"I am pleased to sacrifice myself
for the benefit and good of Russia. "
for the benefit and good of Russia. "
220 years ago, 12 October 1796, born Michael Muravyov-Vilensky. A Russian statesman, one of the most hated figures for Polish separatists and Russian liberals of the 19th century, Marxists of the 20th century and modern Nazi nationalists in the lands of Western Russia (Belarus). On Muravyov-Vilensky, they labeled “cannibal”, “hangman,” accusing him of brutally suppressing the Polish uprising of the 1863 of the year. However, with an objective study of the figure of Mikhail Muravyov, it becomes clear that he was one of the largest statesmen of the Russian Empire, a patriot who did much to strengthen the country.
The count was descended from the ancient noble family of Muravyovs, known from the 15th century, who had given Russia many prominent figures. The famous Decembrist Sergey Muravyov-Apostol came from one branch of the same kind. Interestingly, Michael himself, who would later be dubbed the “Hangman”, also had to do with the “Union of Welfare.” He was a member of his Indigenous Council and one of the authors of the statutes of this secret society. This detail of his biography, however, he always treated with shame, considering his participation in secret societies as a mistake of youth.
Michael received a good home education. Father Nikolai Nikolaevich Muravyov was a public figure, the founder of the school of column leaders, whose graduates were officers of the General Staff. The mother of Mikhail Muravyov was Alexandra Mikhailovna Mordvinova. The Muravyov brothers also became famous personalities.
In 1810, Muravyov entered Moscow University in the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics, where at the age of 14, with the help of his father, he founded the Moscow Society of Mathematicians, the purpose of which was to spread mathematical knowledge in Russia through free public lectures in mathematics and military science. He lectured on analytical and descriptive geometry, not taught at the university. 23 December 1811 enrolled in a column school. He was appointed duty superintendent of column leaders and a teacher of mathematics, and then an examiner at the General Staff.
Study interrupted the Patriotic War. In April 1813, the young man went to the 1-th Western army under the command of Barclay de Tolly, stationed in Vilna. Then he was at the disposal of the Chief of Staff of the Western Army, Count Bennigsen. In the 16 years, Mikhail almost died: during the Borodino battle, his foot was damaged by the enemy core. The young man was one of the defenders of the Rayevsky battery. He managed to save his leg, but from that time on, Michael walked, relying on a cane. For the battle, he was awarded the Order of St. Vladimir 4-th degree with a bow.
At the beginning of 1813, after recovery, he again went to the Russian army, which at that time was conducting operations abroad. He was at the Chief of General Staff. He took part in the battle of Dresden. In March, 1813 was promoted to lieutenant. In connection with the deterioration of health in 1814, he returned to St. Petersburg and in August of the same year he was appointed to the Guards General Staff.
After the war with Napoleon’s empire he continued his military service. In 1814-1815 Muravyov went twice with special assignments to the Caucasus. With 1815, he returned to teaching in the columnists' school, which was led by his father. In 1816, he was promoted to lieutenant, in 1817, in captain captains. Participated in the activities of secret societies t. "Decembrists." After the performance of the Life Guards Semenov regiment in 1820, he withdrew from secret activities. In 1820, he was promoted to captain, later transferred to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the retinue of the emperor in the quartermaster unit. At the end of the year, he retired for health reasons and settled on his estate in the Smolensk province. Here he showed himself to be a zealous and humane landowner: when famine came to Smolensk, for several years he organized free food for his peasants, where he fed peasants to 150 daily. Thanks to his activity, the Ministry of the Interior also helped the peasants of the province.
Muravyov was arrested in the case of the Decembrists and even spent several months in the Peter and Paul Fortress. However, military merits saved the young man from trial and imprisonment - by the personal order of Tsar Nicholas I, he was fully acquitted and released. Emperor's mercy touched Michael deeply. From an ardent young man who dreamed of a revolutionary transformation of Russia, he turned into a fierce and reasonable defender of the royal throne. However, participation in secret societies was not a gift for Mikhail: thanks to his conspiratorial experience and in-depth knowledge of the psychology of the conspirators, he became the most dangerous enemy for various secret societies and movements. This is what will enable him to successfully fight Polish separatism.
