NIKITIN, VICTOR (1839–1908), writer and scholar. Nikitin's special field was the history of Jewish agricultural settlement in Russia. At the age of nine, he was kidnapped and sent to the *Cantonist regiment in Nizhni Novgorod. There he was forced to convert to Christianity, and his Jewish name (not known) was changed. Because of his excellent handwriting he was assigned to office work in the army. While in the army, he studied on his own, and after completing his military service (1869), he served as a high official in the Ministry of Agriculture. Nikitin described the life of kidnapped children and the Jewish Cantonists in "Vek perezhit – ne pole pereyti" (in Yevreyskaya Biblioteka, 4 (1876), 164–213), and in Mnogostradalnye ("Those who Suffer"). The latter was banned by the censors but later appeared in two editions (1872, 1896). There is a great deal of material of historical importance in his Yevrei Zemledeltsy ("Jewish Tillers of the Soil"), published in Voskhod (1881–86) and later in 1887 as a separate work, and in Yevreyskiye poseleniya severnykh i yugo-zapadnykh guberniy ("Jewish Settlements in Northern and Southwestern Provinces," 1894), which was written on the basis of archival material.
S. Ginzburg, in: Forwards (N.Y., Nov. 3, 1935); V.E. Rudakov, in: Istoricheskiy Vestnik, 5 (1908), 587–98.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.