Ivan Ivanovich Dmitriev - Encyclopedia




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IVAN IVANOVICH DMITRIEV (1760-1837), Russian statesman and poet, was born at his father's estate in the government of Simbirsk. In consequence of the revolt of Pugachev the family had to flee to St Petersburg, and there Ivan was entered at the school of the Semenov Guards, and afterwards obtained a post in the military service. On the accession of Paul to the imperial throne he quitted the army with the title of colonel; and his appointment as procurator for the senate was soon after renounced for the position of privy councillor. During the four years from 1810 to 1814 he served as minister of justice under the emperor Alexander; but at the close of this period he retired into private life, and though he lived more than twenty years, he never again took office, but occupied himself with his literary labours and the collection of books and works of art. In the matter of language he sided with Karamsin, and did good service by his own pen against the Old Slavonic party. His poems include songs, odes, satires, tales, epistles, &c., as well as the fables - partly original and partly translated from Fontaine, Florian and Arnault - on which his fame chiefly rests. Several of his lyrics have become thoroughly popular from the readiness with which they can be sung; and a short dramatico-epic poem on Yermak, the Cossack conqueror of Siberia, is well known.

His writings occupy three volumes in the first five editions; in the 6th (St Petersburg, 1823) there are only two. His memoirs, to which he devoted the last years of his life, were published at Moscow in 1866.

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