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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a Russian aristocratic family whose members received titles as counts and princes and held important state and diplomatic posts from the 18th through the mid-19th century.

Aleksei Grigor’evich Razumovskii. Born Mar. 17 (28), 1709, in the khutor (homestead) of Lemeshi, present-day Kozelets Raion, Chernigov Oblast; died July 6 (17), 1771, in St. Petersburg. Count from 1744.

A. G. Razumovskii was the son of a Ukrainian cossack named G. Rozum. In 1731 he was taken to St. Petersburg as a singer for the Ukrainian chorus at the imperial court, where he became a favorite of Elizaveta Petrovna, the heir apparent. After the palace revolution of Nov. 25, 1741, that brought Elizaveta Petrovna to the throne, Razumovskii became a chamberlain, then a lieutenant general, and in 1756 a field marshal. He was secretly married to Elizaveta Petrovna in 1742; contrary to legend, they had no children. Large estates near St. Petersburg and Moscow and in the Ukraine, as well as enormous sums of money, were bestowed on Razumovskii. Although he held an extremely important position at court, he took little interest in affairs of state. He sought benefits and privileges for the Ukrainian nobility and helped to restore hetman rule in the Ukraine. He retired in 1762.

Kirill Grigor’evich Razumovskii. Born Mar. 18 (29), 1728, in the khutor of Lemeshi, present-day Kozelets Raion, Chernigov Oblast; died Jan. 3(15), 1803, in Baturin, present-day Chernigov Oblast. Count from 1744. Brother of A. G. Razumovskii. Last hetman of the Ukraine.

In 1743, K. G. Razumovskii was sent abroad to study for two years. On his return in 1745 he was made a chamberlain. From 1746 to 1765 he was president of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, but apart from supporting M. V. Lomonosov, he took no active part in the affairs of the academy. He was a large feudal landholder. As hetman of the Ukraine from 1750 to 1764 he carried out a series of economic and administrative measures on behalf of the Ukrainian nobility and merchants, such as restricting the free movement of peasants and instituting a population census. He also took an interest in the development of Ukrainian culture. For his role in planning the palace revolution of 1762, which brought Catherine II to the throne, he was made a senator and adjutant general. In 1764, when hetman rule was abolished in the Ukraine, Razumovskii was appointed a field marshal general. He served as a member of the Council of State from 1768 to 1771.

Aleksei Kirillovich Razumovskii. Born Sept. 12 (23), 1748, in St. Petersburg; died Apr. 5 (17), 1822, in Pochep, present-day Briansk Oblast. Son of K. G. Razumovskii.

A. K. Razumovskii entered court service in 1769. On his retirement in 1795, he settled in the village of Gorenki, outside Moscow, where he established a botanical garden and assembled the largest natural-science library in Russia. In the late 18th century he joined one of the more mystical groups among the Russian Freemasons. As minister of public education from 1810 he helped expand the primary school system (parish and district schools), founded several new Gymnasiums, was concerned with improving teaching methods, and forbade corporal punishment. Adhering to reactionary views, Razumovskii was involved in bringing about the fall of M. M. Speranskii, promoted a policy of russification in the Western Territory, made religious instruction the main subject in the curricula of all educational institutions, supported the Jesuit academies and schools, and was vice-president of the Bible Society. He retired in 1816.

Andrei Kirillovich Razumovskii. Born Oct. 22 (Nov. 2), 1752, in Glukhov, present-day Sumy Oblast; died Sept. 11 (23), 1836, in Vienna, Austria. Diplomat; prince from 1815. Son of K. G. Razumovskii.

Andrei Razumovskii served in the navy from 1769 to 1775. Entering the diplomatic service in 1777, he served as envoy to the Kingdom of Naples from 1777 to 1784, as envoy to Sweden from 1786 to 1788, and as ambassador to Austria from 1790 to 1799. During the Italian and Swiss campaigns of the Russian armies in 1799, Razumovskii’s actions were sometimes detrimental to the interests of Russia. In 1799 he was recalled to Russia from Vienna at the insistence of A. V. Suvorov. From 1801 to 1807 he again held the post of ambassador to Vienna and made a great effort to draw Austria into a coalition and war against France as an ally of Russia. After retiring in 1807 he continued to live in Vienna as a private citizen, arranging home concerts and assembling a picture gallery. In 1813–14 he was a foreign-policy adviser in the retinue of Alexander I. Razumovskii was one of the leaders of the Russian delegation to the Congress of Vienna in 1814–15.


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