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Full text of "BEFORE THE STORM"

h Wrangell-Rofcassowatg^T 3^, 
i, .Before the stom 





fMO.t PI Wrangell-Rokassovsky, 

Carl, Baron. 

Before the storm: a true 
picture of life in 
U96-?) 



BEFORE THE STORM 



A true picture of life in Russia 

prior to the Communist 

Revolution of 1917. 

by 
Baron C. Wrangell-Rokassowsky 



Published by Tipo-Litografia Ligure 

Via Sottoconvento, 28-b - Tei. 32484 

Ventimiglia, Italy. 



dedicate this story to my beloved mother 

BARONESS VERA ROKASSOWSKY 

whose memory I ever treasure, 




Baron Cart Wrangell-Rokassowsky, a Knight of Honour and 

Devotion of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of MoZftz. 



<0 

BJMPMI in Yalta, Crimea, Russia, and educated in the Corps 
des Pages of His Majesty the Czar in St. Petersburg, Baron 
Carl Wrangell-Rokassowsky was commissioned a Lieutenant of 
the Baltic Cavalry Regiment with which he served for a short 
time at the front in World War I. 

After the Russian Revolution he escaped from Russia and was 
for a time a member of the Inter-Allied Mission in Germany. 
Baron Wrangell-Rokassowsky came to the United States in 1924. 
His father, Stanislaw von Wrangell, was a landowner in the 
Province of Vitebsk and in the Crimea and was President of 
the Justices of the Peace in the District of Lutzin; his mother, 
the Baroness Vera Rokassowsky, was a daughter of a Russian 
General who was also Governor-General of Finland and under 
his supervision was accomplished all the preparatory work for 
the opening in 1863 of the first Finnish Parliament. 
In his story Before the Storm Baron Wrangell-Rokassowsky 
gives a true picture of life in Russia prior to the Communist 
Revolution of 1917. He expresses the point of view of Russian 
landowners and gives a logical explanation of the causes which 
led to the Revolution and the consequent establishment of a 
Communist government in Russia, primarily an agricultural 
country. 



BEFORE THE STORM 

by 
Baron Carl Rokassowsky 




FOREWORD 



Before the Storm is essentially the story of my 
father's life. My father was a landowner and a judge. I 
describe his dealings with paesants, who at that time repre 
sented nearly eighty per cent of the population of the Rus 
sian Empire. I describe their character and their peculia 
rities. 

So far, the point of view of Russian landowners has 
remained practically unknown to American readers. Only a 
few writers have attempted to explain conclusively and lo 
gically the phenomenon of the establishment of a Communist 
Government in Russia, primarily an agricultural country. 

In order to understand this phenomenon, it is neces 
sary to know the basic faots of Russian history during the 
XIX century. 

The Russian intelligentsia was very familiar with Com 
munist doctrines. To the great delight of Karl Marx, the 
first translation made of Das Kapital was into the Rus 
sian language- In 1938, Knizhaya Letopis , the official pub 
lication of the Soviet government, stated that 500,000 copies 
of Karl Marx's works had been sold in Czarist Russia between 
1864 and 1914- In 1896, and in subsequent years, a course 
and seminar on socialism were offered at the University 
of Moscow, taught by the famous liberal economist A. 
Chuprov; the course and seminar were widely attended. 

Karl Max was predicting the establishment of Com 
munism in some highly industrialized country (he aimed at 
Germany), where the great majority of the population were 
wage-earning workers of industry the so-called prole 
tariat . If Marx were alive today, he would be amazed that 



his ideas had found practical application in a country as 
agricultural as Russia had been, 

The experience of this century in all European coun 
tries, and most recently in the Eastern European countries 
of Hungary, Poland and Romania (countries occupied by 
the Red Army, where Communism had been forced on the 
unfortunate population at the point of a bayonet) proves 
without doubt that the farmers of these countries stubbornly 
resisted Communist propaganda. They owned their land, and, 
therefore, had no use for Communist principles and ideas. 

In the former Russian Empire about eighty per cent 
of the population were mujiks , or peasant-farmers working 
the land. According to these figures, the Russian Empire 
should have been absolutely immune to any Communist pro 
paganda. However, in 1917, contrary to all logic, millions 
of Russian farmers accepted Communism and have now been 
led for the past fifty years by the Communist government. 
To an outsider, the reasons why the Russian masses accepted 
Communism understandably remain obscure. 

Studying the social conditions in the Russian Empire 
prior to the Communist Revolution of 1917, we come to the 
astounding revelation that Communism was established in 
Russia as early as 1861- To be exact, the Communist forms 
of ownership of the land for the masses of the Russian pea 
sants were established in Russia subsequent to the Ukase 
of the Emperor Alexander II, the grandfather of the last Czar- 
This Ukase, or official act, dated February 19 / Macrh 3, 
1861, has been known in Russian history as the Act of Li 
beration of the Russian peasants. 

Prior to the year 1861, Russian peasants were serfs, 
or slaves. The ownership of the serfs was a privilege of the 
nobility, and about fifty percent of the peasants were serfs 
privately owned by the noble?, and another fifthy percent 
represented the property of the Crown. 

According to the Ukase of Emperor Alexander II, all 
serfs, privately owned as well as owned by the Crown, beca 
me free at once, without any compensation being paid to 
their fanner masters, It is interesting to note that the Act 
of Liberation, although bringing tremendous social and eco 
nomic changes, was not accompanied by a civil war. All 



classes accepted peacefully the Manifesto of the Czar and 
obeyed his order. 

The Act of Liberation also provided that these newly 
created free farmers would be given land. For this purpose, 
the government took land from the nobility and gave it to 
the serfs who had been privately owned. To the serfs be 
longing to the Crown, the fertile lands of the Crown were 
distributed. 

In 1861, the peasants received enough land to satisfy 
their needs. According to the statistics of 1905, peasants in 
European Russia owned twice as much land as the nobles. 
In 1916, when the Czar was still at the head of the govern 
ment, small-size rural holdings (peasant farms under 135 
acres each, where the work of a family prevailed) occupied 
a total area of 448 million acres (71 percent), whereas the 
large estates, those over 135 acres, covered an area of only 
184 million acres (29 percent). Excluding the forest areas, 
the small peasant ownership of land in the Russian Empire 
was 804 percent. Eighty-two percent of the cattle and eighty- 
six percent of the horses were owned by peasants. 

Consequently, considering the size of Russia and the 
comparatively small population per square mile, there could 
not possibly have been a shortage of fertile land as was 
claimed by the Russian peasants. There should not have been 
any peasant problem in Czarist Russia, but this problem 
did exist, was very real, and was of paramount importance 
to the Empire, because it affected about eighty percent of 
the population. This peasant problem was caused by the 
fact that subsequent to the Act of Liberation of 1861, by 
the actual distribution of land to the freed peasants, the 
Czarist government established for them a Communist form 
of ownership of their land. 

Every peasant village was made a commune, a self- 
governing unit by the Czarist government. The land was not 
given to an individual peasant, but to his commune. There 
fore, a peasant had only a share in the landholdings of his 
commune. This fact explains why Communist propaganda found 
a ready and willing response among the masses of the Rus 
sian people. 

The system of communes had not been introduced in 
1861 to the whole of the Russian Empire. It did not exist in 



Poland, Esthonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland- Therefore, 
in spite of the terrific impact of a Revolution and the highly 
publicized genius of Lenin, these parts of the Empire stub 
bornly resisted Communism. All these parts became inde 
pendent republics with a real democratic government esta 
blished in each one- 

The system of communes was never introduced to the 
natives of the Russian Caucasus where Joseph Stalin was 
born, and the Georgians put up a stubborn fight against the 
Communists and the detachments of the Red Army. However, 
the Soviet Government troops outnumbered them, and in 
spite of their heroic resistance, the Caucasus was soon inclu 
ded in the Soviet Union. Stalin could not tolerate his native 
Georgia repudiating his leadership! 

The system of communes never existed in Siberia, 
Turkestan, and other Asiatic possessions of the former Rus 
sian empire. However, the population in those remote areas 
was very sparse. In fact, the entire population of all Rus 
sian possessions in Asia amounted to only about ten percent 
of the population of European Russia. Consequently, these 
possessions could not offer any resistance to the Red Army 
of the Soviet Government. 

In the act of establishing a system of communes in 
Russia, the Czarist Russian government was influenced by 
the followers of the Slavophil movement. The founders of 
this movement, mostly professors of Russian universities 
and particularly of Moscow University, were idealists who 
dug deep into the very foundations of Russian history and 
Russian national mind. They sought to discover the peculiar 
genius of Russian civilization in the prehistoric peasant com 
munes, which, they said, revealed the socialistic soul of 
Russia as contrasted to the individualistic soul of Western 
Europe, and of the whole world as well* Their assumption 
that the system of communes which they had discovered in 
prehistoric Russia represented a characteristically Russian 
form was wrong. Quite to the contrary, all primitive people, 
at some early period of their history, lived in communes, 
and the Russian people were no exception to this rule. To pri 
mitive tribes, the communistic form of society is dictated by 
the instinct of self-preservation. Thus, it can be seen that 
the discovery by Russian Slavophils of a socialistic 



soul of the Russian people was pure nonsense. They could 
just as well have discovered a socialistic soul in Ame 
rican Indians or African Negroes. 

Communism was not created by Karl Marx in the XIX 
century. This social form had been known to the human race 
from the very beginning of its early existence. All primitive 
people lived, and continue to live, in tribes or communes. 

The first Communists were possibly some savages 
who lived on the bank of a river, or on the shore of a lake, 
and whose occupation was fishing. They all went out fishing 
together, and shared equally whatever they were able to 
catch. The nomad tribes whose occupation had been raising 
cattle had also been good Communists . Their cattle had 
always been the property of the whole tribe- Mongolian no 
mads in Central Asia, Negroes in Africa, American Indians 
who continue to live on reservations, and primitive Russian 
peasants as well were all familiar with Communist forms 
of life. 

Communism is not a form of the future, but of the 
past 

If I succeed in delivering this important message to 
my American readers, my duty towards my countrymen of 
the New World will be fulfilled. 

The Author. 



9 




BARON VON 



THE REVOLT OF DECEMBRISTS 
CHAPTER I 



I have no recollection of my father until he was al 
most sixty. My grandfather was born in 1787, my father in 
1844, when my grandfather was fifty-seven years old. I was 
born in 1896, when my father was fifty-two. Due to these 
unusual circumstances, three generations were spread over a 
period of some one hundred eighty years. 

My father, Stanislaw-Alexis von Wrangell-Huebenthal (1), 
was born at the time when Russian peasants were serfs of 
their noble masters or serfs of the Crown. The serfdom in 
Russia was abolished sixteen years later, in 1861. At the 
time of my father's childhood my grandfather, Carl-Philipp 
von Wrangell, lived in his own house in Vitebsk. My father's 
mother, Anna Juriewcz, was his second wife. His first wife, 
Constance Nassekin, had died in 1832, leaving him two sons- 
These two half-brothers of my father were some fifteen 
years older, and my father had to rise when either of them 
entered the room. 

My father's upbringing was very strict. He had a Ger 
main tutor who lived in the house and who supervised all 
his activities. Each day my father arose early, washed in 



(1) The family of author's mother, Rokassowsky, became extinct 
in male line, and the author was authorized to add to his father's 
family name, von Wrangell, the title and the family name of his 
maternal grandfather, Baron Rokassowsky, the late Governor- 
General of Finland. 

Footnote of the author. 



11 



cold water (at that time no one even heard of central hea 
ting), dressed with great care, and arrived at the breakfast 
table on time. Meals were served by the old butler Stephan, 
who was my grandfather's serf, as were all the rest of his 
servants. At the table, my father was forbidden to talk, he 
was permitted only to answer questions addressed to him. 
He was supposed to sit straight in his chair, keeping the 
index fingers of both his hands on the table, and wait for 
food to be served to him. This same procedure was followed 
at all meals. 

My father was required to eat whatever was served to 
him, without any show of preference- For some reason, he 
disliked boiled carrots. He often left them on his plate- From 
the other end of the long table, my grandfather would no 
tice, and inquire of his youngest son, Did you have enough 
to eat? Without waiting for an answer, he ordered Stephan 
to remove the plate and put it away. When the next course 
was served, my father did not get anything. He would try 
to keep quiet, but eventually would timidly ask for dessert. 

You are not hungry, Stas, you did not eat your car 
rots. Why do you ask for a dessert? , my grandfather would 
answer, and little Stas would get no dessert. 

If this incident occurred at a dinner, the following 
morning when everybody would be served breakfast, Stephan 
would place in front of my father the same plate of cold 
carrots that he had not eaten the day before. My father 
would then ask only for a cup of hot tea. 

Since you did not eat carrots, you are not hungry , 
my grandfather would answer, and, therefore, you do not 
need any breakfast . And, that was that. 

My father was quite stubborn and would go without 
breakfast, but he would get the same plate of carrots for 
lunch, and no other food would be served him until he 
would finally swallow the unfortunate carrots-. 

Perhaps some parents of today would find this system 
of raising a child too cruel, but the fact was that my father 
learned to obey and never again refused any food served to 
him. 

My grandfather owned an estate, Korolewo , not far 
from the city of Vitebsk. There his serfs lived in the kur- 




Carl Philipp van Wrangelt oj 
the House Huebenthal, 

grandfather of the author. 



naia izba , a single-room hut with a large central fireplace. 
The hut had no chimney, only a big square hole in the roof 
for the smoke to escape. In winter, when the temperature 
was far below the freezing point, the fire was kept burning 
continuously, filling the room with blinding smoke and coa 
ting the walls and ceiling with a thick layer of soot. The 
smoke hurt the eyes of all the inhabitants, especially the chil 
dren, so that they would always have tears streaming down 
their cheeks. 

The Russian mujiks had been accustomed to living 
this way for centuries, and in spite of the horrible condi 
tions, they seemed perfectly contented. 

In some popular magazine published during the reign 
of Czar Nicholas I (1825-1855), there appeared articles in 
which writers tried to prove the healing capacity of soot. 
According to those writers, soot was the best medicine for 
many diseases. If this sounds incredible, I would refer my 
readers to the writings of Nicholas Leskoff. This Russian 
writer is not very well known abroad, but his descriptions 
of life in Russia in the XIX century are exceedingly inte 
resting and most accurate- 

Since my grandfather Wrangell was a cultured Ger 
man, he could not understand how any human beings, even 
serfs, could live in such huts- With Germanic thoroughness, 
he decided to make a drawing of a model izba he inten 
ded to build for every family of his serfs, and he entrusted 
this task to my father, at that time a boy of only eight or nine 
years. Under the supervision of his German tutor, my father 
made a drawing of a house with a couple of rooms, a fi 
replace and a chimney in the middle. He made additional 
drawings showing stables for horses and cows, a chicken 
house, a hog house, etc. All of the houses, with small flower 
gardens in front of them, were supposed to face the main 
street of the new village, and each was to have a back yard 
for the stables, etc. 

My father worked diligently on the drawings for se 
veral winter months. Finally, all the drawings were ready, 
and my grandfather passed them on to the superintendent 
of his estate with orders to build a new village at once. 

There was plenty of lumber on the estate, and the Rus 
sian peasants knew how to make bricks and bake them in 



13 



an oven. There was no problem in getting the necessary ma 
terials, and my grandfather's serfs were soon hard at work. 
As soon as construction was completed, my grandfather gave 
orders to his serfs to move with their families into the new 
dwellings. Knowing the character of the Russian peasants, 
he did not forget to give orders to burn their old homes. 

A couple of weeks later, he went to see for himself 
how everyone liked his new quarters- Riding in an open car 
riage with my father sitting proudly at his side, they rode 
through the village street- Suddenly my grandfather was ap 
palled by a strong odor. It did not take him long to disco 
ver that his serfs were living in the stables, and not in the 
houses. In those stables they had built fireplaces and made 
holes in the roofs, similar to their old huts. Having no use 
for the new houses, they had turned them into privies. The 
odor was so strong that it was sickening to drive through 
the village street. 

My grandfather was outraged and immediately called all 
the serfs to a meeting. He asked them to explain their ac 
tions. The peasant bowed respectfully, and replied, Our 
fathers and our grandfathers lived that way, and we shall 
continue to live the same way . 

My grandfather was furious and was ready to give or 
ders to have everyone whipped, but their resistance to chan 
ged living conditions was so strong that he gave up in disgust 
and ordered his coachman to drive back to the city, 



My grandfather, Carl-Philipp von Wrangell-Huebenthal, 
was born in Germany, and studied medicine in the Universi 
ties of Marburg and Goettingen. This was at the time of 
the French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon, when Ger 
many was divided into some forty kingdoms and principali 
ties- The southwestern German states, along with Bavaria 
which had received from Napoleon the status of a kingdom, 
formed the so-called Union of the Rhine , an organization 
which was willing to support this new master of Europe, 
while the northeastern states, notably Prussia, were decidedly 
against Napoleon and sided with the Holy Empire and Rus 
sia in their struggle to free Europe from this upstart- 



14 



In 1806, under pressure from Napoleon, Emperor Fran 
cis II was forced to give up his title of Emperor of the 
Holy Empire and assume the title of Emperor of Austria. 
Two years previously, Napoleon was crowned by Pope Pius 
VII Emperor of France in an attempt to establish himself 
as a direct heir to Charlemagne who had been crowned by 
Pope Leo III in 800 A.D. At that time, the title of Emperor 
was practically forced on Charlemagne by the Pope, who 
was trying to reinstate the Roman Empire in order to 
maintain peace - PAX ROMANUM. 

Exactly one thousand and six years later, in his efforts 
to subdue all of Western Europe, the new Emperor won a 
series of brilliant victories at Austerlitz, Yena, Eylau, Fried- 
land, and Wagram.... 

In this eventful era, my grandfather Wrangell entered 
the services of the Russian Czar, joining the Russian Army 
in East Prussia. The defeat of the Russian and Prussian 
troops at Eylau and Friedland was followed by the peace 
treaty of Tilsit. For a few years, peace was restored between 
these two Empires, French in the West and Russian in the 
East, but my grandfather remained with the Russian Army, 
and in a few years was appointed the Head Doctor of an 
Army Division- 
After the battle of Borodino and the subsequent re 
treat of Napoleon from Moscow, my grandfather retired 
from the Army and became the head of the Medical Admi 
nistration of the Province of Vitebsk- He served under Prin 
ce Alexander of Wurttemberg, an uncle of Czar Alexander I, 
and one-time Governor-General of Belorussia (White Rus 
sia). The prince knew my grandfather very well, liked him, 
and gave him many valuable presents. 

The revolt of Decembrists broke out in 1825, at 
the time of ascension to the throne of Czar Nicholas I. 

After the defeat of Napoleon and the occupation of 
Paris in 1814 by Russian troops, many Russian aristocrats 
visited. France. The liberal ideas of the French Revolution 
appealed to many of them and resulted in the formation of 
two secret Masonic lodges, The Northern Star , and The 
Southern Star*. Both lodges enlisted as members many 
influential and wealthy Russian nobles. 



~ 15 



In 1825, Czar Alexander I died childless, leaving his 
two brothers ,Constantin and Nicholas, in line for the throne. 
The elder, Grand Duke Constantin, had in 1820 made a 
morganatic marriage to Mademoiselle Joanna Grudzinska of 
an old Polish noble family. She later received the title of 
Princess Lowicz. In 1823, Constantin signed secretly an abdi 
cation from the throne- His abdication was kept in a sealed 
envelope in Uspensky Cathedral in Moscow, and a copy of 
it in the Russian Senate in St- Petersburg, with instructions 
to be opened and read at the moment of the death of the 
Czar. Alexander accepted the renunciation of his brother and 
transferred the right of succession to his brother Nicholas, 
but the renunciation of Constantin was kept so secret that 
even the new Heir-Apparent, Grand Duke Nicholas, was 
completely unaware of it. 

No telegraph, no railroads existed at that time. The 
government orders were dispatched by special couriers tra 
velling by horses at full speed, day and night. 

The Czar Alexander died in Taganrog, on the shores 
of Asof Sea, in South Russia. When the news of the death 
of the Czar reached St. Petersburg, the Grand Duke Nicholas, 
together with all the troops of St. Petersburg garrison, took 
an oath of allegiance to Constantin, while Constantin, who 
was at that time the Viceroy of Poland, swore allegiance in 
Warsaw to Nicholas. It appeared that, at that moment, there 
were two Emperors of Russia, each one of them expecting 
the other to ascend the throne. 

The secret Masonic society of The Northern Star 
took advantage of the confusion caused by the secret abdica 
tion of Constantin to further its own ideals. Officers of the 
regiment of the guards stationed in St. Petersburg, members 
of this society, persuaded some soldiers that Nicholas was 
an usurper of the throne, and that it was their duty to 
defend the rights of the legitimate heir, Czar Constantin, 
and when the Grand Duke Nicholas finally agreed to be 
come the Czar, the soldiers of the two regiments of the 
guards were led by their officers to the Senate Square. This 
revolt took place on the 14th of December, 1825, and be 
came known as the Revolt of Decembrists . 

At first the new Emperor Nicholas I tried to win over 
the regiments which revolted, by using persuasion. When 



16 



the words of the higher clergy failed to move them, he 
sent Count Miloradovitch, Governor-General of St. Petersburg 
and a hero of the Campaign of 1812, to make an appeal to 
the soldiers to return peacefully to their barracks. While 
Count Miloradovitch was talking to the crowd, someone 
fired a shot and killed him. Only then did the Czar decided 
to resort to harsher methods. Units of cavalry and artillery 
were ordered to disperse the mob, and the revolt was sup 
pressed. 

Shortly thereafter, however, the Czar was informed 
that a big mob had gathered on the Senaia Square, protesting 
violently his ascension to the throne. The Czar ordered im 
mediately his sled with two prancing horses, covered with 
a net, to be brought to the entrance of the palace. He orde 
red his coachman to drive him to Senaia Square. 

The sled of the Czar, who was sitting behind his 
coachman, was driven into the middle of the crowd. The 
people were stunned. They never expected to see the Czar, 
without any guards, in their midst. 

The coachman stopped the horses. The Czar stood up. 
He was six feet, nine inches tall, and very handsome. He 
looked at the mob around him, and ardered, On your knees 
you, sons of bitches! The crowd knelt. Further bloodshed 
was avoided, and it was the end of the revolt. 

Meanwhile, The Southern Star tried to organize an 
uprising in Kiev, but this revolt failed, and order was restored. 

As strange as it may seem, the members of these se 
cret Masonic societies were planning the abolition of mo 
narchy and the establishment of a republic in Russia, and 
yet, none of them had set his own serfs free. They all re 
mained slave owners! 

By the time of the ascension to the throne of Czar 
Nicholas I, the reputation of my grandfather as a medical 
doctor and diagnostician was already well established. In 
1831, an epidemic of Asiatic cholera broke out with unpre 
cedented violence in St. Petersburg, Moscow and other pro 
vinces. The scourge, having swept through Russia, spread 
into Germany and France. In England, epidemics of cholera 



17 



made their periodical appearances; the germs were brought 
by ships into the ports of the British Isles, In 1831, three 
thousand deaths were reported in London alone. 

The epidemic was especially violent in Moscow where 
people became desperate. At the most critical moment, when 
deaths were recorded daily by many hundreds, the Czar sud 
denly appeared in Moscow! He appeared openly on the 
streets and in the public places of this ancient Russian ca 
pital, and his presence gave new courage to the unfortunate 
population. At the same time, doctors and all available me 
dical personnel were ordered to the stricken areas. 

My grandfather took an active part in fighting this 
epidemic. He worked in the hospitals himself and directed 
other doctors who were under him, to apply his own methods 
of fighting this disease. 

On the sixth of December that year, the name's day 
of the Czar, when the epidemic subsided, church services 
were held throughout Russia, and the courage of the Rus 
sian Sovereign was highly praised. On that day, my grand 
father received a citation from the Czar for saving forty 
thousand people from this horrible disease. He also received 
from the Czar a gold snuff-tobacco box with the initials of 
the Emperor inlaid in small diamonds. The citation and the 
present from the Czar were duly registered in his service 
record. 

During the entire XIX century, epidemics of cholera 
broke out periodically in all parts of European Russia, and 
the mortality rate was appalling. My grandfather wrote an 
essay in German on the treatment of cholera and it was 
published in Russia in 1836. Many years later his methods 
were adopted by the Medical Administration of St. Petersburg 
and other districts. 

At the time of my father's childhood, whenever an epi 
demic of cholera broke out in the Province of Vitebsk, the 
children of my grandfather and all the members of the 
household, contrary to the generally accepted rules and re 
gulations, were permitted to eat raw fruits and vegetables. 

One day a Jewish woman in the spasms of cholera fell 
down on a street near my grandfather's house. She was car 
ried into the house and my grandfather treated her perso 
nally. 



18 



The faith of the Jewish population of the city of Vi 
tebsk in my grandfather as a medical doctor was unshakable. 
They admired him greatly because he never refused to help 
anyone, even the poorest of them. He was sincerely dedi 
cated to his profession as a physician. 

Years after my grandfather's death, my father, on 
one of his frequent visits to Vitebsk, met a Jew by the name 
of Yossel who told him a remarkable story. 

It happened about 1854 or 1855. Yossel, at that time 
just a boy, became ill he had terrible headaches which 
steadily increased in their intensity. Yossel's parents were 
very poor, and became desperate, not knowing how to help 
their only child. Finally, Yossel's father went to see my 
grandfather who, as it was generally known in Vitebsk, was 
resting after having had a stroke. He had lost his speech, 
and his right side was completely paralyzed. 

Yossel's father was refused admittance, and was told 
again and again that the doctor could not see anyone, but 
the poor Jew was very persistent, and after many hours was 
permitted to enter the room where my grandfather was sit 
ting in a wheelchair. He was ordered to tell his story to 
the doctor. 

With the characteristic gestures of his race, and with 
many facial contortions, the Jew finally succeeded in re 
vealing the purpose of his visit. My grandfather listened at 
tentively. Then an attendant gave him a piece of paper and 
a pencil, and he scribbled with great difficulty, using his left 
hand: Hot steambath and twenty-five cups of hot tea . 
This message was given to the Jew who, bowing and 
thanking profusely, finally left, 

It never occurred to the poor Jew to doubt the wisdom 
of the doctor's advice. He immediately rented a small Rus 
sian bathhouse. On account of a fire hazard, all bathhouses 
in Russia were usually located in separate small buildings, 
either on the outskirts of a city or in some far corner of a 
courtyard, far apart from other buildings. 

Yossel's parents proceeded to heat the steambath to 
the capacity, bringing their sick son to it. At the same time, 
they boiled a big samovar of water and forced Yossel to 
drink very hot tea, cup after cup. 



19 



After the fifteenth cup, blood, heavily mixed with pus, 
suddenly began to run out of the child's nostrils and ears. 
The poor boy had an abscess on his brain, and the heat 
forced the abscess to burst open. In those days, an opera 
tion of opening the skull was considered impossible, and all 
attempts resulted in the instant death of the unfortunate 
patients. These operations had been performed successfully 
in ancient Egypt long before our era, and in Europe only 
at the beginning of the XX century. 



20 



BERSZADA 
CHAPTER II 



My grandfather's second wife was Anna Juriewicz. 

The Juriewicz family was one of the princely families 
of Poland. Centuries ago, the Juriewiczes were Sovereign 
Princes of Lithuanian extraction and had common ancestors 
with the Radziwills. 

After the marriage of Jagello, Grand Duke of Lithuania, 
to the Polish Queen Jadwiga in 1386, Lithuania and Poland 
became united, and a new dynasty of Jagellons replaced the 
old dynasty of Piasts on the throne of Poland. 

Lithuania had at that time a strong aristocracy. After 
the marriage of their prince to the Polish queen, quite a 
number of them intermarried with the most prominent 
Polish noble families. Due to the fact that Poland was already 
Roman Catholic and much more civilized than pagan Li 
thuania, Lithuanian nobles became thoroughly Polonized , 
accepted Christianity as well as the Polish language and cul 
ture. The Lithuanian language, a pure Sanskrit, was practi 
cally forgotten and exists to the present day only among 
Lithuanian peasants. 

With the death of the King Sygmunt-August I in 1572, 
the Jagellons became extinct, and the office of the king 
became elective. As a matter of fact, from that time on, Po 
land was called officially Rzeczpospolita , which means in 
Polish a republic, with a King elected for life. 

Poland was an aristocratic republic because only the 
nobles had a right to vote. The nobles elected the king and 
all the members of the Polish Parliament (Seim). Actually, 



21 



Poland was ruled by a couple of dozen magnates, the most 
powerful Polish princes who were indipendent sovereigns in 
their own domains. Sometimes these magnates maintained 
their own private armies, and the lesser nobility (Szlachta) 
used to serve as officers in their armies. A well-known Polish 
writer, Henry Sienkiewicz, in his novel Potop (Deluge) 
described a war between Prince Radziwill and the King of 
Poland, in which the magnate was finally defeated. 

It was difficult for the powerful magnates to come to an 
understanding and agree on the election of a certain candi 
date. Everyone of them had his own candidate for King when 
the throne was vacant. Therefore, they usually ended up 
electing some foreign prince. 

The first elected King of Poland was a French Prince, 
Henri de Valois, who later became King Henri III of France. 
King Jan Sobieski followed. Sobieski won a brilliant victory 
over the Turks, and gave Poland a respected place among 
other European nations. Later on, it became customary for 
the Polish nobles to elect the Kings of Saxony to the throne 
of Poland, but in spite of election of a foreign King, who 
was a sovereign of both countries, the King never exercised 
sufficient authority in Poland, and the situation deteriorated 
very rapidly. 

The Polish nobles, striving for more and more privi 
leges and independence, promulgated a law which authorized 
any single member of the Parliament to exercice the right 
of an absolute veto. Any member of the Seim could rise and 
proclaim, Nie pozwalam! which meant, in Polish, I do 
not permit! and the proposed legislative measure was kil 
led right then and there. As a result of this procedure, the 
government was unable to pass any new constructive legisla 
tion; there was always someone who was opposed to a mea 
sure, and the country became demoralized. 

Poland's strong neighbors eyed with suspicion the go 
vernment of the republic. Catherine the Great of Russia ma 
de an attempt to preserve the integrity of Poland by keeping 
the entire country under Russian influence. She succeeded 
in effecting the election to the throne of Poland Stanislaw 
Poniatowski, at one time her favorite. However, Poland's 
neighbors in the West, Maria-Theresa of Austria and parti 
cularly Frederic the Great of Prussia, forced a partition of 



22 



Poland between these countries. There were three partitions 
of Poland; the last one took place in 1793, and the Rzeczpos- 
polita ceased to exist as an independent country. 

Kniaz (Prince) Jacob Juriewicz supported the elec 
tion of Stanislaw Poniatowski in other words, the 
Juriewiczes were of pro-Russian orientation but by the 
end of the XVIII century, the> had already lost the greater 
part of their estates. Practically nothing was left of the old 
glory and for several generations they did not use their 
princely title. 

Stanislaw Juriewicz, a brother of my grandmother, ser 
ved in the Hussar Regiment of Mariompol, and as a young 
officer took part in the Russo- Turkish War of 1828-1829. He 
won serveral decorations for bravery, and after the war, as 
a commander of a cavalry squadron, was stationed on the 
southern border of the Province of Wolyn. 

In 1830, a series of revolutions broke out in different 
countries of Europe. King Charles X of France was forced to 
abdicate, and the throne passed to the Orleans branch of 
the Bourbon family. This was followed by revolutions in 
Belgium and Poland, each country striving to win its inde 
pendence. 

Stanislaw Juriewicz was sent with his squadron to 
Berszada, the estate of Pani (Lady) Joanna Moszynska, in 
the Province of Podolia, there to maintain law and order. 
The proud lady refused to receive a Russian Rittmeister, so 
Stanislaw Juriewicz was quartered in the house of the su 
perintendent of the estate. 

