Alexander Griboyedov

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Alexander Griboyedov
Griboyedov.jpg
Portrait by Ivan Kramskoi
Russian Ambassador to Iran
In office
1828 [1]  1829
Monarch Nicholas I of Russia
Personal details
Born
Alexander Sergeyevich Griboyedov

(1795-01-15)15 January 1795
Moscow, Russian Empire
Died11 February 1829(1829-02-11) (aged 34)
Tehran, Qajar Iran
Resting place Tiflis, Russian Empire (present-day Georgia)
Nationality Russian
Spouse(s) Nino Chavchavadze
Alma mater Imperial Moscow University (1808)
OccupationDiplomat, Playwright, Poet, and Composer
Signature Griboyedov Signature.jpg

Alexander Sergeyevich Griboyedov (Russian : Алекса́ндр Серге́евич Грибое́дов, Aleksándr Sergeyevich Griboyedov or Sergéevich Griboédov; 15 January 1795 11 February 1829), formerly romanized as Alexander Sergueevich Griboyedoff, [2] was a Russian diplomat, playwright, poet, and composer. He is recognized as homo unius libri , a writer of one book, whose fame rests on the verse comedy Woe from Wit or The Woes of Wit. He was Russia's ambassador to Qajar Persia, where he and all the embassy staff were massacred by an angry mob as a result of the rampant anti-Russian sentiment that existed through Russia's imposing of the Treaty of Gulistan (1813) and Treaty of Turkmenchay (1828), which had forcefully ratified for Persia's ceding of its northern territories comprising Transcaucasia and parts of the North Caucasus. Griboyedov had played a pivotal role in the ratification of the latter treaty.

Russian language East Slavic language

Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although nearly three decades have passed since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia.

In Slavic languages, iotation is a form of palatalization that occurs when a consonant comes into contact with a palatal approximant from the succeeding phoneme. The is represented by iota (ι) in the Cyrillic alphabet and the Greek alphabet on which it is based. For example, ni in English onion has the sound of iotated n. Iotation is a distinct phenomenon from Slavic first palatalization in which only the front vowels are involved, but the final result is similar.

Romanization of Russian Romanization of the Russian alphabet

Romanization of Russian is the process of transliterating the Russian language from the Cyrillic script into the Latin script.

Contents

Early life

Born in Moscow, Griboyedov studied at Moscow University from 1810 to 1812. He then obtained a commission in a hussar regiment, which he resigned in 1816. The next year, he entered the civil service. In 1818 he was appointed secretary of the Russian legation in Persia, and transferred to Georgia. [3]

Moscow Capital city of Russia

Moscow is the capital and most populous city of Russia, with 13.2 million residents within the city limits, 17 million within the urban area and 20 million within the metropolitan area. Moscow is one of Russia's federal cities.

Hussar light cavalry originally from Hungary

A hussar was a member of a class of light cavalry, originating in Central Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries. The title and distinctive dress of these horsemen were subsequently widely adopted by light cavalry regiments in European armies in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

Regiment Military unit

A regiment is a military unit. Their role and size varies markedly, depending on the country and the arm of service.

His verse comedy The Young Spouses (Russian : Молодые супруги, Molodye Suprugi), which he staged in St. Petersburg in 1816, was followed by other similar works. Neither these nor his essays and poetry would have been long remembered but for the success of his verse comedy Woe from Wit (Russian : Горе от ума, Gore ot Uma), a satire on Russian aristocratic society. [3]

Poetry form of literature

Poetry is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language—such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre—to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, the prosaic ostensible meaning.

Essay Written work often reflecting the authors personal point of view

An essay is, generally, a piece of writing that gives the author's own argument — but the definition is vague, overlapping with those of a paper, an article, a pamphlet, and a short story. Essays have traditionally been sub-classified as formal and informal. Formal essays are characterized by "serious purpose, dignity, logical organization, length," whereas the informal essay is characterized by "the personal element, humor, graceful style, rambling structure, unconventionality or novelty of theme," etc.

<i>Woe from Wit</i> Alexander Griboyedovs comedy in verse

Woe from Wit is Alexander Griboyedov's comedy in verse, satirizing the society of post-Napoleonic Moscow, or, as a high official in the play styled it, "a pasquinade on Moscow."

