Aleksandra Efimenko

Efimenko, Aleksandra Iakovlevna


(maiden name, Stavrovskaia). Born Apr. 18 (30), 1848, in the village of Varzuga, in present-day Murmansk Oblast; died Dec. 18, 1918, on the farmstead of Liubochka near the village of Pisarevka, in present-day Kharkov Oblast. Russian and Ukrainian historian and ethnologist. First woman in Russia to receive the degree of Honored Doctor of Russian History (University of Kharkov, 1910).

In 1863, Efimenko graduated from the Gymnasium in Arkhangel’sk and became a teacher in Kholmogory, where she married an exiled student, P. S. Efimenko. She made a historical and ethnological study of the people of northern Russia and after 1879 (after she moved to the Ukraine), of the people of the Ukraine. Efimenko belonged to the populist school of Russian historiography. She advanced the theory of the original existence in the north of a landownership system of the pechishche type (collective cultivation and settlement by a kinship group), which corresponded to the dvorishche type of landownership in the south. The latter developed, in the course of history, into the rural commune. Thus, Efimenko’s theory differed both from the populist theory of the existence of the commune from earliest times, and from the views of the state school about the artificial introduction of the commune by the state. She examined the role of the masses and the individual in history from a democratic point of view, noted the interrelationship between social and economic phenomena, argued for the inevitability of the development of capitalism in Russia, condemned national oppression, and advocated the emancipation of women. Her principal works were published in the collections Studies of Folk Life (issue 1, 1884)and Southern Rus’ (vols. 1-2, 1905). Her works on the history of social relations and landownership in Russia attracted the attention of Marx, Engels, and Lenin. From 1907 to 1917 she was professor of Russian history at the Bestuzhev Advanced Courses for Women in St. Petersburg. In 1918, Efimenko was killed by followers of Petliura.


Zbirnyk naukovo-doslidchoi katedry istorii ukrains’koi kul’tury (dedicated to the memory of A. la. Efimenko), vol. 10. Kharkov, 1930.
Markov, P. G.,4. la. Efimenko—istorik Ukrainy. Kiev, 1966.


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