By Yuri LABYNTSEV, Dr. Sc. (Philol.), leading researcher, RAS Institute of Slavonic Studies
Count Nikolai Rumyantsev is a standout in more ways than one. One of those who have made Russia's history, he has done a great deal as a patron of our science. "This unforgettable lover of the sciences accomplished much more for the progress of the sciences and education in Russia in the last twelve years of his life than had all his predecessors in this field..." That's what his contemporary, Baron Gustav Rosenkampf, said about Count Rumyantsev. His time came to be known as the Rumyantsev age.
Nikolai Petrovich Rumyantsev was born in 1754 during the reign of Empress Elizaveta Petrovna (Elizabeth). His father was an illustrious warlord-Field Marshal Pyotr Rumyantsev, elected to the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences as honorary member; for his brilliant feats beyond the Danube he had a title of Zadunaisky added to his name. And his grandfather has been much in favor with Emperor Peter the Great early in the 18th century. Small wonder that the highborn youth had excellent opportunities at the court of Empress Catherine the Great* (enthroned in 1762) who had him and his brother sent abroad for further education.
The young man spent five years in alien parts. He applied himself to his studies and did quite a bit of traveling besides-visited Germany, France and Italy. Back home Nikolai Rumyantsev was appointed ambassador at the German diet and served as a career diplomat in Europe for a decade and a half. Emperor Pavel (Paul), who succeeded his mother, Catherine II, in 1796, elevated him to a rank of Hofmeister (steward of the court). Count Rumyantsev fared quite well under the next czar, Alexander I (enthroned in 1801), as government minister of commerce and foreign minister, and then as head of the State Council. He retired in 1814 as a holder of the State Chancellor's title (accorded for life) and died twelve years afterwards.
Count Nikolai Rumyantsev was a controversial f ... Читать далее