Nikolay Ivanovich Novikov (
) ( - ) was a Russian writer and
philanthropist most representative of his country's Enlightenment.
- For the Russian diplomat, see Nikolai Vasilevich
considered to be the first Russian journalist
, he aimed at advancing the cultural
and educational level of the Russian public.
Together with Johann Georg
, and Semion Ivanovich Gamaleya
belonged to the first generation of Russians that benefited from
the creation of the Moscow University in 1755.
He took an active part in the
of 1767, which sought to
produce a new code of laws. Inspired by this kind of freethinking
activity, he took over editing the Moscow Gazette
launched satirical journals
, patterned after
and The Spectator
. His attacks on the
existing social customs prompted jocund retorts from Catherine the Great
, who even set her
own journal called Vsyakaya
to comment on Novikov's articles.
By the 1780s, Novikov rose to the highest positions in Russian
, which liberally funded his
ambitious book-publishing ventures. Novikov's press produced a
third part of contemporary Russian books and several newspapers.
Novikov used his influence for various noble purposes, such as a
large-scale project of promoting Shakespeare
to Russian public.
When the French Revolution
started, Catherine changed her attitude towards the likes of
Novikov. His printing-house was confiscated. Three years later,
without a formal trial, he was incarcerated in the Shlisselburg Fortress for 15 years.
Much of his printed
material was pulped, including 1,000 copies of Edward Young
's The Last Day
set Novikov free, but the
latter was too scared and broken-hearted to resume his journalistic