Pobedonostsev, Konstantin Petrovich

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Russian jurist, political philosopher; b. Moscow, Nov. 10, 1827; d. St. Petersburg, March 10, 1907. After studying law at St. Petersburg, he worked as a civil servant from 1846 until his death. He tutored Czar Alexander II's children in Russian law and history. He became a senator (1868), a member of the Council of State (1872), and lay head of the holy synod (1880). The effect of his immense influence over Alexander III and Nicholas II was to make Russia's domestic policies reactionary and repressive, particularly in matters affecting religion, education, censorship, and religious and national minorities. Pobedonostsev was called the "Grand Inquisitor." Until 1895, when his influence declined, he was feared as a symbol of the old regime by Russian liberals and radicals. He was a friend of Dostoevskiĭ and a good scholar fluent in several European languages. Yet his writings reflected his determination to destroy all Western influence in Russia. A collection of his essays, Moskovskii sbornik (1896), clearly manifested his hatred and fear of constitutional government, freedom of the press, religious liberty, trial by jury, and free education.

Bibliography: k. p. pobedonostsev, Reflections of a Russian Statesman, tr. r. c. long (London 1898). f. steinman and e. hurwicz, K. P. Podjedonoszew, der Staatsmann der Reaktion unter Alexander III (Königsberg 1933). r. f. byrnes, "P.'s Conception of the Good Society," Review of Politics 13 (1951) 169190. k. onasch, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 7 v. (3d ed. Tübingen 195765) 5:423.

[r. f. byrnes]