Alexander Nikolayevich Radishchev

Alexander Nikolaevich Radishchev

(August 20 (31), 1749, Moscow – September 12 (September 24, 1802, St. Petersburg) is a Russian writer, philosopher, poet, director of the St. Petersburg Customs and member of the Law Drafting Commission.
Alexander Nikolayevich Radishchev was born on August 20, 1749 in a family with noble roots. Grandfather Radishchev was an orderly at Peter I, then served in the Guards troops. Radishchev’s father, being a very educated man, preferred military service to farming. Alexander himself was the first child in the family.
Radishchev was educated on the gymnasium program, then was sent to Leipzig to continue his education. After returning to Petersburg, Radishchev was appointed a protocolist in the Senate.
All his life, Alexander Nikolayevich dedicated to literary work. His pen belongs to many works on historical, political and philosophical themes. The most famous work – “Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow” – was completed in 1790. In the same year for the distribution of this book Radishchev was arrested and sent to Siberian exile, where he stayed for five years. Until 1801, Alexander lived under the constant supervision of the police.
Then, at the request of AR Vorontsov, Radishchev became a member of the Law Drafting Commission, where he worked for the rest of his life. Radishchev died on September 12, 1802.

Alexander Radishchev’s educators were serfs.

In the early years of Nicholas’s life, they taught him to write and read. It was then that the child discovered the hardships of the peasants ‘life – from the serfs he learned about the hardness of the neighbors’ landowners. Tales of their mockery of serfs left a deep imprint on the soul of the boy, who later turned into a hatred for the oppressors. At the age of six, a Frenchman was invited to the house, who later turned out to be a runaway soldier. Yes, and he practically did not know the French language. He had to part with him. In 1756, his father took his son to Moscow to the home of a relative of his mother. The latter was a nephew to the director of Moscow University. Alexander Radishchev began his studies in the gymnasium program of the university. True, he received knowledge at home, but also as schoolboys attended examinations, participated in disputes, had access to a bookshop at the university. Alexander read a lot.

In 1762 Alexander Radishchev became a page.

By this time he was a young man who received an excellent education. As a consequence, he was registered in the court service. He became a page. In 1764 Alexander made his first trip. As part of the Corps of Pages he escorted the Empress from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Arriving in St. Petersburg, he was completely alone in a city unfamiliar to him; here he spent more than two years – from 1764 to 1766 years.

Radishchev was sent to study in Germany.

In 1766, the empress sent twelve young nobles abroad – to the University of Leipzig. To comprehend the legal sciences went and Alexander Radishchev. Fyodor Vasilyevich Ushakov was notable among the young people – being the oldest (at that time he was 19 years old), he had a keen thirst for knowledge (for this he even gave up an advantageous place for an official), which soon became the head of the group. The study in Leipzig lasted five years . In addition to studying the subjects provided by the program, Alexander Radishchev was interested in literature, foreign languages, medicine. In Russia, students began to gather in 1771.

Alexander Nikolayevich’s literary activity began during his studies in Leipzig.

Here he began to translate the pamphlet of political figure Gika, which had a political theme. The choice of this particular topic for the translation indicates the relevant hobbies of Radishchev.

In 1771 Radishchev became a postmanist.

After returning to his homeland, Alexander Nikolayevich became a record-holder in the Senate. He received the rank of titular counselor.

Radishchev was not limited to working in the Senate.

In his spare time, he was engaged in translating the work of GB de Mably, a famous French thinker. In the summer of 1773, Alexander Nikolayevich wrote an autobiographical novel. It was called “Diary of one week”. Working in such an institution as in the Senate gave the young author a huge amount of material for reflecting on the fate of the country, the established state system, and so on. Some details of his service Radishchev described in his work. True, the light saw this work many years later – the story was published only in 1811 (after the author’s death).

On the beginning of the uprising led by Pugachev Alexander Nikolaevich learned in the Finnish division.

Here he received the post of regimental judge. It is likely that Radishchev personally saw the execution of Pugachev on January 10, 1775. This uprising led Alexander Nikolaevich to think how autocratic the development of the country is hurting, and also to the fact that it is possible to get rid of oppressive serfdom only through armed struggle.

In March 1775, Alexander Nikolayevich insisted on his resignation.

However, after a while Radishchev was accepted to the post of Juris-Consul. Count Vorontsov, who occupies a prominent place among state dignitaries, appreciated the abilities of Alexander Nikolayevich and contributed to Radishchev’s appointment to a higher post. In 1780 he became an assistant to the manager of the St. Petersburg Customs, where he served until 1790. Then he was appointed manager of the St. Petersburg Customs.

The best works of Alexander Nikolaevich Radishchev belong to the 80-ies of the XVIII century.

