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Alexander Benkendorff

Picture of Alexander Benkendorff

Date of Birth: 06/23/1782

Age: 62

Place of birth: Revel

Citizenship: Russia

Count The darkness of life.

Benkendorf meaning of life was in the service.

The officer began his ascent to the ranks, titles and awards during the reign of Paul, continued under Alexander I, and the climactic heights reached under Nicholas I. educated, executive, well-balanced, it is ideally suited to any military-bureaucratic government. Russian imperial court completely matched his talents. Like all persons of this flight, Benkendorf freely spoke and wrote in French. But German grandparent did not forget. Prussian Princess Charlotte Louise Friederike Wilhelmina, wife of the great Nicholas and it is also the future Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, gladly would say "our dear Benckendorff" in the language of Schiller and Goethe.

When in 1826 Alexander Hristoforovich became the head of the Third Department of His Imperial Majesty`s Office, it was distributed sweet legend in the community. As if the Emperor Nicholas I summoned the new head of the political police and handed him a handkerchief:

- Will you wipe the tears of orphans and widows, comforted disgruntled, to stand up for the innocent suffering.

Such myths survive the century, transferred from generation to generation. Bolshevik chief of the "Third Branch" Dzerzhinsky remained in Soviet history, too, as a worker with a handkerchief, a great friend of orphans and protector of every kind of justice. About philanthropy people of this type could be said, almost paraphrasing Leo Tolstoy: "Uncle, handkerchief lost!"

The tendency of the Adjutant General Benkendorf to political investigation revealed long before the official appointment. Back in 1821, as chief of staff of the Guards Corps, he handed a note to Alexander I made up some MK Gribovsky. Author Emperor opened his eyes to the existence of the secret "Union of Welfare," and proposed "fix" its leaders. The Emperor gave the move a note, what not only upset his adjutant-general, but also made it possible for the future of the revolt of the Decembrists, scandalous beginning of the next reign.

Nicholas I, who succeeded to the throne of Alexander, of such primitive errors did.

Still popular belief about the department Benkendorf as poisonous octopus whose tentacles penetrated everywhere and suffocating all firmly holds today. In fact, the Third Division, based on the body of gendarmes at his beginning in 1826 was sparse, financed by modest and possessed intelligence network, ridiculously incommensurate with the population of the empire. Pure political investigation immediately engaged only 1st expedition. The remaining subordinate count every day routinely looked after by foreigners, sectarians, counterfeiters and printing. 4th expedition, for example, is not so much doglyadyvala the behavior of men, as prepared on the situation of reference manor peasants, on the kinds of crops, bread, etc. prices

Benkendorf was never muzhikobortsem. God forbid. Just the opposite. Renowned historian Yevgeny Tarle in Soviet times talked quite unexpected episode.

In the early autumn of 1812, when Napoleonic troops approached the old capital, near Moscow, the men, of course, were armed. Who ax, one fork and one and ruzhishko. In the battle with the adversary is not disposed of landlords peasants and guerrilla chiefs. Someone from the bar but officials feared the peasants will smelled, armed. Why, it`s a riot. And flew to St. Petersburg paper from the governor with a request - to pacify, protect, restore public decorum. In the Volokolamsk district, on paper sense rebelled gang of men, led by a priest. Under orders from St. Petersburg to pacify them was adjutant Benkendorf, whose squad acted against France just at the Volokolamsk district. Benkendorf immediately and flatly refused to fight against the men. His commander Baron F. Winzegorode he wrote: "Let me speak to you in plain English peasants, whom the governor and other officials have called outraged not rebelled Some otkazyvayutsyapovinovatsya his insolent clerks, that the appearance of the enemy, as well as their masters.. , leaving most of the peasants, instead of to take advantage of their good faith and lead them against the enemy. The peasants are beaten, where they can, the enemy troops, armed with rifles taken from them ... no, not farmers should be punished, but the need to replace employees people. I am responsible for it with your head. "

According to the note Benkendorf, Emperor Alexander dismissed the case of a riot.

