Military Review

Slave of Honor


In the 19th century, epigrams were written on everyone: on each other, on kings, ballerinas, and archimandrites. But, for some irony of fate, the scathing Pushkin's quatrain — Alexander Sergeyevich himself later was not glad that he had written it — played a cruel joke with a man who was least worthy of it.

In the spring of 1801, the Russian ambassador to England, Count Semyon Romanovich Vorontsov, sent his son Mikhail to his homeland, which he did not remember at all. He was just over a year old when the father-diplomat, having received a new appointment, took the family from St. Petersburg.

... Nineteen years ago, 19 May 1782, the Count took the hands of the firstborn. A year later, Vorontsov had a daughter, Catherine, and a few months later, the count was widowed - his young wife, Ekaterina Alekseevna, died of short duration of consumption. And Vorontsov arrived in London with two small children. Count Semyon Romanovich no longer married, devoting his whole life to Mischa and Katya.

From the youngest nails, Semyon Romanovich inspired his son: any person belongs primarily to the Fatherland, his first duty is to love the land of his ancestors and to valiantly serve it. And perhaps it is only with a firm notion of faith, honor, and with a solid education ...

Count Vorontsov was no stranger to pedagogy before: at one time he even made up programs for Russian youth in military and diplomatic education. He was motivated by the conviction that the dominance of ignoramuses and foreigners in high posts is very harmful to the state. Vorontsov’s ideas of support, however, were not met, but in his son he could realize them completely ...

Semyon Romanovich himself picked up his teachers, compiled programs in different subjects, he worked with him. This well-thought education system, coupled with Michael’s brilliant abilities, allowed him to acquire the knowledge base with which he would later amaze contemporaries throughout his life.

Vorontsov set himself the goal of growing up a Russian from his son and no way else. Having lived half his life abroad and having all the external signs of an Englishman, Vorontsov loved to repeat: "I am Russian and only Russian." This position has determined everything for his son. In addition to domestic stories and literature, which, according to his father, was supposed to help his son in the main thing - to become Russian in spirit, Michael perfectly knew French and English, mastered Latin and Greek. His daily schedule included mathematics, science, drawing, architecture, music, and military affairs.

The father considered it necessary to give his son in hand and craft. The ax, the saw and the plane became for Michael not only familiar objects: the future Grand Duke became so addicted to carpentry that he gave him all his free hours until the end of his life. So raised children one of the richest grandees of Russia.

And now Michael is nineteen. Seeing off him to serve in Russia, his father gives him complete freedom: let him choose what he likes for himself. From London to St. Petersburg, the son of the Russian ambassador arrived in complete solitude: without servants and companions, which inexpressibly surprised Vorontsov's relatives. Moreover, Michael refused the privilege that relied to having the title of chamberlain, assigned to him, even when he lived in London. This privilege gave the right to a young man who decided to devote himself to the army, immediately to have the rank of major general. Vorontsov asked for an opportunity to start a service with lower ranks and was enlisted by a lieutenant of the Life Guards in the Preobrazhensky regiment. And since the capital life of the young Vorontsov did not satisfy, in 1803, he went to volunteer where the war was going - in Transcaucasia. Severe conditions were tolerated by them stoically.

Thus began the fifteen-year, almost uninterrupted military epic of Vorontsov. All the promotions and awards were given to him in the powder smoke of battles. Patriotic war 1812 of the year, Michael met with the rank of Major General, the commander of the consolidated grenadier division.

Jacobin General

In the battle of Borodino 26 August Vorontsov with his grenadiers took the first and most powerful blow of the enemy on the Semenovsk flash. Napoleon was planning to break through the defense of the Russian army here. Against the 8 of thousands of Russian with 50 guns were thrown 43 thousands of selected French troops, whose continuous attacks were supported by fire two hundred guns. All participants of the battle of Borodino unanimously recognized: Semenovskiy flash was hell. The fiercest battle lasted three hours - the grenadiers did not retreat, although they suffered huge losses. When later someone dropped that Vorontsov's division "disappeared from the field," Mikhail Semenovich who was present at the same time sadly corrected: "She disappeared on the field."