It was in those years that excellent historical, artistic and journalistic works were created. In 1780, Radishchev wrote “The Word of Lomonosov.” Ode Alexander Nikolaevich “Liberty”, written in the period from 1781 to 1783 years, opened the Russian revolutionary trend in literature. In 1788, Radishchev finished working on his second autobiographical story. Its content includes the description of Radishchev’s studies in Leipzig. He talked about his comrades, with whom he spent his university years, as well as on the important role of education and upbringing. In those same years, Alexander Nikolayevich wrote several treatises on the history of the Fatherland and the state of customs in the Russian Empire.

Radishchev is a member of the Society of Verbal Sciences.

He entered it in the second half of the 80s. At meetings of the society Radishchev read his articles, in which he talked about nobility, compassion, goodwill and other virtues.

Radishchev is the author of “Travels from St. Petersburg to Moscow”.

The main book in the life of Radishchev was completed in 1790. This work perpetuated the name of Alexander Nikolaevich in the memory of his descendants. Only now the Empress did not appreciate his efforts, she called the “rebel”, and even “worse than Pugachev” – so acute problems were covered in this book. Radischev did not dare to publish this work, so Alexander Nikolaevich took up this matter in person – the printing house was organized on the second floor of his St. Petersburg home. Radishchev was able to publish approximately 650 copies of the book, some of them already in May 1790 appeared on sale. Radishchev gave several copies to his acquaintances. What did Catherine the Great not like when she actually read this book? Its main theme was the inhuman attitude of the landowners with their serfs. But moreover, he dared to justify the armed rebellion of the peasants against the cruel masters: in his opinion, it was possible to change the state system only by insurrection.

Radishchev was arrested for his beliefs.

This happened on June 30, 1790. Colonel Goremykin arrived at his house and presented an arrest warrant. Radishchev was imprisoned in the Peter and Paul Fortress, an investigation into his case lasted two weeks. The verdict handed down by the St. Petersburg Chamber of the Criminal Court sounded menacing – Alexander Nikolayevich Radishchev was sentenced to death.However, the Empress did not approve it, too much was the likelihood of public discontent. AN Radishchev was sent into exile for a period of 10 years. The place of exile was Siberia – Ilim jail.
Interesting is the fact that, following Alexander Nikolayevich, some of his peasants, or rather the former peasants, went to the place of exile – he gave them free before arrest.

Radishchev went to Siberia in a light dress. By September 8, 1790, he could hardly stand on his feet-exhaustion and tremendous nervous tension affected. Besides, on the way he went in a light dress. Probably, Catherine was thinking about Radishchev’s death on the road, then the public would not be alarmed as much as in the case of possible executions. However, Count Vorontsov, when he learned that Alexander Nikolayevich was being taken to prison, ordered that the Tver governor buy Radishchev everything he needed-Vorontsov personally sent him money.

“Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow.” was prohibited.

Radishchev burned a large part of the books he published himself before his arrest. 6 copies were found by the relevant authorities and destroyed. Up to our time, less than fifteen copies of the “Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow” edition of Radishchev.
The problems that Alexander Nikolayevich Radishchev covered in his work continued to worry the minds of the Russian people for another century. And how much the book endured persecution! Even in 1905 all attempts to publish the book in full version were suppressed by the authorities, who saw in it the undermining of monarchical foundations and revolutionary notes in the mood of the author. Radishchev was accused of infringing on the good name of important nobles, especially government officials, and also in persuading the peasants of the need for violent actions against the landlords.

In the Siberian exile Alexander Nikolaevich Radishchev spent five years.

In the Ilimsk prison, he was engaged in public activities and domestic work: he healed, personally vaccinated against smallpox (medical knowledge here was useful to him), conducted various experiments on smelting ore, built a melting furnace at home, which he used to burn dishes. However, the most important occupation for Radishchev and in Siberia remained literature – among his works and philosophical treatises, the story of Ermak, as well as historical investigation.
From the exile of Alexander Nikolayevich, the new tsar, Pavel I, liberated, he ordered him to live in his village. But completely free man Radishchev never did – he lived constantly under the supervision of the police. Representatives of the police could be declared in the estate of Alexander Nikolayevich absolutely at their own pleasure. They had every right to read all of Radishchev’s letters, copied their contents and provided copies to Pavel I. Such a life was very difficult, only Radishchev’s job saved him.

After the expiration of the term of reference, Radishchev did not become free.

In 1800, when the ten-year period of exile assigned to Radishchev by Empress Catherine the Great ended, Paul I did not stop overseeing Alexander Nikolayevich.

Alexander I freed Radishchev.

The amnesty decree was issued by the new emperor on May 31, 1801. Earl A. R. Vorontsov contributed to the return of Alexander Radishchev title of nobility. He again could live in Petersburg and even was included in the Law Drafting Commission, in which he worked until the last days of his life. At the age of 53 years – in 1802 – he passed away, the circumstances of his death are not fully understood, because his last words were “Progeny for me revenge.” Most likely, in them he expressed his compassion for serfs, hope for the mind of the autocrats and resentment for the state order of Russia.

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