Nikolai Abramowitsch Putyatin

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Nikolai Abramowitsch Prince Putyatin
Putyatin Country House, 1811
Putyatin Country House, 1837

Nikolai Abramowitsch Prince Putjatin (also: Putiatin, Puttiatin and Poutiatine, Russian: Николай Абрамович Путятин ; born  May 16, 1749 in Kiev ; †  January 13, 1830 in Dresden ) was a philanthropist and philosopher from the Rurikids dynasty , who worked in Dresden .


Former country house Putyatin, as it was in 2014
The Putjatinhaus, a school designed by Putjatin in Dresden-Kleinzschachwitz

Prince Putyatin joined the Russian army early on . After he had to supervise a terrible knot execution ( flogging ) as an officer , he left her. He occupied himself with building and gardening and worked on the gardens of Tsarskoe-Selo . His talent and technical education helped him to get the position of an imperial chief construction manager in Saint Petersburg . He became chamberlain and privy councilor at the imperial court.

There he got to know the unhappily married Countess Elisabeth von Sievers, the daughter of the Oberhofmarschall Karl von Sievers . Her husband was Jakob Johann von Sievers , a relative and protégé of her father, an important and powerful Russian statesman who lived apart from his wife for years because of his business. The long-lasting love affair led to the “Affaire Poutiatine” in 1778, a scandal at court. The horned husband wrote to Empress Catherine II on November 29, 1778: “... I have not made the shame of my benefactor's daughter known. I carefully hid her, drew a curtain for seven, or rather eleven years .., I will demand an honest, decent, full and legal divorce ... my wife can marry her courtiers and silence the scandal, me would be delighted. "

Countess Elisabeth von Sievers had three daughters: Cathinca (born 1770), Benedicta (born 1773) and Elisabeth (born 1776). When she got divorced, she was only allowed to keep Benedicta with her. Putyatin married the divorced countess (probably in 1778). It is very likely that he undertook to keep the marriage “childless”, since (recognized) descendants would have endangered the inheritance of the two daughters who remained with Jakob Johann von Sievers. The couple left the Russian court and went abroad.

Together with Elisabeth Benedicta von Sievers, the countess's second daughter, the couple traveled through Europe and settled in Kleinzschachwitz near Dresden in 1797 . There the prince built an extravagant villa with 16 balconies, a small observation tower (“stork's nest”), many swings and a cable car into the garden, according to his own plans . The property with its park adorned with grottos and ruins was open to the public and known nationwide.

He built a school in a special architectural style, which is now a listed building as the Putjatinhaus (see picture) and a landmark in Kleinzschachwitz.

He rests with his wife († 1818) and stepdaughter († 1799) in a mausoleum designed by him on the " New Burial Ground " (today: "Historic Cemetery") in Dessau . In view of the time of her birth and the intimate verses, the “stepdaughter” could be his (secret) biological daughter.

As a universal heir he set Gottlob Wassily von Freymann (born October 18, 1780 in St. Petersburg). He grew up without a father or mother and was encouraged by the prince. Among other things, Putjatin gave him the Großzschachwitz manor during his lifetime . - The inheritance was considerably reduced by an earlier transfer of goods from the mother to the daughters and legacies (including to the servants). When looking through the remains, von Freymann learned that he was the son of the royal couple. Putyatin was not allowed to tell him this during his lifetime. The prince suffered greatly from this ban, but felt bound by his word of honor. (“A man !! A word !!”) Among other things, he asked his (step-) daughters for the support of the son who was “sacrificed” for the happiness of the daughters when the princess was divorced.

Prince Putjatin was remembered as a generous, free-thinking, lovable eccentric and is now considered the Dresden " original ". In 1997 a memorial was erected to him in Kleinzschachwitz.


Prince Putyatin was bursting with inventions. So he equipped his carriage with bellows to cool himself in the summer, his sleigh with a stove for the winter. He invented a sugar saw, used wooden face masks as a windbreak and expanded his umbrella into a “walking sentry house” ( Wilhelm von Kügelgen ). An early nudist advocate, he disapproved of wearing pants. He was creative in music and poetry, and known as a stubborn philosopher.

Buildings and foundations

Philosophical work

Archival material

  • Guest book of the prince and words from the book of books in the SLUB Dresden
  • Some letters from the family in the Detmold State Archives (Stietencron estate from Schötmar)
  • Estate regulation of the prince in the Dresden city archive (microfilm)
  • Personal folder in the Dessau city archive (including newspaper articles)


  • Wilhelm von Kügelgen : Memoirs of an old man among celebrities and the return of the king
  • Johann Peter Eckermann : Conversations with Goethe
  • Karl Ludwig Blum : A Russian statesman, Memories of Count von Sievers , Leipzig 1857–58, 4 volumes
  • Karl Ludwig Blum : Count Jacob Johann von Sievers and Russia at his time . Leipzig; Heidelberg: Winter, 1864.
  • Erhard Hexelschneider: Cultural encounters between Saxony and Russia 1790 - 1849 , Böhlau Verlag, Cologne, 2000. (pp. 72–81)
  • Kai Wenzel and Marius Winzler (eds.): Franz Gareis (1775–1803). Born to be a painter. Paintings, drawings and prints by a pioneer of German Romanticism , Verlag Gunter Oettel, Görlitz 2003, ISBN 3-932693-81-7 (with portraits)
  • Jürgen-Detlev Freiherr von Uexküll: Armies and Amours - A diary from the Napoleonic era by Boris Uexküll , Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek 1965
  • Friedrich Kummer: Dresden and its theater world . Dresden 1938 (p. 21)


Web links

Wikisource: Nikolai Abramowitsch Putjatin  - Sources and full texts
Commons : Nikolai Abramowitsch Putjatin  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files