After staying there for a couple of weeks, Juriewicz re 
ceived an order to return to Wolyn. At the head of his 
squadron, in his Hussar uniform, he rode on a prancing 
horse out of Berszada, when unexpectedly he met the open 
carriage of Lady Joanna. He saluted Lady Joanna, who was 
gracious enough to acknowledge his greeting. 

It might have been the end, but fate had its own plans. 
Juriewicz received from his superior officer an order to re 
turn to Berszada. This time he was conducted to an apart 
ment in the main house of the estate, and a liveried steward 
informed the handsome Hussar that Lady Joanna expected 
him for dinner. 



23 



Lady Joanna Moszynska was a widow. Her husband, 
Piotr Moszynski, died leaving his young and attractive wife 
and a small daughter by the name of Maria with a big for 
tune. His two family estates, Berszada and Nestoyda, after 
the abolition of slavery in Russia in 1861, and after a greater 
part of the land was given to the peasants, each comprised 
about thirty thousand hectars, or seventy-five thousand acres. 
This fortune of some one hundred fifty thousand acres of 
fertile black soil in South Russia actually represented a 
small principality, and amounted to many millions of gold 
roubles. 

It did not take long for the handsome Hussar and the 
wealthy lady to fall in love with each other. They were 
married in a quiet ceremony, and soon afterward Stanislaw 
Juriewicz retired from the Army. 

The big white stone house of Berszada, with its two- 
story high white columns at the main entrance, resembled 
the White House of Washington, D.C (Many houses on the 
estates of the Russian and Polish nobles were built in a 
style very similar to the Colonial style of this country). 

The Berszada house was actually a palace. From the 
big entrance hall there were doors Beading into several living 
rooms, large and small. Each room had its own name, Blue 
Room , Yellow Room , Louis XV Room , and others, 
and finlaly, a large dininsroom with a marble floor, and a 
balcony for musicians. This diningroom could seat some 
two hundred guests. There was also a library, a billiard 
room, a card room, a den, a gymnasium and an armory with 
carbines and rifles used for shooting wolves and bears; also 
English double-barrel guns for partridges and other birds, 
and a collection of pistols, sabers and rapiers for dueling 
and fencing. At one wing of the house there was a large 
ballroom with mirrors and candelabras on the walls. 

On the second floor there were several master bedrooms, 
baths, and dressing rooms, and more intimate livingrooms 
and boudoirs. 

The furniture in all the rooms was solid and in good 
taste; some of the furniture consisted of museum pieces. 
There were expensive draperies on the windows, oil paintings, 
Gobelins and tapestries on the walls. Heavy Persian rugs 



24 



covered the parquet floors. Bronze and porcelain of old 
Sevres and Saxon stood on the table and mantelpieces, and 
bric-a-brac and objets d'art filled the glass cases and cupboards. 
It was evident that all this had been collected by many ge 
nerations and brought here from the four corners of the globe. 

Not far from the main house stood a large guesthouse 
built in the same style to accommodate the overflow of 
guests. 

Innumerable well-trained, liveried servants were at all 
times ready to serve their masters and the guests. 

In the stables of Berszada there were several hundred 
thoroughbred and Arabian horses with a corresponding 
number of saddles and carriages of all descriptions for all 
possible occasions, and an army of coachmen, equerries, 
grooms, and stable boys. 

Another army of dog trainers, perforce hunters, pi- 
queurs and keepers of the hounds took care of the kennels 
which housed pointers, Irish and English setters, and beagles 
for perforce hunting. There were separate kennels for the 
Russian wolfhounds. 

When Lady Joanna entertained a couple of hundred 
guests, each guest, according to his own fancy, was provided 
with either a saddle horse or a carriage for an afternoon drive 
through the old park of Berszada with its many rare trees, 
small artificial lakes, bridges, marble statues and pavilions. 
This park occupied several hundred acres on the other side 
of the main house. 

If the guests of Lady Joanna were attending a hunt with 
Russian wolfhounds, each guest was provided with a very 
fast horse and a couple of savage hounds (two hounds in 
Russian were called Svora ) on a string, one end of which 
was attached to the saddle and the other held in the hunter's 
hand. When a wolf suddenly appeared in front of the hunters, 
they had only to drop the end of the strings they were holding, 
and the rings on the collars of the hounds slid off the string. 
A wild race at the full speed of the horses followed. Horses 
were racing after the dogs, the dogs pursued the wolf... until 
the hounds finally caught up with their prey. This sport was, 
of course, reserved only for the men. 

The hunt was followed by a lavish banquet with all 



kinds of vodkas, Polish starka , rare wines and French 
champagne brought up from the cellars of Berszada's house. 

After dinner, parties of piquet and besigue were orga 
nized in the cardroom for the elderly guests. Some men played 
carambole in the billiard room, while the younger generation 
danced Viennese waltzes, Krakowiak and Mazurkas, accom 
panied by the soft music of a band of musicians. There were 
no mechanical devices to provide music at that time. 

Late at night a supper was served. In large Polish and 
Russian households, there were usually several shifts of serv 
ants, and the guests could have their supper at a very late 
hour. This kind of entertainment often went on for days, so 
metimes even for weeks! Only an Oriental potentate, or a very 
prominent European prince could afford to entertain so 
lavishly. In Berszada, the Oriental luxury was combined with 
the most modern European comfort. 

Stanislaw Juriewicz was mostly occupied with managing 
the estates of his wife Berszada as well as Nestoyda, 
which was also in Podolia. They were about a hundred mi 
les apart, and were divided into many ranches of several 
thousand acres each. There was a superintendent on each 
ranch, but the office of the general superintendent was in 
Berszada, not very far from the house which Lady Joanna 
occupied. There were all sorts of buildings houses for 
workmen, stables for working horses and cattle, hog houses, 
poultry houses, granaries, barns for wagons and implements. 
As a matter of fact, it was a very busy place. These two 
estates produced hundreds of thousands of bushels of wheat, 
so-called Belotourka , the wheat of the highest quality. 
Podolia and the entire Ukraine was at that time the food- 
basket of the whole of Europe. Nobody had heard of Cana 
dian or Argentine wheat. It was Russia that fed all of Western 
Europe and these estates required the constant attention 
and supervision of their owners. 

Lady Joanna had no business sense, and the general 
superintendent of Berszada was entrusted with the overseeing 
of the estates and the sale of their produce. 

Stanislaw Juriewicz had been born on the estate of 
his father in Belorussia and already in childhood had be 
come familiar with the management of land. Lady Joanna 



26 



willingly entrusted to him her entire fortune, and he succeeded 
in considerably increasing production and income within a 
few years. He improved the system of rotation of the crops, 
and imported some thrashing machines from Austria (nowdays 
it is called Czechoslovakia). These machines represented pos 
sibly the first attempt to replace the ancient flails, and the 
peasants regarded them with suspicion. 

He imported Arabian horses directly from Arabia, at 
that time a part of the Ottoman Empire. They were brought 
by boat to Odessa, a Russian port on the Black Sea. The 
horses arrived sewn up in chamois leather, with openings 
only for their mouths and eyes. This was a precaution 
the sea air could affect these beautiful animals, accustomed 
to dry air of the desert. Herds of Arabian horses grazed in 
the immense pastures of Berszada. 

In the winter, the Juriewiczes moved to their city 
house in Odessa. This house, built in early Renaissance style, 
with handwrought ceilings, mahogany doors with fancy bron 
ze handles, inlaid parquet floors, exquisite furniture, oriental 
rugs, oil paintings by old masters, zapestries, and bronze and 
porcelain works, was one of the most luxurious mansions in 
this southern city. 

Occasionally they took a trip to the French Riviera, 
travelling with a large retinue of servants, their own chef, 
valets and personal maids, secretaries, and nurses and tutors 
for the children. Travelling by railroad, they had their own 
private car. At a hotel, they usually occupied an entire floor. 
The French authorities had the greatest respect for this 
wealthy Russian prince and his princess. The French could 
not imagine that Stanislaw Juriewicz had no title. In their 
opinion, he was a prince travelling incognito. 

The Juriewiczes did not particularly enjoy the Paris 
of Louis-Philippe, a citizen-King who, in his drive for popu 
larity, often walked with a large umbrella on the streets of 
Paris among his subjects. 

Paris in those days was not the city we know today. 
Monsieur Haussmanu, a French-born German who became 
Prefect of the Seine, had noi yet begun his enormous task 
of beautifying the French capital, enlarging streets, making 
immense squares, etc. This work was done some years later, 
at the time of the Second Empire. 



27 



The Juriewiczes liked Vienna and the Viennese Court 
of Emperor Ferdinand I. They had many intimate friends 
there, and their visits to this true capital of an Empire 
were always prolonged ones. 

A couple of years after their marriage, a son was born 
to the young couple. He was named Mieczyslaw. Endless 
festivities followed the birth of an heir to the old name and 
vast fortune; but Maria, the step-daughter of Stanislaw Jurie 
wicz, always remained his favorite. 

In 1844, Stanislaw Juriewicz was elected Marshal of 
Nobility and was appointed Governor of the Province of 
Podolia. In the eyes of the Polish nobles of this Province, 
Stanislaw Juriewicz personified all the best traditions of 
their class he was handsome, aristocratic-looking, noble, 
generous, and an excellent host and they were proud of 
him! Czar Nicholas I knew him personally, and Juriewicz 
was careful to present his wife, Lady Joanna, to the Czar. 
The Russian Sovereign fully approved of his choice. 

By the time Juriewicz was appointed Governor of Po 
dolia, his son Mieczyslaw was twelve years old, and his step 
daughter Maria had turned into a very attractive young de 
butante. She became engaged to Count Sygmunt Szembek, 
the owner of the estate Ustye in Podolia. 

Count Szembek was a member of a well-known noble 
family in Poland, but, unfortunately, he was a gambler, and 
lost heavily at the card tables. Finally, his debts reached an 
alarming proportion; there was a danger that his family 
estate Ustye would be sold at auction. He was forced to 
turn to his future father-in-law for help. 

It had always been difficult for the Russian and Polish 
landowners to raise ready cash, and in this case it was 
necessary to raise a half million gold Roubles, a tremendous 
sum at that time. Stanislaw Juriewicz and his wife were 
forced to sell their collection of uncut diamonds. These dia 
monds were sold in Amsterdam and London by my grand 
mother, Anna von Wrangell, a younger sister of Stanislaw 
Juriewicz. At the request of her brother, she made a special 
trip abroad, and for the time, Sygmunt Szembek was re 
lieved from all of his debts. However, he continued to gamble, 
causing his young bride many sleepless nights. He was, careful, 



28 



though, to see to it that his losses did not exceed a certain 
limit. 

A few years later, Stanislaw Juriewicz was destined to 
live through a great sorrow. Lady Joanna contracted an 
unknown sickness at the age of forty-five, and no doctors 
could save her. The sorrow of her husband was overwhelming. 

Lady Joanna left her fortune in trust to her husband, 
after his death to be divided equally between her two 
children, her son Mieczyslaw Juriewicz and her daughter 
Countess Maria Szembek, 

Stanislaw Juriewicz served with distinction as Governor 
of Podolia, and in 1853 was elected Marshal of Nobility of 
the Province of Vitebsk. He moved to the city of Vitebsk, 
the home of his sister, Anna von Wrangell. 



29 



THE CRIMEAN WAR 
CHAPTER III 



At the middle of the past century, dark, menacing 
clouds ^appeared on the horizon of the Russian Empire. 

After the defeat of Napoleon and the subsequent Rus 
sian occupation of Paris, Russia played a predominant role 
on the European continent. At the Congress of Vienna, in 
1815, at the wish of the Russian Czar, an international orga 
nization was established, for the first time in European history, 
uniting all European nations. This organization became known 
as The Holy Alliance . The sole purpose of this organiza 
tion was to maintain peace. 

Napoleon had caused an upheaval marching with his 
victorious army from one end of Europe to another, from 
Spain and Portugal to Moscow some fifteen years of 
continuous fighting. All European countries were tired of 
war, and the Czar, appearing as a great liberator of Western 
Europe, conceived the idea of an international alliance of all 
European powers based on the principles of Christianity; 
hence, this new organization received the name of The 
Holy Alliance . 

All European countries, with few exceptions, became 
members of this organization. The Pope of Rome, however, 
regarded himself as the representative of the Lord Himself, 
holding keys to the earthly kingdom as well as to the Kingdom 
of Heaven. He felt he was placed above all earthly rulers, and, 
therefore, refused to join the new alliance. The Ottoman 
Empire, being a Mohammedan country, was not invited to 



- 30 



join, although the Padischahs regarded favorably this new 
organization. Also, the British Parliament, being decidedly 
against any British definite commitments in affairs on the 
Continent, refused to approve the membership of the British 
Empire in the new plan. All the rest of the European nations 
joined the international alliance. 

Napoleon, who had caused all the upheaval, was consi 
dered an upstart, the result of a revolution. Consequently, 
the newly created Alliance accepted a policy suppressing any 
revolt or revolution, and supporting the legitimate rulers 
who, it was presumed, being Christian kings, could always 
find a peaceful solution to their differences. 

The actual power behind this structure was the Rus 
sian Czar, in the same way as nowadays the actual power 
behind the United Nations is the United States of America. 
The Czars followed the policy of helping to suppress any 
revolutionary movements. 

When, in 1821, the Greeks started an uprising in an 
effort to win their independence from the Ottoman Empire, 
they could not succeed on account of the intervention of 
France, Great Britain, and Russia; these three European 
powers upheld the authority of the Sultans as their legiti 
mate rulers. 

In 1848, a series of revolutions took place in practi 
cally all European countries. It all started in Italy with a 
nationalist uprising against Austria. The movement extended 
to France, throughout all Austria, and to all German states. 
The only areas it did not touch were Russia, Spain, and 
Scandinavian countries. The general demand was for social 
reforms, such as universal suffrage, trade unions, etc. Karl 
Marx took advantage of this situation, and issued his well- 
known <t Manifesto of the Communist Party . (1848). He 
was expecting a realization of the Communist doctrines in 
his lifetime. All these violent uprisings in different European 
countries were suppressed by force, and order was restored. 

In France, on February 24th, the seventy-four year old 
King Louis-Philippe was forced to abdicate in favor of his 
ten-year old grandson, Philippe, Comte de Paris. His abdi 
cation did not, however, save the monarchy. The revoke 



31 



tionaries ignored the claims of the young Philippe and 
established a republic (The Second Republic) instead, 

In Austria-Hungary, Emperor Ferdinand granted freedom 
of the press and promised a constitution to Austria, but a 
violent uprising in Vienna forced the Imperial family to take 
refuge in the fortress-town of Olmutz, in Moravia. 

Emperor Ferdinand had no children of his o\vn, and 
the ambitious Archduchess Sophia, wife of the Emperor's 
younger brother, Franz-Karl, who had signed an abdication, 
persuaded the good-natured Emperor Ferdinand to abdicate 
in favor of her son, the Archduke Franz- Josef. However, Fer 
dinand, before his abdication, granted the Hungarians a very 
liberal constitution which the young Emperor Franz-Josef, 
after his coronation, refused to recognize. As a result, the 
Hungarian Diet refused to recognize Franz-Josef as King of 
Hungary. The eighteen-year old Franz-Josef invoked the Holy 
Alliance, and the Hungarian uprising was suppressed by the 
Russian troops. Czar Nicholas I did not hesitate to send Rus 
sian troops across the Carpathian Mountains into Hungary, 
and was acclaimed throughout Europe as a Policeman of 
Europe (Gendarme d'Europe). A wave of revolutions in all 
the German states was suppressed by force, and the Russian 
Czar emerged as a guardian of absolutism! 

Soon, practically all European countries became tired 
of this guardianship, and the Holy Alliance, which had given 
Russia a predominant role in Europe, was denounced by the 
same members who only a decade before were anxious to 
uphold its principles. A new military alliance, directed 
against Russia, was formed by France, Great Britain, and 
Turkey. Austria-Hungary and the German states remained 
officially neutral, but hostile to Russia. 

Russia was now facing an antagonistic Europe, not 
knowing for a long time where her enemies were going to 
strike. Late in the summer of 1853, the British fleet entered 
the White Sea in the north and started to bombard the So- 
lovetzky Monastery, which, centuries before, had been built 
in the style of a medieval fortress on the Solovki Island in 
the middle of the White Sea. At the first shots from the 
British warships, huge swarms of seagulls, pelicans, and 
other northern birds rose like a big cloud. The swarms 



32 



of birds were so great that they darkened the skies, and the 
droppings of these birds on the British frigates forced them 
to retreat. Besides, the White Sea froze during some five 
winter months and was not suitable for military operations. 
About ten months later, in 1854, the Allied Fleet ente 
red the Black Sea in the south and bombarded Odessa, 
causing little damage to the city. Three bombs landed in a 
wall of Juriewicz's beautiful mansion without even exploding 
and ruining the wall. Juriewicz ordered his workmen to 
repair the cracks in the wall and to leave the bombs where 
they landed. 

Finally the allies disembarked near Balaklava in Crimea 
and the siege of Sebastopol began... 

Sebastopol, situated on the southern shore of the Cri 
mean peninsula, was the most important Russian military 
port on the Black Sea. The entire Russian Black Sea fleet 
could very comfortably take refuge in the extensive natural 
harbor of this port. However, the Russian fleet was at that 
time much too small to accept a battle with the allied warships, 
and the Russian admirals ordered the sinking of their own 
frigates at the entrance of Sebastopol harbor in order to 
prevent the allied ships from entering it. The crews of the 
sunken ships were added to the small garrison of the fortress. 

An eleven month seige followed. The cannons and rifles 
did not shoot at a great distance at that time, and the allies 
dug their trenches less than a hundred yards from the 
Russian fortifications. From time to time, both sides 
were attacking and counter-attacking, leaving dead and 
wounded in the narrow space between the lines of fortifi 
cations and the trenches. After the hand-fighting was over, 
both sides usually agreed on a short armistice, and while 
doctors, attendants and nurses were removing the dead and 
wounded, the officers were visiting each other. The allied 
officers invited the Russians, offering them English tea, French 
hors-d'oeuvres, and Scotch whiskey; during the next armistice, 
the Russians reciprocated by serving their enemies the best 
they had left in the besieged city, trying to impress them 
that no shortage of food and vodka was yet felt. When a 
short armistice was over, everybody was at his post, and 
the fighting was resumed. 



33 



Both sides displayed the attitude of professional sol 
diers, trained in the old traditions of Empires, with a strong 
sense of honor and respect for their enemies. The democratic 
idea of arousing savage hatred in the whole nation towards 
the enemy was not as yet practiced. 

Russia always maintained a very large army, but Rus 
sian army units were stationed mostly in St. Petersburg and 
along the western Russian border. In the south, Russia did 
not keep a large contingent of troops. Without railroads 
and good, wide highways, it was impossible to move the 
necessary army units, cannons and supplies approximately a 
thousand miles across European Russia to Crimea. Possibly, 
it would have taken a year for reinforcements to arrive. 
Consequently, the Sebastopol garrison was left to its fate. 

On the other hand, the capture of Sebastopol could not 
give a decisive victory to the allies, Russia, as a whole, did 
not even begin to feel the impact of war. And, at the same 
time, the intelligence service gave information to the allies 
that the Russian troops began to move towards Crimea. 
Slowly, but they were moving... 

At this moment, Czar Nicholas I died, and his son, 
Czar Alexander II ascended the throne of Russia. The young 
Czar was exceedingly well-educated. His late father provided 
for him the best tutors, and young Alexander was full of new 
ideas. At the wish of Czar Nicholas I, several commissions 
had been working for many years on the question of libe 
ration of the serfs, and the young Czar was anxious to 
introduce new reforms, abolishing slavery and corporal pu 
nishment, establishing courts by jury, and also many others. 
He was extremely good-hearted and liberal, and did not care 
to save the Holy Alliance or Russian prestige. The war was 
interfering with the realization of his dreams, and he agreed 
to a peace treaty which was enthustically accepted by the 
allies. Russia lost the Province of Bessarabia on the Romanian 
border and the right to maintain a fleet in the Black Sea. 
Peace was restored in Europe, but it was no longer guarded 
by any international organization. It was based on the balance 
of powers. 

* * * 

Historically, and to some extent ethnologically, European 

34 




Ciar II Emancipator 



Russia was divided into several large sections, similar to 
the American division of New England, the South, Middle 
West, etc. In the center of European Russia was the * Great 
Russia (Velikorossia), which included a dozen provinces 
around Moscow. To the southwest of Velikorossia was the 
Little Russia* (Malorossia), or Ukraine, with the old city 
of Kiev. Directly south of Velikorossia was the territory 
along the northern shores of the Black Sea. This territory 
had been acquired only recently by Empress Catherine the 
Great (in the late 1700's) and was, therefore, called New 
Russia* (Novorossia). Novorossia was flat, like a table, and 
extending to the horizon one could see the well-known Rus 
sian steppes, hot and dusty in the summer, and quite cold 
and covered by snow in the winter. 

In the west, north of Ukraine, was White Russia 
(Belorussia) which consisted only of two provinces, Vitebsk 
and Mogilev. Belorussia was covered by vast forests which 
were intersected by swamps and large lakes. The northern 
part of Vitebsk was especially beautiful, and called Livonian 
Swiss , with its lovely mirror-like lakes, and with hills, even 
though under frequently gloomy skies, covered with birch 
and pine forests. 

In the second half of the XVI century, as a result of 
a war between Stephen Batory, King of Poland, and the 
Russian Czar Ivan the Terrible, Belorussia had become a 
Polish province and was returned to Russia only after the 
first partition of Poland in 1772. 

The soil of Belorussia required hard labor to till it; 
the climate was damp and cold, with short, rainy summers; 
the local peasants, called Belorassy , were rather sad- 
looking, and morose in character. Their language was a bad 
mixture of Polish and Russian. 

In Russia, only about half of the peasants were priva 
tely owned berfs. The rest of the peasants were serfs of the 
Crown (Gosoudarstvenyie krestiane). At the time of the an 
nexation of Itelorussia, Empress Catherine the Great made 
a large number of the peasants that belonged to the Crown 
move from ceatral Russia to the western border to the newly 
acquired provinces of Vitebsk and Mogilev, where they were 
settled on government land. These peasants, for some unknown 



35 



reason, were called Panzyrnyie Boyare (in English, Ar 
mored Nobles ), and belonged to the religious sect of 
Starovery (Old. Faith). They were hard-working people 
and their religious belief made them abstain from alcoholic 
beverages and tobacco. The government gave them plenty 
of land, and they lived much better than the privately owned 
serfs, Living in Belorussia for several generations, they acqui 
red gradually the same White Russian dialect, but were 
stronger in stature and looked healthier than the original 
serfs of that area. 

Belorussia was also noted for its variety of religious 
factions. Ever since the time of the Polish King Kasimir the 
Great (1444-1492), there had been a great many Jews in Po 
land. Kasimir, who had a Jewish sweetheart by the name 
of Estherka, had invited the Jews to come to Poland after 
they had been expelled from Spain (1492). The Jews crowded 
into the cities and towns of Poland proper and into all 
Polish provinces, including Belorussia. Centuries before, 
however, the Order of Jesuits had been active among the 
Polish nobles who were the principal land owners in Belo 
russia. The Jesuit's influence was great, and there remained 
in Belorussia a number of Roman Catholic cathedrals and 
churches built by the Order. 

Possibily because the Jesuit Order was so strong in 
Belorussia, Gabriel Gruber, General of this Order, took re 
fuge there when, in 1773, Pope Clement XIV suppressed the 
Order. Gabriel Gruber, a well-educated man, settled in Po 
lotsk, in the Province of Vitebsk, and lived there until 1796, 
when Emperor Paul I ascended the Russian throne. 

Czar Paul I was a man easily influenced. He became 
interested in the Catholic Order of the Knights of Malta and 
was inspired by the idea of arranging a union between the 
Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic (Russian Orthodox) 
churches. In the opinion of the Czar, this union would ha 
ve been the best strong-hold against atheist ideas of the French 
Revolution, which were spreading at that time in Europe. 

Gabriel Gruber moved to St. Petersburg, gained the 
confidence of the Czar and persuaded him to write a personal 
letter to the Pope asking him to restore the Jesuit Order. 
The Czar's request was granted, and Pope Pius VII restored 



36 



the Order of the Jesuits in March 1801, only a few days be 
fore the assassination of the Czar in Mikhailovsky Castle in 
St. Petersburg. 

* * * 

On the banks of the Dvina River, the city of Vitebsk 
in Belorussia, like ancient Rome, was built on seven hills. In 
1812, Vitebsk witnessed Napoleon's invasion of Russia, and 
was one of the first cities occupied by the Great Army. 
However, it was not burned and destroyed like some other 
Russian cities and towns. 

The deep mud of the Russian roads, into which sank 
the French soldiers, their horses and cannons, the complete, 
wilful devastation, or scorch the earth policy adopted by 
the retreating Russians, the resulting starvation of men and 
animals, the frost and the terrible Russian cold which pe 
netrated to the very marrow of the bones a weapon which 
had long protected the Holy Russia against any invasion 
all this did not harden the hearts of the invaders and 
Napoleon in Vitebsk was still in a generous mood and was 
still a benevolent Master of Europe , who was ready to 
accept peace on his own terms. But nobody appealed to him 
for peace, and Vitebsk was soon witness to the retreat of the 
once Great Army that disintegrated into hordes of starving, 
dying men. For some years to come, here and there in the 
fields, one could find horses' carcasses, men's skeletons, rifles, 
pieces of uniforms, ammunition and even cannons. 

Also, in that fateful year of 1812, these traces of 
destruction were duplicated across the ocean, in a fai; away 
country - the United States of America, when the Britishers 
burned down the White House in Washington, D.C. Getting 
ready to invade Russia and moving his armies across Western 
Europe to the Russian border, Napoleon wanted to protect 
his back from his arch enemy, Great Britain, and succeeded 
in involving His Majesty's government in a war across the 
Atlantic. 

Forty years later, the city of Vitebsk was rebuilt and 
repaired, and there remained no traces of the past tragic 
events. Vitebsk, with the Gothic architecture of its Roman 
Catholic cathedrals, situated on the hills overlooking Dvina 
River, was an imposing and beautiful city. The main street 



37 



of Vitebsk was called Zamkovaia oulitza (The Castle 
street). There were stores, hotels, and restaurants there, and 
the noisy crowds on the streets, with their guttural sound 
of Yiddish and a stream of constant gesticulation, conveyed 
to one's memory the oriental cities of Jaffa and Haifa on 
the sunny Mediterranean. 

At the most prominent place, on top of a hill, stood 
the mansion of the Governor, with an adjacent public garden 
where in the summer a military orchestra played, and the 
young Jewish girls flirted with their escorts. 

Not far from the Governor's mansion stood the im 
posing building of the Assembly of Nobility, where a number 
of brillant balls were arranged every year. In the same 
building was a club where gambling for very high stakes 
was going on at that time. 

By the middle of the XIX century, slavery had become 
rather burdensome to the Russian and Polish nobles. After 
their extensive journeys through sophisticated Western Euro 
pe, they found thev could no longer be satisfied with home 
made linens, or a pair of heavy boots made by a serf 
shoemaker. However, soft French lingerie, suits of English 
materials, French perfumes and other luxuries required from 
the man outlay of cash which was rather difficult to get. 
The soil in Belorussia was unproductive, and the forest was 
the only real source of income, but the prices for lumber 
were low. Their serfs were lazy, slow-thinking and slow-moving 
They represented rather a liability, because by law a noble 
landowner was obliged to take care of their welfare and pay 
taxes for them as well. 

At that time there was a strong feeling that radical 
changes were impending. During the last decade before the 
liberation of the peasants, the government tried to protect 
the peasants. A number of government regulations and Im 
perial orders were issued to this effect. One of them forbade 
the exile of serfs to Siberia without a due process of law; 
another forbade separation of a serf's family, and the go 
vernment began to look with disapproval upon the attempts 
of some noble slaveowners to set their serfs free without 
giving each man enough land to sustain his entire family. 

The peasants were becoming restless; there were all 
sorts of wild rumors among them about the intentions of the 



Czar, The position of the landowners did not appear as secure 
and impregnable as it had been for centuries in the past, and 
during this last decade before the abolition of slavery, gamb 
ling flourished among Russian and Polish aristocrats. Fortunes 
were made and lost overnight, and the borrowings from the 
Jewish lenders, who were always ready to accommodate, 
increased to proportions never reached before. 

The election of Stanislaw Juriewicz to the office of 
Nobility Marshal, a position second only to the Governor's, 
was a subject of endless discussions long before his arrival 
in Vitebsk. The Juriewicz family still owned a number of 
estates in Belorussia and was registered in the books of 
Nobility of the province - two conditions necessary to making 
the election of Stanislaw Juriewicz possible. 

Both of his parents, Joseph Juriewicz and his wife, 
Anna, born Deszpot-Zienowicz, lived all their lives in the 
Province of Vitebsk, and were well liked by the landed 
gentry. Stanislaw Juriewicz, being educated in the Jesuit 
College in Polotsk, was remembered as a good-looking, bright 
young man. Now, the Jews, through their own means of 
communication which was known as Pantoufelnaia Pochta 
(in English, Slippers' mail - the orthodox Jews wore at 
that time a certain kind of slippers), supplied information 
about the great wealth, generosity, fine appearance, and other 
qualities of the newly elected Marshal, but their enthusiasm 
reached its height when immense fourgons laden with furni 
ture and innumerable coffers, boxes, suitcases, and trunks, 
accompanied by an army of servants, began to arrive from 
the south. They foresaw much profit from this Heaven-sent 
rich customer! 

Finally, the new Marshal of Nobility arrived in an 
enormous dormeuse (carriage on eight wheels), driven 
by twelve anglo-Arabian horses harnessed a la daumont, and 
proceeded to a house already prepared for him. Stanislaw 
Juriewicz, in the prime of his life, with his hair touched by 
silver, tall and handsome, talking in a clear, pleasant voice, 
made an impression which exceeded all expectations. Every 
body, especially the women, found him charming, and some 
of the local beauties fell in love with him then and there. 



39 



MARSHAL OF NOBILITY 
CHAPTER IV 



Soon Stanislaw Juriewicz was busy in his new office. 
His duties as Nobility Marshal included presiding at the ses 
sions of the Board which inducted new recruits into the army. 
In America it is called the Selective Service Board. 

It was a responsible, and, in a certain way, grim duty, 
because at that time the new recruits were inducted into the 
army for as long as twenty-five years of service. It was like 
condemning a man to a lifelong punishment, because with 
his induction into the army, his life with his family, in most 
cases, was ended forever. 

After twenty-five years of service, the parents of an in 
ducted man were either dead, or were supported by their 
other sons. Brothers and sisters of a recruit were married, 
had their own families, and had divided among themselves 
whatever little property they had received from their parents. 
Therefore, a soldier released from the army after twenty- 
five years of service was usually unwelcome in his native 
village. Understandably, old soldiers preferred to stay in the 
army where their regiments and comrades-in-arms substi 
tuted as their families for them. A few of them served as state 
troopers (gendarmes), and city policeman, or uniformed 
doormen, their chests adorned with military decorations. 

Traditionally, only sons were exempt from service, and 
the Board tried to induct only the boys of large families. 
However, the number of recruits to be called that year was 
increased on account of an approaching war. 



40 



Stanislaw Juriewicz tried to be impartial, inducting 
only young men from large families. He refused flatly to 
make any exception to this rule. 

All recruits were to go through a medical examination 
and were supposed to meet certain rigid mental and physical 
requirements, but the final decision to induct the man was 
left entirely to the Nobility Marshal. If the Marshal inducted 
a young man contrary to a doctor's advice, and this young 
man was later found not to actually meet the necessary 
qualifications, the Nobility Marshal had to pay the Crown six 
hundred Roubles for each recruit so disqualified. 

On the eve of the first session of the Board, Juriewicz 
was informed by some Jews that a few doctors were ac 
cepting graft from well-to-do peasants, promising them to 
find their sons unfit for service. A number of peasants who 
belonged to the Crown, the so-called Panzyrnyie Boyare 
could well afford to pay considerable sums in order to save 
their sons from a quarter of a century of service. 