As a high official in the play puts it, this work is "a pasquinade on Moscow". The play depicts certain social and official stereotypes in the characters of Famusov, who hates reform; his secretary, Molchalin, who fawns over officials; and the aristocratic young liberal and Anglomaniac, Repetilov. By contrast the hero of the piece, Chatsky, an ironic satirist just returned from western Europe, exposes and ridicules the weaknesses of the rest. His words echo the outcry of the young generation in the lead-up to the armed insurrection of 1825. [3]

In Russia for the summer of 1823, Griboyedov completed the play and took it to St. Petersburg. It was rejected by the censors. Many copies were made and privately circulated, but Griboyedov never saw it published. [3] After his death the manuscript was jointly owned by his wife Nina Alexandrovna Griboyedova and his sister Maria Sergeyevna Durnovo (Griboyedova). [4] The first edition was not published until 1833, four years after his death. Only once did he see it on the stage, when it was performed by the officers of the garrison at Yerevan. Soured by disappointment, he returned to Georgia. During the Russo-Persian War of 1826–1828, he put his linguistic expertise at the service of general Ivan Paskevich, a relative; after which he was sent to St. Petersburg where he worked on the Treaty of Turkmenchay negotiations. There, thinking to devote himself to literature, he started work on a romantic drama, A Georgian Night (Russian : Грузинская ночь, Gruzinskaya noch), based on Georgian legends. [3]

Censorship The practice of suppressing information

Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information, on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or "inconvenient". Censorship can be conducted by a government, private institutions, and corporations.

Nino Chavchavadze Georgian noble

Princess Nino Chavchavadze was a daughter of the famous Georgian knyaz (prince) and poet Alexander Chavchavadze and wife of Russian diplomat and playwright Alexander Griboyedov.

Yerevan City in Armenia

Yerevan is the capital and largest city of Armenia as well as one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities. Situated along the Hrazdan River, Yerevan is the administrative, cultural, and industrial center of the country. It has been the capital since 1918, the fourteenth in the history of Armenia and the seventh located in or around the Ararat plain. The city also serves as the seat of the Araratian Pontifical Diocese; the largest diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church and one of the oldest dioceses in the world.

Death

Monument erected in Soviet times in Dilijan, Armenia commemorating the location where Alexander Pushkin (on his way to meet his brother) stopped the carriage with Alexander Griboyedov's body being transported to Tiflis. An inscription in Russian and Armenian says: "Here A. S. Pushkin saw the body of A. S. Griboyedov". Monument of Alexander Griboyedov in Dilijan Armenia.jpg
Monument erected in Soviet times in Dilijan, Armenia commemorating the location where Alexander Pushkin (on his way to meet his brother) stopped the carriage with Alexander Griboyedov's body being transported to Tiflis. An inscription in Russian and Armenian says: "Here A. S. Pushkin saw the body of A. S. Griboyedov".

Several months after his wedding to Nino, 16-year-old daughter of his friend Prince Chavchavadze, Griboyedov was suddenly sent to Persia as Minister Plenipotentiary. [5] In the aftermath of the war and the humiliating Treaty of Turkmenchay, there was strong anti-Russian sentiment in Persia. Soon after Griboyedov's arrival in Tehran, a mob stormed the Russian embassy.

Alexander Chavchavadze Georgian writer and military figure

Prince Alexander Chavchavadze was a notable Georgian poet, public benefactor and military figure. Regarded as the "father of Georgian romanticism", he was a pre-eminent Georgian aristocrat and a talented general in the Imperial Russian service.

Treaty of Turkmenchay peace treaty

The Treaty of Turkmenchay was an agreement between Persia (Iran) and the Russian Empire, which concluded the Russo-Persian War (1826–28). It was signed on 10 February 1828 in Torkamanchay, Iran. By the treaty, Persia ceded to Russia control of several areas in the South Caucasus: the Erivan Khanate, the Nakhchivan Khanate, and the remainder of the Talysh Khanate. The boundary between Russian and Persia was set at the Aras River. These territories comprise modern-day Armenia, the southern parts of the modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan, Nakhchivan, as well as Iğdır Province.

