Who downed Erdogan? Terrorists gave a command to the Turkish pilot More
“The historical truth” of Beria and Suvorov about cryptography and radio intelligence.More
Revelation. On my “Encryptors and Radio Intelligence” book More
How mobile technologies will change the world in 2015More
Can national security be private?More
The speech of MTT’s General director Anatoly Klepov’s at Business Security Forum (18 March 2015, CeBIT 2015, Hannover).More
MTT press-release for participation in the international exhibition IFSEC 2014 in India, New Delhi on 11-13 DecemberMore
How your phone is revealing your location, regardless of privacy settings More
U.S. Scurries to Shore Up Spying on Russia More
Government urges people to be more 'cyber streetwise' More
A. Pushkin and Russian secret service
Alexander Pushkin was one of the founders of the Russian intelligence service.
There are a lot of unknown facts about Pushkin’s state service, his literary works and drawings.
Academician V.A. Chudinov expressed his point of view in the book “Cryptography in Pushkin’s Drawings”. He made the following supposition about Pushkin’s drawing to the poem “The Bronze Horseman”.
There are letters on the left side of the rock: “ЕЗДОК” (“yezdok” means “rider” in Russian)
There’s a sinusoidal shading (the last letter there is lower to the right) a bit lower: “ПШИКОВЪ” (“Pshikov”).
A word «ПАЛЪ “ (“pal” means “fell down” in Russian) is beneath.
The drawing of the mane forms a phrase “В РОВ” (the Russian for “into the ditch”).
The shadow from the crack on the rock forms a word “ЖЬДОШЬ” (the Russian for “wait”).
There’s a signature “ПУШКИН” at the foot of the rock (“PUSHKIN”).
This short sentence consists of only seven words:
ЕЗДОКЪ ПШИКОВЪ ПАЛЪ В РОВЪ, ЖЬДОШЬ. ПУШКИН (English version: Rider Pshikov fell into the ditch. Wait. Pushkin)
The poet wrote that an unskilled rider had fallen into a ditch. His horse was waiting impatiently. Thus Pushkin expressed his disapproval for the rider, who had raised the horse on its hind legs: he hadn’t yet learnt to ride well.
It’s difficult to say what he meant by this allegory. Probably, Pushkin didn’t approve of Emperor of Russia Peter the Great.
V.A. Chudinov’s research is rather original. Further research may reveal other letters and digits, hidden in the drawing -a key to some other encrypted messages. P.L. Shilling von Kanstadt, chief of the cipher department at the Collegium of Foreign affairs, was Pushkin’s best friend. He taught him cryptography.
Alexander Pushkin and the Third Department at His Imperial Majesty’s Own Chancellery
Alexander Pushkin served at the Collegium of Foreign affairs seven years (1817-1824). He worked and met the most educated people in Russia, who formed Russian foreign policy and perfectly knew the history of international law. Thus he could assess the Russian history form a different angle.
His “Notes on the History of the XIII century” written on August 2, 1822, is a vivid example of that. Pushkin analyzed absolute power in Russia. He started from the reign of Paul I, who radically changed the former regime, in particular the structure of the Orthodox Church. Patriarchate – a church administration system with the Patriarch at the head – was abolished. Peter I set up the Holy Governing Synod. It was the highest government body of the church-administrative power in the Russian Empire.
The Emperor appointed the Synod. Church management was part of state administration and was equal to the Synod. Thus starting from the reign of Paul I the Russian Emperor had unlimited temporal and ecclesiastical power. It caused severe struggle for the throne, which often ended with bloody coups. Relatives and the former ruler’s servitors were all murdered.
In the reign of Ivan IV (XV century) Russia became stronger. It gained more influence in Europe. Western rulers took interest in the Russian tsars, who completely controlled Russian policy and economy.
Richard Chancellor, an English navigator visited Russia in 1553. He met Ivan IV and got his permission to trade. He returned to England and published a book “New Trip and the Discovery of the Russian Kingdom in the North-East Passage in 1553”. He wrote that if Russians were aware of their strength, no one would be able to compete with them. These oracular words predetermined the history of Russian.
What could make Russia realize how strong it really was? Probably, it was necessary to make Russia worship the West and neglect everything that was purely Russian, let it be a material, spiritual or intellectual sphere. How was it possible to achieve that goal? - With the assistance of the Russian Emperor, because only he had absolute power in the country at that time. Naturally, the best way to oppress Russia was to enthrone a protégé of some Western government, who would be fully devoted to his benefactors.
Every time a revolt happened in Russia, mighty political forces backed up the new Emperor. They didn’t grudge the expense to achieve their goals. No wonder! If a European country enthroned the Emperor of its choice, it could gain unlimited influence on Russian policy and economy. Russia would completely depend on its Western partners. Besides that country could control the spiritual life in Russia.
It was a fashion in the times of Peter the Great to invite foreigners to bring up children in Russian noble families. In the XVIII century foreign teachers had to be Jesuits. As a result young generation neglected Russian Orthodox Church and Russian culture. It was an invisible and very efficient war for Russian youngsters, aimed to inculcate Western ideals in them.
At the beginning of the XIX century the Collegium of foreign affairs corresponded mainly in French.
Often the supreme power in Russia depended not on the legal rights of the successors to the throne but on the amount of bribe certain countries could pay to set their candidate and gain absolute power in Russia.
Sometimes interests of several European countries confronted in the struggle for the Russian throne, causing revolts and uprisings in Russia. It was dangerous for the state integrity, but advantageous for other countries: the smaller the country - the easier it was to rule it.
Alexander Pushkin made a historical research to study various deceitful means impostors used in Russia to gain power. That analysis was necessary to prevent revolts and uprisings in Russia: they could cause chaos, great casualties and the destruction of the country.
In his works on history such as “Boris Godunov” and “The History of Pugachov Uprising” Alexander Pushkin tried to define what forces aimed to occupy the Russian throne. Official historians such as N.M. Karamsin were afraid of Russian Emperor, so they used to tone down sharp details of certain historical events. They praised the tsar’s family and played down the role of their predecessors.
Russian history was full of black patches. Western ideologists took advantage of the situation and disparaged Russia’s role in the world community. Alexander Pushkin thoroughly analyzed the most complicated nuances of the Russian and world history and defined Russia’s role in history and policy.
Nicholas I helped Pushkin a great deal. Correspondence between A. Pushkin, A.Ch. Benkendorf and Nicholas I proved that Pushkin could use historical archives to make analytical reports for the Emperor, so that the tsar could have more information on the political situation in the world.
A. Pushkin, A.Ch. Benkendorf and Nicholas I usually agreed on the most important issues on policy and state structure. They were like-minded people.
The knowledge of history and social development helps to prevent social crisis. It was impossible during the Decembrists’ uprising in 1825. It’s clear from interrogation materials that Western countries, some persons from the inner circle of Alexander I and probably members of the tsar’s family had participated in the uprising. Of course, Nicholas I was aware what role V. A. Miloradovich (chief of Saint-Petersburg military district) played in the uprising.
The Polish rebellion (1830-1831) influenced the political views of Nicholas I. He knew that his brother, the grand duke Konstantin Pavlovich, had contributed to the rebellion. In fact he was a traitor: he wanted to destroy of Russia’s integrity. The position of Alexander I became more evident after the Polish uprising: he intended to disintegrate Russia. The first step to achieve it was to separate Poland, and that was why Nicholas I granted Poland the Constitution which was similar to the British. Later Russia was to adopt the same constitution, and become a constitutional monarchy – just like Britain.
