AKA Nikolai Ivanovich Novikov
Birthplace: Avdotin, Bronnitsky, Russia
Location of death: Bronnitsky, Russia
Cause of death: unspecified
Religion: Russian Orthodox
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Critic, Author
Executive summary: Early Russian critic, The Drone
In 1769, Catherine the Great established Russia's first-ever satirical journal, "Odds and Ends", notable as it indicated the autocrat's acceptance of some degree of criticism of society and the state, mostly unthinkable in Russia up to that point. Following her lead, Nikolai Novikov published a series of short-lived journals in a similar vein, including "The Drone" (1769-70), "The Painter", and "The Babbler", which poked at society with frequent criticism of gallomania (worship of all things French, prevalent in Russia during the late 18th century). Novikov stopped publishing his satires following the bloody Pugachev rebellion in 1774.
Novikov served as a Russian emmisary to the Prussian court in the late 1770s, joining Freemasonry there and becoming actively involved in the society upon his return to Russia in 1779. Freemasonry was popular among the Moscow nobility, both for its mystical aspects and for its system of ethics and virtues; working to educate the nobility, Masons began the first large-scale publishing operation outside the government. Novikov was prominent in this effort, but ran afoul of the government's regulations on the publication of religious texts without permission of Orthodox church. In 1792, he was arrested and imprisoned on a 15 year sentence, only to be freed four years later when Catherine died and was succeeded by her son Paul, who attempted to reverse many of her policies.
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