Rozhkov, Nikolai

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Rozhkov, Nikolai Aleksandrovich


Born Oct. 24 (Nov. 5), 1868, in Verkhotur’e, Perm’ Province; died Feb. 2, 1927, in Moscow. Russian historian and political figure.

Rozhkov graduated from the faculty of history and philology of Moscow University in 1890 and was appointed privatdocent at the university in 1898. In 1905 he joined the RSDLP, affiliating with the Bolsheviks. In the period 1905–06 he was a member of the Moscow Committee of the Bolsheviks, and in 1906 and 1907, a member of the St. Petersburg Committee of the Bolsheviks. He contributed to a number of Bolshevik publications and went underground in 1906.

Rozhkov was a delegate to the Fifth Congress of the RSDLP (1907), at which he was elected to the party’s Central Committee. In the period 1907–08 he served in the Russian Bureau of the Central Committee of the RSDLP. In April 1908 he was arrested, and two years later he was exiled to Eastern Siberia. In exile he joined the Menshevik liquidators and contributed to their press. After the February Revolution of 1917, he joined the Unifiers (ob”edinentsy)—a group of Moscow Social Democrats. With their consent, he became deputy minister of the postal service and telegraph system in the Provisional Government (May-July). In August 1917 he joined the Menshevik Party and was elected to its Central Committee.

Rozhkov was hostile to the October Revolution of 1917. In the early 1920’s he was twice arrested in connection with the anti-Soviet activity of the Mensheviks. In 1922 he broke with the Mensheviks, condemning their political line. He worked in higher educational institutions and scientific institutions in Leningrad (Leningrad University and pedagogical institutes) and Moscow (Moscow University, the Institute of Red Professors, the Academy of Communist Education, and the Historical Museum); he became a professor in 1922.

As a historian, Rozhkov came under the influence of both bourgeois theories of historical development (chiefly positivism) and Marxism. In The Agriculture of 16th-century Muscovite Rus’ (1899), he emerged as the first Russian historian to deduce, on the basis of the analysis of a considerable number of sources, the agricultural crisis of the second half of the 16th century. In The Origin of the Autocracy in Russia (1906), he used much archival material to trace the development and differentiation of the agencies of government in the 16th and 17th centuries. In the 1920’s, Rozhkov concerned himself with the development of capitalism in Russia. His historical-sociological views were eclectic. The development of his historical concept was reflected in The City and the Countryside in Russian History (1902), Survey of Russian History from the Sociological Perspective (parts 1–2, 1903–05; dealing with events up to the 16th century), The Basic Laws of Development of Social Phenomena (1907), and Russian History in the Light of Comparative History (vols. 1–12, 1918–26).

Rozhkov was a partisan of the comparative historical method, but his application of this method was fettered by an erroneous periodization of the historical process. For Rozhkov, history was a succession of “organic” (evolutionary) and “critical” (revolutionary) eras; however, he believed revolution was “only an accelerated evolution.” Rozhkov recognized the role of class struggle in history, but evolutionist concepts led him to belittle this struggle.


Istoricheskie isotsiologicheskie ocherki: Sb. St., parts 1–2. Moscow, 1906.
Iz russkoi istorii, parts 1–2. Petrograd, 1923.


Pamiati Rozhkova N. A. Moscow, 1927.
Sidorov, A. “Istoricheskie vzgliady N. A. Rozhkova.” Istorik-marksist, 1929, vol. 13.
Volobuev, O. “N. A. Rozhkov—metodist-istorik.” Uch. zap. Moskovskogo oblastnogo pedagogicheskogo in-ta, 1965, vol. 121.
Ocherki istorii istoricheskoi nauki v SSSR, vol. 3. Moscow, 1963.
Materialy dlia bibliografii trudov N. A. Rozhkova. Moscow, 1928.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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(18) "Rozhkov, Nikolai Aleksandrovich," MERSH 31 : 218.