Online Encyclopedia

MICHAEL NIKIFOROVICH KATKOV (ISI8-1887)

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Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 696 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MICHAEL NIKIFOROVICH KATKOV (ISI8-1887), Russian journalist, was born in Moscow in 1818. On finishing his course at the university he devoted himself to literature and philosophy, and showed so little individuality that during the reign of Nicholas I. he never once came into disagreeable contact with the authorities. With the Liberal reaction and strong reform movement which characterized the earlier years of Alexander II.'s reign (1855-1881) he thoroughly sympathized, and for some time he warmly advocated the introduction of liberal institutions of the British type, but when he perceived that the agitation was assuming a Socialistic and Nihilist tinge, and that in some quarters of the Liberal camp indulgence was being shown to Polish national aspirations, he gradually modified his attitude until he came to be regarded by the Liberals as a renegade. At the beginning of 1863 he assumed the management and editorship of the Moscow Gazette, and he retained that position till his death in 1887. During these twenty-four years he exercised considerable influence on public opinion and even on the Government, by representing with great ability the moderately Conservative spirit of Moscow in opposition to the occasionally ultra-Liberal and always cosmopolitan spirit of St Petersburg. With the Slavophils he agreed in advocating the extension of Russian influence in south-eastern Europe, but he carefully kept aloof from them and condemned their archaeological and ecclesiastical sentimentality. Though generally temperate in his views, he was extremely incisive and often violent in his modes of expressing them, so that he made many enemies and sometimes incurred the displeasure of the press-censure and the ministers, against which he was more than once protected by Alexander III. in consideration of his able advocacy of national interests. He is remembered chiefly as an energetic opponent of Polish national aspirations, of extreme Liberalism, of the system of public instruction based on natural science, and of German political influence. In this last capacity he helped to prepare the way for the Franco-Russian alliance.
End of Article: MICHAEL NIKIFOROVICH KATKOV (ISI8-1887)
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