:"This article is about the" "Tolstoy family", for other meanings see Tolstoy (disambiguation)

Tolstoy, or Tolstoi ( _ru. Толсто́й) is a prominent family of Russian nobility, descending from one Andrey Kharitonovich Tolstoy (i.e., "the Fat") who served under Vasily II of Moscow. The "wild Tolstoys" (as they were known in the high society of Imperial Russia) have left a lasting legacy in Russian politics, military history, literature, and fine arts.

The Tolstoys in Russian politics

Andrey Kharitonovich Tolstoy was in turn a great-grandson of some Indris who was "a man of distinguished ancestry" who came from "the Germans, the Caesar's lands" (the Holy Roman Empire) to Chernigov, accompanied by his sons Litvinos and Zimonten and a force of 3000 men. This family legend is unverifiable.

The family first reached prominence in the late 17th century, on account of its connections with the Miloslavsky clan to which Tsar Alexis' first wife belonged. It was okolnichi Peter Andreevich Tolstoy who decided the family fortune by casting his lot with the party of Peter the Great. He gradually gained in Peter's confidence serving first as the Russian ambassador to Constantinople, then as the head of the secret police. Although detested by contemporaries, Tolstoy was made a count for his part in securing the throne for Catherine I. He later clashed with the mighty Prince Menshikov, was stripped of his titles and exiled to the Solovki. The titles and estates were restituted to his grandchildren 30 years later.

The most famous of 19th-century Tolstoy politicians was Count Dmitri Andreevich (1823–89), successively the Minister of Education, Minister of Interior and President of the Academy of Science. During his term in office, he put into effect a vigorous Russification program in Poland and Ukraine, for which he is chiefly remembered.

The Tolstoys in the Napoleonic wars

Two members of the family were active during the Napoleonic wars. Count Peter Alexandrovich (1761–1844) served under Suvorov in wars against Poland and Turkey, was made a general-adjutant in 1797, went as an ambassador to Paris in 1807 and tried to persuade Alexander I to prepare for the war against France, without much success though. He served as the governor of St Petersburg and Kronstadt from 1828 until his death.

Alexander Ivanovich Tolstoy (1770–1857), stemming from a collateral branch of the family, inherited the committal title and estates of his childless uncle, the last of the Ostermanns. He first distinguished himself in the battle of Charnova (1807) where his regiment held out for 15 hours against the whole army commanded by Napoleon. One of the most admired generals of the anti-Napoleonic coalition, he was rewarded for his courage in the battles at Pultusk and Eylau. At Guttstadt he was wounded so seriously that they feared for his life. In the great battle of Borodino he brilliantly commanded the key positions until he was shell-shocked and taken away from the battlefield. Ostermann-Tolstoy was once again wounded in the battle of Bautzen (1813) but didn't give up command of his force. His crowning achievement was the victory at Kulm (August 30, 1813), which cost him amputation of the left arm. When the war was over, he quarreled with the Emperor, resigned and spent the rest of his life living in Europe.

The Tolstoys in high society

Count Feodor Petrovich Tolstoy (1783–1873), sympathetically mentioned by Pushkin in "Eugene Onegin", was one of the most fashionable Russian drawers and painters of the 1820s. Although he prepared fine illustrations for Bogdanovich's "Dushenka", his genuine vocation was wax modeling and design of medals. As he gradually went blind, he had to give up drawing and started writing ballets and librettos for operas. He was appointed Vice-President of the Academy of Arts in 1828. Many of his works may be seen in the Russian Museum, St Petersburg.

Count Feodor Ivanovich Tolstoy (1782–1846) was a notorious drunkard, gastronome, and duellist. It is said that he killed 11 people in duels. In 1803 he participated in the first Russian circumnavigation of the Earth. After he had his body tattooed at the Marquesas and debauched all the crew, captain Krusenstern had to maroon him on the Aleutian Islands near Kamchatka. Upon his return to St Petersburg, Count Fedor was nicknamed "Amerikanets" ("the American"). He fought bravely in the Patriotic War of 1812 but scandalized his family again by marrying a Gypsy singer in 1821. Alexander Griboyedov satirized him in "Woe from Wit", and his cousin Leo Tolstoy — who called him an "extraordinary, criminal, and attractive man" — fictionalized him in "War and Peace".

