Raeff, Marc 1923-2008

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Raeff, Marc 1923-2008


See index for CA sketch: Born July 28, 1923, in Moscow, U.S.S.R. (now Russia); died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, September 20, 2008, in Teaneck, NJ. Historian, educator, and author. Raeff was one of the scholars of Russian history who largely bypassed a Cold War trend toward exploring the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the ensuing growth of the Soviet Union and its Communist hegemony. Raeff, who was born not long after that October revolution and left the U.S.S.R. in his late teenage years, focused his research on imperial Russia and the connections between the empire and the West. Raeff was a professor of Russian-area studies in New England in the 1950s, and at Columbia University from 1961 to 1988. He taught students about Peter the Great and Catherine and their fascination with Western culture, about the Russian intelligentsia and the nobility, and about the various reform attempts that preceded the violent upheaval of the Bolshevik revolution. He was also one of the first serious scholars to study the waves of people who fled the country, as he and his family did, between the two World Wars. Raeff retired from Columbia as the Bakhmeteff Professor of Russian Studies. Before and after his retirement he was also welcomed as a visiting professor at several universities throughout the United States and Europe. Raeff was the author or editor of more than a dozen books covering the period of Russian history between roughly 1650 and 1900. These include Peter the Great: Reformer or Revolutionary? (1963), Origins of the Russian Intelligentsia: The Eighteenth Century Nobility (1966), Imperial Russia: The Coming of Age of Modern Russia (1970), and Political Ideas and Institutions in Imperial Russia (1994). He also wrote Russia Abroad: A Cultural History of the Russian Emigration, 1919-1939 (1990).



Mendelsohn, Ezra, and Marshall S. Shatz, editors, Imperial Russia, 1700-1917: State Society Opposition; Essays in Honor of Marc Raeff, Northern Illinois University Press (DeKalb, IL), 1988.


Chicago Tribune, September 30, 2008, sec. 1, p. 27.

New York Times, September 29, 2008, p. A23.