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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



Russian statesmen and military figures; counts.

Viktor Nikitich Panin. Born Mar. 28 (Apr. 9), 1801, in Moscow; died Apr. 1 (13), 1874, in Nice, France. Son of Nikita Petrovich Panin.

V. N. Panin joined the diplomatic corps in 1819. In 1832 he became assistant minister of justice. From 1839 to 1841 he served as administrator of the Ministry of Justice, and from 1841 to 1862 as minister. He was an extreme reactionary and opposed any reforms. As a member of the Secret Committee (from 1857) and the Main Committee on Peasant Affairs (from 1858), as well as chairman of the drafting commissions (from I860), he defended the interests of the advocates of serfdom and hindered its abolition. From 1864 to 1867 he was chief administrator of the Second Section of His Imperial Majesty’s Personal Chancellery.

Nikita Ivanovich Panin. Born Sept. 18 (29), 1718, in Danzig; died Mar. 31 (Apr. 11), 1783, in St. Petersburg.

N. I. Panin served in the cavalry guards. From 1747 to 1759 he was in the diplomatic corps as envoy to Denmark and then Sweden. From 1760 to 1773 he was tutor to Grand Duke Pavel Petrovich. In 1762 he played an active role in bringing Catherine II to the throne. He became her closest adviser on foreign relations, heading the Collegium of Foreign Affairs from 1763 to 1781. Nikita Ivanovich was an advocate of what was called the Northern Accord—an alliance of Russia, England, Prussia, Sweden, Denmark, and Poland against France and Austria. The Russo-Turkish War (begun in 1768) and the first partition of the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania led to the decline of his influence. Representing a small group of the most important aristocrats who sought a certain limiting of absolutism (reform of the Senate, creation of a permanent Imperial Council, etc.), he was in concealed, but constant, opposition to Catherine II. In the early 1770’s, he headed a conspiracy involving his brother P. I. Panin and D. I. Fonvizin in favor of the heir, Pavel Petrovich. In 1781 he went into retirement.

Petr Ivanovich Panin. Born 1721 in the village of Vezovka, Meshchovsk District, now in Kaluga Oblast; died Apr. 15 (26), 1789, in Moscow. General-in-chief (1762), brother of N. I. Panin.

P. I. Panin entered military service in 1735. During the Seven Years’ War of 1756–63, he played a prominent role. In 1762 he became governor-general of East Prussia. During the Russo-Turkish War of 1768–74, he commanded the Second Army. He took the fortress of Bendery by storm but made a number of strategic miscalculations in carrying out the campaign. In 1770 he was sent into retirement. He became a leader of what was called the Panin Party, which was in opposition to the government. From July 1774 to August 1775 he commanded troops that operated against the detachments of E. I. Pugachev. He contributed to the development of Russian military art. Following the example of P. A. Rumiantsev, he created a detachment of light infantry, or jaegers, which became the model for the establishment in the Russian Army of special jaeger units.

Nikita Petrovich Panin. Born Apr. 17 (28), 1770, in Kharkov; died Mar. 1 (13), 1837, in the village of Dugino, Smolensk Province. Son of P. I. Panin.

N. P. Panin started his military and court service in 1791 and later became a chamberlain and a major general. In 1795 he was appointed governor of Lithuania. In 1796 (after the partition of the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania) he served as chief commissar for the Russian side in establishing the border between Russia and Prussia. In December 1796 he became a member of the Collegium of Foreign Affairs. In July 1797 he became ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary in Berlin, where he tried to draw the Prussian government into actively fighting against the French Republic. In 1799 he became vice-chancellor. He strove to preserve and strengthen the anti-French coalition, came out against Pavel I’s policy of rapprochement with France, and was one of the organizers of a conspiracy against the emperor. In 1800 he fell into disgrace. On the accession of Alexander I, he again became a member of the Collegium of Foreign Affairs. He, in effect, directed foreign policy. Disagreements with the tsar led to his retirement in November 1801. From 1804 he was in disgrace and was deprived of the right to enter the capital. He spent the rest of his life at his Dugino estate, where he occupied himself with music. He wrote the operas The Hunchbacks and The Fashion Shop.


Kolmakov, N. M. “Graf V. N. Panin.” Russkaia starina, 1887, nos. 11–12.
Lebedev, P. S. Grafy Nikita i Petr Paniny. St. Petersburg, 1883.
Sbornik imperatorskogo russkogo istoricheskogo obshchestva, vol. 7, 1871.
Pugachevshchina, vols. 2–3. Moscow-Leningrad, 1928–31.
Istoricheskii sbornik Vol’noi russkoi tipografii v Londone A. I. Gertsena i N. P. Ogareva, book 3: Kommentarii i ukazateli Moscow, 1971. Pages 146–52.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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