10 Facts About Alexander Radishchev


Alexander Radishchev brought the tradition of radicalism in Russian literature to prominence with his 1790 novel Journey from St Petersburg to Moscow.

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Alexander Radishchev then went to live with a relative in Moscow, where he was allowed to spend time at the newly established Moscow University.

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Alexander Radishchev too was especially critical of serfdom and of the limits to personal freedom imposed by the autocracy.

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Empress Catherine the Great read the work, viewed Alexander Radishchev's calls for reform as evidence of Jacobin-style radicalism, and ordered copies of the text confiscated and destroyed.

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Alexander Radishchev humbly begged forgiveness of Catherine, publicly disowning his book, and his sentence was commuted to exile to the small town of Ilimsk in Siberia.

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Alexander Radishchev's friend, Count Alexander Vorontsov, who held sway with Catherine, interceded and managed to secure Radischev more appropriate accommodations, allowing him to return to Moscow to recover and restart his journey with dignity and comfort.

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Alexander Radishchev wrote a long treatise, On Man, His Mortality, His Immortality, revered as one of the few great philosophical works of Russia.

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In 1802 a despondent Alexander Radishchev - possibly rebuked in a friendly manner, for expressing radical ideas, by Count Zavadovsky who in his reproof spoke of another exile to Siberia - committed suicide by drinking poison.

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Alexander Radishchev extends this system to master-serf relations as well, noting that seeking unlimited power is a natural human vice.

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Alexander Radishchev believed that man's hereditary faculties have as much influence on his development as the external environment.

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