Count Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy was born in 1828 on his family’s country estate Jasnaja Polanja near Tula. He is regarded as one of the outstanding Russian writers. He became an orphan early and was raised by his aunt. He started studying law but gave up his studies and entered into the Czarist army. Subsequently he returned to his family’s farmstead, where he dedicated himself to improving the working and living conditions of laborers and farmers. This is a central topic in Tolstoy’s work which is reflected in his critical analysis of Russian society. His monumental novel “War and Peace” was written between 1863 and 1866. It was published in the years 1868/1869 and has remained one of his most important works to the present day. In the years 1875 to 1877 another of his great novels “Anna Karenina” followed suit. In his later years his increasingly critical attitude toward Czarist Russia as well as his social commitment resulted in ostracism and continuing harassment by the authorities of his own country. On November 20, 1910 Leo Tolstoy died of pneumonia in the line-keeper’s lodge of Astapowo, near his country estate Jasnaja Polanja while traveling.