Oh, I would not occur graph from the Germans but would not be then a gendarme! It would surely and deservedly recorded in the heroes of the Patriotic War of 1812, and stood b one more honorable name beside Bagration, Denis Davydov, Nikolai Rajewski or Jacob Kulneva. Count his party first came to fight in the French to leave Moscow, the Kremlin. His efforts saved many Kremlin shrine, already mined the retreating enemy. Alexander Hristoforovich a lifetime to remember, looked like Assumption Cathedral - the main shrine of Russia - just abandoned by the French:

"I came to the cathedral, which has seen only during the coronation of the emperor shining riches. I was seized with horror, finding Now put upside down godlessness unbridled militarism this venerable temple, which is spared even flames, and made sure that the state in which it was necessary to hide from the eyes of the people. I hurried to impose its stamp on the door and fasten to the door of a strong guard. The relics of the saints were mutilated, their tombs are filled with filth. "

In these few lines - all Benkendorf. As a man and a Russian Orthodox, he deeply and sincerely mourns the desecrated shrines. What sworn red-tape-monger who understands public needs, he hastens to classify, to seal, to provide protection. To enter the common people in the temptation of unnecessary thinking about religion and its attributes. Similarly, the Count did and all over Moscow, interim commandant of which he served before returning to civilian authorities.

Emperor Nicholas I, being thirteen years younger Benkendorf, read it in a brave veteran of World War II, not only the head of the security services and secret Executive Orders. Effect graph in the king - a strong and constant - was determined, of course, not the post of Chief of the Third Section, and the personality of Alexander Khristoforovich. The power of the nobles generally judged not so much by his department, as near to the person of the monarch. At the court always know exactly how many times and with whom His Majesty spoke yesterday or last week. For Benkendorf, reasonable and diplomatic, the emperor was like a stone wall, so take it often and long.

Among the advantages of Benkendorf Nicholas I was impressed by his dullness and predictability. Here sir, I suppose, met a soul mate.

But if the service required a simple courage, unreasoning courage - Benkendorf visited on the spot. The capital`s residents remember his selfless impulse to the famous St. Petersburg flood watch in 1824. AS Griboyedov, whom it was difficult to surprise the courage, spoke of the Neva "Flood":

"At this fatal moment the emperor (Alexander I. - VL) appeared on the balcony of the surrounding him threw one uniform, ran down the throat went into the water, swam after the boat accident rescue This was the Adjutant General Benkendorf... He saved many from drowning. "

At the top of the state pyramid of all human concepts are distorted, let alone the notion of friendship just eh not in the first place. Yet the Emperor Nicholas and Count Benkendorf associated feeling warmer than usual office friendliness. A decisive role was played here on a trip sovereign country. Proclaiming himself a reformer, a new Peter the Great, Nicholas and then broke away, jumped in Finland, then to the Black Sea, then to Moscow, then to Poland, the Ukraine. Place in the road beside the carriage Emperor usually held Benkendorf. The Estates home even minute, fleeting conversation with the emperor was regarded as the highest honor; about him remembered and passed to descendants. But Earl talked with the king during the long runs - days, weeks. Year after year.

In some Penza and Smolensk the Emperor loved to descend suddenly to surprise the governor, officials and the military. Then I had to go risky, without the protection and support. Then the chief police officer, the Minister, was transformed into a mere bodyguard. Benkendorf foresaw that one day such a walk will end badly. In August something happened in 1836 that the king and the Earl called each other "kuvyrkkollegiey". At night on the muddy mountainous road between Penza and Tambov Bolshoy Chembar River at the entrance to a closed carriage overturned. Benkendorf was not injured, but his Majesty deigned to break his collarbone.

Earl, of course, afraid. But soon he calmed down and even gained the ability to reason philosophically:

- Seeing before me, sitting on the bare ground with a broken arm of a powerful lord sixth part of the world, which, apart from me, no one waited, - said Benkendorf, - I was involuntarily struck etoyu clear picture of vanity and pettiness of earthly majesty. Sovereign came the same thought, and we talked about it with the religious feeling, which involuntarily inspired such a minute. We had to travel on foot ...

So that is what nepridvornye (and unfeigned?) Thoughts have visited Alexander Khristoforovich. Only it is unlikely we would know about it, if the king himself, anxious and suffering from pain, would not confirm the opinions of his nobles. Benkendorf not usually relaxed, able to keep the tongue and the pen on a short leash.

That trip to Penza and Tambov was for one of the last count.

The following year, in 1837 he was dangerously ill. His "Spanish flies swarmed, mustard plasters, leeches, forced to swallow almost every minute, God knows what medicine". But this is not saddened experienced courtier. He immediately forget about vanity and insignificance of earthly grandeur and very upset by the decision of the king to go to the Caucasus is not with him, Benkendorf, and with Alexey Orlov. This Orlov then replace Alexander Khristoforovich led the Third Division (note in parenthesis: by Soviet standards Orlov was impossible to appoint the chief of the secret police - the questionnaire bad His brother Michael was not only a leader of the Decembrists, but also the interrogation naderzil himself king.).

