The historian Hélène Carrère d’Encausse, mother of the writer Emmanuel, died in Paris

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The French historian and politician Hélène Carrère d’Encausse has died in Paris at the age of 94: she was the first woman to lead the Académie française. It is her children – including the writer Emmanuel Carrère – who give the news of her death. “She passed away peacefully surrounded by her family,” the family statement read. She was a great expert on the USSR and Russia (she learned Russian before French), she was a MEP from 1994 to 1999, in 1999 she was named perpetual secretary of the Académie française. She herself opposed the feminization of the function: she asked to be called “Madame Perpetual Secretary” because, she explained, “for three and a half centuries there has been only one Perpetual Secretary. It is this idea of ​​continuity that must prevail. It is a line that continues “.

Who was Hélène Carrère d’Encausse

Hélène Carrère d’Encausse was born in Paris on July 6, 1929, daughter of an Italian and Georgian philosopher who emigrated to France, Georges Zourabichvili (who was later assassinated). She was stateless, she acquired French citizenship only in 1950. Two years later, she married the insurer Louis Carrère, known as Carrère d’Encausse. She studied on the benches of the Institut d’études politiques de Paris: right here she specialized in Russian history, to which many of her writings are dedicated. She professor of history at the Sorbonne, she debuted with the essay The Empire exploded of 1978. Before many other voices, he predicted the breakup of the USSR, emphasizing the issues of minorities. Hélène Carrère d’Encausse then entered the French Academy on 13 December 1990, in seat number 14, taking over from Jean Misler. Before her, since her foundation in 1635, only three women had entered the institution, Marguerite Yourcenar and Jacqueline de Romilly. After having led the National Committee for the “yes” in the referendum on the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, she was elected in the European elections of 1994 with the list of the right-wing majority UDF-RPR. In the European Parliament you were vice president of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Commission.

Works and honours

Biographer of Lenin, Stalin, Catherine II and Alexander II, her works include Il Big Brother (1983), Neither peace nor war (1986), The big challenge (1987), Russian bad luck (1988 ), The glory of nations or the end of the Soviet empire (1991), Russia, the transition failed (2005) and General de Gaulle and Russia (2017). His latest book, Alexandra Kollontaj. The Valkyrie of the Revolution (Alexandra Kollontaï, the walkyrie of the Revolution) was only released in Italy last June. Numerous honors received, in France and abroad. At home, in 2011, she became a Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the Legion of Honour, of which she had already been Grand Officer since 2008, Commander since 2004 and Officer since 1999. She was also Officer of the National Order of Merit, Commander of the Order of the Academic Palms and Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters. Outside the French borders, Carrère d’Encausse had received – among other things – the Medal of Honor in Russia in 2009.