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”
  • Blanqui Lecture 2017, European Society for the History of Economic Thought (ESHET), University of Antwerp, 20 May 2017. Plenary talk for the ESHET Best Book Award.
    • François Allisson, “«Is There Really Anything Uglier Than a Modern City?» Russian Economic Thought In Search For a Better World”.
  • 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).
  • Séminaire LARHRA-Triangle (double seminar with Simon Godard), Lyon, 18 January 2018.
    • François Allisson, “Le marxisme russe et la question ukrainienne dans les années 1870–1880”.
  • 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”
  • What is Interesting for us in Sieber? (in Russian), Round-table in the framework of the seminar series Economics and Culture, Smolny Department of St. Petersburg State University, Russia, 14 April 2018. With Danila Raskov, Leonid Shirokorad, Federico D’Onofrio, François Allisson and
  • XIX April International Academic Conference, section J.02 “Capital in Russia”, moderated by V. S. Avtonomov, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, 10-13 April 2018.
    • François Allisson and Federico D’Onofrio, “Towards an intellectual biography of N.I. Sieber”
    • Danila Raskov, “Sieber as an interpreter of Ricardo and Marx”
    • Leonid Shirokorad, “The history of Marx’s ”Capital“ in Russia (1871-1956)”
  • Early Marxism in Europe: Nikolay Ivanovich Sieber (1870s–1880s), a conference organised by Amanar Akhabbar and François Allisson, with the support of ESSCA - School off Management, and of the Swiss National Science Foundation, ESSCA Paris, 22 May 2019. See the programme and a picture.


  • 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]
  • Shirokorad (2018), Н. Зибер и К. Маркс в истории дореволюционной российской экономической мысли [N. Sieber and K. Marx in the history of pre-revolutionary Russian economic thought], Voprosy èkonomiki, 4: 95–110.
  • Raskov (2018), Кем был Н. И. Зибер? Контекст интеллектуальной биографии [Who was N. I. Sieber? Context of an intellectual biography], Voprosy èkonomiki, 4: 111–128.
  • Raskov (2018). “Networks, Fields, and Political Economy in Fin-De-Siècle Russia: The Life and Work of Nikolai Sieber”, in Jeffrey K. Hass, Re-examining the History of the Russian Economy. A New Analytic Tool from Field Theory, Chap. 5, pp. 97–125. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Allisson, D’Onofrio, Raskov, Shirokorad (2020). “Sieber and the birth of Russian social-democracy”, The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 27(2): 298–323.

Works in progress:

  • Allisson, D’Onofrio, Raskov and Shirokorad (eds), N. Sieber, The Theory of Value and Capital of David Ricardo (1871).
  • Allisson, Raskov and Shirokorad (eds), Anthology of texts by/on Sieber (in Russian).

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
  • Institute of Marxism-Leninism, Moscow
  • International Institute of Social History (IISH), Amsterdam, The Netherlands