Anti-Russian sentiment

Anti-Russian sentiment is a diverse spectrum of negative feelings, dislikes, fears, aversion, derision and/or prejudice of Russia, Russians or Russian culture. A wide variety of mass culture clichés about Russia and Russians exists in the Western world. Many of these stereotypes were originally developed during the Cold War, and were primarily used as elements of political war against the Soviet Union. Some of these prejudices are still observed in the discussions of the relations with Russia. Negative representation of Russia and Russians in modern popular culture is also often described as functional, as stereotypes about Russia may be used for framing reality, like creating an image of an enemy, or an excuse, or an explanation for compensatory reasons. Hollywood has been sometimes criticised for its excessive use of Russians as the villains.

The incident began when an Armenian eunuch escaped from the harem of the Persian shah, and at the same time two enslaved Armenian women escaped from the harem of the Shah's son-in-law. All three sought refuge at the Russian legation. As agreed in the Treaty of Turkmenchay, Georgians and Armenians living in Persia at that time were permitted to return to Georgia and Eastern Armenia. [6] However, the Shah demanded that Griboyedov return the three escapees. Griboyedov refused. His decision caused an uproar throughout the city and several thousand Persians encircled the Russian compound demanding their release.

When Griboyedov decided to return the escaped eunuch and two Armenian women, it was too late. Soon after, urged on by the mullahs, the mob stormed the building. A high-ranking Muslim scholar with the title of Mojtahed, Mirza Masih Astarabadi known as Mirza Masih Mojtahed, issued a fatwa saying that freeing Muslim women from the claws of unbelievers is allowed. [7]

Griboyedov and other members of his mission had prepared for a siege and sealed all the windows and doors. Armed and in full uniform, they were resolved to defend to the last drop of blood. Although small in number, the Cossack detachment assigned to protect the legation held off the mob for over an hour until finally being driven back to Griboyedov's office. There, Griboyedov and the Cossacks resisted until the mob broke through the roof of the building, and then through the ceiling, to slaughter them. The escaped eunuch and Griboyedov, who fought with his sword, were among the first to be shot to death; the fate of the two Armenian women remains unknown. [6] [8] Second secretary of the mission Karl Adelung and, in particular, a young doctor whose name is not known, fought hard, but soon the scene was one of butchered, decapitated corpses.

Griboyedov's body, thrown from a window, was decapitated by a kebab vendor who displayed the head on his stall. [7] The mob dragged the uniformed corpse through the city's streets and bazaars, to cries of celebration. It was eventually abandoned on a garbage heap after three days of ill-treatment by the mob, such that in the end it could be identified only by a duelling injury to a finger. The following June, Griboyedov's friend Alexander Pushkin, travelling through the southern Caucasus, encountered some men from Tehran leading an oxcart. The men told Pushkin they were conveying the ambassador's remains to Tiflis (now Tbilisi). Griboyedov was buried there, in the monastery of St. David (Mtatsminda Pantheon). [7]

When Nino, Griboyedov's widow, received news of his death she gave premature birth to a child who died a few hours later. Nino lived another thirty years, rejecting all suitors and winning universal admiration for her fidelity to her husband's memory.

In a move to compensate Russia for the attack and the death of its ambassador, the Shah sent his grandson Khosrow Mirza to St. Petersburg to avoid another war with Tsar Nicholas I. [7] [9] and also gifted to him the Shah Diamond. [10]

Russian sources claim that [11] British agents, who feared Russian influence in Tehran, and Persian reactionaries, who were not satisfied with the Turkmenchay treaty, were responsible for inciting the mob. [11] The death of Griboedov, who was a liberal and who advocated regional autonomy for the Christians in Transcaucasia, was probably not a great loss for Tsar Nicholas or General Paskevich, both of whom wished to Russianize the minorities in the Caucasus. The Russo-Turkish War (1828–29) might have been another reason for the Russian inaction. [11] His wife had written on his tombstone in Tiflis: “Your mind and works are immortal in Russian memory, but why has my love outlived you?”. [10]

Legacy

Monument in Moscow Moscow Aleksander Griboyedov monument.JPG
Monument in Moscow
Griboyedov's statue in Yerevan, Armenia Griboyedov monument 9122262 22.JPG
Griboyedov's statue in Yerevan, Armenia

Author Angela Brintlinger has said that "not only did Griboyedov's contemporaries conceive of his life as the life of a literary hero—ultimately writing a number of narratives featuring him as an essential character—but indeed Griboedov saw himself as a hero and his life as a narrative. Although there is not a literary artifact to prove this, by examining Griboedov's letters and dispatches, one is able to build a historical narrative that fits the literary and behavioural paradigms of his time and that reads like a real adventure novel set in the wild, wild East."

