Cherepnin, Lev

Cherepnin, Lev Vladimirovich


Born Mar. 30 (Apr. 12), 1905, in Riazin’; died June 12, 1977, in Moscow. Soviet historian specializing in Russian history of the feudal period, the study of sources, historiography, and subsidiary historical disciplines. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1972); Honored Scientist of the RSFSR (1970). Member of the CPSU from 1957.

Cherepnin passed his university examinations in 1925, and in 1929 he completed graduate study at the Institute of History of the Russian Association of Scientific Research Institutes of Social Sciences. In 1946, Cherepnin became a senior research worker at the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (after reorganization in 1968, the Institute of the History of the USSR of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR). In 1951 he was made head of the section dealing with the feudal period in the territory now encompassed by the USSR. In 1969 he became head as well of the department for the history of precapitalist formations on the territory of the USSR. Cherepnin taught at various higher educational institutions, including Moscow State University; he became a professor in 1947.

Cherepnin wrote more than 350 scholarly works. A central concern of his research was the formation of the centralized Russian state; in addition to problems of sources and general theoretical questions, he dealt with specific historical problems of the state’s formation. He studied the periodization of Russian history of the feudal period and the socioeconomic and political history of old Russian society during the tenth to 13th centuries. He also studied the development of estate monarchy and absolutism in Russia, the class and political struggle of the 14th to 17th centuries, and the typology of the historical process during the period of feudalism.

Cherepnin was one of the first Soviet scholars to work on the theoretical and methodological problems connected with the study of sources. In a series of works he dealt with important problems of historiography, with leading Russian and Soviet historians, and with major issues in the development of Soviet historical science. He subjected contemporary bourgeois historiography to criticism. Cherepnin wrote both scholarly works and textbooks dealing with subsidiary historical disciplines. He founded one of the Soviet schools of Russian medieval history. In 1970 he became vice-president of the International Commission for the History of Representative and Parliamentary Institutions.

Cherepnin received the M. V. Lomonosov Prize in 1957 and the State Prize of the Moldavian SSR in 1972. Cherepnin was also awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor and various medals.


Russkie feodal’nye arkhivy XIV–XV vv., parts 1–2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1948–51.
Russkaia paleografiia. Moscow, 1956.
Russkaia istoriografiia do XIX v. Moscow. 1957.
Obrazovanie russkogo tsentral’nogo gosudarswa v XIV–XV vv. Moscow, 1960.
Novgorodskie berestianye gramoty kak istoricheskii istochnik. Moscow, 1969.
Puti razvitiia feodalizma. Moscow, 1972. (With A. P. Novosel’tsev and V.T. Pashuto.)
Zemskie sobory Russkogo gosudarstva XV–XVII vv. Moscow, 1979.


Feodal’naia Rossiia vo vsemirno-istoricheskom protsesse: Sb. St., posviashchennyi L. V. Cherepninu. Moscow, 1972.
Obshchestvo i gosudarstvo féodal’noi Rossii: Sb. St., posviashchennyi 70-letiiu akademika L. V. Cherepnina. Moscow, 1975.
Pashuto, V. T., and V. D. Nazarov. “Pamiati starshego druga: O L’ve Vladimiroviche Cherepnine.” Istoriia SSSR, 1978, no. 1.