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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



Russian military leaders and statesmen; princes from different branches of one old family.

Vasilii Vasil’evich Golitsyn. Born 1643; died Apr. 21 (May 2), 1714.

V. V. Golitsyn distinguished himself during the reign of Fedor Alekseevich and received large land grants from him. In 1676, Golitsyn was made a boyar. During 1676–77 and 1680–81 he was sent by the tsar to the Ukraine, where he took part in defending the southern frontier of the Russian state and in the Chigirin campaign of 1677–78 against Turkey. From 1676 to 1680. Golitsyn served as chief of the Pushkarskii and Vladimir judicial departments. In 1682 a commission of elected gentry headed by Golitsyn proposed the abolition of the mestnichestvo system. After the Revolt of the Strel’tsy (semiprofessional musketeers) in 1682, Golitsyn—a supporter of the Miloslavskiis and a favorite of the ruler. Sofia Alekseevna—concentrated in his hands the direction of the most important affairs of state. From 1682 and 1689 he was the chief of various government departments.

One of the best educated people of his time and the owner of a rich library, Golitsyn advocated broadening ties with the Western European countries. In 1683 he brought about the confirmation of the Peace of Cardis of 1661 with Sweden. In 1686, after demonstrating a great deal of diplomatic skill, he succeeded in concluding a peace treaty with Poland that was advantageous for Russia (the Eternal Peace of 1686). To implement this treaty, Golitsyn organized and led two unsuccessful campaigns against the Crimean Khanate in 1687 and 1689. Although there was no military action, the campaigns indirectly aided Russia’s allies and prevented the Tatars from attacking them. After the palace revolution of 1689, which resulted in Peter I’s accession to power, Golitsyn was deprived of his status as a boyar, his votchiny (patrimonial estates), his pomest’ia (fiefs), and all privileges, and he was exiled to Arkhangel’sk region, where he died.


Golitsyn, N. N. Rod kniazei Golitsvnkh, vol. 1. St. Petersburg, 1892.
Ocherki istorii SSSR: Period feodalizma, XVII v. Moscow, 1955.
Istoriia SSSR: S drevneishikh vremen do nashikh dnei, series 1. vol. 3. Moscow, 1967.
Boris Alekseevich Golitsyn. Born 1654; died 1714. Tutor of Peter I.
In 1689, B. A. Golitsyn actively contributed to the victory of the Naryshkin party over the tsarevna Sofia and to Peter I’s accession to power. During Peter I’s journey abroad (1697–98), Golitsyn. L. K. Naryshkin. and P. I. Prozorovskii headed the government. From 1683 to 1713 he was chief of the Kazan Department, which governed the entire Volga Region. After the Astrakhan Uprising of 1705–06, Golitsyn’s position became shaky because Astrakhan was located within the territory he administered. A year before his death Golitsyn became a monk.


Bogoslovskii, M.M. Petri, vols. 1–4. Moscow, 1940–48.
Dmitri Mikhailovich Golitsyn. Born 1665; died Apr. 14 (25). 1737.
In 1701. D. M. Golitsyn was sent as ambassador extraordinary to Constantinople to secure Turkey’s agreement to the free passage of Russian ships through the Black Sea. From 1711 to 1718 he was governor of Kiev. While Golitsyn was in Kiev, translators of political and historical works (students from the seminary) gathered around him. In 1718, Golitsyn became president of the Collegium of State Revenues and a senator. From 1722 he was a senator only. During 1726–30 he was a member of the Supreme Privy Council, and during the reign of Peter II he was president of the Collegium of Commerce. After Peter II’s death in 1730 Golitsyn, as a representative of the old hereditary aristocracy, advocated a limitation of the autocracy and became head of the verkhovniki (members of the Supreme Privy Council). At Golitsyn’s suggestion, Anna Ivanovna was invited to take the throne. Under his guidance and participation “conditions” were drawn up that limited the autocracy. In ruling the country, Anna Ivanovna was to be guided by these conditions.
After the failure of the verkhovniki Golitsyn was appointed a member of the Senate, but he lived primarily at Ar-khangel’skoe, his estate near Moscow, and he took almost no part in affairs of state. At Arkhangel’skoe he collected a renowned library of as many as 6,000 items—Russian manuscripts, chronicles, historical synopses, and translations, including works by N. Machiavelli, H. Grotius, J. Locke, and S. von Pufendorf, as well as books in foreign languages. Anna Ivanovna did not forgive Golitsyn for his participation in the activity of the verkhovniki. In 1736 he was brought to trial on charges of malfeasance in government service. He was sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted to imprisonment in the Schlissel’burg Fortress, where he soon died. Golitsyn’s library was confiscated, and his books were distributed among private individuals.


