Mikhail Nazarov
Михаил Назаров
Mikhail Nazarov
Mikhail Nazarov in 1872
Born Mikhail Mikhailovich Nazarov
(1834-12-21)21 December 1834
Tsaritsyn, Saratov Governorate, Russian Empire
Died 7 March 1927(1927-03-07) (aged 92)
Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
Cause of death Pneumonia
Nationality Russian
Religion Russian Orthodox
Era 19th-century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
Russian philosophy
School Dirigism
Main interests
Politics, economics, philosophy, sociology, military history, biology, natural science
Notable ideas
Militant brotherhood, national family, refinement of the methodology of the closed economy
Mikhail Mikhailovich Nazarov (Russian: Михаил Михаилович Назаров; IPA: [mʲɪxɐˈil mʲɪxɐˈiləvʲɪtɕ ˈnʲazarʲov]; 21 December [O.S. 9 December] 1834 – 7 March 1927) was a Russian philosopher, economist, and sociologist. Nazarov most notable for his founding of the political ideology known as dirigism, which influenced many political opposition movements in the 19th and 20th centuries, and still has an impact on politics today. He published very few books in his lifetime, though he spent much of his time writing and revising his most famous book, Dirigism: A Thesis On Human Political Thought (1867).

Born into a working class family in the town of Tsaritsyn (modern-day Volgograd), in the Saratov Governorate of the Russian Empire, Nazarov served in the Imperial Russian Army during the Crimean War, before going on to attend Moscow University. His time in university sparked his interest in politics and sociology, including his experiences during his time witnessing the injustices of the authorities toward the lower class residents of mid-19th century Moscow. He moved to St. Petersburg in 1861 to teach at the St. Petersburg University as a professor in military history, while serving as a contributor to the city's local newspaper as its political columnist. His critical remarks of the imperial government of Russia resulted in his exile to Siberia in 1865, where he wrote the bulk of his work on political theory. During his time in Siberia, Nazarov protested loudly against the harsh and heavy-handed policies of the Russian government, advocating a more "moderate" stance on governance. It was then that Nazarov developed his theories for politics, primarily on dirigism.

In the isolation of the Siberian tundras, Nazarov developed his theories on politics, society, economics, and culture, which coalesced into Nazarovism, or dirigism as it would become better known in the years after his return from exile in 1873. Dirigism would become a focal point of Nazarov's writing career, though he would return to teaching, travelling across Europe to promote his ideology during the changing political landscape of that time. Nazarov argued that mankind required a form of government that greatly mirrored that of the human family, which was classified by Nazarov as "the most ideal guidance for the human race". However, his works came across as juvenile and oppressive, with many criticizing him as hypocritical given his own previous criticism of the imperial Russian government's authoritarian policies. Nazarov would also spend a considerable amount of his time criticizing the political theories of other philosophers, such as Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and anarchists such as Mikhail Bakunin, who's works Nazarov deemed destructive to the very fabric of society as a whole, pointing out the flaws in Marxist and anarchist ideology.

In spite of his general failure to promote acceptance of dirigism, Nazarov would gain a vast following in his later years. Decades after his death in 1927, Nazarov would be lauded as one of the greatest critical thinkers of the 19th and 20th centuries. Though many have derided his work as totalitarian, many intellectuals, economists, and political parties worldwide would adopt his views as the basis of their own ideologies. Nazarov is cited by many political theorists, who may disagree with his ideas, but value the general wisdom of his writings, some of which have been recited by other philosophers in the decades after Nazarov's death.

Early life

Childhood in the Russian Empire

Service during the Crimean War

University education after the war

Political involvement

Later life



Personal life


Criticism of atheism

Nazarov was a highly vocal critic of atheism and the concept of irreligion as a whole. He traveled regularly to locations such as China, Japan, Germany, Sweden, and the United States, speaking on the subject of atheism, and fighting to see it rejected in all public forums as a topic of discussion. Nazarov believed that atheism was a childish belief that was prone to becoming just as dogmatic as the religions it criticized, pointing to the example of the Soviet Union where state atheism was enforced and the Russian Orthodox Church attacked wherever it was found within the new Soviet Union. Nazarov despised champions of atheism such as Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche and Vladimir Lenin, describing them as "lunatics" with "a personal vendetta against all religion, be it Christianity, Muhammadism, Judaism, or the oriental religions". Those who criticized the Bible or spoke of it as the source of all of mankind's miseries, who spoken of by Nazarov as "totally ignorant of the Christian religion". What notably upset Nazarov was the insistence of atheists that those who believed in a god were lacking in intellectual capacity and free-thought, and were to be roundly criticized.

Honors and memorials

Selected bibliography