Decembrists also planned to subdivide Russia, then – Ukraine and other regions of the Russian Empire. Nicholas I was embarrassed: his two brothers organized a plot against him. Most of their protégés held high posts in the Russian government. Western press started an information war against Russia in Europe. Its goal was to destroy the Russian Empire, because it was an obstacle for some European countries, for England first of all, to conquer the world.
It was necessary to undermine Russian orthodoxy to separate Russia. Orthodoxy helped to keep in leash the large Russian population on the entire territory. People were mostly illiterate and deprived of all rights. They were just submissive slaves.
In the reign of Nicholas I the population of Russia was nearly 40 000 000. 236000 were nobles, 270000 were priests, merchants, state servicemen, and nearly 99 per cent were serfs. Only strong Church could make people obey and hold them in awe, promising divine retribution and threatening them with fire and brimstone for disobedience. Strong Church was the basis of autocracy. That’s why foreign ideologists wanted to destroy it first of all.
Russian Emperor and the Third Department with A.Ch. Benkendorf at the head of it kept vigilant watch over various philosophic trends and ideas in Europe: they could form some different world-view, like that of Decembrists, based on European values. They were often absolutely unacceptable for Russia.
Nicholas I intended to protect the Russian society against intellectual European influence, which demoralized the nobility, and prevent rebellions, such as the Polish rebellion and the Decembrists’ Rebellion in Russia in 1825.
The political situation in Russia became more acute because high rank officials in Nicholas I government served to Alexander I. The former tsar trusted them and they were his persons in attendance. It’s a secret up till now, why Nicholas I didn’t get rid of them. Probably, some influential forces in Russia and abroad prevented him from doing it.
Nicholas I intended to find it out, when he investigated the December insurrection of 1825 and the Polish revolution. Decembrists were asked at interrogations, what they knew about the participation of Western political forces in the rebellion and had the protégés of the Russian Emperor or his relatives organized the rebellion.
In December 1825 Nicholas I and his family survived only by miracle. Alexander I hid his will, where he named the successor of the throne. As a result there was an acute cabinet crisis in Russia.
The army and grand duke Nikolai Pavlovich (Emperor to be) swore an oath to grand duke Constantine Pavlovich. But some time before he had abjured his right for the throne. Nobody knew about it, his brother Nicholas in particular. Nicholas swore an oath to Constantine, so legally both of them refused to inherit the throne.
It had never happened in Russia before. The army revolted, when it was told to swear an oath to Nicholas I. It was forced to swear to two emperors at a time, but Russia was an absolute monarchy. People wanted to know, if Constantine Pavlovich was alive or not. They thought Nikolai Pavlovich had killed his brother to seize power.
Nicholas I realized that his two brothers had organized it on purpose. At the beginning he didn’t know their real plans and thought the highest officials participated in the plot. He wanted to know how supreme power could be illegally changed in Russia, what inner and external forces helped them and how it was possible to oppose them.
Could Nicholas I trust anybody in his inner circle after the bloody events in 1825? No, he couldn’t. He had to know, who had held the highest government posts and who would take their places one day: heads at the ministries changed very often. Nicholas I had to know everything about various societies, which were attended by the Russian elite and influence on high ranking Russian officials.
It seemed those societies weren’t connected, but after scrupulous examination it turned out that they were connected in certain order. It was based on family ties, dating back to old times. Sometimes families selected their candidates to highest government posts. People occupied them not according to their professional skills, but to their personal devotion to the head of a certain society or alignment.
Those were the reasons, why on July 3, 1825 Nicholas I set up a secret service at His Imperial Majesty’s Personal Chancellery - the Third Department - with A.C. Benkendorf at the head of it. Interrogation materials of Decembrists were analyzed: it was evident that the highest government officials and some members of the tsar’s family had participated in the rebellion.
It was a means for certain countries to disunite Russia. The Third Department had to reveal the activities of secret societies and find those, who undermined Russia’s policy, economy and its moral and ideological principles.
Nicholas I needed a highly skilled professional in the field of policy, ideology, history, education and literature, who could develop Russian culture, its moral and spiritual principles. They would be a basis of Russia’s might and great world power. Alexander Pushkin was exactly the person Nicholas I needed. After a two hour conversation with him the Emperor said he had spoken with the most intelligent man in Russia.
This is only a supposition, why Nicholas I chose Alexander Pushkin to help him, though there were lots of other Russian writers at that time. A. Pushkin blamed Alexander I of treachery and illegal seizure of power in Russia. Nicholas I was impressed by Pushkin’s patriotism and his extraordinary talent for analysis. Those were the main reasons, why Nicholas I asked the poet for cooperation. «Though I’m devoted to the tsar with all my heart, I’m not enraptured by what I can see. It irritates me as a writer, and I’m insulted as a man of prejudice. Nevertheless I’ll never change my motherland or have another history, but the one of our ancestors, which God has given us.» (Pushkin’s letter to P.Y. Chaadayev, October 19, 1836)
Pushkin wasn’t afraid to recite his “Ode Freedom” in public, though he was aware of the possible consequences. Of course, Nicholas I read the poem. Pushkin wrote there that sometime “they would write down our names on the debris of the absolute rule”. He meant the rule was illegal and the power had been seized by means of treachery.
The law was more significant for Pushkin than tsars. He thought that everyone should have equal legal liability.
Nicholas I needed a man with extraordinary analytical capabilities, a person like Pushkin. He could analyze the history of the Russian tsars and emperors and define the exact reasons, why supreme power had changed in Russia and what forces had backed it up. Pushkin could also work out the ways to effectively withstand the Western ideology.
The analysis of historic archives could help Pushkin reveal the participants of Russian rebellions, who belonged to highborn clans. It’s difficult to find any other explanation why Nicholas I gave Pushkin access to the most classified Russian archives.
The tsar’s special attitude towards Pushkin was special. He considered him to be not only a great poet but a prominent Russian politician. Nicholas I realized that if information about certain events was published it could cause a political storm in the country.
They were not just friends. The tsar asked Pushkin for cooperation to undertake the most complicated and extremely important work for the benefit of Russia. Probably, their conversation in Kremlin in 1826 enhanced their mutual understanding and trust . Nicholas I went out from his office and declared: “He’s mine!”
He asked Pushkin to return to one of the most secret organizations of Russia – the Collegium of foreign affairs, where the poet would have access to the most classified documents, the archives of his family and the documents on Pugachov’s rebellion. It was one of the most dangerous revolts in Russia, financed by the French King Ludwig XVIII.
Of course, the tsar didn’t let Pushkin study those important documents tight from the start. First of all he thoroughly checked the poet’s loyalty. In August 1828 the State Council ordered police to set up secret surveillance on Pushkin (his way of life, correspondence, statements, etc.) They checked him two years before they let him read classified documents of state importance!
In 1834 Pushkin found out, that his letter to his wife had been opened and inspected at the “black cabinet”. He wrote: «Say whatever you like, but it’s rather a problem to have absolute power.» By the order of Nicholas I Pushkin was given access to Foreign Ministry archives. On January 12, 1832 Nesselrode wrote a special report to Nicholas I, asking the tsar’s permission to give Pushkin access to highly classified documents on the spouse of Peter the Great, the heir to the throne Alexey Petrovich and on Secret Chancellery activities.
Those documents could contain information on the main causes of their deaths.
It seemed Nicholas I was very much interested in the analysis of the critical situation in Russia in the reign of Peter the Great, who managed to retain the power. Streletsky rebellion at the end of the XVII century, organized by the reactionary boyars, resembled Decembrists’ rebellion in 1825: the tsar’s inner circle was involved in it.