Plekhanov. G. V. Istoriia russkoi obshcheslvennoi mysli, book 2. Soch., vol. 21. Moscow-Leningrad, 1925.
Pekarskii, P. Nauka i literatura ν Rossiipri Petre Velikom, vol. 1. St. Petersburg, 1862.
Korsakov, D. A. Votsarenenie imperatritsy Anny loannovny. Kazan, 1880.


Mikhail Mikhailovich Golitsyn. Born Nov. 1 (II), 1675; died Dec. 10 (21), 1730, in Moscow. Field marshal (1725); brother of D. M. Golitsyn.

From 1687, M. M. Golitsyn served as a drummer in the Semenovskii Guards Regiment. In 1694 he was promoted to ensign, and he took part in the Azov campaigns of 1695–96 as well as the Northern War of 1700–21. In 1702, Golitsyn led the assault on Noteborg. In 1708 he gained a victory over the Swedes at Dobroe and distinguished himself in battle at Les-naia. At the battle of Poltava (1709) he commanded the guards, and he and A. D. Menshikov directed the pursuit of the retreating Swedish troops, until they surrendered at Perevolochnia. In 1711, Golitsyn took part in the campaign of the Pruth, and beginning in 1714 he commanded troops in southern Finland, where he defeated the Swedes at Napue. He also participated in the naval battle at Hangö. Between 1723 and 1728 he commanded troops in the Ukraine. From September 1728, Golitsyn was president of the Collegium of the Army and a member of the Supreme Privy Council. He took part in drawing up the “conditions,” fell into disfavor during the reign of Anna Ivanovna, and soon died.

Mikhail Mikhailovich Golitsyn. Born 1681; died May 25 (June 5), 1764, in Moscow. Admiral (1756).

M. M. Golitsyn began his military service in 1703 and received his training on ships of the Dutch navy. From 1717 he took part in the Northern War of 1700–21. Beginning in 1726, Golitsyn served as a councillor in the Collegium of the Navy. In 1732 he became president of the Collegium of Justice, then military commissioner-general. (He was in charge of expenditures for maintaining troops, the procurement of various materials, and the system of inspection.)

From 1740, Golitsyn was governor-general of Astrakhan, and from 1745 to 1748 he served as ambassador to Iran. In 1748 he was appointed commander in chief of the navy. His activity, which consisted merely of constructing buildings in Kronstadt and St. Petersburg, could not end the navy’s decline. Golitsyn retired in 1761.

Aleksandr Milhailovich Golitsyn. Born Nov. 18(29), 1718, in Abo; died Oct. 8 (19), 1783, in St. Petersburg. Field marshal (1769). Son of Field Marshal M. M. Golitsyn.

A. M. Golitsyn received his military training in the Austrian army, and later he was in the diplomatic service in the entourage of A. I. Rumiantsev’s embassy in Constantinople and subsequently as ambassador to Saxony. Golitsyn took part in the Seven Years’ War (1756–63) with the rank of lieutenant general. From 1768 to 1769 during the Russo-Turkish War he commanded the First Army. After a number of failures he was recalled to St. Petersburg, but before giving up his command he succeeded in inflicting a defeat on the Turkish troops and occupying Jassy and Khotin.

Dmitrii Alekseevich Golitsyn. Born May 15 (26), 1734; died Feb. 23 (Mar. 7), 1803. Author of books and articles on natural science, philosophy, and political economy. Honorary member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences as well as several foreign academies and scientific societies; member of the Free Economic Society in St. Petersburg.

During 1762–68, D. A. Golitsyn served as ambassador to France, and from 1768 to 1798 as ambassador to the Netherlands. He was a friend of Voltaire, Diderot, and other French Enlightenment figures. In his philosophical views Golitsyn was an 18th-century materialist. In political economy he was an advocate of the essentially bourgeois school of Physiocrats, which took shape in France during the mid-l8th century. After the Great French Revolution. Golitsyn defended physiocratic theory against the charge that it formed the basis for the economic policy of the French Revolution. (His major work was entitled On the Spirit of the Economists, or The Economists Justified Against the Charge that Their Principles Formed the Basis for the French Revolution [1796].) Stating that land must be the inviolable property of the gentry landowners, Golitsyn proposed freeing the serfs in exchange for high redemption payments and without giving them allotments of land. Moreover, the renters of the pomeshchiks’ (fief holders’) land would be the rich peasants, who would exploit the landless peasants. Such a proposal objectively opened a certain scope for the development of bourgeois relations within the serf-owning system.