On the first day of the Board's session, the Governor 
of the Province arrived, and was greeted by Juriewicz, who 
did not offer the Governor his seat. 

Get a chair for his Excellency! , he ordered, and 
continued with his work. 

After a medical examination, a young man, naked, ap 
proached a long table covered with green cloth, where sat 
the Marshal of Nobility. A doctor reported briefly to Juriewicz: 

Unfit for service! . 

Stanislaw Juriewicz saw a healthy, strong young fellow 
standing in front of him. According to the list of names, this 
boy was of the Old Faith and had three brothers. 

How do you feel? , Juriewicz asked him sternly. 

The peasant boy was too honest to lie. Fine , he 
answered. 

Turn about! ordered Juriewicz. The young fellow 
turned awkwardly around. 

Induct him! ordered Juriewicz. 

The doctor who had examined the man looked astounded. 



41 



I reported already to Your Excellency that this man 
is unfit for service , he said. 

And I have ordered him inducted . Juriewicz said, 
and turned to the next man. 

After Juriewicz inducted five or six young recruits 
despite the doctor's reports, the Governor signalled him that 
he wished to speak with him in private. 

How can you induct those fellows contrary to the 
doctor's reports? the Governor asked Juriewicz when they 
were alone. You will pay an enormous penatly! 

I do not think that I will pay much , answered 
Juriewicz, but, if I do, it will be worth it , and without 
giving any further explanation to the Governor, Juriewicz 
returned to his seat. 

The Governor left and the work of the Board continued. 

Later that night, the Jews reported to Juriewicz that 
the peasants had besieged the doctors, denouncing them and 
demanding their money back. 

The next day the same story was repeated again, but 
there were fewer negative doctors' reports. The work of the 
Board continued for several weeks, and at the end, Stanislaw 
Juriewicz paid twenty-four hundred Roubles for four recruits. 
Juriewicz was very satisfied with his accomplishments and 
the whole city of Vitebsk was talking about nothing but the 
new Nobility Marshal! 

After this stern business of inducting young men into 
the army was over, Stanislaw Juriewicz found time for the 
members of his own family. 

At the time of his marriage to Lady Joanna, he had 
informed his brothers and his sister, Anna von Wrangell, who 
was seventeen years younger than he, that he had decided 
to give up in their favor his share in the landed estates of 
his father's family. The estates were in Belorussia, and after 
the death of his parents, Stanislaw Juriewicz, as the oldest 
brother, divided these properties among his brothers. His 
brother, Michal Juriewicz, received Kraszuty, a large estate 
covered by a dense forest, known to contain bears, moose, 
and other big game. His brother Jan received two estates, 

42 



Franopol and Porzecze. Franciszek, another brother, lived in 
St. Petersburg, where he occupied an important position in 
a government department. It was decided to give Kim money 
and family jewelry. My grandmother, Anna von Wrangell 7 
received three estates: Kolpino, Reblio, and Zabelja. The esta 
te Kolpino had belonged to her mother, born Deszpot- 
Zienowicz. Originally, this estate had belonged to the Princes 
Oginski; Polonia Oginska was the maternal grandmother of 
Anna von Wrangell. 

The title to the estate Porzecze was left in the name 
of Stanislaw Juriewicz in order to give him the necessary 
electoral qualification. As a Marshal of Nobility, he was sup 
posed to own in his own name in this province not less than 
three thousand acres. 

The only son of Stanislaw Juriewicz, Mieczyslaw, was 
a student at St. Petersburg University. Stanislaw Juriewicz 
selected one of his nephews, Conrad, son of his brother Jan 
as a companion for his son. They were of the same age and 
had been friends since childhood. As a boy, Conrad had a 
decided talent for music. At one time he was a pupil of 
Frederic Chopin, and in addition to his studies at the Uni 
versity, he took music lessons at the St. Petersburg Conserva 
tory. 

Mieczyslaw and Conrad lived together in a lavish 
apartment in St. Petersburg. Stanislaw Juriewicz gave them 
an allowance of two and a half thousand Roubles a month, 
an unheard-of sum of money for young students. They lived 
in grand style, with liveried lackeys, maintaining their own 
victoria carriage and slick sled for the winter, with a few anglo- 
Arabian horses and a liveried footman. 

They did not devote much time to their studies. In 
their uniformed frock-coats made to order by the best tailor, 
and their bicorne hats, they attended practically every per 
formance of the Imperial Ballet at the Maryinsky Theatre, 
and were steady guests of every fashionable cabaret. They 
appeared at the races and were noted for their fabulous 
entertainment. 

Once in a while, by order of the Governor of St. Peters 
burg, they were deported from this Russian capital - the 
reason being some more-or-less innocent prank they played 



43 



on the spur of the moment, consequently getting in trouble 
with the St. Petersburg police. 

While in St. Petersburg, Czar Nicholas I liked to take 
drives along Nevsky Prospect, the main street of the city. 
The Imperial sled, without any guards, driven by a single 
coachman, usually left the Winter Palace, crossed the Palace 
Square, went under the Arc of General Staff along Morskaia 
Street, and turned into Nevsky Prospect. The narrow sled 
of the Czar proceeded at the steady trot of two excellent 
horses. The tall figure of the Czar, in a gray military coat 
with a beaver collar and a casque of the Imperial Horse 
Guards Regiment, was familiar to everyone, and all carriages 
and sleds turned carefully to the side of the wide thoroughfare, 
giving way to the Imperial conveyance. It was contrary to 
the established regulations to pass the Imperial carriage at 
any time. The Czar's sled proceeded along Nevsky Prospect 
to a distance of little more than a mile, and usually turned 
back at the Anichkoff Palace and Fontanka. 

One day, when the sled of the Czar turned into Nevsky 
Prospect and traveled at the usual speed towards Anichkoff 
Palace, the sled of the two Juriewicz boys also turned into 
Nevsky Prospect from the side of St. Isaac's Cathedral. The 
Czar's sled was a few blocks ahead when two gray anglo- 
Arabian horses, covered with a blue net, started overtaking 
the Imperial carriage at a steady trot. As they passed it at 
a full trot, the two foolish youngsters took off their bicorne 
hats in a polite greeting to the Sovereign. 

The Czar inquired only about their identity. However, 
this incident constituted sufficient reason for the Governor 
of St, Petersburg to order their deportation. 

The two youngsters did not worry much. They went 
straight to their father, and uncle, and laughingly told him 
the whole story. They were convinced that their prank was 
very amusing and did not expect to be reprimanded for it. 

Stanislaw Juriewicz did not approve of their conduct 
but attributed it to their youthful foolishness. He forgave 
them, though he had to use all of his connections to get 
permission for the two boys to return to the capital and to 
resume their studies. 



.44 



Not long afterwards, in the company of their friend, 
Paul Prince San Donato Demidoff (1), they conceived of 
another prank. Conrad and Mieczyslaw had met with Paul De 
midoff at this house on Italianskaia Street for a festive lunch. 
After a few bottles of champagne, they were feeling elated, 
and one of them had a brilliant idea. They called a servant 
boy and ordered him to undress. They made him bend over, 
and drew, with a piece of charcoal, two big eyes and black 
eyebrows on his behind, wrapped this improvised face with 
a woolen shawl, and put it in front of one of the windows 
facing the street. 

It did not take long for a crowd to gather, wondering 
about the strange face which was looking out of the window. 
The clever youngsters turned the boy, making the face turn 
to the right and to the left. Finally a police officier became 
interested in this performance, and the Jurieicwz boys were 
again deported... 

Stanislaw Juriewicz refused to consider seriously these 
younthful pranks. To the credit of at least one of these 
three young men, it is necessary to state that, later on, Paul 



(1) A direct ancestor of Paul Demidoff was a very smart and shrewd 
Russian peasant by the name of Nikita Demidovitch Antoufiev. 
Czar Peter the Great entrusted him with several important mis 
sions which Nikita accomplished successfully. As a result, the 
Czar granted him the well-known Taguil Silver Mines in Siberia, 
and Nikita Demidovitch had become one of the wealthiest men 
in Russia. His great-grandson, Nicholas Demidoff, lived in Flo 
rence, Italy, for many years. He purchased an old monastery 
by the name of San Donato near Florence, and built a palace 
there. In this palace, Nicholas Demidoff lavishly entertained 
hundreds of guests. After his death, his younger son, Anatol 
Demidoff, inherited the palace of San Donato. Anatol married 
Princess Mathilde de Montfort, a daughter of Jerome Bonaparte, 
brother of Napoleon I, and as a wedding gift, Ferdinand III, 
Grand Duke of Toscana (junior branch of the Habsburg family) 
conferred on Anatol Demidoft the title of Prince San Donato. 
After Anatol's death, his nephew, the young Paul Demidoff, 
friend of the Juriewicz boys, inherited the palace of San Donato, 
and Czar Alexander II granted him permission to add to his 
family name Demidoff the title of Prince San Donato. 

Footnote of the author. 



45 



Demidoff followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, Nicholas 
Demidoff, and donated enormous sums of money to charity. 
The grateful city of Florence eracted on one of the city 
squares a marble monument to Demidoff. The statue of the 
generous Russian noble depicted him sitting in a chair and 
giving alms to a poor woman with an infant in her arms. 
However, Stanislaw Juriewicz was worried by the fact that 
every year he had to pay a long list of debts contracted by 
his son and his nephew in addition to the more than liberal 
allowance they received from him. Usually Juriewicz was 
furious, and in order to soften his angry mood, Conrad would 
sit at the piano playing the valses, etudes, and nocturnes of 
Chopin. He played with so much feeling that it brought tears 
to his uncle's eyes, and Stanislaw Juriewicz would embrace him 
and his own son, making them promise not to incur debts 
in the future. They promised willingly, but the following 
year the same performance would be repeated all over again. 

Stanislaw Juriewicz was desperate but had not the 
heart to apply stronger measures of discipline. 

A series of parties and formal dinners were arranged 
in Vitebsk in honor of the new Marshal of Nobility. Stanislaw 
Juriewicz made an effort not to offend anyone and tried to 
attend all of them. He was very polite and friendly to everyone, 
but in his manner there was a certain aloofness which 
discouraged any familiarity. 

One of the first formal dinners in his honor was ar 
ranged by his sister, Anna von Wrangell, who placed next to 
him her close friend, beautiful Panna Wienczeslawa 
Barszczewska. Panna Wienczeslawa was beautiful and vivac 
ious as only a Polish girl of a good family can be. 

II was noticed that for the first time since he had 
become a windower, Stanislaw Juriewicz paid a great deal 
of attention to one woman. Panna Wienczeslawa was young, 
much younger than my grandmother, with big blue eyes and 
thick black hair. She was tall, with a very good figure. 
Her reparties were clever and spontaneous. It was also noticed 
that she was very pleased by the attention paid to her by 
the handsome guest of honor. 

Later, when Juriewicz arranged a large reception at 
his house, Panna Wienczeslawa was invited. Together they 



46 



danced mazurka, a proud Polish dance, and everybody 
had to admit that in spite of the difference in their age, 
they were a stunning-looking couple. 

From that day on, there was a whirl of courtship and 
within a few months they were married in a ceremony at 
tended only by relatives and close friends. On their honey 
moon, they went south to Berszada and Odessa, on the shore 
of the Black Sea. The war prevented them from going abroad 
to the sunny Mediterranean. 

In the meantime, my grandfather Wrangell had had a 
stroke. His relationship wtih Stanislaw Juriewicz was not 
too friendly because Juriewicz could not understand what 
prompted his sister, whom he loved so much, to marry a 
man who could easily have been her father. As a matter 
of fact, my grandmother was thirty years younger than her 
husband. And yet, they were happ'ly married. 

Perhaps some explanation could be found in the fact 
that my grandfather always exercised a very strong influence 
over his young wife. My grandmother was a beautiful, 
animated girl who adored pretty go-vns, loved to attend balls, 
to dance, and to hear music and laughter around her. However, 
she suffered from sudden attacks of migraine, and sometimes 
she would get a terrific headache when she was dressed for 
a ball, and ready to get into the carriage. She would cry in 
her instant disappointment. 

It is nothing, Anna , my grandfather used to tell her. 
You will be all right . And, he would then make her sit 
on a chair, taking her head in his two hands. His fingers pressing 
gently on the back of her head, he would look straight into 
her eyes, and say, I am telling you that you will be all 
right! See, your headache is already gone. It is gone! , he 
would repeat to her, and in a few minutes she would feel 
perfectly all right again, and would be ready to go to the ball. 

When my grandfather, after a stroke, was partially pa 
ralyzed, she took very good care of him. She was holding his 
hand when he died. 

An enormous crowd attended his funeral. Practically the 
entire Jewish population of the city followed his coffin to 
its last resting place, paying a final tribute to the man who 
was sincerely devoted to science and to his profession. He 



47 



was buried in a small cemetery at St. Barbara Roman 
Catholic Church, next to his first wife, Constance Nassekin. 
This place was reserved for him at the time of her death, 
some twenty-five years previously, and my grandmother did 
not wish to change these arrangements. 

After the death of my grandfather, it was only natural 
that Stanislaw Juriewicz, the oldest brother of my grand 
mother, had become guardian of her only son, who was 
named after his uncle. My father was at that time eleven 
years old. 

Stanislaw Juriewicz sent my father to a private school 
for boys in St. Petersburg, the high school of Mr. Philippoff. 
The pupils of this school wore uniforms similar to the 
uniforms adopted at that time for boys in government schools. 
The discipline in Mr. Philippoff 's school was very strict; the 
boys were made to study hard, with special emphasis on 
foreign languages. 

All pupils of this school were supposed on one day to 
speak only French, even among themselves, and on the follow 
ing day, only German. Inspectors, who were Frenchmen and 
Germans themselves, were present at all times to enforce 
this rule. Besides, there was a clown's hat with the word 
fool written on it in big letters. A boy who spoke just 
one word not in the language of the day wore the hat. He 
could get rid of it only by passing it to another boy who 
was guilty of the same mistake in his presence. Every boy 
tried to get rid of the fool's cap as quickly as he could. The 
boys watched each other, and, as a result, within about a 
year's time, they could speak these two languages fluently. 
Russian was spoken on Saturdays and Sundays when many 
boys whose parents lived in St. Petersburg went home. 

During the first couple of years, my father had to 
remain in school during the weekends. He had no close 
relatives living in St. Petersburg, and, evidently, his uncle 
Franciszek Juriewicz did not want to be bothered with a 
little boy. My father was very lonely and unhappy because 
of the rigid discipline which was the result of the influence 
of the harsh times of Czar Nicholas I. During his reign, the 
strictest discipline was enforced in the army as well as in all 
government offices. The same unyielding discipline was 



48 



enforced in all schools. But if the Czar, austere and inflexible, 
was strict with all people around him, he was just as stern 
and strict with himself. 

It never occurred to Nicholas I to break any army 
regulations. He withstood the terrific sub-zero weather of 
St. Petersburg, attending traditional parades on the 6th of 
January on the bank of the Neva River, dressed, like any 
other officer, in a light parade uniform without a topcoat. 

Very tall and handsome, the Czar was an excellent rider. 
Once in a while, he performed a stunt by getting on his 
horse and ordering two small coins to be placed between 
each of his knees and the sides of the saddle. As he rode, 
the coins were kept in place only by the pressure of his 
knees. If the Czar relaxed his grip just for a moment, or 
moved his knees, the coins would have been lost. After an 
hour's ride, he would return with both coins still in place. 

The revolt of Decembrists in 1825 revealed the real 
character of Czar Nicholas I. At that time, more than one 
hundred persons were arrested and tried by the Supreme 
Criminal Tribunal, composed of the members of the Council 
of the Empire, Senators and members of the Holy Synod 
(the highest clergical council of the Russian Church). The 
Court sentenced about forty of the accused to death, and the 
others to exile and hard labor. The Czar mitigated the 
harshness of this verdict by limiting capital punishment to 
only five leaders of the revolt and banishing the others to 
Siberia. 

One of the first railroads in Russia was called Nichola- 
yevskaia , connecting two Russian capitals, St. Petersburg 
and Moscow, a distance of about four hundred and fifty 
miles. The construction of this railroad was complicated by 
the presence of wide swamps and marshes between these two 
cities. Many engineering plans were presented to the Czar, 
but he was informed that the engineers were not influenced 
only by the desire of building the railroad the best possible 
way but by the graft paid to them by different towns and 
communities that saw big benefits for themselves in a 
railroad that would connect them with the two largest cities 
in Russia. The Czar perused the blueprints, but finally took 
a big map of European Russia and drew with a ruler a 
straight line connecting St. Petersburg and Moscow, and 



49 



initialled the map. The Nicholayevskaia Railroad, according 
to the Czar's order, was built in a straight line. The cost 
of construction was exceedingly high, but the maintenance 
and operating expenses were unusually low. 

Prior to 1914, the beginning of the First World War, 
there was a train called Lightning running daily between 
St. Petersburg and Moscow. The difference in time between 
these two cities was one hour. The train Lightning left 
St. Petersburg at one o'clock in the morning, permitting the 
passengers to attend performances at the Imperial Theatres. 
Making only one stop at Bologoye, the train arrived in 
Moscow at eight o'clock in the morning, Moscow time, or 
seven o'clock St. Petersburg time. The train, with a steam 
locomotive, covered a distance of some four hundred and 
fifty miles in a little more than six hours! An unheard of 
speed at that time! The same Lightning train ran daily, 
about the same time, from Moscow to St. Petersburg. 

When the construction of the Nicholayevskaia Railroad 
actually was completed, and the passenger trains began to 
run, Czar Nicholas I was informed that a delegation of the 
fabulous Moscow merchants (Imenitoye Moscovskoye 
Kupechestvo) had arrived in St. Petersburg to thank him for 
the railroad. The Czar received this delegation, and inquired 
about their comfort during the trip. The merchants hesitated 
to answer, but finally they had to admit that they had ar 
rived in St. Petersburg to offer their thanks for the railroad, 
travelling by sled. The Czar only smiled and the audience 
was ended. 

From the beginning of the Nicholas I reign, there had 
been vigorous activity to reform administration, justice, and 
finance, as well as to improve the living conditions of privately 
owned serfs. A financial reform was introduced by Kankrin, 
Secretary of the Treasury, and the old paper money was 
withdrawn from circulation, a Code of Laws of the Russian 
Empire was published, and a commission with Count 
Kisselev presiding, established a certain kind of self- 
government for the peasants of the Crown, introducing at 
the same time many improvements in their farming methods. 
However, this commission did little to improve the conditions 
of life of privately owned serfs, but the work of this com 
mission, which lasted for many years, made it possible for 



50 



the son of Czar Nicholas I, Czar Alexander II, to abolish 
serfdom in Russia. 

Czar Nicholas I was greatly attached to his oldest son r 
and before his death, told him, By taking upon myself all 
that was hard and difficult, I intended to leave you a peaceful, 
well-organized, prosperous country... but Providence has 
decreed otherwise . He died on the 18th of February, 1855. 

After the death of Czar Nicholas I, his son, Czar 
Alexander II, faced the difficult problem of bringing the 
Crimean War to an end and maintaining at the same time 
the dignity of the Empire. The course of the war was not 
affected by the change of rulers; Sebastopol still defied the 
enemy, and the allies were paying a high price for every 
gain they made. At this time, the Russian troops won a 
brilliant victory at Kars in Asia. Napoleon III was anxious 
to make peace, and with the help of Austria and Prussia, 
the peace negotiations began in 1856 f and, finally, the Treaty 
of Paris was signed. 

With the accession of the young Emperor Alexander II, 
censorship in Russia was relaxed, universities were freed 
from police control, many petty restrictions were removed, 
and even the survivors of the 1825 mutiny, the so-called 
Decembrists , were allowed to return after thirty years of 
exile in Siberia. 

At about that time, Uncle Tom's Cabin was published 
in Russia and Mrs. Stowe was acclaimed by the Russians 
as a great writer. It was in great contrast to the opinion 
then held in Great Britain. The London Times wrote as 
follows: 

... ( The book's )... object is to abolish slavery. 
Its effect will be to render slavery more difficult 
than ever of abolishment. Its very popularity cons 
titutes its greatest difficulty. It will keep ill-blood 
at boiling point, and irritate instead of pacifying 
those whose proceedings Mrs. Stowe is anxious to 
influence on the behalf of humanity. * Uncle Tom's 
Cabin * was not required to convince the haters of 
slavery of the abominations of the institution ; 
of all books it is the least calculated to weigh with 



51 



those whose prejudices in favor of said slavery have 
yet to be overcome . 

A few years previously, a Russian version of Uncle 
Tom's Cabin , A Sportsman's Sketches , a Russian classic 
by Turgenev had been published. Slavery was generally 
condemned and yet serfdom remained, a running sore across 
the nation's breast. 

The young Czar proclaimed immediately his desire and 
hope for internal reforms. 

In 1857, the nobility of Lithuanian provinces of Wilno, 
Kovno and Grodno declared their intention to set their serfs 
free at once, without giving them any land. Immediately, at 
the wish of the Czar, Provincial Committees of nobility 
were formed in many provinces for the discussion of the 
terms on which the serfs were to be set free, with the Main 
Committee in St. Petersburg coordinating their work. 

At the beginning of 1861, the Czar personally opened 
a session of the Council of the Empire, declaring that the 
abolition of slavery was his direct will . The Council of 
the Empire acted accordingly, and on the 19th day of February 
(Russian calendar), 1861, the Czar signed the well-known 
Manifesto which was proclaimed to the nation on the 5th 
day of March of the same year. 

This Manifesto was read throughout Russia, in all Rus 
sian cities and towns, as well as on all landed estates, to 
crowds of serfs. 

Bless yourself with the Sign of the Cross, Russian 
people , were the opening words of the Czar's Manifesto, 
and the nobles and peasants alike knelt solemnly, making 
the sign of the Cross, and listening to the words of their 
Lord Anointed Sovereign. 

The power of landowners to hold peasants in servitude 
was abolished at once without compensation to the nobles. 
Peasants were permitted to use the homesteads, vegetable 
gardens and fertile fields given to them by their landowners. 
For the use of them, they were supposed to repay their 
former masters either in money or in labor. The peasants 
were also to receive later some fertile land as their own 
personal property. This land to be purchased by them from 
the landowners. 



52 




Czar Alexander II 
from the oil painting of Paul Bulow, 

from the collection of Mr. Henri Antovilte. 



This Act of Liberation, although bringing tremendous 
social and economic changes, was not accompanied by a 
civil war. All classes accepted peacefully the manifesto of the 
Czar and obeyed his order. 

Stanislaw Juriewicz had been working in the Provincial 
Committee of Vitebsk since this committee had been 
organized. He greeted the manifesto of the Czar with great 
relief and satisfaction. The idea of serfdom was repulsive 
to him. He had always treated his serfs not as slaves, but 
as human beings, and he succeeded in making his nephew, 
my father, feel the same way, although my father saw very 
little of his uncle. My father admired his uncle and tried 
always to imitate him in every way. Besides, he was greatly 
attached to his old niania (nurse), an old peasant woman 
who took care of my grandmother when she was a child, 
and who afterwards took care of her son. When on vacations, 
my father visited my grandmother's estate Kolpino, he would 
run to greet and kiss tenderly his niania who had a 
room of her own in the Kolpino house and lived there as 
a member of the family. 

All his life my father treated all servants, all workmen, 
all peasants with great consideration. He never tried to be 
little any one of them. 



53 



RUSSIAN FLEET IN NEW YORK HARBOR 
CHAPTER V 



At the time of the abolition of serfdom in Russia, my 
father, Stanislaw Wrangell, was sixteen years old. He was 
already in the last class of the High School of Mr. Philippoff. 

A couple of years previously, it had been arranged for 
my father to live in the apartment of General Clemens, a 
friend of Stanislaw Juriewicz. Living outside of his school 
in a private apartment gave him more freedom but he had 
to study just as hard as before. In addition to his studies, 
he took private lessons in fencing and dancing. His dancing 
teacher was Felix Krzesinski, (pronounced Kschessinsky), a 
dancer of the Imperial Ballet. Felix Krzesinski was the father 
of the well-known ballerina Mathilde Krzesinska, who, after 
the revolution became the morganatic wife of the Grand 
Duke Andrew, first cousin of the last Czar, under the name 
of Princess Krassinskaia, 

While dancing the mazurka in the opera, The Life 
for the Czar, Krzesinski always received ovations from St. 
Petersburg society. He taught my father how to bow, enter 
a room, and kiss the hand of a lady, which was really an 
art gracefully done. My father learned all these manners in 
a most perfect and charming way. Even in his later years, 
it was a pleasure to watch him as he entered a drawing 
room, holding himself straight, and carrying high his 
handsome head covered with thick gray hair. He would 
approach his hostess, bow, and kiss her hand. There was 
so much dignity in his manner that a lady could not help 
but feel herself at this moment a queen! 



54 



At the age of sixteen, my father was quite tall, with 
an athletic figure, very slim, and with thick red hair, the 
colour of dark bronze. He spoke French and German fluently, 
Polish like a true Pole with a Warsaw accent, and Russian 
was his native tongue. 

As soon as he had been graduated from the high school, 
he was sent to the University of Heidelberg by his guardian, 
Stanislaw Juriewicz. In a few years, my father returned to 
Russia and entered St. Petersburg University to study law. 

In 1863, another Polish uprising took place. It was a 
revolt of Polish intelligentsia and szlachta (lesser nobility), 
but the masses of Polish peasants did not take part in it. 
Polish szlachta and intelligentsia longed for Polish inde 
pendence, and the European powers, especially Great Britain 
and France, took immediate advantage of this situation, 
offering their services as mediators between the Czarist 
Russian government and the Poles. These offers were 
embarrassing to the Russian government. By accepting their 
services, the government of the Czar would have automatically 
recognized the independence of Poland. Consequently, the 
Czarist government declined the offer of the European powers 
and proceeded to suppress the revolt 

There was never a formal alliance between the Russian 
Empire and the United States, but the Great Emancipator 
abolished serfdom in his own country, had deep sympathies 
for Abraham Lincoln, who was trying to abolish slavery in 
the United States. 

The Czar was possibly the only real friend Abraham 
Lincoln had outside the United States. Russia refused to 
recognize the Southern Confederacy, and the United States, 
in turn, refrained from offering to the Czar its help in 
mediation between the Czarist government and the Poles. 

On September 11, 1863, a Russian steam frigate The 
Oslyabia entered New York harbor. It was announced that 
Mrs. Lincoln intended to visit the Oslyabia, and all newspapers 
described in great detail the friendly reception which the 
First Lady received on this foreign warship. 

The Oslyabia was the first Russian warship to arrive. 
It was followed by many others until virtually the entire 
Russian Baltic Fleet was anchored in New York Harbor and 



55 



in Flushing Bay. Admiral Lessovsky was in command of the 
fleet. His flagship was a brand new steam frigate, the 
Alexander Nevsky . Among the officers of one of the Rus 
sian warships was Grand Duke Alexis, son of the Czar, at 
that time a young Lieutenant in the Russian Navy. 

In order to keep secret the movement of the Russian 
fleet and to avoid possible interference on the part of the 
British warships that could easily lead to war, all Russian 
warships stationed in the Baltic received orders to proceed 
to different European, African and Asiatic ports, with sealed 
envelopes to be opened at sea. The sealed envelopes contained 
orders to sail straight to New York. 

The Russian ships, emerging from the Baltic into the 
Atlantic, took a course well north of the Orkney Islands. 
The ships were heavily laden with ammunition and supplies, 
and could not carry much coal. Therefore, a crossing of the 
Atlantic was made under sail. The result was a complete 
secrecy of the movements of the Russian fleet. The British 
admiralty received the first report only when the Russians 
had already anchored their warships in New York Harbor, 

About the same time, the Russian Asiatic Fleet, under 
the command of Admiral Popov, arrived in San Francisco. 

The relationship between Russia and Great Britain 
and France was far from friendly. Lord Palmerston, a well- 
known British statesman, was dreaming and hoping for 
dismemberment of the Russian Empire Finland was 
supposed to be returned to Sweden, the Baltic Provinces 
(Esthonia and Latvia) to be given to Prussia, Poland was 
supposed to become an independent Kingdom, the provinces 
in the estuary of the Danube were to be given to Austria, 
and Crimea and Georgia in the Russian Caucasus were to be 
given to the Ottoman Empire. Such were the intentions of 
the allies prior to the Crimean War, and now a Polish uprising 
gave them new hope for a realization of their dreams. The 
French armed forces already occupied Mexico, and Napoleon 
III proposed to Great Britain and Austria to declare war 
on Russia immediately. 

No treaty was signed between Russia and the United 
States, but their mutual interest, and the threat of war to 
both, united these two nations at this critical moment. By 



56 



dispatching his Baltic Fleet to the North American harbors, 
the Czar changed his position from a defensive to an of 
fensive one. Paragraph 3 of the instructions given to Admiral 
Lessovsky by Admiral Krabbe, at that time Russian Secretary 
of the Navy, dated July 14th, 1863, ordered the Russian 
Fleet, in case of war, to attack the enemies' commercial 
shipping and their colonies, so as to cause them the greatest 
possible damage. 

The same instructions were given to Admiral Popov, 
Commander of the Russian Asiatic Fleet. 

The news of the arrival of the Russian fleet caused 
jubilation in the United States. The Russian national anthem, 
God Save the Czar was played; the Brooklyn Navy Yard 
was placed at the disposal of the Russians, and many 
delegations came to welcome them. Admiral David Farragut 
met Admiral Lessovsky; they had known each other before 
as young officers in the Mediterranean. Answering a question 
put by Farragut, Admiral Lessovsky stated that he was in 
New York under sealed orders. They can be opened only 
in a contingency which has not yet occurred , he added. 

There were parades and all kinds of festivities arranged 
in honor of the Russian officers and their Sovrereign. On 
November 5, 1863, a grand ball was arranged at the Academy 
of Music in honor of the Russians. I quote Alexandre 
Tarsaidze, who wrote in his book, Czars and Presidents , 
as follows: 

The costumes of the American ladies were vo 
luminous and the ladies themselves buxom and 
determined. One Russian officer wrote home that 
if Russian girls ever manifested a small portion 
of the interest shown by the American beauties, 
there would not be a bachelor in the whole Empire. 
The women wore buttons from the coats of Rus 
sian officers, and blue and white ribbons in the 
form of a St. Andrew's Cross. There were cockades 
from Naval caps and anchors taken from Mid 
shipmen's caps. 

A supper from Delmonico's was served in Irving 
Hall, which had been temporarily joined by a gay 
canopy to the Academy of Music. Food was plentiful, 



57 



frequently disguised and decorated with figures of 
Peter the Great, George Washington, Lincoln, and 
Alexander II made out of sugar and cake, as well 
as frosted statues. Greek temples, eagles, lions and 
Dianas. The 'New York World' with a statistical 
turn of mind, perhaps best indicates the lavishness 
of the occasion 12,000 oysters, 1,200 game birds, 
250 turkeys, 400 chickens, 12 monster salmons of 
thirty pounds each, and a thousand pounds of steak. 
Not to mention desserts, pieces montees, a hundred 
pyramids of pastry, a thousand large loaves of bread, 
and 3,500 bottles of wine . 

President Lincoln, in his Thanksgiving Proclamation, 
stated: God's bounties of so extraordinary a nature that 
they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart . 

The surprise move of the Russian Czar caused constern 
ation in British government circles. Moreover, Great Britain 
had no desire to antagonize Russia for another reason. These 
two Empires, a maritime one and a territorial one, had in 
Asia a common border many thousands of miles long. The 
northern part of Asia, Siberia, was a Russian territory, and 
the southern part of this continent was British. Some buffer 
states were in between Persia, Afghanistan and China. 
In 1840, in a camnaien in Central Asia, Russian troons oc 
cupied northern Turkestan and the valley of Syr-Daria, 
approaching Pamir and Afghanistan. 