Returning from this trip Caucasian, Emperor many hours shared with their impressions Benkendorf. Earl wrote them. And not somehow, and in literary form. From the first person. Who would have thought that a recognized persecuting journalists can not only questioned, but also to interview? It is not without some merits some writers. But the most shocking, with a deep and ruthless Emperor and Benkendorf judge impenetrable stupidity and dishonesty darling state. In the Caucasus, as everywhere, full of abuse: officials, naturally, take bribes, budget money evaporate knows where, the officers chased the soldiers at work in his own behalf, not repairing roads, mountaineers humiliated.

Count records disappointing overall conclusion reached by the king in the Caucasus and voiced general AA Sonya:

"Until now, the local authorities taken as its job is not as it should, instead, to patronize, it only oppressed and irritated; in short, we have created the mountaineers, they are, and often robbed no worse than them I do a lot. I talked about it with Velyaminov, trying to convince him that I do not want victories, and serenity, that personal of his glory, and the interests of Russia must try prigolubit mountaineers and tie them to the Russian power, to familiarize them with the order of the benefits of solid laws and education ; that incessant skirmishes with them, and the eternal struggle just more and more removed from us, and they support the fighting spirit in the tribes, without love of danger and bloodshed. "

Insights and fidelity of this view can only envy. It is written as if the authors are not in the nineteenth century, all this is observed, and in the twenty-first. Russian time seems to stand still. But here`s the rub: no Benkendorf nor Nicholas I to the end of the war in the Caucasus will not survive. The correct understanding and good intentions are not enough, do not help to pacify the Highlanders. Why? Apparently, because the fruit of the tree of history can not pluck earlier than he matures. The same thing happens in other vital areas. On friendly conversations Nicholas I and Alexander Hristoforovich calmly discuss seditious topic - the release of the peasants, to confer peasants land, even on the benefits of Republican rule in comparison with the monarchy. But both agree: all this is premature, and therefore very dangerous.

For almost two decades, Benkendorf constantly accompanied his sovereign. It seems that the head of the secret agencies have no secrets from his majesty. The Emperor knew everything - even heart inclinations of his faithful servants. And the king, and Benkendorf married at the same time in 1817. But this did not prevent both deep understanding about the merits of the other ladies. Benkendorf Elizabeth Andreyevna, nee-Donets Zakharzhevskaya, respectable mother of a family, suspects that her husband is not all day and night gives royal service. But total secrecy detective case helps Alexander Hristoforovich store and its own secrets.

The most scandalous passion Count - Madame Amelie Krudner, a cousin of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. Prominent beauty with the habits of the grand ladies, it is against his will has been given for the old Baron AS Krudner and rewarded themselves gentle friendship with men more light. Smart Benkendorf likely knew that the Baroness loves him Krudner disinterested, extensive use of his money, connections and even official capacity. But later the passion of this graph is not quenched. Not that Amelie and so directly commanded in the Third Section and the gendarmerie. However, Well its influence on the course of events soon exceeded all permissible limits.

The emperor did not delve into the thick mixture alcove and service details, and adopted a simple and wise decision: Baron Krudner appointed Ambassador to Stockholm, where Amelie was supposed to follow her husband. But the Baroness was in no hurry to serve in the Swedish capital. On the day of departure, she fell ill with measles ... and kept in St. Petersburg, a six-week quarantine. The daughter of Nicholas I, Grand Duchess Olga with a wonderful sarcasm recalled:

"The net effect of measles was Nicholas Adlerberg. Adlerberg Knicks, the father took the child to him and gave him his name, but it is true, only after Amelie became his wife."

As you can see, the baroness did not remain faithful to either the husband or even the approximate to the throne of her lover. Poor Benkendorf was supposed to know, not only at the personal, intimate experience, but also in the service. After all, a major scandal in the family of a prominent diplomat.

Since 1837 the influence Benkendorf began to fall. He is sick, more often resting in their Ostsee estate Phalle, is treated in Baden. Death catches up with him in August 1844 on the way from Baden home in Russia. Upon learning of the death of his faithful Khristoforovich Alexander, Nicholas I said befitting the occasion of the historic phrase:

- He`s with anyone I have not quarreled and reconciled to many.

Who were these "many", and remains a mystery emperor. n

Alexander Herzen:

"Outdoor chief of police did not have to think of anything bad; his appearance was quite common Ostsee nobles, and all the German aristocracy, his face wrinkled, tired, he had a deceptively kind look, which often belong to people evasive and apathetic Maybe Benkendorf and did not.. all the evil that could do as chief of this terrible police, standing outside the law and above the law, which had the right to interfere in everything - I am willing to believe it, especially remembering freshwater expression on his face - but the good he has done: on it at he lacked energy, will, heart. Timidity say a word in defense of the persecuted is any crime in the service of such a cold, ruthless man, Nicholas. "