Leo Tolstoy was born amidst the forest, in Yasnaya Polyana – wrote an unknown schoolboy in his essay and it became a joke. Yet Leo Tolstoy was really born in Yasnaya Polyana. It was first mentioned in archival documents of the middle of the 17th century. At that time, it was situated at the southern edge of the Zasechny woods, which formed the defense line of the Moscow state against attacks of the Tatars. The name of the estate preserved the old way of land development – slash-and-burn agriculture, when areas in the forests were cut down, cleared of trees and bushes and ploughed up. In 1763, the “Yasnaya Polyana” estate was purchased by Sergei Fyodorovich Volkonsky, Leo Tolstoy's maternal great grandfather. For many years the great Russian writer lived at Yasnaya Polyana, before leaving for his last trip to Astapovo station, where he died. He was buried here in Yasnaya Polyana. His widow Sophia Andreevna twice applied to the tsar with a request to take the family estate of the Tolstoys with the tomb of the writer under the protection of the state, but she got a refusal. But the Soviet authorities responded: in 1919, the Commissariat of Education issued Tolstoy's daughter Alexandra Lvovna a Letter of Protection, which certified the cultural and historical value of the estate. And on June, 10, 1921 the Central Executive Committee issued a resolution on creation of a museum and a cultural-educational center with a library, a school and lectures arrangement.
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