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Pushkin’s Death. Myths and Reality
The work of the famous Russian poet Pushkin in the secret servive department.
On January 24, 1722 Peter the Great issued a law on the order of rank assignment to state service officials in the Russian Empire, senior ranks and sequence in rank promotion.
There were the following rank gradations: military, state (civil) and court. They were subdivided into fourteen classes. We are interested, in particular, in the following ranks:
In 1722-1917 there was a civil 3-rd class rank – Secret Councilor.
Court ranks in 1722. Ober Stallmeister, from a XIX-th century till 1917 - Hofmeister, Hofmarshall. Stallmeister, Jägermeister, Ceremony Ober-master.
Guards (infantry and a cavalry): 3-rd class rank since 1748 - Colonel.
In the army (infantry) there was a 3-rd class rank in 1722 - Lieutenant General, in 1730 - Lieutenant General, in 1798 and 1884-1917 - Lieutenant General.
Army (cavalry) 3rd class rank in 1798 and 1884-1917- Lieutenant General. Cossack 3rd class rank in 1798, 1884-1917 - Lieutenant General.
Navy 3rd class rank in 1722, 1764, 1798, 1884, 1907, 1912-1917 – Vice Admiral.
2. A civil 4th class rank in 1722-1917 – acting State Adviser.
Court ranks in 1722 - the Ober-Kamerger, Ober-Hofmeister, from XIX century till 1917 - Kamerger.
Guards (infantry) a rank of the 4th class in 1722 and 1730 - Colonel, in 1748 - the Lieutenant Colonel.
Guards (cavalry) 4th class rank in 1748 - Lieutenant Colonel.
Army (infantry and a cavalry) 4th class rank during all times - Major General. Cossack 4th class rank in 1798, 1884-1917 - the Major General.
Navy - 4th class rank in 1722, 1764 - Shautbenaht, 1798, 1884, 1907, 1912-1917 - Rear Admiral.
Civil 9th class rank in 1722-1917 - Titular counselor.
Court ranks in 1722 -Jägermeister, Master of Ceremony, Kammer-junker, ober-kuhenmejster, from XIX century till 1917 - Gof-Furer.
Guards (infantry) 9th class rank in 1722 - Lieutenant, in 1730, 1748, in 1798-1917 - Lieutenant.
Guards (cavalry) 9th class rank in 1730, 1748, 1798, 1884-1917 - First Lieutenant.
Army (infantry) 9th class rank in 1722, 1730, 1798 - Captain, in 1884-1917 - Stabs-Captain.
Army (cavalry) 9th class rank in 1798 - Captain, in 1884-1917 - the Stabs-Captain. Dragoon 9th class rank in 1798 - Captain.
Cossack 9th class rank in 1798 - Yesaul, 1884-1917 - Podyesaul.
Navy: 9th class rank in 1722 - Captain-Lieutenant, 1764 – First Lieutenant, 1798 - Lieutenant, 1884 - Lieutenant, 1907 - Lieutenant and Senior Lieutenant, 1912-1917 - Lieutenant.
The law issued on December 9th, 1856 granted personal nobility for all kinds of services from the 9th class.
Persons, who had a rank of Kamerger after 1809, were called Kamergers (if they were included into the complete set established in 1826 — 12 persons). In 1840 they had III-rd and IV-th class civil ranks.
It is known that on December, 31st 1833 Alexander Pushkin was given the rank of Kammer-junker. And by that time he had only Titular Counselor (IXth class) rank. According to the decree of Alexander I IX-th class became the lower level for the appointment to the Kammer-junker rank.
Alexander Pushkin served at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia.
Now let’s consider some interesting historical documents.
RECORD IN THE BOOK OF SAINT - PETERSBURG SPAS CHURCH, NEAR THE MAIN STABLES
Who exactly died on February 1st: Titular counselor, Kammer-junker of His Majesty’s Court, Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin, 36 years old.