Thpigh Nicholas I let Pushkin work with classified documents, he personally reviewed all his works on history. The tsar ordered A.C. Benkendorf to read them. Trust but verify – that was the Emperor’s position after the betrayal of his brothers. When Pushkin served at the Collegium of foreign affairs, he went on business to Russian cities and collected archive documents for his historical research. Saint-Petersburg chief of police ordered governors of the cities, which Pushkun visited (Kazan, Orenburg, Moscow), to spy on the poet. ( See Annex 1 ). Perhaps it was necessary not only to spy on Alexander Pushkin but also to provide his security. It is another evidence that he had a high government rank.
Pushkin used archive documents not only when he wrote the history of Peter I. He intended to finish some other of his works, the history of the reign of Catherine II. He thought Russian state officials were corrupted and demoralized most of all at that time.
Nicholas I and A.C. Benkendorf were probably very much surprised that he didn’t make a research on research on Peter I, but wrote a story on a different subject. Pugachov’s rebellion. That work was more urgent for Pushkin. Catherine II created a corrupted state structure, which in fact controlled the Empress and caused the rebellion.
Pushkin wrote in his historical work “Notes on history of the XVIII century” Catherine had illegally seized power after “a plot of a few rebels”. It resembled Alexander’s reign when he organized a plot against his father.
Illegal accession to the throne is a subject of many Pushkin’s literary works. In the historical research mentioned above Pushkin analyzed the reign of Catherine II, when she corrupted most of the Russian intellectuals.
Alexander Pushkin wrote: «the corrupted Empress corrupted her state». He meant not only her dissoluteness. Catherine II created a specific system of state property embezzlement and snitching. «Everyone robbed, starting from the chancellor and ending with the last clerk. Everything was corrupted”, - wrote Pushkin.
Officials sold state interests to the great benefit of their overseas friends. No doubt A. Pushkin’s colleagues from the Collegium of foreign affairs told him about it. The Collegium exercised the functions of Russian intelligence. It was informed that Western countries intended to put the Emperor, his relatives and his inner circle under their control. The Collegium also knew how they planned to achieve it.
Foreign governments wanted to enthrone their person on the Russian throne. He would obey those, who had paid for the coup. If they failed to bribe or compromise the Emperor, rebellions and uprisings were most effective to dethrone him. The Russian intelligence (several Russian organizations performed those functions) knew about it.
In the reign of Romanov Dynasty only entrusted people allowed to read archive documents relating to Russian emperors were permitted to read them.
Was the Soviet government interested in the publication of such documents? Probably, it wasn’t. Most clerks were dismissed from archives after the 1917 revolution. The new authorities didn’t care about archives. At the beginning of the 1930-s I. Stalin seized power in the country and did everything to strengthen his authority. Any mention of illegal seizure of power could undermine it.
That was why Stalin started to glorify the role of Ivan the Terrible and Peter I: Russian people could compare their activities to strengthen Russia with Stalin’s achievements. He needed historical symbols to justify his policy. If information about illegal seizure of power was published, people could be associated it with the 1917 revolution.
Nicholas II was thrown down. A long period of calamity and disasters started in Russia. In 1937 Russia celebrated the 100 anniversary of Pushkin’s death. A wide propaganda campaign started in Russia to show that Alexander Pushkin was the leading fighter against tsarism in Russia. Probably documents concerning his state service were safely hidden in NKVD archives. The poet’s service at the Russian Foreign ministry and at the Third Department didn’t fit in with that concept.
Are those archive documents urgent now? Of course, they are. In his historical research Pushkin analyzed illegal ways used to seize supreme power in Russia. Many politicians still argue about the causes of the coup in Russia in 1991. As for the revolutions in February 1917 and October 1917, they were very much alike and resembled palace revolutions Pushkin had studied. Revolutions in Russia threw back its historical development, making Russians poor and miserable.
Who organizes revolutions when the supreme power becomes absolutely corrupted and venal? Probably their roots of revolutionary outbreaks are in the historical events Pushkin intended to examine. He didn’t use history to show his erudition. It wasn’t his instrument of self-praise or political manipulations. Studying history he could define the future development of Russia. That was why he wrote: “Wildness, meanness and ignorance do not respect the past, they grovel before the present. Some Rurik’s descendant values the Star of his cousin’s parent more than the history of his motherland.”
A. Pushkin thought that the respect for the past was the difference between wildness and education. Thus concealment of non-classified archive documents from historians and researchers - or even worse - their destruction – is the main feature of the country’s wildness. It is the basis for the enslavement of Russia.
A. Pushkin understood that Russia had countless natural and labor resources, but it had to struggle out from poverty, caused by wars and rebels. Their main goal was to enthrone a person in Russia, preferable for the West. Revolutions and rebellions were not the right way for Russia. He wrote: “A thought! What a great word! What’s a person’s grandeur if it is not a thought? Let it be free! A person should also be free: in the frame of the law, provided that he follows the rules of the society».
Western countries put their protégé at the head of Russia and made everything possible to bend him to their will. That was the most complicated problem for Russia: Russia could be destroyed. Pushkin wanted to prevent it.
Of course, he was a great Russian poet, but he was also a prominent statesman, who did his utmost to strengthen Russia.
He was a real Russian patriot, ready to risk his life for his country. In April 1828 he applied to A.C. Benkendorf to get the permission of Nicholas I and enlist him in the acting army. (Russia was at war with Turkey at that time.)
The tsar’s refusal offended Pushkin so much, that he had a nervous disorder. His sincere request to serve his motherland was turned down. He was ready to die for Russia.
That was the poet’s characteristic feature and it was the cause of his death. Nicholas I was aware of it. Pushkin was very much devoted to the tsar. That was why the poet addressed Nicholas I just before his death: “If I were alive I would be yours with all my heart.” Pushkin fully supported Nicholas I and wanted to justify the tsar’s trust by his deeds.
And now let’s analyze Pushkin’s service at the Collegium of foreign affairs. He discussed the tasks and methods of his future service with Nicholas I and Benkendorf. That was rather a complicated problem. The poet’s state service could cause undesirable rumors and suspicions in the Russian society. People could think the poet carried out secret government tasks. That was why it took so long to enroll him to the Collegium of foreign affairs and find the right way to pay him a high salary. It was several times higher than Pushkin could earn according to his rank.
Pushkin signed three documents at that time. Two documents with his oath were signed on the same day. Different ranks were specified there. He also signed another document: a testimony that he didn’t belong to any secret or Mason organizations in Russia and abroad. In 1822 Alexander I prohibited Masonry in Russia. Everyone, who entered the Collegium of foreign affairs, had to sign that testimony. That official document proved that Pushkin wasn’t a Mason. Even if he was, he had the permission from the government. Otherwise he couldn’t get a job at the Collegium: they could consider him not fit for the state service. Candidates took an oath in the presence of a priest. The deception was punished by the church.
It’s strange that Pushkin signed two papers with an oath on the same day. It seemed he had been assigned to two various state organizations simultaneously. His rank in one of them was higher than in another.
Could a person work in two state organizations those days? As a rule it was prohibited by the state legislation. It was possible only by the tsar’s order in case the authorities of both organizations agreed to assign a person. Probably that was why it took for long to settle Pushkin’s assignment.
