The works of Kliuchevskii, from the Boyar Council of Old Russia and studies of saints and historians to the five-volume Course of Russian History, advanced philosophy of history, even though he thought creating such a view impossible. In the judgment of Russia's most influential historian, neither intellectuals nor rulers nor liberals nor conservatives determined the course of events. Instead, the endless interaction of constantly shifting elements gradually produced change, helping every period in a nation's past to ripen into its successor. Almost invisible changes within the economy, social groups, and administration and the gradual growth of Western influence over centuries constituted the steps that determined Russian history's slow flow. Kliuchevskii never read Marx and Marxist thought did not affect him, but he awakened many to the role of economic forces and helped prepare for some Russians' acceptance of Marxism.