Cause of death: died caused by a wound.
Archpriest Peter Dmitrievich Pesotsky professed him.
He is buried in Sacred Mountains monastery, Opochetsky district, Pskov province.
It is obvious from this document that there is a full conformity to a court title and rank in it. However there are serious discrepancies in the record. The date of death is specified incorrectly. It is not 01.02.1837, but 29.01.1837.
Here is another document, A.S. Pushkin's track record.
TRACK RECORD OF THE TITULAR COUNSELLOR
Kammer-junker Alexander Pushkin, 1837, a nobleman.
He was 38 years old, (served) at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, religion - orthodox.
He had a family estate in the Nizhniy Novgorod province, Lukjanovsky district, 200 persons.
In a column of his wife: an entail estate, acquired, no data delivered.
He was educated in Imperial Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum and let out on June 13th, 1817. Under the highest decree he was enlisted to the department of foreign affairs with a rank of Collegiate Secretary.
Under the highest decree he was dismissed from service on July of 8th, 1824.
(It is added in a special heading: “without a rank reward”).
During his stay in Odessa he was transferred by His Majesty’s highest order to Pskov province. He was to be kept under the supervision of the local authorities there.
July 11th, 1824.
November 14th, 1831 - by the highest decree he was again assigned to the Collegium of foreign affairs with the same rank.
December 6th 1831 - he was conferred the title of Titular Councilor.
December 31st, 1833 - he was conferred the rank of Kammer-junker.
There are a lot of mistakes and discrepancies here.
For example, it is specified in the church record that Alexander Pushkin died at the age of 36, but he was 38 according to the Track record. Pushkin died on 38th year of life. The date of his death is not 01.02.1837, but 29.01.1837, etc.
An important document, given below, shows what post A.S. Pushkin occupied at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
FROM MILITARY-JUDGEMENT CASE ABOUT THE DUEL
The official report to the commander of the cavalry regiment Leib Guard of His Imperial Majesty’s retinue and to Major General of the same regiment, baron Mejendorf under the command of Colonel Galahov.
According to Your Excellency’s instruction from February 2nd of this year I have executed an investigation to find out, who exactly was involved in the duel between the Lieutenant of His Majesty’s Cavalier Guard regiment baron Gekkern and Kamerger Pushkin. According to Lieutenant Gekkern’s explanations, which I recorded from his words and which he personally signed, and Engineer-Lieutenant Colonel Danzas’s explanations it appears that both - Engineer-Lieutenant Colonel Danzas and Viscount D’Arshiak, an official from the French embassy - were seconds at the duel. Besides these two persons the Netherlands minister baron Gekkern also knew about the duel between Lieutenant Gekkern and Kamerger Pushkin.
Original explanations of Colonel Danzas and Lieutenant Gekkern are enclosed for your Excellency. Respectfully yours,
February 3rd, 1837.
Due to a wound in the right hand baron De Gekkern could not write himself, so the below-mentioned indication was written according to his words:
On January 27 Lieutenant Gekkern really fought on pistols with chamberlain Pushkin, wounded him in the right side and was wounded in the right hand. There were seconds from the side of Lieutenant Gekkern - viscount d’Arshiak from the French embassy, and from the side of chamberlain Pushkin - Engineer- Lieutenant Colonel Danzas. On the same day of January 27th Lieutenant Gekkern asked viscount d’Arshiak to be his second, who, however had known before about Lieutenant Gekkern’s relations with Kamerger Pushkin before the duel.
The duel took place behind the Commandant’s country house near the New Village, in a grove where Lieutenant Gekkern and viscount d’Arshiak went together at 4th o'clock p.m. Besides viscount d’Arshiak and Engineer- Lieutenant colonel Danzas, only envoy baron Gekkern, the Netherlands minister who had adopted him, knew about duel between Kamerger Pushkin and Lieutenant Gekkern, and nobody else.
