chapter  3
11 Pages

Profiles under pressure: Orientalists in Petrograd/ Leningrad, 1918–1956


This paper is meant to offer a Western audience a brief introduction to the dramatic position of the Russian guardians of the academic tradition of Oriental scholarship in St. Petersburg (Petrograd, Leningrad) under the ruthless ideological system of the Bolsheviks. I shall focus on two of the greatest Russian Orientalists of the twentieth century – the specialist in Islamic studies Vasilii Bartol’d (Barthold, 1869-1930) and the expert in Arabic studies Ignatii Krachkovskii (1883-1951) – but will also discuss the fates of members of the following generation, such as Vasilii Eberman (1899-1937), a gifted interpreter and connoisseur of Arabic and Iranian poetry, and Il’ia Petrushevskii (1898-1977), a historian of the medieval Caucasus and Middle East.