Astafev, Aleksandr

Astaf’ev, Aleksandr Ivanovich


Born 1816; died after 1863. Russian military writer and major general. Graduated from the General Staff Academy (1844). He was the author of many works: “Warsaw Province” in the book Military Statistical Survey of Russian History (vol. 15, part 3, 1850); Reminiscences of Suvorov (1856); Sources of Political Economy and State Economy (books 1–2, 1862–63); and others. His fundamental work On Contemporary Military Art (vols. 1–2, 1856–61) contained ideas which were progressive for their time. Astaf ev recognized the strong influence of the level of military technology on military art and on the composition, armaments, and organization of the army. He called for an “end to the imitation of Napoleon’s acts, which are no longer appropriate to the conditions of our times,” and for a transformation in the army and in tactics. He criticized Russian and foreign military theoreticians for their attempts to turn military art into a set of unchanging rules. Contrary to established academic views, he included not only Western European figures among the great military leaders but also Russians (Dmitrii Donskoi, Peter I, P. A. Rumiantsev, A. V. Suvorov), demonstrating their preeminence among the important innovators in military affairs.