Ignatiev, Nicholas Pavlovich, Count

IGNATIEV, NICHOLAS PAVLOVICH, COUNT (1832-1908), Russian diplomatist, was born at St Petersburg on the 2gth of January 1832. His father, Captain Paul Ignatiev, had been taken into favour by the tsar Nicholas I., owing to his fidelity on the occasion of the military conspiracy in 1825; and the grand duke Alexander (afterwards tsar) stood sponsor at the boy's baptism. At the age of seventeen he became an officer of the Guards. His diplomatic career began at the congress of Paris, after the Crimean War, where he took an active part as military attache in the negotiations regarding the rectification of the Russian frontier on the Lower Danube. Two years later (1858) he was sent with a small escort on a dangerous mission to Khiva and Bokhara. The khan of Khiva laid a plan for detaining him as a hostage, but he eluded the danger and returned safely, after concluding with the khan of Bokhara a treaty of friendship. His next diplomatic exploit was in the Far East, as plenipotentiary to the court of Peking. When the Chinese government was terrified by the advance of the AngloFrench expedition of 1860 and the burning of the Summer Palace, he worked on their fears so dexterously that he obtained for Russia not only the left bank of the Amur, the original object of the mission, but also a large extent of territory and sea-coast south of that river. This success was supposed to prove his capacity for dealing with Orientals, and paved his way to the post of ambassador at Constantinople, which he occupied from 1864 till 1877. Here his chief aim was to liberate from Turkish domination and bring under the influence of Russia the Christian nationalities in general and the Bulgarians in particular. His restless activity in this field, mostly of a semiofficial and secret character, culminated in the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878, at the close of which he negotiated with the Turkish plenipotentiaries the treaty of San Stefano. As the war which he had done so much to bring about did not eventually secure for Russia advantages commensurate with the sacrifices involved, he fell into disfavour, and retired from active service. Shortly after the accession of Alexander III. in 1881, he was appointed minister of the interior on the understanding that he would carry out a nationalist, reactionary policy, but his shifty ways and his administrative incapacity so displeased his imperial master that he was dismissed in the following year. After that time he exercised no important influence in public affairs. He died on the 3rd of July 1908.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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