On the other hand, a short but terrible Sepoy's rebel 
lion in India had been suppressed by the Britishers only 
six years previously, in 1857, and Great Britain was simply 
horrified at the prospect of war with Russia because of pos 
sible complications this war could cause in Asia. There were 
never more than about 60,000 British troops in India, the 
Suez Canal was not built yet, and the Afghan population of 
the northwestern frontier province of British India was ready 
for an uprising at any moment. And, finally, the most 
important point was that the Russians were right there, on 
the border of Afghanistan. Under these conditions, His 
Britannic Majesty's government was compelled to refrain 
from any interference in the Polish uprising as well as in 
the Civil War in the United States. 



58 



Wu 

I ^X \| >|s t 
*vV\1tf I 

^Hjl 

*;> ! ? 




35 s 





g 







litl 

^ 




l 

' 



-VJ.v^ 

^ \n u 

t -i u ; 
i t,>v. 



Czar Alexander II had no malice in his heart against 
Great Britain. In 1873, the British government succeeded in 
obtaining from St. Petersburg a declaration that Afghanistan 
was beyond the sphere of Russian influence, and the following 
years a daughter of the Czar, Grand Duchess Maria 
Alexandrovna, was married in St. Petersburg to the second 
son of Queen Victoria, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh. 

In 1871, Grand Duke Alexis, at this time already an 
admiral, arrived in New York on a good will mission to the 
United States. The Astor House displayed a huge sign: 

GRAND DUKE ALEXIS 

SON OF A NOBLE FATHER 

REPRESENTATIVE OF THIS NATION'S 

DEARLY CHERISHED ALLY 

However, President Grant, who was not well-versed in 
the diplomatic protocol, and courtesy, did not extend a very 
friendly reception to the Russian Grand Duke, and Alexis 
did not stay long in Washington. He returned to New York 
where all sorts of festivities were arranged in his honor, 
and made a tour of the United States, visiting Niagara Falls, 
St. Louis, Chicago, and the western plains. At Fort McPherson, 
Buffalo Bill was awaiting him. Alexis was a good rider and 
took an active part in a buffalo hunt. 

In the years 1863 and 1864, while my father, Stanislaw 
Wrangell, was studying at the University of St. Petersburg, 
Czar Alexander II used to visit the university quite frequent 
ly and informally address the students. His dog, a gray 
pointer, was well known to the students, who made the dog 
sit next to them in the auditorium, while the Czar ascended 
the rostrum. 

Czar Alexander II was tall and very good-looking. He 
spoke several foreign languages as fluently as Russian, and 
it made him use a number of foreign words. He had a very 
pleasant voice, and 'il grasseyait' (not pronuncing distinctly 
the letter r). The students adored the Czar. Often they 
managed in some mysterious way to steal cigarettes from 
his cigarette case for souvenirs. It happened quite often that 
the Czar, desiring to smoke, was forced to ask the students 
to return to him a cigarette, which they did reluctantly. 



59 



One day the Czar told the students about an attempt 
on his life which had been made the previous day. This 
attempt had taken place at the gates of the Summer Garden, 
g. public park adorned with marble statues of Greek gods, 
on the Quai of Neva, not far from the Winter Palace. The 
Czar usually took his daily walk in this garden. On this 
particular day, as he emerged from the gates and was ready 
to enter a carriage awaiting him at the Quai, he noticed a 
man standing on the sidewalk about twenty feet away. The 
Czar told the students that an unpleasant thought crossed 
his mind at that moment... that this man was ready to 
shoot at him. At that moment, the man pulled a pistol from 
his pocket, and, taking careful aim, fired, but, at the same 
time, someone pushed the elbow of the would-be assasin, 
causing the bullet to go astray. The man was seized by 
passersby and by the police. His name was Dmitri Karagozov, 
or Karakzov. This time, the Czar was miraculously saved. 
However, there were other attempts on his life. More than 
one attempt was made to blow up the Imperial train. 

As surprising as it may seem, no attempts were made 
on the life of the Czar that had been arranged by former 
slave-owners. On the contrary, Czar Alexander II was 
exceedingly popular among Russian nobles and was held in 
great esteem by the peasants and masses of the Russian 
people. All attempts on the life of this sovereign were arranged 
by a revolutionary group of intellectuals who called themselves 
Nihilists , from a Latin word, nihil , nothing. Nihilism 
was a philosophy of skepticism, a revolt against the established 
social order. It negated all authority exercised by the State, 
by the Church, or by the family. The Nihilists claimed that 
they believed in science, but it was an abstract idea. They 
did not offer anything constructive, and actually their 
philosophy served only as an excuse for outrageous killings 
and destruction. 

After Karagozov's attempt, all of Russia offered prayers 
of thanks to the Lord for the miraculous escape of the Czar. 
In the United States, the House and the Senate passed, and 
President Andrew Johnson signed, a joint resolution congratu 
lating the Russian people on the escape of their Emperor. 
It was the only time that the United States had sent a 
message to a foreign nation expressing its personal feeling 



60 



for the sovereign. Gustavus Fox, Assistant Secretary of the 
Navy, delivered the message to St. Petersburg. 

The savage attempts on his life did not stop the Czar. 
He continued to appear on the streets and in public places, 
without guards, and continued to introduce new reforms 
in Russia. In 1864, he introduced judicial reforms. He 
abolished class tribunals and established a justice equal 
for all subjects . For minor cases, he established Justices 
of the Peace courts, the judges to be elected, and in some 
provinces, appointed for life. For criminal cases, he established 
a court by jury. The administration of justice was separated 
from other branches of government. Corporal punishment, 
rods, floggings, running the gauntlet, bastinado, branding 
and other cruelties were abolished. The Czar had given Rus 
sia prompt, fair, merciful justice, equal for all subjects . 

It was at this time that my father went through final 
examinations and received his degree of Doctor Juris. In 
Poland and Belorussia, the newly created Justices of the 
Peace were to be appointed by the government. Through 
Count Pahlen, Secretary of Justice, my father received an 
appointment as Justice of the Peace in the locality of his 
estace. He was only twenty-two years old, and became the 
youngest judge of the entire Province of Vitebsk. 



61 



PEASANT COMMUNES 
CHAPTER VI 



In 1862, Stanislaw Juriewicz resigned after serving his 
third term as a Nobility Marshal of the Province of Vitebsk. 
He could have easily won election for a fourth term, but 
he decided to retire, and announced his resignation. For his 
outstanding work on the Committee for the Liberation of 
the peasants, he received the Order of St. Anna, decorated 
with an Imperial Crown. 

Stanislaw Juriewicz was very much in love with his 
second wife, beautiful Lady Wienczeslawa, who bore him a 
son, Paul. At the time of the resignation of his father, Paul 
was seven years old. With their enormous household, the 
Juriewiczes moved back to Berszada and to their house in 
Odessa, on the shores of the Black Sea. The entire population 
of Vitebsk was sorry to see them leave. Especially sorry were 
the Jewish merchants, for they were losing a rich customer. 

The only sister of Stanislaw Juriwicz, my grandmother, 
Anna von Wrangell, lived, after the death of my grandfather, 
in Kolpino, an estate in the northern part of the Province 
of Vitebsk. 

The old house of Kolpino was a one-story building 
built of heavy logs, with a gabled roof and four tall columns 
at the main entrance. Different parts of the house had been 
built at different times; therefore, its shape was somewhat 
rambling and irregular. Inside, the house was cozy and 
confortable. The walls and ceilings were covered with white 
plaster tinted blue. Wooden floors were never painted. In 



62 



some places, especially at the thresholds of the doorways, 
the wood was worn through by many decades of heavy 
hunting boots, ladies' light slippers, or bare feet of the 
servants. The furniture was also of different periods, collected 
by the different generations. 

In all the bedrooms of the house were crucifixes, Roman 
Catholic icons and prie-Dieus. In the large gallery hung the 
portraits of the members of the three different families 
which had previously owned the house, all painted in oil, 
and in old heavy bronze frames. 

The Princes Oginski, desdendants of Rurik, were the 
original owners of the house. At that time, the estate was 
extensive; three thousand male serfs lived on it. (In Russia 
at that time, while counting serfs only the men were counted; 
women and children were omitted). Princess Polonia Oginski, 
my great-great grandmother, married Joseph Deszpot-Zienowicz, 
and their daughter Anna married Joseph Juriewicz, father 
of my grandmother. 

The house was surrounded by an old park planted by 
the Princes Oginski. The large avenues of the park were 
very impressive. The trees were of enormous heights, and 
their intertwining branches made a thick, leafy roof high 
above the ground so that even on a sunny day, the park was 
dark and cool. There was a small artificial lake, and the 
park was surrounded by a large canal. The Princes Oginski 
used to illuninate the park with lights and fireworks, and 
their guests used to ride in gondolas on this canal around 
the park. 

On a hill next to the park was the family cemetery of 
the owners of the estate. Here representatives of three dif 
ferent families were lying peacefully side by side. Trees 
grew on the hill, and their long branches touched the stone 
crosses and marble monuments of the graves. Not far from 
this hill stood a Roman Catholic chapel of the estate, built 
of stone in a Gothic style. 

On the right side of the house was a yard with stables 
for horses, and an adjacent enclosure for carriages and 
sleds. Beyond, there were administrative buildings with the 
superintendent's house, barns, stables for cattle and working 
houses, and houses of workmen and their families. 



63 



Directly in front of the house, on the other side of 
the wide highway leading to it, was a lake. 

The greater part of the ten thousand acre estate was 
covered by forests, although there were about seven hundred 
acres of water. Besides the small Kolpino Lake, there were 
two larger ones, Ostrovito and Krupovo Lakes, which belonged 
to the estate. The country was hilly and was renowned for 
its beauty. From a high hill opened a beautiful panorama of 
surrounding country with its fields, deep green meadows 
and forests. The skies were brilliant blue, and the many 
lakes sparkled under the bright sun. 

During the high school years of my father, and also 
later, while he was attending the University of St. Petersburg, 
he used to come to Kolpino to visit his mother, and to spend 
his summer vacations there. He would swim in the lake 
and ride horseback through the forests. He would, after 
the first of July, go with his pointers to shoot woodcocks, 
and later in the season, partridges and other game. There 
were young people of his age, sons -and daughters of the 
neighboring landowners, who used to visit one another, 
taking long walks or rides through the country, and in the 
evening they danced to the accompaniment of a piano. One 
of the elderly ladies, Pani Skorulska, was an accomplished 
musician, and usually played dance music for the younger 
generation. 

Two summers prior to his graduation, my father found 
in Kolpino his two cousins, daughters of his uncle Jan 
Juriewicz, who were invited by my grandmother for the 
summer. 

My father probably had met his cousins before, but 
did not remember them. The older of the two, Adelaide, 
was very attractive, and it soon became obvious that they 
were considerably drawn to each other. The fact that they 
were first cousins made it possible for a closer, more 
intimate relationship between them, and Adelaide, or Adela, 
became a constant dancing partner of my father. 

At the beginning, my grandmother did not attach any 
importance to the behavior of her son. She was convinced 
that it was only passing infatuation, and she invited her 
nieces to come to Kolpino for the following summer, too, 



J64 



but at the end of the second summer, she was disagreeably 
surprised when her son, at that time only nineteen, declared 
that he was desperately in love with Adela, that the young 
girl also shared his feelings, and that he was determined 
to marry her. 

Adela's mother was dead, and there were no objections 
to the marriage on the part of her father, Jan Juriewicz, 
but a marriage between first cousins was not regarded 
favorably at that time. Besides, Adela was three years older 
than my father, and most important, she was not a strong, 
healthy girl. She had weak lungs, was inclined to become 
consumptive, and the doctors doubted that she could ever 
have physically sound children. 

But all objections and protests of my grandmother 
and of Stanislaw Juriewicz, my father's guardian, were in 
vain. The young people remained determined, and as soon 
as my father passed his final examinations, they were mar 
ried in a small Kolpino chapel. My grandmother gave to my 
father as a wedding present the estate Reblio, situated on a 
lake which was ten miles long, and at the other end touched 
the highway St. Petersburg-Vitebsk. The newly-weds settled 
there. A few years later, my father received his appointment 
as Justice of the Peace of his district. 

In spite of his youth, my father proved to be a very 
good judge. He had a keen and alert mind, and sound 
judgment. No prejudices of any kind. Being an aristocrat, he 
was convinced that one of the most important duties of the 
nobility as a privileged class was to serve as an example 
to the rest of the population, proving personal integrity and 
fairness in all dealings. Therefore, he was strict and de 
manding towards the members of his own class. Somehow, 
the peasants and the Jews sensed his attitude, and in a short 
time he became very popular among them. 

At this time, commissions were formed throughout 
Russia to condemn the land of the landowners, and to 
distribute these lands among the peasants. It was an enormous 
task, and the work of these commissions lasted for several 
years. 

The commissions for distribution of the land were 
composed of a surveyor who measured the land, of at least 



65 



one agricultural expert, and a handful of government officials. 
Representatives of the local landowners and peasants played 
only a consultant's role. The local Justice of the Peace had 
to insure that no one's interests were unduly jeopardized, 
and that all parties concerned would agree to the decisions 
made by these commissions. 

The Act of Liberation of February 19, 1861, provided 
that the newly created free farmers would receive land. The 
former serfs of the Crown were to receive government land, 
but for privately owned serfs the land was to be taken by 
the government from their former masters. For this purpose, 
the commissions received special instructions from the 
government. 

The noble landowners were supposed to be reimbursed 
for the land taken away from them in five percent govern 
ment bonds, and the peasants were to redeem these 
obligations by payments to the Exchecquer over a period of 
forty-nine years, i,e., until 1910. 

In different parts of the Empire, the size of the land 
to be taken by the government from the nobles differed 
according to the climate and quality of the soil. Where the 
soil was productive, less was to be taken, but where the 
soil was of poor quality, more was to be taken, etc. 

The government directed these commissions to confiscate 
mostly fertile land, fields, meadows and pastures. The forests 
were to be left in the hands of the nobles in order to 
preserve them. In Russia, even at that time, forests were 
under government protection, and no one had the right to 
cut down his own forest without permission from the 
Department of Agriculture. 

Commissions for distributing the land among the 
peasants began their work with the counting of all the villages 
which belonged to a certain estate, and by counting the male 
population of every village. Then this commission studied 
the soil in different parts of the estate, determining how 
much land of the estate was to be condemned. The govern 
ment officials insisted on taking more land than usual from 
the Polish nobles. This action by the Czarist government 
was prompted by a recent Polish uprising in which these 
Polish nobles took an active part. 



66 



The Polish landowners did not protest and accepted 
confiscation of their land in good spirit. 

In Kolpino, due to the fact that my grandmother was 
Polish, although she did not take part in any uprising, the 
government condemned about one half of the estate. Part 
of the forest was also condemned. The peasants were sup 
posed to cut this forest down, turning the land into fields. 
After work of the commission was finished, Kolpino emerged 
as an estate of only about five thousand acres. In addition, 
it was divided in two parts a larger one, with the Kolpino 
house, park and administrative buildings in the center, and 
a smaller one, called Alushkovo, comprising only forest and 
marshes. Between these two parts were situated villages of 
our former serfs, with a wide strip of land which now 
became their property. 

Both the lakes Ostrovito and Krupovo were cut off 
from the estate by the land given the peasants. 

The management of the estate was considerably 
disrupted by this division. Alushkovo became for all practical 
purposes a hunting lodge. In order to guard the forest and 
to preserve good hunting, my grandmother ordered the 
construction of a small farm there with a couple of hundred 
acres of fertile land and meadows. This farm was rented to 
a farmer for a negligible sum. Actually, he, his brother, and 
all the members of their families became forest guards, 
and one of their duties was to prevent shooting by strangers 
on the marshes and in the forest of Alushkovo. 

Both lakes Ostrovito and Krupovo were known for 
excellent fishing, but since the shores belonged now to the 
peasants, it became impossible to prevent them from fishing 
at any time they pleased, mercilessly depleting the supply. 
Therefore, on the advice of her superintendent, my grand 
mother decided to rent both lakes to the same peasants. In 
return, they obligated themselves to work with their wagons 
and horses for four days a year, at the time when all stables 
of the estate were cleaned, and dung was carried to the 
fields. 

The commission marked the new border of the estate 
by cutting swaths in a straight line through the forests 
and by establishing landmarks at the points where a straight 



67 



line of the border changed direction. At these points, holes 
were dug in the ground and filled with rocks forming bulky 
piles on top. In order to imprint, for years to come, in the 
minds of the newly created free farmers the new border 
of the estate of their former masters, the commission ordered 
the spanking of half a dozen peasant boys of a neighboring 
village on every pile of rocks that represented a landmark. 
The result was that some fifty years later, an old peasant 
could find without any difficulty the landmark where he got 
his spanking. The new border of the estate ran in somewhat 
zig-zag lines with many rock piles. Consequently, many 
peasant boys received their spankings in those days. 

The fact that at that time more land was taken away 
from the Polish landowners did not seriously antagonize 
them against the government because they were paid for the 
confiscated land. However, it is necessary to admit that the 
government appraisal of land was in this case considerably 
below its market value, and the landowners were not paid 
in cash. Instead, they received the five percent government 
bonds (vykupnyie svidetelstva), which could have been sold 
at only about eighty percent of their face value. Consequently, 
the landowners received only about sixty percent of the 
market value of their land. 

But the Russian government invented another more 
vicious method to punish the Poles, who for some reason 
were never liked by the Russians. Against many Polish 
landowners the government proceeded to impose the so- 
called servituty on their forests (nalojit servituty na lesa) 
by granting the peasants the right to use the landowners' 
forests as pasture for their cattle. The presence of cattle 
made forestry an impossible task... all the young trees were 
trampled and crushed. 

Also, in many cases, the forest of a landowner was quite 
a distance from the border of his estate, and an unfortunate 
Polish landowner was forced to build fences on both sides 
of the road leading to his forest in order to protect his 
fields from being trampled. Furthermore, when cattle 
belonging to peasants were in his forest, it happened quite 
often that intentionally, or unintentionally, some cows were 
permitted by peasant boys to walk out of the forest into 
a field of ripe oats. 



68 



This unprecedented privilege granted to the peasants by 
the Czarist government led only to aggravations, continuous 
disputes, and lawsuits between the Polish landowners and 
their former serfs. However, this privilege did not really 
benefit the peasants, because pasture in a forest was always 
very poor. It served only to annoy the landowners, causing 
them considerable damages. 

In Berszada and Nestoyda, estates of Stanislaw Juriewicz 
in Podolia, the government imposed servituty on his 
very valuable forests of beechtrees. The former Nobility 
Marshal, who worked for many years to liberate the peasants, 
was forced to give his former serfs large pieces of his valuable 
land. In return, the peasants agreed to give up their right 
of letting their cattle graze in his forests. 

My father could never find any excuse for these actions 
of the Czarist government. He doubted that all the facts 
were known to the Czar, who sincerely wished and 
worked hard for the welfare of all his subjects. For these 
acts, unworthy of a great Empire, my father blamed high 
government officials who felt revengeful towards Polish 
nobles, or possibly envied them. 

The government commissions, while distributing land 
to the peasants, did not give each head of the family a piece 
of land for his own individual farming. Instead, a large piece 
of land was given to the entire village, thus making it a 
collective enterprise* 

By order of the government, every peasant village in 
Russia became a self-governing community, where the bailiff 
(starosta) of the village was elected by free ballots, and all 
important questions were decided at general meetings of all 
members of the community. 

The community exercised considerable power over every 
individual member. 

In Czarist Russia, every individual was supposed to 
have a passport duly issued by proper authorities and 
registered at the police station in the precinct where the 
owner of this passport resided. An exception to this rule 
were all Russian peasants who lived in their villages. However, 
to leave his village and establish a residence somewhere 
elese, a peasant needed a passport which was issued to him, 



69 



usually without any difficulties, by the township of his vil 
lage (by Volostnoy starshina) for a period of six months, 
and then re-extended. However, at the village's request, the 
Volostnoy Starshina could refuse to issue or to renew the 
passport of an individual peasant, and this unfortunate soul 
would then be obliged to stay in his community, or to return 
home against his wish. 

In other words, according to the Act of Liberation of 
February 19, 1861, Russian peasants became free, but within 
a few years it became apparent that their freedom was 
limited to a great extent by their own communities or villages. 

Every village was recognized as a commune (in Rus 
sian, obschina). This commune received the title to the lend. 

An individual peasant had only a portion of the land in his 
commune. This portion, or share, was called nadel , and 
as we are going to see, the nadel did not represent any 
particular piece or section of land. 

Since every village became a self-governing community, 
peasants proceeded to divide the entire land of their commune 
among all male members of this commune who reached 
maturity (eighteen years of age). To give every member an 
equally good piece of land, every fertile field was divided 
in as many strips as there were male members of the 
commune. Meadows, forests and pastures remained in the 
hands of a commune as a whole. Thus, the landholding of 
each peasant consisted actually of many strips of land in 
different fields, and a share of benefits derived from meadows, 
pastures and forests belonging to his commune. 

Moreover, the size of the nadel did not remain constant. 
Every year, some old peasant died, and some young boys 
became of age, and were entitled to a nadel of their own. 
Thus, every four or five years, and in many villages even 
more often, at a general meeting, peasants counted again all 
male members of their communes and re-divided all their 
fields accordingly. Thus, Russian peasants were deprived 
completely of the individual ownership of land. 

Possibly the logic of this system of communes is not 
very clear. It took a true Russian mind to create it, and 
for a European or an American, it is rather difficult to 
appreciate it at all. 



70 



THE SLAVOPHILS 
CHAPTER VII 



What were the reasons which prompted the Czarist 
government at the time of distribution of land to the peasants 
to establish a system of communes which was destined half 
a century later to lead Russia to a revolution and to a 
Communist form of government? 

It is most likely that Czar Alexander II (1855-1881) did 
not know anything about the Communist Manifesto of Karl 
Marx which was published in 1848. In the Act of Liberation 
of 1861, there was nothing to indicate that the Czar intended 
to organize peasants' communes, but, unfortunately, the high 
officials of the government and the close associates of the 
Czar were Slavophils. These Slavophils, at the time of 
distribution of the land, succeeded in influencing the govern 
ment to act according to their ideas. 

During the reign of the Emperor Nicholas I (1825-1855), 

in the decade of 1830-1840, in Russian universities, and 
especially in Moscow University, a new movement appeared. 
It was a movement of idealistic professors who dug deep into 
the very foundations of Russian history and the Russian 
national mind. The followers of this movement became known 
as Slavophils. 

They declared that the Russian type of civilization was 
fcar superior to the European one. They sought to discover 
the peculiar genius of Russian civilization in the old peasants' 
communes which, they said, revealed the socialistic soul 
of Russia, as contrasted to the individualistic soul of 
Western Europe, and of the whole world as well. They 



71 



condemned Czar Peter the Great's Europeanization of Rus 
sia as a fatal deviation from the genuine course of Russian 
history, and wanted Russia to return to the forsaken 
principles of the Eastern (Greek Catholic) Church and the 
Byzantine Empire Orthodoxy and Autocracy. 

One of their ideas was to unite all Slavonic nations 
under the scepter of the Russian Czars. This Russian Monroe 
Doctrine was destined to direct the foreign policy of the 
Czarist government for about the last fifty years of its 
existence, and to involve Russia in World War I. 

The Slavophil movement was nationalistic, and the 
followers were upholding the autocratic principles of the Rus 
sian Empire. Therefore, Czar Nicholas I was not frightened 
by the socialist and communist tendencies of the Slavophils. 
On the contrary, the movement found sympathy and support 
from the Czar. It was growing rapidly, and at the time of 
the liberation of the peasants, many high government officials 
and even devoted friends of Czar Alexander II were Slavophils, 
like Nicholas Milutin, Soloviev, Samarin, Aksakov, Prince 
Cherkassky, and many others. At the time of the distribution 
of land, the Slavophils influenced the Czarist government to 
reinstate the archaic communes. 

As it often happens with abstract idealists, the Russian 
professors who started the Slavophil movement in about 
1840 were radically wrong. Their assumption that the system 
of communes which they discovered in old, pre-historic Rus 
sia represented a characteristically Russian form was wrong, 
and yet, they succeeded in reinstating primitive communes 
in Russia! Furthermore, they, defended stubbornly this 
archaic form as the only form suitable for Russian peasants! 

The Czarist government conceded to the incorrect ideas 
of the Slavophils for more practical reasons. First of all, 
it was easier for the government to collect taxes from the 
villages than from each individual peasant. Also, it was easier 
to rule over the people who were herded into communes and 
were deprived of individual initiative. 

Besides, the Slavophils argued that the system of 
communes solved a problem of unemployment. As poor as 
a peasant could have been, he was still a member of his 
commune. And the Czarist government was afraid of the 



72 



proletariat, i.e., wage-earning working class. They could not 
foresee at that time astonishing industrial developments and 
the coming demands of industry. 

As a result, Russian peasants, having been freed from 
their noble masters, found themselves very soon in a bondage 
of their own communes! They were not free! 

However, the archaic system of communes was not 
introduced to the entire Russian Empire. It did not exist in 
Finland, in the Baltic Provinces (after the revolution called 
Esthonia and Latvia), in Lithuania or in Poland. 

As a matter of fact, Baltic nobles set their serfs free 
according to a special petition they presented to the Czar, 
prior to the Act of Liberation in 1861. The landowners of 
these provinces (Estland, Li viand and Kurland) gave land to 
their former serfs, dividing this land into small farms of 
about twenty to twenty-five acres each. Such a farm was 
granted to each head of a family on the condition that he 
could leave his farm to one of his sons, but had no right 
to divide it among his children. In this way the farm 
remained intact and the farmer had only the right to select 
his heir. This system was established on the assumption that 
all the other children who did not inherit any land would 
learn a trade. Baltic nobles did not attribute to their former 
serfs any supernatural, mystic qualities, and solved the 
problem of distribution of land from a practical, European 
point of view. As a result, some fifty years later, in spite of 
the terrific impact of a revolution and the highly publicized 
genius of Lenin, these parts of the Empire stubbornly 
resisted Communism. 

Needless to say, the system of communes was never 
introduced to the natives of the Russian Caucasus, where 
Joseph Stalin was born. The Georgians put up a stubborn 
fight against the Communists in 1920, but the Soviet troops 
outnumbered them and in spite of their heroic resistance, 
the Caucasians were conquered and included in the Soviet 
Union. Stalin could not tolerate his own native Georgia 
repudiating his leadership. 

In the years when the distribution of land to the 
peasants took place, not all Russian nobles were Slavophils. 
The majority of them looked with apprehension at the newly 



73 



established peasants 1 communes, but after the Act of 
Liberation of 1861, peasants were not their problem any 
longer. They were now a problem of the government. 

Since time immemorial, Russian nobles had managed 
their estates without sufficient working capital, and now, 
in spite of the fact that the government bonds they received 
in payment for their lands were selling at seventy-seven 
percent of their face value, landowners were anxious to get 
cash that they needed badly, and were more interested in 
how much money they could realize from the sale of 
government bonds than in the future destinies of their form 
er serfs. 

Acting as a Justice of the Peace attached to a govern 
ment commission in his precinct, my father could not pos 
sibly foresee all the evils that the system of communes was 
to bring to Russia. According to the Russian standards, 
being half German and half Polish, my father was considered 
foreign born (inorodetz) and, therefore, from the point 
of view of Slavophils, was unable to appreciate all the depths 
of a true Russian mind. 

On the other hand, by his upbringing and education, 
my father was a European, and always regarded Russian 
intellectuals with a certain contempt. From my father's point 
of view, Slavophils were narrow-minded, gullible people who 
were envious of Western Europe and its cultural achievements. 
Their psychology was fitted better to the ancient Dukedom 
of Moscow, with all their stupid prejudices, than to the great 
Empire that Russia had become, with some two hundred 
different nationalities, different races, religions, and traditions. 
The true Russians (Velikorossy), not counting the Ukrain 
ians, represented only about fifty percent of the population 
of this Empire. This conglomeration of different nations, 
European as well as Asiatic, from the Baltic Sea and 
Carpathian Mountains to the far away border;, of China and 
the Pacific Coast, from the Black Sea, Caucasian Mountains 
and borders of Afghanistan to the tundras of the Arctic 
Circle, was held together by the Crown, by the White Czar 
of the endless Kirghis and Kalmyk steppes, who was sup 
posed to be a ruler equally benevolent to all his subjects, 
disregarding their race, creed or religion. 



74 



My father did not hesitate to show his aversion to the 
Slavophil ideas, and soon acquired a reputation of a Polish 
rebel . He was convinced that Russian peasants were 
proprietors craving to possess things which tfiey did not 
even need, but which, for some unknown reason, had a certain 
value in their eyes. For instance, peasants often could not 
resist stealing any metal bolts, nuts, screws and other parts 
of any machine or carriage, although these metal parts had 
no practical use for them. 

In the summer, all agricultural machines stood in an 
open shed, in constant use, and it was strictly forbidden for 
any peasant to come anywhere near the shed. The peasants 
had an uncanny ability to unscrew some nuts from a 
machine, unnoticed by anyone, and steal them, together with 
some small part, if their good luck prevailed; later on, a 
blacksmith had a difficult time replacing the stolen parts 
when this particular machine was badly needed in the fields. 

It certainly was much more important for each peasant 
to possess his own individual piece of land than all sorts 
of metal parts of different machines! 

Knowing this trait in the character of the Russian 
peasants, my father doubted very much that they would be 
happy living in communes. But, my father was very young 
at that time, and was very much in love. On the 1st of 
December, 1864, his first son was born and named Albert- 
Carl- Johann. A couple of years later my half-sister Anna- 
Leonida (Nussia) was born, and my father and his wife 
Adela were extremely happy. However, their happiness was 
to be short-lived. 

My grandmother had been suffering from severe pains 
in the abdomen for some time, and, finally, doctors diagnosed 
that she had cancer. There was no cure for cancer at that 
time. All the doctors could do was to relieve her of pain 
with injections of morphine. Her brother, Stanislaw Juriewicz, 
invited her immediately to come, to his home in Odessa, 
where the climate was better and where she could get much 
better care. 

Leaving for Odessa, my grandmother realized that it 
was her last journey, and she made arrangements to transfer 
the administration of both estates, Kolpino and Zabelja, to 



75 



my father, who adored his mother. He remained at his post as 
a judge, but to his official duties were now added new worries 
of managing the estates of his mother. 

In the summer of 1867, my father's first-born son 
died of meningitis. He was just three years old, and a 
smart little fellow. At the same time, Adela began to ^ run a 
slight fever in the morning, coughing, and complaining of 
a pain in her chest. My father was alarmed, and doctors 
were called. They diagnosed that Adela had tuberculosis and 
advised her to go south. 

My father took a leave of absence, and., leaving his little 
daughter Nussia with the sister of his wife, Emilia-Paulina 
Juriewicz, in Kolpino, he took his wife to Odessa, to the 
house of Stanislaw Juriewicz. The journey was made by 
carriage and lasted a couple of weeks. Adela was exhausted 
from this trip, and by the time they arrived in Odessa it 
became apparent that she could not last long... 

Within two months, Adela died in the arms of her 
husband. Her last wish was to be buried in the family 
crypt in Kolpino, next to her infant son, Albert-Carl-Johann. 
Her body was placed in a metal coffin, hermetically sealed, 
and my father, with this gruesome reminder of his sorrow, 
started on the long journey north. 

Less than a year later, my grandmother, Anna von 
Wrangell, died in Odessa, and her coffin was also brought 
to Kolpino to be buried in the family vaulc. A few months 
later, my father received the sad news that his uncle and 
former guardian, Stanislaw Juriewicz, had died in Berszada. 

In spite of his youth, my father was desperate with 
grief. The three persons whom he loved the most, his wife, 
his mother, and his uncle, had passed away in rapid succes 
sion, leaving him alone with his daughter Nussia, only three 
years old. 



