Schapiro, Leonard

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SCHAPIRO, LEONARD (1908–1983), British political scientist. Schapiro was born in Glasgow but lived in Riga and Petrograd from 1915 to 1921. His father's family had been wealthy and influential figures in Latvia before the Revolution. In 1921 the family settled in London; Schapiro was educated at St. Paul's School and London University. He practiced as a barrister from 1932 until 1955. During World War ii he worked as an intelligence monitor and, with his knowledge of many languages and his Russian background, was already regarded as one of Britain's greatest experts on the Soviet Union. Schapiro then taught at the London School of Economics and was professor of political science from 1963 to 1975. His many works on the Soviet Union include The Origins of Communist Autocracy (1955); The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1960), generally regarded as the best Western work on this subject; Rationalism and Nationalism in Russian Nineteenth-Century Political Thought (1967); and a biography of Turgenev (1978). He was also chairman of the editorial board of the journal Soviet Jewish Affairs and did much to support Soviet Jewry.


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[William D. Rubinstein (2nd ed.)]