The man who contained the Russian science
Pavel Nikolaevich comes from the most famous and richest family of Demidovs - Russian entrepreneurs who became rich thanks to the mining and weapons enterprises in the Urals and in Tula. Surprisingly, the founder of the clan Nikita Demidov came from state peasants - his father Demid came to Tula from the village of Pavshino, became a blacksmith, a gunsmith, and Nikita himself advanced thanks to a personal acquaintance with Peter the Great. During the Northern War, Nikita became a supplier of weapons for the imperial troops, and in 1702 received the Verkhotursk Iron Factories. Thus began the history of the Demidov empire and the famous family, almost every representative of which was an outstanding and worthy person.
Pavel Demidov's father, Nikolai Nikitich Demidov (1773-1828), was not only an industrialist, but also a diplomat, taking over from 1815 as the envoy of Russia in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. During World War 1812, he made a promise to support the whole army Demidov regiment at his own expense, thus becoming his chief. Nikolay Nikitich donated enormous sums for charitable needs, including the construction of public buildings and objects, monuments to outstanding people, transferred his houses for social infrastructure objects. Therefore, it was not surprising that his son Pavel Demidov, taking an example from his father, also became a famous patron of the arts.
Pavel Demidov's childhood passed abroad - in France. His mother, Baroness Elizaveta Alexandrovna Stroganova, loved France and French culture very much, and therefore she tried to educate her son in Paris, where Paul studied at the Lyceum of Napoleon. Elizaveta Stroganova greatly admired Napoleon, considered herself Josephine’s girlfriend, but when relations between the Russian Empire and France deteriorated seriously in 1805, the Demidovs were forced to move to Italy and then return to the Russian Empire. In 1812, Nikolai Nikitich Demidov, as mentioned above, created and financed an entire army regiment that fought against the French.
When Napoleon's troops attacked Russia, Pavel Demidov was only 14 years old, but he, as a cadet, took part in the Battle of Borodino. The next fifteen years of the life of Pavel Demidov were associated with service in the Russian imperial army. In 1822, Pavel, who served as the captain of the Life Guards Horse Regiment of the Horse, was transferred to the Cavalry Guard Regiment. At the same time, he served as adjutant of the Moscow Governor-General, General of the cavalry of Prince Golitsyn, and in 1826, he was promoted to captain. Who knows, maybe Pavel Demidov would have continued the service further if it were not for the serious illness of his father Nikolai Nikitich, who wanted to connect his heir as soon as possible.
In December, 1826, Mr. Pavel Demidov, after 15 years of service, was dismissed from the guard and received the rank of collegiate adviser. In 1831, he was appointed civil governor of the Kursk province with production as a state councilor, and then a full state councilor. At the same time, Demidov continued to manage numerous enterprises and lands of his last name, proving himself to be an excellent business executive — a manager who took care of the prosperity of both his own factories and the state territories entrusted to them.
It is interesting that when Demidov held the office of the Kursk governor, regular complaints about his actions from local officials came to the emperor's office. In the end, in the 1832 year, even a special imperial commission arrived in Kursk, but it found that Pavel Demidov conducted his affairs very fairly and defended the interests of the state. But the most interesting thing is that in the province there was practically no corruption, which in most other regions of the empire already at that time acquired the character of a real disaster. It was possible to establish that Pavel Demidov struggled with the bribery of provincial government officials with his own methods - he paid extra bonuses to officials from his personal funds, which were twice as large as the amount of bribes that provincial officials could take on average each month. Thus, he tried to eradicate corruption not with a whip, but with a carrot, and I must say, he did it quite effectively.
But not so much merit in the military and civil field, as his patronage activity entered Pavel Nikolaevich Demidov in the history of Russia. Being an enlightened man, Pavel Demidov sincerely wished to help the development of the most diverse sciences in Russia. For this, he had all the possibilities - untold wealth and colossal political influence. In 1830, Pavel Demidov began to assist the Russian Academy of Sciences so that it would finance the research and development of Russian scientists.
In 1831, a special Demidov Prize was established, and in 1832, it was paid to all those who excelled in science and industry. Each year, Pavel Demidov allocated 20 for thousands of rubles in government bills. In addition, annually from Demidov to the Academy came 5000 rubles for the publication of those handwritten works that were marked by the Academy as valuable and of interest to science. At the same time, the philanthropist himself gave the right to award the prize of the Russian Imperial Academy of Sciences. Every year, academic scientists reviewed the scientific papers that were nominated for the prize. The first Demidov Prize in 1832 was received by physicist Magnus von Pauker for his work "Metrology of Russia and its German Provinces", which, unfortunately, remained unpublished. In 1833, the Demidov Prize was awarded to Yuli Andreevich Gagemeister, an economist who wrote "Investigations about the finances of ancient Russia."
