Katkov Mikhail Nikiforovich - the founder of Russian political journalism, editor of the Moskovskie Vedomosti newspaper: biography, family, education

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Katkov Mikhail Nikiforovich - the founder of Russian political journalism, editor of the Moskovskie Vedomosti newspaper: biography, family, education
Katkov Mikhail Nikiforovich - the founder of Russian political journalism, editor of the Moskovskie Vedomosti newspaper: biography, family, education

The variety and quality of printed publications in Russia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries can compete with the modern process of publishing. It was a real rise and flourishing of Russian journalism, which was distinguished by the diversity of opinions, strategies and tactics of the printing industry.

One of the kings of the media of that time was Mikhail Katkov (years of life - 1818-1887). By the will of fate, he found himself at the very center of current journalistic trends, when the European experience of publishing, attempts and possibilities of its application in Russia, as well as the influence of liberal views on the formation of public opinion were widely discussed in Russian society.

Collected works of Mikhail Katkov

From masters to editors

Born in the family of a petty official and left without a father early, he studied first at an institute for orphans, and then for another two years he was a free student at Moscow University. At the end of the hearing inMikhail Katkov leaves Berlin, improves education by attending lectures by popular Berlin philosophers, in particular Friedrich Schelling.

Often undernourished, being in extremely cramped material circumstances, he found himself at the same time in the very center of the philosophical and socio-political life of Europe. There he made acquaintance with Bakunin, Herzen, Belinsky.

By the way, V.G. Belinsky prophesied great literary success for him, noting that the hope of Russian literature and science is concentrated in him. However, the future famous publicist Katkov Mikhail Nikiforovich broke with his freethinking friends and with the literary field, going to work as a university teacher. Soon he defends his master's thesis and gets a job at the Department of Philosophy of Moscow University as an adjunct. In the same years, he marries Princess Sofya Shalikova, the daughter of the former editor of the Moskovskie Vedomosti newspaper, published at the university.

In 1850, when the departments of philosophy were liquidated in Russian higher educational institutions, Katkov lost his job. But already in 1851 he received the position of editor of the Moscow News. The main role in choosing this position in his fate was played by a salary of 2,000 rubles, plus 25 kopecks for each new subscriber, as well as a government apartment supposed to be an editor.

Considering teaching as his mission, Katkov reluctantly began to master a new field, considering this activity to be well paid, but not necessary. However, he soon got carried away and got used to the new place so much thatraised the circulation of the newspaper from 7 to 15 thousand copies.

And since 1856, he began to publish his own magazine "Russian Messenger" in the Moscow province. In an effort to make money in the publishing business, he succeeded not so much in earning money as in creating new directions in journalism. As a result, coming close to creating such a direction as an independent genre of journalism and expert journalism in the field of interpreting state law and supporting state interests.

Russian Vestnik magazine, M. Katkov publishing house

Russian Bulletin Magazine

Nevertheless, at the beginning of his creative biography, political journalism was still far away, so the Russky Vestnik magazine existed in the field of literary orientation and far bypassed the acute political issues facing the state.

Wide public discussions on the pages of printed publications were still unacceptable, censorship did not allow. Therefore, the entire space of the magazine was devoted to the writers of the new time and their works.

Turgenev, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky were published here, among the published novels one could see:

  • "Fathers and Sons";
  • "War and Peace";
  • "Anna Karenina";
  • "Crime and Punishment";
  • The Brothers Karamazov”

All these works, which have become classics of Russian literature, its golden fund, were first published in Russkiy Vestnik, edited by Mikhail Katkov.

The editor did not skimp and generously paid for the work of the authors.So, Leo Tolstoy received 500 silver rubles per sheet, the advance payment was 10,000 rubles. Fyodor Dostoevsky has published almost all of his novels in Russkiy Vestnik.

In terms of circulation, Russkiy Vestnik was second only to Nekrasov's Sovremennik: 5,700 copies against 7,000 copies of Sovremennik.

Newspaper ownership

Since 1861, Mikhail Nikiforovich Katkov began to look for a wider application of his abilities and abilities. He wanted development. By a happy coincidence, at the same time, the government decided to lease the university printing house, along with the Moskovskie Vedomosti newspaper, to private entrepreneurs.

