Saturday, May 16, 2020

Olga Konstantinovna Briscorn, Serial Killer Aristocrat – Russia, 1836

Wikipedia: Olga Konstantinovna Briscorn (née Strukova, born Mavrogeni; 1776 — 1836), nicknamed The Kursk Saltychikha [Saltykova], was a wealthy Russian landowner and socialite, as well as torturer and serial killer of her own serfs, who operated in the Kursk, Yekaterinoslav and Saint Petersburg Governorates. She owned households in the capital, and other estates in Pyataya Gora, Prilepy and Khomutovka.

~ Biography ~

Olga Konstantinovna Strukova, born in 1776 in the family of a wealthy landowner, came from the well-known Mavrogeni family, who were Moldovan boyars.

She married the provincial marshal of nobility, Ananiy Gerasimovich Strukov, the richest man in the province, receiving a very good dowry from the marriage: 56,000 rubles, large plots of land and households, as well as several hundred slaves. After a very profitable wedding, Olga became the "first lady" among the Yekaterinoslav elite. A young (a little over 30) woman, well-read and witty, she was keenly interested in theater and amateur performances.
Soon after her husband's death, the widow moved to St. Petersburg, but did not mourn for long - only a year later, she married a major official, senator and diplomat named Fyodor Maximovich Briscorn. Since then, Olga Konstantinovna began living a double life: in St. Petersburg, she posed as a model of piety, in whose metropolitan house on Galernaya Street, the family of the great poet Alexander Pushkin lived for some time; however, in the Yekaterinoslav, "Senator Briscorn" became known for something completely different.

~ Abuse of peasants ~

In 1817, the 40-year-old Briscorn bought an estate in the Dmitrievsky district of the Kursk Governorate. Many serfs were transferred to the estate, and in just a year, she ordered a cloth factory be built in the village of Prilepy. The factory was a unique on the technical side, with the weaving machines being bought from abroad, and a steam engine, the first in the Central Black Earth economic region, were set in motion.

Her "glory" did not come from this, however, but by the fact that she constantly punished both adults and minors who worked in her factory. In a short time, the material situation of the serfs worsened, and the mortality rate increased. In 1822, local farmers turned towards Emperor Alexander the First, whose official, yet secret, investigation lasted 3 years.

The landowner was convicted of torturing her serfs via beating them with whips, bats and sticks, as well as starving them to death. She forced the peasants who built the factory to work on holidays and in their "own days", which is why they didn't have time to cultivate their own land. When people were assigned to her factory, Briscorn would take away their property and order them to live in the machine room. In 1820, the salary's factory was doubled, but very little - Briscorn kept most of the money for food and clothing. From October 1820 to May 1821, 121 workers died of starvation, disease and injuries, of which 44 were under the age of 15; 74 of them were buried by the priest, while the rest were buried in pits. During this period, more than 300 people fled the estate. According to the results of the investigation, fraudulent operations concerning the products were also revealed, and Briscorn (already a widow by this time), was removed from ownership of the Prilepy factory, which was taken under state guardianship.

In total, the factory employed 379 people, about 90 of whom were children from seven years and older. The working day was 14-15 hours long, with the serfs having to sleep on straw in the workshop.
The food was extremely modest: bread with cake; cabbage soup; a spoonful of porridge; there was meat, but wormy and when divided to all, it added up to 8 grams per person. Life wasn't any easier for those who worked the land, as they were forced to work on Briscorn's land exclusively. As a result, serfs were unable to grow crops of their own, and then starved along with their families.

~ Patronage ~

Despite her notoriety, the Kursk Saltychikha was also famous for her piety and patronage of the arts: she built large temples and churches, and granted alms to the poor. In the village of Pyataya Gora, the church built by Briscorn in 1826 has been preserved to this day.


~ Notes

In the second half of the 19th century, three other cruel serfresses and followers of Saltychikha were documented: princess Anna Stepanovna Sheleshpanskaya, who earned the nickname of the "Chukhloma Saltychikha" for torturing and then, in a drunken stupor, slaying 15 serfs; princess Alexandra Vladimirovna Kozolovskaya, who tortured, maimed and killed her serfs; and Honorata Stotskaya, the "Saltychikha from Mozyr Uyezd", whom surpassed all of her "serf-colleagues" and was exiled in Siberia. 


"Olga Konstantinovna Briscorn". Retrieved March 7, 2020.


Ольга Константиновна Брискорн



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