THE SALE OF ALASKA 
CHAPTER VIII 



On the 30th of March, 1867, the sale of Alaska by 
Russia was signed by Baron Stoekl, Russian Ambassador, 
and William Seward, American Secretary of State, in 
Washington, B.C. This treaty was ready for delivery to the 
U.S. Senate for ratification. 

In October of the same year, transfer of Alaska to the 
United States took place in New Archangel (Sitka). The 
white flag with St. Andrew's Cross was lowered slowly over 
the farthest outpost of the Russian Empire, and the Stars 
and Stripes were raised, the ceremoney having been ac 
companied by a salute of the guns on Castle Hill. 

For years some liberal groups in the United States 
had been trying at all costs to create a hostile attitude of 
the American people towards the Imperial Russian govern 
ment. These groups explained the sale of Alaska by Russia 
in their own way. Their usual explanation was that Russia 
sold Alaska for badly needed cash, which explanation was 
without foundation. The sum of $ 7,200,000.00 received by 
Russia was much too small to have any effect on Russian 
finances, and even the Soviet Marxist historians point out 
that the Russian Imperial government could have gotten 
twice that much from Great Britain. 

Another explanation was based on the assumption that 
the Russian government was unaware at that time of the 
rich mineral deposits, including gold, that were found in 
Alaska shortly after the sale took place. This explanation 
was also without foundation, because the Russian govern- 



77 



ment and the directors of the Russian-American Company 
were aware of the extreme richness of Alaska's mineral 
deposits. Mr. Alexandre Tarsaidze wrote in his book, Czars 
and Presidents , as follows: 

As early as 1848 a mining engineer by the name 
of Doroshin had discovered deposits there of 
limestone, marble, graphite, coal and gold. In 1885, 
a vein of gold was opened, and a small shipment 
sent to San Francisco. But, the Russians had no 
way of exploiting these resources. Having at their 
disposal insufficient ships, money and trained 
engineers, both the Russian government and the 
Russian-American Company had no choice but to 
remain silent about their Alaskan treasure; any 
hint of which would bring not only an army of 
foreigners with shovels, but an army of enemy 
soldiers. Had Alaska still been a possession of Rus 
sia at the time of the Klondike gold rush, the horde 
of Americans who swept north would have either 
driven the Russians out or caused such friction as 
to make a war inevitable between the two countries . 

There was a strong opposition in Russia to the sale of 
Alaska, and only the absolute power of the Czar made the 



in the United States. Americans called it Seward's Folly 
and the United States Senate at first refused to appropriate 
the necessary sum of money to pay for Seward's Icebox as 
some senators called Alaska at that time. 

The appraisal of the fair prince that Russia could expect to 
get for Alaska was made by Baron Ferdinand von Wrangell (of 
the family branch Lagena), a former Governor-General of Alaska. 
To the figure of $ 7,000,000.00 were added a couple of hundred 
thousand dollars of exchange fees, and the final price reluctantly 
ratified and appropriated by the American Congress was 
$ 7,200,000.00. 

The sale of Alaska cemented still further the friendly 
relations which existed between the Czarist Russian govern 
ment and the United States. 



78 



In the same years of 1867, on June 19th, the unfortunate 
Emperor Maximilian of Mexico was executed at Querctaro. 

Under the influence of his wife, a Belgian princess, 
the Austrian Archduke agreed, unwillingly, to take part in 
the adventurous schemes of Napoleon III, and accepted in 
1863 the Crown of Mexico, offered to him by the Mexican 
National Assembly. Maximilian was sincere in his desire to 
serve his new country faithfully and worked incessantly for 
the welfare of his subjects. But with the victory of the 
northern states in the Civil War, the scheme jf the French 
Emperor to regain the parts of Alabama and Mississippi ceded 
by France to Great Britain in the XVIII century, and Louisi 
ana, sold by Napoleon I to the United States in 1803, failed. 
The French troops were forced to evacuate Mexico, and 
victorious Juarez, defeating the Imperial forces, captured 
Maximilian and his generals at Queretaro. Four days later 
the ill-fated monarch faced a firing squad. The news of her 
husband's execution was such a shock to Empress Charlotte 
that she became insane. She died in 1925. 

The execution of a brother of the Austrian Emperor 
made a profound impression in Europe. The death on a 
guillotine of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoniette 
at the time of the French Revolution aroused great indignation 
throughout Europe. Napoleon Bonaparte then marched with 
. his $njiy from one end of Europe to. tb,e other, bringing war, 
devastation and deprivation to every European country. 
Finally, he was defeated, and order restored. 

And, now, an assassination of a brother of the 
most benevolent and liberal European ruler, who was very 
popular among his own subjects, and had behind him 
centuries-old traditions of the. Holy Empire! 

Europe was shocked! 

In 1848, Emperor Franz- Josef, at that time only 
eighteen years old, granted a constitution to Austria-Hungary, 
and afterward his popularity increased steadily. His marriage 
to a beautiful Bavarian princess who had always been tired 
of the pomp of the imperial etiquette, but who had won the 
hearts of her subjects by her kindness and beauty, only 
increased his popularity. The Emperor Franz-Josef and 
Empress Elisabeth succeeded in creating a brillant Empire 



79 



out of a conglomeration of all kinds of people and races, 
so different in temperament, languages and cultural traditions. 
There was a happy life in Austria-Hungary during their reign. 
All subjects of Emperor Franz-Josef, disregarding their class 
distinction, race or religion, enjoyed security, respect and a 
happy existence, and it was reflected in the music of that 
period the light and gay operettas and the immortal 
waltzes of Johann Strauss. 

My father knew Vienna and the happy frame of mind 
and carefree gaiety of the Viennese. As a young student of 
Heidelberg University, he used to visit Prince and Princess 
Hohenlohe, close friends of his uncle and guardian, Stanislaw 
Juriewicz, and had an opportunity to get a glimpse of the 
brilliant Viennese court. He remembered Johann Strauss 
when the famous composer visited Russia, and was directing 
his orchestra in the beautiful gardens of Pavlovsk. Unfortun 
ately for Strauss, a Russian Grand Duchess tell in love with 
him, and Strauss was advised to leave Russia. 

... And, now, it was not Juarez who had ordered the 
execution of Maximilian but the scheming Napoleon III who 
was universally condemned for the murder. 

Nevertheless, the prestige of the French Emperor stood 
very high. Too many people were made to believe that 
Napoleon III was just as brilliant on the field of battle as 
was his late uncle. A new machine-gun, the mitrailleuse, from 
which much was expected, was introduced in the French army, 
and this army appeared invincible! Only Moltke and Bismarck 
knew the real fighting capacity and capability of the French 
armed forces. The officers were badly trained, the storehouses 
which were supposed to be full of ammunition were actually 
empty, the soldiers were poorly equipped, inefficiency and 
corruption reigned in all government departments. The Prus 
sian high command had no illusions about the military tal 
ents of the nephew of the Little Corporal . 

After the collapse of many of his plans, the French 
Emperor got the idea that to restore his prestige he needed 
a victorious war, and in the spring of 1870, he declared war 
on Prussia. 

After French troops suffered defeat at Reichshoffen, 
Napoleon III, under the influence of Empress Eugenie, 



80 



decided on an offensive, which ended in Sedan. On September 
2, 1870, Napoleon III surrendered with 80,000 men, and on 
the 4th day of September, the Empire fell. 

In the spring of 1871, in besieged Paris, a commune 
was organized. The Prussians did not want to ruin the city 
and were trying to capture Paris by a long siege. After the 
Communists had no food left and were forced to eat rats, 
the city capitulated. The first act of the Prussian king was 
to bring food to the starving Parisians. 

In 1871, Communism, the ugly doctrine inspired by 
envy and blind hatred, made its first appearance in Europe. 
But it did not last, and was wiped out by the Third Republic 
with ultra-bourgeois ideas. The Prussians held negotiations 
with Thiers and Gambetta representing the French Republic. 

In Paris, a union of all German States was proclaimed 
and the German Empire was formed. The victorious King 
of Prussia assumed the title of Emperor of Germany. 

This war turned over another page in the history of 
Europe. 

At the very beginning of the Franco-Prussian War, my 
father expressed doubts about French victory. His remarks 
were not based on his knowledge or his conviction he 
was not interested in politics but were prompted by his 
desire to contradict some elderly people around him who 
professed to know much about the international situation and 
predicted a speedy victory for the French Emperor. These 
people brushed my father aside, declaring that the young 
man did not know what he was talking about. 

The news of capitulation at Sedan and the subsequent 
collapse of the French empire left these people speechless, 
and my father's reputation as a keen student of international 
affairs was established. 

My father went through a very sad period of his life 
when in rapid succession he lost his infant son, his wife, 
his mother and his uncle. Fortunately for him, he was young 
and physically healthy and strong. He could not remain 
depressed for any length of time. He was full of joie de 
vivre and his natural jovial disposition did not permit him 
to brood over his sorrows for long. 



81 



He moved out of Reblio, where everything reminded 
him of his happiness with Adela, and established his office 
as well as his residence in Kolpino. Kolpino's house was 
larger and more comfortable, and the same old Pani 
Wessoczinska remained the housekeeper. Pani Wessoczinska 
had already been the housekeeper of Kolpino at the time 
when this estate belonged to my father's grandmother, Anna 
Deszpot-Zienowicz. Nobody knew her exact age, but she 
remembered well Napoleon's invasion of Russia, and 
continued to carry on her belt all the keys of the cellars 
and storerooms of Kolpino. For her, my father was still the 
same Stas, who as a little boy used to get some extra mazurki 
and other cookies from her. 

In Kolpino, Emilia-Paulina Juriewicz, my father's 
cousin and sister-in-law, was acting as mistress of the house. 
Nussia, the little daughter of my father, did not remember 
her mother, and called her aunt Mama . Emilia-Paulina 
loved her niece as though she were her own child. 

My father's time was much occupied by his official 
duties as a judge. Also, he was much in demand socially. 

When the neighboring landowners arranged a trap- 
shooting and everybody shot clay pigeons, my father, as he 
was known in the district as an expert marksman, was 
given a handicap to shoot silver coins in the air, and he 
usually won the pot. 

He received invitations from the neighboring gentry to 
attend every big hunt, when a battue of wolves was arranged, 
or a bear was found in his lair. Every such hunt was 
followed by a dinner that lasted for hours. After dinner, 
dances were arranged for the young people. 

My father never drank any hard liquor or wine. It was 
really remarkable how he managed to abstain from liquor 
when in every house in Russia and Poland at that time, 
vodka, cognac, and wines were served with every meal. 

On the other hand, my father was very susceptible to 
feminine charms. Red-haired, tall, well-built, with a classical 
profile of a well-proportioned head, he exercised an irresistible 
charm over every woman around him. Disregarding their 
social standing, married women as well as young debutantes, 
ladies of society as well as pretty chambermaids, they all 



82 




Stanislaw von Wrangeli, 

father of the author. 



could not resist temptation and were willing to bestow their 
attention and lavish their Love upon him. He attracted them 
all, and they spoiled him. 

He was a clever judge, and in a short time became 
very popular in his district. In 1874, he was appointeed 
President of the Council of Justices of the Peace of the 
District of Lutzin. The jurisdiction of the council extended 
over the entire province, and all important cases were decided 
at its sessions. An appeal could have been made only to the 
Court of Appeal (Cassation Department) of the Senate, the 
highest judicial tribunal of the Empire. 

Old judges erudite by many years of experience were 
members of the Council of Justices of the Peace, and their 
president was a man only thirty years old! It was a brilliant 
career. 

My father liked to walk alone through the fields and 
forests. He liked nature and the beautiful countryside of 
northern Belorussia. One afternoon he was walkig along 
the Goulbitsche , as it was always called by the local 
peasants a wide path with pine and birch trees growing 
on both sides that led from Kolpino's park over the hilly 
countryside to the nearest forest. Roots of old trees crossed 
the path here and there. On both sides of the path were 
meadows and fields, now bare. It was early spring and the 
air was sharp. The snow had already melted, leaving only 
thawing patches in the hollows between the fields and under 
the trees. 

My father was walking leisurely, inhaling the brisk 
spring air deeply into his lungs. He stopped at a high point 
of Goulbitsche . From this hill there was a beautiful view 
of Kolpino's old park, with its enormous trees, on the family 
cemetery on a hill nearby, and fields and meadows, surrounded 
by forests. About three-quarters of a mile away, one could 
see a wide public road which crossed the estate, going around 
the park and all buildings in a great semicircle. Thi road 
connected Post Station Linetz on the State Highway St. 
Petersburg-Vitebsk, and Lakoushi, a large village with a Rus 
sian Orthodox Church, on the other side of the estate, about 
four miles from Kolpino. 

A couple of workmen sent by the superintendent were 



83 



cleaning Goulbitsche from brushwood and fallen branches. 
Suddenly one turned to my father and said: 

Look, Pan, (in Polish, Lord), it looks like a bear got 
out of his den . 

My father looked in the direction the workman was 
pointing, and on the public road where it turned sharply 
at the bottom of a hill onto a bridge built across a brook, 
he saw a brown bear. The animal was not large, and evidently 
had just come from its den where it had slept through the 
winter, because the poor beast was very thin, and its fur 
hung down, practically touching the ground, while it walked 
aimlessly in the mud of the road. 

My father sent one workman immediately to the house 
to get a gun, and with the other workman slowly walked 
straight across the fields and meadows to the place where 
they had seen the bear. My father realized that something 
was wrong because the beast continued walking aimlessly on the 
road. When they came nearer, they saw that it was not a bear, 
but someone in a daha (a coat with fur on the outside), 
walking on all fours. The thick fur collar of the coat was 
raised and completely covered the face of the man who wore 
a fur cap as well as the daha . 

By this time the workman who had been sent for a gun 
came running, followed by several curious people, mostly 
women and children. They all helped the man stand up on 
his feet, and were speechless when they recognized him to 
be the Russian priest, Odintzov, from LakoushL The priest 
was completely drunk. 

Evidently, riding down the hill on a bumpy road, he 
was thrown out of his small wagon and had been lying 
on the road for some time. Then he sobered up a little, 
and tried in vain to get up, but his feet and arms sank 
in the mud. 

In a little while Matoushka, the wife of the priest, 
arrived. She had become alarmed when the horse brought 
home an empty wagon, and immediately decided to ride back 
and find her husband, who had left early that morning to 
to give Communion to a dying man who lived near Linetz. 

Matoushka was not mistaken. She found her husband 
drunk, covered with mud, and surrounded by a crowd which 



84 



became silent at her approach. Mrs. Odintzov saw my father 
standing on the side of the road, and went straight to him. 
She fell on her knees. 

Please, please, Your Honor, forgive him! Do not 
denounce him to the authorities! Our very lives depend on 
your generosity , pleaded the woman. 

My father made a wry face. He disliked intensely to see 
people kneeling before him, especially a woman. He moved 
to help her to get up, and turned away from her. He did 
not belong to the Russian Orthodox Church, and the conduct 
of the Russian priest concerned him very little. On the 
other hand, he was a judge of this precinct and was 
expected to uphold the law and order. 

The poor woman continued to beg for mercy. My father 
was repelled by the entire affair, and in order to get rid 
of her, promised not to notify the proper authorities about 
the conduct of her husband. Mrs. Odintzov tried to kiss 
his hand, but my father evaded her. 

The workmen helped her load the priest on the wagon. 
The boys found the chalice and other vessels in the mud; 
evidently they had fallen out of the wagon at the same time 
as the priest. 

People kept silent, and only Matoushka tried to talk. 
She was obviously very much embarrassed. Finally she got 
into her wagon, with her drunken husband sleeping peacefully 
in the back, and started home. 

My father walked pensively along the road, trying to 
forget the whole thing. At that time he did not know what 
disagreeable consequences this incident would have for him 
in the near future. 



85 



THE RUSSO-TURKISH WAR 
CHAPTER IX 



Emilia-Paulina Juriewicz was one of many women who 
were in love with my father. With other women, the 
infatuation was not serious, but in Emilia's case, it was 
different. 

Emilia had been secretly in love with my father from 
the very moment she had met him years before, and had 
suffered a great deal while her cousin courted and finally 
married her older sister. Emilia had a deep loyalty to her 
sister, and was careful not to show her real feelings, but 
when Adela passed away, and Nussia was entrusted to her 
care, she became determined to win her cousin's affections. 

With the cunning ingenuity of a woman in love, she 
started her attack. She poured all her love and affection on 
Nussia, whom my father adored. She replaced her mother, 
making herself indispensable. My father was very grateful 
to her; like all men, he dreaded the responsibility of bringing 
up a girl. Also, Emilia was placed in the position of mistress 
of Kolpino, and she took full advantage of it. She presided 
at the head of a long table, trying to look her best, always 
cheerful, always in a good mood. 

And yet my father was far from falling in love with 
her. It was Nussia who tipped the scales in her favor. She 
had developed a genuine affection for her aunt who took 
such excellent care of her, and, in his desire to see his little 
daughter happy, my father finally decided to marry his belle- 
soeur. 



86 



They were married in the Kolpino's family chapel in 
1875, and in 1876 Emilia gave birth to a boy, whom they 
named Woldemar-Constantin. The following year, Emilia gave 
birth to a daughter, who was named Adela. In these first 
two years of their married life they were comparatively 
happy, although my father was aware of the differences In 
their mentality. 

Emilia Juriewicz had not gone to any school; she had 
received her education at home. At that time, the most 
important aspect of the education of a girl was her manners 
and also ability to carry on conversation in a drawingroom. 
She was supposed to dance well and to know something 
about music. The French language was a 'must' but that was 
pratically all that was required from a young debutante. 
Emilia never read a book... her knowledge of geography, his 
tory and other subjects was extremely limited. Her ideas of 
life were well-balanced, and practical, but rather naive. After 
his infatuation with Emilia subsided, my father found the 
company of his wife quite boring. 

At the same time, Emilia wanted to exercise fully her 
rights and privileges of a wife, expecting from her husband 
continuous attention and signs of affection. At the end of 
two years my father became not only completely indifferent 
to her, but grew to actually dislike her. Emilia was very 
unhappy and cried a lot. Her demanding attitude and her 
lack of understanding caused him to care less and less for 
her. They drifted apart until finally they became complete 
strangers, yet Emilia was tenaciously hanging on to her 
prerogatives as a wife at that time, divorces were not 
looked upon favorably. 

They continued to live in the big Kolpnio house, 
occupying separate quarters, and met only in the diningroom 
when meals were served, or when it was necessary to 
entertain their guests. It was a very trying and unhappy 
period in my father's life. He was lonely, being estranged 
even from his own children, because in her desire to win 
their sympathy, Emilia inlfuenced them against their father. 
It was one of the reasons that led my father to the decision 
to place Nussia, at the age of twelve, in the Smolny Insti 
tute in St. Petersburg. Smolny was a well-known govern 
ment school for girls of nobility, with strict discipline and 



87 



firm traditions. For Nussia it was the greatest change in her 
young life. 

Being preoccupied with his personal affairs, my father 
did not follow the international events which aroused a 
great deal of interest among Russian intelligentsia at that 
time. 

In 1876, the uprising of the Serbs against the Turks 
in Herzegovina was followed by the uprising of the Bulgarians- 
The sympathies of Russian intelligentsia were on the side of 
Christian Slavs who were trying to overthrow the yoke of 
the Moslem Turks. 

The Slavophils were very active among all groups of 
Russian society. Their idea of uniting all the Slavs under 
the sceptre of the Russian Czar received tacit approval in 
government circles, and many officers of the Imperial Guards 
were resigning from their regiments to join the Serbian army 
as volunteers. Collections for hospitals and medical supplies 
were made at the fashionable charity balls and bazaars in 
St. Petersburg and Moscow. Russian newspapers were 
publishing communiques from the fighting front on their 
front pages; these communiques were considered the most 
important news of the day. 

Czar Alexander II was not a Slavophil, and did not 
approve of Slavophil aims and ideas. He realized that the 
Russian Empire consisted of many different nationalities and 
races, and that the Slavonic population of the Empire, 
including Poles, hardly exceeded seventy percent of all his 
subjects. 

In the year 989, Russia received Christianity from the 
Byzantine Empire, and the Russian Prince Vladimir, who 
invited Byzantine clergy to Kiev to baptize his subjects in 
the Dnieper River, became a Saint of the Russian Orthodox 
Church. The Russian alphabet with thirty-six letters created 
at that time by two Bulgarian monks was based on the 
Greek alphabet. 

In 1224, the borders of Genghis-Khan invaded Russia. 
Russian troops and European medieval knighthood were no 
match for the Mongolian divisions. Sitting on big chargers, 
both man and horse covered by heavy armor, the knights 
were much too clumsy to move quickly. Their strategy was 



-88 



simple: always a frontal attack, the knights acting like tanks 
trying to break the enemy's front line. Their men followed 
on horse and on foot. The knights never retreated they 
considered that it was a sign of defeat. 

The Mongol divisions, sitting on light, fast ponies, 
introduced a war of maneuver, a war of movements, unknown 
at that time in Europe. At the battle of Budapest (1241) the 
flower of European knighthood was practically annihilated 
by the Mongols. 

In 1240, the second invasion of Europe by the Mongols 
under Batu-Khan took place, and Russia was completely 
subdued. The Mongol rule of Russia lasted two hundred 
and fifty years, and only in 1480, Ivan III. Grand Duke of 
Moscow, threw off the Mongol yoke. During these two 
hundred and fifty years, Mongol and Tatar words were 
adopted in the Russian language and the Russian people ac 
quired many traits and characteristics of the Asiatics. Mongol 
ian and Tatar aristocracy, including some direct descendants 
of Genghis-Khan, became closely intermarried with Russian 
aristocracy and for centuries had been prominent members 
of St. Petersburg and Moscow society. Practically every 
Russian had some Tatar blood in his veins, and was proud 
of it, too! 

After the capture of Constantinople by the Turks in 
1453, Grand Duke Ivan III of Moscow married Princess 
Sophia, a niece of Constantine Palaeologus. the last of the 
Greek Emperors, and proclaimed himself the sole heir to the 
eastern part of the Roman Empire. At that time the black 
Double Eagle of the Roman Legions became the Russian 
national emblem. 

Grand Duke Ivan IV, better known as Ivan the Terrible 
(1533-1584), accepted the title of Caesar, which was ab 
breviated in Russia to Czar , and ever since then, all 
Russian Sovereigns considered themselves as the heirs and 
successors to the Byzantine Emperors. 

The Russian Empress Catherine II (1762-1796) named 
her second grandson Constantine, anticipating a great event 
of his being installed as the Byzantine Emperor in 
Constantinople. Grand Duke Constantine, a brother of Czar 
Alexander I, was taught to speak and write Greek fluently. 



89 



And now the Slavophils proclaimed their aim to replace 
the Moslem Crescent with an Orthodox Cross on the Aya- 
Sophia mosque in Constantinople! 

On the other hand, all western Slavonic people, 
including Poles, received Christianity from Rome. Their 
alphabets were based on the Latin alphabet, and for centuries 
western Slaves had been under the cultural influence of the 
Roman Empire and the Roman Catholic Church. 

Czar Alexander II realized only too well that the 
European Slavs, like Croats, Slovens, Czechs, Carpatho- 
Russians and Poles had an entirely different cultural 
background, and were actually strangers to Russians, while 
Uzbecks, Kalmucks, Kirghis, Tatars and other Turko-Mongolian 
tribes were much nearer to the masses of the Russian people. 

The Czar realized that any attempt to unite all Slavonic 
peoples under his sceptre would inevitably be opposed with 
force by all European powers, and by the same Slavs who 
had been accustomed for centuries to a European way of 
life, and appeared to be quite content under the Austrian 
rule. The Polish uprisings of 1831 and 1863 took place only 
in that part of Poland which belonged to Russia, and did 
not spread to Polish provinces of the Austrian and Ger 
man Empires. Russians, with their half-Byzantine and half- 
Asiatic conceptions and ways of life were foreign to the 
cultured Poles. 

It is necessary to admit that, through many centuries, 
Russia received a heritage of purely ideological nature from 
the former Byzantine Empire. However, as to the territorial 
aspect of Russia, she reached geographical limits of the 
Empire of Genghis-Khan and his son Batu, the founder 
of the Golden Horde. These geographical limits were reached 
by sheer necessity, and so Russia acquired the shores of the 
Baltic Sea and approached the Carpathian Mountains in the 
west, and the shores of the Black Sea in the south, in order 
to expand the Empire to its natural geographical borders 
which were easier to defend, and which gave Russia an out 
let to the sea. 

In their new acquisitions, the Russian Czars did not 
follow the ethnological principle of conquering territories 
populated exclusively by Slavonic people. As a matter of fact, 



the population of new territories acquired by the Czars was 
not Slavonic in origin Finns and Esthonians were of 
Mongolian extraction, Letts and Lithuanians of Ancient 
Arian, but not of Slavonic origin, and in the south, Crimean 
Tatars and some fifty different tribes and nations of Cuasasian 
Mountains all of them having their own language, their 
own religion, customs, and traditions, all different, and none 
even distantly related to Slavs. 

All territories acquired by Russia in Europe as well 
as in Asia the Uzbek and Kirghis steppes northeast of 
the Black Sea, Russian Turkestan and Moslem Khanates of 
Kokand (later renamed Ferghana Territory ), Bokhara and 
Khiva in Central Asia, the farflung Ussuri Territory and the 
lands along the banks of Amur River, Sakhalin Island on the 
shores of the Sea of Okhotsk, Kamchatka, and the shores 
of the Pacific all of them became integral parts of the 
Russian Empire, and all Turko-Mongolian tribes and races 
of these distant lands and territories proved to be loyal 
subjects of the White Czar , the name they called their 
Russian Sovereign. 

And, not ideologically but in reality. Russian Czars 
were the heirs and successors of the Great Mongol. 

The importance of the Czars in restoring peace, and 
introducing European culture to the natives of Asia was 
much greater than the role they could possibly have played 
as purely Slavonic rulers. And Czar Alexander II was a 
benevolent sovereign of a great Empire, striving incessantly 
for the welfare of all his subjects, with no preference for 
any one group. 

It would have been very advantageous for Russia to 
acquire the Straits of Bosphorus and Dardanelles. From a 
strategic point of view, it was much easier to defend the 
entrance to the Black Sea than to defend the great extent 
of its shores. The closing of the straits to Russian shipping, 
as happened during the Crimean War, caused losses to Rus 
sian trade that ran into many millions of gold Roubles. 
However, it was even more important for Russia to find an 
outlet to an open sea from the regions of Turkestan and 
the Altai Mountains. This region had the richest deposits of 
copper and other metals, and could not have been developed 



91 



without access to the open sea. The cost of a pound of 
copper transported from Central Asia to European Russia by 
railroads was prohibitively high, much higher than the price 
of a pound of the same metal brought from Canada by ship. 
On account of the lack of water transportation, the fabulous 
wealth of Central Asia was condemned to remain undeveloped. 

In trying to find a solution to the question of the Straits 
of Bosphorus and Dardanelles, it would have been a big step 
forward for Russia if European powers had agreed to declare 
Constantinople a free port, but even for that Russia could 
not hope, and any Russian territorial claims in the Balkans 
only complicated matters and were bound to lead Russia 
into war with European powers. The great Russian Czar- 
Emancipator was not looking for war. Under pressure of 
public opinion, inspired by Slavophils, the Czar proceeded 
very carefully, and proposed a cooperative action in the 
Balkans to all European powers. 

Since 1874, Disraeli had been in power in England. 
Following an imperialist policy, he had bought the Suez 
Canal, and had made Queen Victoria Empress of India. He 
showed the traditional British jealousy of Russia's advance 
in Asia. Disraeli stated clearly that England would not permit 
Russia to threaten the integrity of the Ottoman Empire. 

The Czar realized the apprehension of the British 
government concerning Russia's getting into the Mediterranean 
and menacing the lifeline of the British empire, the shortest 
way to India, He was forced to turn to Austria-Hungary. 

It was officially announced that he had gone to Austria 
for a rest, and on the 8th day of July, 1876, he met 
incidentally Emperor Franz- Josef at Reichstadt. Here, the 
two monarchs worked out and signed an agreement in which 
all possibilities of victory, defeat and a collapse of the 
Ottoman Empire were foreseen. Austria was to remain neutral, 
but friendly to Russia, and was to receive Bosnia and 
Herzogovina. Russia was to receive the part of Bessarabia 
lost after the Crimean War. In case Bulgaria's independence 
was established, no Russian prince was to ascend the 
Bulgarian throne. This agreement of Reichstadt was confirmed 
in Budapest in January, 1877, and implemented in Vienna in 
March of the same year. 



Upon his return to St. Petersburg, Czar Alexander 
found it necessary to make a definite statement to the British 
Ambassador that Russia was not seeking anv gain for itself, 
and intended only to protect the brother Slavs in the 
Balkans. Lord Derby, British Minister for Foreign Affairs, 
acknowledged approvingly the statements of the Czar and 
invited the European powers to a conference at Constantinople. 
As a result, they came to an agreement by which Serbia and 
Montenegro were to receive their independence and some 
additional territory from Turkey; Bulgaria, Bosnia and 
Herzegovina were to receive autonomy under Christian 
governors appointed by Turkey and approved by the European 
powers. 

However, the Turkish Great Council unanimously re 
fused to appoint Christian g< vernors for these provinces. 
By that time, the feeling in Russia had reached a boiling 
point, and on April 24, 1877, Russia declared war on Turkey. 

Crossing the Danube near Sistova, Russian troops 
advanced on the Balkans. They pushed their way over the 
Shipka Pass, where they were only two day's march from 
Adrianopol, but Osman Pasha with his troops, unperceived 
by the Russians, marched from Vidim, and entrenched 
himself around Plevna, a Turkish fortress which was in path 
of the Russian advance. In spite of vigorous Russian attacks, 
Plevna withstood a long siege. 

Russian soldiers wondered why they should be ordered 
from the remote parts of the empire to fight for the sake 
of the liberation of Bulgarians and Serbs. They did not 
have any friendly feelings toward these little brothers 
as Russian intelligentsia used to call the Slavonic people of 
the Balkans, and, contrary to the public opinion in Russia, 
they liked the Turks. They had great respect for the courage 
of the Turkish soldiers, and a warm feeling towards this 
enemy on account of a friendly attitude displayed by the 
Turks regarding their prisoners. Captured Russian soldiers 
were immediately invited by Turkish soldiers to share their 
food with them, and to eat out of the same big pot their 
pilave, a Turkish dish made of rice with fat and lamb in it. 
In spite of the difference of religion and language, there 
was a certain strong affinity between the soldiers of these 
two Empires. 



93 



After a long siege, Plevna was finally captured and the 
road to Constantinople was opened. In the Eastern theater, 
advancing from Caucasus, Russian troops under the command 
of Grand Duke Michail Nicholayevitch, a brother of the Czar, 
captured Kars and the fortress of Erzerum. It was the most 
brilliant action of the war. Russian troops were only about 
sixty miles from Constantinople when the British Fleet 
entered the Sea of Marmora. At this point, Sultan Abdul 
Hamid made an appeal to Queen Victoria, and the Queen 
telegraphed the Czar, asking him to stop. The Czar agreed, 
and on January 31, 1878, an armistice was concluded at Ad- 
rianopol. 

The treaty of San Stefano, signed by Turkey on March 
3, 1878, created a semi-independent principality of Bulgaria, 
with the annexation of a large Turkish territory. The Ottoman 
Empire even lost Adrianopol. Disregarding the agreement of 
Reichstadt, the autonomy of Bosnia and Herzegovina was 
proclaimed. In the East, the provinces of Kars, Ardahan and 
Bayazid were given to Russia. Dobrudscha was to be given 
to Romania in exchange for a part of Bessarabia, which she 
would cede to Russia. 

A peace treaty was signed, and the war was over. 



THE ASSASSINATION OF CZAR ALEXANDER II 
CHAPTER X 



European powers refused to approve the conditions of 
the Treaty of San Stefano, and insisted that this treaty signed 
by Russia and Turkey would be revised at a congress of all 
European powers. 

