Petr Valuev

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Valuev, Petr Aleksandrovich

 

Born Sept. 22 (Oct. 4), 1815, at Tsaritsyno, near Moscow; died Jan. 27 (Feb. 8), 1890, in St. Petersburg. Count. Russian statesman.

Valuev was a descendant of an old boyar family famous from the 14th century. He began his government service in 1831. He was married to the daughter of the poet Prince P. A. Viazemskii, at whose home he often met A. S. Pushkin. During the 1830’s, Valuev was close to the Circle of Sixteen, which included M. lu. Lermontov. He participated in legislative work directed by M. M. Speranskii. Valuev was the governor of Courland from 1853 to 1858. In the mid-1850’s he wrote the memorandum Thoughts of a Russian in the Second Half of 1855, in which, influenced by Russia’s defeat in the Crimean War, he criticized its system of government. From 1858 to 1861 he was director of a department of the Ministry of State Domains. During the period of preparation for the abolition of serfdom Valuev held conservative positions. He was minister of internal affairs from 1861 to 1868. He was one of the cruel suppressors of the revolutionary movement.

Valuev expressed the interests of the conservative dvorianstvo (nobility or gentry), but in order to maintain the stability of the autocratic system, he supported the reforms implemented by the government of Alexander II. The zemstvo (district and provincial assemblies) reform of 1864 was worked out under his leadership. In 1870 he was the initiator of the introduction of military service for all estates. He submitted the memorandum Thoughts on Military Matters by a Nonmilitary Man to Alexander II. Valuev was minister of state domains from 1872 to 1879. He directed the work of the Commission for the Study of Agriculture and Its Productivity (the Valuev Commission). He was chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers from 1879. The institution of temporary governors-general was introduced on his initiative. Valuev was the author of several works of belles lettres, the most important of which was Lorin (vols. 1-2, 1882), a novel drawn from the life of high society. Valuev’s Diaries are of great interest.

P. A. ZAIONCHKOVSKII 4-793-2