I honestly witness this claim.
February 3rd, 1837
According to your instruction I have to inform that I was really a witness during Kamerger Pushkin’s duel with Lieutenant Gekkern from the Cavalry regiment Leib Guard on January 27th at 5th o'clock p.m. behind the Commandant's Villa. Nobody else was present there except me and the secretary of the French embassy viscount d’Arshiak, who was Lieutenant Gekkern’s second. As far as I know no one except the Netherlands minister baron Gekkern knew about the duel. I heard about it the same day and had negotiations with viscount d’Arshiak only concerning the conditions of the duel, so I am not aware of their participation in the affair.
February 3rd, 1837.
Lieutenant Colonel Danzas
Lieutenant Gekkern’s full name was George De-Gekkeren (Dantes).
It’s evident from these documents that Colonel Galahov, who investigated the case, and the duelist Gekkern were sure that Alexander Pushkin’s a court rank was Kamerger.
Gekkern confirmed that Pushkin was a Kamerger in his explanatory note:
My name is George baron Gekkern, I’m 25. I was brought up in the French royal military college? where I was taught military sciences.
I am a Catholic. I received my last communion on 7th of January, 1837.
I started to serve His imperial Majesty on February 8th, 1834 as a French noblemen, the native of Kolmor-Elzas. I have given the oath only on fidelity to service. My parents’ real estate is in Alsace.
During my service of January 28th 1836 I was promoted to Lieutenant from cornets. I have never been fined or arrested. A pistol duel between me and Pushkin, Kamerger of His Imperial Majesty’s court, took place on January 27th at 5 p.m., behind Vyborgskaya Zastava near New Village in a grove behind the Commandant’s Villa. I challenged him to a duel due to the following reason. In November 1836 I received Kamerger Pushkin’s verbal and causeless call on duel and accepted it.
Later Kamerger Pushkin asked the Netherlands envoy baron Gekkern to tell me, that he called off the call. He didn’t explain, why. I could not accept it because, having accepted his motiveless call on duel, I thought it was not honest to respond from the given word. Then Kamerger Pushkin gave a letter to my second, Mr. D’Arshiak from the French embassy. He explained, that he had misinterpreted my behavior. He said he even thought it was noble and not in the least offensive. He wrote that he agreed to repeat it verbally. I haven’t met him ever since.
On January 26th the Netherlands envoy baron Gekkern received an insulting letter from Pushkin concerning myself. He said he didn’t address it to me only because I was a scoundrel and a very mean man. It is confirmed in the letters his Imperial Majesty has.
Nobody knew about the facts mentioned above except the Netherlands envoy baron Gekkern, who received that letter, and my second, count d’Arshiak from the French Embassy. I haven’t received any advice to turn off the duel or to accept it. I am not aware if Kamerger Pushkin had any meetings with Engineer-Colonel Danzas. I saw him only during the duel. Besides, my second gave the report about the duel to duke Vyasemsky, when he came to Saint Petersburg. Vyasemsky didn’t known about the before he got the report.
February 6, 1837.
The following verdict was brought on the case.
Having considered everything mentioned above the military court commission stated that both, baron Gekkern and Kamerger Pushkin, were guilty, because they participated in a duel, strictly prohibited by the law.
Pushkin died of a wound. First Lieutenant Gekkern was sentenced to hanging according to article 130 of the military land force service regulations. Pushkin could be sentenced to the same punishment, but he died, and the indictment was waived due to his death. As for Lieutenant Colonel Danzas, he had asked the second of the opposite side, count d’Arshiak, whether he could reconcile the confronting parties. The latter said he couldn’t. But he violated article 142 of the military service regulations and didn’t report about the duel to the higher authorities beforehand. He could prevent it and the murder as well. Danzas didn’t fulfill his duties and was thus sentenced to hanging according to the article mentioned above.