In order to protect the interests of Turkey, Great 
Britain concluded a defensive alliance with Turkey on the 
4th of June of the same year. The European powers agreed 
to revise the Treaty of San Stefano at a congress in Berlin. 
Prince Bismarck, Grand Chancellor of Germany, volunteered 
to act as intermediary between the great powers. To use 
his own words, he promised to act as an honest broker . 

Because of Russia's friendly attitude towards Prussia 
during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, which led to the 
creation of the German Empire, the Russian government and 
Russian public opinion expected Bismarck to be grateful 
to Russia and to defend the terms of the San Stefano's 
Treaty, but Bismarck preferred to remain strictly neutral. 

Austria-Hungary reminded Russia of the agreement of 
Reichstadt. At the last moment, Prince Gorchakoff, Russian 
plenipotentiary at the congress, succeeded in persuading 
Austria-Hungary not to insist on the immediate annexation 
of these two provinces. The point was that the Treaty of 
Reichstadt was kept secret in Russia, although it was made 
public in Western Europe. Consequently, public opinion in 
Russia was not prepared for the annexation of Bosnia and 
Herzogovina by Austria-Hungary. Due to the efforts of Prince 



95 



Gorchakoff, the Habsburg Empire agreed to get Bosnia and 
Herzegovina for the time being only for occupation and 
administration . 

Great Britain also reminded Russia of her promises 
made prior to the outbreak of war, and in consequence, 
Russia's gains were reduced to almost nothing. Russia lost 
direct control over the newly created Bulgaria, and Turkey 
appointed a German prince, Alexander von Battenberg, to 
become the Bulgarian ruler. The territory of Bulgaria was 
considerably reduced, and Adrianopol was returned to Turkey 
as well as the Province of Bayazid in Asia Minor, which had 
been ceded to Russia. 

Russian enthusiasm for figtihng cooled off considerably 
after this war. However, not only the Slavophils, but Rus 
sians of different political groups felt that the sacrifices of 
the Russian Army during the war justified material gains 
for Russia. Prince Gorchakoff, signing the final draft of the 
treaty in Berlin for Russia, admitted that it was the most 
humiliating moment of his life. 

The Russian government had not made public the 
previous promises given by the Czar to Austria and to Great 
Britain, and public opinion in Russia promptly blamed the 
German Chancellor, Prince Bismarck, for the disappointing 
results of the Congress in Berlin. Ivan Aksakov, a well-known 
Slavophil, not being well informed concerning all the facts, 
made a public speech in Moscow denouncing Russian 
diplomacy. The general discontent in Russia was so great 
that the government found it necessary to banish Aksakov 
from Moscow. 

Strange as it may seem, public opinion in Russia 
eventually absolved Great Britain from any blame the 
power that actually intervened and stopped the Russian 
approach to the Straits of Bosphorus and Dardanelles. Rus 
sian intelligentsia became decidedly hostile to Germany and 
Austria. It was then that the seeds for the First World War 
were planted. 

The Ottoman Empire was spread at that time on three 
continents Europe, Asia, and Africa, with mostly Moham 
medans in their Asiatic and African provinces. Only in 
Syria, about fifty percent of the population was Christian. 



96 




Princess Catherine Jurievsky t J ourievsky ) , 

the second, morgatmtic wife of Czar Alexander IL 



The Turks forbade ringing of the bells in Christian churches, 
and in Syria the church bells remained silent, At the personal 
request of the Czar, the Turks were made to remove this 
ban, and for the first time in many centuries, the poor people 
heard the ringing of their church bells. It was an act of 
grace on the part of the White Czar to the Arabic po 
pulation of a far-off province of the Ottoman Empire. 

Czar Alexander II was an exceedingly well-educated 
man. His father, Czar Nicholas I, did everything possible to 
give his son an excellent education. The most advanced and 
talented professors, among them a well-known Russian poet, 
Zhukowsky, author of the Russian national hymn, were 
teachers of the young Cesarevitch. By nature, Czar Alexander 
II was generous and good-hearted. He ascended the throne 
with the intention of giving Russia a series of reforms and 
going so far as granting a costitutional form of government 
to the Russian people. At the end of his life, he was inclined 
more than ever to be forgiving and magnanimous. He was 
going through a period of strong personal emotions he 
was in love! 

A few years prior to the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, 
the Czar happened to visit one of his friends, Prince Michael 
Dolgoruky, a scion of one of the oldest Russian noble families, 
a descendent of Rurik, and by chance met his young daughter, 
Princess Catherine. 

In his early fifties, the Czar was a man of enormous 
charm. An aura of an autocrat who was gracious enough to 
grant freedom to millions of people surrounded his personality. 
In his presence, all people felt themselves elated. No wonder 
the young Catherine was impressed! 

Her beauty, her outward frankness, and her quick 
replies full of respectful humor, made an impression on the 
Czar. At this first meeting, a certain affinity was established 
between them. 

Since 1841, the Czar had been happily married to 
Empress Maria Alexandrovna, ne Princess of Hesse and 
Rhine. After some thirty years of marriage, during which 
she had given birth to seven children, the Empress became 
iU and could not take part in official ceremonies, innumerable 
receptions and the travels of her husband. Gradually, * the 



-97 



Czar became accustomed to attending all official functions 
and receptions alone. 

The Czar and Princess Catherine met again and again, 
and in spite of the considerable difference in age, they fell 
in love with each other. They were so much in love that 
after parting in the evening they wrote letters to each other 
to be delivered by special messengers early the following 
morning. And, they were writing to each other every single 
night! In these letters they initiated each other into the 
innermost recesses of their hearts and souls. Both of them 
were enthusiastically inspired by a desire to bring welfare 
and happiness to their people. 

Empress Maria Alexandrovna knew about their romance, 
although the Czar had become exceedingly gentle and kind 
to her, and she resigned herself to the role of a deserted wife. 
On May 28, 1880, the Empress died, and about a month 
later, on July 6th, the Czar married Princess Catherine 
Dolgoruky, and she became his morganatic wife under the 
name of Princess Jurievsky. The children of the Czar and 
Princess Catherine were authorized to carry the name and 
title of their mother. 

The Czar intended to crown his second wife as Empress 
of Russia and was only waiting for the opposition of his 
own family to subside. He remarked casually that the 
Dolgoruky family had more right to the Russian throne than 
the Romanoff family, referring to the direct ancestor of his 
second wife, Prince Youri Dolgoruky, who in the XII century 
was ruler of Russia. 

Russian people at large were not aware of the second 
marriage of their sovereign, but St. Petersburg society was 
all excited, and speculated would Princess Jurievsky become 
Empress of Russia, or not? A marriage of the Russian autocrat 
to one of his own subjects would inevitably lead to an 
undesirable situation of one Russian family, in this case 
the Princes Dolgoruky, becoming of great importance, being 
so close to the throne. In order to avoid this situation, all 
European rulers, by well-established custom, usually married 
foreign princesses, and now the Czar was ready to break this 
tradition. The opposition to his marriage from his own 
family was felt very strongly, and the Czar was forced to 
bide his tiny*. 



98 




Princess Catherine Dolgoruky, 

wife of Czar Alexander II 



In his desire to give Russia a more liberal form of 
government, the Czar created the Supreme Commission of 
Administration which exercised a certain control over the 
members of the Cabinet. At the head of the Supreme Com 
mission, the Czar appointed General Count Loris-Melikoff, 
who was entrusted with the formidable task of outlining a 
new constitution. St. Petersburg society witnessed with 
astonishment that all official functions were conducted with 
Count Loris-Melikoff following the Czar, ahead of all members 
of the Imperial family, including the Cesarevitch. It was 
contrary to the court etiquette, and in social circles, Loris- 
Melikoff was called the Walking Constitution . 

But, in spite of the evident intention of the Czar to 
grant a constitutional form of government to Russia, attempts 
on his life became even more frequent. On February 17, 1880, 
a time bomb exploded in a cellar of the Winter Palace. 
Directly above, on the ground floor, was a large hall where 
a company of an infantry regiment had its quarters, and 
directly above that, on the second floor, was a diningroom 
where on that day a lunch for the Imperial family and their 
guest, Prince Alexander von Battenberg, was to be served. 

Fortunately, there was a snow storm that morning, and 
the train that was bringing the Prince to St. Petersburg 
was late. The Imperial party had not yet entered the diningroom 
when the explosion occurred. Many soldiers on the ground 
floor were killed or wounded, but the diningroom was not 
damaged; only the plates and silver rattled on the dining 
table. 

Whoever had planned this assassination had not taken 
into consideration the peculiar construction of the Winter 
Palace. Not only did all the rooms have unusually high 
ceilings, but between the ceiling and the floor above was a 
space of about five feet. The force of the explosion was not 
sufficient to reach the diningroom on the second floor. 

A search was made of all rooms, halls and apartments 
of the palace. It was not an easy task because the size of 
the Winter Palace was eighty-four million cubic feet. The 
palace was fourteen hundred feet long, and if it had stood 
on end it would have been higher than the Empire State 
Building in New York City. 



99 



All the rooms, cellars and apartments of the palace 
were carefully searched, and to the consternation of the Rus 
sian Secret Service, a cow was discovered in one of the 
rooms of the attic. It was the servants' quarters, and the 
cow belonged to one of the court lackeys who supplied other 
servants of the palace with fresh milk. 

The Secret Service found the perpetrator of the crime. 
It was a workman by the name of Halturin, who had for 
weeks brought dynamite in small quantities into the Winter 
Palace where he was employed as a repair man. His affiliation 
with the Nihilists was established. 

The government was very much alarmed, but the Czar 
continued to appear in public without guards, as usual. Loris- 
Melikoff also withtsood an attack on his own life from a 
revolutionary whom he arrested with his own hands. Like 
the Czar, Loris-Melikoff was not easily frightened and 
continued at his post with all the energy of a georgian. 

On February 9, 1881, Loris-Melikoff submitted to the 
Czar a plan of associating elective representatives of the 
people with the government in legislative work. Russia was 
to receive a constitutional form of government, and the 
revolutionaries doubled their efforts to kill the Czar. They 
wanted a complete abolition of the monarchy, and the 
proposed reform could only strengthen the existing order, 
increasing the popularity of the Czar. 

On March 1, 1881, the Czar signed the Constitution and 
went to receive a review of some units of the St. Petersburg 
garrison at the Michailovsky Riding Hall. He had lunch at 
the palace of his late aunt, the Grand Duchess Helena Pavlovna. 
The Nihilists followed his every movement. They knew that 
the Czar would return to the Winter Palace by one of two 
routes which ran parallel to each other either via 
Ekatherininsky Canal, or via Moika. They placed assassins 
with bombs on both streets. 

At about three o'clock in the afternoon, the closed 
carriage of the Czar turned from Nevsky Prospect into 
Ekatherininsky Canal, A few minutes later, the first assassin 
stationed there threw a bomb at the carriage. The carriage 
was demolished bui, miraculously, the Czar was not touched. 
He dismounted to speak to some Cossacks of his Escort 



100 



who were wounded. He spoke not unkindly to the criminal, 
who was arrested. 

In the meantime, the assassins stationed on Moika heard 
the explosion and ran to the Ekatherininsky Canal. It was only 
one block away. With the words It is too early to thank 
God! one of them threw a second bomb between the feet 
of the Czar. The Czar's legs were crushed, his stomach torn 
open, and his handsome face terribly mutilated. He said 
only, To the palace, to die there.... , and lost consciousness. 
He was placed in the carriage of the Governor of the City 
who arrived at the place of the explosion Within a few 
minutes, all members of the Imperial family assembled in 
the room of the palace where the Czar was brought. Princess 
Jurievsky, with a scream of despair, threw herself on the 
mutilated body of the Czar, covering his disfigured face with 
kisses. Her tears mixed with his blood. There was no time 
for etiquette, there was only the grief of a young woman 
whose beloved husband was dying. Within an hour and a 
half, the Czar-Emancipator expired. 

After the coffin of the Czar, with great ceremonies and 
thundering salute of guns, was brought to St. Peter and 
Paul Fortress to be buried in the mausoleum of the Russian 
sovereigns, and all members of the Imperial family had left 
the fortress church, Princess Jurievsky, heavily veiled, entered 
the church through a side' door. She knelt and prayed at the 
coffin of her husband and placed a shining curl of her own 
hair under his hand. 

On account of the opposition to the Imperial family, 
Princess Jurievsky moved with her children to the south of 
France where she died in 1922. She lived long enough to 
see the downfall of the dynasty of Alexander II, and the as 
sassination of his grandson, Czar Nicholas II and his family 
in the cellar of Ipatiev's house in Ekatherinburg, in the far 
away Ural Mountains. 



101 



THE CZAR SLAVOPHIL 
CHAPTER XI 



March 1st, 1881, according to the Julian calendar, or 
March 13th, according to the Gregorian calendar, was a 
memorable day in the life of my father, who was in St. 
Petersburg at the time. 

He was walking leisurely along Nevsky Prospect near 
Sadovaya, when he saw the carriage of the Czar, followed 
by the Cossacks of His Majesty's Escort. The carriage turned 
into Ekatherininsky Canal and a few minutes later my father 
heard the first explosion. He saw people runinng, following 
the route of the Imperial carriage. By the time he reached 
the corner of Ekatherininsky Canal, there was another 
explosion. There was a mob of excited people. Several per 
sons had been wounded, and others killed. He could not get 
any nearer because the place was already surrounded by the 
police. 

The crowd stood silently, making the sign of the Cross; 
many of them had tears in their eyes. One woman next to 
him murmured, They killed him, our blessed Sovereign! , 
and she started to cry bitterly. 

My father was badly shaken. He had seen the Czar 
many times in his life, and remembered well his pleasant 
voice and the look of his large, kind eyes, penetrating deeply 
into the very soul of the man to whom he was talking. 

My father was proud of the new reforms and of the 
big changes that were taking place. He was witnessing a 
new Russia rising out of the sombre State that Russia had 
been at the time of the autocratic Czar Nicholas I. Being 
an aristocrat loyal to the idea of monarchy, my father was 



102 



devoted, body and soul, to this benevolent sovereign who 
accomplished so much for his own people and for the poor 
people of other nations. And, at that moment he felt sinister 
forebodings flooding his heart. What will happen now? 
Will the new czar follow the same path of liberal reforms? 
My father realized that it was impossible to expect it from 
a son whose father was so brutally murdered! He felt that 
this memorable day was to be a turning point in the history 
of the Russian Empire. The future appeared dismal and 
doubtful... 

The assassination of Czar Alexander II was a most 
hideous crime! 

A small group of Nihilists took it upon themselves to 
decide the destiny and the needs of the great Empire. They 
relentlessly pursued the most philanthropic ruler of this 
Empire and succeeded in killing him on the very day he 
signed the most liberal constitution in all Russian history! 

Dedicating themselves to a senseless destruction, this 
group had no program, no plans of their own. They did not 
even seek to establish themselves in power. They simply 
disapproved of the Czar as the symbol of the existing order, 
a symbol of authority, and destroyed the man who rightfully 
deserved the veneration of the Russian people. 

Alexandre Tarsaidze, in his book Czars and Presidents , 
wrote as follows: 

Historians have been guilty of propagating the 

popular notion that tyrants suffer violent deaths 

by assassination. In the true history of the world 

more Lincolns and Alexanders have met this fate 

than the Caesars. The tyrants never forget to shield 

themselves behind armor. But those great and 

affectionate rulers who truly love humanity forget 

that a man's sense of injustice is not confined to 

the actual years of his oppression . 

By the end of the XIX century, Nihilism, under the 

name of Anarchism, became a sinister doctrine of senseless 

destruction in many countries. In the United States, two 

presidents, James Garfield in 1881, and William McKinley 

in 1901, were killed by anarchists. In Europe, their victims 

were President Carnot of France in 1894, Premier Canovas 



103 



of Spain in 1897, the beautiful Empress Elisabeth of Austria 
in 1898, King Humbert of Italy in 1900, and many others. 

After killing five French policemen with a bomb, Emile 
Henry, an anarchist, placed another bomb in the cafe 
Terminus at the Gare St. Lazare in Paris. This second bomb 
killed one person, and wounded twenty peaceful citizens who 
were drinking their coffee and reading their newspapers in 
this cafe. In 1893, Edouard Vaillant, another French 
anarchist, threw a bomb from a public gallery of the Chambre 
des Deputes, wounding several deputies, fortunately killing 
none. 

In 1896, in Barcelona, a bomb was thrown into a 
religious procession as it was entering a church, killing 
eleven, and wounding about forty persons. There were other 
similar brutal occurrences. 

The deaths of all these innocent people were supposed 
to advance the anarchist idea! In 1894, Emile Henry went 
on trial, and testifying in the courtroom stated, There are 
no innocent bourgeois! From the point of view of the 
anarchists, all these deaths were justified. 

The names of the anarchists Prince Peter Kropotkin, 
Michael Bakunin, Enrico Malatesta, Ravachol, Santo Caserio, 
Sebastian Faure, Emma Goldman, and many others the 
names of those who expounded this doctrine of violence as 
well as of those who actually perpetrated the crimes^ 
appeared on the front pages of European and American 
newspapers. 

The assassination of the Czar-Emancipator left the Rus 
sian people bewildered, suffering severe anguish. Throughout 
the whole Empire people were praying... their sorrow was 
genuine. The United States Congress unanimously passed a 
resolution condemning the murderers of the Czar. In this 
atmosphere of general mourning, Cesarevitch (1) Alexander 



(1) The correct tide of the Russian Heir-Apparen* was Cesarevitch, 
derived from Caesar, pronounced Tsay-sa-ray-vitch . His wife's 
title was Cesarevna. Russian terms of Czarevitch and Czarevna 
had been applied to the Czar's sons and daughters of the Moscow 
period of Russian history (XVI and XVII centuries) and were also 
used in Russian fairy tales. 

Footnote of the Author 



104 



ascended the throne under the name of Czar Alexander III. 

The young Czar appointed Plehve, the head of the 
police, to investigate the killing of his father. 

Capital punishment was abolished in Russia by the 
Empress Elisabeth in 1741. However, the ruling did not 
affect court martial proceedings, or decisions of regular 
criminal courts in war time. Five of the assassins, Zhelyabov, 
Sophia Perovsky, Kibalchich, Ryssakov and Mikhailov, those 
who actually took part in the plot, were executed, Grinevetsky 
was killed by his own bomb, and the rest of the conspira 
tors were imprisoned and exiled to Siberia, 

There remained a question of the Constitution signed 
by the late Czar on the day he was killed. This Constitution 
was not read in the Senate yet and was not published. It 
was entirely up to the young Czar to cancel it or to put 
it into effect. 

Czar Alexander II was cruelly assassinated, and it 
appeared that his liberal policy was a failure. But the young 
Czar was not lacking in courage, and his personal pride, 
and loyalty to the memory of his father were so strong that 
he could have ordered the proclamation of the Constitution 
signed by the Czar-Emancipator. This was vigorously op 
posed by Constantin Pobedonostseff, a reactionary and a 
Slavophil, who was his tutor. 

The Constitution of Czar Alexander II was never 
published. Count Loris-Melikoff, Abaza and Dmitri Milutin, 
three liberals, the Head of the Supreme Commission and two 
members of the Cabinet, presented their resignations. 

And yet Russia remained calm. There were some isolated 
acts of terrorism, but the leaders of revolutionary organizations 
admitted that they could not find any sympathy among the 

people for their acts. 

* * * 

All six sons of Czar Alexander II Nicholas, Alexander, 
Vladimir, Alexis, Serge and Paul were tall and very hand 
some. When the Czar appeared in public followed by his 
>ix sons, it was an exhibit of masculine fine race and beauty. 
An exception was his second son, Alexander, who was heavy 
and strong as a bull, but lacked the refined features of his 
brothers. 



105 ~ 



The oldest son, Cesarevitch Nicholas, was extremely 
good-looking, and had the same generous and noble character 
of his father. Unfortunately, he was consumptive. He was 
engaged to Princess Dagmar of Denmark when his illness 
took a turn for the worse. He was sent to France, to the 
sunny sea coast, where he died, and Alexander, the second 
son of the Czar, became Cesarevitch. 

Alexander consented to marry the fiancee of his late 
brother. Princess Dagmar agreed, and they were married on 
November 28, 1866, in St. Petersburg. Princess Dagmar's 
name and title were changed to Cesarevna and Grand Duchess 
Maria Fedorovna. 

According to Hindu concepts, a marriage of a younger 
brother to the fiancee of his late brother was bound to 
bring bad luck. But the marriage of Alexander and Dagmar 
happened to be a happy one. Cesarevitch Alexander was a 
good family man. He was a man of enormous physical 
strength. He could bend a horseshoe with his bare hands. 
He was honest, laborious, with very clear and definite ideas, 
but quite limited in his outlook. His ideal was an Empire of 
one nationality, one language, one religion, and he adhered 
faithfully to two principles of the Byzantine Empire 
Autocracy and Orthodoxy. He was much opposed to the 
liberal policy of his father, and now this man became the 
Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias. 

The most influential man during the reign of Alexander 
III became Constantin Pobedonostseff, Procurator of the Holy 
Synod, or, as he was called, the Czar's eye in control of 
the church. The sermons of preachers were subjected in 
advance to an ecclesiastical censorship, and country priests 
were required to report to the police authorities those 
persons in their parishes who were not trust-worthy from 
a political point of view. 

Any form of dissent from the rigid Orthodoxy of the 
Russian Church was forbidden. The Methodists, who in Rus 
sia were called Stundists , Baptists, and especially Duk- 
hobors, who objected to military service, and all other sects 
were forbidden. Orthodoxy was enforced not only on dis 
senters, like Uniats (the Russian Orthodox who recognized 
the supremacy of the Pope of Rome), but on the Roman 



106 




A i r, x 



n t 



Alexander IIL 



Catholics in Poland and Lithuania, on the Lutherans in the 
Baltic provinces, on the Jews, and even on the Mohammedans. 
The government attempted a forcible conversion among the 
Mussulmans, and the Buddhists' places of worship of Kalmucks 
and Buryats were closed by government order. 

Russian universities lost their autonomy and their statues 
were changed. Student demonstrations and troubles broke 
out at the University of Kazan and St. Petersburg in 1882, 
and at the Universities of Moscow, Odessa and Harkov in 
1887. These troubles were suppressed by troops, and usual 
exclusions followed. 

The elective Justices of the Peace were abolished and 
in their place the Land Captains (Zemskiye Nachalniki) were 
established. These Land Captains, chosen from the poorer 
gentry, were placed under direct control of provincial 
governors. They were not representative of justice a^y more, 
but petty government officials who were ordered to supervise 
every detail of peasant life for the Department of Interior. 

The government succeeded in a very short time in 
antagonizing practically all the non-Ortodox and all the non- 
Slavonic population of the Empire. All these people felt that 
they were not wanted, but only tolerated. The nobility of 
different dominions of the Empire, like Poland, the Baltic 
Provinces, Finland and Caucasus were regarded in general 
as politically unreliable . 

It appeared that the Russian Autocratic government 
was relying exclusively on the support of uneducated Rus 
sian peasants. The Slavophils were propagating a notion that 
the Czar was a true father of the Russian people, and all 
Orthodox Russians were his children. 

In the meantime, the peasants were eager to get more 
land. At the time of emancipation, they received about half 
of the cultivated and fertile land, but this land became 
subject to the restrictions of communal ownership. The 
peasants, having been freed from their noble masters, found 
themselves in a bondage of their own communes. They were 
not free! 

Some of the peasants went far in search of suitable 
new lands, and a movement towards Siberia grew throughout 
this period. The government organized The Emigration 



10? 



Committee of Peasants and the Heir-Apparent, the future 
Czar Nicholas II, became its president. This Committee 
provided financial assistance to the emigrants to move to 
Siberia and to settle down there, on fertile lands which 
were given to them free. The Czar personally contributed 
approximately ten million acres, which belonged to His 
Majesty's Office, to the emigrants. . 

But every farmer, regardless of his nationality, hates 
to move. Besides, the law did not permit any peasant to 
sell his famous nadel . A peasant did not want to lose 
his share of land Holdings in his own commune, and 
consequently was reluctant to leave European Russia. 

In spite of these difficulties, the Emigration Committee 
succeeded in a short period of time in moving over one 
million peasants to Siberia, where the soil was fertile, and 
they soon became prosperous farmers. 

This measure helped considerably, but did not solve 
the problem, and the cry for more land continued. 

Very few of the Russian landowners operated with 
sufficient working capital, and a continuous shortage of 
necessary funds made them mortgage or sell their lands. 
Enterprising peasants were quite anxious to purchase these 
lands, and in order to help them, the State Bank of the 
Peasants' (Gosudarstveny Khrestiansky Bank) was organ 
ized. With very small down payments, the bank financed 
purchases at a low interest rate (about two percent), but 
the government was opposed to individual peasant property, 
and would assist only the peasant communes (obschina), or 
the associations of peasants formed for this purpose, in 
purchasing the gentry's lands. 

Depriving peasants of individual property, the govern 
ment played naturally into the hands of socialists and com 
munists who proposed to proclaim general socialization of 
all the lands of the Empire. Instead of creating a class of 
contented citizens, loyal to the existing form of government, 
this policy was to breed discontent among the same peasants. 

The situation was becoming tense, and there were strong 
indications of an approaching uprising. These manifestations 
of an impending catastrophe were an exceJlent background 
for all kinds of strange and mysterious predictions of the 



108 



downfall of the Empire, and a tragic end to its ruler. Also, 
it was an excellent field for revolutionary propaganda. 

Of course, all these changes did not materialize 
overnight, but within a few years Russia became an entirely 

different country. 

* * * 

My father used to go to St. Petersburg regularly to 
visit Nussia at Smolny. In March, 1881, Nussia was fifteen 
years old. She was a tall girl and resembled her father very 
much the same classical Greek profile, the same silky 
reddish hair but she was quite frail. Like her mother, 
Nussia was inclined to be consumptive. 

All girl students of Smolny adored Czar Alexander II. 
On the occasions of his visits to Smolny, the girls managed 
to steal not only the cigarettes from his cigarette case, but 
his handkerchiefs as well. They tore the latter into small 
pieces in order for every girl to have her share. Nussia kept 
her amulet, a small piece of the Czar's handkerchief; it was 
her most precious possession. This piece of fine cambric 
had a faint odor of expensive perfume. 

After a visit by the Czar, all girls usually received 
bonbons and other candies delivered to them by the 
Department of the Imperial Court. 

And, now, all the girls of Smolny were sorrowfully 
mourning the Czar... 

One of Nussia's classmates was Princess Anastasia of 
Montenegro. She was one of five sisters who were students 
of Smolny, in different grades. They were extremely poor, 
but expected the other girls to share with them the expensive 
presents they received from their homes. 

A few years after the accession to the throne of Czar 
Alexander III, Prince Nicholas of Montenegro, father of the 
girls, was present at an official dinner in the Winter Palace. 
The Czar raised his glass to his only friend Prince Nicholas 
of Montenegro! As a matter of fact, the Czar did not care 
much for this man. It happened before Russia signed a 
secret agreement (Entente Cordiale) with France. Montenegro 
was so insignificantly small that by calling Nicholas of 
Montenegro his only friend , the Czar wanted to show 
that he did not need any allies. 



109 



This toast made by the Czar was sufficient reason that 
the position of the Montenegro girls at Smolny was changed 
immediately to that of royalty. All teachers were instructed 
to ask the girls politely, Will it please the Princess to 
recite her lesson today? , and the haughty princess often 
answered, Niet! , and remained seated at her place in the 
classroom, as the attitude of the Montenegro sisters had 
completely changed. They became insolent and domineering, 
and in a short time the students of Smolny learned to dislike 
them intensely, with the exception of the youngest girl f 
Helena, the future queen of Italy. She was a straightforward, 
kind girl... 

At that time the four sons of Czar Nicholas I had 
many children and grandchildren, and together with the 
families of the Princes of Oldenburg, of the Dukes of 
Mecklenburg-Strelitz and of the Dukes of Leuchtenberg who 
were related to the Romanoffs and resided in Russia, the 
number of young bachelor princes was high. It was no 
wonder that two Montenegro girls found husbands among 
them Anastasia married George, Duke of Leuchtenberg, 
and her sister Militza married Grand Duke Peter Nicholayevich! 
brother of the commander-in-chief of the Russian Army 
in the First World War. 

Nussia had a close friend outside of Smolny, Baroness 
Vera Rokassowsky, who was twelve years her senior. Both 
girls were tall, had the same slender figures, and could wear 
each other's clothes. 

The Rokassowsky family had several estates in the 
province of Vitebsk. Vera was the youngest of several boys 
and girls. Her brothers were serving now as officers of the 
regiments of the Guards, and her two sisters were already 
married. The father, the former Governor-General of Finland, 
had died in 1869. Vera was born in Helsingfors and was 
brought up by an English governess. In spite of her Russian 
name, Vera spoke Russian with a slight accent, and was 
more of a foreigner in her ways than a Russian. 

She used to gallop wildly on a side-saddle, her hair 
was cut short, and she smoked cigarettes when only very 
few married women of society had the courage to smoke 
in public. She studied music at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, 



no 




Pour daughters of the last Czar, Grand Duclwsses 
Olga, Taiiana f Maria and Anastmia* 



and lived with her mother, Baroness Alexandra Rokassowsky, 
an imperious old dowager who played cards (vint, an 
advanced form of contract bridge) every night until the early 
hours of the morning. She had two Boulognese dogs which 
her butler took for daily walks. 

The Rokassowsky mother and daughter had an apart 
ment on Fontanka, opposite the Annichkoff Palace. The old 
Baroness invited Nussia to stay with her daughter each 
week-end that the girls of Smolny were permitted to visit 
their parents and relatives. In spite of the difference in age, 
Nussia and Vera became close friends. Nussia was im 
pulsive and very sensitive, while Vera, due to her English 
upbringing, was reserved and did not show her feelings easily. 

After staying in St. Petersburg a few days on one 
particular trip, my father had to rush back home where he 
had some urgent business. Paying a short visit to Baroness 
Rokassowsky, he noticed for the first time that her daughter 
Vera was rather good-looking. He did nor dwell on this 
subject very long, but returned to his hotel, packed and 
ordered an isvostschik to drive him to the Warsaw Rail 
road Station. He went by train to Piskov, then to Ostrov, 
where his carriage, with his coachman Kusma, was waiting 
for him. 



111. 



THE NEGRO BOY OF CZAR PETER THE GREAT 
CHAPTER XII 



The passenger train arrived at Ostrov on time and 
Kusma greeted my father as soon as he emerged from the 
station, followed by a porter who carried his light luggage. 

Kusma had been notified of my father's arrival by 
wire that morning. He immediately harnessed the horses 
which had become restive in the stables of the inn where 
they were staying, and arrived at the railroad station about 
an hour before the appointed time. 

My father gave the horses a quick glance and finding 
everything in order, got into his comfortable carriage. 

Let us go, Kusma, we are going home , he ordered, 
and the horses started at a trot. In a few minutes, the 
carriage turned into a chaussee, the big St. Petersburg- Vitebsk 
highway, going south towards Opochka. As usual, the four 
horses were harnessed tandem. Sometimes it was difficult 
to drive without a postilion (Vorreiter) but the horses were 
well broken in, and Kusma was an expert driver. Now the 
horses were running at a wide trot on the well-kept chaussee, 
feeling that they were going home, and in about an hour 
they easily covered some thirteen miles. 

The distance from Ostrov to Kolpino was well over one 
hundred miles, and they had the entire night of travelling 
ahead of them. My father preferred to travel at night because 
there was usually very little traffic, and it was easier for 
the horses. At that time, highway robbery was practically 
unknown in Russia, and, besides, my father was always 
well armed. He carried a big thirty-two caliber Smith and 



112 



Wesson always fully loaded, and an English gun which he 
used for bear hunting. The gun was intended for use in the 
event his carriage (or his sled in the winter) was followed 
by a pack of wolves. 

A couple of miles before getting into the town of 
Opochka, my fathei ordered Kusma to stop for dinner at a 
roadhouse he knew well. This roadhouse belonged to a Jew 
by the name of Leyba, and was known for clean beds and 
good food prepared by Leyba's wife. 

