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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a Russian noble family, many members of which held high state and diplomatic positions.

Roman Illarionovich Vorontsov. Born July 17 (28), 1707; died Nov. 30 (Dec. 12), 1783. Statesman; senator beginning in 1760. He advocated a policy of gentry monopoly on ownership of land and serfs and the development of gentry enterprise. His reputation for extortion earned him the nickname “Roman Big Pocket.”

Mikhail Illarionovich Vorontsov. Born July 12 (23), 1714; died Feb. 15 (26), 1767. Statesman and diplomat; brother of Roman Illarionovich Vorontsov. He played an active role in the palace revolution of Nov. 25, 1741, which brought Elizaveta Petrovna to the throne. In 1744 he became a count and vice chancellor. He advocated an alliance with France. Serving as chancellor from 1758 to 1762, Vorontsov was forced to retire in 1763 because he was a partisan of the overthrown Peter III.

Aleksandr Romanovich Vorontsov. Born Sept. 4 (15), 1741; died Dec. 2 (14), 1805. Statesman and diplomat; son of Roman Illarionovich Vorontsov. In 1761 he was charge d’affaires in Vienna; during 1762-64 he served as plenipotentiary to England, and from 1764 to 1768, to Holland. From 1773 to 1794, Vorontsov was president of the Collegium of Commerce and a member of the Commerce Commission. He pursued a protectionist policy favorable to the Russian export trade. In 1779 he became a senator, and he took part in the conclusion of very important treaties with France (1786) and Sweden (1790), as well as the Peace of Jassy with Turkey (1791). Vorontsov retired from government service during the reign of Pavel I, but he returned to serve as chancellor from 1802 to 1804. He promoted the break with Napoleon I and the creation of the anti-French coalition, and he favored rapprochement with England. A friend of A. N. Radishchev, Vorontsov helped the latter’s family after his arrest.

Semen Romanovich Vorontsov. Born June 15 (26), 1744; died 1832. Count, diplomat, and statesman; son of Roman Illarionovich Vorontsov and brother of A. R. Vorontsov. In 1782 he became ambassador to Venice, and in 1784, to London. He pursued a policy of strengthening economic and political ties with England. In 1800 the deterioration of relations with England forced Vorontsov’s temporary retirement; however, he returned to government service in 1801 under Alexander I. Vorontsov retired in 1806.


Arkhiv kniazia Vorontsova, vols. 1-40. Moscow, 1870-95. (See Rospis’ tomov. St. Petersburg, 1897.)
Bantysh-Kamenskii, D. N. Slovar’ dostopamiatnykh liudei russkoi zemli, part 1. Moscow, 1836.
Riabinin, D. D. “Gr. S. R. Vorontsov [Biografiia].” Russkii arkhiv, 1879, nos. 1-4.
Zaozerskii, A. I. “A. R. Vorontsov: K istorii byta i nravov XVIII v.” In Istoricheskie zapiski, vol. 23. [Moscow] 1947.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The example of the Vorontsovs, Princess Dashkova's natal family, illustrates the relative weight of these elements, as well as the centrality of bilingualism in the daily lives of elite Russians.
The number of letters I read in each collection varied considerably: in several, I read as few as 10-20 letters; in others, such as the Vorontsov and Saltykov collections, I reviewed as many as 200.
(93) In a contract drawn up in 1756, Ivan Larionovich Vorontsov engaged Jean Charpentier and his wife to oversee the education of his eight-year-old son and six-year-old daughter--to teach them to read and write in French and Latin, as well as to instruct them in arithmetic, history, and geography.
Exchanges between other members of the Vorontsov family follow a similar pattern: nobles of both sexes born before mid-century were more likely to correspond in Russian, even if they read French, while their children exhibited a greater inclination to communicate in the latter tongue.
(118) Anastasiia Shcherbinina, Princess Dashkova's daughter, wrote to her uncle Aleksandr Vorontsov throughout her life in French; in her letters to her cousin, Mikhail Semenovich, she chose to write in their native language.
Vorontsov's letters to his son Aleksandr, and the latter's letters to him, see AKV 31 (Moscow, 1885), 21-68; 409-24.
65), going far beyond the best-known collections bequeathed by magnates such as the Vorontsovs, and dating much earlier than the 19th-century memoirs used by Alexander Martin to explore the mindset of Russian noblewomen in 1812.
In Catherine's difficulties at court, Eliseeva emphasizes the warring parties that brought French, Prussian, Austrian, and English diplomats into shifting alliances with Bestuzhev and the Shuvalov, Vorontsov, Razumovskii, Panin, Naryshkin, and other family clans and Elizabeth's, Catherine's, and Peter's courts (212-13).