Ivan Ivanovich Ditiatin

Ditiatin, Ivan Ivanovich


Born in 1847 in St. Petersburg; died Oct. 29 (Nov. 10), 1892, in Dorpat, now Tartu. Russian historian of the law and specialist in the theory of state.

Ditiatin graduated from the University of St. Petersburg in 1870. For The Cities of Russia in the 18th Century (1875), the first volume of his work The Structure and Government of the Cities of Russia, Ditiatin was awarded a master’s degree in constitutional law. He defended the second volume, Municipal Self-government to 1870 (1877), as a doctoral dissertation. He was a professor at Yaroslavl Lycée from 1875 to 1878, at the University of Kharkov from 1878 to 1887, and at the University of Dorpat from 1889. Extending A. D. Gradovskii’s interpretation of the theories of the “state school” to the problems of urban evolution Ditiatin asserted the decisive role of a state independent of class in both the emergence and existence of cities; this led to an underestimation of the role and level of development of cities in Russia as well as to a false thesis concerning the artificial establishment of cities by the state power. His progressive views were manifested in his defense of the idea of self-government as opposed to bureaucratic regulation. Ditiatin’s merit consists in the very fact that he posed scientific questions concerning the history of cities in the 18th and 19th centuries.