Leasing was carried out on the terms of an open competition, as they would now call a tender. Speaking on equal terms with university professor Pavel Leontiev, Katkov won the competition by offering the most favorable rental amount of 74,000 rubles per annum.

In the photo (from left to right) Pavel Leontiev and the figure under study.

The creators of the Lyceum P.M. Leontiev and M.N. Katkov

Despite the wishes of other university officials, the candidacy of the new tenant Mikhail Katkov was approved. And from January 1, 1863, he became the editor of the newspaper. Then he still did not imagine that he would contribute to the creation and create a new newspaper genre - journalism.

At the same time, dramatic events are being played out in the political life of Europe: on January 10, an uprising begins in Warsaw. All publications tried to keep silent about the bloody events, and onlyKatkov turns his publication into a platform for political journalism, bringing down the full power of anti-Polish and anti-revolutionary philosophy into polemics, calling on society to rally around the Tsar and the Fatherland.

For the first time in the history of Russian print media, the public does not just receive information, but listens to the expert opinion of the editor.

A Russian publicist in an open discussion directly influences the mood of an educated reader; among the nobility, many sympathized with the uprising and did not expect decisive action from the authorities. Katkov managed to reverse judgments and moods, influencing the government as well. This is truly admirable!

Moskovskie Vedomosti and Mikhail Katkov

It's time to flourish: Mikhail Katkov and literary activity

It can be said that the success and popularity of the newspaper of the studied figure opposed the bureaucratic country, making public the political views of the society. And newspaper editor Mikhail Katkov, at the age of 45, found a calling, becoming the first Russian publicist.

Before publishing, his literary activity was as follows.

He debuted with translations in 1838. He translated Heine, Goethe, F. Ruckert, Fenimore Cooper. From Berlin he sent articles about Schelling's lectures. He wrote journalistic articles for Russky Vestnik, which became one of the leading literary magazines of the second half of the 19th century.

Researchers call Mikhail Katkov's article "Pushkin", published in 1856, a program work. Important in terms of impact on societiesare his articles about the rural community, about the "electoral beginning".

Katkov paid a lot of attention to literary criticism and research, sending his articles to various popular journals, especially the St. Petersburg "Otechestvennye zapiski".

Literary critical articles of amazing poignancy and style are devoted to the works of contemporaries.

For example, criticism of Ershov's fairy tale "The Little Humpbacked Horse" is filled with a sincere and fantastically witty attitude to various absurdities in the development of the "fabulous" and the fantastic in Russian literature. This critical article was first published in a magazine in St. Petersburg in 1840.

On the photo is the cover of the St. Petersburg Narodnaya Volya magazine "Notes of the Fatherland":

magazine "Notes of the Fatherland", St. Petersburg

Friends and enemies in literary space

During the heyday of the newspaper, the newspaper studied was called the Russian Times, and the daily publication of editorials from the editor allowed Katkov to lay the foundations for the concept of "political journalism", while creating, in fact, a Russian topical newspaper.

In 1863, the newspaper "Moskovskie Vedomosti" provided polemical support to Russian diplomacy, faced with pressure from European states in connection with the Polish uprising. The printed word played its decisive role and helped Russia out of the political crisis, and Katkov gained not only the authority of a publisher, but also an influential political figure.

Defend your positionthe editor had to fight not only against "strangers", but also against his former like-minded people. Therefore, he declared all his publications outside of any parties.

Ideas by Mikhail Katkov

Researchers note that the main idea of ​​the publicist was to formulate the principle of state nationality. Which, according to Katkov, is, in fact, the basis of the country's unity.

According to this principle, the state needs:

  • unified laws;
  • single state language;
  • unified management system.

At the same time, Katkov did not imply a rejection of other "tribes and nationalities" that are part of the state structure, he supported their right to know their language, observe their traditions, religions and customs.

Katkov's contemporaries and his ideological opponents denounced Katkov's ideas in every way, not embarrassed in expressions and definitions.

For example, the historian and publicist P. Dolgorukov wrote about his opponent as follows:

…eternally raging Katkov, who certainly needs to bark forever and always bite someone, who in his raids always goes further than even the government itself and anyone who does not share his opinion is declared a state criminal and even a traitor to the fatherland.

