Struve: Liberal on the Left, 1870-1905 cover image

Struve: Liberal on the Left, 1870-1905

By Richard Pipes
Harvard University Press


This volume completes the biography of Peter Struve (1870-1944), one of the most remarkable and influential Russian intellectuals of this century. More than anyone else in his time, Struve was the master of history, journalism, economics, international relations, and practical politics. A scholar and activist, he helped found the Marxist movement in Russia, initiated Marxist Revisionism there, and launched Lenin's career, and he was the theoretician and a cofounder of the Constitutional Democratic Party. After 1905--the years covered in this self-contained volume--Struve became the principal critic of the Russian intelligentsia and the main political ideologist of the anti-Bolshevik opposition during the Civil War and in emigration. His life was a part of the life of Russia as he struggled to craft a liberal democracy and wound up defeated and faced with an emerging totalitarian state.<br /><br />In writing about Struve, Richard Pipes turns biography into history. He lays bare the split soul of the Russian intellectuals--their irresponsibility, unwillingness to compromise, intolerance. Struve, the liberal turned conservative, preached to his countrymen physical and spiritual freedom based on law. He was a Westerner in his championing of social reform, legality, private property, and a vigorous state and foreign policy. This long and rich tradition of liberal-conservatism is recounted against the background of a "monstrous growth of political claims on the individual that caused intellectual and moral independence increasingly to be punished with ostracism, confinement, exile, and death."

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