The State Memorial and Natural Preserve "Museum-estate of Leo Tolstoy "Yasnaya Polyana"
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Exhibition: TolstoYgeneration

The TolstoYgeneration exhibition of the Yasnaya Polyana Museum is dedicated to the connection between the modern young people, the millenials, and the main character of a different epoch, the author who was a figure of great authority in the world in the late 19th – early 20th centuries.

The years of Tolstoy life, 1828-1910, were a long time ago; the world has lived without him for 108 years. But Tolstoy was a person who was ahead of his own time. Even then, in the 19th century, which hardly had much in common with our modern reality, he referred to the same issues and had the same preferences, interests, views, and principles as representatives of one of the modern generations. Generation Y.

Jut like a blogger, Leo Tolstoy kept a diary for 63 years in real time. Now his diaries are in the public domain. Out of 90 volumes of Tolstoy’s collected works, 10 volumes contain his diaries. It seems, there are no topics Tolstoy didn’t touch upon in his diaries, no actions or decisions of his he didn’t admit, and no facts of his biography that he concealed from the reader.

Leo Tolstoy was an active human rights advocate and an ardent fighter for justice. He paid special attention to the solution of the mankind’s chief problems: material, social, national, and racial inequality.

International pacifism, an important issue for us today, was of great importance for Tolstoy. Thou Shalt Not Kill! The law recognized by all the religions bacame the foundation of Tosltoy‘s pacifistic beliefs: he condemned murders and accessory to them, military actions and corporal punishments, he advocated for the abolition of the death penalty, for non-resistance to evil by violence, and for disarmament.

A tolerant person, Tolstoy for years opposed mass persecution of nations resulting from racial and religious hatred all over the world.

During famine in the early 1890s, the 70-tear-old Tolstoy was a volunteer, visiting villages in Tula, Ryazan, and Samara provinces: he participated in organizing soup-kitchens for peasants and their children, gathered and distributed donations, provided medical aid.

Accessibility for everybody, a key condition of our modern life, was one of the main principles of Tolstoy’s literary work. He realized his idea of publishing books that can be easily bought by common people in the Posrednik publishing company in 1884.

As a teacher, Tolstoy possessed qualities of a professional coach: he could always kindle his students’ interest, motivate them, create the atmosphere of psychological comfort, and encourage students to learn something new instead of making them learn and actively interfering in the process.

Like modern young people, users of social networks, Tosltoy had a list of contacts of people from different countries, social classes, professions, ages, both well- and little-known to him. Thirty-one volumes in his collected works, about 50,000 received and 10,000 sent letters comprise Tolstoy’s epistolary heritage.

Representatives of the modern generation are active users of gadgets. Tolstoy showed interest in many technical novelties and inventions: he had a shooting-stick for his long walks; an ebonite fountain-pen, which he always filled with ink himself; an electric pencil with batteries, a fashionable device at that time, that helped him work in the dark; and a mimeograph and a phonograph presented to him by Thomas Edison.  

An interest in photogrpahy that is typical for most millenials was characteristic of young Tolstoy as well. His photo self-portrait of 1862 is considered to be one of the first selfies, and a photograph of Tolstoy taken in 1908 by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky became the very first color photograph in Russia.

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