Birthday anniversary of Dmitry Alekseevich Milyutin, Russian statesman, Minister of War of the Russian Empire

10 July 1816

On June 28 (July 10) 1816 to a not wealthy noble family was born Dmitry Alekseevich Milyutin, Russian statesman, Minister of War of the Russian Empire (1861-1881), member of the State Council of the Russian Empire (1861); honorary member of Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1866); Count (1878), General Field Marshal (1898); reformer of the Russian Army, military historian. Dmitry Alekseevich was brother of political essays writer Vladimir Milyutin and Secretary of State Nikolai Milyutin.

Dmitry Alekseevich received home education. He was a very hardworking child and at the age of 16 he compiled and issued the “Guide to plans’ survey”. Having graduated from Moscow University Noble Boarding School with a silver medal, in 1833 he joined the military service in the rank of warrant officer, and two years later he entered the Military Academy (finished it with a small silver medal) and continued his service as a lieutenant at the Guards General Staff. During his service he published his articles in various military magazines, translated military writings of the Special Military School of Saint-Cyr and published an article dedicated to Russian generalissimo A. V. Suvorov in “Annals of the Fatherland” (Otechestvennye Zapiski).

In 1837 Milyutin was appointed to the General Staff. To gain combat experience in 1839-1840 he was sent to the Caucasus, to Chechnya detachment headquarters, took part in battles against the Highlanders. For distinguishing himself in battles Milyutin was awarded the Order of Saint Stanislaus 3rd class and the Order of Saint Vladimir 4th class. As he returned to St. Petersburg holding the rank of captain, he was appointed Quartermaster of the 3rd Guards Infantry Division. To get acquainted with the state structure, judiciary, local administration of European countries in 1840-1841 Milyutin visited Germany, Italy, France, Great Britain and Belgium. In 1843 he took up the position of Ober- Quartermaster of Caucasian line and the Black Sea coast armies, wrote “Directions to seizure, defense and attack of woods, buildings and villages”.

In 1844 for health reasons Milyutin returned back to Petersburg and changed his military activities to military science, became Professor of the Imperial Military Academy, Military Geography Department, and later — Military Statistics Department. On scholar’s initiative was launched a military-statistic survey of Russia’s governorates, while his two-volume work entitled “First experiences of military statistics” was recognized by the Russian Academy of Sciences earning him the Demidov Prize and, what is more, it marked the beginning of a new military discipline — military statistics. Between 1848 and 1853 Dmitry Milyutin was occupied with creation of a fundamental 5-volume work about the Italian and Swiss campaigns of Alexander Suvorov.

Since 1853 Milyutin was a member of the Ministry of War, accompanied the Emperor Nicholas I as he travelled abroad and soon was promoted to Major General. In 1855 he entered a special “Commission for military improvements”. A year later he accepted the proposal of Prince A. I. Baryatinsky to occupy the position of the Chief of Staff of Separate Caucasian Corps, which was soon reorganized into Caucasian Army. He made contribution to elaboration and realization of a three-year plan of getting control over Chechnya and Dagestan, reorganization of military control of Caucasian Armies. In 1859-1860 Milyutin took part in decisive operations in North Dagestan and Kuban, including the military expedition to capture Shamil in Gunib aul. For his military services he was awarded orders, Lieutenant General rank, and soon the rank of Adjutant General of His Imperial Majesty.

In 1860 on recommendation of Prince Baryatinsky Milyutin filled a post of Vice Minister of War and a year after that he rose to the Head of the Ministry of War and started to outline the program for military reforms. He believed that the key purpose of his activities was overcoming of Russia’s military backwardness, which was clearly revealed during unsuccessful Crimean Campaign. Supported by  Alexander II the Minister conducted military reforms which improved the structure of the central and local military machinery, set up military district administrations, changed the nature of the military training of troops, reorganized the system of military educational institutions, introduced compulsory military service, rearmed the Russian Army. In 1864 the Corps system was replaced by 15 military districts, which possessed certain independency, and troops’ control systems in war time were organized.

Milyutin favored suppression of January Polish Uprising (1863-1864); unlike Chancellor A. M. Gorchakov he encouraged Russia’s active advancement to Central Asia and access to borders with British India. The Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878 became a test of viability of military reforms. Russian Ministry of War conducted the first mobilization in the history of Russian army, while the Minister of War set off to the theatre of war, where at his insistence was decided to assault Pleven for the fourth time. In November 1877 Pleven capitulated, what was crucial in the war in the Balkans. Milyutin received the Order of St. George 2nd class and a Count title was conferred on him.

The Minister of War supported the principle of unity and indivisibility of the Russian Empire, advocated further expansion of Russia’s presence in Central Asia. After the assassination of Alexander II in 1881 and publication of the Manifesto on Unshakable Autocracy Milyutin retired to his Crimean estate Simeiz, while formally remaining the member of the State Council and Adjutant General. In his estate he worked on the memoirs — his “Diary” covers events between 1873 and 1882 and is an invaluable source on history of Russia’s domestic policy in 2nd half of 19th century.

