Maria Raevskaya: biography, personal life. Volkonskaya Maria Nikolaevna

History 2023

Table of contents:

Maria Raevskaya: biography, personal life. Volkonskaya Maria Nikolaevna
Maria Raevskaya: biography, personal life. Volkonskaya Maria Nikolaevna

This slender and beautiful young lady with black curls of thick hair won the heart of Pushkin himself, who considered her his muse in poetry. Writer Nikolai Nekrasov immortalized her image in the immortal poem "Russian Women". It is in this work that he describes in detail the character of the wife of the Decembrist, who makes desperate self-sacrifice in order to save the family. Maria Raevskaya, a noblewoman by birth, dared to share the difficult fate of her husband and followed him into exile in Siberia. Of course, her act should be regarded as a feat that only the elect could accomplish. And although she did not have deep feelings for Prince Volkonsky, Maria Raevskaya fulfilled her duty to him. What is known about the biography of the noblewoman? Let's take a closer look at this issue.

Years of childhood and youth

Volkonskaya Maria Nikolaevna (nee Raevskaya) was born on January 6, 1806 in the estate of Voronka, Chernihiv province. Her father (Nikolai Nikolaevich) was a famousan officer who participated in the most important military campaigns of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Maria Raevskaya

Mother (Sofya Alekseevna) was related to the scientist Mikhail Lomonosov. Parents did everything necessary to ensure that Maria Raevskaya received a decent upbringing and education within the walls of the estate. The family, who often visited Kyiv and St. Petersburg, had close ties with educated and intelligent people. In her youth, Maria learned to play the piano well and perfectly mastered several foreign languages, she loved to read books from the home library. Before the eyes of her father and mother, Masha turned into a slender and beautiful young lady with a smooth and slightly arrogant gait. No wonder that fifteen-year-old Maria Raevskaya made the heart of the great poet beat unevenly. He literally began to idolize her.

Volkonsky and Pushkin

A lot has been written about Alexander Sergeevich's friendship with the Raevskys. But when he met them is still not known for certain. He dedicated his best poems to the members of this family, not hiding that he was proud of his friendship with them. The poet, in a poem dedicated to V. Davydov, respectfully calls the family of the Russian officer "My Rayevskys …". Moreover, he addressed many letters to the Voronka estate. Pushkin in a veiled form mentions the family in his poems. Some images from the immortal poem "Eugene Onegin" are directly written off from the Raevsky sisters.

Volkonskaya Maria Nikolaevna

Alexander Sergeevich, talking with the family of a participant in the Battle of Borodino, wanted to learn philosophy anddeep secrets of the Russian intelligentsia of the 19th century. The poet traveled a lot with the Raevskys, visiting the Crimea, the Caucasus, and southern Russia.

Daughter of an illustrious officer and great poet

Now it is clear that Maria Raevskaya appeared in Pushkin's life for a reason.

Back in 1820, the poet went on a trip with the Raevskys to the Caucasus. She was 15 years old, he was 21. Maria Nikolaevna recalled how, traveling in a carriage with her sister, governess and Pushkin, they stopped to admire the sea. The young lady wanted to get closer to the water, and young Alexander, anticipating her desire, followed her. The poet will later describe his sensual impulse in the first chapter of "Eugene Onegin":

"…I remember the sea before the storm:

How I envied the waves, Running in a stormy successionLie down at her feet with love!"

This is just one of many fragments that testify that Maria Raevskaya really played the first violin in Pushkin's work…

An unforgettable trip

And then there was a romantic trip to Gurzuf. The poet and the Raevsky family stayed at the luxurious estate of the Duke of Richelieu.

Maria Raevskaya in the life of Pushkin

The most picturesque nature - mountains, sea, green gardens - disposed to romance, and, naturally, Alexander Sergeevich began to show interest in Maria Nikolaevna. But not to her alone. Her sisters also fascinated Pushkin with their youth and beauty. Especially the eldest daughter of Nikolai Nikolaevich, who by nature was a modest and serious young lady. Days spent with the Raevsky family inGurzuf, were the happiest in the life of the great poet. He enjoyed reading poems to the daughters of the general, discussing with them the works of Byron and Voltaire.

It didn't work out…

But did Pushkin and Maria Raevskaya get closer to each other? The love story of this couple, of course, interested everyone who admired the talent of the poet. However, in addition to friendship, the future wife of the Decembrist did not experience strong and deep feelings for Alexander Sergeevich. Moreover, Maria noticed that young Alexander was also not indifferent to her sisters. But they also did not take the poet seriously. But Pushkin's poems meant a lot to Maria Raevskaya. She admired how Alexander masterfully mastered rhyme and the ability to express feelings and emotions on paper. And yet, the passion for young Masha gradually grew into true love. And Pushkin, being shy with the object of his passion, perhaps, in the end, dared to speak about his feeling, but he never achieved reciprocity. Subsequently, Alexander Sergeevich was seriously worried about unrequited love, which, of course, was reflected in his work.

Maria Raevskaya in the works of Pushkin

What is worth only one "Fountain of Bakhchisaray", which, according to Gustav Olizare, became a bright dedication to Maria Nikolaevna. Pushkin continued to communicate with his muse in the city on the Neva and Moscow.

