Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Aleksandr Nikolaevich Radishchev (Алекса́ндр Никола́евич Ради́щев) (1749 – 1802) was a Russian author and social critic who was arrested and exiled under Catherine the Great. He was educated in Leipzig and brought the tradition of social criticism in Russian literature to prominence with the publication in 1790 of his Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow . His depiction of socio-economic conditions in Russia earned him exile to Siberia until 1797.
Radishchev was born a minor noble and was very well educated and wealthy. His education, however, lead him to greatly dislike the Russia he saw around him. He lauded revolutionaries like George Washington and praised the French Revolution. His most famous work A Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow is a complex critic of Russian society. He was especially critical of serfdom and the limits to personal freedom imposed by the autocracy.
Catherine the Great read the work and saw much to fear in Raishchev's reformism. He was arrested and condemend to death. This was later commuted to exile to Siberia. He was freed by Catherine's successor Tsar Paul, and attempted to push for the reforms in Russia's government, but was unsuccessful. In 1802 he committed suicide.
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