Karazin, Vasilii Nazarovich

Karazin, Vasilii Nazarovich


Born Jan. 30 (Feb. 10), 1773, in the village of Kruchik, in present-day Bogodukhov Raion, Kharkov Oblast; died Nov. 4 (16), 1842, in Nikolaev. Russian and Ukrainian liberal gentry enlightener, public figure, and scholar; founder of Kharkov University. A member of the dvorianstvo (nobility or gentry).

Karazin was influenced by the ideas of the Great French Revolution and was at one time close to A. N. Radishchev. Karazin’s social and political views were contradictory. In a letter to Alexander I in 1801, Karazin proposed that the autocracy be limited by “inviolable laws,” that the lot of the enserfed peasants be eased, that courts be open to the public, that public education be developed, and that industry and trade be encouraged. Karazin’s projects contained decisive criticism of many of the negative aspects of the existing autocratic structure. Karazin was persecuted: in 1820 he was incarcerated for half a year in the ShlissePburg Fortress and was subsequently placed under police surveillance and deprived of the right to live in St. Petersburg or Moscow. With time, Karazin moved away from his progressive views and stressed his devotion to the monarchical form of government. He considered the abolition of serfdom to be inconceivable. Among the positive contributions of Karazin were his work on rationalizing agriculture and forestry and his founding of the Philotechnical Society (1811–18).


Sochineniia, pis’ma i bumagi. Kharkov, 1910. REFERENCES
Svetlov, L. B. “Rukopisnoe nasledie A. N. Radishcheva.” Novyi mir, 1956, no. 6.
Sliusarskii, A. G. V. N. Karazin, ego nauchnaia i obshchestvennaia deia-
tel’nosf. Kharkov, 1955.
V. N. Karazin: 1773–1842, Bibliografia. Kharkov. 1953.