Aleksandr Riftin

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Riftin, Aleksandr Pavlovich


Born Nov. 12 (25), 1900, in Kharkov; died Feb. 2, 1945, in Leningrad. Soviet linguist; specialist in Assyriology and general linguistics.

Riftin graduated from the University of Leningrad in 1925. There he was the first who taught Sumerian, Akkadian, and Hittite; he established the subdepartment of Semitic and Hamitic philology at Leningrad State University in 1933, and in 1945 he was one of the organizers of the university’s new Oriental department. Riftin published Babylonian commercial and juridical texts from Soviet collections. He researched problems of historical typology and the history of negative forms in the Akkadian language in light of the general theory of grammatical negation. He substantiated the historical nature of grammatical categories, linking them with a specific level of development in thought. Riftin did research on the economics and legal system of ancient Babylon. He established a series of pamphlets entitled The Structure of Languages (nos. 1–11, 1935–39).


Starovavilonskie iuridicheskie i administrativnye dokumenty v sobraniiakh SSSR. Moscow-Leningrad, 1937.


Krachkovskii, I. Iu. “Pamiati uchenika.” Uchenye zapiski LGU: Seriia filologicheskikh nauk, 1946, no. 10.
Zhirmunskii, V. M. “A. P. Riftin (1900–1945).” Uchenye zapiski LGU: Seriia filologicheskikh nauk, 1946, no. 10.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.