Leyba himself rushed out to greet my father and 
attempted to kiss his hand, but remembered in time that 
my father did not like these signs of submission. Leyba 
seemed excited as if in his life something big was happening, 
something, about which he, Leyba, was very happy and very 
proud. 

Well, what is new? my father inquired. 

Such blessings, such favor of Heaven! (1), started 
Leyba, pronouncing the words with a heavy Jewish accent. 
It is a blessing for my whole family, for my house! In 
his excitement, Leyba could not find words to continue. 

What is it, Leyba? Just tell me, what happened? , my 
father urged him. 

Oh, Pan (in Polish, Lord) will not understand. 
It is such a joy, such blessing!... and Leyba raised his eyes 
and both hands to Heaven. 

Well, what is it? My father was getting impatient. 

You see, Pan, right now two rabbis are in my house. 
Not one, but two! A rabbi from Polotsk and a rabbi from 
Diinaburg (Dvinsk!) Oh, it is such a blessing! . Leyba again 
raised his hands and disappeared in the portion of the house 
occupied by him and his family. 

My father entered a guestroom which also served as a 
diningroom, and ordered a servant to bring some food and 
to give a good dinner to his coachman, too. He did not 



(I) The Orthodox Jews never pronounced the word God or Lord. 
Instead, they used the word Heaven. 

Footnote of the Author 



113 



intend to stay the night at the roadhouse and was anxious 
to continue his trip. 

While his dinner was being prepared, my father paced 
back and forth in the guestroom. He had been sitting the 
entire day, first in the compartment of a railroad car and 
then in his carriage. He noticed that the door leading into 
a private apartment occupied by Leyba and his family was 
slightly ajar. He looked through the opening of the door 
and saw a large room with a big square table in the middle. 
At this table, opposite each other, were sitting two aged 
rabbis, in lapserdaks (long frock-coats usually worn by 
Jews), and ermolkas (round caps). Both men had peyssy 
(whiskers) and long beards. They sat opposite each other 
solemnly, in complete silence. 

My father looked at them once, and continued his 
pacing. After a few minutes he looked again. Neither one 
had moved, and not a word had been uttered. 

Finally Leyba reappeared. He was still obviously elated. 
He carefully closed the door behind him so that my father 
could no longer see the two solemn rabbis. 

What a blessing of Heaven , Leyba started again, but 
my father interrupted him. 

Are these two the rabbis you are talking about? he 
asked. 

Yes, they are. It is such a blessing!... . 

Leyba, why don't they talk? Why do they keep silent? 

Why? repeated Leyba, with obvious resentment. 
You, Pan, do not understand it? How can you ask such 
a question? Dont's you understand? When one knows 
everything, and another one knows everything, what have 
they to talk about? , and with a look of reproach, Leyba 
left the room. 

Poor Leyba was unable to explain to my father a wise 
and ancient Oriental philosophy. The two old rabbis were 
meditating, respecting each other's silence. We, modern 
Europeans and Americans, do not devote enough time to 
meditation. We are too accustomed to 'rattling' continuously... 

Soon dinner was served. After my father had eaten, 
and was told that Kusman had also finished his meal, he 



114 



paid Leyba well for his hospitality. As he was leaving the 
room, he was followed by Leyba's bows, and, with his 
guttural voice, the innkeeper asked the blessings of heaven 
for him. My father got into his carriage, and the horses 
started again at a wide trot. 

They arrived in Kolpino at dawn, when dairymaids 
were going to the cattle-yards to milk the cows. The su 
perintendent, Otto Brunner, a Lett graduated from an 
agricultural school in Riga, was already up, and greeted my 
father when he alighted from his carriage. He informed my 
father that Gregory Pushkin, the second son of the well- 
known Russian poet, Alexander Pushkin, had arrived the day 
before, and was asleep in one of the guestrooms. 

The Pushkin estate, Selo Mikhailovskoye, was only 
about twenty miles from Kolpino, and Gregory Pushkin was 
a close friend of my father. 

Gregory Pushkin had very few traces of Negro blood, 
although his father, the poet who was kiHed by d'Anthes 
in a duel in 1837, had the curly hair and features of a 
Negro. The Pushkin family was one of th-* Boyar families 
and belonged to the oldest Russian aristocracy, but the great 
grandfather of the poet on his mother's side was a Negro 
by the name of Ibrahim who was presented in 1703 to Czar 
Peter the Great by Peter Tolstoy, Russian Ambassador to 
Constantinople. 

Little Ibrahim was at that time six years old. The Czar 
liked the boy, and according to Russian custom had him 
baptized in a Russian church in Wilno. At the ceremony of 
baptism his godparents were the Czar himself and the Queen 
of Poland. The boy received the Christian name of Abraham 
(Jewish equivalent of Arabic Ibrahim) and according to the 
Russian custom to call a person by his Christian name and 
his father's first name, he was called Abraham Petrovitch 
(Peter's son, meaning in this case the Czar himself). The 
Czar gave him the status of a Russian hereditary nobleman 
and the family name of Hannibal. 

While still a boy, he fulfilled the duties of a page 
of the Czar, but at the age of nineteen was sent by the Czar 
to Paris to finish his education. It took Abraham Petrovitch 
about ten years to finish an engineer's college for army 



115 



officers, but finally, in 1726, he was graduated, and returned 
to Russia. 

By that time, Czar Peter the Great was dead, and 
on the throne of Russia was his widow, Empress Catherine 
I. The young Hannibal joined an artillery company with the 
rank of Lieutenant j.g. However, in 1727, this young 
Lieutennat got into a dispute with the all-powerful Field- 
Marshal Prince Alexander Danilovitch Menshikoff, a favorite 
of the late Czar, who, during the short reign of his widow, 
was the actual ruler of Russia. As a result of this dispute, 
the Field-Marshal banished the poor Negro to Siberia. This 
incident proved how close the black lieutenant stood to the 
Imperial Court. 

In the meantime, Abraham Petrovitch married a daughter 
of a Greek merchant. His wife gave birth to a child a girl 
who appeared to be completely white. Since then it has 
been scientifically proven that a child of mixed parents may 
be white, but our Negro instituted court proceedings against 
his wife, suing her for divorce. He accused her of infidelity 
and won his case! 

Abraham Hannibal remained in Siberia for fourteen 
years and evidently the severe climate of Siberia agreed 
with this native of Africa. On the 25th of November, 1741, 
Empress Elisabeth, the younger daughter of Czar Peter the 
Great, ascended the throne of Russia and Hannibal was 
permitted to return. He was reinstated in the army and 
served during the reigns of three Sovereigns Empress 
Elisabeth (1741-1761), Czar Peter III (1761-1762), and Empress 
Catherine II (1762-1796). 

Upon his return from Siberia, Abraham Hannibal mar 
ried Christine-Regine Skjoberg. His son from the second 
marriage, Joseph (in Russian, Osip), was evidently dark 
enough because his father did not dispute his legitimacy. 
Abraham Hannibal died in 1781. At the end of his life he 
was Major-General and Commandant of the fortress of 
Reval in Estland (now Esthonia), a province acquired by 
the Czar Peter the Great from Sweden. 

Osip Abramovitch Hannibal had two daughters 
Sophie and Nadejda. The older one, Sophie, married Adam 
von Rotkirch, and their daughter, Vera von Rotkirch, married 



116 



Alexander von Traubenberg. Their daughter, Dorothea von 
Traubenberg, married Baron George von Wrangell of the 
House Ludenhof, and their descendants, including General Peter 
Wrangell, Commander-in-Chief of the White Russian Army in 
South Russia, have all carried some Negro blood. 

The younger daughter of Osip Abramovitch, Nadejda 
Osipovna, married Serge Pushkin, father of the Russian 
poet, Alexander Pushkin. 

Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837) married Natalie Goncharoff, 
of an old Russian noble family and a rare beauty. They had 
two sons, Alexander (1833-1907) and Gregory (1835-1905), a 
friend of my father, and two daughters, Maria and Natalie. 

Natalie Pushkin was exceptionally beautiful. Evidently 
she inherited the beauty of her mother accentuated by a few 
drops of Negro blood. She married General von Dubelt, but 
divorced him, with great difficulty, and in 1868, married 
Prince Nicholas of Nassau, whose very close relative was the 
Grand Duke of Luxemburg. This second marriage was 
morganatic, and a cousin of her second husband, the reigning 
Prince zu Waldeck, granted the young wife a title of Count 
ess von Merenberg 

Prince Nicholas of Nassau and his wife had two 
daughters and a son. Their elder daughter, Sophie von 
Merenberg, married, in 1891 in San Remo, Italy, Grand Duke 
Michael Michailovitch, who was called Mish-Mish by his 
intimate friends. Mish-Mish was a first cousin of Czar 
Alexander III, and his marriage to Sophie von Merenberg 
also was morganatic. As a wife of a Russian Grand Duke, 
Sophie von Merenberg received a title of Countess Torby. 
This title of the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg was recognized 
in Great Britain where they lived. Their daughter, Nadejda 
Torby, born in Cannes in 18%, married, in 1916, Prince 
George von Battenberg, who in Great Britain received a 
title of Marquis of Milford-Haven. In 1917, the family name 
of Battenberg was changed in Great Britain to Mountbatten, 
and a son of George Milford-Haven, a close relative of the 
British Royal family, still carries some Negro blood of his 
ancestor Abraham Petrovitch Hannibal... 

Gregory Pushkin, my father, and Leo Waxel, another 



117 



neighboring landowner, were passionate bear hunters. They 
used to hunt in several provinces where they were invited 
by their relatives and friends. They had killed a number of 
bears in the forests of Kraszuty, an estate of Michal Juriewicz, 
my father's uncle, and in Wyshki, an estate of Count Stanislaw 
Mohl. 

After the Polish uprising, many Polish landowners 
were ordered by the Russian government to sell their family 
estates, and Count Stanislaw Mohl was one of them. He sold 
Wyshki to Leo Waxel, a Russian nobleman of Swedish 
extraction, but the sale was fictitious. All legal papers were 
duly signed and registered in the books of the province, but 
Leo Waxel did not pay any money to Mohl, and between 
the two of them it was agreed that the estate would remain 
the property of Stanislaw Mohl and his heirs. No written 
agreement was made to that effect because under the 
circumstances no written agreement would have been valid 
in court. Stanislaw Mohl trusted Leo Waxel implicitly. 

About fifteen years later, Stanislaw Mohl addressed a 
petition to the Czar asking for permission to purchase back 
his family estate. His petition was granted, and Leo Waxel 
immediately signed a deed of sale in favor of the rightful 
owner of Wyshki. The two remained close friends for the 
rest of their lives. 

My father realized that Gregory Pushkin did not expect 
to take part in a bear hunt at this time of year. In March, 
these animals usually crawled out of their lairs, emaciated 
after their long winter sleep when they did not get any food, 
and only sucked their own front paws. Their fur then hung 
loosely and it was not the right time to shoot them. 

Did you hear the woodgrouse this spring? my father 
asked the superintendent. 

No, I did not , Brunner answered, but Kostuk (a 
nickname for Constantin in Belorussian dialect) of Zaboritza 
told me that there are a number of them in the Black Hill 
forest . 

Fine! and my father ordered a boy servant who 
carried his suitcase to prepare a bath and went to his room. 

At nine o'clock he appeared in the diningroom. He was 
smoothly shaven, fresh and in his usual good humor. Gregory 



118 



Pushkin was already eating his breakfast. Emilia was at 
her usual place at the end of the table. In the presence of 
a guest she and my father greeted each other politely, and 
she inquired about Nussia. 

At the table there was also Alexandra Bogomolec, a 
distant cousin of my father as well as of his wife. She \vas 
a close friend and a constant companion to Emilia. Volodia 
(a nickname for Woldemar), now five years old, was sitting 
with his tutor, and little Adela, on a high chair, was attended 
by her niania. My father's secretary, a young man, stood 
up politely and waited for my father to tell him to sit down. 

After greetings were exchanged, my father sat at his 
usual place. I did not expect to find you here, Gregory , 
he told his friend. 

I did not intend to come to Kolpino, but it was 
rather dull in Michailovskoye. So, here I am! , and Pushkin 
turned with a polite smile to Emilia. Conversation turned 
to the recent tragic events that disturbed everyone in Russia 
at that time. Pushkin wanted to know all possible details 
of the assassination of the Czar that were not reported in 
the newspapers, and kept my father talking, asking him 
many questions, but finally their conversation turned to the 
subject which interested them both to hunting. 

It was agreed that at two o'clock the following morning 
they would start for the Black Hill forest, which was only 
about forty minutes' drive, to shoot woodgrouse. 

After breakfast, which lasted unusually long that 
morning, my father left his guest, and went to his office to 
attent to some important matters. His office as judge occupied 
two large rooms at the end of the house, and his secretary 
was already waiting for him. 

The following morning at two o'clock sharp, Kusma 
brought a light carriage with two horses to the main entrance 
of Kolpino's house. Pushkin and my father, dressed in their 
hunting outfits with high boots, and with their shotguns, 
were ready. Two hunting dogs, an English spaniel named 
Baff and a pointer named Comte, which were permitted to 
stay in the house instead of in the kennels, were very ex 
cited. They saw the preparations and the shotguns carried 
by both men and were anxious to take part in a hunt, 



119 



but to their great disappointment they were not taken along. 

My father and his friend got into the carriage and Kusma 
drove them along the wide road passing the park and family 
cemetery around Kolpino's lake. On the other side of the 
lake the road went through meadows and fields directly 
into a forest. Some clouds were covering the sky, and the 
night was very dark, but the horses knew the road well 
After entering the forest they drove for another mile, when 
Kusma stopped the carriage. 

I believe that we better stop now and I will wait 
for you here , he said. 

My father and Pushkin alighted from the carriage 
and walked into the forest on the left side of the road. It 
was the Black Hill forest that covered this part of the estate, 
spreading out to the shores of Lake Ostrovito, about three 
miles distant. Nearer the lake there were steep hills which 
gave the forest its name, and at this time of the year it 
was a favorite mating place of woodgrouse 

This bird was of the size of a big turkey cock, and 
usually sat high in a tree. Every so often a woodgrouse 
would start to sing. His singing was rather a loud gobble 
intended to scare some possible invisible enemies; then he 
would stop and listen. While the bird was singing, his ears 
closed tightly, and he could not hear anything. It was the 
reason why in Russia woodgrouse were called gloohar , 
i.e., a deaf one . But as soon as the bird stopped singing 
his hearing was excellent. He would hear the faintest sound 
and would fly away, alarmed by any noise made by hunters. 

My father and his friend walked quietly for half a 
mile. Then they stopped and listened. In the distance they 
could hear the gobbling of a woodgrouse. They moved silently 
in the direction of the sound, trying not to make any 
noise. The gobbling was now heard clearly and they had 
to be careful not to alarm the bird. 

They both stopped and wainted for him to start up 
again. Then they ran as fast as they could toward the sound. 
Bushes and lower branches of trees lashed their faces. They 
both made plenty of noise but they did not pay any attention 
to it. They listened only to the bird and as soon as the 
bird stopped singing they stopped abruptly, too. Their 



120 



positions were not comfortable but they were afraid to move, 
They were even afraid to breathe loudly because the bird 
could easily hear the faintest sound. They waited for him 
to start singing again, and again they ran as fast as they 
could... 

After running at intervals and standing still like 
statues, and then running again, they finally arrived at the 
tree on which the bird was sitting. It was pitch dark and 
they could not see him, but he was gobbling directly above 
their heads. Peering into the darkness they finally distinguished 
the outline of a big cock sitting on a branch, and when he 
started gobbling again, Pushkin took careful aim and fired. 
His shot reverberated throughout the forest. The bird stopped 
singing, but he did not fall Obviously it was a miss. But it 
was impossible for Pushkin, who was an expert shot, to 
miss a big bird, shooting a shotgun at such a short distance. 
Both men wondered what happened. They stood there in 
silence for a long time. They heard the bird moving. Finally 
he started gobbling again, and my father stepped from under 
the big tree, took careful aim and fired. This time the cock 
fell to the ground. 

They picked him up, and stood there motionless for 
some time, hoping to hear another woodgrouse singing. Then 
they heard some footsteps, and a man with a gun approached 
a forest guard. He recognized my father and took off 
his cap. 

You, Vasili, were fast catching us today , my father 
told him, smiling. 

I was warned yesterday of your coming, Pan , the 
guard answered, and was on the lookout for you . 

My father told the guard about the first shot that 
evidently was a miss, and pointed out the big branch on 
which the cock had been sitting. In the dim light of early 
dawn, Vasili examined the tree and shook his head. 

If you fired the first shot directly from under the 
tree , he said, turning to Pushkin, your shot evidently 
landed in the branch near the bird it is wide enough . 

But was it possible for the bird not to get frightened 
by my shot? Pushkin wondered. 



121 



He stopped singing, but apparently did not understand 
what had happened. While singing, he could not hear a 
thing*, Vasili answered. Then addressing my father, Let 
us walk about a mile from here. There is a place where we 
will find some more , he said. 

That morning they shot one more woodgrouse. They 
were tired when they came back to their carriage. Vasili put 
both birds in the carriage, and the horses started at a brisk 
trot for home. When they arrived at Kolpino, it was already 
daylight. 

The two men were hungry, and a breakfast was served 
immediately. While they were still drinking their coffee the 
young secretary of my father informed him that two 
policemen had brought a man who was accused of stealing 
horses. 

My father ordered the policemen and their prisoner 
to be given something to eat, and told his secretary that 
in about an hour he would open a court session. 

In the vicinity of Kolpino, there were several large 
villages which belonged to the peasants of the Old Faith 
(Starovery). These peasants belonged formerly to the Crown 
and lived there since the first partition of Poland, when 
Belorussia was annexed by Russia. In the old days, for 
some unknown reason these peasants were called Pan- 
zyrnyie Boyare , or in English, Armored Nobles . They 
did not touch liquor and tobacco, were good farmers, and 
lived better than the rest of the peasants in Belorussia. They 
were fond of horses and many of them owned excellent 
trotters. These horses were not thorough-breds, but many of 
them were of good Orlov stock (Orlov trotters were well 
known throughout Russia). 

In the winter time, when all the numerous lakes of 
Belorussia were covered with solid ice, these peasants used 
to make a racetrack on one of the lakes, a circle about two 
or three miles long. It was interesting to watch their horses 
harnessed to regular sleds, running on this improvised 
racetrack. Their owners made bets, trying to outrun each 
other. For these peasants, their horses were their most 
precious possession. Besides, at that time in Russia, horse 
stealing was considered a very serious crime. 



122 



An hour later, my father, wearing a heavy gold chain 
around his neck (insignia of a judge in Imperial Russia) 
walked into his office which served as a courtroom. The large 
room was crowded with peasants, men and women, who were 
waiting for the beginning of the trial. My father ordered 
the prisoner to be brought in. The two policemen entered 
the room, escorting a small, uncomely, middle-aged peasant 
who looked sullenly at my father. One of his legs was shorter 
than the other, and he was limping badly. 

There was no jury at this trial. There was no prosecutor. 
The man was accused by the owners of the horses that were 
stolen. The accused man had no lawyers to defend him, 
either. It was the simplest form of a trial before a judge, 
who in Russian was called Arbiter of the Peace (Mirovoy 
Posrednik). 

My father questioned both policemen and all witnesses. 
From the testimony of all these people, it appeared that four 
horses had been stolen a week previously from the peasants 
of Old Faith in the vicinity of Kolpino Then the thief, 
or thieves, rode, through the night, over sixty miles to 
Polotsk, to a local fair, evidently with the intention of selling 
them there. Nobody saw the accused man stealing the horses, 
but he was in possession of these horses when he was arrested 
in Polotsk. He was immediately accused of stealing, but 
denied his guilt. His explanation was that a couple of hours 
before his arrest he had bought the horses from some gyp 
sies. 

My father questioned the prisoner and the latter repeated 
his story. There was considerable doubt in the mind of my 
father about the man's guilt. How could this crippled little 
man steal four horses and then ride over sixty miles at 
night? It appeared practically impossible, and yet something 
in the sullen face of this peasant made my father doubt his 
innocence. After considerable consideration, my father 
pronounced him guilty, although not absolutely certain that 
he was right. 

After the verdict was read in court, there was silence 
for a few minutes, and then suddenly the prisoner fell on 
his knees, made the sign of the Cross, looking at the icon 
which was in the comer of the room, and said. 



123 



I admit... I am guilty . 

There was a sigh of relief in the room. Tension was 
broken. My father silently thanked the Lord that he had 
not condemned an innocent man. 

Tell me , he asked the prisoner, how could you 
ride on a horse without a saddle for over sixty miles at 
night and manage four horses? 

Horses know me and I am handy with them. You 
give me any horse, Your Honor, and you will see for 
yourself . 

On the spur of the moment my father challenged the 
man to ride on one of his anglo-arabs which only he himself 
and his coachman Kusma could manage. Everybody left the 
room and went into the courtyard. My father ordered Frou- 
Frou to be brought out, a young, spirited mare. A crowd 
of peasants stood watching; they were thrilled by unexpected 
entertainment. 

Two stable boys brought Frou-Frou out of the stables. 
On both sides of the horse a man was holding a strong rope 
attached to a ring on the bridle. The temperamental mare 
was kicking, prancing, and trying to stand up on her hind 
legs. The horse thief looked at her and there was the 
admiration of a connoisseur in his eyes. 

A beautiful horse! he said. 

He went, limping, straight to the horse. For a brief 
moment he gently stroked her left shoulder, He was too 
short to reach the withers of the horse. Surprisingly, Frou- 
Frou stopped prancing, and looked at the little man from 
the corner of her left eye. 

Let the horse go! the man ordered abruptly. At the 
same time, he jumped slightly, getting hold of the bridle 
with his left hand, and the mane. Without making any 
perceptible effort, he was suddenly sitting on the smooth 
back of the mare, his bare feet touching her sides gently. 

Frou-Frou snorted, leaped into the air, and in no time 
was out of the yard, running at full gallop along the road 
leading toward the Post Station Linetz. She covered the 
distance of half a mile to the bridge in less than a minute. 
Her hoofs made a clattering sound on the wooden boards of 



124 



the bridge. She continued at full gallop up the hill, and in 
a few seconds, Frou-Frou, with the confessed thief on her 
back, disappeared out of sight. 

It all happened so fast that everybody was taken by 
surprise. But when the man and the horse disappeared, my 
father realized in what position he had put himself... he, 
the judge, had given his fastest horse to the condemned man, 
who was under arrest, and had helped him to escape! 

Quick! Get Krassotka out and follow him! he ordered 
the stable boys. Krassotka, A Beautiful One in Russian, 
was another anglo-arabian mare which was almost as fast 
as Frou-Frou. 

But, while the boys ran to the stables and were trying 
frantically to get the second horse out, Frou-Frou with the 
man on her back reappeared, galloping home at the same 
speed. A minute later, Frou-Frou was already in the yard, 
stopping in front of my father. Her rider slid gently to the 
ground, giving the bridle to one of the stable boys. 

A beautiful horse! he said. 



125 



RESIGNATION 
CHAPTER XIII 



My father traveled a great deal, and mostly by horses, 
either in a carriage or sleigh, depending on the time of year. 
He often went to Lutzin, where the sessions of the Council 
of Justices of the Peace periodically took place, and to 
Sebezh, the county seat, a small town of some three thousand 
inhabitants, built on a long and narrow peninsula and 
surrounded on three sides by the waters of a huge lake. He 
went to Qstrov, Opochka, Diinaburg (in Russian, Dvinsk), 
and once in a while he visited Vitebsk, capital of the 
province. 

He was in Nevel, a small town situated on the Highway 
St. Petersburg-Vitebsk, about twenty-five miles south of 
Kolpino, when he received some news that changed his entire 
life. 

He was playing besigue with some neighboring landowners 
in a local club whtn he was informed that a messenger from 
Kolpino had just arrived and wanted to see him. He went 
out to the lobby and recognized one of his stable boys. Otto 
Brunner, the superintendent, had sent the man on horseback 
with a letter to my father. Evidently it was urgent. 

The man produced a letter out of the bottom of his 
cap. My father opened it. At first he could not understand 
what it was all about. Brunner wrote that that morning a 
police officer with a few policemen had arrived at Kolpino 
with a search warrant. They were supposed to look for a 
storage of ammunition. The police officer knew my father and 
knew Brunner very well, and made only a cursory search 



126 



of the house and other buildings of the estate. Of course, 
they did not find any ammunition except a collection of 
shotguns and rifles which my father used for hunting, and 
which the superintendent showed to the police at once. 

The police officer told Brunner confidentially that the 
search was ordered on the basis of secret information the 
authorities had received from a Russian nriest, Odintzov, 
who accused my father of some underground Polish conspiracy. 
Brunner made a promise to the friendly police officer not 
to divulge this information to anyone except my father. 

While reading this letter, my father remembered how, 
a few years previously, he had found t}?e same priest, 
Odintzov, on a road, and had mistaken him for a bear, as 
he was drunk and was walking in the mud of the road on 
all fours. Evidently the priest was still afraid of my father 
and wanted to discredit him. AH this my father could easily 
understand. But he could not understand how the high 
authorities of the province could have given credence to the 
fantastic information they received from the priest and 
order a search of his house! It was incredible and it was 
insulting! My father was furious! 

He gave some money to the stable boy who had brought 
him the message, and told him to eat a good supper, and to 
feed his horse, and then to return to Kolpino, 

Then he called Kusma and ordered him to harness his 
horses. He returned to his hotel which was only a block 
away, packed his suitcase and his necessaire, and in about 
an hour was riding at full speed to the city of Vitebsk. 

He arrived in Vitebsk early in the morning of the 
following day and stopped at the Kushliss Hotel on Zamkovaya 
Street, He washed, shaved, changed his clothes and had his 
breakfast, then called a droshky to drive him to the Governor's 
house. 

The Governor had several secretaries. One of them 
received my father and asked him to wait in the reception 
room. At this early hour he was in the room alone. He 
waited for more than an hour, until the same secretary 
walked in and conducted him to the Governor's office. 

The Governor had been recently appointed, *nd my 
father had had no opportunity to meet him before this. He 



127 



was a man in his fifties, and there was nothing in his 
appearance to distinguish him from the average Russian 
civil employee of that period. However, he was a member 
of an old Russian princely family, and the insignias on his 
uniform frock-coat showed that he had a civil rank which 
corresponded to the rank of a general in the army. 

The Governor rose from his seat behind his desk and 
shook hands with my father. My father introduced himself, 
and the Governor asked him to sit down. He then told the 
Governor about the search of Kolpino's house and expressed 
strong resentment and indignation at this act. The Governor 
listened at tentatively, and when my father was finished, said r 
not looking at my father, but turning his head to the window: 

Well, my dear Baron, do not get excited. After all, 
you are Polish. Through your late mother you are related 
to some prominent Polish families, I was told that you speak 
Polish better than Russian and you certainly have sympathies 
for the Polish people... . 

Yes, Your Excellency , my father interrupted, I have 
sympathies for the Polish people, but it is quite far from 
not being loyal to the Czar , 

* The information we received , continued the Governor, 
was from the most reliable source. Besides, you know that 
the government nowadays looks with a frown on anyone 
who is not one hundred percent Russian, who does not belong 
to our Orthodox Russian Church, and who has sympathies 
for the people who were recently in revolt against the Czar! 

c And my position of a judge does not jniarantee against 
being suspected of some fantastic conspiracy? my father 
asked with an ironical smile. 

Well, IKK Not necessarily. In spite of being a judge 
you can be, and you are, more Polish than Russian. All 
your friends and relatives are Polish, too . 

My father did not argue. 

Jn that case, Prince, I had better resign. If I cannot 
be trusted, I do not see how I will be able to fulfill my 
duties as a judge . My father stood up. 

* It is entirely up to you , the Governon answered, 
and the tone of his voice was not friendly. He got up from 
his chair. 



128 



My father bowed and left the room. He felt that if 
their discussion continued, he could have told the Governor 
many very unpleasant facts. 

My father returned to his hotel and after lunch, Kusma 
drove him home. This time there was no hurry, and the 
horses were running at an easy trot. 

Riding along the familiar highway, my father had time 
to think over the events of the last twenty-four hours. He 
was not excited any more, and could calmly appraise the 
situation. 

He realized that the Governor followed the recent trend 
established by the new Czar Russian nationality, Russian 
language, Russian Orthodox Church, and the Czar himself 
always dressed in a military uniform decidedly Russian in 
style. His uniform frock-coat resembled a peasant's caftan, 
wide trousers of a Russian post-coachman shoved into high 
boots of very soft leather which folded in like an accordian. 
Consequently, the high boots were actually low boots. These 
kinds of boots were worn by Russian peasants on Sundav 
and by merchants of the second and third guild. 

But, besides his obvious desire to follow this new trend, 
the Governor was well-informed and quite antagonistic to my 
father. It appeared certain that my father had more enemies 
than one local priest. Evidentlv the secret denunciation of the 
priest served only as a signal for an all-out attack on him. 

My father asked himself who these enemies were, and 
he realized that actually he had only a very few friends. The 
great majority of men of his own class were very critical 
of him and very antagonistic for an obvious reason his 
popularity among women. 

Tall, well-built, this red-haired giant was an excellent 
dancer. He was gay and witty. He was clever and indep?ndent 
in his opinions, and did not permit anyone to step on his 
toes. He was an expert shot and a master of fencing. He 
was not afraid of any adversary. 

There was some gossip about his challenging men to 
a duel. In two cases, men preferred to apologize, and in 
one case a man missed and when it was my father's turn to 
shoot, the man fainted. It was said that my father shot in 
the air instead of at the man and turned his back on him. 



129 



Very few women could resist his charm, and husbands, 
lovers and relatives hated to watch how, in eager rivarly, 
their women were surrounding my father for attention, 

Any one of these men could have spoken to the Governor 
against him. There were too many of them. 

My father was spoiled, but he was not conceited. He 
under-estimated the impression he made on strangers. He 
was not arrogant and was not trying to impose his will and 
his opinion on others. Only stupidity could arouse his ire. 
Being strong and healthy, he was usually in a good humor, 
ready to have a good laugh. He underestimated the hatred 
which some men felt towards him. He did not anticipate the 
events of the last couple of days and was taken completely 
by surprise. 

He arrived at Kolpino late at night snd immediately 
went to his rooms. His healthy organism required a good 
rest and sleep The horses were tired, too, and Kusma was 
muttering something unpleasant to himself when he led the 
horsese into the stables. 

The following morning, fresh and in his usual good 
humor, my father made Brunner repeat to him the events 
and conversations of the preceding day. He laughed when the 
superintendent described to him how the policemen were 
trying to find arms in the haylofts, going from one barn 
to another. At Kolpino, there were eight big barns filled 
with hay. 

Discussing Odintzov's secret denunciation, my father 
shrugged his shoulders. 

No good deed remains unpunished , he said, if my 
deed could be called a good one, which I doubt* I was sorry 
for the fellow and his wife, and promised not to denounce 
him to the authorities, which I should have done. And you 
see the results . 

The country road which crossed Kolpino from one end 
to another went around the park, but the road that led 
between the buildings of the estate was shorter by about 
a mile, and Odintzov usually took this short-cut. My father 
gave the strictest orders not to permit the priest to take 
this road any more. 



130 



I simply do not want to see his face again *, my 
father said, and the subject was closed. 

In a few days my father submitted his resignation. It 
did not take long for the fact of his resignation to become 
known in his district. Many people came to him every day, 
mostly peasants and Jews, trying to persuade him to retract 
his resignation. But my father was a very proud man, and 
he flatly refused to reconsider his decision. 

A few months later, the population of his judicial 
district presented a petition to the Czar to bestow on him 
an insigna established by the Czar Alexander II for the Justices 
of the Peace. This insignia was given only at the request of 
a grateful population. This petition was granted, and il was 
the only decoration which my father wore in the button-hole 
of his full dress for the rest of his life. 



