Count Feodor Vassilievich Rostoptschin - Encyclopedia


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COUNT FEODOR VASSILIEVICH ROSTOPTSCHIN (1763-1826), Russian general, was born on the 23rd of March 1763, in the government of Orel. He had great influence with the Tsar. Paul, who made him in 1796 adjutant-general, grand-marshal of the court, then minister of the interior. In 1799 he received the title of count. He was disgraced in 1801 for his opposition to the French alliance, but was restored to favour in 1810, and was shortly afterwards appointed military governor of Moscow. He was therefore charged with its defence against Napoleon, and took every means to rouse the population of the town and district against the invader. He has been generally charged with instigating the burning of Moscow the day after the French had made their entry; it is certain that the prisons were opened by his order, and that he took no means to stop the outbreak. He defended himself against the charge of incendiarism in a pamphlet printed in Paris in 1823, La Verite sur l'incendie de Moscou, but he subsequently made grave admissions. Shortly after the congress of Vienna, to which he had accompanied the Tsar Alexander, he was disgraced. He only returned to Russia in 1825, and died at Moscow on the 12th of February of the next year.

His Memoires ecrits en dix minutes were posthumously published at St Petersburg in 1853, his Ouvres inedites in Paris in 1894. A partial account of his life was written by his grandson A. de Segur (Paris, 1872). See also Varnhagen von Ense, Denkwiirdigkeiten, vol. ix.; G. Tzenoff, Wer hat Moskau im Jahre 1812 in Brand gesteckt (Berlin, 1900).

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