The judgment was pronounced to First Lieutenant Baron Gekkern and Engineer-Lieutenant Colonel Danzas. According to the report of General Salagov, both of them were to be kept under guard, but he submitted the verdict to the higher authorities.
The verdict of the military court commission.
February 19, 1837
There is a very important detail in this interesting historical document: “At first Lieutenant Gekkern was sentenced to hanging according to article 130 of the military land forces service regulations. Pushkin could be sentenced to the same punishment, but he died, and the indictment was waived due to his death”.
It turns out that Alexander Pushkin was a civilian but he was accused according to article 130 of the military land forces regulations!
According to the Russian legislation civil cases could not be tried according to army regulations. It wasn’t executed that way not to disclose those delicate facts to public.
Maybe it was due to the fact that Pushkin was a military man or a very secret state employee? Maybe the State didn’t want to make his activities? The fact that Alexander Pushkin was a Kamerger is confirmed in Major-General Greenwald’s (the commander of His Majesty’s cavalry regiment) opinion on the duel, on February 27 1837. Besides it is confirmed in General Adjutant count Apraksin’s opinion (he was Head of the cuirassier guard division) on March 13, 1837.
Up till then all documents on the duel investigation state that Alexander Pushkin was a Kamerger. Only after the documents on the duel investigation were submitted to Nicolas I, the court verdict in particular, Alexander Pushkin’s court post was changed in all the future official documents - from Kamerger to Gentleman of the Bed-Chamber.
Here is the document.
“His Majesty Emperor has expressed His Imperial will concerning the verdict for First Lieutenant baron Gekkern, sentenced by the military court of Her Majesty Cavalier Guard, and Gentleman of the Bed-Chamber Pushkin for their participation in a duel, as well as all the other persons involved in the duel in any way, and ordered, that in case there were foreigners among them, they should not be interrogated or included in the court maxim. There should only be a special report on them to specify the extent of their participation.
I am submitting Your Majesty the report of General-Auditor concerning First Lieutenant Gekkern and Pushkin’s second, Engineer-Lieutenant Colonel Danzas. I am honored to enclose a special note signed by General-Audit office concerning the foreigners, involved in the case: the Netherland minister baron Gekkern and viscount d’Arshiak from the French embassy.
March 17, 1837
Obviously Nicholas I was very much frightened that foreigners could be involved in the investigation. Notice, it is specified in Noinsky’s letter, that Nicholas I prohibited to interrogate foreigners concerning the duel. It is very strange. It seems Nicholas I was aware that high standing foreigners participated in the organization of the duel and did everything possible not to let police suspect them. In fact they could give testimony and expose the real organizers of the tragic duel. Probably it could be found out that someone wanted to kill Pushkin, because he possessed very important state information, which could compromise the members of the royal family. God forbid if police or the Third department arrested a foreigner and he reported about the real causes of the duel or about those who made public false letters about the poet and his wife!
These conclusions are indirectly confirmed by the fact that after Pushkin’s death gendarmes withdrew his notebook No 1 and never returned it to the poet’s relatives. It disappeared without any trace. A famous historian and a special mission official, who served under the minister of internal affairs L.A. Perovsky supposed there could be important state information in them. We can only guess now, what kind of information it could be, why it bothered so much the Third department of His Majesty Personal Office, and why it wasn’t returned to the relatives. No doubt there was information in them, which could affect state interests and maybe even the Emperor.
Ever since then Pushkin was referred to as a Gentleman of the Bed-Chamber in all official documents.
TO THE RULING SENATE OF THE MILITARY MINISTERY
Having considered the military court case of Baron Yegor Gekkern, First Lieutenant of Her Majesty’s Cavalry Guard regiment, the General Audit office found him guilty for calling on a duel Alexander Pushkin, a Gentleman of the Bed-Chamber, and for causing him a fatal wound.