Vorontsov himself was seriously wounded. He was tied up right on the field and in a cart, one wheel of which was knocked down by a nucleus, taken out from under bullets and nuclei. When the count was brought home to Moscow, all the free structures were filled with wounded, often deprived of any help. On the carts of the Vorontsov manor, they used to load the lordly good for transportation to distant villages: paintings, bronze, boxes with porcelain and books, furniture. Vorontsov ordered the return of everything to the house, and the wagon train used to transport the wounded to Andreevskoye, his estate near Vladimir. The wounded were picked up all over the Vladimir road. A hospital was set up in Andreevsky, where, until recovery, the full provision of the graph was treated to 50 officer ranks and more than 300 privates.

After recovery, each private soldier was supplied with linen, sheepskin coat and 10 rubles. Then in groups they were transported by Vorontsov to the army. He himself arrived there, still limping, walking with a cane. Meanwhile, the Russian army inexorably moved to the West. In the battle of Craon, already near Paris, Lieutenant-General Vorontsov independently acted against troops led by Napoleon personally. They used all the elements of the Russian tactics of combat, developed and approved by A.V. Suvorov: the rapid infantry attack bayonet deep into the enemy’s columns with the support of artillery, skillful commissioning of reserves and, most importantly, the admissibility of private initiative in combat, based on the requirements of the moment. Against this, the French courageously fought, even with a twofold numerical superiority, were powerless.

"Such feats in view of all, covering our infantry with glory and eliminating the enemy, certify that there is nothing impossible for us," wrote Vorontsov in the order after the battle, noting the merits of all: the rank and file and the generals. But both of them witnessed with their own eyes the immense personal courage of their commander: despite the unhealed wound, Vorontsov was constantly in battle, taking upon himself the command over the units whose chiefs had fallen. No wonder the military historian M. Bogdanovsky in his study on this one of the last bloody battles with Napoleon, especially noted Mikhail Semenovich: "The military field of Count Vorontsov lit up on the day of the Kraon battle with the glory of glory, elevated modesty, usually a companion of true dignity."

In March, 1814, the Russian troops entered Paris. For four long years, very difficult for the regiments that had passed through Europe, Vorontsov became the commander of the Russian occupation corps. A bunch of problems hit him. The most vital ones are how to maintain the fighting capacity of a deadly tired army and ensure conflict-free coexistence of the victorious troops and the civilian population. The most common-everyday ones: how to ensure the tolerable material existence of those soldiers who fell victim to charming Parisians — some had wives, and besides that, the addition to the family was expected. So now Vorontsov was no longer required to have combat experience, but rather tolerance, attention to people, diplomacy, and administrative skill. But no matter how many worries, they all expected Vorontsov.

The corps introduced a specific set of rules drawn up by its commander. They were based on a strict requirement for officers of all ranks to exclude actions degrading to human dignity from the treatment of soldiers, in other words, for the first time in the Russian army, Vorontsov himself forbade corporal punishment. Any conflicts and violations of statutory discipline should be dealt with and punished only by law, without the “vile custom” of the use of sticks and assault.

Progressive-minded officers welcomed the innovations introduced by Vorontsov in the corps, considering them to be the prototype for reforming the entire army, while others predicted possible complications with the St. Petersburg authorities. But Vorontsov stubbornly stood his ground.

In addition, in all divisions of the corps, on the orders of the commander, schools were organized for soldiers and junior officers. Teachers became senior officers and priests. Vorontsov personally compiled curricula depending on the situations: one of his subordinates studied the alphabet, someone mastered the rules of writing and counting.

And Vorontsov debugged the regularity of sending correspondence from Russia to the troops, wishing that people who had been cut off from their homeland for years did not lose contact with their homeland.

It so happened that the government allocated money to the Russian occupation corps for two years of service. Heroes remembered love, women and other pleasures of life. In what it turned out, for certain one person knew - Vorontsov. Before sending the corps to Russia, he ordered to collect information about all the debts made by corps officers during that time. In total, it turned out half a million bills.