Demidov Prize was awarded annually 34 times - up to 1865 year. Usually it was awarded on the birthdays of the emperors, and scholars viewed the award as the most honorable non-state award of the Russian Empire. Among the recipients of the Demidov Prize were famous Russian scientists, engineers, travelers, such as navigators Fedor Petrovich Litke, Ivan Fedorovich Kruzenshtern, Ferdinand Petrovich Wrangel, marine engineer Grigory Ivanovich Butakov, doctor Nikolai Ivanovich Pirogov (twice), orientalist Iakinf (Bichurin) and a lot others. Thus, Pavel Demidov provided invaluable assistance to the development of science, technology, and knowledge about the world in the Russian empire, providing material assistance to scientists.
According to the will of Demidov, the premium was paid 25 more years after his death. Full and half prizes were awarded. The full Demidov prize was 5000 rubles in banknotes (1428 rubles in silver), and half - 2500 rubles in banknotes (714 rubles in silver). In 1834, the Demidov Commission decided to establish gold medals to encourage reviewers — a large and a small price at 12 and 8 chervonets, respectively.
Interestingly, the award relied for research in various fields of scientific knowledge - in the natural, technical and human sciences. Thus, Demidov tried to support not only the development of economically significant technical and natural sciences, but also Russian literature, philology, history. For example, the same Iakinf (Bichurin) received the Demidov Prize for the “Chinese grammar” 1838 of the year, and David Chubinov - for the “Russian-Georgian dictionary”. The award of the Demidov Prizes was very important for the development of domestic medical science. So, besides Nikolai Pirogov, another twenty physicians received the Demidov Prize. Among them were military doctor A.A. Charukovsky, professor of the St. Petersburg Medico-Surgical Academy P.P.Zablotsky, forensic doctor S.A. Gromov and many other Russian medical professionals.
Only in the 1865 year, already 25 years after Demidov’s death, the last award of his name took place. For the 34 of the history of awarding prizes, the Academy of Sciences reviewed the 903 research papers, noting the 275 awards of them, including 55 studies, were awarded full awards and 220 studies - half awards. Demidov Prize Reviewers were awarded 58 Big and 46 Small Gold Medals. The very history of the Demidov Prize has become a remarkable example of the support of domestic science by philanthropists - entrepreneurs.
Pavel Demidov was always ready to help any scientific research. So, he helped the “steamboat project” of the father and son Cherepanovs. Efim Alekseevich Cherepanov and Miron Efimovich Cherepanov came from serfs attached to the Demidov factories in the Urals, but made a very serious career in enterprises. Efim Cherepanov was twenty years old, from the 1822 of the year to the 1842 of the year, he served as the chief mechanic of all the factories in Nizhny Tagil. Father and son worked on the project of steam engines, which, in their opinion, should be implemented in industrial plants. Pavel Demidov, to whom they turned for help, agreed to help without any talk.
He told the petitioners:
But Pavel Demidov was remembered not only by the creation and payment of the Demidov Prize and the assistance of scientists and naturalists. He made a huge contribution to the Russian charity. In particular, together with his brother Anatoly Demidov, Pavel Demidov founded the St. Petersburg Nicholas Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, making a special contribution for its maintenance. It was funded by Demidov and the construction of four hospitals in Kursk and Kursk gubernia, where the patron of the arts for several years was a civil governor. We regularly received donations from Pavel Demidov to the Committee for the Disabled, the Shelter for the Poor, and other organizations involved in helping those in need. For example, in 1829, 500 thousand rubles were allocated by Demidov to help widows and orphans of officers and soldiers who died during the Russian-Turkish war 1828-1829. This was a very significant support, given the general underdevelopment of the system of social protection of the population in the Russian Empire. By the way, such a wide gesture of Demidov was immediately appreciated by the emperor Nikolay I - Pavel Nikolaevich was fired into the chamberlain of the imperial court.
In 1840, Pavel Demidov ordered the establishment of a Museum of Natural History and Antiquities in Nizhny Tagil. Pavel Demidov also made a huge contribution to the development of the cities of the Urals. It should be noted that it was thanks to the Demidov plants many Ural cities became large industrial centers, received an incentive for their development for many decades and even centuries ahead. Living in the Russian capital and in European cities, the Demidovs never forgot about the distant Urals, trying to improve the life and lifestyle of the Ural cities as much as possible. Even the foundation of the museum in Nizhny Tagil, which was then difficult to call a cultural center, says a lot about how much Pavel Demidov cared about turning the Urals into a civilized, as they would say, “advanced” region.
Pavel Nikolaevich Demidov died, unfortunately, at a very young age - he died in March 1840 of the year on the way from Brussels to Frankfurt, even before 42's years. In July, 1840, the body of Pavel Demidov was taken to St. Petersburg, where he was buried in the Alexander Nevsky Monastery. Thirty-five years later, in 1875, the dust of Demidov, at the request of his relatives, was transported to Nizhny Tagil and reburied in the crypt of the Vyiska-Nikolskaya church - next to the remains of his father Nikolai Nikitich Demidov, buried there, whose body was also brought to Flora from Florence .
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