After his release, Mikhail was again enlisted with the definition of the army. In 1827, he presented the emperor with a note on the improvement of local administrative and judicial institutions and the elimination of bribery, after which he was transferred to the Ministry of the Interior. Well knowing Muravyov as a zealous owner, the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Count Kochubey, appointed him vice-governor to one of the most problematic provinces of Russia - Vitebsk, and two years later - to Mogilev. In these provinces, which were once part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, dominated the Russian population. However, the Polish nobility and the Catholic clergy constituted the dominant social group, which determined the cultural and economic development of the North-West Territory. The Poles, although they became part of the Russian Empire, retained the hope of restoring Polish statehood (with the inclusion of Western and Southern Russian lands) and did everything to polish the Russians.
From the very beginning, Muravyov showed himself to be a real Russian patriot, defending the West Russian population from both the brutal exploitation of the Polish panes and their forcible conversion to Catholicism. He also opposed the domination of the anti-Russian and pro-Polish element in the state administration at all levels of the region (the Poles for centuries assimilated the social elite of the Russians and did not allow the Russian majority to education and management). The count clearly saw what the Polish gentry was dreaming about: tearing the West Russian population away from the general Russian culture, raising a population that would consider Poland as its homeland and hostile to Russia.
Therefore, Muravyov tried to change the system of training and education of future officials. In 1830, he filed a note on the need to spread the Russian education system in educational institutions in the North-Western Region. According to his submission, in January 1831, an imperial decree was issued on the abolition of the Lithuanian Statute, the closure of the Main Tribunal and the subordination of the inhabitants of the region to general empire legislation, the introduction of Russian in legal proceedings instead of Polish. In 1830, he submitted a note to the emperor “On the moral situation of Mogilev gubernia and ways to bring it closer to the Russian Empire”, and in 1831 - a note “On the establishment of decent civilian government in the gubernias returned from Poland, and the destruction of the principles that most served alienation These are from Russia. ” He proposed the closure of Vilnius University as a stronghold of Jesuit influence in the province.
However, the most radical measures proposed by the graph were not implemented by the government. Apparently, in vain. So, the Vilnius University was never closed. When the Polish uprising of 1830-1831 began, Muraviev took part in his suppression in the rank of quartermaster-general and police general under the commander-in-chief of the Reserve Army, Count A. A. Tolstoy. After the suppression of the uprising was engaged in the conduct of investigative affairs over the rebels and the organization of civil administration.
In 1831, he was appointed Grodno governor and promoted to major general. As governor, Muravyov earned himself a reputation as a “true Russian man” and an uncompromising fighter of sedition, an extremely strict administrator. He made every effort to eliminate the consequences of the uprising 1830-1831. and for this conducted active Russification of the region. That is, he tried to destroy the negative consequences of the centuries-old Polish occupation of the Russian lands.
Muravyov sent to hard labor a fanatical prince Roman Sangushko who changed his oath and an influential teacher of the Grodno Dominican gymnasium, priest Candida Zelenko. The case ended with the abolition of the Grodno Dominican monastery with its existing gymnasium. In April, 1834, in the presence of the governor, there was a grand opening of the Grodno gymnasium, where Russian teachers were appointed. Muravyov also led church work, teaching the Uniate population to "return to the bosom of the Orthodox Church."
During this period the myth of the "Hanging Ant" was born. And the real reason gave her historical joke. Allegedly, during the meeting of the count with the Polish gentry, they tried to accuse Mikhail Nikolaevich of kinship with the famous Decembrist: "Are you not a relative of that Muravyov who was hanged for the rebellion against the Tsar?" The count was not at a loss: "I am not one of those Muravyevs who are hanged, I am one of those who themselves hang." The evidence of this dialogue is not entirely reliable, but the liberals, retelling this historical joke, called the count a "hanger."
Further service. Minister of State Property
Later Mikhail Nikolaevich held various positions. By the decree of Nicholas I from 12 (24) in January 1835, he was appointed military governor of Kursk and Kursk civil governor. He served in this post until 1839. In Kursk, Muravyov established himself as an implacable fighter against arrears and corruption.
The philosopher Vasily Rozanov was surprised to note the image that Muravyov left in people's memory: “It always amazed me that wherever I met (in a deaf Russian province) a petty bureaucracy who served in the Northwest Territory under Muraviev, despite many years have passed since the time of this service, the most living memory was kept about him. Invariably on the wall - his picture in a frame, among the closest and dearest persons; will you speak: not respect only, but some kind of tenderness, quiet delight glows in the memories. I have never heard of subordinate little people about reviews, so few divided, so unanimous not in the sense of just judgments, but, so to speak, in their timbre, in their shades, intonations. ”
Then Muravyov continued to serve the empire in various posts. In 1839, he was appointed Director of the Department of Taxes and Fees, from 1842 - Senator, Privy Counselor, Head of the Boundary Corps as the Chief Director and Trustee of the Konstantinovsky Boundary Institute. In 1849, he was given the rank of lieutenant general. Since 1850, he is a member of the State Council and vice-chairman of the Imperial Russian Geographical Society. Since 1856, the infantry general. In the same year, he was appointed Chairman of the Department of Fates of the Ministry of the Court and Fields, from 1857 - Minister of State Property.
