Chertkov, Vladimir

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Chertkov, Vladimir Grigor’evich


Born Oct. 22 (Nov. 3), 1854, in St. Petersburg; died Nov. 9, 1936, in Moscow. Russian public figure, journalist, and publisher. Close friend of L. N. Tolstoy.

The son of an aristocrat, Chertkov joined the Cavalry Guards Regiment in 1873. He resigned from the regiment in 1881 after undergoing a philosophical crisis; he subsequently conducted educational work among the peasants of Voronezh Province. Chertkov met Tolstoy in October 1883, adopted his teaching, and became a propagandist for Tolstoyism. In 1884 he founded the Posrednik Publishing House with Tolstoy’s help.

Chertkov was exiled from Russia in 1897 because of his statements in defense of the Dukhobors. While living in Great Britain, he helped organize the emigration of the Dukhobors to Canada. In addition to works by Tolstoy that the censors had banned, Chertkov published in this period the newspaper Svobodnoe Slovo (1901–05) and the anthology Pages From “Svobodnoe Slovo” (1898–1902), which contained denunciations of the autocracy. During the Revolution of 1905–07, he advocated the adoption of Christian humility rather than revolutionary methods of struggle. He returned to Russia in 1907.

With money received from the publication of Tolstoy’s Posthumous Literary Works (vols. 1–3,1911–12), Chertkov purchased land from Tolstoy’s heirs and turned it over to the peasants of Iasnaia Poliana and the village of Grumant. From 1917 to 1920, Chertkov was editor of the journal Golos Tolstogo i edinenie. In 1920 he published “A Letter to the British,” in which he protested against British interference in Russian affairs. Chertkov collected Tolstoy’s diaries, letters, and rough drafts, and on the basis of these materials the publication of Tolstoy’s Complete Collected Works was begun in 1928; 72 of the edition’s 90 volumes were published under Chertkov’s editorship.


Razgovory L. N. Tolstogo, zapisannye Chertkovym. St. Petersburg, 1893.
O poslednikh dniakh L. N. Tolstogo na stantsii “Astapovo.” Moscow, 1911.
Ukhod L. N. Tolstogo. Moscow, 1922.


Muratov, M. V. L. N. Tolstoi i V. G. Chertkov po ikh perepiske. Moscow, 1934.
Bulgakov, V. F. O Tolstom. Tula, 1964. Pages 182–230.
Shcheglov, M. A. “Lev Tolstoi i V. G. Chertkov.” In his book Literaturnaia kritika. Moscow, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.