Mikhail Katkov (1818–1887)

Mikhail Katkov (1818–1887)

The collection, dedicated to the bicentenary of the birth of Mikhail Nikiforovich Katkov, a well-known journalist and editor of Moskovskiye Vedomosti (Moscow News) newspaper, includes books and archival materials, which spotlight his research work, literary career, editorship and public activities.

M. N. Katkov started his literary career as a student. After graduation from Moscow University he contributed to Moskovskiy Nablyudatel (Moscow Observer) and Otechestvennyye Zapiski (Patriotic Notes) magazines. In 1845 M. N. Katkov defended his thesis "On Elements and Forms of the Slavic-Russian Language" and over the next five years he had been giving lectures on Logic, Psychology and the History of Philosophy as an adjunct lecturer at the Department of Philosophy.

In 1851 when the department was abolished M. N. Katkov assumed the editorship of Moskovskiye Vedomosti published at Moscow University. In 1856 he left this post and started publishing Russkiy Vestnik (Russian Herald) magazine. Under strict liberal censorship it was Russkiy Vestnik that made works by S. T. Aksakov, I. A. Goncharov, A. A. Fet, F. I. Tyutchev, I. S. Turgenev, L. N Tolstoy, N. S. Leskov, F. M. Dostoevsky widely known in Russia. From that time on M. N. Katkov took a strong interest in politics. He strongly opposed the socialist teachings and promoted the principle of the British form of government. Having contacts in the government, M. N. Katkov succeeded in expanding the freedom of press regarding the discussion of public and state issues.

In 1863 M. N. Katkov resumed the management of Moskovskiye Vedomosti and along with P. M. Leontyev accepted its editorship. At that time M. N. Katkov’s views became more conservative. The reforms of Alexander II were the first to attract criticism on his part.

Together with P. M. Leontyev in 1868 M. N. Katkov co-founded a lyceum in commemoration of Tsesarevich Nicholas, which was located in Moscow. It was a closed secondary and higher educational institution, which offered a complete course on ancient languages in the secondary school (first 8 years of study) and specialty disciplines, such as Law, Philology and Mathematics in three higher classes, known as ‘university classes’. Since 1875 and until his death M. N. Katkov had held the position of director of the lyceum, which was informally named after him.

After the accession of Alexander III and the beginning of the period of counter-reforms, Moskovskiye Vedomosti acquired great public influence. At that time Moskovskiye Vedomosti criticized the government from the right-wing perspective and led campaigns to remove "foreigners" from the Cabinet: Minister of Foreign Affairs N. K. Giers and Minister of Finance N. Kh. Bunge. Although Moskovskiye Vedomosti had success in replacing N. Kh. Bunge with I. A. Vyshnegradsky, the interference in the affairs of the foreign ministry caused emperor’s discontent, and the goal was not reached.

The collection is based on materials, provided by central and regional libraries of Russia (the Russian State Library, the State Public Historical Library, Moscow Regional State Research Library, Vladimir Regional Research Library); central archives (the Russian State Historical Archive); higher educational institutions and research centers (the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, the Ural Federal University, St. Petersburg Institute of History of the Russian Academy of Sciences).

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