Kantian Journal

2015 Issue №4(54)

Back to the list Download the article

Bogdan Kistiakovy’s Project of “State of the Future” as Synthesis of the Ideas of Liberalism and Socialism



This article is devoted to the correlation between liberal and socialist ideas in the social and philosophical conception of the prominent methodologist of social sciences and a Neo-Kantian legal theorist Bogdan Kistyakovsky. The author stresses the uncertainty of both the definition of liberalism and the principles behind attributing concrete thinkers to this movement. The article emphasises the inconsistency of classifying Kistyakovsky’s socio-philosophical concept as liberal. The analysis performed is based on Kistyakovsky’s model of the ‘state of the future’ — a project of a socialist rule-of-law state developed by Kistyakovsky at the turn of the 20th century. The article identifies distinct Marxist analogies and parallels in the contents of this project. The ‘state of the future’ as a rule-of -law socialist state should not only protect citizen’s rights and freedoms, which Kistyakovky supports as proponent of ‘natural rights’, but also ensure social justice. Moreover, he stresses the nonviolent, ‘evolutionary’ way of transition from a bourgeois rule-of-law state to a socialist one. Kistyakovsky’s project demonstrates certain ‘utopianism’, since it is future-oriented and it pursues the ethical goal of establishing a socially just society. The socioeconomic component is the most ‘Marxist’ element of Kistyakovsky’s project. It suggests an original legal interpretation of the idea of socialization of means of production. Kistyakovsky sees the capitalist form of economic organization as a form of ‘economic anarchy’ and a major obstacle to the mission of achieving social justice. This problem is solved through withdrawing all means of production from the realm of private law, which should be compensated for by the extension of public legal rights. It is concluded that it is possible to correlate B. A. Kistyakovsky’s social and philosophical views presented in the ‘state of the future’ project with the theoretical foundations of the European social democracy of the mid-20th century without considering the wholeness of the philosopher’s theoretical legacy.


1. Walicki, A. 2012, Filosofia prava russkogo liberalism [Legal philosophy of Russian liberalism], Moscow.
2. Vasilenko, N. P. 1994a, Akademik Bogdan Alexandrovich Kistiakovsky [chast’ 1] [Academician Bogdan Alexandrovich Kistiakovsky], Sociologicheskie issledovania [Sociolo-gical studies], no. 2, p. 139—154, available at: <http://ecsocman.hse.ru/data/100/ 477/1216/021_Vasilenko. pdf> [accessed 08 March 2015].
3. Vasilenko, N. P. 1994b, Akademik Bogdan Alexandrovich Kistiakovsky [chast’ 2][Academician Bogdan Alexandrovich Kistiakovsky], Sociologicheskie issledovania [Sociological studies], no. 4, p. 129—139, available at: <http://ecsocman. hse.ru/data/ 652/846/1217/020_Vasilenko_Sotsiologicheskoe_nasledie.pdf> [accessed 08 March 2015].
4. Kistiakovsky, B. A. 2010a, Izbrannoe: v dvuh chastiah, Chast 1. [Selected works in 2 parts, part 1], Moscow.
5. Kistiakovsky, B. A. 2010b, Izbrannoe: v dvuh chastiah, Chast 2. [Selected works in 2 parts, part 2], Moscow.
6. Pishun, S. V., Kurbenkov, V. A. 2005, Konceptual’nye osnovaniya politi-cheskogo uchenia B. A. Kistiakovskogo [Conceptual foundations of B. A. Kistiakovsky’s political study], Vladivostok.
7. Medushevsky, A. N. 2007, Bogdan Alexandrovich Kistiakovsky: “U nashey intel-ligencii pravosoznanie stoit na kraine nizkom urovne razvitia…” [Bogdan Alexandrovich Kistiakovsky: “Legal consciousness of our intelligencia is at extremely low level of de-velopment”], Rossiyskiy liberalism: idei i liudi [Russian liberalism: ideas and people], Moscow.
8. Sapov, V. V. 1992, Arhiv B. A. Kistiakovskogo [B. A. Kistiakovsky’s archive], Voprosy Sociologii [Sociological Matters], 1(1). Moscow, P. 157—164.
9. Frolova, E. A. 2012, Ideal socialno-pravovogo gosudarstva v oteche-stvennom neokantianstve (konez XIX — nachalo XX veka) [The ideal of social-legal state in national neo-Kantianism (the end of the 19th — the beginning of the 20th centuries)], Vestnik Mos-kovskogo Universiteta [Moscow University’s Bulletin], 11/1, Moscow, p. 19—29.
10. Arblaster, A. 1984, The Rise and Decline of Western Liberalism. Oxford.
11. Raico, R. 2012, Classical Liberalism and the Austrian School / Forword by J. G. Hüls-mann, preface by D. Gordon. Auburn, Al.
12. Heuman, S. 1998, Kistiakovsky. The struggle for national and constitutional rights in the last years of tsarism. Harvard.