Believing that the winners should leave Paris in a dignified manner, Vorontsov paid this debt by selling the estate Round, inherited from an aunt, the notorious Ekaterina Romanovna Dashkova.

The corps acted east, and in St. Petersburg rumors were already full of exaggerations that Vorontsov's liberalism indulges the Jacobin spirit, and the discipline and military skills of the soldiers leave much to be desired. Having made a review of the Russian troops in Germany, Alexander I expressed dissatisfaction with them, in his opinion, not fast enough. Vorontsov's answer passed from mouth to mouth and became known to all: "Your Majesty, by this step we came to Paris." Returning to Russia and feeling a clear ill will towards himself, Vorontsov filed a resignation report. Alexander I refused to accept it. Whatever you say, and without Vorontsov was not enough ...

Governor of the South

... In February 1819, the 37 year-old general went to his father in London to ask permission to marry. His bride, Countess Elizabeth Ksaveryevna Branitskaya, was already 27-th year, when during her trip abroad she met Mikhail Vorontsov, who immediately made her an offer. Eliza, as Branitskaya was called in the world, polka after the father, Russian after the mother, relatives of Potemkin, possessed an enormous state and the incredibly charming charisma that made everyone see her as beautiful.

Chet Vorontsov returned to St. Petersburg, but very briefly. Mikhail Semenovich did not linger in any of the Russian capitals - he served where the king would send. He was very pleased with his appointment to the south of Russia in the 1823 year. The region, to which the center still could not reach the hands, was the focus of all possible problems: national, economic, cultural, military, and so on. But for a man of initiative, this vast, half-asleep space with rare patches of civilization was a real find, especially since the king was given unlimited powers to him.

The newly arrived governor-general began off-road, ineradicable Russian adversity. After a little more than 10 years, driving from Simferopol to Sevastopol, A.V. Zhukovsky wrote in his diary: "A wonderful road is a monument to Vorontsov." This was followed by the first in the south of Russia, the Black Sea Commercial Russian Shipping Company.

Today it seems that the vineyards on the spurs of the Crimean mountains have survived to us almost since antiquity. Meanwhile, it was Count Vorontsov, assessing all the advantages of the local climate, contributed to the emergence and development of the Crimean viticulture. He wrote out saplings of all grape varieties from France, Germany, Spain, and inviting foreign experts, set a task for them - to identify those that would take root and be able to produce the necessary yields. The painstaking selection work was carried out not for a year or two - wine-makers knew firsthand how stony the local soil was and how it suffered from waterlessness. But Vorontsov with unshakable persistence continued his plans. First of all, he planted his own land with vineyards, which he acquired in the Crimea. The mere fact that the famous palace complex in Alupka was to a large extent built with the money raised by Vorontsov from selling his own wine speaks eloquently of Mikhail Semenovich’s remarkable commercial acumen.

In addition to winemaking, Vorontsov, carefully looking at those activities that had already been mastered by the local population, tried his best to develop and improve the already existing local traditions. Elite sheep breeds were issued from Spain and Saxony and small wool processing enterprises were set up. This, in addition to employment, gave money to people and to the land. Without relying on subsidies from the center, Vorontsov set himself the goal of putting life in the province on the principles of self-sufficiency. Hence, Vorontsov’s unprecedented transformational activities: tobacco plantations, nurseries, the establishment of the Odessa Agricultural Society for the exchange of experience, the purchase abroad of new agricultural tools at that time, experimental farms, a botanical garden, exhibitions of livestock and fruit and vegetable crops.

All this, in addition to the revival of life in Novorossia itself, changed the attitude towards it as a wild and almost burdensome land for the state treasury. Suffice it to say that the result of Vorontsov’s first years of management was an increase in the price of land from thirty kopecks per tenth to ten rubles and more.

