Aleksandr Petrovich Kunitsyn

Kunitsyn, Aleksandr Petrovich


Born in 1783; died July 1, 1840. Russian enlightener; a follower of A. N. Radishchev.

Kunitsyn was an adjunct professor at the Tsarskoe Selo Lycée (1811–17) and then professor of “general law” at the Main Pedagogic Institute (transformed into the University of St. Petersburg in 1819). He wrote many works on the history of law.

In his book Natural Law (parts 1–2, 1818–20), Kunitsyn used the concepts of the social contract, natural law, and people’s sovereignty to criticize autocracy and serfdom. This led to his dismissal from the university in 1821; he was forbidden to teach in any educational institution in Russia. Kunitsyn worked on problems in the history of Russian law; he strongly influenced the world view of A. S. Pushkin and the Decembrists.


Izobrazhenie vzaimnoi sviazi gosudartsvennykh svedenii. St. Petersburg, 1817.
Istoricheskoe izobrazhenie drevnego sudoproizvodstva v Rossii. St. Petersburg, 1843.
“Litseiskie lektsii.” Krasnyi Arkhiv, 1937, vol. 1.
In Russkie prosvetiteli (ot Radishcheva do dekabristov), vol. 2. Moscow, 1966. Pages 169–359.


Smirnov, F. N. “Mirovozzrenie A. P. Kunitsyna.” Vestnik Moskovskogo universiteta, seriia filosofii i ekonomiki, 1963, no. 5.
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Aleksandr Petrovich Kunitsyn (1783-1840) was one of the founders of that tradition, as Berest clearly demonstrates in her excellent intellectual biography.
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