Alexander Radishchev

Alexander Nikolayevich Radishchev (Russian Александр Николаевич Радищев, scientific transliteration Aleksandr Nikolaevich RadiSCev; * 20 Augustjul / August 31 1749greg in Moscow, .. .. † 12 Septemberjul / September 24 1802greg in Petersburg) was a Russian philosopher and writer. As a follower of the Enlightenment and opponent of serfdom, he moved to ban publication and exile. At the age of 53 he committed suicide.


The son of a Moscow landowner studied as a member of the Russian Corps of and at the request of Catherine II in Leipzig Law - as a fellow student of Goethe - and joined the French Enlightenment Mably ( Étienne Bonnot de Condillac 's brother ), Rousseau and Helvetius on. In philosophy, he contributed new ideas to the logical analysis of relations.

The ideas of the Enlightenment ( natural law ), he later tried in 1790 to spread as Petersburg customs director, in his novel Journey from Petersburg to Moscow. In this " novel" - in reality a radical Enlightenment critique of what he sees as intolerable conditions in Russia under Catherine II - he lashed out in particular serfdom and the inhumanity of the ruling and largely decayed aristocratic class. The needle is his novel to blame for the Pugachev peasant rebellion. Catherine II had him for this book by the secret police pursue the above Privy Scheschkowski and sentenced to death Radishchev; later, the sentence was commuted to ten years in exile. The ban on travel from St Petersburg to Moscow seen as a turning point in the hitherto lenient censorship practice of Catherine, which was tightened considerably in the last years of their rule.

Ode to Freedom

First stanza ( out of 50)

13th verse

(From: journey from Petersburg to Moscow, Edition Leipzig 1982 Versübertragung Bruno Tutenberg, page 163 ff)

After Catherine's death allowed Paul I. Radishchev return to his estates. Despite - or because of? - His appointment in 1801 in the legislative Commission, however, this desperate at the hopelessness of reform efforts and took again suspected and in fear of renewed banishment, life. However, he also wished to send a beacon.

Radischtschews work, although disseminated orally or in copies of the hand is said to have had great influence. It is, for the reading of transcripts partially large amounts were paid. It could appear only after the Revolution of 1905 in Russia.

1878, a grandson Radischtschews, the painter Alexei Petrovich Bogolyubov, in honor of his grandfather, the Radishchev Art Museum in Saratov.


  • Journey from Petersburg to Moscow in 1790, German among others Reclam Leipzig 1982
  • Ode Wolnost (Freedom), 1782 (published 1790)
  • Letter to a friend in 1773 ( diary of a week of the year 1772, published 1809)
  • About the people about his mortality and immortality?