T. H. Rigby (13 April 1925 – 21 March 2011)

In memoriam


Harry Rigby, Professorial Fellow (later, from 1987 until his retirement in 1990, Professor) of Political Science in the Research School of Social Science at the Australian National University in Canberra, was for many years the doyen of Soviet and post-Soviet studies in this country.

Following military service in World War II, he took an MA in Russian and Political Science at the University of Melbourne and won a travelling scholarship to undertake postgraduate study at the University of London. He was appointed a research officer in the Foreign Office in 1953, returning to Australia two years later to take up a senior lectureship in Russian at Canberra University College (now the ANU). In 1956 he held a research post at the University of London, and from 1957–58 served as Second Secretary at the British Embassy in Moscow before resuming his academic career in Australia as Associate Professor in Russian at CUC (from 1960 the ANU). In 1963 he was appointed professorial fellow in the Research School of the Social Science where he was to spend the rest of his career, latterly (since 1990) as Professor Emeritus and University Fellow.

His many publications in the field of Soviet (and post-Soviet) society and politics earned him an international reputation, as is attested by his appointment over the years to a number of prestigious visiting professorships at Oxford, Moscow, Washington, New York and Cologne. He was a founding member and first president of the Australian Association for the Study of Socialist Societies (now AACPCS, the Australian Association of Communist and Post-Communist Studies). The following tributes are reprinted with their authors’ permission from the Association’s newsletter in recognition of his distinguished career and outstanding achievement.