Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Bestuzhev. (pen name, Marlinskii). Born Oct. 23 (Nov. 3), 1797, in St. Petersburg; died June 7 (19), 1837, in Adler. Russian writer.
Bestuzhev was born into a noble family. He joined the Northern Society in 1824. After the uprising of Dec. 14, 1825, he was condemned to death, but his sentence was commuted to exile to Yakutsk. In 1829 he was transferred to the Caucasus as a private.
Bestuzhev’s works were first published in 1818. He wrote a number of critical works directed against classicism. Before 1825 he wrote several novels in a romantic tone. Bestuzhev and K. F. Ryleev published the almanac Poliarnaia zvezda (1823–25). In exile he published several so-called worldly novellas (Ordeal, 1830, and The Frigate “Nadezhda,” 1833). His novellas written in the Caucasus (Ammalat-Bek, 1832, and Mulla-Nur, 1836) portray exceptionally romantic characters. After 1825, Bestuzhev’s poetry was characterized by motifs of tragic loneliness, disillusionment, forebodings of doom (“The Dream” and “To a Cloud”). Bestuzhev was killed in battle against Caucasian mountaineers.
WORKSIzbr. povesti. [Introductory essay by N. L. Stepanov.] Leningrad, 1937.
Soch., vols. 1–2. [Introductory essay by N. N. Maslin.] Moscow, 1958.
Poln sobr. stikhotvorenii. [Introductory essay by N. I. Mordovchenko.] Leningrad, 1961.
REFERENCESBelinskii, V. G. “Polnoe sobranie sochinenii A. Marlinskogo.” In Poln. sobr. soch., vol. 4. Moscow, 1954.
Mikhail Aleksandrovich Bestuzhev. Born Sept. 22 (Oct. 4), 1800, in St. Petersburg; died June 21 (July 3), 1871, in Moscow. Junior captain in the Moscow Imperial Guards Regiment (1825) and brother of Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Bestuzhev.
Bestuzhev became a member of the Northern Society in 1824. He supported the republican wing of the society and conducted propaganda among junior officers and soldiers. Bestuzhev participated in the preparation for the Decembrist uprising. On Dec. 14, 1825, the date of the uprising in St. Petersburg, he helped his brother Aleksandr and D. A. Shchepin-Rostovskii lead the Moscow Regiment out into Senate Square. He gave the command to fire on the pro-government troops. After the insurgents had been dispersed by grapeshot, Bestuzhev tried to regroup the retreating soldiers in order to seize and occupy the Peter and Paul Fortress. During the interrogations he was steadfast. He was sentenced to penal servitude for life, but the sentence was commuted to 20 years, which he spent in Chita and at the Petrovskii plant. After 1839, Bestuzhev lived in an exile colony in Selenginsk.
Nikolai Aleksandrovich Bestuzhev. Born Apr. 13 (24), 1791, in St. Petersburg; died May 15 (27), 1855, in Selenginsk, Irkutsk Province. A lieutenant commander (1824) and brother of Aleksandr Aleksandrovich and Mikhail Aleksandrovich Bestuzhev.
Bestuzhev became a member of the Northern Society and its supreme council at the end of 1824. He favored a republic and the emancipation of the serfs with land. He carried on revolutionary propaganda among naval officers and was the closest assistant of K. F. Ryleev during the preparation for the uprising in St. Petersburg. He advocated the establishment of a provisional government after the overthrow of the dictatorship. On Dec. 14, 1825, Bestuzhev drew up a draft manifesto to the people and led the Naval Guards into Senate Square.
Bestuzhev was sentenced to penal servitude for life, but the sentence was commuted to 20 years, which he spent at the Nerchinsk mines. After 1839 he lived in an exile colony in Irkutsk Province. In Siberia he bent his efforts towards educating the local Russian and Buriat population. Bestuzhev is well known as a writer, a historiographer of the Russian navy, an economist, and a talented painter.
WORKSStat’i i pis’ma. Moscow-Leningrad, 1933.
REFERENCESVosstanie dekabristov, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1925.
Vospominaniia Bestuzhevykh. Moscow-Leningrad, 1951.
Nechkina, M. V. Dvizhenie dekabristov, vol. 2. Moscow, 1955.
Pavlova, G. E. Dekabrist N. Bestuzhev—istorik russkogo flota. Moscow, 1953.
Baranovskaia, M. Iu. Dekabrist N. Bestuzhev. Moscow, 1954.