«The Liberal Aristocrat»: To the biography of Ivan Murav’ev-Apostol

Kiyanskaya O.I.


The article analyzes the biography of I.M. Murav’ev-Apostol, the father of three Decembrists: Mathew, Sergey and Hippolit. The author of the article examines his activities as a writer, diplomat, and senator. The author also pays attention to the «Letters from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod» by I.M. Murav’ev-Apostol, which were published in the journal «Syn otechestva» in 1813–1815. The conclusion is made about the discrepancy between the publicist position of the narrator and the daily activities of the author of «Letters». When examining the peculiarities of I.M. Murav’ev-Apostol's diplomatic service, the author draws attention to the reasons why he was forced to leave the diplomatic service. These reasons are seen in the unreadiness of the diplomat to make independent decisions and take responsibility. The article also refers to the service of I.M. Murav’ev-Apostol in the Senate and the General Board of schools. The author believes that despite the reputation of a liberal, which the senator had among his contemporaries, in official matters he was guided primarily by the opinion of the Emperor and did not play an independent role in political life. At the heart of all of I.M. Murav’ev-Apostol's actions was the credo of life: «As long as I live, I want to enjoy life». Particular attention in the article is paid to the relationship of I.M. Murav’ev-Apostol with his sons who were Decembrists. The author of the article concludes that despite the family idyll expressed in the letters, we can see a political and personal conflict between the father and his sons. The father was selfish, his attitude toward his children was not beyond the bounds of secular decency.


I.M. Murav’ev-Apostol; «Letters from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod»; Foreign Service; Senate; Decembrists.

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2022.01.12

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