Author. Born into the Russian nobility, he was distantly related to Leo Tolstoy and, on his mother's side, to Ivan Turgenev. Initially a staunch anti-communist, he fought on the side of the Whites during the Russian Civil War and emigrated to Paris in 1919. Homesick in exile, he gradually came to accept the new regime and returned to the Soviet Union in 1923. There his writings became extremely popular. Today his reputation rests on three works. "Aelita" (1924), a futuristic account of a Russian landing on Mars, is considered the first Soviet science fiction novel. Its lasting popularity was such that in 1982 the International Astronomical Union named a crater on Mars in Tolstoy's honor. "The Road to Calvary" is a trilogy of novels describing the lives of Russian intellectuals before, during, and after the Revolution. It consists of the books "Sisters" (1921), "1918" (1928), and "Gloomy Morning" (1941). Tolstoy's epic historical novel "Peter the First", published in three parts between 1929 and 1945 and left unfinished at his death, is regarded as his masterpiece. Because of his services to Literature the Soviet government overlooked Tolstoy's noble birth and forgave his early anti-Red beliefs, which they rationalized as "ideological confusion". He enjoyed great privilege in the Soviet Union and was left unscathed by the Stalinist purges of the 1930's. In 1936 Tolstoy succeeded Maxim Gorky as Chairman of the Soviet Writers Union, and he was elected to the Supreme Soviet in 1937. Despite this he never joined the Communist Party and remained "unreconstructed" in his lifestyle. It was joked around Moscow that Tolstoy's elderly valet would answer the phone with such phrases as, "His Highness the Count is at a meeting of the Communist Central Committee". His funeral was a state occasion.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards
Alexandra Leontievna Turgeneva Bostrom