Obruchev, Nikolai

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Obruchev, Nikolai Nikolaevich


Born Nov. 21 (Dec. 3), 1830; died June 25 (July 8), 1904, on the Jaure estate, Dordogne Department, France. Russian military figure and statesman; adjutant general (1878); general of the infantry (1887); honorary member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1888). Son of an officer.

Obruchev graduated from the First Cadet Corps in 1848 and from the Academy of the General Staff in 1854. He was a professor and chief of the subdepartment of military statistics at the Academy of the General Staff from 1856 to 1867. He was close to N. G. Chernyshevskii and N. A. Dobroliubov. In 1858, Obruchev and D. A. Miliutin founded the journal Voennyi sbornik (Military Collection). It was edited jointly by Obruchev, Chernyshevskii, and V. M. Anichkov. Obruchev published in the journal several articles criticizing the conditions in the tsarist army. He was chief of staff of the Second Guards Infantry Division in the late 1850’s and early 1860’s. He was active in the revolutionary democratic movement and a cofounder of Land and Liberty (1862–64). During that period he repeatedly went abroad, where he became close to A. I. Herzen and N. P. Ogarev.

In 1863, Obruchev refused to participate in the suppression of the Polish uprising of 1863–64. He subsequently gave up revolutionary activity. He headed the Military Science Committee of Main Headquarters from 1867 to 1881. Obruchev was one of War Minister Miliutin’s closest collaborators in the preparation and implementation of the bourgeois military reforms of the 1860’s and 1870’s. In 1876 he worked out a strategic plan for a war with Turkey; the plan was implemented in the war of 187–778. From July to October 1877, Obruchev served under the commander in chief of the Caucasus Army and participated in the planning of military operations at Alaca and Kars. From 1881 to 1897 he was chief of Main Headquarters and chairman of the Military Science Committee. Obruchev directed the drawing up of plans for a war with Germany and Austria-Hungary. He was appointed a member of the State Council in 1893. He retired in 1897 and went to live on his wife’s estate in France. He was buried in St. Petersburg.


Obzor rukopisnykh ipechatnykh pamiatnikov, otnosiashchikhsia do istorii voennogo iskusstva v Rossii po 1725 g. St. Petersburg, 1853.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.