The Tolstoys in Russian literature

Many of the Tolstoys devoted their spare time to literary pursuits. For instance, Count Alexei Konstantinovich (1817–75) was a courtier but also one of the most popular Russian poets of his time. He wrote admirable ballads, a historical novel, some licentious verse, and satires published under the penname of Kozma Prutkov. His lasting contribution to the Russian literature was a trilogy of historical dramas, modelled after Pushkin's "Boris Godunov".

Count Lev Nikolaevich (1828–1910), more widely known abroad as Leo Tolstoy is acclaimed as one of the greatest novelists of all time. After he started his career in the military, he was first drawn to writing books when he served in Chechenya, and already his first novel, "Kazaky" ("The Cossacks"), was something quite unlike anything written before him. It was in his family estate Yasnaya Polyana near Tula that he created two novels, "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina", that are widely acclaimed as among the best novels ever written. Later he developed a kind of non-traditional Christian philosophy, described in his work "The Kingdom of God is Within You" which inspired Rainer Maria Rilke and a young Indian lawyer named Mohandas Gandhi whose influence extended out to Martin Luther King. The nonviolent philosophy of Tolstoy transcends more movements than many people may be accustomed to think.

Of Lev's thirteen children, most spent their life either promoting his teachings or denouncing them. His youngest daughter and secretary, Alexandra Lvovna (1884–1979), had a particularly troubled life. Although she shared with her father the doctrine of non-violence, she felt it was her duty to take part in the events of World War I. For her courage she was rewarded with three St George medals and the rank of colonel. The Bolsheviks imprisoned her in 1920, but she was installed as the director of the Tolstoy museum in Yasnaya Polyana the next year. Upon leaving Russia in 1929, she settled in the USA and founded the Tolstoy Fund. She helped many Russian intellectuals (notably Vladimir Nabokov and Sergei Rachmaninoff) to escape Bolshevik persecution and to settle in America.

Count Aleksei Nikolaevich Tolstoy (1883–1945) belonged to a different branch of the family. His early short stories, published in 1910s, were panned by critics for excessive naturalism and wanton eroticism. After the Revolution he briefly emigrated to Germany, but then changed his political views and returned to the Soviet Union. His science fiction novels Aelita (1923), about a journey to the Mars, and Engineer Garin's Death Ray (1927) were popular with teenagers. In his later years he published two lengthy novels on historical subjects, "Peter the First" (1929–45) and "The Road to Calvary" (1922–41). As a staunch supporter of Stalin, he became known as "Red Count" or "Comrade Count" and his work was acknowledged to be classics of the Soviet literature. Most of his reputation declined with that of Socialist Realism, but his children's tale character Buratino retains his strong legacy with the younger audience of Russia and across the former Soviet space, appearing as popular reading, a movie, and a variety of derivative forms.

His granddaughter Tatiana Tolstaya (born in 1951) is one of the foremost Russian short story writers. Another living member of the family is Nikolai Tolstoy-Miloslavsky (born in 1935), a controversial British historian.


*Selivestr Ivanovich Tolstoy (? –1612), officer
*Grigory Ivanovich Tolstoy (? –1636), officer
*Vasili Ivanovich Tolstoy (? –1649), officer
*Andrey Vasiliyevich Tolstoy (? –1690), officer
*Ivan Andreyevich Tolstoy (1644 –1713), officer
*Pyotr Andreyevich Tolstoy (1645–1729), statesman
*Matvei Andreyevich Tolstoy (? –1763), general-en-chef
*Ivan Matveyevich Tolstoy (1746–1808), general-podporuchik
*Dmitry Aleksandrovich Tolstoy (1754–1832), governor of Mogilev
*Fyodor Andreyevich Tolstoy (1758–1849), bibliophile and collector
*Nikolai Aleksandrovich Tolstoy (1761–1816), grand master of court ceremonies
*Pyotr Aleksandrovich Tolstoy (1769–1844), military commander and diplomat
*Aleksander Ivanovich Ostermann-Tolstoy (1770–1857), full general of infantry
*Matvei Feodorovich Tolstoy (1772–1815), senator
*Fyodor Petrovich Tolstoy (1783–1873), artist
*Pavel Matveyevich Golenischev-Kutuzov-Tolstoy (1800–1883), grandson and heir of Mikhail Illarionovich Kutuzov
*Yegor Petrovich Tolstoy (1802–1874), lieutenant-general, governor of Taganrog and Kaluga, senator
*Nikolai Matveyevich Tolstoy (1802–1879), full general of infantry, grandfather of Anna Vyrubova
*Ivan Matveyevich Tolstoy (1806–1867), grand master of court ceremonies and minister of post service
*Feofil Matveyevich Tolstoy (1809–1881), music critic and composer
*Mikhail Vladimirovich Tolstoy (1812–1896), writer
*Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy (1817–1885), poet
*Dmitry Andreyevich Tolstoy (1823–1889), statesman
*Yuri Vasiliyevich Tolstoy (1824–1878), statesman and historian
*Leo (Lev) Nikolayevich Tolstoy (1828–1910), writer and philosopher
*Lev Lvovich Tolstoy (1871–1945), sculptor
*Ivan Ivanovich Tolstoy (1880–1954), philologist and academician
*Aleksei Nikolaevich Tolstoi (1883–1945), writer
*Alexandra Lvovna (1884–1979), philanthropist
*Nikita Ilyich Tolstoy (1923–1996), philologist
*Nikolai Tolstoy (b. 1935), historian
*Tatyana Sukhotina-Tolstaya (1864-1950), Leo Tolstoy's oldest daughter
*Tatiana Nikitishna Tolstaya (b. 1951), writer
*Viktoria Tolstoy (b. 1974), Swedish jazz singer


