Moisey Ostrogorsky

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Moisey Ostrogorsky
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| death_place = Petrograd|residence =|citizenship =|alma_mater = |doctoral_advisor = |academic_advisors =|parents = |notable_students =|known_for = | influences = | influenced = | awards =| signature =}}Moisey Yakovlevich Ostrogorski (also Moisei Ostrogorsky; ; ; 1854 – 10 February 1921) was a politician, political scientist, historian, jurist and sociologist. Along with Max Weber and Robert Michels, he is considered one of the founders of political sociology, especially in the field of theories about party systems and political parties.Lipset (1982) Ostrogorski noted that loyalty to parties is often comparable to loyalty to one's religion. He was a member of the First State Duma of the Russian Empire representing the Hrodna province in 1906-1907.


Moisey Ostrogorski was born in 1854 in the Grodno province of the Russian Empire (now in the Belarus), where he grew up. He studied law at Saint Petersburg State University and worked for the Russian justice ministry.He represented Grodno province in the First State Duma (Parliament of the Russian Empire).In the 1880s, he went to Paris and studied at the École Libre des Sciences Politiques, where he wrote his dissertation Les origines du suffrage universel (The origins of universal suffrage) (1885). Whilst in France, Ostrogorski imbibed French political thought, which was distrustful of an all-powerful state, from thinkers such as Comte, Durkheim, Tocqueville, Saint Simon and Proudhon.(Lipset, S.M. (1960). Political Man. Garden City, New York. p22)He traveled to the United States and Great Britain. In 1902, he published Democracy and the Organization of Political Parties"The Party System: Ostrogorski's Work on Democracy and Political Organization," The New York Times, December 27, 1902. (originally in French), which compared the political system of the two nations. After returning to Russia in 1906, he became the Duma representative for the Hrodna province. He left politics after the Duma was dissolved during the Russian Revolution.As a political thinker, he was recognized in the West before he was in Russia. Ostrogorski has been influential on the political thought of the 20th century.After leaving politics, he taught at the Psychoneurological Institute in St. Petersburg.He died on 10 February 1921 in St. Petersburg, now renamed Petrograd.

Work on political science

Ostrogorski's main work is La democratie et l'organisation des partis politiques.(Paris, 1903; the English edition, London, 1903; vol, 2 appeared as Democracy and the Party System in the United States, New York, 1910; the new advanced edition of all works under the title La democratie et les partis politiques, "Democracy and Political Parties", Paris, 1912) He noted behavioural determinism in organisational structure: "As soon as a party, even if created for the noblest object perpetuates itself, it tends to degeneration", which influenced "the later researches of Max Weber, Robert Michels, and Andre Siegfried".(Scheider, Theodor. (1962). The State and Society in Modern Times. London, England: Thomas Nelson and Sons, p84.) Ostrogorski is one of the few scholars referenced by Max Weber in his classic lecture "Politics as Vocation."Ostrogorski is also the author of a book that is about the equality of the sexes: La Femme au point de vue du droit public.(Paris, 1892, 2 English edition, London, 1908; German translation, Leipzig, 1897, the Polish translation, Warsaw, 1898)


As a lawyer:
  • The Legal Calendar (1876).
  • The Cassation Practice for a Year (1881).
As a historian:
  • Chronology of Russian History (1872).
  • Chronology of General and Russian History (1873).
  • Brief Chronology of General and Russian History (1873).
  • History of Russia for National Schools (1891).
  • The Textbook of Russian History for III Class of Grammar Schools (1891).
As a political scientist: Articles:

Further reading

  • Barker, Rodney and Howard-Johnston, Xenia. "The Politics and Political Ideas of Moisei Ostrogorski," Political Studies, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 415–429.
  • Laffond, Gilbert and Lainé, Jean. "Condorcet Choice and the Ostrogorski Paradox," Social Choice and Welfare, Vol. 32, No. 2, February 2009.
  • Lipset, S. M. "Introduction: Ostrogorski and the Analytical Approach to the Comparative Study of Political Parties." In M. Ostrogorski, Democracy and the Organization of Political Parties, 2 Vol., (1964; 1982 ed.).
  • Nermuth, Manfred. "Two-Stage Discrete Aggregation: the Ostrogorski Paradox and Related Phenomena," Social Choice and Welfare, Vol. 9, No. 2, 1992.
  • Pombeni, Paolo. "Starting in Reason, Ending in Passion. Bryce, Lowell, Ostrogorski and the Problem of Democracy,"{{dead link|date=February 2018 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }} The Historical Journal, Vol. 37, No. 2, Jun., 1994.
  • Ranney, Austin. "M. I. Ostrogorski."{{dead link|date=February 2018 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }} In The Doctrine of Responsible Party Government: its Origins and Present State, Chap. VII, University of Illinois Press, 1962.
  • Shelley, Fred M. "Notes on Ostrogorski's Paradox," Theory and Decision, Volume 17, Issue 3 November 1994.
  • Thorne, W. H. "Half-Soling the Nations," The Globe, Vol. XIII, 1903.



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