Kipen, Aleksandr Abramovich

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KIPEN, ALEKSANDR ABRAMOVICH (1870–1938), Russian writer. In 1894 he graduated from the National School of Agriculture in Montpellier, France. In the 1910s he taught agriculture in St. Petersburg and in 1920 became a professor at the Odessa Agricultural Institute. He wrote a number of scientific works on viticulture, mainly on vine growing in the southern areas of the Ukraine. Kipen's literary activity began in 1903. He mainly published in collections and journals of Marxist and populist orientation but also in Russian-Jewish periodicals. He depicted the life of the working classes of southern Russia, and was interested in events connected with the Revolution of 1905. He is familiar with the internal and external aspects of Jewish life. His documentary tale V octyabre ("In October [1905]," in the collection Znanie, no. 11, 1906) is an impassioned eye-witness account of an outbreak during a pogrom in Odessa, including the brutal murder of women and children who were flung from their balconies; Cossacks shooting unarmed civilians, Jewish self-defense, soldiers aiming machine-guns and cannons at Jewish homes, Zionists defending the honor of their people, and the moral vacuousness of Jewish apostates. The hero of the story "Liverant" (published in Evreyskiy mir in 1910) rejects the idea of converting to Christianity as an escape from frustration of Jewish lack ofrights. In his story "Gangrena" ("Gangrene") Kipen suggests that the solution to the Jewish problem should be the overthrow of autocracy and the elimination of all limitations of rights throughout the Russian empire.

Kipen conveyed in a masterful way the nuance of southern Russian folk speech, including the hybrid Russian-Jewish way of speaking which to some degree characterized the language of the Odessa school of Russian literature.

His brother GRIGORIY ABRAMOVICH KIPEN (1881–?), was an economist and active member of the Russian revolutionary movement. After February 1917 he was deputy chairman of the Moscow Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies and co-editor of the newspaper Izvestia of the Moscow Soviet. From late 1917 until 1920 he was secretary of the Moscow Menshevik organization. In the 1920s he taught at higher educational institutions in Moscow. From 1930 to 1933 he was kept in political isolation in the town of Verkhneuralsk. Subsequently he was sent to Tomsk where he presumably perished.

[Mark Kipnis /

The Shorter Jewish Encyclopaedia in Russian]