The State Memorial and Natural Preserve "Museum-estate of Leo Tolstoy "Yasnaya Polyana"
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Exhibition “The Research Forester”
pryakhin1April 11 – June 5, 2014
Local History Museum of Krapivna

Opening of the exhibition is on April 11 at 14:00

You are welcome to see our new exhibition in Krapivna, telling  about Ivan Pryakhin, a research forester and a native of Krapivna. On display, you will see family photos, documents, Pryakhin’s published works and his poems about nature of Middle Russia.  

Ivan Pryakhin was born in 1893 into a poor family. After he finished the Krapivna gymnasium school, he was accepted to the forestry school. He graduated with honours and was sent to work as a land surveyor in Belarussia. 


In 1913, Ivan was called up for military service. In a military school, he attained the rank of sub-lieutenant, and he served in cavalry reconnaissance during World War I. He was wounded, and retired as a staff captain. In 1918, Pryakhin was elected a member of his regiment’s Soldiers Committee. After the Revolution and the signing of the Decree about Forest Preservation, he was appointed a forester and forest inspector in Volovsky District of Tula Region. He created a forest nursery there.

In 1933, Ivan Pryakhin was subjected to repressive measures based upon a false denunciation. He was not guilty of anything, but the threat of reprisal against his family made him sign an admission of his guilt. He spent five years building the White Sea – Baltic Sea Canal, which had a severe impact on his health and spirits. Nevertheless, he mustered the strength to complete a correspondence course at the Novocherkassk Institute with a specialization in agroforestry and hydrometeorology. After his release in 1938, Pryakhin worked as a senior research associate at the natural reserve “Tula Abatis Forests.”


During World War II, as the German occupiers neared, the scholar was left in the rear to preserve documents and research papers. Based on an informant's word, he was seized by the Germans, and only the liberation of Krapivna saved him from the gallows. In January 1942, he was again arrested for eight months, this time on suspicion of collaboration with the Germans, inasmuch as he had not been hanged. After his acquittal in November 1942 Ivan Pryakhin was sent to the front lines. In 1943 he was wounded, and a year later at the request of the management of the state preserves of the Tula Region Executive Committee he was discharged from the army in order to finish work considered to have military significance.

From that moment on, Pryakhin threw himself into his beloved work. It was at this time that he met and often spoke with the writer Leonid Leonov, who was gathering material for his book, “The Russian Forest.” In 1950, the preserve was shut down, and Pryakhin was exiled, again on the basis of fabricated accusations, to Kazakhstan. In 1954, he was fully rehabilitated, and two years later was able to return to Krapivna.

In 1960 Pryakhin first published work appeared in Moscow, “Tula's Abatises,” and in 1966 his second book , “On Improving the Resistance of Oak Groves to Cold.” Although he was not in good health, he authored works about forests, gave lectures, and met with schoolchildren. He passed away in 1970. He left behind diaries, records of phenological observations, poetry about nature, and forested areas which were planted under his direction.

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