The population of Novorossia grew from year to year. A lot was done by Vorontsov for enlightenment and a scientific and cultural advance in these places. Five years after his arrival, the Oriental Languages ​​School was opened, in 1834, a school of merchant shipping appeared in Kherson to train skippers, navigators and shipbuilders. Before Vorontsov, there was an entire 4 gymnasium in the region. With the insight of a clever politician, the Russian governor-general opens a whole network of schools in the Bessarabian lands recently attached to Russia: Chisinau, Izmail, Chilia, Bender, Balti. At the Simferopol gymnasium the Tatar branch begins to operate, in Odessa - the Jewish school. For the upbringing and education of children of poor nobles and high merchants in 1833, the highest permission was granted for opening an institute for girls in Kerch.

His own contribution to the endeavors of the graph was made by his spouse. Under the patronage of Elizabeth Ksaverievna, in Odessa, the Orphans Care Center and a school for deaf and dumb girls was established.

All practical activities of Vorontsov, his concern for the future of the region were combined in him with a personal interest in his historical past. After all, the legendary Taurida absorbed almost the entire history of mankind. The Governor-General regularly organizes expeditions to study Novorossia, descriptions of the surviving monuments of antiquity, and excavations.

In 1839, Vorontsov founded the Society of History and Antiquities in Odessa, which was located in his house. The collection of vases and vessels from Pompeii became the personal contribution of the count to the repository of antiquities attached to the Society that had begun to replenish.

As a result of Vorontsov’s keen interest, according to experts, “the whole Novorossiysk Territory, the Crimea and partly Bessarabia in a quarter of a century, and the difficult Caucasus in nine years were researched, described, illustrated much more precisely and in more detail many of the internal components of the largest Russia”.

Everything related to research activities was done fundamentally: many books related to travel, descriptions of flora and fauna, archaeological and ethnographic finds were published, as people who knew well Vorontsov, "with the help of an enlightened ruler."

The secret of Vorontsov's extraordinarily productive activity lay not only in his state of mind and extraordinary education. He immaculately owned what we now call the ability to "assemble a team." Connoisseurs, enthusiasts, craftsmen in a thirst to draw attention to their ideas high face, not upholstered count threshold. “He himself looked for them,” one witness of the “Novorossiysk boom” recalled, “got acquainted, approached himself and, if possible, invited him to joint service to the Fatherland.” A hundred and fifty years ago, this word had a specific, exalting sense, inspiring people to many things ...

In his declining years, Vorontsov, who dictated his notes in French, would classify his family union as happy. Apparently, he was right, not wanting to go into details by no means unclouded, especially at first, 36 long marriage. Lisa, as his wife Vorontsov was calling, had not once tested her husband's patience. “With innate Polish frivolity and coquetry, she wanted to like her,” FF wrote. Vigel, - and no one had time better in that. ” And now we will make a brief excursion into the distant 1823 year.

... The initiative to transfer Pushkin from Chisinau to Odessa to the newly appointed Governor-General of the Novorossiysk Territory belonged to Alexander Sergeevich’s friends Vyazemsky and Turgenev. They knew what they were trying to achieve for the disgraced poet, being sure that he would not be left behind with care and attention.
At first it was. At the first meeting with the poet at the end of July, Vorontsov received the poet “very affectionately”. But in early September, his wife returned from Belaya Tserkov. Elizaveta Ksaverievna was in the last months of pregnancy. Not the best time, of course, for dating, but even that first meeting with her did not pass for Pushkin without a trace. Under the stroke of the poet's pen, her image, although sporadically, appears in the margins of manuscripts. True, then somehow ... disappears, because then the beautiful Amalia Riznich reigned in the poet's heart.

We note that Vorontsov opened Pushkin’s doors to his house with full benevolence. The poet happens here every day and dines, uses the books of the county library. Undoubtedly, Vorontsov realized that he was not a small clerk in front of him, and even on a bad account with the government, but a great poet who was in glory.
But month after month passes. Pushkin in the theater, at balls, masquerades sees Vorontsov, who has recently given birth, lively and well-dressed. He is captivated. He is in love.