One of the main settings for Mikhail Bulgakov's satirical novel The Master and Margarita is named after Griboyedov, as is the Griboyedov Canal in Central Saint Petersburg. One of the central streets of Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, is named after Griboyedov. This street is crossed by Alexander Chavchavadze street, named after Griboyedov's father-in-law, famous Georgian poet, Alexander Chavchavadze.

On 17 April 1944 Pravda ran a lengthy feature on the commemoration of Griboyedov's 150th birthday when high-ranking officials, military leaders, diplomats, writers, and artists had attended a celebration in the Bolshoi Theatre. Novelist and Stalin deputy Leonid Leonov eulogized Griboyedov, mentioning especially his love of his fatherland.

The reception to the Shah's grandson Khosrow Mirza in the Winter Palace, and Tsar Nicholas receiving from him the Shah Diamond, are featured in the 2002 Russian film Russian Ark .

See also

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Alexander Alekseevich Durnovo (Russian: Александр Алексеевич Дурново), son of Maria Sergeyevna Durnovo (Griboyedova) and Aleksey Mikhailovich Durnovo, born approx. June 16, 1828 in the family mansion in the village of Spasskoy-Krivtsovo of Chernskiy Rayon, Tula Region, (Russian: Спасское-Кривцово) named after his uncle and godfather Alexander Sergeevich Griboedov, who was visiting his sister few days after the birth of Alexander. According to records his godmother was countess Yulia Stanislavovna Bobrinskaya (Belinskaya)

Maria Sergeyevna Durnovo (Griboedova) (Russian: Мария Сергеевна Дурново ) born 1792 died 1856 in Moscow, Russia. She was a younger sister of Russian writer/poet Alexander Sergeyevich Griboyedov. In 1827 she married Aleksey Mikhailovich Durnovo.

Aleksey Mikhailovich Durnovo(Russian: Алексей Михайлович Дурново), the son of a landowner of Tula Oblast, village Spasskoe Durnovo. Russian squire/landlord in Chernsky District of Tula Oblast of Russia. Brought up in the boarding school at Moscow University at the same time with Alexander Griboyedov (enrolled as a student in December 22, 1803). He served in the engineering corps, in the 2nd Pioneer Regiment, retired in 1811 with the rank of lieutenant. Member of militia during the war. He was well known as an amateur musician. In 1827 he married Maria Sergeyevna Durnovo (Griboyedova) the sister of Alexander Griboyedov. Later Aleksey Durnovo became an honorary trustee of the Tula Oblast Gymnasium.

References

  1. Borrero, Mauricio (2009). Russia: A Reference Guide from the Renaissance to the Present. Infobase Publishing. p. 169. ISBN   978-0816074754.
  2. "Griboyedoff, Alexander Sergueevich" in the Encyclopædia Britannica , 9th ed., Vol. XI 1880.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Griboyedov, Alexander Sergueevich"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . 12 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 593.
  4. Записка Об А. С. Грибоедове [A note about A. S. Griboyedov]. Russian Messenger (in Russian). No. 8 (reprint ed.). 1892. pp. 335–347. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  5. Chisholm 1911.
  6. 1 2 Hopkirk, Peter. The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia . New York: Kodansha Globe, 1997 p. 122 ISBN   1-56836-022-3
  7. 1 2 3 4 Hopkirk, Peter (2006). The Great Game. London: John Murray. p. 113. ISBN   978-0-7195-6447-5.
  8. Baron K. K. Bode. "Griboyedov's Death". www.feb-web.ru.
  9. George Bournoutian (2014) From Tabriz to St. Petersburg: Iran's Mission of Apology to Russia in 1829
  10. 1 2 Tharoor, Ishaan (22 December 2016). "A Russian ambassador was murdered: The apology came in the shape of a huge diamond". The Washington Post. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  11. 1 2 3 Bournoutian, George. "Griboedov, Alexander Sergeevich". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2016-02-02.

Sources

Further reading