Aleksandr Nikolaevich Savin

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Savin, Aleksandr Nikolaevich


Born July 4 (16), 1873, in Kaluga Province; died Jan. 29, 1923, in Moscow. Russian historian. Student of P. G. Vinogradov.

Upon graduating from Moscow University in 1895, Savin began teaching in Moscow in the Advanced Courses for Women. Later he taught at Moscow University, where he became a pri-vatdocent in 1903 and a professor in 1908. After the October Revolution of 1917, he also worked in the Institute of Red Professors and was active in the Institute of History of the Russian Association of Social Science Research Institutes.

One of the most prominent representatives of the liberal-bourgeois school of Russian historians of the early 20th century, Savin was a profound student of medieval and modern Western European history. His chief interest was English history. In the courses he gave on various topics, the lectures dealing with the English Revolution of the 17th century achieved a certain fame. Such well-known Soviet historians as E. A. Kosminskii, S. D. Skazkin, and V. M. Lavrovskii studied in Savin’s seminars. In his research, Savin focused on the socioeconomic relations in the English countryside of the 16th and 17th centuries. His repeated trips to Great Britain allowed him to use many previously unpublished archival documents in his studies. Savin was distinguished by his particularly thorough and subtle analysis of sources and by his application, the first such in Russian medieval studies, of statistical methods of research. A positivist, he usually rejected historical generalizations. Although he drew a number of valuable conclusions concerning the agrarian system and the condition of the English peasantry during the 16th and 17th centuries, he approached the study of these problems from a formal juridical standpoint. He was the first to show the historical link between the copyholders and the villeins—bonded peasants of the Middle Ages—and he traced the process by which peasant lands passed into the hands of the gentry. He showed that as a result of the secularization of monasterial lands in the 16th century, the greater part of these lands went to the new gentry. While displaying an interest in the conception of agrarian revolution presented by K. Marx in the 24th chapter of the first volume of Das Kapital, Savin denied the forcible nature of the expropriation of peasant holdings in England during the Tudor era.


Angliiskaia derevnia v epokhu Tiudorov. Moscow, 1903.
Angliiskaias ekuliarizatsiia. Moscow, 1906.
”Istoriia dvukh manorov.” Zhurnal Ministerstva narodnogo prosveshcheniia, 1916, part 62, no. 4.
”Istoriia odnogo vostochnogo manora.” In Sb. st. ν chest’ M. K. Liubavskogo. Petrograd, 1917.
Vek Liudovika XIV. [Moscow] 1930.
Lektsii po istorii angliiskoi revoliutsii, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1937.
”Zametka o pervonachal’nom nakoplenii ν izobrazhenii Marksa.” In the collection Pomoshch’. St. Petersburg, 1901.


Skazkin, S. D. “A. N. Savin.” Istoricheskii zhurnal, 1944, nos. 7–8.
Mogil’nitskii, B. G. “K voprosu o metodologicheskikh osnovakh istoricheskikh vzgliadov A. N. Savina.” In the collection Srednie veka [fasc. 16]. Moscow, 1959.
Kosminskii, E. A. “Issledovaniia A. N. Savina po istorii Anglii.” In Pamiati A. N. Savina, fasc. 1. Moscow, 1926.
Kosminskii, E. A. Problemy angliiskogo feodalizma i istoriografii srednikhvekov. Moscow, 1963.
Gutnova, E. V. Istoriografiia istorii srednikh vekov. Moscow, 1974. (See index of names.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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