Saturday, 30 September, 2023

French historian Helene Carrere d'Encausse dies

French historian Helene Carrere d'Encausse dies

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Helene Carrere d'Encausse, a widely respected historian of Russia who in 1999 became the first woman to lead the Academie Francaise, died on Saturday aged 94, her family said.

"She died peacefully surrounded by her family," they told AFP in a statement.

Carrere d'Encausse was the author of biographies of Lenin and Stalin.

But she is also credited with having predicted before most the breakup of the former Soviet Union and Russia's subsequent difficulties with ethnic minorities

She wrote about those issues in her 1978 work, "The Shattered Empire".

She was born in Paris on July 6, 1929, to a Georgian father and a Russian mother, in a family that had roots in Austria, Germany, and Italy.

She obtained French nationality in 1950, when she was 21 years old.

A former political science professor in Paris, she once described herself as "French from head to foot. A case of perfect integration".

Carrere d'Encausse was also elected to the European Parliament on a right-wing list in 1994, a seat she held until her election as permanent secretary of the French Academy in 1999.

French President Emmanuel Macron hailed her as "a major historian, the first woman to be permanent secretary of the Academie Francaise -- like it, her legacy is immortal".