The cause of the duel was the following. Pushkin was irritated by Gekkern’s behavior. He shattered peace and quiet of his family and treated his wife disrespectfully, so Pushkin wrote a letter to Baron Gekkern, Gekkern’s father, minister of the Netherlands court yard, which contained insulting expressions addressed to both of them. Due to the fact and in compliance with the military article 139 and the Code of Laws, book XV, article 352, General Audit office ordered to reduce Gekkern to all ranks and acquired Russian nobility, to demote him to private and designate to service according to the assignment of the Inspection department. The General Auditor office submitted the report with this conclusion to His Majesty the Emperor. It was personally confirmed by His Majesty on March 18:
“Let it be so, but private Gekkern, a foreigner, should be expelled abroad with gendarmes. His officer’s patents should be taken away from him”.
Having made an order to execute the highest confirmation I am honored to report about it to the Government Senate.
Signed by the military minister Count Chernishov
March 19, 1837
Here is a question: why Pushkin’s court title was so much reduced as a result of the duel investigation? Maybe a legal detail, which specifies the rank of a Gentleman of the Bed-Chamber, is somehow connected with it. According to current regulations, when a person reached the rank of a Kamerger of the 3rd class, he was automatically denuded of the rank, but still possessed the former title of a Gentleman of the Bed-Chamber. It gave a possibility to him to freely visit the palace and meet the members of the royal family. That was why А. А. Polovtsov had a reason to state in his talk with Alexander III: «Here in Russia a word of a man who has personal access to Your Majesty will always be powerful ». O. Bismark shared this opinion. He said: «I have achieved everything more being a Gentleman of the Bed-Chamber, than a minister».
It also important that a court rank guaranteed a person the assignment to one of the departments of the Emperor Court Ministry a state organization of the Russian Empire, established on August 22, (September 3) 1826. It was a special organization and its activities were beyond the control of higher state institutions. It was mainly financed from the state budget and cost much to the national treasury.
Sergey Y. Vitte, the former Russian finance minister, wrote about the ministry financing in his memoirs: «According to the law the Royal Court Ministry budget had to be considered on the common basis in the State Council ». In practice the expenditures were regulated by the agreement between the royal court ministers and the minister of finance. Then the State Council accepted the budget reported by the minister of finance».
In 1897, soon after baron V.B. Frederiks became a court minister, Sergey Vitte received, as he wrote, “a highest order from him, which repealed the laws and established the order for the royal court ministry budget. The minister of the court had to make up and submit the budget to His Majesty for confirmation. Then he had to report the total amount to the minister of finance, and the latter had to list exactly that amount into the State council register without any discussions. … His Majesty orders not to make this order public in order not to provoke talks. Certain amendments should be made in certain articles during the codification, specifying when the new order is published».
Obviously Russian emperors could modify the most important law articles of the law, not making them public. Not to mention the investigation of cases in respect to persons whom Nicholas I didn’t want to judge.
So the difference in information concerning Pushkin’s court ranks may be explained only by the fact that he was assigned a civil rank of the 3rd class – the rank of a secret advisor! Those days it corresponded to the rank of lieutenant-general! Can you imagine the scandal in Russia the Russian public learnt that the secret advisor from the ministry of foreign affairs had been killed? It is unlikely Nicholas I could permit baron Gekkeren leave the country. Even more it is evident Nicholas I was afraid to carry on the investigation, because delicate details about Gekkeren’s activities in Russia could be revealed. Besides information Pushkin had possessed could be found during the investigation, and the tsar couldn’t accept it.
Deportation of a person, sentenced to extreme penalty then forgiven and released reminds very much of the legal procedure in respect to spies, who are deported from a country at the request of another country not to spoil diplomatic relations with the latter. It seems to be the only explanation for it.
And now let’s try to find out what post could an official hold at that time, if he had a 3rd class rank at the Ministry of foreign affairs.
