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Nicholas Alexandrovich Berdyaev

What self-respecting Rock and Roller would not be attracted to a goateed, beret-wearing, cigar-chomping autodidact with a history of not only being kicked out of school, but twice being banished from his home country for his radical ideas about freedom, creativity and what it means to be human.

As E.L. Allen succinctly notes in his book Freedom in God - A Guide to the Thought of Nicholas Berdyaev:

Nikolai Alexandrovich Berdyaev was born at Kiev in 1874 of an aristocratic family. He commenced his education in a military school and subsequently entered the University of Kiev. There he accepted Marxism and took part in political agitation, for which he was expelled. At twenty-five he was exiled from Kiev to the north of Russia and narrowly escaped a second period of exile shortly before the Revolution. Before this, however, he had broken with Marxism in company with Sergius Bulgakov, and in 1909 he contributed to a symposium which reaffirmed the values of Orthodox Christianity. After the October Revolution he was appointed by the Bolshevists to a chair of philosophy in the University of Moscow, but soon fell into disfavour for his independent political

For a slightly longer biograph, see Nino Langiulli's brief in The Existentialist Tradition: Selected Writings.

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opinions. He was twice imprisoned and in 1922 was expelled from the country. He settled first in Berlin, where he opened a Russian Academy of Philosophy and Religion. Thence he moved to Clamart near Paris, where he lectured in a similar institution. In 1939 he was invited to lecture at the Sorbonne. He lived through the German occupation unmolested. After the liberation, he announced his adhesion to the Soviet government, but later an article by him published in a Paris (Russian) newspaper, criticising the return to a policy of repression, was tantamount to a withdrawal of this. He died at Clamart March 24, 1948.

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