Bestuzhev-Riumin, Konstantin Nikolaevich

Bestuzhev-Riumin, Konstantin Nikolaevich


Born May 14 (26), 1829, in the village of Kudriashki, Nizhnii Novgorod Province; died Jan. 2 (14), 1897, in St. Petersburg. Russian historian.

Bestuzhev-Riumin was born into a noble family. He graduated from the department of law at Moscow University (1851). In 1865 he became a professor in the subdepartment of Russian history at the University of St. Petersburg, and in 1890 he became an academician. From 1878 to 1882 he directed the Advanced Courses for Women in St. Petersburg (the Bestuzhev Courses). He was a member of the Commission on the Study of Ancient Texts, the Russian Geographical Society, and other scholarly societies. He was also an active member of the St. Petersburg Slavic Committee. He engaged in important publishing work (publication of documents) and scholarly and civic activity.

In his works he emphasized the need for the establishment of concrete historical facts from documentary sources, but in the explanation of historical events he considered it permissible to proceed on the basis of artistic and psychological considerations. He rejected the concept of historical law developed by S. M. Solov’ev and avoided the social and economic themes so widely dealt with by progressive bourgeois historians of his time. His importance as a historian is associated primarily with his work on the problems of the study of primary sources. A great number of Bestuzhev-Riumin’s works were devoted to questions of historiography.


Shmurlo, E. [F.] Ocherk zhizni i nauchnoi deiatel’nosti K. N. Bestuzhev-Riumina, 1829–97. Iur’ev, 1899. (Includes a systematic bibliography of the works of Bestuzhev-Riumin.)