Leo Tolstoy Peter Carson Biography & Facts
Count Nikolai Dmitrievich Tolstoy-Miloslavsky (Russian: Граф Николай Дмитриевич Толстой-Милославский; born 23 June 1935), known as Nikolai Tolstoy, is a British monarchist and historian. He is a former parliamentary candidate of the UK Independence Party and is the current nominal head of the House of Tolstoy, a Russian noble family.
Born in England in 1935, Tolstoy is of part Russian descent. The son of Count Dimitri Tolstoy and Mary Wicksteed, he is a member of the noble Tolstoy family. He grew up as the stepson of author Patrick O'Brian, whom his mother married after his parents divorced. On his upbringing he has written:
Like thousands of Russians in the present century, I was born and brought up in another country and was only able to enter the land of my ancestors as a visitor in later years. It was nevertheless a very Russian upbringing, one which impressed on me the unusual nature of my inheritance. I was baptised in the Russian Orthodox Church and I worshipped in it. I prayed at night the familiar words Oche nash, attended parties where little Russian boys and girls spoke a mixture of languages, and felt myself by manner and temperament to be different than my English friends. I think I was the most affected by those melancholy and evocative Russian homes where my elders, for the most part people of great charm and eccentricity, lived surrounded by the relics – ikons, Easter eggs, portraits of Tsar and Tsaritsa, family photographs, and émigré newspapers – of that mysterious, far-off land of wolves, boyars, and snow-forests of Ivan Bilibin's famous illustrations to Russian fairy-tales. Somewhere there was a real Russian land to which we all belonged, but it was shut away over distant seas and space of years.
Tolstoy holds dual British and Russian citizenship. He was educated at Wellington College, Sandhurst, and Trinity College Dublin.
Tolstoy has written a number of books about Celtic mythology. In The Quest for Merlin he has explored the character of Merlin, and his Arthurian novel The Coming of the King builds on his research into ancient British history. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1979.
He has also written about World War II and its immediate aftermath. In 1977 he wrote the book Victims of Yalta, which criticised Britain's Operation Keelhaul, a forced handover of Soviet citizens to Joseph Stalin in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions. In 1986 he wrote The Minister and the Massacres which criticised British repatriation of collaborationist troops to Josip Broz Tito's Yugoslav government. It received much critical praise, as well as criticism by Macmillan's authorised biographer.
Tolstoy has written of the forced repatriation of Soviet citizens and others during and after World War II. As a result, he was called by the defence as an expert witness at the 1986-88 trial of John Demjanjuk in Israel. In a letter to the Daily Telegraph (21 April 1988), Tolstoy said the trial and the court's procedures struck "at the most vital principles of natural justice". He condemned the use of especially bussed-in audiences, who were repeatedly permitted by Judge Levin to boo and hiss at appropriate moments. He called Levin's conduct "an appalling travesty of every principle of equity", and said that it was "a show trial in every sense of the word", even being conducted in a theatre. In 1989, Lord Aldington, previously a British officer (chief-of-staff to Field Marshal Alexander), former Chairman of the Conservative Party, and then Chairman of Sun Alliance insurance company, commenced a libel action over allegations of war crimes made by Tolstoy in a pamphlet distributed by Nigel Watts, a man in dispute with Sun Alliance on an insurance matter. Although Tolstoy was not the initial target of the libel action, he insisted in joining Watts as defendant because, Tolstoy later wrote, Watts was not a historian and so would have been unable to defend himself. Tolstoy lost and was ordered to pay £2 million to Lord Aldington (£1.5 million in damages and £0.5 million in costs). This sum was over three times any previous award for libel.Tolstoy delayed payment by appealing to fifteen courts in Britain and Europe, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the size of the penalty violated his right to freedom of expression. Documents subsequently obtained from the Ministry of Defence suggested that, under Government instructions, files that could have had a bearing on the defence case might have been withdrawn from the Public Record Office and retained by the Ministry of Defence and Foreign Office throughout the run-up to the trial and the trial itself.Tolstoy sought to appeal on the basis of new evidence which he claimed proved Aldington had perjured himself over the date of his departure from Austria in May 1945. This was ruled inadmissible at a hearing in the High Courts of Justice, from which the press and public were barred, and his application for an appeal was rejected.In July 1995, the European Court of Human Rights decided unanimously that the British Government had violated Tolstoy's rights in respect of Article 10 of the Convention on Human Rights. This decision referred only to the amount of the damages awarded against him and did not overturn the verdict of the libel action. The Times commented:
"In its judgment yesterday in the case of Count Nikolai Tolstoy, the European Court of Human Rights ruled against Britain in important respects, finding that the award of £1.5 million levelled against the Count by a jury in 1989 amounted to a violation of his freedom of expression. Parliament will find the implications of this decision difficult to ignore."
Tolstoy refused to pay any libel damages while Lord Aldington was alive; it was not until 9 December 2000, two days after Aldington's death, that Tolstoy paid £57,000 to Aldington's estate.
A committed monarchist, Tolstoy is Chancellor of the International Monarchist League. In 1978, Tolstoy was Guest-of-Honour at the Eldon League (founded by Neil Hamilton while a student at Cambridge), and appeared to respond to the Russian Tsarist toast "Autocracy, Orthodoxy and Nationalism" (also a motto of the League). He was also Chairman of the London-based Russian Monarchist League, and chaired their annual dinner on 6 March 1986, when the Guest-of-Honour was the MP John Biggs-Davison. He was also in the chair for their Summer Dinner on 4 June 1987, at the Oxford and Cambridge Club in Pall Mall. Tolstoy was a founding committee member (January 1989) of the now established War and Peace Ball, held annually in London, which raises funds for White Russian charities. A member of the Royal Stuart Society since 1954, he is presently one of the Vice-Presidents.
In October 1987, he was presented with the International Freedom Award by the United States Industrial Council Education.... Discover the Leo Tolstoy Peter Carson popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Leo Tolstoy Peter Carson books.