On November 16, 1849, a Russian court sentenced Fyodor Dostoevsky to death. At the last moment, the execution was postponed.

Feodor Mihailovichi Dostoevsky (born November 11, 1821 – February 9, 1881) was one of the most important Russian writers, his works having a profound and lasting effect on the literature, philosophy, psychology and theology of the 20th century. His most famous creations are the four great novels, Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Brothers Karamazov and Demonsas well as the short story Notes from the underground.

Dostoevsky was born in Moscow and became acquainted with literature from an early age, through fairy tales and legends written by Russian and foreign authors. After his mother dies in 1837 of tuberculosis, he and his brother Mikhail are sent by their father, a retired and extremely stern military surgeon, to the Nikolaiev Institute of Military Engineering in St. Petersburg. During this period, the epileptic seizures began.

After graduation, he worked as a design engineer, but he used to translate books to supplement his funds. In 1846 he had a huge success with his first novel, Poor peopleand is noticed by the critic and philosopher Vissarion Belinski.

Dostoevsky was arrested and imprisoned in 1849 for anti-state activities against Tsar Nicholas I. On November 16, 1849, he was sentenced to death for participating in the meetings of a circle of young Fourierists (led by Mihail Petraşevski), in which subversive discussions were held. It seems that at the circle in 1849 he would have recited a poem by Pushkin against slavery, to which one of the listeners would have retorted that slavery can only fall through the revolution. Upon hearing these words, Dostoevsky exclaimed “Let there be revolution!”

On December 22, 1849, the writer was taken before the firing squad, together with 29 other comrades. Dressed only in a robe, in a terrible cold, Dostoevsky kisses the cross, bows down, but refuses to partake. Just before the order to fire, an officer brings an order from the emperor to commute the punishment to hard labor and military correctional in Siberia. During this period, amid the terror to which he was subjected by Major Krivţov, the epileptic attacks intensified.

After his release, in 1854, he was forced to enlist as a soldier, and then worked as a writer and journalist. He undertook several trips to Europe and developed a gambling addiction that impoverished him. For a while, he had to humble himself by borrowing money from acquaintances or pawning goods, but eventually he became famous because of his books. Towards the end of his life he lived in Saint Petersburg and had a conservative, nationalist-orthodox and pro-tsarist orientation. The newspaper Ja writer’s journalwhich he wrote and edited on his own, strengthened his image as a coryphaeus of the Russian cultural-political world.

Discover presents the main historical meanings of November 16:

1717 – Jean Le Rond d`Alembert, mathematician, philosopher and writer, co-author and editor of the famous “French Encyclopedia”, along with Diderot, was born (d. October 29, 1783)

1766 – Rodolphe Kreutzer, violinist and composer, to whom Beethoven dedicates the “Sonata for piano and violin, Opus 47”, known as the “Kreutzer Sonata”, was born (d. January 6, 1831)

1816 – The poet Andrei Mureşanu was born, one of the leaders of the Romanian Revolution of 1848, the author of the poem “Get up, Romanian!”, which became the national anthem of Romania after 1989 (d. October 12, 1863).

1897 – Theater and film director Ion Şahighian was born (d. March 11, 1965)

1903 – Dumitru Stăniloaie, professor of theology, member of the Romanian Academy, considered one of the most important Christian thinkers, former political prisoner, was born (d. October 4, 1993)

[1945 – The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a specialized UN institution, was founded

1960 – The actor Clark Gable, who remained in the history of world cinema by playing the role of Rhett Butler in the movie “On the Wings of the Wind” (b. February 1, 1901), passed away.

1994 – Helmut Kohl is invested in the position of chancellor of the reunified Germany

1997 – The former Secretary General of the UN, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, was elected the first president of the organization of francophone countries

2001 – Tommy Flanagan, jazz pianist and composer (b. March 16, 1930), passed away.

2004 – The US presidential security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, was officially appointed as Secretary of State, replacing Colin Powell.

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