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Moses Ostrogorski

OSTROGORSKI, MOSES (1854–1917), scholar of political law and community leader. Born in Grodno, Belorussia, Ostrogorski finished his studies at the University of St. Petersburg and worked in the Ministry of Justice. In 1882 he was appointed head of the legislation department, but when the czarist reaction increased its power he was forced to resign and leave the country. His book, La femme au point de vue du public, published in 1892, was awarded a prize from the law faculty in Paris and was translated into English, German, and Polish. His most important book, La démocratie et l'organisation des partis politiques (translated into English in 1903), severely criticized the democratic regimes of England and the United States, whose main fault was that the power of the political parties suppresses individual freedom. On the basis of this book Ostrogorski became renowned among American and Western European thinkers. In 1904 he returned to Russia, where he was elected to the first *Duma in 1906 by the Jewish voters as the representative of the Grodno district. He was one of those who determined the Duma's work procedures. He also served as a member of the committee for equal rights, and with M. *Vinaver presented the case of the Jews. He was one of a six-member delegation sent by the Duma to visit the British Parliament. Although he did not formally join any political party, he always took the side of the Constitutional Democrats. As a member of the Jewish Popular Group, founded by Vinaver and *Sliozberg, he vehemently objected to the establishment of an organized group of Jewish representatives to the Duma which was demanded by the Zionists and *Dubnow.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.