Radishchev, Aleksandr Nikolayevich [key], 1749–1802, Russian writer and liberal. Of a noble family, he studied in Leipzig and there came under the influence of French Enlightenment thinkers. His most important work is A Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow, which he issued from his own press in 1790 (tr. 1858). Although in form it is modeled on Laurence Sterne's Sentimental Journey, in content it is an outspoken attack on serfdom and a plea for peasant emancipation and ownership of the land. Catherine II was enraged and exiled Radishchev to Siberia. All of his books were ordered destroyed. He was allowed by Paul I to return to his estate in 1797 and was granted full pardon by Alexander I in 1801, but, broken by exile, he committed suicide the next year.
See biography by D. M. Lang (1959); studies by J. V. Clardy (1964) and A. McConnell (1964).
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