Educated at the University of Kharkov and the University of Moscow, Kovalevsky became a professor of legal history first at Moscow and subsequently at St. Petersburg. He visited America in 1881 and again in 1902 and it is assumed that these visits did much to form his liberal views of academia and politics. He was widely traveled and in 1889-90 delivered the Ilchester Lectures at Oxford University. These were subsequently collected and published as Modern Customs and Ancient Laws of Russia. While abroad he also became close friends with Marx and Engels. He also published and edited the Vestnik Europy magazine (Messenger of Europe) and the Strana (Country) newspaper. He was elected to the State Duma and was responsible for the drafting a new constitution at the behest of Tsar Nicholas II. In 1906, he founded the Progressist Party and the following year was elected to the State Council by the Academy of Sciences and Universities. Kovalevsky has a turbulent love affair with the mathematician Sonja Kovaleskaya and this formed the basis for the 1983 Swedish film Berget pa Manens Bakside. In 1912, he was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Peace.
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Modern Customs and Ancient Laws of Russia
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