Sergei Fedorovich Platonov

Platonov, Sergei Fedorovich


Born June 16 (28), 1860, in Chernigov; died Jan. 10, 1933, in Samara, now Kuibyshev. Russian historian; academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1920–31; corresponding member, 1909).

Platonov graduated from the University of St. Petersburg in 1882 and became a professor there in 1899. He was chairman of the Archaeographic Commission between 1918 and 1929 and director of the Pushkinskii dom (Pushkin House; Institute of Russian Literature) of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR from 1925 to 1929. He was also the director of the academy’s library from 1925 to 1928. A representative of the officially conservative trend in Russian gentry and bourgeois historiography, he was a monarchist. After 1917 his political views, which did not change significantly, were the target of critical attacks by Marxist historians.

Platonov’s work dealt with Russian history from the second half of the 16th century through the beginning of the 17th, the Smuta (Time of Troubles); other subjects of his research included the history of the zemskie sobory and the colonization of the Russian North. In 1888 he defended his master’s dissertation, Old Russian Legends and Tales About the 17th Century Time of Troubles as a Historical Source (1888). His doctoral dissertation and chief work was Studies in the History of the Time of Troubles in the Muscovite State During the XVI-XVII Centuries (1899; latest edition, 1937). Treating the Time of Troubles as a disruption of state order, a point of view traditional for bourgeois historiography, Platonov devoted much attention to the social conflict in Russian society and to mass movements, including the uprising led by I. I. Bolotnikov. In this work he viewed the oprichnina as a state reform that aimed to destroy the economic and political power of the appanage princes’ descendants and of the boyars to the advantage of the nobility and tradespeople. However, he was unable to reveal the basic class contradictions in the Muscovite state.


Stat’i po russkoi istorii (I883–I9I2), 2nd ed. St. Petersburg, 1912.
Lektsii po russkoi istorii Petrograd, 1917.
Boris Godunov. Petrograd, 1921.
Ivan Groznyï Petrograd, 1923.


Romanov, B. “Spisok trudov S. F. Platonova.” In Sb. st. po russkoi istorii, posviashchennykh S. F. Platonovu. Petrograd, 1922.
Ocherki istorii istoricheskoi nauki ν SSSR, vol. 3. Moscow, 1963.
References in periodicals archive ?
Established in the first half of the 19th century, it had continued after the revolution, led then by the noted historian Sergei Fedorovich Platonov (1860-1933).
Sergei Fedorovich Platonov's magisterial Ocherki po istorii Smuty (Studies in the History of the Time of Troubles), published in its first edition in 1899, has been perhaps one of the most resilient prerevolutionary interpretations of any period or topic in Russian history.
(2) Sergei Fedorovich Platonov, Smutnoe vremia: Ocherk istorii vnutrennego krizisa i obshchestvennoi bor' by v Moskovskom gosudarstve XVI-XVII vekov (Petrograd: Vremia, 1923).