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Muraviev, Mikhail 
Nikolaevic (Nikolaevič)


MURAVIEV, Mikhail Nikolaevič (l796-1866), Russian statesman and
administrator, governor general of the Northwest Territory, which included Lithuania and Belorussia, from 1863-65, born in St. Petersburg on Oct. 1,
1796. In his youth Muraviev was associated with liberal Russian secret societies, and was briefly imprisoned after the unsuccessful Decembrist revolt of 1825. He was released, however, and s'oon began to rise rapidly
in the tsarist bureaucracy. As governor of Mogilev (1828-31), Muraviev repeatedly petitioned Nicholas I to abolish the Lithuanian Statute in the western provinces and implement a program of Russification in Lithuania. During the Polish-Lithuanian revolt of 1831 Muraviev was in charge of pacifying Belorussia and southeastern Lithuania. As minister of state domains (1857-61), he actively opposed the abolition of serfdom and left government service after the emancipation. On May 1, 1863 Muraviev was
appointed governor general of the Northwest Territory, which included all of the Lithuanian provinces, and was given extraordinary powers to deal with the anti-Russian rebellion that had engulfed most of Lithuania and Poland. He left his post on May 1, 1865. Muraviev was made a Count in April, 1866 and died on Aug. 31 of the same year.
Muraviev is best known in Lithuanian and Russian history for his harsh suppression of the 1863 rebellion in Lithuania. He reinforced the local Russian forces and energetically pursued Lithuanian rebel detachments until the entire country was pacified by late 1864. Muraviev also instituted a reign of terror throughout Lithuania. He carried out over 200 public executions, including that of Rev. Antanas Mackevičius (q.v.), who had led peasant guerrillas against Russian troops in western Lithuania. Muraviev also ordered the burning of entire villages and the deportation of their inhabitants, including women and children, to central Russia and Siberia. By his own reckoning, Muraviev deported 1,427 persons to Siberia and exiled
over 1,500 people to various parts of Russia. Over 4,000 were "resettled" outside Lithuania. More than 2,000 persons were either jailed, forcibly recruited into the army or sentenced to forced labor. The actual toll during Muraviev's pacification of Lithuania was probably higher.
In addition to his military activity and civilian terror, Muraviev also introduced a program of Russification in Lithuania. He was especially active against the Polonized Lithuanian nobility and the Catholic Church. He believed that the nobility and the Church were the driving forces behind the in- surrection in Lithuania and proposed to the tsar a program to deal with these institutions. This program called for the closing of all Catholic monasteries suspected of harboring rebels, limiting the Church's power in ecclesiastical administration, the elimination of the Polish language from all Lithuanian schools and the removal from office of local Polish and Lithuanian officials. All of these measures were implemented to some degree during Muraviev's tenure as governor general in Vilnius. Over 30 monasteries were closed and the entire Catholic primary sch'ool system was shut down. Muraviev attacked the nobility in Lithuania economically by levying a tax of 10% on the incomes of Polish and Lithuanian landowners, while the rates for German and Russian nobles were 3% and 1% respectively. To increase the Russian presence in Lithuania, Muraviev advocated the introduction of Russian primary schools, Russian Orthodox missionary activity among the local inhabitants and the appointment of more Russian officials to the Lithuanian provinces. He increased the number of Russian landowners in Lithuania by confiscating the estates of imprisoned and deported nobles and parceling them out to Russians. Also Russian peasants, especially Old Believers, came to settle in Lithuania during this time. Muraviev tried to use the Lithuanian peasantry against the Polonized nobility. By reducing the peasants' redemption payments and increasing their land allotments he hoped to make them allies of the Russian government in its struggle with the nobility. The policy had only limited success. Like other contemporary Slavophiles, Muraviev mistakenly believed that most Lithuanian peasants were basically Russians who were under the "pernicious" cultural influence 'of the Polish nobility and the Catholic Church.
In an effort to Russify the Lithuanian peasantry and reduce the influence of the Church in the countryside, Muraviev banned the publication of Lithuanian books in the Latin alphabet in the summer of 1864. This ban was formally proclaimed by General Kaufman, Muraviev's successor, in September 1865; it was instigated by Ivan P. Kornilov (q.v.), curator of the Vilnius educational district, who hoped by this to reduce the influence of the Catholic clergy among the peasants. Lithuanian books were now permitted only in the Cyrillic script. The ban on the Latin alphabet met bitter resistance from both the Lithuanian peasants and the Catholic Church and eventually proved a total failure.
Muraviev had a great impact on nineteenth century Lithuanian history. For most Lithuanians he became a symbol of Russian repression and was widely known simply as "The Hangman" (Korikas). More important, Muraviev's ban on the Latin alphabet and his anti-Catholic policies gave rise to the remarkable knygneSiat (q.v.) movement which, in turn, was a key factor in the emergence of the Lithuanian national movement in the nineteenth century.
Bibl.: M. N. Muraviev, "Graf M. N. Muraviev: zapiski ego Ob upravlenie v severo-zapadnom kraie i ob usmirenie v nem miatezhna," Russkaia starina, XII (1882). I-V (1883). VI (1884) ; C. R. Jurgela. Lietuvos sukilimas 1862-1864 metais, Boston, 1970; A. N. Mosolov, Vilenskie ocherki 1863-1865 gg., St. Petersburg, 1898; A. Janulaitis, 1863-1865 m. sakilimas Lietuvoje, Kaunas, 1921; P. Šležas, "Muravjevo veikimas Lietuvoje," Athenaeum, IV (1933, 46-86; Kornilov, Pamiati grafa M, N. Muravievo/ St. 'Retersburg, 1898.
Text from the ENCYCLOPEDIA LITUANICA I-VI.  Boston, 1970-1978