Iakov Petrovich Kulnev

Kul’nev, Iakov Petrovich


Born July 25 (Aug. 6), 1763, in the city of Ludza, now in the Latvian SSR; died July 20 (Aug. 1), 1812, near the village of Kliastitsy, now Rossony Raion, Vitebsk Oblast. Hero of the Patriotic War of 1812; lieu-tenant general (1812). Son of an officer.

Kul’nev graduated in 1785 from the Land Forces Szlachectwo (Polish gentry) Corps, served in the hussars, and participated in the Russo-Turkish War of 1787-91 and in the Polish Campaign of 1794—95. He was commander of the Grodno Hussar Regiment in 1807 during the war with France. Kul’nev distinguished him-self in several engagements in the war between Russia and Sweden in 1808-09 while commanding the vanguard; he crossed the frozen Gulf of Bothnia and captured the city of Grisslehamn in Sweden. In the Russo-Turkish War of 1806-12, he commanded advanced cavalry detachments in 1810-11 and won several vic-tories. Early in the Patriotic War of 1812, Kul’nev commanded a cavalry detachment of 5,000 men, which operated in the rear guard, and inflicted several defeats on the enemy. In the battle near Kliastitsy, commanding the vanguard and then the center, Kul’nev defeated Marshal Oudinot’s troops. He was mortally wounded in combat.

A follower of A. V. Suvorov and a talented military commander who fought in 55 combat engagements, Kul’nev distinguished himself through extraordinary bravery and decisiveness. He was an opponent of the Arakcheev system and held democratic views; he freed his serfs. A. S. Pushkin took him as a model for Vladimir Dubrovskii in the novella Dubrovskii. A monument, with V. A. Zhukovskii’s poem about KuPnev engraved on it, was erected at the place of his death in 1830.


Elets, lu. L. Geroi Otechestvennoi voinyKul’nev. St. Petersburg, 1912.
Nikiforov, V. P., and A. V. Pomarnatskii. A. V. Suvorov i ego sovremenniki, Leningrad, 1964.