Ostrovitianov, Konstantin Vasilevich

Ostrovitianov, Konstantin Vasil’evich


Born May 18 (30), 1892, in the village of Bychki, Tambov Province; died Feb. 9, 1969, in Moscow. Soviet economist and public figure. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1953) and member of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences (1957). Member of the CPSU from 1914.

Ostrovitianov graduated from the Moscow Commercial Institute in 1917. In 1916 he was a member of the underground Moscow committee of the RSDLP. At the time of the October Revolution of 1917 he was secretary of the Zamoskvorech’e military revolutionary committee. During the years 1919–21 he engaged in party work. In 1922 he began a career in teaching and research. He worked at higher educational institutions and the Higher Party School and Academy of Social Sciences attached to the CPSU Central Committee. He also worked at the Institute of Economics of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, serving as the institute’s director from 1947 to 1953. From 1948 to 1954 he was editor in chief of the journal Voprosy Ekonomiki. During the years 1949–53 he was acting academician-secretary of the division of economics, philosophy, and law of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. From 1953 to 1962 he was vice-president of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. He was elected a candidate member of the Central Committee of the CPSU at the Nineteenth (1952) and Twentieth (1956) Party Congresses.

Ostrovitianov’s major works deal with the political economies of capitalism and socialism. In 1928, together with the Soviet scholar I. A. Lapidus, he wrote Political Economy in Relation to the Theory of the Soviet Economy (parts 1–2), a course of instruction in political economy that has gone through seven editions and has been translated into numerous foreign languages. In the fifth edition (1930), special sections were devoted to the theory of imperialism and the laws of development of the Soviet economy. The theoretical presentation of the economic categories of socialism actually helped transform the theory of the Soviet economy into the political economy of socialism. In the early 1930’s Ostrovitianov pioneered research on the economic laws of the origins and growth of precapitalist formations. He was one of the first Soviet economists to begin the systematic study of the Lenin’s legacy in economic theory and, particularly, in the political economy of socialism. Ostrovitianov directed the group of authors that prepared the textbook Political Economy, which became the basis of the economic discussion organized by the Central Committee of the ACP(B) in 1951.

Ostrovitianov advocated the application to economics of mathematical methods that took into account the objective nature of economic laws. He produced significant works on the general principles involved in the systems analysis of the objective economic laws that operate under socialism. He also worked at introducing greater logical rigor into the political economy of socialism and at creating a system of economic sciences. In his writings he subjected bourgeois and revisionist economic theories to well-substantiated criticism. Ostrovitianov was awarded two Orders of Lenin, two other orders, and various medals.


Izbr. proizvedeniia, vol. 1: Politicheskaia ekonomiia dosotsialisticheskikh formatsii; vol. 2: Voprosy politicheskoi ekonomii sotsializma. Moscow, 1972–73. (Vol. 1 contains a list of Ostrovitianov’s works.)