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245th Birthday anniversary of Viktor P. Kochubey, Russian diplomat and statesman

22 November 1768

11 (22) November 1768 was born Viktor Pavlovich Kochubey, Russian diplomat and statesman.

Viktor Kochubey was brought up and educated by his uncle, Chancellor A. A. Bezborodko, who took the boy to his house in Petersburg. Viktor Pavlovich studied at the private boarding school of de Villeneuf. From 1776 he was signed up for service in Preobrazhensky Regiment Life Guards. In January 1784, being granted his first officers’ rank, he was appointed adjunct to His Serene Highness, Prince G. A. Potyomkin and to the Russian mission in Sweden. Then, in 1788 he was attached to London mission.

In early 1791, Kochubey went to Paris where he attended lectures of J.-F. de La Harpe, witnessed the events of the French revolution. In October 1792, owing to the influence of his uncle, Kochubey was assigned an extraordinary ambassador and plenipotentiary minister in Constantinople where he stayed until 1797.

In June 1798, Kochubey arrived to St. Petersburg, where he was appointed a member of the Foreign Affairs Board. In October 1798 he became the Vice-Chancellor. The diplomat contributed to conclusion of agreements and alliances with the Kingdom of Naples and England against France. By the decree of the Emperor Paul I in April 1799 Viktor Pavlovich Kochubey was granted the title of count. After the death of Bezborodko the position of Kochubey at the court of Paul I became unsteady and in September 1799 he was retired. In spring of 1800 the count went abroad, but having received the news about the emperor’s death, in April 1801 returned to St. Petersburg.

Enjoying the confidence of the emperor Alexander I, Kochubey entered his closest milieu attending the sessions of the Privy Committee, which also included N. N. Novosiltsev, P. A. Stroganov and N. A. Chartoryisky. In December 1801 V. Kochubey was appointed a member of the Fundamental Council. When the Ministries were established, he became the first Interior Minister of Russia (1802-1807 and 1819-1823).

After ascension to the throne of Nikolai I in 1825, V. Kochubey was placed at the head of secret committees created to develop drafts of government reforms; in 1827 he was appointed the Chairman of the State Council and the Committee of Ministers, and in December, by the decree of Nikolai I was granted the title of prince.

In 1834 Kochubey was granted the rank of chancellor for interior affairs.

3 (15) June 1834 Viktor Pavlovich Kochubey died and was buried in the Church of Saint Spirit of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra.

Viktor Pavlovich was an honorary member of a series of universities and scientific societies: the Russian Academy, the St. Petersburg and the Moscow Universities, the St. Petersburg Theological Academy, the Free Economic Society, the Moscow Agriculture Society. He was awarded with all highest Russian orders: the Order of St. Andrew the First-Called, the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky, the Order of St. Vladimir, 1st and 2nd class.

From the Presidential library materials:

Архив князя Воронцова. М., 1870-1897.  Кн. 14. 1879;

Архив князя Воронцова. М., 1870-1897. Кн 18. 1880;

Кочубей В. П. Отчёт министра внутренних дел за 1803 год. [СПб.], 1804;

Кочубей В. П. Отчёт министра внутренних дел за 1804 год. [СПб.], 1806;

Кочубей В. П. Отчёт министра внутренних дел за 1805 год. [СПб.], 1807;

Чечулин Н. Д. Князь Виктор Павлович Кочубей, 1768-1834: очерк жизни и деятельности. СПб., 1900.


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