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Nikolai Berdyaev

Nikolai Alexandrovich Berdyaev (1874–1948) was born in Kiev into an aristocratic family. He was educated in a military school and later entered the University of Kiev, from which he was expelled for embracing Marxism and taking part in political agitation. At twenty-five he was exiled from Kiev to the north of Russia and narrowly escaped a second period of exile shortly before the Revolution. Previously, however, he had broken with Marxism in company with Sergius Bulgakov, and in 1909 he contributed to a symposium that reaffirmed the values of Orthodox Christianity. After the October Revolution, he was appointed by the Bolshevists to a chair of philosophy in the University of Moscow, but soon fell into disfavor for his independent political opinions. He was twice imprisoned and in 1922 was expelled from the country. He settled first in Berlin, where he opened a Russian Academy of Philosophy and Religion, then moved to Clamart near Paris, where he lectured in a similar institution. In 1939, he was invited to lecture at the Sorbonne and lived through the German occupation without harm. After the liberation, he announced his adhesion to the Soviet government, but later, in an article he published in a Paris, Russian-language newspaper, he criticized the return to a policy of repression. He died in Clamart.


Books by Nikolai Berdyaev :