On July 20,1831 Nicholas I advised Pushkin to enter the state organization. On the same day Pushkin wrote a letter to Nicholas I and asked for his permission. He wrote that he wanted to edit a political and literary magazine, which published political and foreign news. Besides he wanted to make a historical research. (PD, N734; XIV, BUSINESS PAPERS. 9а)
On July 21 1831 Nicholas I invited A.C. Benkendorf. He considered Pushkin’s letter and ordered to give Nesselrode an assignment to enroll Pushkin to the Collegium of foreign affairs.
On July 22, 1831 A.C. Benkendorf wrote a resolution on Pushkin’s request: «Write Nesselrode that the tsar ordered to enroll him to the Foreign Collegium and allowed to burrow in old archives to write the history of Peter I. Could the count be so kind as to assign a salary for Pushkin».
It may be assumed, that Pushkin’s salary was coordinated for more than half a year. Only then Nicholas I ordered to assign a salary for him. Why?
Firstly, Pushkin was paid 5000 rubles. Those days deputy directors at ministries or governors received the same salary. A low rank official like Pushkin - he was a collegium secretary, when he quit the Collegium in 1824 – couldn’t get such a salary. Even when he started to serve there again and was a titular advisory, he couldn’t receive high salary like that.
Secondly, only officials of the first four classes could apply to the Emperor to allow them to work at a state organization. The Emperor gave the Governing Senate his highest order for the assignment. The tsar personally assigned officials of the first three classes: members of the State Council, senators, members of the Holy Synod, ministers and chief managers, persons of the same status, committee members, council of ministers’ members, general-governors, etc
Ministers presented their candidates – forth class officials - and only after that the Emperor assigned ministry department directors, Senate attorney-generals, civil court prosecutors, governors and some fifth class officials(vice-governors, government chamber managers, etc. (Shepelev L.E. The official world of Russia. XVIII – beginning of the XX century)
A. Pushkin was assigned to the Collegium of foreign affairs by the order of Nicholas I after the Foreign minister had submitted his candidature for consideration. Thus the procedure was the same as the assignment of the IVth and Vth class officials. Of course, lower rank officials could also be assigned to those positions, but they received salaries according to their positions, but not their class.
Alexander Pushkin received 5000 ruble salary at the Collegium of foreign affairs.
His position at the state organization and his salary corresponded to those of the IV-V class officials. Officials received not only salaries those days. They were also paid money compensation. It was called “stoloviye” (Plural for adj. «столовая» - “dining room”) and “kvartirniye” (Plural for adj. -”«квартирный» - “housing”, “rent”). Those amounts weren’t imposed by taxes. They paid 4000 rubles for meals to officials who received 5000 rubles salary. In addition to the salary 1000 rubles were paid for rent. So an official, who received 5000 ruble salary received approximately 10000 rubles. (This information will be essential for the analysis of Pushkin’s total payments.) Notice the following fact. Benkendorf asked Nesselrode to assign Pushkin a salary, not a post.
On July 23, 1831 General-Adjutant A.C. Benkendorf informed count Nesselrode that according to the highest order “our famous poet, titular councilor Pushkin had been assigned to the State Collegium of Foreign affairs with a permission to search for archive materials on the history of Peter I”. There was no mention of Pushkin’s salary in that letter, but only of his position.
A.C. Benkendorf specified Pushkin’s position. He was a titular councilor of the IX ckass, though he was also a retired collegium secretary of the Xth class. Where was Pushkin upgraded? Where was he given a rank of a titular councilor? Probably, Nesselrode was very much surprised, when he received that letter. He knew Pushkin had a lower rank - a collegium secretary.
On November 14 Nesselrode asked Nicholas I what rank he should assign to the famous poet. Nesselrode understood that the tsar had granted Pushkin a rank of a titular councilor at another organization - at the Third department - but he didn’t want to mention it in public to preserve strict secrecy.
On November 14, 1831he ordered the Collegium of foreign affairs: «His Majesty has ordered to enlist a collegium secretary Alexander Pushkin with the same rank and assign him to the Collegium of foreign affairs.»
That order confirms that Pushkin was assigned to the Collegium with the rank of a collegium secretary, but his post coincided to that of a IV or V class official, because the Emperor ordered to give him that job.
On December 9, 1831 Nicholas I granted Pushkin a rank of a titular adviser. The poet learnt about it, when he was taking the oath. Pushkin could officially get that post only after taking the oath. On January 2, 1832 Pushkin was invited to the formal, current and account department of the Collegium to take an oath. He didn’t take an oath that day: the ceremony was postponed. Why?
On January 19, 1823 Benkendorf informed Pushkin, that the poet was obliged to show him all his works. Nicholas I took the final decision and ordered Benkendorf to hold down Pushkin. That was why Pushkin took an oath not on January 2, 1832, but on January 27, 1832. The staff of the Third department was obliged to take an oath and sign it. Pushkin took the oath on January 27 at the Collegium of foreign affairs. A priest Ksenofont Delectprsky and an executor titular adviser Privalov were present at the ceremony. The most interesting fact is the following. Pushkin signed two documents with an oath that day. There were different signatures on them: a collegium secretary and a titular adviser.
He signed the first document: “Collegium secretary Alexander Pushkin has taken an oath according to this form.” The second document was signed like that: “Titular adviser Alexander Pushkin has taken an oath according to this form.”
It had never happened at the Collegium before. There may be the only explanation for that. Pushkin served at two organizations at the same time: at the Collegium of foreign affairs and at the Third Department of His Imperial Majesty’s Own Chancellery. His second oath (where he signed as a titular adviser) was obligatory for his service at the Third Department.
On July 31, 1835 N 2591 A.C. Benkendorf informed K.K. Radofinikin, that the Emperor had granted a collegium assessor Alexander Pushkin, a gentleman of the monarch's bed chamber, a loan worth 30000 rubles in banknotes. (K.K. Radofinikin was anAsian department manager at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On December 6 1832 he was granted a senator title. In 1833 he became a member of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Council) The salary he was receiving was to be held down to pay that amount. A.C. Benkendord mentioned Pushkin’s rank in that letter – a collegium assessor. It was higher than Pushkin really had. Pushkin signed a money receipt as a collegium assessor. It means he had a legal right to sign it like that.
Count Y.F. Krankin, the finance minister (Pushkin received the loan from the funds of the ministry of finance) also called Pushkin “a collegium assessor”. They called Pushkin “a titular adviser” only at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Here’s another interesting fact. State servants received loans from the funds of state organizations, where they served. But Pushkin received loans from the funds of the Ministry of finance. Why? By the order of Nicholas I Pushkin’s loans were to be paid off from Pushkin’s salaries at the Ministry of Foreign affairs and at the Third Department. It was a way to conceal his real salary and his high state post.
If Pushkin was assigned a 10000 ruble salary at the Collegium of foreign affairs – a salary of a chancellor – the Russian society could think he was a high official at the Collegium of foreign affairs. It could harm the progressive writer. Neither Nicholas I nor the Third Department needed such popularity for Alexander Pushkin.
He served at two organizations but it seems he didn’t receive the salary they had promised him. That was why on July 22, 1835 Pushkin wrote Benkendorf, that he had made a debt of 60000 rubles for five years he had spent in Saint Petersburg.
Why did Pushkin write to the head of the Russian secret service about his private problem? Why didn’t he apply to Nesselrode, his chief at the Collegium of foreign affairs?
It may be assumed that Pushkin didn’t receive 60000 rubles - his five year salary for the service at the two organizations from 1831 till 1835. That amount corresponded to his annual salary - 12000 rubles. The order to pay him the money was given on July 31, 1835 – seven days after he had asked for the money he needed to pay his debts. A.C. Benkendorf’s reaction was rather prompt.