In these positions he made expert revision trips, in which he was characterized by a tough, principled and incorruptible official. Developed the question of the abolition of serfdom. At the same time, the period of his activity is estimated by liberal researchers as extremely reactionary due to the fact that the Minister strongly opposed the liberation of the peasants in the Rostovtsev-Solovyov variant and became the “evil genius of the liberation of the peasants” and received the label “conservative and feudal”. In this case, Muravyov was not afraid to resist the policies of Alexander II. As historian I. I. Voronov notes, “throughout 1861, tensions between Alexander II and M.N. Muravyov only grew, and soon the emperor essentially accused the minister of a hidden opposition to his policy on the peasant issue”.
Although the point is that the minister conducted an unprecedented audit and personally traveled all over Russia, checking the subordinate institutions. The official who served with Muravyov at that time recalled: "Our revision journey in Russia was more like an invasion than a revision." Following the trip, a note was written “Comments on the procedure for the liberation of the peasants.” Muravyov noted that before the liberation of the peasants, it was necessary: 1) to carry out administrative reform on all-system basis; 2) the state should intervene in the process of stratification of the village, study it, put under supervision; 3) it is necessary to overcome the technical and agronomic backwardness of Russian agriculture before the reform. Graf proposed plans for broad reforms, to modernize without westernization.
Thus, Muravyov considered the abolition of serfdom as part of a broader problem - the intensification of agricultural production and modernization. And the liberal part of the government headed by Alexander II considered the question of the abolition of serfdom as a “holy cause,” that is, an ideological question. Muravyov understood that the serf question was connected with a lot of problems, and everything had to be calculated, measures should be taken to develop agriculture. It turned out later that he was right when there were serious imbalances in the development of the national economy of the empire, connected with the active introduction of capitalist relations in a feudal, in fact, country. And by abolishing patriarchal serfdom, already dying out in a natural way, the government received a host of other problems — the land issue, the technical and agronomic backwardness of agriculture, the transformation of a significant part of the peasants into the marginal proletariat, falling into bondage to capitalists, etc.
The resistance of Muravyov to the liberal course of Alexander led to the fact that in 1862 he left the post of minister of state property and the post of chairman of the Department of Units. Officially due to poor health. Muravyov retired, planning to spend the last years of his life in peace and quiet.
Governor General of the Northwest Territory
However, Muravyov still needed Russia. In 1863, a new Polish uprising began: insurgents attacked Russian garrisons, crowds smashed the houses of Russian residents of Warsaw. Marxist historians will represent all this as a struggle for national self-determination. But in reality, the Polish "elite" set itself the goal of restoring the former territory of the Commonwealth, from "sea to sea", intending to tear away from Russia not only Polish lands, but also Ukraine and Ukraine with Belarus. The uprising was prepared by the constant separatist sentiments of the Polish and polonized nobility and intellectuals and was made possible by the inconsistent policies of St. Petersburg in the region. "Polish mine" was laid by Alexander I, who gave the Polish top wide benefits and privileges. In the future, St. Petersburg did not neutralize this "mine", despite the revolt of 1830-1831. The Polish "elite" planned to restore the state with the help of the West, while maintaining the rule of the gentry and the Catholic clergy over the masses of the people (including the West Russian population). Therefore, most of the common people only lost from this uprising.
And the British and French press in every possible way praised the Polish “freedom fighters”, the governments of the European powers demanded that Alexander II immediately give freedom to Poland. In April and June of the 1863 of the year, England, Austria, Holland, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Portugal, Sweden and the Vatican in strict form demanded that Petersburg make concessions to the Poles. A political crisis arose, which went down in history as the "military anxiety of the 1863 of the year." In addition, a threat of crisis arose in Russia itself. In many Petersburg and Moscow salons and restaurants, the liberal public openly raised a toast to the success of the "Polish comrades." The uprising was also facilitated by the very liberal and friendly to the Polish public policy of the governor in the Kingdom of Poland, Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich and Vilnius Governor-General Vladimir Nazimov. Both hesitated with the introduction of a state of emergency and the use of military force, in the end they reached the point that the rebellion had already swept all over Poland and spread to Lithuania and Belarus.
