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Fyodor Raskolnikov

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Title: Fyodor Raskolnikov  
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Fyodor Raskolnikov

Fyodor Raskolnikov

Fyodor Fyodorovich Raskolnikov (Russian: Фёдор Фёдорович Раскольников; (28 January 1892, Saint Petersburg, Russia – 12 September 1939, Nice, France),[1] real name Fyodor Ilyin (Russian: Фёдор Ильин), was a Bolshevik, participant in the October Revolution, commander of Red fleets on the Caspian and the Baltic during the Russian Civil War, and later a Soviet diplomat.[1] The pseudonym Raskolnikov most probably came from Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, the fictional protagonist of Crime and Punishment, the novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky.


Early life

Fyodor Raskolnikov was born out of wedlock to a general's daughter, A. V. Ilyina, and an Orthodox priest F.A. Petrov[2] (according to other sources, archpriest Sergushenkov[1]). He graduated from Prince Oldenburgsky Orphanage,[2] studied at Saint Petersburg Polytechnical Institute, and then at the Midshipman (gardemarin) School in Saint Petersburg.[1]

In 1910 he entered the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. In 1917 he received the Naval rank of Midshipman (michman) but he never participated in World War I.[1]


In March 1917 he was sent to the sea fortress of Kronstadt Mutiny in July 1917. He was arrested by troops loyal to the Russian Provisional Government but released on October 11, 1917, a few weeks before the October Revolution.[1]

Remainder of the revolution

In November 1917 Raskolnikov with a group of Kronstadt seamen was sent to fight anti-Bolshevik insurgents in Moscow. He was elected to the Russian Constituent Assembly. On 29 January 1918 he became the deputy Narkom of "Naval Affairs".[1] In July 1918, he was sent to the Eastern Front, as the Commissar (member of Revvoeyensovet) of the Eastern Front. On the Eastern Front, he commanded (since August 1918) the Red Volga Flotilla, which participated in the Kazan Operation.[3]

Raskolnikov was promoted to membership of the Revvoeyensovet of RSFSR on (September 2, 1918). At the end of 1918 he became the deputy commander of the 7th Army and the Commissar of the Baltic Fleet.[1]

Some time during 1918, Raskolnikov married Larisa Reisner.

Monument to the sailors of Raskolnikov's and Markin's Volga Flotilla in Nizhny Novgorod

While commanding a fleet consisting of a battleship, cruiser and two destroyers that was supposed to counter the British fleet, he became a prisoner of war when his destroyer Spartak was captured by the Royal Navy in the beginning of 1919.[1] On May 27, 1919 he was exchanged for 17 British prisoners of war and became the commander of the Caspian Flotilla.[1]

Under his command the flotilla attacked the British base at Enzeli, on the 18th of May 1920.[4]

Soviet service

During the Trade Union debate (1920) Raskolnikov supported Leon Trotsky. In June 1920 – January 1921 Raskolnikov commanded the Baltic Fleet. During his tenure relations between the commanding officers and seamen deteriorated and ended with the Kronstadt Rebellion. A month later Raskolnikov was removed from that command.[1]

During 1921–1923 Raskolnikov was the ambassador to Afghanistan (the first country that established diplomatic relations with RSFSR). Raskolnikov's actions caused a diplomatic rift with Great Britain and the British government insisted on his removal. Eventually he was replaced.[1]

From 1930 Raskolnikov was the plenipotentiary representative to Estonia, then Denmark, then Bulgaria.

In March 1938 he was recalled to the USSR.

On April 1, 1938 he refused to return. In 1939 he published his famous Open Letter to Stalin, and promptly died from "falling out of a window." According to historian Roy Medvedev he might have been assassinated by NKVD agents.[1] There are theories that the assassin might have been Sergei Efron, husband of the poet Marina Tsvetayeva.[2]

Raskolnikov was posthumously rehabilitated in 1963.[1]

Literary career

During 1924–1930 Raskolnikov was the editor-in-chief of the literary magazine "Molodaya Gvardiya" (later also publishing house Moskovsky Rabochy). From 1928 he was the chairman of the Repertory Committee, the de facto main censor of theatre and cinematography. He also wrote his own play Robespierre which even servile critics labelled "dry and boring".[1]

See also

External links

  • Tales of Sub-Lieutenant Ilyin.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Zalessky K.A. Stalin Imperia Moscow, Veche, 2002 citing by [1] (Russian)
  2. ^ a b c Online biography based on Zaytsev V.S. Voprosy Istorii KPSS N12 1963, etc. (Russian)
  3. ^ Brian Pearce, Introduction to Fyodor Raskolnikov s "Tales of Sub-lieutenant Ilyin."
  4. ^ The Taking of Enzeli, by F.F. Raskolnikov
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Adolf Petrovsky
Plenipotentiary Representative of the Soviet Union in Estonia
Succeeded by
Aleksey Ustinov
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