Besides the loan worth 30000 rubles Pushkin received 10000 rubles. By 1835 the poet received more than 60000 rubles - loans and official salary at the Collegium of foreign affairs. He had to pay taxes for the loans, so Pushkin received 60000 rubles he had asked for. This is another evidence that he received salary in the form of loans. There’s another interesting detail. Pushkin’s salary receipts starting from 1832 are missing in the archives, though there are accurate recordings about his vacations there. (They specified when, for how long he had taken vacations and when he returned back to office).
A titular adviser had to receive the next rank - a collegium assessor - three years after he had started his state service. It means Pushkin received the next rank not at the Collegium of foreign affairs but at the Third Department. That was why the Third Department and the Ministry of Finance called him a “collegium assessor”.
Lots of officials at the Ministry of finance thoroughly checked all official documents, gave their permission for loans and retained interest. There was a law to pay interest-free loans. A small tax was held down to be paid to the invalid support fund. Alexander Pushkin asked Nicholas I to allow him not to pay that tax. His request was turned down: in the reign of Nicholas I they abided by law regarding finance.
Nicholas I and Benkendorf did everything to conceal Pushkin’s service at the Third Department. Though the problem of finance had always been the Achilles’ heel for all secret services. For example it was possible to define a person’s rank at some secret service, even if he was a secretary at the Foreign affairs ministry.
There’s one more important detail. Though Pushkin served at the Collegium of Foreign affairs, he received his salary not from the Collegium financial funds but from the special fund of Nicholas I at the Ministry of Finance.
The Russian Emperor was very powerful those days. He could verbally assign ranks to state officials, avoiding the official mention about it in the Senate register, especially if the service at the Third Department was concerned.
Let’s recall some events in Russia. It will help us to understand, why Pushkin’s duty station and activities were kept secret. On January 1831 the Polish Seim proclaimed the independence of Poland and denied Nicholas I and his family of the right for the Polish thrown. A war broke out. It was intensified by the betrayal of Nicholas’s brother, the great duke Constantine Pavlovich, who apparently pretended to become a King of Poland. It was difficult to regard his behavior otherwise. The war could grow into a European war. Western press printed a lot of libels on the Russian government and Nicholas I, portraying him as an aggressor and oppressor.
Revolutionary minded European intellectuals, Russian in particular, who lived in France and England and were paid by theFrench and English intelligence, started an information war. They wanted to provoke a revolt in Russia like on December, 1825.
Alexander Pushkin feared those events could cause European intervention against Russia to separate Poland from it. Pushkin discussed the events in Poland in 1830-1831with people he corresponded with those days: Y.M. Chitrovo (Michael Kutuzov’s daughter, P.A. Vyazemsky, M.P. Pogodin and others. Pushkin wrote to Vyazemsky on August 14, 1831: «Warsaw is surrounded. Impatient patriots replaced Krzhenetsky. Dembinsky came from Lithuania to Warsaw by chance and became a chief commander. Rebels accused Krzhenetsky of inactivity. They want to fight. Thus they will be destroyed. Thus French intervention will be late.... “
On July 20, 1831 Pushkin met Nicholas I. The tsar offered him to return to the state service. Probably at that time Pushkin started to serve at the Third Department. He was a counter propaganda chief of the tsarist government in Russia and abroad. That was why he was well informed about the events in Russia, Poland and Europe. He was knew about hostile demonstrations in front of the Russian embassy in Paris and anti Russian rebels at the House of Delegates in France.
No wonder on August 26, 1831 Russian troops took Warsaw by storm. Lots of falsified articles about the atrocity of Russian troops appeared in English, French and other press publications. Alexander Pushkin and Vasily.A. Zhukovsky published a brochure dedicated to the siege of Warsaw. There were two Pushkin’s poems there: “To Slanderers of Russia” and “Borodino Anniversary” and Zhukovsky’s poem “An Old Song Sung Another Tune”.
Literary compositions had never been published so promptly in Russia. The poems from the brochure were handled to Nicholas I just the next day after the siege of Warsaw. It means Pushkin knew about the possible assault and the masked libelous campaign in the Western press against Russian military actions against Poland, aimed to destabilize the political situation in Russia. It was necessary to prepare a worthy literary reply to articles in European press.
On September 7, 1831 the censorship permitted to publish the book dedicated to the siege of Warsaw. The brochure “On the siege of Warsaw” was published on September 11. It was printed at a military print shop at a state expense. The number of printed copies was very small – only 200 copies. They were surely not published for commercial activity. The largest newspapers re-printed them specifying that the text had been taken from a new brochure “On the siege of Warsaw”. On September 14 the poem “ To Slanderers of Russia ” was published in the newspaper “Russian invalid” № 233.
On September 22 Pushkin’s poem “To Slanderers of Russia” and Zhukovsky’s poem “Russian Song to the siege of Warsaw” and Chomyakov’s “Ode” were translated into German. They were published under the title «Der Polen Aufstland und Warschau’s Fall.1831».
There were heated discussions of the poem “To Slanderers of Russia” in elite clubs. For example there was such a discussion on September 26, 1831 in the English Club.
By September 28 S.S. Uvarov had translated “To Slanderers of Russia” into French. It was published in France, Germany and Austria and received a wide resonance in political and cultural circles in those countries.
At that time S.S. Uvarov was a member of the State Council and a senator, later – minister of education. He cooperated with the Third Department and A.C. Benkendorf. In July 1831 Uvarov supported Pushkin’s project to publish a newspaper “Dnevnik” (Diary).
It should also be mentioned here that the French version designed for the French public didn’t correspond to the original version of Pushkin’s poems. In Uvarov’s interpretation the Russian-Polish discord ended with the downfall of one of the nations. Pushkin didn’t write about it in his Ode ( XIV, N688; Vashchyuro, Gillelson, С. 198 g.). That text was surely meant for Europeans: if European countries continue assisting Polish terrorists, the Russian government would go over the top in handling them. Naturally it could cause great casualties among civilian population.
On October 21, 1831 Pushkin thanked Uvarov for the poems full of inspiration and for the strength and plentitude of thought, which he had added to his poem. Alexander Pushkin supported the position of the Russian government: European countries should not interfere into Russia’s domestic policy.
On November 2 the Austrian Ambassador in Saint Petersburg count K.L. Fikelmon sent a letter to the Austrian Chancellor Mitternich with the explanation of the political situation in Russia in respect to the Polish rebellion. He enclosed the French version of Pushkin’s poem “To Slanderers of Russia”. Fikelmon wrote that Nicholas I had approved the poem and thus attracted audience. Pushkin’s poems helped to express the opinion of the Russian government on the rebellion in Poland and confirmed its aim to suppress it.
It was very convenient to express the opinion of the government in such a way. On the one hand, it declared the resolution to suppress the rebellion at all costs. On the other hand, the poems, published in Western press, expressed just poets’ personal point of view and could not be considered to be the official position of the Russian government. That was a proper diplomatic move! It made the heads of the European governments think more constructively about the possible consequences. But Western press couldn’t use it for insinuations and false charges against Russia.
In July 1831 Pushkin started counter propaganda activity. It was most efficient when it was published by independent writers and press. If a writer served at a state organization the public trusted him less. It thought he doesn’t express his personal point view, but wrote by the order of the government.
Why conspiracy was so important? Why Pushkin was taken over to state service only in 1832? The poet’s admission to state service was finalized on January 1832 after he had signed all the required documents: an oath, a non-disclosure statement and a a document verifying that he was not a member of secret and Mason societies.