At the beginning of the 19th century Alexander I reorganized the highest state organizations in Russia. Ministries were established instead of boards. At the same time ministers were ordered to establish chancelleries at the ministries. The chancellery at the Ministry of foreign affairs was subdivided into four expeditions.
The first expedition dealt with affairs with Asia, the second – with the correspondence with Tsar Grad mission and all internal affairs. The third expedition dealt with the correspondence in French with ministers oversees and inside the state », as well as issued foreign passports. The fourth expedition dealt with notes and notices from foreign ministers. Each expedition was headed by a manager who had a rank of board advisor and corresponded to the 4th class rank.
Three secret expeditions were organized in the Ministry of Foreign affairs. The first expedition dealt with cipher (encryption). The second expedition dealt with cipher (decryption) and the third expedition was newspaper (perlustration service) and archive. Later they were reformed into departments and managers received higher ranks. In 1832 г. Nicholas I reorganized the central administration of the ministry of foreign affairs. Departments were established. Internal affairs department, The department of economic and financial affairs and the department of foreign affairs, which united secret expeditions and the ministry archive.
Kudryavsky was the head of the chancellery since 1832. In 1835 he became the director of the chancellery. Pushkin’s closest friend, P.L. Schilling von Kanstadt was the head of the secret expedition (ciphers and lithograph). He was a secret advisor of the 3rd class. Just a few people knew P.L. Schilling von Kanstadt was the head of the Russian encryption service. It was known that he occupied some important post at the Ministry of foreign affairs.
It was prohibited by the tsarist order to mention such persons in public. A.C. Benkendorf, head of the Third department of His Majesty’s Own Chancery supervised the department of foreign relations in the Ministry of foreign affairs due to its special significance. The most important matters were to be coordinated with him. Those days the Department of foreign relations at the Ministry of foreign affairs fulfilled intelligence missions like, for example, the Foreign Intelligence Service of Russia.
There was another interesting peculiarity. The tsar strictly prohibited the department officers of that extremely secret department to travel abroad. An officer could go abroad only at the special permission of the Emperor. That seems to be the most obvious reason why Alexander Pushkin was never permitted to go abroad. His friends had visited many countries, and the poet had mentioned in many letters that he wished to go abroad. But he always received a refusal. Indeed, the secret advisor of the 3rd class corresponded to the post of a senior advisor at the Ministry of Foreign affairs, which was equal to Schilling von Kanstadt’s post. Naturally, officials of such level were informed about all activities of the secret department of the Ministry of Foreign affairs, because they were members of its administration. There is no doubt top secret documents were kept in the foreign ministry archive. Only a limited number of people had an access to them. Pushkin was one of them.
Now it is clear why Nicholas I was so eager to hush up the scandal connected with Pushkin’s duel. It could be discovered that foreigners initiated the murder and compromised pone of the heads of the most secret foreign ministry departments, a secret advisor who had a rank of lieutenant-general.
Let’s try to prove it. The first way to do it is to determine Pushkin’s salary in the state organization and to compare it with salaries in the analogue state organizations.
On November 14, 1831 an order was issued to restore the Titular advisor Alexander Pushkin in the Collegiums of the foreign affairs with a salary 5000 rubles. That amount was seven times higher than wages of officials of that rank in ordinary Russian state organizations. It is common knowledge that Nicholas I introduced almost military subordination in most of the state institutions and very often he personally controlled the assignment to state posts and the observance of all procedural regulations, including rewards. That was why he formed a special committee on December 6, 1826.
It had an aim to work out prime measures to improve state management and estate structure in Russia. The Committee was composed of the most trusted members of the State Council: count V.P. Kochubey (the Chairman), Prince A.N. Golitsin, Baron I.I. Dibich and M.M. Speransky. Stats-secretary N.I. Bakhtin was appointed a regent. The Committee operated for five years and was terminated in March 1832. The Committee worked out a lot of regulation documents, which determined state service order.
