Andrei Bolotov

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Bolotov, Andrei Timofeevich


Born Oct. 7 (18), 1738, in Dvorianinovo, Aleksinskii District, Tula Province; died there on Oct. 4 (16), 1833. Russian writer, scientist, one of the founders of Russian agricultural science, and memoirist.

Bolotov was born into an impoverished noble family. He took part in the Seven Years’ War of 1756–63. In 1762 he retired with the rank of captain and began to occupy himself with experimental agricultural work on the family estate, Dvorianinovo. Bolotov’s work On the Division of Fields was the first manual on the introduction of crop rotation and organization of farmland. Bolotov worked out agricultural practices depending on zonal soil and climatic conditions, a number of scientific methods of introducing fertilizers, and methods for controlling weeds. He was the first to create a pomological system; he described over 600 varieties of apple and pear trees. He introduced many valuable varieties of fruit crops. Bolotov discovered the phenomenon of dichogamy (in apple trees) and noted the advantages of cross-pollination. Bolotov attempted to use hybridization in the selection of fruit crops. He worked out scientific principles of afforestation and the use of timber. He compiled the first Russian botanical manual on the morphology and classification of plants.

Between 1779 and 1797, Bolotov directed the royal estates in Tula and Moscow provinces. He was a constant correspondent of the Free Economic Society and a contributor to the society’s Trudy (Works), in which he published articles on agronomy, botany, and the organization of estate and, partly, peasant farming. With the participation of N. I. Novikov he published the journals Sel’skii zhitel’ (Country Resident, 1778–79) and Ekonomicheskii magazin (Economic Magazine, 1780–89). Of Bolotov’s enormous literary legacy, his autobiographical notes have the greatest historical value; they contain material about the Russian army, the everyday life of a nobleman, estate agriculture, the palace revolution of 1762, the peasant war of 1773–75, the execution of E. I. Pugachev, and the reaction of the Russian nobility to the Great French Revolution. Bolotov’s notes reflect the serf-owning world view of the author.


Zhizn’ i prikliucheniia A. Bolotova, opisannye samim im dlia svoix potomkov (1738–1793), vols. 1–4. St. Petersburg, 1870–73. (Abridged edition, vols. 1–3: Moscow-Leningrad, 1931.)
Izbrannye sochineniia po agronomii, plodovodstvu, lesovodstvu, botanike. Moscow, 1952.


Berdyshev, A. P. A. T. Bolotov—Pervyi russkii uchenyi agronom. Moscow, 1949.
Shklovskii, V. B. “Kratkaia i dostovernaia povest’ o dvorianine Bolotove.” Krasnaia Nov’, 1928, book 12.
Morozov, I., and A. Kucherov. “Bolotov—publitsist.” In the collection Literaturnoe nasledstvo, nos. 9–10. Moscow, 1933.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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