Photo of a caricature of the figure under study, ridiculing his ideas of the state structure of Russia, based on European models.

caricature of M.N. Katkov

Rise high, but it hurts to fall

Over time, the role and political influence of Katkovintensified, reaching its highest point during the reign of Alexander III.


Katkov directly tried to interfere in government. So, in a Note to the Emperor, he tried to warn about the danger of political "flirting" with Germany:

Bismarck's services in the East are more dangerous and harmful to the cause of Russia than his hostile actions… His services will turn out to be a hoax… Evil… will disappear by itself as soon as an independent Russia emerges in all its grandeur in Europe, independent of foreign policy, controlled only by their own, clearly conscious, interests … But to be indebted to someone else's help in settling any difficulties - this would be a new humiliation of Russia, it would mean hiding under the cover of a foreign force, which itself is strong only because it keeps us in its dependence, that subjugates Russia in one way or another.

(Excerpts from the biography of Mikhail Katkov).

Such a principled position irritated the people in power and Tsar Alexander III himself. On the eve of Katkov's death, he was summoned to the capital by the highest command and "put in sight", essentially depriving him of all privileges. The case was in an anonymous letter, the authorship of which was attributed to the figure under study. After the death of Mikhail Katkov, AlexanderIII, having learned the truth, repented of his rash step, saying that he "fell under a hot hand."

Mikhail Nikiforovich Katkov

Time of accomplishments and a new lyceum

We must not forget the role played by Katkov in the field of education. The time of publication of Moskovskie Vedomosti coincided with the era of reforms and modernization being carried out in Russia. With fervor, Katkov participated in the discussion of all acute and fateful topics for Russia.

By intervening in a dispute between supporters of "classical" and "real" education, Katkov supported the then Minister of Education Tolstoy, who canceled the charter of the gymnasium, emphasizing the study of ancient languages ​​in education. The adoption of a new statute in 1871, according to which one could enter the university only after graduating from a classical gymnasium, was their common achievement.

Katkov was a man of action and decided by his own example to prove the benefits of the new education system. Together with an old friend P. Leontiev, they create a new private lyceum, which was unofficially called Katkovsky.

The lyceum provided gymnasium education for eight years, as well as a three-year university course in law, physics, mathematics and philology, the institution was focused on children from representatives of an elite society.

For the construction, Katkov and Leontiev attracted investments from large industrialists. They themselves invested 10,000 rubles each, and added large railway contractors Polyakov (40,000 rubles) and Derviz (20,000 rubles) to the construction.Von Meck contributed 10 thousand rubles, other we althy people of the country also took part.

Education at the Lyceum was based on the Oxford model, the personality of the high school student was in the first place, tutors (tutors) worked. It was a prestigious educational institution, in order to cover all expenses, the state gradually took over the maintenance of the lyceum - in 1872, and Katkov became its permanent leader.

Officially, the lyceum was named after the deceased eldest son of Alexander II - "Moscow Lyceum of Tsarevich Nicholas".

In the photo below - the former Imperial Lyceum, and now one of the buildings of the Institute of International Relations.

Katkov Lyceum

After the February revolutionary events of 1917, the Katkov Lyceum was transformed and received the status of a higher legal educational institution.

After the October Revolution in 1918, NarKomPros (commissariat of education) was located here.

Modern Russian historian A.I. Miller, assessing Katkov's contribution to the development of publicity, education and the historical significance of public opinion, wrote about this outstanding person:

And those people whom the intellectual discourse smeared with black paint, if not something worse, you just need to read. It is necessary to read what Katkov wrote about the principles of membership in the Russian nation. There are a lot of arguments that I am ready to subscribe to today.

Katkov Lyceum in Moscow

Family matters

With such an ebullient and active nature, Katkov was wonderfulfamily man. As mentioned above, he was married to Princess Sofya Shalikova (1832-1913). This marriage caused a lot of amazement among friends, because the princess had neither appearance nor inheritance. Moreover, many knew about Katkov's passionate love for the Moscow beauty Delone, the daughter of a French emigrant grandfather and a famous Moscow doctor. The marriage proposal was accepted by Delaunay, the engagement took place. But for unknown reasons, Katkov suddenly broke off all relations with his beloved and immediately married Sofya Pavlovna.