It was mentioned above that the Foreign relations Department at the Ministry of foreign affairs was a special department. Its activities could in a way be compared to the activities of the Third Department of His Majesty’s Own Chancery.
What salaries did the employees of the most redoubtable state organization get? On November 28, 1831 after A.A. Sagtinsky’s conversation with the head of the Third Department A.C. Benkendorf Nicholas I issued the highest order to appoint State Secretary Adam Alexandrovich Sagtinsky (1786—1866 г.г.) to a post of an officer “for secret assignments” with an annual salary of 5000 rubles. The post of the state secretary corresponded to the 5th rank.
Only officers of the most privileged intelligence institutions, controlled by the Emperor, had high salaries like that. No wonder that officials who conducted intelligence missions had higher salaries than in other organizations. For example, the Director of the department at the Ministry of internal affairs had an annual salary of 3000 rubles, and the head of the archive at the Ministry of internal affairs received only 1200 rubles per year.
Let us track A.A. Sagtinky’s service at the Third Department of His Majesty’s Own Chancery. He served there for 23 years, got the second general rank in 1848 and became a secret advisor. He was awarded the Order of Saint Anna of the first class. He had served 15 years on a state service before he came to the Third department. General D.D. Kuruta reported about it in the certificate:
«… He has conducted faultlessly for fifteen years and served with great diligence and zeal, assiduity and knowledge. He successfully fulfilled all his duties, thus the authorities noticed him. He carried out secret and other important duties at the request of His Majesty Crown Prince, when there was a need in a smart and reliable official.”
What a complimentary characteristic. What were Sagtinsky’s functions at the Third Department? He was the first head of the Russian intelligence service, which operated within the Third Department and he was the third person there after A.C. Benkendorf and L.V. Dubelt. He often went abroad and organized the work of secret agents there. By the instruction of Nicholas I his main mission abroad was to publish articles in European press to denounce emigrants’ groundless accusations of Russia, its Emperor and his policy in the Polish Empire. Now the main mission of the Russian Empire intelligence abroad is clear: it was wide-scale counter-propaganda abroad!
On July 20, 1856 А.А. Sagtinsky sent in his resignation. He was 71 years old at that time. He served the state for 46 years. He was assigned a pension worth 2914 silver rubles 58 kopeks. Later on the military department considered it possible to pay him additional pension for him – 700 silver rubles. By the way, high ranking officials from Emperor’s intelligence could receive pensions at both state organizations, where they had served. Thus Sagtinsky’s total pension was about 10000 rubles in banknotes (one silver ruble was equal to approximately 0.27 rubles in banknotes).
Alexander Pushkin’s widow was also assigned a pension of 10000 rubles. What a strange coincidence!
Now let us dwell on the jurisdiction of that time. According to the law, in case an official served on a state service for more than 35 years he was supposed to receive a pension worth 100 per cent of his salary. If he spent 25 years on the state service he could receive fifty per cent of the salary. Pushkin’s widow Natalia Nikolayevna was assigned the same pension as A.A. Sagtinsky, who had served on a state service for 48 years. He resigned when he was the third person in the most powerful Russian organization, controlled by the Emperor. Why was Alexander Pushkin given such a large state pension? He had served for less than ten years, so he was not supposed to receive it at all.
There may be only one explanation: because the state official perished executing his duty, when he fulfilled a special assignment of the Emperor! In such a case no matter how long he had served his relatives were assigned a pension worth the last salary of the dead official and an extraordinary grant.
The relatives of the dead official were given fringe benefits, for example the ability to enter prestigious education institutions without entry exams.
Nowadays similar payments are assigned if a state service employee’s suddenly perishes. If a state official occupies a high post and perishes while executing his duties, the state pays his family considerable extraordinary grants depending on his salary. The sums may be worth several salaries of the deceased.
