Nicholas Timasheff

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Nicholas Sergeyevitch Timasheff (Russian: Никола́й Серге́евич Тима́шев) (9 November 1886 – 9 March 1970)[1] was a Russian sociologist, professor of jurisprudence and writer.


Timasheff "came from an old family of Russian nobility"; his father was Minister of Trade and Industry under Nicholas II.[2] In St. Petersburg, where he was born, he attended a classical high school; he went on to attend the Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum, the University of Strasbourg, and the Saint Petersburg State University (MA 1910, LLD 1914). At the latter university he met the Polish-Russian jurist Leon Petrazycki, who was a significant influence on him throughout his life.[3] Two years later he began teaching sociological jurisprudence at the University of Petrograd. He emigrated to the United States following an alleged involvement with the Tagantsev Conspiracy in 1920. He took up a similar position at Fordham University, and was one of the original developers of the discipline of sociology of law. He retired in 1957.

Timasheff was the author of various works, including The Great Retreat: The Growth and Decline of Communism in Russia (1946), in which he argued that the Bolsheviks made a conscious retreat from socialist values during the 1930s, instead returning to traditional ones like patriotism and the family. Historian Terry Martin considers this a misnomer, because "in the political and economic spheres, the period after 1933 marked a consolidation, rather than a repudiation, of the most important goals of Stalin's socialist offensive: forced industrialization, collectivization, nationalization, abolition of the market, political dictatorship."[4]

Nicholas Timasheff is buried in the Oakland Cemetery (Yonkers, New York).


See also


  1. "Dr. Nicholas Timasheff Dies; Sociologist on Fordham Faculty," The New York Times, March 10, 1970.
  2. Goul, "N. S. Timasheff 1886-1970," p. 363.
  3. A. Javier Treviño, introduction to Nicholas S. Timasheff, An Introduction to the Sociology of Law (Transaction Publishers, 1939: ISBN 0-7658-0729-7), p. xi.
  4. Terry Martin, The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939 (Cornell University Press, 2001: ISBN 0-8014-8677-7), p. 415.


  • Goul, Roman (1970). "N. S. Timasheff 1886-1970". Russian Review. XXIX (3): 363–65.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Lenoe, Matthew E. (2004). "In Defense of Timasheff's Great Retreat". Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History. V (4): 721–30.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Schiff, David (1981). "N. S. Timasheff's Sociology of Law". The Modern Law Review. XLIV (4): 400–21.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Simirenko, Alex (1973). "Social Origin, Revolution and Sociology: The Work of Timasheff, Sorokin and Gurvitch". The British Journal of Sociology. XXIV (1): 84–92.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links