François Allisson

historian of economic thought

Sieber, Nikolay Ivanovich (1844–1888)

Who was Sieber (also known as Ziber)? The first Russian economist that introduced the economic theories of Karl Marx in Russia? David Ricardo’s first translator in Russia? The last great classical economist? A Swiss citizen? A publicist collaborating to Ukrainian illegal newspaper? An armchair economist? A revolutionary activist? Or all this (or none)?

The collective team composed of Danila Raskov, Federico D’Onofrio, Leonid Shirokorad, Aleksandr Dubyansky and myself, working on the project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Russian Humanitarian Fund, is working on an intellectual biography of Sieber, together with an English edition of his magnum opus on Ricardo and Marx (1871).


  • Round-table at the Smolny College, St. Petersburg State University, Russia, 17 January 2017. The Intellectual Biography of N.I.Sieber and his place in the history of social-economic thought (in Russian): with the participation of Leonid Shirokorad, Aleksandr Dubyansky, Danila Raskov, Federico D’Onofrio and François Allisson.
  • Special session N.I.Sieber, Swiss-Russian economist at the 21th ESHET Annual Conference in Antwerp, 18-20 May 2017, chaired by Julius Horvath (Central European University, Budapest):
    • François Allisson and Federico D’Onofrio, “Towards an intellectual biography of N.I.Sieber”
    • Danila Raskov, “Sieber as an economic anthropologist”
    • Leonid Shirokorad, “Nikolai Sieber in the history of Russian economic thought”
  • Seminar on quantitative methods in history (CUSO), Lausanne, Switzerland, 22 May 2017:
    • François Allisson and Federico D’Onofrio, “Le savant, le publiciste et le révolutionnaire: le réseau de Nikolaj I. Sieber (1870–1885)”
  • XXXVIII CAMHIST Seminar, Cambridge Seminar in the History of Economic Analysis at Clare Hall, 20 July 2017:
    • François Allisson, “Sieber as the First Russian Marxist” (abstract).
  • N.I.Sieber (1844-88), Swiss citizen: The first Russian Marxist?, a conference organised by Federico D’Onofrio and François Allisson, with the support of the Swiss National Science Foundation, University of Lausanne, 22 September 2017. See the programme.
    • Leonid Shirokorad, “Sieber on the critics of Marx by Zhukovsky and Chicherin”
    • Aleksandr Dubyanski, “The problem of communal relations in Sieber’s works”
    • Aleksandr Pogrebnyak, “Political economy of Sieber in the context of contemporary vision on the essence of capitalism”
    • François Allisson and Federico D’Onofrio, “Presentation of the Project”
    • Paul Zarembka, “Marxist political economy without Hegel…”
    • Federico D’Onofrio, “Sieber and the first globalisation”
    • Danila Raskov, “Networks and political economy in fin-de-siecle Russia: to the intellectual biography of Nikolay Sieber”
    • François Allisson, “Sieber as historian of classical political economy”


  • Special issue on Sieber in Terra Economicus (2016, vol. 14, no 4), with the following papers:
    • Allisson (2016) Н.И. Зибер - Влиятельный ученый-одиночка [N.I. Sieber as a Solitary but Influent Scholar]
    • Raskov (2016) Н.И. Зибер как кабинетный экономист-антрополог [N.I. Sieber as an Armchair Economic Anthropologist]
    • Dubyansky (2016) Зибер и Воронцов о капиталистическом пути развития России [Sieber and Voroncov on the Capitalist Way of Development]

Visited libraries and archives

  • Swiss Federal Archives, Bern, Switzerland
  • City of Bern Archives, Switzerland
  • State of Bern, Switzerland
  • City of Zurich Archives, Switzerland
  • State of Zurich, Switzerland
  • Schweizerisches Sozialarchiv (SOZARCHIV), Zurich, Switzerland
  • Library of Zurich Archives (Zentralbibliothek), Switzerland
  • City of Uster Archives (Paul-Kläui-Bibliothek), Switzerland
  • Library of Geneva Archives, Switzerland
  • State Historical Archives of Russia (RGAI), St. Petersburg, Russia
  • State National Library (NLR), St. Petersburg, Russia
  • State Archives in Kiev (GAK), Ukraine
  • Central Historical State Archives in Kiev (TsGIAK), Ukraine
  • National State Library, Kiev, Ukraine
  • Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History (RGASPI), Moscow
  • Accessed only by distance
    • International Institute of Social History (IISH), Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Next important visits are planned in Moscow (notably Institute Marxism-Leninism)