In a crisis, a decisive and knowledgeable northwestern man was needed. The Emperor replaced the inactive Governor-General Vladimir Nazimov with Count Muravyov. An elderly count appointed as commander of the Vilna military district, who could no longer boast of good health, however, he worked day and night to suppress the uprising in as many as six provinces, coordinating the work of civilians and the military. Historian E.F. Orlovsky wrote: “Despite his 66 years of age, he worked until 18 hours a day, taking reports from 5 hours of the morning. Without leaving his office, he ruled over the 6 provinces; and how skillfully I managed! ”
Muravyov used effective counterguerrilla tactics against the rebels: light cavalry detachments were formed, the deputy commanders of which were representatives of the Separate gendarmes corps. The detachments were to constantly maneuver in the territory allocated to them, destroying separatist detachments and maintaining legitimate authority. The commanders were ordered to act "decisively", but at the same time "worthy of the Russian soldier." At the same time, the count deprived the rebels of their material and financial base: he overlaid the estates of Polish gentry with high military taxes and confiscated the property of those who were seen to support the separatists.
Muravyov took up consideration of the requests of those employees of Polish origin who, under the former Governor-General, expressed a desire to resign. The problem was that even before his appointment, most of the Polish officials, in order to increase the confusion, filed resignation requests. Ants immediately and decisively removed saboteurs from their posts. After this, dozens of Polish officials began to come to Mikhail Nikolayevich and ask for forgiveness. I have forgiven many, and they energetically assisted him in suppressing the insurrection. At the same time, people throughout Russia were invited to the “old Russian land” to work in offices. These measures freed the state institutions of the North-Western region from Polish influence. At the same time, the governor opened wide access to posts in various fields to the local Orthodox population. So began the Russification of the local administration in the North-West Territory.
Muravyov also showed exemplary cruelty to the instigators of the uprising. The harshness with which the count engaged in suppressing the uprising, in fact, helped to avoid much more blood, which was inevitable with the expansion of the uprising. To intimidate the vacillating, the count used public executions that forced the liberals to attack the count in the press even more fiercely. And this is despite the fact that only those who shed blood with their own hands were executed! The count himself explained his actions as follows: “No strict but fair measures are terrible for the people; they are disastrous for criminals, but pleasant to the mass of people who have retained good rules and who want the common good. ” “I will be merciful and fair to honest people, but stern and merciless to someone who is convicted of sedition. Neither nobility of origin, no dignity, no connection — nothing will save a seducer from deserved punishment. ”
128 war criminals and major organizers of extremist activities (according to other data - 168) were executed in total, while about 1200 Russian officers and soldiers fell from their hands, according to some sources, 2 thousands of people were killed. According to different estimates of 8-12, thousands of people were sent into exile, prison companies or to hard labor. Basically they were direct participants in the uprising: representatives of the nobility and the Catholic clergy. At the same time, out of a total of about 77 thou. Thousand rebels, only 16% of their participants were subjected to criminal penalties, while the rest managed to return home without being punished. That is, the imperial authorities acted quite humanely, punishing mostly the instigators, activists.
After Muravyov announced an appeal to all the rebels, urging them to voluntarily surrender, those thousands began to appear from the forests. They were taken from the "cleansing oath" and sent home. The fire of a dangerous uprising that threatened international complications was extinguished.
Arriving in Vilna, the emperor Alexander II himself at the review of the troops gave the count the honor - not one of his confidants has ever been honored with this! The liberal Russian public (whose actions ultimately led to February 1917 of the year) tried to spit on a great statesman, called the count "cannibal." At the same time, the governor of St. Petersburg Suvorov and the Minister of the Interior Valuyev, who accused Muravyov of cruelty and even covered some extremists, became the head of the enemies of Count Vilensky. But the Russian people, through the mouths of the first national poets F. I. Tyutchev, P. A. Vyazemsky and N. A. Nekrasov, praised Muravev and his deeds. Nekrasov, referring to Russia and referring to Muravyov, wrote: “Behold it! Above you, spreading your wings, Archangel Michael is floating! ”
Thus, Mikhail Muravyov suppressed the bloody rebellion, saved thousands of lives of civilians. At the same time, no one did so much for the liberation of the Russian peasants from the gentry oppression.
