Voluinsky, Artemy Petrovich
VOLUINSKY, ARTEMY PETROVICH (1689-1740), Russian general and statesman, son of Peter Voluinsky, one of the dignitaries at the court of. Theodore III., came of an ancient family. He entered a dragoon regiment in 1704 and rose to the rank of captain; then, exchanging the military service for diplomacy, he was attached to the suite of Vice- Chancellor Shafirov. He was present during the campaign of the Pruth, shared Shafirov's captivity in the Seven Towers and in 1715 was sent by Peter the Great to Persia to promote Russian influence there, and if possible to find an outlet to India. In 1718 Peter made him one of his six adjutant-generals, and governor of Astrakhan. In this post Voluinsky displayed distinguished administrative and financial talents. In 1723 he married Alexandra Naruishkina, Peter's cousin. The same year he was accused of peculation and other offences to the emperor, who caned him severely and deprived him of his plenipotentiary powers, despite his undeniable services in Persia, but for which Peter could never have emerged so triumphantly from the difficult Persian war of 1722-23. Catherine I. made Voluinsky governor of Kazan for a short time, and he held the same post for two years (1728-30) under Peter II. But his incurable corruption and unbridled temper so discredited the government that he was deprived of the post shortly after the accession of Anne. From 1730 to 1736 Voluinsky served in the army under Miinnich. In 1737 he was appointed the second Russian plenipotentiary at the abortive congress of Nemirov held for the conclusion of peace with the Porte. In 1738 he was introduced into the Russian cabinet by Biren as a counterpoise against Andrei Osterman. Voluinsky, however, now thought himself strong enough to attempt to supersede Biren himself, and openly opposed the favourite in the Council of State in the debates as to the indemnity due to Poland for the violations of her territory during the war of the Polish Succession, Biren advising that a liberal indemnity should be given, whereas Voluinsky objected to any indemnity at all. Biren thereupon forced Anne to order an inquiry into Voluinsky's past career, with the result that he was tried before a tribunal of Biren's creatures and condemned to be broken on the wheel and then beheaded. On the scaffold, " by the clemency of the empress," his punishment was mitigated to the severing of his right hand followed by decapitation. The whole business seems to have been purely a piece of vindictiveness on the part of Biren.
See R. N. Bain, The Pupils of Peter the Great (London, 1897) ; D. A. Korsakov, From the Lives of Russian Statesmen of the X Vlllth Century (Rus.) (Kazan, 1891). (R. N. B.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)