Nikolai Ivanovich Sazonov

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sazonov, Nikolai Ivanovich


Born June 17 (29), 1815, in Riazan’; died Nov. 5 (17), 1862, in Geneva. Russian publicist and public figure.

Of gentry origin, Sazonov graduated from the physics and mathematics faculty of Moscow University in 1834. He was a member of A. I. Herzen’s circle. In the late 1830’s, Sazonov took up residence in Paris, where he became close with revolutionary émigrés from other countries. He took part in the Revolution of 1848 and joined the editorial staffs of such democratic newspapers as A. Mickiewicz’s La Tribune des peuples and P. Proudhon’s La Voix du peuple.

Having refused the tsarist government’s demand in 1850 that he return, Sazonov was declared expelled from Russia forever. In Paris in 1854, during the Crimean War, he published anonymously in French the political pamphlet The Truth About Emperor Nicholas. In the same year, he also published the brochure A Native Voice in a Foreign Land at the free Russian press in London. This brochure, addressed to Russian prisoners of war in France, called for the overthrow of the autocracy, the abolition of serfdom, and the granting of independence to Poland. In his article “Russia’s Place in the World Exhibition” (Poliarnaia zvezda, book 2, 1856), Sazonov attempted to interpret philosophically Russia’s historical fate. While he recognized that the replacement of capitalism by socialism in Western European countries was determined by historical laws, he believed that in Russia a direct transition to socialism via a noncapitalist path was possible. He corresponded with K. Marx, by whom he was influenced, but he remained a Utopian socialist. In the mid-1850’s, Sazonov began contributing under pseudonyms to St. Petersburg and Moscow periodicals. Although in 1858 he received permission to return to Russia, he chose to remain abroad.


”Iz literaturnogo nasledstva N. I. Sazonova.” In Literaturnoe nasledstvo, vols. 41–42. Moscow, 1941.
[Pis’ma N. I. Sazonova k Karlu Marksu.] In K. Marks, F. Engel’s i revoliutsionnaia Rossiia. Moscow, 1967. Pages 146–55.


Herzen, A. I. Sobr. soch., vol. 10. Moscow, 1956. Pages 315–33.
Sliwowska, W. W kręgu poprzedników Hercena. Wrocław, 1971. Pages 202–56.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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