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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V23, Page 755 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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COUNT FEODOR VASSILIEVICH ROSTOPTSCHIN (1763-1826), Russian general, was born on the 23rd of March 1763, in the government of Orel. He had great influence with the Tsar Paul, who made him in 1796 adjutant-general, grand-marshal of the court, then minister of the interior. In 1799 he received the title of count. He was disgraced in 18oI for his opposition to the French alliance, but was restored to favour in 181o, and was shortly afterwards appointed military governor of Moscow. He was therefore charged with its defence against Napoleon, and took every means to rouse the population of the town and district against the invader. He has been generally charged with instigating the burning of Moscow the day after the French had made their entry; it is certain that the prisons were opened by his order, and that he took no means to stop the outbreak. He defended himself against the charge of incendiarism in a pamphlet printed in Paris in 1823, La Verite sur l'incendie de Moscou, but he subsequently made grave admissions. Shortly after the congress of Vienna, to which he had accompanied the Tsar Alexander, he was disgraced. He only returned to Russia in 1825, and died at Moscow on the 12th of February of the next year. His Memoires ecrits en dix minutes were posthumously published at St Petersburg in 1853, his CEuvres inedites in Paris in 1894. A partial account of his life was written by his grandson A. de Segue (Paris, 1872). See also Varnhagen von Ense, Denkwurdigkeiten, vol. ix.; G. Tzenoff, Wer hat Moskau im Jahre 1812 in Brand gesteckt (Berlin, 1900). ROSTOV-ON-THE-DON, a seaport of Russia, in the territory of the Don Cossacks, well situated on the high right bank of the Don, 13 M. from its mouth in the Sea of Azov. In 1731 a small fort was erected on an island in the Don, near its mouth. Thirty years later the fortifications were transferred to the site now occupied by Rostov, 5 M. above the head of the first branch of the delta of the Don. The Don, which has here a breadth of 23o to 250 yds., with a hardly perceptible current, offers an excellent roadstead. The navigation, however, is considerably impeded by the shallowness of the river. Dredging operations have but partially remedied this. Moreover, the river is frost-bound for more than one hundred days in the year. The population has grown rapidly: while in 1881 it was 70,700, in 1807 it numbered 119,889, and in 1905 126,375, exclusive of the suburbs; if these, which comprise Nakhichevan (32,582 in 1905) be included, the population is well over 16o,000, a figure which is still further swollen in the summer by the influx of about 6o.000 men, who find work in connexion with the shipment of grain for export. The permanent population includes 15,000 Jews, 5000 Armenians, with Tatars, Poles, Germans and others. In Nakhichevan there are 20,500 Armenians. Owing to its situation on the navigable river Don and at the junction of three railways, radiating to north-western Russia, Caucasia and the Volga respectively, Rostov has become the chief sea-port of south-east ern Russia, being second in importance on the Black Sea to Odessa only. It is the chief centre for the supply of agricultural machinery to the steppe governments of south-eastern Russia. On an average, £3,000,000 to £4,000,000 worth of wheat, about £1,000,000 worth of rye, and over £1,500,000 worth of barley are exported annually, besides oats, flax, linseed, rape seed, oilcake, bran, flour, vegetable oils, raw wool and caviare. The imports average between four and five millions sterling annually, and consist largely of agricultural machinery. There are a shipbuilding yard, flour-mills, tobacco factories, iron works, machinery works, distilleries, soap works, timber mills, bell foundries, paper mills and rope works. Rostov is the chief centre of steam flour-mills for south-eastern Russia and Caucasia. Two fairs, one of which has considerable importance for the whole of south-eastern Russia, are held here yearly. Rostov has excellent fisheries. The town has a cathedral, a fine town hall (1897-99), navigation schools, technical schools, and a good municipal library.

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