Describing this sudden union, F.I. Tyutchev argued: "Well, probably Katkov wanted to put his mind on a diet." Alluding to the low intelligence of his wife. However, regardless of the opinions of others, Mikhail Katkov and his family multiplied and lived happily enough.

Marriage produced wonderful, smart and beautiful children:

  1. First-born - Pavel Katkov (1856-1930) - was a major general, ended his life in exile in France.
  2. Peter (1858-1895), educated as a lawyer at his father's lyceum and Moscow University, participated in the Russian-Turkish war. Then he graduated from the Military Academy, from 1893 he served as an official for special assignments under the commander-in-chief of the Caucasian District.
  3. Andrey (1863-1915) during his service became the county marshal of the nobility and a real state councilor. He was awarded the court title and the position of Jägermeister. He was married to Princess Shcherbatova. After their sons Mikhail and Andrei died on the fronts of the First World War, the couple built the Church of the Savior at their own expense.Transfigurations at the Fraternal Cemetery, Moscow Province.
  4. The youngest son of Andrei Katkov, Peter, had five children, and his descendants still live in the Penza and Saratov regions.

In the case of the nobility of the Katkov family, birth records are kept by M.N. Katkova daughters:

  1. Varvara - maid of honor at court, wife of diplomat Prince L.V. Shakhovsky.
  2. Daughter Sophia - was married to Baron A.R. Engelhardtom.
  3. Natalya - married chamberlain M.M. Ivanenko. One of her daughters, Olga Mikhailovna, later became the wife of Baron P.N. Wrangel.
  4. Twins Olga and Alexandra, fate unknown.
  5. Daughter Maria - married to the Chief Prosecutor of the Holy Synod A.P. Rogovich.

The end of life's journey

As a rule, people who are passionate about their work care little about their he alth, or rather, there is simply not enough time for this. The same thing happened to Katkov.

His contemporaries and friends complained that he could fall asleep right in the editorial office on the edge of the sofa, but usually he was tormented by insomnia, he did not keep track of time, sometimes he confused meeting times or days of the week:

In the normal course of his life, Katkov felt bad, fell ill, suffered from insomnia, fell asleep in the office somewhere on the edge of the sofa or in the Moscow-Petersburg express car, where he jumped at the last minute. In general, he did not distinguish time well, he was always late, he confused the days of the week.

Malnutrition and deprivation in early childhood led to the fact that the body of Mikhail Katkov was weakened by rheumatism.

All these adverse conditions, nervousand overactive activity led to the development of a painful disease - stomach cancer, from this disease M.N. Katkov died on August 1, 1887.

The funeral was attended by the Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomna, who honored the memory of Katkov with the following speech:

A person who did not hold any prominent high post, who did not have any government power, becomes the leader of public opinion of a multi-million people; foreign peoples listen to his voice and take it into consideration at their events.

The well-known publicist and publisher Mikhail Katkov was buried at the cemetery at the Alekseevsky Monastery. It was destroyed in the early eighties of the 20th century during the construction of the road. Tombstones and fragments of underground crypts, coffin boards with bones were thrown out along with the soil.

It is not known that anyone was reburied. But maybe somewhere under the asph alt of the road lie the remains of the great Russian enlightener Katkov.

Memories of contemporaries

N.A. left sincere and kind memories of the former editor. Lyubimov - co-editor of Mikhail Nikiforovich Katkov - in the Russkiy vestnik magazine.

The well-known monarchist V. A. Gringmuth devoted a series of research articles to him, where he highly appreciated his work.

In modern life, Katkov's works are of interest not only to historians, but also to literary critics and journalists, as well as to those statesmen who are not indifferent to the fate of the state and its construction.

As the teacher of philosophy, historian S.M.Sankova:

Consideration of state nationalism as a unifying principle for the normal functioning of any state can become an additional incentive to study not only Katkov's theoretical views, outlined by him on the pages of his publications, but also the whole complex of measures he took to put his views into practice.

Modern reforms that require the strengthening of the central government are caused by the inevitability of strengthening its social activity and initiative to coordinate various movements on the outskirts of the Russian state.

The process of formation and development of the state in the era of the fall of empires and the creation of new forms of government, in which we happened to live, reveals a genuine interest in the works of the educator and political journalist Mikhail Nikiforovich Katkov, giving special value to his works in time, their unlost relevance.

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