On November 16, 1849, the famous Russian author Feodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (also spelled Dostoevsky) was condemned to death for his association with the Petrashevsky Circle, a group of liberal intellectuals and commoners who discussed the need for change in Russia. Reactionary Tsar Nicholas I was so frightened of the group that he had them arrested and condemned to death. The sentences were commuted but many had to face years imprisonment for their actions. There were approximately 25 people in the Circle, most of whom were in their 20’s.
A mock execution took place to ‘teach them a lesson.’ Dostoyevsky served four of the eight year sentence doing hard labor in Siberia. Upon his release he was briefly forced to serve in the military but was released from that due to poor health.
Considered by some to be the greatest Russian literary figure some of Dostoyevsky’s works include: Crime and Punishment, The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov. His novels were considered to have influenced many great writers such as James Joyce, Ann Rand, Anton Checkov, Ernest Hemingway and Jean-Paul Satre.
After his release from prison, he published a number of magazines and traveled through Europe. He face two major hurdles in his life, one was that he suffered from epilepsy and the other was that he was a pathologic gambler. He was often broke and was forced to beg for money.
Feodor Dostoyevsky died on January 26, 1881 of a stroke one day after having his home searched by the Tsarist secret police looking members of the Narodnaya Volya (People’s Will) who were involved in the assasination of Tsar Alexander II. His tombstone has the following epitath:Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit (John 12:24).