In Izbr. proizv. russkikh myslitelei vtoroipoloviny 18 v., vol. 2. Moscow, 1952.


Bak, I. S. “D. A. Golitsyn (filosofskie. obshchestvenno politi-cheskie i ekonomicheskie vozzreniia).” In the collection lsto-richeskie zapiski, vol. 26 [Moscow] 1948.


Aleksandr Nikolaevich Golitsyn. Born Dec. 8 (19), 1773; died Nov. 22 (Dec. 4), 1844. Friend of Grand Prince Alexander Pavlovich, after whose accession to the throne Golitsyn became procurator-general of the Synod (1803). Golitsyn’s attraction to religion and mysticism began at this time and reached its peak after 1813, when he was director of the Russian Bible Society. In 1808 he accompanied Alexander I to Erfurt for a meeting with Napoleon I. In 1816, Golitsyn became minister of public education (from 1817, minister of spiritual affairs and public education). He pursued a reactionary policy, relying on such reactionaries as M. L. Mag-nitskii and D. P. Runich. In 1824. as the result of intrigues by the archimandrite Photius and A. A. Arakcheev, Golitsyn was forced to retire. However, he retained some influence even during the reign of Nicholas I.


Pypin, A. N. Issledovaniia i stat’i po epokhe Aleksandra I, vol. I: Religioznye dvizheniia pri Aleksandre I. Petrograd, 1916.
Predtechenskii, A. V. Ocherki obshchestvenno-politicheskoi istorii Rossii ν pervoi chetverti XIX v. Moscow-Leningrad, 1957.
Nikolai Sergeevich Golitsyn. Born June 16 (28), 1809; died July 3 (15), 1892, in St. Petersburg. Military historian and infantry general (1880). Member of the Swedish Academy of Military Sciences.
N. S. Golitsyn graduated from Tsarskoe Selo Lycée, and beginning in 1826 he served on the general staff of the guards. He took part in the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–29 and the suppression of the Polish Uprising of 1830–31. In 1834 he became an adjunct professor, and from 1838 to 1847 he was the head of the department of strategy and military history at the Military Academy. During this time Golitsyn wrote a book which was published later— A Universal Military History (vols. 1–15, 1872–78). This was a major work containing an enormous amount of factual materials. From 1850. Golitsyn was a member of the military censorship and military scholarship committees of the General Staff. From 1852 to 1855 he served as editor of the newspaper Russkii invalid. During 1857–64 he directed the military statistical work of the officers of the General Staff. From 1867. Golitsyn was a member of the military scholarship committee of the General Staff.


Russkaia voennaia istoriia, parts 1–2. St. Petersburg, 1877–78.
Velikie polkovodtsy istorii, parts 1–2. St. Petersburg, 1875.
Ocherk istorii General’ nogo shtaba ν Zapadnoi Evrope i ν Rossii, part 1. St. Petersburg, 1851. Parts 2–3 in Voennyi zhurnal, 1857, book 3; 1858, book 1.
Nikolai Dmitrievich Golitsyn. Born Mar. 31 (Apr. 12). 1850, in the village of Porech’e, in present-day Mozhaisk Raion. Moscow Oblast; died 1925. Last president of the Council of Ministers of tsarist Russia (from Dec. 27, 1916 [Jan. 9, 1917] to Feb. 27 [Mar. 12], 1917).
From 1885 to 1903, N. D. Golitsyn occupied successively the positions of governor of Arkhangel’sk, Kaluga, and Tver’ provinces. In 1903 he became a senator, and from 1915 he was a member of the right-wing faction of the Council of State and president of the commission to give aid to Russian prisoners of war. Golitsyn was close to the empress Alek-sandra Fedorovna. After the Revolution of February 1917 he retired from political activity.


Padenie tsarskogo rezhima, vols. 1–7. Leningrad-Moscow, 1925–27.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(37) Douglas Smith notes that "the nobility had produced generations of writers, artists and thinkers, of scholars and scientists, of reformers and revolutionaries," but his nostalgic study of the Golitsyns and Sheremetevs is typical of much popular historiography in casting the nobility as innocent victims of an evil Bolshevik regime.
The object of his attention was Countess Sophia Matushkina, the pretty niece and ward of Field-Marshal Prince Alexander Golitsyn, the Governor of St Petersburg.
Golitsyn, meanwhile, had banned the couple from seeing each other.