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Encyclopedia > Gorchakov
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Coat of arms of the Gorchakov family

Gorchakov, or Gortchakoff (Russian: Горчаков) is a Russian princely family of Rurikid stock, descended from Michael Vsevolodovich, prince of Chernigov, who, in 1246, was assassinated by the Mongols in Karakorum. The best remembered representative of the family is Prince Alexander Mikhailovich (1798-1883), chancellor of the Russian Empire during the reign of Alexander II.


Alexander Ivanovich Gorchakov

The family first achieved prominence during the reign of Catherine II. Prince Alexander Ivanovich (1769-1807) served with distinction under his uncle Suvorov in the Turkish Wars, and took part as a general officer in the Italian and Swiss operations of 1799, and in the war against Napoleon in Poland in 1806-1807 (battle of Heilsberg). His brother Andrei Ivanovich (1768-1855) was a general in the Russian army who took a conspicuous part in the final campaigns against Napoleon. Their cousin Princess Pelageya Ivanovna (1762-1838) was fictionalized by her grandson Leo Tolstoy in War and Peace.


Peter Dmitrievich Gorchakov

Prince Peter Dmitrievich Gorchakov (1790-1868) served under Mikhail Kamensky and Mikhail Kutuzov in the campaign against Turkey, and afterwards against France in 1813-1814. In 1820 he suppressed an insurrection in the Caucasus, for which service he was raised to the rank of major-general. In 1828-1829 he fought under Prince Peter von Wittgenstein against the Turks, won an action at Aidos, and signed the treaty of peace at Adrianople. In 1839 he was made governor of Eastern Siberia, and in 1851 retired into private life.


When the Crimean War broke out he offered his services to the emperor Nicholas, by whom he was appointed general of the VI army corps in the Crimea. He commanded the corps in the battles of Alma and Inkerman. He retired in 1855 and died at Moscow, on the 18th of March 1868.


Mikhail Dmitrievich Gorchakov

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Field-Marshal Mikhail D. Gorchakov

Prince Mikhail Dmitrievich (1795-1861), brother of the last named, entered the Russian army in 1807 and took part in the campaigns against Persia in 1810, and in 1812-1815 against France. During the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-1829 he was present at the sieges of Silistria and Shumna.


After being appointed, in 1830, a general officer, he was present in the campaign in Poland, and was wounded at the battle of Grochow, on the 25th of February 1831. He also distinguished himself at the battle of Ostrolenka and at the taking of Warsaw. For these services he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general. In 1846 he was nominated military governor of Warsaw. In 1849 he commanded the Russian artillery in the war against the Hungarians, and in 1852 he visited London as a representative of the Russian army at the funeral of the duke of Wellington. At this time he was chief of the staff of the Russian army and adjutant general to the tsar.


Upon Russia declaring war against Turkey in 1853, he was appointed commander-in-chief of the troops which occupied Moldavia and Wallachia. In 1854 he crossed the Danube and besieged Silistria, but was superseded in April by Prince Ivan Paskevich, who, however, resigned on the 8th of June, when Gorchakov resumed the command. In July the siege of Silistria was raised, and the Russian armies recrossed the Danube; in August they withdrew to Russia.


In 1855 Gorchakov was appointed commander-in-chief of the Russian forces in the Crimea in place of the disgraced Prince Menshikov. Gorchakov's defence of Sevastopol, and final retreat to the northern part of the town, which he continued to defend till peace was signed in Paris, were conducted with lack of energy. In 1856 he was appointed governor-general of Poland in succession to Prince Paskevich. He died at Warsaw on the 30th of May 1861, and was buried, in accordance with his own wish, at Sevastopol.


This article incorporates text from the public domain 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica.


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Instead, Gorchakov and the house are linked through the uninterrupted duration of the long-take, which transforms the Russian countryside and the house into a “sheet of past” of stored memories.
There is a sudden cut to a medium close-up of Gorchakov’s wife (in fl-and-white and slow-motion) standing in a position similar to her husband during the first memory-image.
Gorchakov is then seen standing near a corner, looking at his reflection in a mirror that hangs on a wall in front of him.
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