stance against the intellectual orthodoxy of his time can affect both him personally and, if he's lucky, the course of events—is quite timeless."



Pipes, Richard, Vixi: Memoirs of a Non-Belonger, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2003.


Booklist, April 15, 1999, Gilbert Taylor, review of Property and Freedom, p. 1492.

Boston Herald, November 2, 2003, Sam Tanenhaus, review of Vixi.

History Today, October, 1998, Steve Smith, review of Three "Whys" of the Russian Revolution, p. 55.

Isis, March, 2004, Ann Hibner Koblitz, review of The Degaev Affair: Terror and Treason in Tsarist Russia, p. 129.

Journal of Modern History, June, 2005, Philip Pomper, review of The Dagaev Affair, p. 515.

National Review, May 31, 1999, Charles Murray, review of Property and Freedom, p. 63.

New York Times Book Review, October 30, 1996, Richard Bernstein, review of The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive; May 9, 1999, Charles R. Morris, review of Property and Freedom, p. 38.

Publishers Weekly, April 26, 1999, review of Property and Freedom, p. 62.

Russian Life, July-August, 2004, Paul E. Richardson, review of The Dagaev Affair, p. 61.

Spectator, February 21, 2004, David Pryce-Jones, review of Vixi, p. 34.


Benador Associates, http://www.benadorassociates.com/ (August 29, 2005), brief profile of author.

Brothers Judd, http://www.brothersjudd.com/ (January 19, 2004), review of Vixi.

First Things, http://www.firstthings.com/ (August-September, 2003), J. Bottum, review of The Dagaev Affair.

Front Page, http://www.frontpagemag.com/ (January 19, 2004), Jamie Glazov, "Frontpage Interview."