Benkendorff, Aleksandr

(1783–1844)
   Tsar Nicholas I appointed Benkendorff to serve as the first director of the Third Section in 1826. Benkendorff expanded the authority of the Third Section and its Corps of Gendarmes to monitor public dissent.
   Benkendorff’s most famous case was the persecution of the philosopher Petr Chaadaev, who was officially judged insane for his Philosophical Letters, which took a pessimistic view of Russia’s past, present, and future. Beckendorff also ordered the surveillance of Russian dissidents living aboard, such as Aleksandr Herzen. Benkendorff was of Baltic German descent and had fought in the Napoleonic Wars. An extreme conservative, he played a key role in convincing Nicholas I that in the aftermath of the Decembrist risings a modern security service was a vital necessity to protect the autocracy. Like his tsarist and Soviet successors, he tended to exaggerate the threat of dissent while insisting on greater power for the political police.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Alexander von Benckendorff — Count Alexander von Benckendorff, ( ru. граф Александр Христофорович Бенкендорф, Aleksandr Khristoforovich Benkendorf , OldStyleDate|4 July|1781|23 June or 1783 OldStyleDate|5 October|1844|23 September) was a Russian Lieutenant General and… …   Wikipedia

  • Third Section —    Following a failed coup by liberal officers in December 1825, Tsar Nicholas I sanctioned the first modern Russian security service, the Third Section of the Imperial Chancery in 1826. The Decembrist risings indicated to Nicholas and his more… …   Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence

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