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Citizen Countess
Sofia Panina and the Fate of Revolutionary Russia

“Feminist aristocrat, social-minded philanthropist, female cabinet minister, ‘class enemy,’ rootless émigré, US citizen! Sophia Panina’s story, embodying revolutionary Russia’s liberal dreams, abounds in contradictions. Its twists and turns and her own dramatic fate are vividly brought to life in Lindenmeyr’s brilliant feat of scholarly detective work. A compelling and illuminating read!”
—Laura Engelstein, Yale University

Countess Sofia Panina lived a remarkable life. Born into an aristocratic family in imperial Russia, she found her true calling in improving the lives of urban workers. Her passion for social service and reputation as the “Red Countess” led her to political prominence after the fall of the Romanovs. She became the first woman to hold a cabinet position and the first political prisoner tried by the Bolsheviks. The upheavals of the 1917 Revolution forced her to flee her beloved country, but instead of living a quiet life in exile she devoted the rest of her long life to humanitarian efforts on behalf of fellow refugees.

Based on Adele Lindenmeyr’s detailed research in dozens of archival collections, Citizen Countess establishes Sofia Panina as an astute eyewitness to and passionate participant in the historical events that shaped her life. Her experiences shed light on the evolution of the European nobility, women’s emancipation and political influence of the time, and the fate of Russian liberalism.


Author. Photo credit, Name Adele Lindenmeyr is dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University and author of Poverty Is Not a Vice: Charity, Society and the State in Imperial Russia. She is also coeditor of Russia’s Home Front in War and Revolution, 1914–1922.




“In Lindenmeyr’s telling, Panina appears as a figure who was greatly beloved by many people. Her contributions are not minimized, but neither are her biases or flaws. This book offers an intimate window into the life and milieu of a key figure, who has now been given the scholarly attention she deserves.”
—Julia L. Mickenberg, University of Texas at Austin


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Of Related Interest


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The White Movement and the Civil War in the Russian North
Liudmila Novikova, translated by Seth Bernstein


Daytime Stars
A Poet's Memoir of the Revolution, the Siege of Leningrad, and the Thaw
Olga Berggolts, translated and edited by Lisa A. Kirschenbaum

Book Title

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November 2019
LC: 2019008124 DK
408 pp. 6 x 9
38 b/w illus.

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Casebound $39.95 a
ISBN 9780299325305
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