The true attitude of Elizabeth Ksaveryevna to Pushkin, apparently, will forever remain a mystery. But there is no doubt about one thing: as she noted, it was “nice to have a famous poet at her feet”.
Well, what about the all-powerful governor? Even if he got used to the fact that his wife was forever surrounded by fans, the poet’s ardor seemed to cross certain boundaries. And, as witnesses wrote, "it was impossible for the graph to overlook his feelings." Vorontsov was even more irritated by the fact that Pushkin seemed not to care what the governor himself thought about them. Let us turn to the eyewitness accounts of those events, F.F. Wigel: "Pushkin settled in the living room of his wife and always met him with dry bows, to which, however, he never answered."

Did Vorontsov have the right, as a man, a family man, to get annoyed and look for ways to stop the red tape of a too emboldened admirer?

“He did not stoop to jealousy, but it seemed to him that the exiled clerical official was daring to raise his eyes to the one that bears his name,” wrote F.F. Wiegel And yet, apparently, it was jealousy that forced Vorontsov to send Pushkin along with other petty officials on an expedition to exterminate the locust that had so offended the poet. How hard Vorontsov experienced his wife’s infidelity, we know again first-hand. When Vigel, like Pushkin, who served under the governor-general, tried to intercede for the poet, he replied: “My dear FF, if you want us to stay in friendly relations, never mention me to this bastard.” It is said more than abruptly!

The irritated poet who returned from “locust” wrote a letter of resignation, hoping that, having received it, he would still live next to the woman he loved. His romance is in full swing.

Although at the same time no one refused to deny Pushkin's house and he still dined with the Vorontsovs, the poet’s annoyance with the governor-general because of the ill-fated locust did not subside. It was then that appeared the famous epigram: "Semi-milord, semi-merchant ..."

Spouses, of course, she became known. Elizabeth Ksaverievna - I must give her her due - was unpleasantly amazed both by her anger and injustice. And from that moment on, her feelings for Pushkin, caused by his unbridled passion, began to turn pale. Meanwhile, the request for resignation did not bring the results that Pushkin had expected. He was ordered to leave Odessa and go to live in the Pskov province.

The novel with Vorontsov Pushkin's feat to create a number of poetic masterpieces. They brought to Elizabeth Xavierjevna the unceasing interest of several generations of people who saw in her the Muse of a genius, almost a deity. And Vorontsov himself, for a long time, apparently, who acquired the dubious fame of the persecutor of the greatest Russian poet, in April 1825, charming Eliza gave birth to a girl, whose real father was ... Pushkin.
“This is a hypothesis,” wrote Tatyana Tsyavlovskaya, one of the most influential scholars of Pushkin’s works, “but the hypothesis is strengthened when it is supported by facts of a different category.”

These facts, in particular, include the testimony of Pushkin's great-granddaughter - Natalia Sergeyevna Shepeleva, who claimed that the news that Alexander Sergeyevich had a child from Vorontsova comes from Natalia Nikolaevna, whom the poet himself admitted to this.

The younger daughter Vorontsov was outwardly sharply different from the rest of the family. “Among blonde parents and other children - she was the only dark hair,” read Tsyavlovskaya. Evidence of this can serve as a portrait of a young countess, safely reached to our days. An unknown artist captured Sonia during the time of captivatingly blossoming femininity, full of purity and ignorance. An indirect confirmation of the fact that a girl with a chubby, puffy lips is the poet's daughter was also found in the fact that in “Memoirs, Prince. M.S. Vorontsov for 1819 - 1833 years "Mikhail Semenovich mentioned all his children, except for Sophia. In the future, however, there was no hint of the absence of the father's feelings of the count to the younger daughter.

The last assignment

St. Petersburg, 24 January 1845 of the year.

“Dear Alexey Petrovich! You are truly surprised when you learned about my appointment to the Caucasus. I was also surprised when I was offered this assignment, and it was not without fear that I accepted it: for I was already 63 a year ... ”So Vorontsov wrote to his military friend, General Yermolov, before going to his new destination. Peace was not foreseen. Roads and roads: military, mountain, steppe - they became his life geography. But there was some special meaning in the fact that now, completely gray-haired, with the recently conferred title of the Most High Prince, he was again heading to the edges, where he was rushed under the bullets of a twenty-year-old lieutenant.