After the suppression of the uprising, Muravyov carried out a number of important reforms. The North-Western region was populated mainly by Russian peasants, over whom the Polish and opolyachennaya Russian elite parasitized. The Russian people remained without their nobles, intellectuals, priests. Access to education has blocked the nobility. There were no Russian schools in the North-Western Territory at that time and, in principle, could not be, because both the Russian school and the Russian written language of office work were completely eradicated by the Poles as early as 1596 after accepting the Union of Brest. There were no relevant textbooks or teachers. Muravyov began to restore the Russianness of the region.
In order to wrest school from the hands of the Catholic clergy, he was transferred from Polish to Russian. Instead of closed gymnasiums, where privileged Poles had studied before, county and public schools were opened, tens of thousands of textbooks in Russian were distributed in the region, the school ceased to be elite and became mass. By the beginning of 1864, 389 public schools were opened in the Northwest Territory. All anti-Russian propaganda books and brochures were removed from the libraries of the region. Began to massively publish books on the history and culture of Russia. In all the cities of the North-Western Territory, the Governor-General ordered that all signs in Polish be replaced by Russian-language signs, and he was forbidden to speak Polish in business and public places. Educational reform Muraveva made it possible to give birth to the Belarusian national literature. Thus, a real revolution took place in local education. The local school has ceased to be elite and Polish, and has become almost a mass, all-imperial school.
At the same time, Muravyov launched an attack on Polish land ownership, the economic basis of the domination of the Polish gentry. He led a real agrarian revolution. He established special calibration commissions of officials of Russian origin, gave them the right to redo illegally drafted statutes, to return the land unfairly taken away from the peasants. Many gentry lost their noble status. The hind hands and landless ones endowed with land confiscated from the rebellious gentry. His administration explained to the peasants their rights. An unprecedented phenomenon in the Russian Empire took place under Muraviev in the Western Russian lands: the peasants were not only equal in rights with the landlords, but also received priority. Their allotments increased by almost a quarter. The transfer of land from the hands of the insurgent nobility into the hands of the peasantry took place visually and quickly. All this raised the prestige of the Russian authorities, but caused panic among the Polish landowners (they were really punished!).
Muravyov also conducted a large role in restoring the position of Orthodoxy in the region. The authorities improved the financial position of the clergy, endowed it with a sufficient amount of land and government premises. Earl persuaded the government to allocate funds for the construction and repair of temples. The Governor-General invited educated priests from all over Russia on preferential terms, opened church schools. In central Russia, a large number of Orthodox prayer books, crosses and icons were ordered. At the same time, work was underway to reduce the number of Catholic monasteries that were strongholds of Polish radicalism.
As a result, in less than two years, a huge land was cleared of Polish separatists, revolutionary leaders. The North-Western region was reunited with the empire and not only by force, but by strengthening the spiritual institutions of society and gaining the trust and respect of the people for power. There was a restoration of Russianness of the region.
End of life
In 1866, Muravyov was last drafted into the service: he headed the commission to investigate the Karakozov case, thus initiating the fight against revolutionary terrorism. Arguing about the causes of the terrorist act, Count Muravyov made a wise conclusion: “The sad event that took place on April 4 is a consequence of the complete moral debauchery of our young generation, incited and directed to that over the years by the rampant nature of journalism and our press in general”, which “gradually shook the foundations religion, social morality, a sense of loyal devotion and obedience to the authorities. " Thus, Muravyov correctly determined the prerequisites for the future fall of the Russian empire and autocracy. The moral degradation and westernization of the “elite” of the Russian empire became the main prerequisite for the fall of the Romanov empire.
Mikhail Muravyov was left to live a short time: September 12 1866, he died after a long illness. “I was surprised at the rumor about his cruelty, so firm in Russian society itself,” Rozanov writes about him. - He was harsh, rude; was merciless in demanding; he was cool in measures, like the captain of a ship among rebellious sailors. But "cruel", that is, greedy for others suffering? found pleasure in them? .. He could not be cruel already because he was courageous ”. Referring to the words of one of the witnesses of the uprising, Rozanov concluded: “His cruelty is pure myth, he himself created. True, the measures were steep, like burning a manor, where, with the complicity of its owner, unarmed Russian farm laborers were treacherously massacred ... But as for the executed people, there were so few that you need to be surprised at the art and skill with which he avoided a large number of them ".
Unfortunately, the role of this outstanding Russian statesman is undeservedly humbled and forgotten. Many of his actions, which benefited the Russian people and the empire, have been slandered.