Dominic Lieven

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Dominic Lieven

Lieven speaks at Epiphany Nights in St. Petersburg in 2019
Citizenship United Kingdom
TitleFellow of the British Academy
Parent(s)Alexander Lieven and Veronica Monahan
RelativesAnatol Lieven, Nathalie Lieven, Elena Lieven, Michael Lieven
AwardsWolfson History Prize, Order of Friendship
Academic background
EducationDownside School, Christ's College, Cambridge, Harvard University
Academic work
InstitutionsLondon School of Economics, University of Cambridge
Doctoral studentsDejan Jović

Dominic Lieven (born 19 January 1952) is an English research professor at Cambridge University (Senior Research Fellow, Trinity College) and a Fellow of the British Academy[1][2] and of Trinity College, Cambridge.


Lieven was educated at Downside School, a Benedictine Roman Catholic boarding independent school in Stratton-on-the-Fosse, near Shepton Mallet in Somerset, followed by Christ's College, Cambridge, where he graduated top of the class of 1973 (Double First with Distinction), and was a Kennedy Scholar at Harvard University in 1973/4.

Professor of Russian and International history[edit]

Lieven is a writer on Russian history, on empires and emperors, on the Napoleonic era and the First World War, and on European aristocracy.[3] Lieven is on the Editorial Board of Journal of Intelligence and Terrorism Studies[4]. He was elected in 2001 Fellow of the British Academy, and was head of the History Department at the London School of Economics from 2009 to 2011; he was appointed lecturer there in 1978, and professor in 1993. He was appointed to his current position at the University of Cambridge in 2011.[5][6]

Political views[edit]

In May 2016, Lieven was one of 300 historians who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian warning voters that if they chose to leave the European Union in a process called Brexit on 23 June of that year, they would be condemning Britain to irrelevance.[7]


Lieven was historical adviser on the BBC's television adaptation of War and Peace, which added incest to the narrative, and was slated by Downton Abbey adviser Alastair Bruce over its mistaken military costumes.[8] Lieven said:[9]

You couldn't completely rule out the strangest sexual antics in young aristocratic St Petersburg, though brother-sister incest is perhaps a bit ripe.... I thought it was pretty good given modern tolerances and pressures. It gets the spirit of Tolstoy and his book right.

Personal life and ancestry[edit]

Dominic Lieven is the second son and third child (of five children) of Alexander Lieven (of the Baltic German princely family, tracing ancestry to Liv chieftain Kaupo) by his first wife, Irishwoman Veronica Monahan (d. 1979). He is the elder brother of Anatol Lieven and Nathalie Lieven QC, and a brother of Elena Lieven and Michael Lieven and distantly related to Christopher Lieven (1774–1839), who was Ambassador to the Court of St James from Imperial Russia over the period 1812 to 1834, and whose wife was Dorothea von Benckendorff, later Princess Lieven (1785–1857), a notable society hostess in Saint Petersburg and influential figure among many of the diplomatic, political, and social circles of 19th-century Europe.

Lieven is "a great-grandson of the Lord Chamberlain of the Imperial Court" of Russia.[10]

Lieven is a friend of Simon Sebag Montefiore, and has read at least one of the latter's manuscripts.[11]

Awards and honours[edit]


  • Russia and the Origins of the First World War, Macmillan Press (1983).
  • Russia's Rulers Under the Old Regime, Yale University Press (1989).
  • The Aristocracy in Europe 1815/1914, Macmillan/Columbia University Press (1992).
  • Nicholas II: Emperor of all the Russias, John Murray/St Martin's Press/Pimlico (1993).
  • "Western scholarship on the rise and fall of the Soviet regime : the view from 1993". Journal of Contemporary History. 29 (2): 195–227. April 1994.
  • Empire: The Russian Empire and its Rivals, John Murray/Yale University Press (2003).
  • Russia Against Napoleon: The Battle for Europe, 1807 to 1814 Allen Lane/Penguin (2009).[13][14]
  • Towards the Flame: Empire, War and the End of Tsarist Russia Allen Lane/Penguin (May 2015).[15][16][17][18]
  • The End of Tsarist Russia: The March to World War I and Revolution, Penguin Random House (2015).[19]
  • In the Shadow of the Gods: The Emperor in World History, Viking (2022)


  1. ^ "LSE Research and Expertise".
  2. ^ "Con-IH :: Bios".
  3. ^ Academia Rossica
  4. ^ "Journal of Intelligence and Terrorism Studies Editorial Board". Veruscript. Archived from the original on 23 November 2016. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  5. ^ " "Professor Dominic Lieven FBA" bio page".
  6. ^ "Professor Dominic Lieven FBA". The British Academy.
  7. ^ "Historians for Britain IN Europe". Historians for Britain IN Europe. 18 May 2016. Archived from the original on 14 April 2019. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  8. ^ Foster, Patrick (25 January 2016). "Downton Abbey historical advisor bemoans 'baffling' War and Peace costume error". The Telegraph.
  9. ^ Whitehead, Tom (29 November 2015). "BBC under fire for 'ripe' and 'inappropriate' adaptation of War and Peace". The Telegraph.
  10. ^ Martin Fagg, from the Church Times review excerpt published on back cover of Nicholas II
  11. ^ van Loon, Andre (28 January 2016). "The Romanovs review: The tragedies and glory of Russia's royal dynasty". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  12. ^ Taplin, Phoebe (26 April 2016). "New study of Russia on eve of revolution wins Pushkin House Prize". Russia Beyond.
  13. ^ The Bear Against The Cockrel Archived 5 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Charles Esdaile, 2009, published in the Literary Review
  14. ^ Mazower, Mark (18 June 2010). "War and Peace': The Fact-Check". The New York Times.
  15. ^ Excerpted in "Dominic Lieven: Dangers to peace", 26 February 2016
  16. ^ Joffe, Josef (26 August 2015). ""The end of Tsarist Russia" by Dominic Lieven". The New York Times.
  17. ^ Van Loon, Andre (30 May 2015). "The elite who tried to save Russia". The Spectator.
  18. ^ "Blindly over the brink". The Economist. 14 May 2015.
  19. ^ Previously published in Britain as Towards the Flame: Empire, War and the End of Tsarist Russia.

External links[edit]