In 1898 Nicholas II promoted Milyukov to General Field Marshal. Analyzing the state of the Russian Army, in 1909 Field Marshal wrote “The elderly’s thoughts on contemporary state of the military affairs in Russia”, where he tried to express his thoughts on issues which bothered him. During the last years of his life Milyutin took a keen interest in military aeronautics, and predicted it a great future. Most of the time he spent with his family among books and documents of past years.

Dmitry Alekseevich Milyutin passed away on January 25 (February 7) 1912 and was buried at Novodevichye cemetery in Moscow. Diaries and memoirs of Dmitry Milyutin were bequeathed to the General Staff Imperial Academy.

Lit.: Арапов Д. А. Д. А. Милютин о «мусульманстве» // Актуальные проблемы гуманитарных, социальных, экономических и технических наук: Межвузовский сборник научных и научно-методологических трудов. Вып. 2. Т. 2. М., 2003. С. 225—229; Баиов А. К. Граф Д. А. Милютин (биографический очерк). СПб., 1912; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL: ссылка; Бородкин М. М. Граф Д. А. Милютин в отзывах его современников. СПб., 1912; Бушнелл Дж. Д. Милютин и Балканская война: испытание военной реформы // Великие реформы в России. 1856-1874: Сб. М., 1992. С. 239—259; Джаншиев Г. Граф Д. А. Милютин // Эпоха великих реформ. СПб., 1907. С. 845-855; Зайончковский П. А. Выдающийся ученый и реформатор русской армии // Военно-исторический журнал. 1965. № 12; Осипова М. Обзор военно-научных трудов Д. А. Милютина // Военно-исторический журнал. 1972. № 9. С. 102—107; Петелин В. В. Жизнь графа Дмитрия Милютина: историческое повествование. М., 2011.

Works: Воспоминания. Т. 1. Томск, 1919; Воспоминания генерал-фельдмаршала графа Дмитрия Алексеевича Милютина. Т. 1. Кн. 1, 2, 3 / Под ред. Г. Г. Христиани. Томск, 1919; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL: ссылка; Воспоминания генерал-фельдмаршала графа Дмитрия Алексеевича Милютина 1860-1862. М., 1999; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL:; Дневник. Т. 1—4. М., 1947—50; Дневник генерал-фельдмаршала графа Дмитрия Алекеевича Милютина. 1873-1875. М., 2008; То же. 1876-1878. М., 2009; То же. 1879-1881. М., 2010; Исторический очерк деятельности военного управления в России за 1855-80 гг. СПб., 1880; История войны 1799 года : Т. 1. Ч. 1, 2, 3 и 4 : между Россией и Францией в царствование Императора Павла I. Изд. 2. СПб., 1857; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL: ссылка; То же. Т. 2. Ч. 5, 6, 7 и 8. Изд. 2. СПб., 1857; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL: ссылка; То же. Т. 3. Изд. 2. СПб., 1857; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL: ссылка; Критическое исследование значения военной географии и военной статистики. СПб., 1846; «Мы приняла вызов Западной Европы не подготовленными к предстоящей борьбе» // Военно-исторический журнал. 1996. № 4. С. 81—88; Первые опыты военной статистики. Т. 1—2. СПб., 1847—48; Суворов как полководец // Отечественные записки. 1839. № 4.

Based on the Presidential Library’s materials:

Александр Васильевич Суворов, генералиссимус русских войск : Его жизнь и победы : Сост. по историям: Н. А. Полевого и ген. Д. А. Милютина. СПб., 1870;

Булла К. К. Заседание Государственного Совета в ротонде Мариинского дворца [Изоматериал] : [фотография]. [До 1899];

Грановский Т. Н. История войны России с Францией в царствование императора Павла 1-го в 1799 году. Пять томов. Сочинение полковника Милютина. Спб. 1853 : [Рецензия]. [СПб., 1853];

Корш В. Ф. Война 1799 года : История войны России с Франциею в царствование имп. Павла I в 1799 г. Составлена по высочайшему повелению государя императора Николая I-го полковником Милютиным. [М., 1853];

Милютин Д. А. Краткий очерк Кавказского края в военном отношении: Из лекции полк. Милютина в Императорской Военной академии. Б. м., 1848;

Милютин Д. А. Наставление к занятию, обороне и атаке лесов, деревень, оврагов и других местных предметов. СПб., 1845;

Милютин Д. А. Описание военных действий 1839 года в Северном Дагестане. СПб., 1850;

Милютин Д. А. Руководство к съемке планов с приложением математики. М., 1831;

Милютин  Дмитрий Алексеевич // Энциклопедический словарь / Под ред. проф. И. Е. Андреевского. Т. 19. СПб., 1896. С. 321—322;

Риттих А. Ф. Граф Д. А. Милютин. СПб., 1912.