25 avril 2024

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Academician, politician and historian specializing in Tsarist and Soviet Russia, Hélène Carrère d'Encausse died on August 5, 2023 at the age of 94. in Paris.

Academician, politician and historian specializing in Tsarist and Soviet Russia, Hélène Carrère d’Encausse died on August 5, 2023 at the age of 94. in Paris.

Who was Hélène Carrère d’Encausse?

Hélène Carrère born Zourabichvili was born on July 6, 1929 in Paris. His father, of Russian origin, the philosopher and economist Georges Zourabichvili had left Georgia to come to France, his mother Nathalie von Pelken, was of German-Russian origin. She has a brother Nicolas. Moreover, her cousin Salome Zurabishvili was the 5th president of Georgia.

In 1944, after the assassination of her father, she left Bordeaux for Paris with her mother. The 2 women first stayed in rue Daru, at the St Alexandre Nevsky cathedral. She studied at the Lycée Molière in Paris. In 1950, she became French and married 2 years later Louis d’Encausse with whom she had 3 children: Emmanuel (1957), Nathalie (1959) and Marina (1961).


A graduate of the Paris Institute of Political Studies (public service section) in 1952, doctor in 1963, she became professor of history at the University of Paris-I then at the IEP of Paris in 1969. She will also be director of studies at the National Political Science Foundation (FNSP) and administrator of the Eastwest Institute, visiting professor at several North American and Japanese institutions. She was doctor honoris causa of the University of Montreal and the Catholic University of Louvain.
Having become a State Doctor of Letters in 1976, she announced “the end of the USSR” in her book “The Broken Empire” in 1978, which turned out to be partly false.


1984-1989: President of the board of directors of Radio Sorbonne
1987-1988: Member of the Nationality Commission
1988: Member of the Support Committee for the presidential candidacy of Raymond Barre
25/08/1992: President of the National Committee for the “Yes to Maastricht” created by Jack Lang. She claims to be for the liberal movement.
1992: Creation of the Foundation for Republican Integration with Kofi Yamgname and Claude Sérillon. She holds the position of advisor to Jacques Attali, President of the EBRD, participating in the development of a policy of assistance for economic transition in the former communist states.
1993: Appointed vice-president of the diplomatic archives in August, she chaired the human sciences commission at the Center national du livre (CNL) until 1996.
04/26/1994: Candidate for the European elections on the UDF-RPR list, at the instance of Jacques Chirac. Elected MEP, she became vice-president of the Foreign Affairs, Security and Defense Policy Committee until July 1999.
1996: We thought of her to succeed Jean Favier as president of the National Library of France but Pierre-Jean Rémy is preferred to her.
1996-1997: Member of the Committee for the commemoration of origins: from Gaul to France.
1998: Appointment to the National Council for the Development of Humanities and Social Sciences
2004: President of the Scientific Council of the Observatory of Immigration and Integration Statistics. Member of the sponsorship committee of the Collège des Bernardins.
2005: Controversial statement on the Russian channel NTV, about the crisis in the suburbs in November.
2017: Integration of the ethics committee of the Russian channel RT, required by the CSA in view of its activities in France. She decides to leave him.
2022: Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which she thought was impossible, she was close to Russia and its president but moved away following the declaration of war in February.

French Academy

Solicited by Henri Troyat, she was elected on December 13, 1990, to the 14th chair of the French Academy in place of Jean Mistler by 23 votes against 9 for André Sernin.; welcomed under the Dome by Michel Déon on November 2, 1991, she was opposed to the feminization of titles and functions for women in the French language and did not encourage female candidates for the Academy. In 2017, only 4 seats were occupied by women.

Became permanent secretary of the Academy on October 21, 1999, with 26 out of 31 votes to replace Maurice Druon, who resigned, she will be the first woman to take up this position. On September 1, 2021, following the death of Jean-Denis Bredin, she became the dean (formerly elected) of the French Academy and will become the oldest member after the death of René Obaldia on January 27, 2022.

Furthermore, she was an associate member of the Royal Academy of Belgium, a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Romanian Academy and the Academy of Athens. She was also an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Fine Arts and the Georgian Academy of Sciences.

His writings

Hélène Carrère d’Encausse was the biographer of Catherine II, Alexander II, Lenin and Stalin.

Among his writings are:

1978: The Empire Splintered
1983: Big Brother
1986: Neither Peace Nor War
1987: The Great Challenge
1988: The Russian Woe
1991: The Glory of Nations or the Soviet Empire
2005: Russia, the failed transition
2017: General de Gaulle and Russia


Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor (December 30, 2011)
Officer of the National Order of Merit
Commander of the Order of Academic Palms
Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters (February 17, 1996)
Commander of the Order of Leopold (Belgium)
Commander of the National Order of the Southern Cross (Brazil)
Medal of the Order of Honor (Russia), October 16, 2009
Commander with Star of the Order of Merit (Poland), 11 November 2011
Commander of the Order of Cultural Merit (Monaco) (1999).


Prize Today 1978 for Empire Shattered
1987 Louise Weiss Prize
Comenius Prize 1992 for his body of work
Prize of La-Paulée-de-Meursault 1995 for all of his work.
1997 Ambassadors Award for Nicolas II
Prix du Nouveau-Cercle-Interallié 2000 for Unfinished Russia.
Lomonosov Medal (2008)
Grand Gold Medal of the Society for the Encouragement of Progress (2020)
Princess of Asturias Prize (2023) for Social Sciences


At the announcement of the death of the historian, the President of the Republic paid tribute to him as well as the former ministers of culture Roselyne Bachelot, Jack Lang and Frédéric Mitterrand or even the academician Jean-Christophe Ruffin.

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