Likhachev, Dmitry Sergeyevich

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(19061999), cultural historian, religious philosopher.

Dmitry Sergeyevich Likhachev was known as a world-renowned academic, literary and cultural historian, sociologist, religious philosopher, prisoner of the gulag, and preservationist of all kinds of Russian culture. But he was much more. By the end of his life he had become one of the most respected citizens of Russia. As an academic, Likhachev was the preeminent expert of his generation on medieval Russian culture, and the literature of the tenth through seventeenth centuries in particular, perhaps the most prolific writer and researcher on Russian culture in the twentieth century. One of his obituaries described him as "one of the symbols of the twentieth century [whose] life was devoted to education the energetic service of the highest ideals of humanism, spirituality, genuine patriotism, and citizenship consistently preaching eternal principles of morality and conscientiousness a person of the rarest erudition and generous spirit, who educated a whole galaxy of worthy students" (Kultura No. 36, 713 October, 1999, 1). Another said, "[He] took the helm of the ship of Russian culture and steered it to a hopefully better world." He was a greatly talented historian and many of his more than one thousand publications were known throughout the world's academic community. By his life's end he had been granted honorary titles by sixteen national academies and European universities, as well as several high honors from his native land, including Hero of Soviet Labor. He served as a researcher in various Soviet academic institutions of renown, gained the title of university professor, and for his seminal work on the Russian classic, Lay of Igor's Campaign, was received into the Soviet Academy of Sciences. His very active life also led him to membership in the Russian Duma after the fall of the Soviet Union.

See also: academy of sciences; historiography; lay of igor's campaign


Likhachev, Dmitry S. (2000). Reflections on the Russian Soul: A Memoir. Budapest, Hungary: Central European University Press.

John Patrick Farrell