Kiselev, Pavel Dmitrievich

Kiselev, Pavel Dmitrievich


Born Jan. 8 (19), 1788, in Moscow; died Nov. 14 (26), 1872, in Paris. Russian statesman and count.

Kiselev was a participant in the Patriotic War of 1812. In 1814 he became an aide-de-camp to Emperor Alexander I. In 1816 he presented the tsar with a memorandum for the gradual emancipation of the peasantry from serfdom. After 1819 he was chief of staff of the Second Army, which was quartered in the Ukraine. There he was close to members of the Southern Society of the Decembrists, especially P. I. Pestel’, although he was not aware of the existence of the society. After the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–29, he was charged with the administration of Moldavia and Walachia, where he carried out a series of progressive reforms. Beginning in 1835 he was a regular member of all secret government committees formed to discuss the peasant question. In that year, a secret committee under his leadership drafted a plan for the gradual abolition of serfdom through the grant of personal freedom to the peasantry and government regulation of their land allotments and obligations. The plan met opposition from the serf-owning pomeshchiki (landowners). In 1837 he became minister of state properties, and from 1837 to 1841 he carried out a reform in the administration of state peasants. Parish schools established in settlements of government peasants came to be known as Kiselev schools. From 1856 to 1862 he was the Russian ambassador to Paris, and in 1862 he retired.


Druzhinin, N. M. Gosudarstvennye kresfiane i reforma P. D. Kiseleva, vols. 1–2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946–58.
Zabolotskii-Desiatovskii, A. P. Graf P. D. Kiselev i ego vremia, vols. 1–4. St. Petersburg, 1882.