:"This article is about the" "Tolstoy family", for other meanings see
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
okolnichiPeter 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 countfor 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
Russificationprogram 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 Suvorovin wars against Poland and Turkey, was made a general-adjutant in 1797, went as an ambassador to Parisin 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 Petersburgand Kronstadtfrom 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 Borodinohe 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 modelingand 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 circumnavigationof the Earth. After he had his body tattooed at the Marquesasand debauched all the crew, captain Krusenstern had to maroon him on the Aleutian Islandsnear Kamchatka. Upon his return to St Petersburg, Count Fedor was nicknamed "Amerikanets" ("the American"). He fought bravely in the Patriotic War of 1812but scandalized his family again by marrying a Gypsy singer in 1821. Alexander Griboyedovsatirized 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 Tolstoyis 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 Polyananear 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 Rilkeand a young Indian lawyer named Mohandas Gandhiwhose 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 Bolsheviksimprisoned her in 1920, but she was installed as the director of the Tolstoy museum in Yasnaya Polyanathe next year. Upon leaving Russia in 1929, she settled in the USA and founded the Tolstoy Fund. She helped many Russian intellectuals (notably Vladimir Nabokovand 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 Buratinoretains 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), bibliophileand 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
Taganrogand 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
* [http://www.tolstoy.ru Official site of Leo Tolstoy's family and museum]
* [http://www.gencircles.com/users/rozanov/1 Genealogy of Tolstoy and related families]
* [http://www.utoronto.ca/tolstoy/ Official site of the Tolstoy Studies Journal]
* [http://www.fredsakademiet.dk/library/tolstoj/tolstoy.htm Tolstoy's Legacy for Mankind: A Manifesto for Nonviolence, Part 1]
* [http://www.fredsakademiet.dk/library/tolstoj/tolstoy2.htm#contents Tolstoy's Legacy for Mankind: A Manifesto for Nonviolence, Part 2]
* [http://web2.airmail.net/napoleon/Russian_army.htm Russian Army during the Napoleonic Wars]
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