Count Mikhail Nikolayevich Muravyov (October 12th, 1796 - September 12th, 1866) Was a Russian imperial statesman of the 19th century and was most known for his cultural and social depolanization of Northwestern Krai.
During the January Uprising of 1863, Muravyov was appointed Governor General of Northwestern Krai (former Grand Duchy of Lithuania, now part of Lithuania and Belarus). He managed to promptly subdue the rebellion. About 9000 insurgents were resettled to Siberia, 127 were demonstratively hanged. Kastus' Kalinowski, Zygmunt Sierakowski and Antanas Mackevičius were amongst the rebel leaders executed on his orders. Those settlements where the rebels were reported had to pay enormous contributions. As a consequence, for Poles and liberal Russian circles Muravyov became known as the "hangman of Vilnius" even in modern Polish historiography he is sometimes referred to by his contemporary nickname, 'Wieszatiel' ( 'hangman'). To many nationally minded Russians, Muravyov was a hero and the de facto head of the "Russian Party". They flooded Muravyov with congratulatory telegrams on his name day, November 8th, 1863, a form of public expression previously unknown in Russia.
After defeating the rebels militarily, Muravyov began a series of deep reforms which aimed at the liquidation of the breeding grounds for future uprisings. He strengthened the economic, educational and social positions of Orthodox Belarusian peasants who made up the majority of the Krai's population at these times. He paid much attention to the restoration of the Orthodox character of Belarus since he regarded this as the best mean against potential loyalty and because he was convinced that he liberates ancient Russian (Rus') lands from Polish subjugation.
On May 1st, 1865, Muravyov was relieved from his duties. For his vital services to the Empire, he received a comital title and spent late 1865 and early 1866 writing his memoirs. At the time of his death, Muravyov was investigating Dmitry Karakozov's attempt to assassinate the tsar.
In the long term, Muravyov's policy proved mixed. In 1905 Polish rebellion once again took place against Russian Empire. He was, however, instrumental in rooting out Roman Catholicism in Belarus, prohibiting construction of new churches and converting the existing ones to Eastern Orthodox chapels. Muravyov justified his russification policies by claiming that Polish and Lithuanian administration undertook polonization measures.
Assessment of Muravyov's activity by the educated strata of the Russian society varied from enraptured odes by Fyodor Tyutchev to caustic satires by Nikolai Nekrasov. After the suppression of the 1863 uprising, the celebrated emigre writer Alexander Herzen, bitterly joked that Muravyov should replace Alexander II on the throne as a more consistent and forceful nationalist. In Poland and Lithuania he has been viewed as a personification of tsarist repression and Russification.