The year of 1832 is considered to be the year of the birth of the Russian political intelligence. It was formed on the basis of the Third Department of His Imperial Majesty’s Own Chancellery with A.C. Benkendorf at the head. It was urgent to form it due to the following reasons. After the suppression of the Polish rebellion in 1830-1831Polish, anti-Russian opposition activated in France and England. Foreign intelligence funded it generously. The aim of the opposition was to overthrow monarchy in Russia and subdivide the country into independent states according to ethnic principle.
Only the Russian Military ministry and the Collegium of Foreign affairs had intelligence offices. Their activities weren’t systematic. Sometimes their data lacked credibility. That was why in 1832 Nicholas I decided to establish Russian foreign intelligence. It had to be professional and capable to obtain required reconnaissance information. The First expedition of the Third Department was responsible for foreign-policy reconnaissance. (I. Trotsky. Third Department in the time of Nicholas I. L.: Lenizdat, 1990, с. 21; Y.V. Tarle. Writing in 12 volumes - М.: printed by the Academy of Science of the USSR, 1959, v.. 6, p. 567)
From 1832 Third Department officials were frequently sent to Europe to study the political situation there, recruit agents and spy on Russian opposition in the capitals of the leading European states. C
Russia started to receive comprehensive information about the activities of the Polish emigration abroad, the situation in Europe, goals and intentions of European governments towards Russia. (Magazine «Vestnik Yevropi» - 1917, March issue, pp. 92-93)
A.A. Sagtinsky, a secret mission official from the First Expedition, was the chief of foreign intelligence service at the Third Department. Before that he was in charge of foreign intelligence problems at the General Headquarters at the Military Ministry and chief of intelligence service in Austria and Prussia at the chancellery of great duke Constantine Pavlovich, governor general of the Polish Kingdom. (Article in a magazine “Rodina”. Pyotr Cherkasov. The Third Person at the Third Department. Adam Sagtinsky — the first chief of the Russian foreign intelligence service).
A.A. Sagtinsky rendered great services to Russia: he organized a network of “agent-writers” in Europe. Y.A. Tolstoy, K.F. Shveitser, M. Lyuran, Y.N. Ozeretskovsky, Meyer and Miller were among them. Many Russian writers belonged to the Third Department to a certain extent. They were engaged in counter propaganda and intelligence activities. Efficient counter propaganda was an absolutely new task for Russian intelligence. Agent-writers had to oppose negative information about Russia and Nicholas I regime in foreign press. It often appeared in newspapers, magazines and books all over Europe.
The great importance of counter propaganda was often underestimated. Sometimes it was more efficient than military operations of divisions. That was why the Russian intelligence service set up its representation offices in many countries. The Third Department had its base stations not only in England and France, but also in Switzerland, Belgium and Austria. (Literaturnoye naslediye - М. 1937, volumes. 31-32, pp 498-501). Baron court counselor Karl Ferdinandovich Shveitser, a writer and a journalist, coordinated all activities of Russian agents abroad. He had a unique talent of getting the required information and providing conspiracy.
He started to serve at the Third Department in 1832 (like A.A. Sagtinsky). By the order of Nicholas I the Collegium of foreign affairs closely cooperated with the Third Department and conducted intelligence missions abroad. Russian diplomats at representation offices abroad carried out espionage missions. They often interfered with the concernment political intelligence missions of the Third Department. When it happened, the specified coordination system started to function. The Collegium of foreign affairs and the Third Department exchanged intelligence information.
Nicholas I watched attentively the “mind direction” in Europe. Each employee at the Third Department had a thoroughly devised legend. It masked his main mission. For example, Y.N. Ozeretskovsky, a Third Department employee, was a sort of an “agent-coordinator” in Vienna. He provided the Third Department communication with the chancellery of count Metternich, the Austrian Chancellor. Ozeretskovsky’s mission was secret. But for everyone around he was just “a sick Russian traveler”. (He started to serve at the Third Department in 1832.)
Count Yakov A. Tolstoy achieved the greatest success in Third Department secret missions in Europe. He was Pushkin’s friend and a well-known interpreter. He translated Pushkin’s works in French and published them in Paris. It was the center of Tolstoy’s intelligence activities in France. It was considered to be the breeding ground of anti-Russian propaganda in Europe.
Y.A. Tolstoy suggested that A.C. Benkendorf should send him to Paris as a representative of the Russian Ministry of education responsible for scientific and literary problems. (Y.V. Tarlt. Works. – V. 6, pp 565-568) A.C. Benkendorf agreed and sent a letter to the minister of education S.S. Uvarov. He asked him to hire Y.A. Tolstoy to the Ministry of education and give him a post of a correspondent in Paris with a salary 3800 rubles per year.
Third Department employees worked in various Russian state organizations. Thus Y.A. Tolstoy executed intelligence missions, but worked as a reporter of the Ministry of education in France. His intelligence activities were very successful. French historian Michel Cado called him “a spy of the century”. On March 27, 1850 Y. Tolstoy reported about the goals of England: «destroy the Russian fleet and burn Sevastopol » (Y.V. Tarle, V.6, pp. 580-585, 615). Tolstoy considered the expansion of counter propaganda to be one of his main tasks. He suggested A.C. Benkendorf his plan to bribe the most influential French newspapers and magazines “Gazette de France”, “Le Quotidien”, “Press”, “France” and “Chronic de Paris” for their pro-Russian orientation. He worked out a program of publications in French press - the most popular among French politicians, financers and economists. He bribed chief editors there and published a lot of positive materials about Russia, its policy and social life. He made statistic tables on 122 editions and sent them to A.C. Benkendorf. They contained characteristics on the editions, their political background, numbers of printed copies and subscribers. Besides he specified the editors’ personal characteristics. (Article Tverskoy nobleman and a spy. Alexander Boynikov)
Counter propaganda publications were worked out in Russia. The Third Department gave a permission to publish them. The efficiency of counter propaganda depended on strict coordination: articles were published in Russian and in foreign press. Who could manage that work? Of course, a highly educated person and a prominent writer, who could work out a correct concept to oppose the subversive acts of foreign ideology.
Was there such a person at the Third Department? Of course, Yakov Tolstoy and other employees were skilled intelligence agents, though they didn’t have the literary talent to withstand the best European philosophers and writers. It had to be an outstanding writer, who knew European literature and history perfectly well. That person had to speak fluent French: European intellectuals communicated mainly in French those days.
One of the main reasons of Tolstoy’s success was his unique talent to use fashionable aristocratic and literary French clubs for his intelligence activities. There was no TV, cinema and other entertainment places. The society elite used to visit various clubs. Owing to Tolstoy Russia received the most comprehensive information about all members of the French government: their personalities, likes and dislikes, ambitions and the alignment of forces in Parliament. The Third Departments provided intelligence in Saint-Petersburg aristocratic salons and probably in other Russian cities.
There were approximately 40 people at the Third Department in 1840. Of course, it was difficult to handle all the work with small staff like that, so the Third Department involved its employees, who formally served at other organizations (for example, Y. Tolstoy).
Y.A. Tolstoy, like Alexander Pushkin, received his salary not from the funds of the Ministry of education, but from the special fund, set up at the order of Nicholas I.
Was it prestigious to serve at the Third Department? It was often compared to the NKVD. An ominous image of the Third Department – the oppressor of the revolution - was deliberately created in the times of Stalin. On the one hand, the fight against dissent was one of its functions. On the other hand, it fought against counterfeiters, swindlers, bribetakers and smugglers. Thus it performed a lot of functions, useful for the state.