And yet, according to some experts, there was a period when Raevskaya was not indifferent to the author of "Eugene Onegin". We are talking about the first half of the 1920s, when Maria Nikolaevna and Alexander Sergeevich met in Odessa. Shortly beforeAfter this, the girl addressed Pushkin a letter in which she admitted that she greatly misses his company. However, at that time, Pushkin had already cooled somewhat towards his muse and decided to tell her about it in person. He did just that. After that, Maria Raevskaya, whose biography contains many interesting and remarkable facts, hastened to leave Odessa for Kyiv.

The last time the poet saw his muse was in the winter of 1826, shortly before her departure for exile. One way or another, but Maria Raevskaya left a big mark in Pushkin's life.

Failed Husband

However, in an effort to win the attention of young Masha, Alexander Sergeevich once had a competitor. We are talking about the Polish count Gustav Olizar, who, like Pushkin, was engaged in poetry. The nobleman was also struck by the appearance of Maria Nikolaevna. In 1824, he even wooed a young lady, but Nikolai Nikolaevich opposed this idea, because he was very embarrassed by the Polish roots of a potential son-in-law.

Volkonskaya Maria Nikolaevna wife of the Decembrist

Moreover, later Pushkin repeatedly met with his counterpart and talked with him on literary topics. One way or another, but the daughter of General Raevsky did not have love feelings for the Pole Olizar, and he was very upset about this. Maria Nikolaevna did not want to connect her fate with the "straightforward" gentry, because the differences in the Russian and Polish way of life seemed too deep to her.


After some time, fate will bring Maria Raevskaya to thirty-six-year-old Prince Sergei Volkonsky, whobelonged to a noble family. In his youth, he served as a lieutenant of the Life Guards Cavalier Guard Regiment. Having gained experience in military affairs, Volkonsky showed himself well in the battles of 1806-1807. Then he participated in the First Patriotic War and foreign campaigns. Having risen to the rank of general, Volkonsky returned to his homeland. In the early 1920s, the prince was given command of an entire infantry division. Any officer could envy his military career. The only incident that haunted Sergei Grigorievich was that he led a bachelor's life, although he was already over thirty. He, like many members of the Russian elite, regularly visited Masonic lodges.

Maria Raevskaya biography

The prince had membership in the Southern Society and often visited the city on the Neva for negotiations. Moreover, with his associates, he discussed the idea of ​​​​destroying monarchs and establishing a republican form of government in the country.


In 1824, Sergei Grigorievich was in a hurry to Kyiv "on a very important matter." He intended to propose to Maria Nikolaevna Volkonskaya and hoped that her father would bless their union. The prince knew the family of General Raevsky very well and was happy to visit their estate, sometimes arranging "magnetic sessions", which in reality were ordinary meetings with members of the Masonic lodge. He asked his colleague Orlov to petition for him before Nikolai Nikolaevich and find out if he agreed to marry Maria Nikolaevna. And Prince Raevsky eventually gave in, because the financi althe position of his family was seriously shaken, and Volkonsky was a we althy man. And although Maria Nikolaevna did not feel anything for Sergei Grigorievich, she decided to obey the will of her father. For the sake of the interests of her own family, she sacrificed herself. Yes, and after a meeting with Pushkin in Odessa, life for her to some extent lost its meaning.

Some time after her marriage, Volkonskaya Maria Nikolaevna fell ill, and in order to restore her he alth, she had to leave for Odessa. The prince could not accompany her because of the service. And there was no spiritual closeness between Sergei Grigorievich and Raevsky's daughter. He could not take care of her even at the moment when the princess became pregnant. The birth was difficult and had a negative impact on the he alth of Maria Nikolaevna.

A twist of fate

And then she found out about her husband's arrest. The conspirators suffered a harsh fate: the emperor ordered them to be exiled to Siberia. Sergei Volkonsky received 20 years of hard labor. Maria decided not to leave her husband and go after him.

Volkonskaya Maria children

However, her parents were very critical of her idea. But Volkonskaya Maria Nikolaevna (the wife of the Decembrist), who inherited her father's character, showed integrity and ignored the opinion of her relatives. She visited the Blagodatsky mine, the Petrovsky plant, and Chita. The daughter of General Raevsky shared with her husband all the hardships of exile life. Volkonskaya Maria endured truly severe and difficult trials. The children of the princess died: first Nikolai, who remained in the care of relatives, and two years later, his daughterSofia, born in exile. In the autumn of 1829, General Nikolai Nikolayevich Raevsky died.

In Irkutsk, Maria lived in the house of the mayor. In the second half of the 1930s, Princess Maria Nikolaevna Volkonskaya, with her husband and children, moved to a settlement in the village of Urik, located not far from Irkutsk.

Long awaited freedom

Only in 1856 Volkonsky was allowed to return to his homeland under an amnesty. By that time, the he alth of Maria Nikolaevna was seriously undermined. After arriving from Siberia, she began to write autobiographical memoirs. Her Notes has been reprinted numerous times.


The Princess died on August 10, 1863. Doctors diagnosed her with heart disease. Maria Nikolaevna was buried in her native village of Voronki, Chernihiv province.

Popular topic