Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy is one of the most significant Russian writers and thinkers. Member of the defense of Sevastopol, educator, publicist, at the end of his life the founder of a new religious and moral teaching – Tolstoyism. Lev Nikolayevich was born on September 9, 1828, in the Krapivensky district of the Tula province, in the hereditary estate of his mother – Yasnaya Polyana. Tolstoy was not even two years old when his mother died. A distant relative, T. A. Ergolskaya, took up the upbringing of orphaned children. At the age of 15, in 1843, Tolstoy became a student at Kazan University. Until 1847, he was preparing here to enter the Oriental Faculty in the category of Arabic-Turkish literature. Having left the university, Tolstoy settled in Yasnaya Polyana in the spring of 1847.
In the autumn of 1851, Tolstoy entered as a cadet in the 4th battery of the 20th artillery brigade, stationed in the Cossack village of Starogladovo, on the banks of the Terek, near Kizlyar. At the end of 1853, the Crimean War broke out, Tolstoy transferred to the Danube army, participated in the battle of Oltenitsa and the siege of Silistria, and from November 1854 to the end of August 1855 was in Sevastopol.
All the horrors, hardships, and suffering that befell his heroic defenders were also endured by Tolstoy. He lived for a long time on the terrible 4th bastion, commanded a battery in the battle of Chernaya, and was during the hellish bombardment during the assault on Malakhov Kurgan. In 1861-1862, Tolstoy completed The Cossacks, conceived back in 1852, the first of the works in which Tolstoy’s great talent reached the size of a genius, and between 1863-1878 Lev Nikolayevich created War and Peace and Anna Karenina.
Unprecedented success fell to the lot of “War and Peace”. An excerpt from a novel entitled “1805” appeared in Russkiy Vestnik in 1865. In 1868, three of its parts were published, followed shortly by the other two. The infinitely joyful intoxication with the bliss of being is no longer in Anna Karenina, which dates back to 1873-76. Anna Karenina suffered a very strange fate: everyone paid full tribute to surprise and admiration for the technical skill with which it was written, but no one understood the hidden meaning of the novel. Lev Nikolaevich lost all desire to enjoy the prosperity he had achieved. He had “nothing to live with” because he could not understand the purpose and meaning of life. In January 1871, Tolstoy sent A.A. A letter to Fet: “How happy I am … that I will never write verbose rubbish like “War” again.”
Tolstoy was not only a novelist but also an essayist, philosopher, and moral thinker. He explored various themes in his works, such as love, family, war, and social inequality, and delved into the complexities of human nature and societal issues. His writing style was characterized by its psychological depth, meticulous attention to detail, and ability to capture the nuances of human emotions and behaviors.
In addition to his contributions to literature, Tolstoy was an advocate for pacifism, nonviolent resistance, and spiritual awakening. He developed his own moral and philosophical system, which he called Tolstoyanism or Christian anarchism, which emphasized the importance of living a simple, honest, and meaningful life.
Tolstoy’s influence extended far beyond his literary works. His ideas on nonviolence and moral living inspired notable figures like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. He remains a highly revered figure in Russian culture and continues to be widely read and studied around the world.
Tolstoy’s life was marked by personal and spiritual struggles, including a search for meaning and a pursuit of religious faith. He passed away on November 20, 1910, leaving behind a rich legacy of literature and philosophical thought that continues to captivate readers and inspire thinkers to this day.
Tortured by his belonging to high society, and the opportunity to live better than the peasants who were nearby, Tolstoy in October 1910, fulfilling his decision to live his last years by his views, secretly left Yasnaya Polyana, renouncing the “circle of the rich and scientists.” He began his last journey at the Kozlova Zasek station. On the way, he fell ill with pneumonia and was forced to make a stop at the small station Astapovo (now Lev Tolstoy, Lipetsk region), where he died on November 20, 1910.