Third Department - the highest state organization – was established at His Imperial Majesty’s Own Chancellery. It was subordinate directly to Nicholas I and performed one of the main functions in the state: it protected Russia against its internal and external enemies.
People often talk about patriotism now. Habitually it is formulated as love to the motherland. In his novel “Roslavlev” Pushkin described patriots of those days: “patriots crowded in the sitting rooms. Some of them poured out their French tobacco and started smelling Russian. Some of them burned a dozen of French brochures, rejected Château-Lafite and ordered sour cabbage soup. Everyone swore to give up speaking French.”
Pushkin described the life of nobility in 1820-1830-s and made fun of its ostentatious hypocritical patriotism: «Some people consider themselves to be patriots, because they like botvinya (fish Soup with kvass and vegetables) and their children wear red shirts.” (Pushkin, «Extracts from Letters, thoughts and notes», 1949, V. 11, p. 56).
Alexander Pushkin was a real Russian patriot, who honestly served his country. His attitude towards the political system was critical, but he never advocated its overthrow. He always wanted to live in Russia, no matter how hard it was for him. He wrote about it in his letter to Chaadayev on October 19, 1836:
«Though I’m sincerely attached to His Majesty, I’m not delighted with what I can see around. It irritates me as a writer and insults as a man of prejudice, but upon my word I don’t want to change my motherland and have another history besides the history of our ancestors, which God has given us».
Maybe honest and faithful service to motherland is real patriotism, regardless of the post. Ivan Pushchin shared that opinion. He said, when he retired, that he was ready to be even a guard in the neighborhood if it was useful for his motherland. I.I. Pushchin was Alexander Pushkin’s friend. In 1826 Pushkin dedicated a poem “To I.I. Pushchin” to him:
My oldest friend, companion peerless!
I too blessed fate when far up north
In my retreat remote and cheerless,
Adrift in dismal snow, so fearless
Your little sleigh bell tinkled forth.
Now providential dispensation
Grant that my voice may bless, I pray,
Your soul with equal consolation,
And bear into you prison station
Of bright Lyceum days a ray!
And now let us analyze Alexander Pushkin;s relations with A.C. Benkendorf. Pushkin wrote him 54 times. A.C. Benkendorf wrote Pushkin 36 times. By the number of letters Pushkin wrote to A.C. Benkendorf the latter was the third after Natalia Goncharova and Pyotr Vyazemsky. Their correspondence resembles the correspondence of a chief and his subordinate. A.C. Benkendorf received a lot of official documents concerning Pushkin’s service. Financial documents and permissions for vacations were among them. Thus final decisions on Pushkin’s state service depended on A.C. Benkendorf, but not on Nesselrode, Pushkin’s chief at the Collegium of foreign affairs.
Nicholas I ordered A.C. Benkendorf to review each Pushkin’s work before it was published. Definitely, a Third Department employee thoroughly studied it and wrote a review on it. A.C. Benkendorf wasn’t fond of literature, but his service obligations were most important for him, so he had to read each Pushkin’s work. He was even liked some of them, such as “Count Nulin” and “Boris Godunov”. The Third Department reviewed Pushkin’s works so that the poet expressed certain political views in them. It was a way to form a political world-view in Russia to withstand Western ideology. Pushkin published his magazine “Sovremennik”. It meant that Nicholas I had fulfilled Pushkin’s request.
A.C. Benkendorf taught Pushkin to behave modestly in public, especially when foreigners were present. He had to report about all his journeys. He even advised the poet what he should wear on certain occasions. He said: "I hope my advice will be useful for you and soon you’ll make sure of that." (A.S. Pushkin, Collected works, v.14. p. 408-409)
It resembled an instruction of a special service chief. Here’s an interesting fact. In 1835 Alexander Pushkin asked Nicholas I about his vacations. He received written confirmations from A,C. Benkendorf. The latter had sent them to the Collegium of foreign affairs and referred to Pushkin as “a collegium assessor”.
Pushkin’s relations with Nesselrode – chief of the Collegium of foreign affairs - are worth mentioning. The analysis of their correspondence proves that Pushkin absolutely ignored him. He applied to A.C. Benkendorf or Nicholas I concerning all service and personal matters, and the Emperor sent orders to the Collegium of foreign affairs.
Let us assume that Pushkin served at the Third Department of His Imperial Majesty’s Own Chancellery. His work could be connected with the activities of Russian political intelligence, established on the basis of the Third Department in 1832. Probably Pushkin wrote literary works by the order of the Third Department, and counter intelligence used them in Russia and some European countries for counter propaganda purposes. That was why Pushkin met A.C. Benkendorf and Nicholas I so often. Probably they planned Pushkin’s joint activities with the Third Department. It’s difficult to give another explanation, why the highest Russian official paid so much attention on Alexander Pushkin.
Alexander Pushkin applied to A.C. Benkendorf concerning the pasquinade he had received. It dealt with the Order of cuckolds. Pushkin’s name wasn’t even mentioned there, but on November 21, 1836 the poet informed A.C. Benkendorf about it in a letter. (See Annex 1) On November 23, 1836 Alexander Pushkin and A.C. Benkendorf visited Emperor Nicholas I. Thus Pushkin’s private problems were considered at a high state level.
A question may arise, whether those were only Pushkin’s private problems. Maybe that pasquinade touched upon the most significant state interests. It was rather difficult to meet the Emperor. Governors and high ranking officials waited for more that a month to have an audience with the Emperor. Pushkin could have it immediately.
Pushkin’s letter to Benkendorf disappeared from the Third Department archive. This is another proof that all poet’s correspondence with the Third Department was absolutely secret.
We use to ask who is Pushkin for us. I think Dostoyevsky answered the question: «Pushkin comes exactly at the beginning of our correct self-consciousness. It has just started and emerged in the society after a century of Peter’s reform. His emergence lights our dark road with a new guiding light. In this respect Pushkin is a prophecy and the guidance.» (F.M. Dostoyevsky. Writer’s Diary)
The acknowledgement of Pushkin’s service at the Third Department will make it possible to reconsider his creative work. He was not only a writer and poet of genius, but a prominent politician and thinker. He didn’t spare his life to save his motherland from destruction and revolts of the Russian intelligentsia. It led Russia to destruction in 1905, 1917 and 1991.
Pushkin thought Russia didn’t need revolutions, palace revolutions in particular. Power should not be seized in Russia. It should be legitimately changed. If intellectuals called for a revolution in Russia – no matter how – they were just swindlers who intended to rob Russian people, or they were traitors, bribed by Western secret services, ready to drown Russia in blood to gain power.
Alexander Pushkin thought that the strict observance of the law is the main condition for the stability and prosperity of Russia:
«Of course, great changes should happen, but one shouldn’t hasten the time: it’s too active anyway. The best and most durable changes are those which are cause by improved disposition, but not violent political shocks terrible for mankind.» (A.S. Pushkin. V. VI. P. 196, 202).
Alexander Pushkin understood the axiom of society stability. It’s impossible to build a prosperous political system if you don’t realize that the connection between the present and the past is extremely tight. Most of his literary works were aimed to fight pro-Western ideology, which portrayed Russia as a wild country and an uncivilized tribe, as Western centrists’ put it. They claimed “barbarians”, “slaves”, “tyrants” and “despots” could not create and make an worthy intellectual contribution into the progress of mankind. Alexander Pushkin, the most prominent political of the XIX century, opposed that Western stand, which was strenuously spread in Russia.
