Nikolai Ivanovich Turgenev

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Turgenev, Nikolai Ivanovich


Born Oct. 12 (23), 1789, in Simbirsk, now Ul’ianovsk; died Oct. 29 (Nov. 10), 1871, in Paris. Russian state figure, Decembrist, and economist.

The son of a member of the dvorianstvo (nobility or gentry), Turgenev attended Moscow University in 1806–07 and the University of Gôttingen from 1808 to 1811. In 1813 he was the Russian deputy in the administration of the anti-Napoleon coalition in Germany. Beginning in 1816 he was an assistant to the chief secretary of the State Council in Russia. He served in the Ministry of Finance beginning in 1819. In 1818, Turgenev published A Theory of Taxes, the first Russian study on finance. He favored the abolition of serfdom but maintained that the landowners should retain the land and use hired labor.

Turgenev became a member of the literary circle Arzamas in 1817. He joined the Union of Welfare in 1818 and became one of its theorists; he favored a republic. In 1821 he was chairman of the Moscow Congress of the Union of Welfare. Turgenev was one of the founders of the Northern Society of Decembrists, in which he maintained a moderate position. He went abroad in 1824 and did not participate in the uprising of Dec. 14,1825. He was tried in absentia and sentenced to penal servitude for life.

Turgenev was one of the first Russian revolutionary émigrés. While abroad he published the book Russia and the Russians in French (1847); it became the basis of the liberal bourgeois view of the Decembrist movement. Turgenev’s rights were restored in 1857. He wrote a number of pamphlets that presented detailed plans for the abolition of serfdom.


Arkhiv br. Turgenevykh, fases. 1, 3, 5, 7. St. Petersburg-Petrograd-Leningrad, 1911–30.
Pugachev, V. V. “Istoricheskie vzgliady dekabrista N. I. Turgeneva.” Uch. zap. Gor’kovskogo un-ta, 1961. fase. 52.
lstoriia russkoi ekonomicheskoi mysli, vol. 1, part 2. Moscow, 1958. Pages 165–83.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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