Alexander Pushkin’s widow received the following payments. Alexander Pushkin’s loan worth 45.000 rubles was paid off at the expense of the treasury. She was paid an extraordinary grant worth 50.000 rubles in order to publish Alexander Pushkin’s works. The profit received thereof was to be used to establish the capital of the deceased. Two sons of Alexander Pushkin were enlisted in the most privileged education establishment – the Page Corps. Each of them was assigned a pension worth 1200 rubles annually. Besides the poet’s widow was also assigned a pension.
In fact Pushkin was convicted after the duel. Could it be possible, that considerable pensions like that were paid to a state service employee, who had dared to participate in a duel and thus violated the laws of the Russian Empire? - Of course, not. Duelists were deprived of the right to receive pensions according to strict Russian laws. Only the intervention of Nicholas I, who was aware real aims of Pushkin’s duel, made it possible to equate the death at the duel to the death of a state service employee, who executed Emperor’s special missions. That was the reason why Pushkin’s relatives were assigned pensions worth his full salary and large extraordinary grants.
Researchers’ argumentation on this subject is not quite logic, because it is not based on the Russian legislation of that time. So, according to the reasoning given above it is possible to come to the following conclusion. Alexander Pushkin occupied the third post – in respect to its significance - in the Ministry of foreign affairs. Naturally if his real rank was announced after his death, it could arouse lots of rumors and cause damage to Russian national interests.
Maybe there were so many rumors about Pushkin and his wife, because that was the way to prove, that the duel was a means for the jealous husband to get even with the offender. That was the reason why so many false documents were made known, though no one had ever verified their authenticity.
If Pushkin’s real post at the Ministry of foreign affairs was proclaimed, no one even Nicholas I, the absolute Russian monarch, could stop the investigation into the real causes of the poet’s death. Pushkin held the executive position in such a secret department at the Ministry of foreign affairs, and of course he knew a lot about Russia’s relations and contradictions with many countries, in particular with England, France, Prussia and Austria. It is not improbable that he could know about delicate missions of the foreign ministry employees abroad, which they executed to provide Russia with valuable information.
It seems Pushkin knew that there was a person among the highest state authorities, who worked for foreign intelligence and had close ties with Dantes! Wasn’t that the subject Nicholas I discussed with Alexander Pushkin during their last meeting?
Naturally, the Russian rulers could not imagine there were traitors in their royal family, as well as among members of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. Alexander Pushkin found the way to provoke legal proceedings against Dantes against the will of Nicholas I – and challenged Dantes for a duel. As a result it could be found out what was the country he worked for and who ordered him to execute intelligence activities in Russia. Besides, it could be found out who patronized him in the royal family. That was the reason, why the poet came up to the barrier so fast during the duel, giving Dantez an excellent possibility to kill him.
Alexander Pushkin, knew that Dantez graduated from one of the most privileged military institutions and was one of the best gunners in France. In June 1830 at the Senseers’ “Olympic games” in France – shooting a human target, a special kind of pigeon hunt, attended by many members of the royal family - he won a competition in shooting a moving target and was awarded an engraved goblet and a royal prize — he was appointed to Berriskaya Dutchess’s own pages! And a human being is larger than a pigeon!
Pushkin demonstrated his high civil liability by a courageous act: a duel with a potential enemy, who probably had far-reaching plans to take root in the highest governmental circles in Russia and influence them in the interests of third countries. Most probably England was one of them.
Pushkin chose that a way of self-sacrifice and couldn’t act otherwise.
Just imagine, that someone from the Ministry of foreign affairs declared in the 1980s that one of the members of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party worked for foreign intelligence and produced weighty evidence. Most obviously he could be placed in a psychiatric clinic, or he could perish in an accident and never return home. And that member of the Political Bureau could continue working “for the sake of his Motherland”.
Not external but internal enemies were the main threat for the Russian Emperors and Communist party leaders. Only they could deprive them of power. And that was the most terrible perspective for them. Fighting for power they were even ready for deals with overseas enemies.