Several places in Russia are named to commemorate Leo Tolstoy, e.g., Tolstoy-Yurt, village in Chechnya.

External links

* [ Official site of Leo Tolstoy's family and museum]
* [ Genealogy of Tolstoy and related families]
* [ Official site of the Tolstoy Studies Journal]
* [ Tolstoy's Legacy for Mankind: A Manifesto for Nonviolence, Part 1]
* [ Tolstoy's Legacy for Mankind: A Manifesto for Nonviolence, Part 2]
* [ Russian Army during the Napoleonic Wars]

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  • Tolstoy — Tolstoy, SD U.S. town in South Dakota Population (2000): 64 Housing Units (2000): 47 Land area (2000): 0.179111 sq. miles (0.463896 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.179111 sq. miles (0.463896 sq …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Tolstoy, SD — U.S. town in South Dakota Population (2000): 64 Housing Units (2000): 47 Land area (2000): 0.179111 sq. miles (0.463896 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.179111 sq. miles (0.463896 sq. km) FIPS… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Tolstoy — or Tolstoi [tōl′stoi΄, täl′stoi; ] Russ [ tō̂l stoi′] Count Leo Nikolayevich [nē΄kō̂ lä′ye vich΄] 1828 1910; Russ. novelist & social theoretician: Russ. given name Lev Tolstoyan adj. Tolstoian …   English World dictionary

  • Tolstoy — Tolstoi (alternative Schreibweisen: Tolstoj oder Tolstoy) ist der Familienname folgender Persönlichkeiten: Lew Nikolajewitsch Tolstoi (1828–1910), russischer Schriftsteller (im deutschsprachigen Raum häufig Leo Tolstoi genannt) Pjotr… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Tolstoy — Tolstoyan, Tolstoian, adj., n. Tolstoyism, n. Tolstoyist, n. /tohl stoy, tol /; Russ. /tul stoy /, n. Leo or Lev Nikolaevich /lev nik euh luy euh vich /; Russ. /lyef nyi ku lah yi vyich/ …   Universalium

  • Tolstoy — noun Russian author remembered for two great novels (1828 1910) • Syn: ↑Leo Tolstoy, ↑Count Lev Nikolayevitch Tolstoy • Instance Hypernyms: ↑writer, ↑author …   Useful english dictionary

  • Tolstoy — n. family name; Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (1828 1910), Russian author, writer of War and Peace …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Tolstoy — /ˈtɒlstɔɪ/ (say tolstoy) noun Leo (Count Lev Nikolaevich), 1828–1910, Russian novelist and social reformer; major works include War and Peace (1865–69) and Anna Karenina (1875–77). Also, Tolstoi …   Australian-English dictionary

  • Tolstoy — biographical name Count Lev Nikolayevich 1828 1910 Russian novelist, philosopher, & mystic • Tolstoyan also Tolstoian adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Tolstoy — Название населенного пункта в штате Южная Дакота. Рифмуется с Moll s boy …   Словарь топонимов США

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