The Diffusion of Ricardo’s Theory in Russia
Chapter 6, by Denis Melnik, reviews the three periods in the development of economic science in Russia during the last two centuries. As is shown, these periods, for different reasons, provided an unfavorable context for the reception of Ricardo’s economics. For about a half of the nineteenth century the name of Ricardo was not unknown but his theory did not attract attention (Sections 2). During the period that started at the 1860s and ended with the Russian Revolution the consensus towards Ricardo among the majority of Russian economists was based on a respectful distance. Still, there were the attempts to actualize Ricardo’s economics. Nikolai Ivanovich Sieber, the first translator of Ricardo into Russian, regarded his theory as a preceding stage to Marx’s, while Yuli Galaktionovich Zhukovsky, who rejected Marxism from the very beginning, made an attempt to reformulate the Ricardo’s theory in terms not dissimilar to the later neoclassical interpretation. The subsequent rise of marginalist theory and the heated debates among the Marxists at the turn of the twentieth century resulted in a strive to ‘synthesize’ classical and marginalist approaches to value and distribution characteristic for a part of Russian economists. It was a background for Vladimir Karpovich Dmitriev’s original interpretation (Section 3). During the Soviet period the canonical version of the history of economic thought placed Ricardo as an immediate predecessor to Marx. A comparison between the approaches to Ricardo’s economics proposed by Issak Illich Rubin and Piero Sraffa (Section 4) allows to outline the difference between two lines in development of the classical approach in the twentieth century.