On January 18 Boris Maksimovich Firsov, Soviet and Russian sociologist, Doctor of Philosophy (1979), a founder (1994), the first rector (1995–2003) and honorary rector (since 2003) of the European University at St. Petersburg, passed away at the age of 94.
Boris Maksimovich Firsov was born in Saransk in 1929. In 1954 he graduated from the Electrophysics Department of the Leningrad Electrotechnical Institute. He then became engaged in public activities.
From 1962 to 1966 he was the director of the Leningrad Television Studio. In 1978 he defended his doctoral dissertation "Mass Communication Under Different Social Systems". Until 1995 he worked as the director of the St. Petersburg branch of the Institute of Sociology of the USSR Academy of Sciences.
He received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Helsinki, and was a winner of the International Leontief Medal (2006). He was awarded the V. V. Novozhilov Prize for outstanding results in the field of science and technology (2009), a Certificate of Honor of the Government of the Russian Federation for his long and productive pedagogical and scholarly activity (2009), as well as the Order of Friendship for services in the development of science and education (2006). In 2009 Boris Maximovich was awarded the title of Honorary Correspondent of the "Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography" in recognition of the benefit he had rendered to science and the museum and as a sign of gratitude and appreciation for the many years of fruitful cooperation and assistance in the development of the oldest state public museum in Russia.
He was the author and participant in many international research projects, including a project to study the quality of the population of St. Petersburg (RFBR and RGNF, 1993–1996) which he headed and authored.
Boris Maximovich was the author of more than 200 scientific papers on the theory and methodology of modern sociology, the history of Soviet sociology, the study of public consciousness, and mass communication processes, including publications abroad. He is the author of the books Dissent in the USSR. 1940s–1960s. History, Theory and Practices (2008, EUSPb), and History of Soviet Sociology in the 1950s–1980s (2012).
In 2019, the two-volume book Uninspired Reflections was published by the Publishing House of the European University at St. Petersburg. It contains interviews with Russian scholars and creative intellectuals conducted in 1995–1996 and again in 2018. Boris Maximovich was one of the coordinators of this research project, its compiler and the editor of the collections.
At the end of 2023, the same publishing house published the collection On Both Sides of the Ramp. Theater Life in Leningrad (1980–1989), which collected interdisciplinary research on the life of the dramatic theater undertaken by a group of Leningrad sociologists and theater historians (1980–1989). Boris Maksimovich headed the group of researchers "Sociology and Theater" in the 1980s, and was one of the inspirers and editors of this publication.
In 2021, a biographical book about Boris Firsov written by Valery Vyzhutovich was published by "Molodaya Gvardiya" in their series Lives of Remarkable People: Biography Continues.
Boris Firsov died at home. The date and place of the funeral will be known by early next week.
Boris Maksimovich's passing is an irreparable loss for Russian and world science and for everyone who knew him.
The European University community mourns with Boris Maksimovich's family and friends.