Bestuzhev-Marlinsky A. A.

Alexander Alexandrovich Bestuzhev (1797 – 1837) was a Russian poet and writer best known for his historic novels, published under the pen name Marlinsky.

An offspring of the influential and wealthy Bestuzhev family, he received a great education and, like many aristocratic young men, was groomed for military service.
Having failed mathematics exam required to enter the navy, he ended up serving as a dragoon. Despite a fairly successful military career and promotion to officer, Bestuzhev became disillusioned in the service and followed his four brothers when they joined the anti-monarchy Decembrist group.

Not nearly as radical as other members, Bestuzhev’s primary reason for joining the conspiracy was the participation of his brothers and friends. This, and his confession during the trial following the failed Decembrist coup (December 26, 1825) served as extenuating circumstances, resulting in a brief (year and a half) prison term and exile to Yakutia. This may seem severe, but was, in fact, a fairly light sentence compare to execution of key participants, and lengthy prison terms and lifelong exiles for others.

In 1829, Bestuzhev was able to secure a pardon for himself and was transferred to the 14th Chasseurs regiment serving in the Caucasus. He was initially stripped of his rank and demoted to private, but having proved himself as an exemplary soldier with many an act of bravery behind his shoulders, he was promoted back to officer in 1836. He was killed on June 18, 1837 in a skirmish with Circassians.

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