Fonvizin, Mikhail

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Fonvizin, Mikhail Aleksandrovich


Born Aug. 20 (31), 1788, in the village of Mar’ino, in what is now Ramenskoe Raion, Moscow Oblast; died there Apr. 30 (May 12), 1854. Decembrist. Major general (1820). Nephew of the writer D. I. Fonvizin.

Fonvizin studied at a pension at Moscow University. In 1801 he became an officer of the guard and subsequently took part in the battle of Austerlitz (1805), the Russo-Swedish War of 1808–09, the Patriotic War of 1812, and the foreign campaigns of the Russian Army in 1813 and 1814. In the autumn of 1816, Fonvizin joined the first Decembrist organization, the Union of Salvation. In 1818 he became one of the leaders of the Moscow board of the Union of Welfare and took an active part in drafting the program and charter of the Northern Society of Decembrists.

Fonvizin vacillated between advocating a republic or a constitutional monarchy and recommended liberating the peasants with a minimum land allotment. After 1822 he was no longer active in secret organizations. In 1826 he was sentenced to eight years at hard labor and subsequent exile to Siberia; he returned in 1853. Fonvizin wrote his memoirs and a number of articles on political history and philosophy.


Vosstanie dekabristov: Materialy, vol. 3. Moscow-Leningrad, 1927.
Zamaleev, A. F. M. A. Fonvizin. Moscow, 1976.


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