Murzakevich recalled from childhood when Napoleon’s army captured Smolensk, and he and many others took shelter in his father’s church. The precocious lad ended up at Moscow University, but without money or social connections. A friend with both got Murzakevich to Odessa, first at the customs office and then at the Richelieu Lyceum. Murzakevich became one of those who Russianized the school, but he also became fascinated with the archeology in New Russia and Crimea and he became an influential member of the Odessa Society of the History of Antiquities. Moreover, the Governor General of New Russia Mikhail Vorontsov recognized his talents and supported his work, even employing him to sort out his library.