Annex N 1
To A.C. Benkendorf
Approximately July 21, 1831
From Tsarskoye Selo to Saint Petersburg
(A.S. Pushkin А. С. Complete set of works in 10 volumes — L.: Nauka, Leningrad. Dept, 1977—1979.
V. 10. Letters. — 1979.
— P. 499—500.
I am deeply impressed by His Majesty’s fatherly care. He has made so much for me that my failure to act is distressing for me. My current rank (the one I received when I graduated from the Liceum), is unfortunately an obstacle for my service. I served at the Foreign Collegium from 1817 till 1824. I deserved two ranks for long service –that is a titular assessor and a collegium assessor. But my formers chiefs forgot to report about it. I don’t know if I can get what I should.
If His Majesty the Emperor wishes to use my pen I shall do my best to fulfill His Majesty’s will precisely and diligently. I am ready to serve Him as I can. Periodicals in Russia do not represent various political parties. (They don’t exist in Russia.) There’s no need for the government to have its official magazine, but the general opinion should be controlled. I shall be happy to edit a political and literary magazine, the one where political and foreign news are published. I can unite talented writers in it and make helpful people closer to the government. They are still shy and think it is hostile to enlightenment. The permission to undertake a historical research in our state archives and libraries corresponds to my work and desire. I do not dare and do not want to undertake a title of a historiographer after unforgettable Karamzin. But with the lapse of time I can write the history of Peter the Great and his heirs up till tsar Peter III.
Annex No 2
Pushkin, "To the slanderers of Russia"
What do you raise an outcry over, national bards?
Why do you threaten Russia with Anathema?
What stirred you up? The throes of Lithuania?
Desist: this is a strife of Slavs among themselves,
An old domestic strife, already weighed by fate,
An issue not to be resolved by you.
Long since among themselves
These tribes have been at war;
More than once has bent beneath the storm
Now their, now our side.
Who will prevail in the unequal strife:
The boastful Lekh, or the faithful Ross?
Will the Slavonic streams converge in the Russian sea?
Will it dry up? Here is the question.
Leave us alone: you have not read
Those bloody tablets;
To you is unintelligible, you is alien
This family feud;
Mute to you are the Kremlin and Praga;
Unthinkingly you are beguiled
By the valor of a desperate struggle -
And you hate us . . .
And for what? Reply: is it because
On the ruins of blazing Moscow
We did not acknowledge the insolent will
Of him under whom you quaked?
Because we hurled into the abyss
The idol heavy-looming over kingdoms,
And with our blood redeemed
Europe's freedom, honour, and peace?
You are menacing in words - just try to be in action!
Is then the old thane, resting on his bed,
Unfit to mount his bayonet is Ismail?
Or is the Russian Tsar's word powerless by now?
Or is it new to us to be at odds with Europe?
Or has the Russian grown unused to victories?
Are there too few of us? Or will, from Perm to Tauris,
From frigid crags of Finland to the flaming Colchis,
From the shaken Kremlin
To stagnant China's walls,
Flashing with steely bristle,
Not rise the Russian land?
Send then to us, oh, bards,
Your sons enraged:
There's room for them in Russia's fields,
'Mid graves that are not strange to them.
Now, did Vasily really read it?
Annex N 3
I suppose I have a right and I am even obliged to inform you what has recently happened in my family. On November 4 in the morning I received three copies of an anonymous letter. It’s insulting for my honor and for the honor of my wife. I understood by the paper, the style and the manner that the letter was written by a foreigner - a person from the high society and a diplomat. I started the investigation. I found out that on the same day seven or eight persons received a copy of the same letter, packed in two envelopes. Most of the persons who received the letters suspected meanness and didn’t forward them to me. In general everyone was indignant at the mean and groundless insult. They said my wife’s behavior was irreproachable. The reason for that mean act was that Messrs Dantes persistently courted my wife.
I do not want the name of my wife to be anyhow connected to somebody else. I asked to tell it to Messrs Dantes. Baron Hekkeren came to me and accepted a challenge to a duel. He asked for a two week delay.
It turned out that during that period of time Messrs d'Anthès fell in love with my sister-in-law, mademoiselle Goncharova, and made a proposal to marry him. When I learnt about it from rumors in the society I entrusted Messrs d’Archiak (Dantes’s second) to consider my challenge invalid. Meanwhile I received evidence that the letter had come from Messrs Hekkern, so I consider it to be my duty to inform the governments and societies about it.
Being the only judge and keeper of my honor and the honor of my wife I do not ask for justice or revenge for that. I do not want to give anyone any evidence on what I am affirming. Anyway, count, I hope that this letter will be the evidence of my respect and trust to you.
With these feelings I remain your obedient servant
A. Pushkin (Fr.)
A.S. Pushkin to A.C. Benkendorf
November 21, 1836
Annex N 4
Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin
under secret surveillance in Moscow
Secret. 469, № 25.
Attn. Messrs Protopopov
Private policeman and cavalier
On September 7 Moscow Ober-policeman and cavalier gave the following explanation: Tiflis military governor reported to Governor-General of Moscow that he is informed about His Highest Imperial Majesty’s order concerning Alexander Pushkin, a well-known poet, 10 class official, who has recently gone from Tiflis to Moscow under secret government watch.
Taking into account this instruction I recommend Your Excellency the Most Honorable Sir to put him under secret surveillance in the division you have been entrusted. You should inform me immediately about it.
Moscow, September 8, 1829
2nd Department Police Meister
First Division – has been read. To be executed as soon as he arrives
In the Second — has been read. To be executed as soon as he arrives
In the Third - has been read. To be executed as soon as he arrives
Remarks: Received: September. 9, 1829
Reported September 21, 1829 № 34.
Inf. А. Gatsuk.
Attn. Nizhniy Novgorod Military Governor
October 30, 1833 № 8327
In reply to the request of Your Excellency I am honored to inform your Excellency that on October 9 this year a famous poet, Titular Adviser Pushkin, (his way of life and behavior had to be watched by police) who had to be put under secret surveillance, arrived to Kazan on September 6 and then left for Orenburg on September 8.
Attn. Acting Kazan Police Meister
A famous poet, Titular Adviser Pushkin, his way of life and behavior has been put under secret police surveillance in Saint Petersburg by the highest regulation of the State Council.
On September 14 he left Saint Petersburg for his estate in Nizhniy Novgorod province. From Nizhniy Novgorod province he left for Kazan province.
Military Governor of Nizhniy Novgorod asked me to set surveillance on Titular Adviser Pushkin in compliance with the highest Opinion of the State Council mentioned above .
Messrs Pushkin has recently been to Kazan, and on September 8 he left from Kazan to Orenburg. I recommend Your Excellency to keep him under strict observation on him in case he comes to Kazan.
Въ семь дълъ перенумерованныхъ листовъ два. Коллежский Регистраторъ В (не разборчиво).
Comment. Kovalevsky should provide a copy of this case through G.K. Ryipinsk
Attn. Kazan Military Governor
Department of Nizhniy Novgorod
October 9, 1833
Ober Police Meister of Saint Petersburg informed me in message № 264 dated September 20 that in compliance with the highest confirmed regulation of the State Council, police surveillance had been put in the capitol on the behavior and the way of life of a famous writer, Titular Adviser Pushkin. On Septemver 14 he left for his estate in Nizhniy Novgorod province. I was informed that Pushkin planned to go to Kazan province and Orenburg province, so I consider it to be my duty to inform Your Excellency about the facts mentioned above. Would You be so kind as to keep Pushkin under secret police surveillance on his way of life and behavior in case he comes to Kazan province
Military Governor L..
Secretary I. Knyaginsky