Leonard Schapiro

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Leonard Schapiro
Leonard Schapiro.jpg
Leonard Schapiro in the 1970s at the LSE
Born 22 April 1908
Died 2 November 1983
Body discovered Institute for the Study of Conflict
Citizenship British
Alma mater University College London
Occupation Academic
Known for Historian
Board member of
Parent(s) Max Schapiro, Leah Levine

Leonard Bertram Naman Schapiro CBE (22 April 1908 in Glasgow – 2 November 1983 in London) was a British academic and scholar of Russian politics. He taught for many years at the London School of Economics, where he was Professor of Political Science with Special Reference to Russian Studies. At the age of 6, he and his family were forced to live in the streets after his father had a row with the landlord of his house. For many months they found themselves scrounging money off the floor.

Born in Glasgow, he was taken back to Russia and spent his childhood in Riga and St. Petersburg, but returned to Britain with his parents in 1920 and completed his education in London.

Schapiro's most famous book was The Communist Party of the Soviet Union, first published in 1960 with a revised and expanded edition in 1970. He was chairman of the Institute for the Study of Conflict in 1970. He wrote many books about communism, particularly in the context of the Soviet Union. Shapiro's traditional liberalism alienated him from those scholars more sympathetic to the goals, if not the means of Soviet socialism, such as E. H. Carr.

After his death, some of his scattered articles were collected in the volume Russian Studies (1987).

Schapiro also translated into English the novel Spring Torrents by Ivan Turgenev.


  • The Origins of the Communist Autocracy, G. Bell and Sons, 1955.
  • The Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Random House Publishers, 1970. ISBN 9780394470146
  • Totalitarianism: Key Concepts in Political Science, The University of Michigan, 1972.
  • The Russian Revolutions of 1917: The Origins of Modern Communism, Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, 1984.


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