Modest Korf

Korf, Modest Andreevich

 

Born Sept. 11 (23), 1800, in St. Petersburg; died there Jan. 2 (14), 1876. Baron; Russian politician and historian.

Korf was a member of the Courland nobility. He graduated from the Tsarskoe Selo lycee in 1817 and began working with M. M. Speranskii in 1826 in the Second Department of the Imperial Chancellery. Korf helped prepare the Complete Code of Laws and the Code of Laws. He became charge d’affaires of the Committee of Ministers in 1831, a state secretary in 1834, and a member of the State Council in 1843. He joined the Censorship Committee in 1848, serving as its chairman in 1855-56. Korf headed the Imperial Public Library from 1849 to 1861. He was chief of the Second Department of the Imperial Chancellery from 1861 to 1864 and chairman of the department of laws of the State Council from 1864 to 1872. Korf wrote The Accession of Nicholas I to the Throne in 1848, a history of the Decembrist Uprising that was hostile to the rebels. His Life of Count Speranskii (vols. 1-2, 1861) is an apologia for autocracy.

References in periodicals archive ?
As early as 1841, State Secretary Modest Korf deplored the absence of a "general bond." "Every [ministry] acts only according to its own objectives, not perceiving that the actions of one [ministry] inevitably have a consequence for and an influence on another." In 1844, he wrote in his diary, "The absence of any unified direction or general unity in the measures and initiative of the government may come about because there is no prime minister or Cabinet of Ministers" (329).
Modest Korf wrote in his diary that a personal report to the tsar was a "joy that represents the ultimate goal of all our service" (110).