Nicholas I appointed him governor-general of the Caucasus and commander-in-chief of Caucasian troops, leaving him the Novorossiysk governor-general.

The next nine years of life, almost until his death, Vorontsov - in military campaigns and in the works to strengthen the Russian fortresses and combat readiness of the army, and at the same time in unsuccessful attempts to build a peaceful life for peaceful people. The handwriting of his ascetic activity is immediately recognizable - he just arrived, his residence in Tiflis is extremely simple and unpretentious, but here the city’s numismatic collection began, the Transcaucasian Agricultural Society was formed in 1850. The first ascent of Ararat was also organized by Vorontsov. And of course, there are again efforts to open schools - in Tiflis, Kutaisi, Yerevan, Stavropol with their subsequent integration into the system of a separate Caucasian school district. According to Vorontsov, the Russian presence in the Caucasus not only should not suppress the originality of the peoples inhabiting it, it simply has to reckon with and adapt to the region’s historically established traditions, needs, and character of the inhabitants. That is why in the very first years of his stay in the Caucasus, Vorontsov gives the go-ahead to the establishment of a Muslim school. He saw the path to peace in the Caucasus primarily in toleration and wrote to Nicholas I: “The way Muslims think and relate to us depends on our attitude to their faith ...” He didn’t pacify the region with the help of military force alone believed.

Vorontsov saw considerable miscalculations in the military policy of the Russian government in the Caucasus. According to his correspondence with Yermolov, who for so many years pacified the militant highlanders, it is clear that fighting friends converge in one thing: the government, fascinated by European affairs, paid little attention to the Caucasus. Hence the long-standing problems caused by inflexible policies, and, moreover, disregard for the opinion of people who knew this land and its laws well.

Elizaveta Ksaverievna was constantly with her husband in all duty stations, and sometimes even accompanied him on inspection trips. Vorontsov told Yermolov with noticeable pleasure in the summer of the 1849 of the year: “In Dagestan, she had the pleasure of walking two or three times with the infantry in a state of war, but, much to her regret, the enemy did not show up. We were with her on the glorious Guiller descent, from where almost all of Dagestan is visible, and where, according to a common legend, you spat on this terrible and damned region and said that it was not worth the blood of one soldier; it is a pity that after you some of the chiefs had completely nasty opinions. ” By this letter it is clear that over the years, the spouses have become close. Young passion subsided, became a memory. Perhaps this rapprochement also occurred because of their sad parental fate: of the six children of Vorontsov, four died very early. But even those two, having become adults, gave their father and mother food for not very joyful reflections.

The daughter Sophia, having married, did not find family happiness - the couple, not having children, lived apart. The son Semyon, about whom it was said that "he was no different from talents and did not resemble his parent in any way", was also childless. And later, with his death, the Vorontsov family died away.

On the eve of his 70 anniversary, Mikhail Semenovich asked for his resignation. His request was granted. He felt very nasty, although he carefully concealed it. "Without a deal," he lived less than a year. Behind his back, there are five decades of service to Russia, not for fear, but for conscience. In the highest military rank of Russia - field marshalsky - Mikhail Semenovich Vorontsov died 6 on November 1856 of the year.

PS For services to the Fatherland to the Most High Prince MS. Vorontsov was installed two monuments - in Tiflis and in Odessa, where the Germans, Bulgarians, and representatives of the Tatar population, clergy of Christian and non-Christian confessions arrived at the solemn opening ceremony in 1856 year.

Vorontsov's portrait is located in the front row of the famous “Military Gallery” of the Winter Palace, dedicated to the heroes of the 1812 war of the year. The bronze figure of field marshal can be seen among the prominent figures placed on the monument "The Millennium of Russia" in Novgorod. His name also appears on the marble plaques of the St. George Hall of the Moscow Kremlin in the sacred list of the faithful sons of the Fatherland. But the tomb of Mikhail Semenovich Vorontsov was blown up along with the Odessa Cathedral in the first years of Soviet power ...
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