Durova, Nadezhda Andreevna

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Durova, Nadezhda Andreevna


Born 1783 in Kiev; died Mar. 21 (Apr. 2), 1866, in Elabuga. First Russian woman officer (“cavalry girl”); writer.

The daughter of a hussar captain, Durova was raised by a hussar orderly. In 1806, donning men’s clothing and pretending to be a landlord’s son, Aleksandr Vasil’evich Durov, she fled with a cossack regiment that was passing through Sarapul to Grodno, where she was accepted into the Mounted Uhlan Polish Regiment. She took part in the 1807 war with France and was promoted for her valor by Alexander I to the rank of officer under the name of Aleksandr Andreevich Aleksandrov. She served in the Mariupol’ Hussar Regiment and from 1811, in the Lithuanian Uhlan Regiment. Durova took part in the Patriotic War of 1812 (she was shell-shocked in the battle of Borodino) and in the campaigns of 1813-14. She was an orderly of M. I. Kutuzov. She was honorably discharged in 1816, with the rank of staff captain.

Durova wrote her memoirs (Notes of N. A. Durova), which were excerpted in the journal Sovremennik in 1836 with a foreword by Pushkin. She was the author of the novel Gudishki (1839) and of Novellas and Short Stories (1839). Among the works devoted to Durova are D. L. Mordovtsev’s novel The Year Twelve (1885); Ia. S. Rykachev’s novella Nadezhda Durova (1842); A. K. Gladkov’s play A Long Time Ago (1942), which was made into a film entitled Hussar’s Ballad (1962); and A. V. Bogatyrev’s opera Nadezhda Durova (1957).


Zapiski kavalerist-devitsy. Kazan, 1960.
“Vse, chto ia mog pripomnit’ . . . .” Nedelia, 1962, no. 26. (Autobiography of N. A. Durova.)


Pushkin, A. S. “Predislovie k Zapiskam N. A. Durovoi.” Poln. sobr. soch., vol. 7. Moscow, 1958.
Belinskii, V. G. “Zapiski Akeksandrova (Durovoi).” Poln. sobr. soch., vol. 3. Moscow, 1953. Pages 148-57.
Saks, A. Kavalerist-devitsa shtab rotmistr Aleksandr Andreevich Aleksandrov (N: A. Durova). St. Petersburg, 1912.
Istoriia russkoi literatury XIX v. Bibliograficheskii ukazatel’. Moscow-Leningrad, 1962.


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