131 



THE LEAGUE OF THREE EMPERORS 
CHAPTER XIV 



After his resignation, my father had plenty of free time. 
Travelling from one estate to another and amending different 
social gatherings, as well as hunting, could not occupy all 
of his time and fill his life with serious interest. 

If my father were happily married, he would possibly 
have settled down in Kolpino, devoting all of his time to his 
family and to the management of the estate But, since his 
married life was far from being a happy one he began to 
look for something that would be of real interest to him. 

He was a connoisseur of horses and an admirer of the 
Arabian and English thoroughbreds. He could make a perfect 
drawing of a horse, trotting, galloping or standing still, not 
starting his drawing with the head, but with a hoof on any 
of her legs. He knew every bone, every muscle in a horse's 
body, and looking at a horse, he could tell its capacity for 
running, jumping, or pulling a heavy load. And, he decided 
to start a stud farm at Kolpino, breeding especially Anglo- 
Arabs for chase hunting and some trotters for carriages. 

A couple of Anglo-Arabian mares which he kept at that 
time were not sufficient for a stud farm. He needed a dozen 
or more good mares and a couple of stallions It was necessary 
to enlarge Kolpino's stables; he needed professional trainers 
and many other things. For this kind of enterprise, he needed 
working capital, and he decided to sell Zabelja. 

This estate, as well as Reblio, was rented. My father 
knew only too well that without personal supervision of the 
owner, any superintendent, even the most honest one, could 



132 



become a thief. The sale of Zabelja did not represent a 
problem. My father found ready buyers and the estate was 
sold. 

If my father had only known that about twenty-five 
years later two railroads would be built, one from St. 
Petersburg to Vitebsk, and another from Moscow to Windava, 
a port on the Baltic Sea and the crossing point of these 
two railroads happened to be only about twenty miles from 
Zabelja! At this crossing point a station, Novosokolniki, was 
built, and this station became an important railroad junction. 
If he had only waited twenty years, he could have sold Zabelja 
at a price some twenty times higher! But he could not possibly 
foresee that fast development and progress of European 
Russia in the next few decades... and Zabelja was sold. 

My father went to Berszada. His cousin, Mieczyslaw, 
the oldest son of Stanislaw Juriewicz, was dead. The owner 
of Berszada was Mieczyslaw's son, Fryderyk. He sold my 
father some excellent mares and two stallions, every horse 
with a pedigree certificate. The stables in Kolpino were 
enlarged, a race track was made, an expert trainer was 
engaged, and my father received official authorization to 
maintain a regular stud farm in Kolpino. 

Within a few years, all available fields in Kolpino were 
seeded either with oats or clover. At that time, the price 
of lumber was very low because Kolpino was too far from 
any river or railroad, and the transportation of lumber was 
much too costly; consequently, the estate was not bringing 
in any income. 

To this it is necessary to add my father's losses in 
card games. He was a very good player, and an excellent 
companion at card tables. One never knew whether he was 
winning or losing. He always remained the same pleasant 
and jovial. Some years later he used to tel 1 me that in the 
long run only the clubs and the cheats win. He wanted 
me to remember this truth which he learned the hard way 
himself. 

The sale of horses could not possiblv cover all the 
expenses. Evidently this enterprise required a much bigger 
working capital and many years to promote and to establish 
the name. My father sold excellent horses, but he could not 



133 



get as high prices as the old, well-established stud farms 
were getting for their steeds. The losses were increasing, 
and in a few years, Reblio was sold, too A few years 
later the stud farm at Kolpino was liquidated. 

However, while it lasted, Kolpino was a very lively and 
interesting place. One could watch how beautiful, young, 
prancing horses were broken to carry saddles. A few weeks 
later, the same horses were trotting at the measured tempo 
of a cavalry horse, making voltes , i.e., turning around 
on a very small space, so that the whole body of the horse 
could get accustomed to bending at only the touch of a 
rein to its neck. A couple of months later, they were racing 
and jumping over the barriers. 

Other horses were trained to be harnessed first in a 
cabriolet, then in a two-horse carriage. These horses trotted 
around the track. There were all sorts of carriages, harnesses 
and saddles used, the equipment chiefly English. 

At one of the bear hunts, my father shot a mother 
bear and picked up her cub which he brought to Kolpino. 
It happened to be a female cub which was nursed from a 
milk bottle. The cub was named Mashka. Little Mashka was 
very cute, She usually followed the coachman, Kusma, and 
knew every horse in the stables. When Mashka grew up, she 
was put on a chain attached to a strong pole in front 
of the entrance to the stables. The chain was long enough 
to permit Mashka to greet every horse as it emerged from 
the entrance. Usually, Mashka walked on her hind legs, 
affectionately embracing the neck of a horse with her 
paw, and following the horse as far as the chain permitted. 

One day my father got the idea to take Mashka for 
a ride. He put her on the left side in a cabriolet and sat 
himself in the driver's seat on the right. Mashka sat quietly. 
Her whole attention was concerntrated on the left wheel of 
the cabriolet, which she was trying to catch with her paw. 
Everything was fine for a couple of miles until they met a 
peasant in his wagon on the road. As soon as the peasant's 
horse smelled the bear, she turned over the wagon, dragged 
it f o^ a distance until it broke, tore the harness, and galloped 
home. In this upheaval, the peasant was hurt, and my father 
had to pay him for all the damages, and for his medical 



134 



treatment, as well as reimbursing him for time lost while 
recuperating. It happened to be a good round sum, and since 
that time Mashka stayed home, securely attached to her 
chain in front of the stables. 

My father was away on a trip when a very unfortunate 
accident completely changed the entire life of his son, my 
half-brother, Volodia. At that time, Volodia was thirteen 
years old. He had a tutor who was preparing him for 
examinations at a military academy which Volodia was 
supposed to enter in the fall of the same year. 

In his spare time, Volodia liked to follow Otto Brunner, 
the superintendent. It was interesting for him to watch how 
the superintendent handled the management of the estate, 
his dealings with the peasants, and how he dispersed orders 
to workmen. Otto Brunner was recently discharged from 
the army after three years of service. Compulsory military 
service for all classes of the population was introduced in 
Russia in 1874. 

It happened in the office of the estate. The office was 
a large room, and a couple of peasants were present at the 
time. My brother took a shotgun which was hanging on the 
wall, and which belonged to Brunner, and asked him if the 
gun was loaded, Brunner assured him that the gun was 
not loaded, and Volodia started the regular army manual 
of arms with the gun, while Brunner gave him the necessary 
instructions. Finally, Volodia aimed the gun at the closed 
entrance door. Brunner stood about six feet away on his 
right- Brunner commanded Fire! and Volodia pressed the 
trigger. 

At that very moment the entrance door half opened and 
in the opening the head of a Jew appeared. The gun fired 
and the unfortunate Jew fell, fatally wounded. Otto Brunner 
also fell he had been killed, too. 

The gun happened to be loaded with large size buckshot 
for wolves and some of the buckshot ricocheted from the 
half-opened door and struck the superintendent. 

It is difficult to describe the effect this double killing 
had on Volodia. I was told that he was simply stunned. 
Later on he cried hysterically 



135 



The authorities were immediately notified. A carriage 
was sent for a doctor. My father was notified. It was a 
terrific blow for Emilia, who adored her son. An official 
investigation proved conclusively that my brother was 
innocent. The gun belonged to the superintendent and he 
had assured Volodia that it was not loaded, and he himself 
had ordered the gun fired. Therefore, there was no trial. 

However, this accident had a profound effect on my 
brother. For a long time he could not sleep without strong 
sedatives. He woke at night screaming wildly, and in an 
excitable state. On the advice of a doctor, his studies were 
interrupted and he, with his tutor, was sent on a trip. 

In the fall he entered high school in Smolensk. My 
father arranged for him to live in the apartment of the 
assistant superintendent of the school. My father donated a 
large sum of money to the family of the Jew killed in 
the accident. Otto Brunner was not married and both his 
parents were dead. However, my father wrote to his broth 
er, Peter Brunner, who was graduated from the same agri 
cultural school in Riga, and offered him his late brother's 
post as Kolpino's superintendent. Peter Brunner agreed, and 
a couple of months later arrived in Kolpino and moved into 
the same quarters where his brother had lived. 

After Volodia moved to Smolensk, he became very 
unfriendly to our father. Within a couple of years, without 
our father's knowledge, but with the approval of his mother 
who supplied him with extra money as he needed it, Volodia 
moved out of the assistant superintendent's apartment and 
rented a room of his own. He frequented the company of a 
group of Russian intellectuals older than himself, who were 
known for their radical, even socialistic, tendencies. 

At that time, the Russian government paid very little 
attention to the physical education of scholars. Young boys, 
not to mention giris, were not interested in any sport, and 
were supposed to devote all their time to studies. Volodia 
read Hegel, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, but above all, he 
studied Karl Marx, and became an ardent socialist. A family 
of Sheverdin-Maximov, well known among Russian socialists, 
had a special influence on his way of thinking. This family 
consisted of two brothers, university students at that time, 

136 



and their sister Luba, who suffered from tuberculosis. 
Unfortunately, Volodia fell in love with this sickly girl. 

After Volodia's graduation from high school in Smolensk, 
my father intended to send him to a poly technical college in 
Riga, but Volodia refused flatly to follow his father's advice. 
Instead, he went to Berlin University to study chemistry. 
My father was paying for his tuition, giving him a monthly 
allowance, and it was quite a blow for my father when a 
man who was a member of the Russian Secret Service 
informed him that his son was a member of a revolutionary 
socialist party! 

My father lived through another great sorrow when his 
daughter Adela died of galloping consumption at the age 
of sixteen. Adela loved skating, and one very cold day while 
skating, contracted a severe cold. In a week her cold turned 
into galloping consumption, and in about three weeks Adela 
was dead. 

Adela had an old cat, her favorite, which usually slept 
at the foot of her bed. It was found later that the cat had 
tuberculosis and poor Emilia was convinced that it was this 
cat that passed the disease to her daughter- Adela was buried 
in the family vault at Kolpino. 

In the meantime, Nussia, graduated from Smolny, 
returned home to Kolpino. Approximately at the time of the 
death of her half-sister, Nussia confessed to my father that 
she was in love with a man and intended to marry him. 

Nussia was always very close to my father, and he 
asked her anxiously who the man was. He happened to be 
Vasili von Hocken, former officer of the 19th Dragoon Re 
giment of Archangelogorodsk, who was stationed in the 
Government Excise Office in Velikie Luki. Vasili von Hacken 
had a reputation as a bretteur * and a gambler, who spent 
his nights either in gambling establishments or houses of ill 
repute. A story was told that while he was still an officer, 
he fought a duel with another officer of the same regiment, 
They drew lots to see who was to commit suicide; Vasili 
von Hacken drew the fatal lot. He shot himself through the 
heart. He was between life and death for six months, but 
lived. He was forced to resign from his regiment and got 
a position in the Government Excise Office. His old mother 



137 - 



was still living on their small estate in the Province ot 
Voronesh, And now my sister wanted to marry this man, 
about twelve years her senior. 

My father was shocked. His lovely daughter, so young 
and so unsophisticated, was to marry this gambler! Oh, no! 
He was ready to protest and to forbid Nussia this marriage. 

He took Nussia in his arms, kissed her, carassed her 
silky hair, and tried to dissuade her, but all his arguments 
were in vain. Nussia was in love, and was determined to 
marry the man of her choice. 

My father talked to her for hours with no results. 
Finally, he asked her to wait at least one month before 
announcing her engagement. During this month, Nussia 
promised earnestly to try to reconsider her decision. 

A month later, she told my father that she was no 
longer in doubt about her feelings and that her decision to 
marry Vasili von Hacken was irrevocable. My father was 
forced to agree, and her engagement, was announced 
Immediately, Nussia with her step-mother Emilia, busied 
themselves preparing her trousseau, and my father selected 
horses, harnesses, and carriages to give to his daughter as 
a dowry. Besides, he deposited in Nussia's name a certain 
sum of money, warning her not to pass all this money at 
once to her husband. Nussia promised, and was married. 
The newlyweds rented an apartment in Velikie Luki, a town 
of the Province of Pskov. 

In these last ten years, my father had become quite 
tolerant and understanding. He was approaching his fifties, 
the best years of his life were gone, and he realized that 
he had accomplished very little, practically nothing. It was 
a very alarming thought.., 

His career as a judge, after a brilliant start, had ended 
abruptly with his resignation. He could not blame himself 
for such a sad ending, but the fact remained this phase 
of his activities had come to an end. In 1890, Czar Alexander 
III abolished Justices of the Peace (Arbiters), freely elected 
by the population, and replaced them with Land Captains 
(Zemskiye Nachalniki), petty officials appointed by Gov- 
eoors. This act gave my father a certain satisfaction and 
consolation his career as a judge would have ended in 



138 



any event, even if he had not presented his resignation a few 
days after his house had been searched by the police. 

His married life was becoming unbearable. He and 
Emilia were two strangers living in the same house, and 
constantly on each other's nerves. 

His son? He hated to think of this boy who was so 
unfriendly to him. And now this boy was a socialist! He 
belonged to a group of people whom my father despised. 

His daughters? One of them was dead, and the other 
was married to a man of whom he did not approve. He 
was very much afraid that Nussia would be unhappy in 
her marriage. 

Financially, as a businessman, my father was a failure, 
and he realized it. He had inherited three estates, and now 
only one was left. His venture with the stud farm had 
disastrous results- 

Besides, times had changed, and my father had a strong 
resentment toward the Slavophil policies of the government. 
The Slavophils were trying to strengthen the peasant com 
munes. Under their influence, the government passed a law 
authorizing any peasant commune, at a general meeting of 
its members, to pass a resolution that undesirable members 
of the commune were to be deported to Siberia, and this 
resolution was carried out by the police! 

Of course, the poor mujiks were not free! Their former 
masters were at least educated men, but now they depended 
upon the whim of a mob that could be, and actually was, 
very cruel to its own members. Commune decisions were 
prompted by envy and personal dislike, And who suffered, 
mostly? The best workmen, the thrifty ones, those who 
succeeded in becoming more prosperous than their neighbors. 
They were called kulacks t or, in Russian, fists >. 

My father knew the psychology and the nature of the 
Russian peasants. They were ignorant and cruel. They were 
lax and lazy and envious of each other, and of the neighboring 
landowner, but at heart, all were capitalists! 

Russian peasants were often cruel to animals. Squirrels 
were shot mercilessly with slings for the sheer pleasure of 
killing. Rocks were thrown at dogs and cats; consequently 

139 



village dogs were vicious. Peasants beat their children while 
making them work hard. A little girl of eleven or twelve 
was often compelled to draw and carry heavy buckets of 
water, and to stand barefoot, in the winter, on the ice which 
usually covered the ground around a well. They did not care 
if the girl died. One mouth less to feed , they said. Husbands 
beat their wives. There was a saying in Russian, If a man 
did not beat his wife, he did not love her . 

It was no pleasure to travel on country roads on 
Sunday because every Sunday, as a rule, most peasants were 
drunk. They shouted wildly, using vile language, and quite 
often their brawls led to fights. 

Their religion was based on superstition and fear, but, 
in general, peasants hated their priests. To meet a priest on 
a road was considered a bad omen. In the fall, when a Rus 
sian priest would go in his wagon through his parish from 
village to village, trying to collect donations for himself and 
for his church, the peasants would hide their grain, hogs, 
poultry, and anything of value from the greedy eyes of 
their spiritual father- A priest usually retaliated by refusing 
to baptize and to perform funeral services in a family of a 
peasant whose donations, in the opinion of the priest, were 
too meager. 

During the reign of Czar Alexander III (1881-1894) the 
discontent of the peasants was growing, but the foreign policy 
of the government was still worse. This policy was disastrous 
for the Russian Empire. 

In 1871, at the end of the Franco-Prussian War, there 
was an outbreak of Communism in Paris which was sup 
posed by the Prussian troops. The first translation into Rus 
sian of Das Kapital by Karl Marx appeared a few years 
prior to that, and between 1864 and 1914, some 500,000 
copies of Marx's works were sold in Russia (1). 

Already in the second half of the XIX century the 
Sovereigns of Europe were aware of the danger of the 
Communist doctrine. In 1872, three emperors Czar 



(1) As stated in 1839 in the official publication of the Soviet 
Government Kanizhnaya Letopis*. 

Mote of the Author. 



140 



Alexander II of Russia, Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany and 
Emperor Franz-Josef of Austria-Hungary, met in Berlin and 
concluded the so-called Three Emperors' League , Their 
agreement provided a mutual guaranty of the territories of 
their empires, a common action against possible revolutions 
and mutual consultation on the Balkan Question . 

As long as this League existed, European peace was 
assured. No power could dare to challenge these three empires! 

The alliance had become inoperative at the time of the 
Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, but in 1881 it was revived. 
This tripartite alliance was not an aggressive one- It provided 
that if one of the signatories were to become engaged in war 
with a fourth power, the other two would maintain a 
friendly neutrality. It was an ideal political set-up to maintain 
peace, and to guarantee all three empires against any possible 
revolution or Communist outbreaks. But, unfortunately, Rus 
sian Slavophils advanced a theory of Pan-Slavism. 

They argued that the greatest Slavonic country of all, 
Russia, had a sacred mission to fight the infidel Turks, 
and to free her oppressed little brothers ( Bratoushki 
in Russian), uniting them all under the sceptre of the Rus 
sian Czar. 

Actually, this ultra-nationalistic Slavonic movement was 
supported by only a small group of Russian intellectuals, but 
the masses of Russian people remained completely indifferent. 
As a matter of fact, they had not the slightest idea what it 
was all about, and cared even less. 

In the Russo-Turkish War of 1877 - 1878, the siege of 
Plevna alone cost the Russian army more than 250,000 men 
killed! The people mourned their dead, and the Russian 
soldiers, having a decided sympathy for the Turks, could 
not understand why they had to fight for the liberation of 
little brothers who remained completely foreign to them! 

If the dreams of Slavophils and Pan-Slavists were 
realized, and Russia had succeeded in acquiring new terri 
tories populated by Slavonic nations, it would have brought 
Russia nothing but trouble. The shining example was Poland. 
The first Polish uprising took place in 1831, and the second 
in 1863. These uprisings took place only in the Russian part 
of Poland; the Poles in Austria and Germany remained calm. 



141 



Furthermore, the second Polish uprising attracted the 
attention of all European power and provided them with a 
pretext to interfere in Russian internal affairs- Only by a 
brilliant move of dispatching the Russian fleet to the North 
American harbors, Czar Alexander IT changed his position 
from a defensive one to an offensive one, and averted a pos 
sible conflict. 

Russian Slavophils did not know the real nature of the 
Slavonic nations in the Balkans, or those who were subjects 
of the Austro-Hungarian empire. These nations were accusto 
med to the European way of life, and Russia remained 
actually, foreign to them all. When, after the First World 
War, Croatia and Slavonia were finally liberated from the 
Austria yoke , and were united with independent Serbia 
in one Slavonic kingdom, Croats were so dissatisfied with 
this arrangement that they assassinated Serbian King Alexander 
Karageorgevich in 1934, when he was riding with Barthou, a 
French Minister, through the streets of Marseilles in France. 

Fortunately, Czar Alexander II and Prince Gorchakoff, 
his Minister of Foreign Affairs, were not Slavophils, but Czar 
Alexander III was an ardent follower of this movement and 
considered Bulgaria as a vassal-province of Russia. He expected 
Prince Alexander von Battenberg to follow his directives. 

In 1885, without Russia's approval, Prince Alexander 
von Battenberg carried out a coup d'etat and effected the 
union of the Province of Rumelia with Bulgaria. Czar 
Alexander III was furious. Against the advice of Nicholas 
Giers, his Minister of Foreign Affairs who succeeded Prince 
Gorchakoff in 1882, the Czar supported a revolution in 
Bulgaria. The Prince (2) was forced to leave the country, 
but, surprisingly, ungrateful Bulgarians were reluctant to 
subordinate their policy to Russian whims, and elected as 
their new ruler Prince Ferdinand von Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. 
Prince Ferdinand certainly was not pro-Russian- 

The results of these elections were attributed by the 
Russian government to some undesirable Austrian influence, 



(2) Prince Alexander of Battenberg was a first cousin of Czar 
Alexander HI. 

Note of the Author. 

142 



and in I887 f when the Three Emperors' League was to be 
renewed for another three years, Russia backed out, and the 
League ceased to exist. 

Bismarck, Grand Chancellor of Germany, concluded an 
alliance with Austria, which Italy joined in 1891 (the Triple 
Alliance). However, Bismarck tried to salvage the Three 
Emperors' League and concluded a re-insurance treaty 
with Russia for three years, both countries pledging to 
remain friendly-neutral in case of an attack on one of them 
by a third power. 

In 1890, Bismarck retired and in his place Kaiser 
Wilhelm II appointed Count Caprivi, who was trying at that 
time to get on the good side of Great Britain, and the re 
insurance treaty with Russia was not renewed. 

Nicholas Giers continued to advocate friendship with 
Germany, but Czar Alexander III regarded his Minister of 
Foreign Affairs merely as his chief clerk in the Foreign 
Office, and hastened to accept French overtures (3). 

After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, France was 
actually at the mercy of Germany, and consequently was 
seeking a friendly argreement with Russia. In July, 1891, 
a French naval squadron was received at Kronstadt, a 
fortress which protected the Russian capital from the sea, 
and the Russian empire concluded an alliance with the 
French Republic ( The Entente Cordiale ) 

In the elation over this achievement, the government 
of the Republic named a bridge in Paris in honor of the 
Russian Autocrat * Pont Alexandra III , and in Russia, 
where the Marseillaise, a song of revolution, was strictly 
forbidden, at the wish of the Czar it was permitted to play 
the Marseillaise, but not to sing it. 

The setting for World War I was taking definite shape 
and Europe was rapidly approaching a catastrophe. 

(3) The wife of Czar Alexander III, Empress Maria Fedorovna, 
formerly Princess Dagmar of Denmark, hated Germans. In 1864, 
Prussia forced Denmark to give up Schleswig-Holstein, and this 
principality was annexed by Prussia. There was no question that 
the former Danish princess exercised a considerable influence 
over her husband and to a great degree was responsible for the 
creation of the Franco-Russian alliance- 



Note of the Author. 



143 



GOVERNOR - GENERAL OF FINLAND 
CHAPTER XV 



Nussia's friend, Vera Rokassowsky, was graduated 
from Si. Petersburg Conservatory at approximately the same 
time that Nussia was graduated from Smolny. Vera was in 
the class of Composition, where mostly future conductors 
and band leaders were studying. 

Many regiments had their own orchestras, and the 
orchestra of Preobrajensky Regiment was one of the best. 
All famous musicians were sent there when they were 
inducted into the Army. Every regiment sent to St. Petersburg 
Conservatory a notice of a vacancy for a conductor, and the 
Conservatory's staff sorted out these vacancies among the 
students of the graduating class. 

At that time the President of the Conservatory was 
Anton Rubinstein, a well-known composer who organized in 
St. Petersburg another opera theater which was called 
Musical Drama . The acoustics in a new theater were 
better than in Mariynsky. Twice a week, Anton Rubinstein 
lectured on the theory of composition, and Vera attended 
his lectures with special interest. 

The presence of a girl whose family was prominent 
in St- Petersburg society in the class of composition was 
quite unusual, The other students, mostly men, did not 
bother Vera with questions, but her social friends joked 
about it, and since Vera could not make a career of a 
regiment's conductor, they insisted that Vera expected to 
become a famous composer. 



144 



Vera withstood the teasing stoically and quietly 
explained to her friends that her health did not permit her 
to exercise on a piano for more than three hours a day. It 
was sufficient for a student of the composition class, while 
the future pianists had to exercise on a piano eight hours 
a day, and even longer. 

Vera was very happy when she received her graduation 
certificate. All jokes about her career as a composer were 
to stop now, but shortly after her graduation her life was 
marred by a deep sorrow. Her governess, Miss Davenhill, 
who was closer to her than her own mother, died at the 
age of eighty-two, leaving all her savings to Vera's brother, 
Alexander, her favorite. 

As a young girl, Miss Davenhill became a governess 
in the family of Furst zu Waldeck and Pyrmont, and stayed 
with this family for many years. She came to Russia in 
1836, at the time the first child was born to Vera's parents. 
Vera's father was the Chief of Staff of Count Alexander 
Perovsky, Governor-General of Orenburg. 

Miss Davenhill stayed with the Rokassowsky family 
during the years in which Vera's brothers and sisters grew 
up, and married. By the time Vera, the youngest, grew up, 
Miss Davenhill had become a member of the family and 
had no desire to return to England. And now she had died, 
and Vera felt a terrible loneliness. Her mother, the dowager 
Baroness Rokassowsky, continued to live in St Petersburg 
in the same apartment on Fontanks. The principal interest 
in the life of the old Baroness was still her daily card game 
with some of her friends who were of the same age, such 
as the Prince of Mingrelia, Baron Tiesenhausen, and her 
distant relative, Baroness von Alfthan. 

Life in St. Petersburg usually started late. Banks 
opened at ten o'clock, the government offices opened at 
eleven, but the high officials did not appear in their offices 
before one or two o'clock in the afternoon. Women of 
society would arise even later, and were not ready to go 
out before five o'clock in the afternoon. Evening parties 
lasted practically all night through. An invitation for sup 
per meant that the guests were not to arrive before two 
o'clock in the morning, If the guests arrived earlier, they 



145 



would find that their host and hostess were still at the 
theater. 

There was a logical explanation for this. St. Petersburg 
was so far north that in the winter it was still dark at 
eight o'clock in the morning. All streets were lighted until 
almost eleven o'clock. The day was very short, and streets 
were usually lighted again at half-past two or three o'clock 
in the afternoon. Nobody liked to get up in the dark. 
Consequently, in St. Petersburg everything was later than 
usual; dinner was served at eight, or later, and supper at 
two or three in the morning, or even later. Therefore, it 
was not surprising that the old Baroness Rokassowsky and 
her friends played cards until six or seven o'clock in the 
morning practically every day. A supper was served them 
between three and four o'clock in the morning, and the 
Baroness insisted that her daughter Vera play the hostess's 
role. 

While Miss Davenhill was alive, she replaced Vera quite 
often, and Vera could go to bed at a reasonable hour, but 
when Miss Davenhill died there was no one to replace Vera, 
and she felt extremely tired when she arose in the morning. 
She was getting up early because she did not want to 
spend her days in bed. She tried to speak to her mother 
but the old Baroness was very dictatorial and did not want 
to listen to her arguments. Finally, Vera revolted against 
this life with her domineering mother (and two Boulognese 
dogs) and announced that she was going to the country. 

By that time the Rokassowsky family estates were 
divided among Vera's brothers, and she had no intention of 
imposing on them and their families for any length of time. 
There was one estate which, after the death of her busband, 
the Baroness had kept for herself as her share as a widow. 
It was Komchanskaia Rudnia , in the province of Mogilev. 
It consisted of twelve and a half thousand acres of centuries- 
old forest. Unfortunately, there was no suitable house to 
live in. 

Vera rented a house on the estate Puchkovo which 
was situated only about five miles north of the town of 
Nevel, and which belonged to Nicholas Shishko. Mr. Shishko 
had an administrative position in the Department of Imperial 



146 



Theaters in St. Petersburg, and was glad to rent the house 
of Puchkovo to Vera whose family he knew well This 
house stood only about a quarter of a mile from the St. 
Petersburg-Vitebsk highway and was surrounded by other 
buildings of the estate. Vera could keep her own horses 
and a carriage there, and besides her own servants, other 
people lived nearby. It actually was not some remote place 
and she did not need to be afraid living alone there. 

In the spring of 1891, Vera moved to Puchkovo. At that 
time she was already thirty-seven years old by Russian 
standards, an old spinster. 

As an unmarried woman, she could not very well 

entertain the neighboring landowners, and was forced to 

live a most secluded life. Physically she was frail, and 
was continuously under a doctor's care. 

My father called on her one day at the request of 
Nussia, who wanted to have news from her old friend, and 
was surprised to find her so thin and pale. She was 
certainly not well at all, and my father was sorry for her. 

A few months later, my father happened to be in Nevel 
again, and on his way back to Kolpino he stopped to see 
Vera. He was informed by a maid that Vera was sick in bed, 
and could not receive him. 

Many months passed before my father visited Puchkovo 
again; this time he found Vera sitting in a big chair in front 
of a fireplace in the livingroom. A heavy woolen shawl 
covered her shoulders, and she appeared weak. She was 
slowly recovering from pneumonia Doctor Talavrinoff, 
whom my father knew well, was there, too. My father did 
not stay long, and left the house together with the doctor who 
told him confidentially that Vera had been seriously ill and 
that for some time he had not expected her to live. 

My father wondered why Vera was always so lonely; 
he wondered about her brothers and sisters and found out 
that her oldest sister Elisabeth was a widow and was living 
with her daughter in Switzerland. Another sister, Olga, was 
married, and lived with her husband in Peterhof, near St. 
Petersburg. Her broth e r Alexander was somewhere in Europe, 
and her brother Vladimir was Vice-Governor of the Pro- 



147 



vince of Pensa, quite a distance from Nevel. Only her 
youngest brother Alexis liv*d on the estate Duhokrai near 
Vitebsk. My father knew him slightly. He was a thoughtless 
fellow, a former officer of a Hussar regiment, married now 
but well known for his drinking bouts. The income he 
received from the estate of some fifteen thousand acres 
was nut sufficient to cover his reckless spending. He 
mortgaged Dubokrai and continued to borrow money from 
Jewish lenders. He was in serious financial difficulties. 

And here was Vera f so reserved, so decent and so lonely! 

Vera's father, Platon Rokassowsky, born in 1800 in 
Riga, made a brilliant military career. Although only twelve 
years old, at the time of Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 
1 812, he was already commissioned an officer (ensign). He 
took part in the Russo-Turkish War of 1829, in the capture 
of Adrianopol and later in the wars in Caucasus where he 
received the dagger of St. George with the inscription For 
bravery . 

At the age of thirty-six, he was already a Major- 
General and the Chief of Staff of the Governor-General oi 
Orenburg. In 1840, he took part in the campaign of Count 
Perovsky in Central Asia- For this campaign he received the 
Cross of St. George, the highest Russian decoration for 
bravery on the field of battle. And it was in Orenburg that 
he met Miss Alexandra Kuzminsky, his future wife. 

Miss Kuzminsky was a daughter of an unknown Colonel 
Vasili Kuzminsky of lesser gentry who was stationed in 
Orenburg. Her mother was Elisabeth Kamayev of a Tatar 
family, born in Siberia. Numerous oil paintings and portraits 
depicted Miss Kuzminsky as a very beautiful girl. 

They were married in 1835, and the following year 
their first son was born. Platon Rokassowsky immediately 
engaged an English and a French governess for his son. The 
young mother, who was fourteen years younger than her 
husband, started to study French with the French governess. 
In Russia at that time it was considered a disgrace not to 
speak French fluently. The marriage of Platon Rokassowsky 
was certainly a mesalliance. 

In 1848, he was appointed Assistant-Governor General 
of Finland and moved with his family to Helsingfors. He 



148 




j;, v 



Baron Platan Rokasso\v$ky, 

Governor-General of Finland. 

From a portrait b\ A, Makovsky, photo from 

the book * History of Finland by M. M. Bo 

rodktn, New York Public Library 



bought two estates in Finland - Degere near Helsingfors, 
and Kirjola near Wyborg. The Governor-General of Finland, 
Prince Alexander Sergejevich Menshikoff, a direct descendant 
of the favorite of Czar Peter Great, Prince Alexander 
Danilovich Menshikoff, lived in St. Petersburg, and the 
administration of the Grand Duchy was left to Rokassowsky. 
Platon Rokassowsky was an exceedingly well-educated man, 
and although a soldier, was liberal and very tactful. In a 
short time he became very popular in Finland. 

On the 6th of December, 1854, Count Friedrich von 
Berg was appointed the Governor-General of Finland and 
replaced Prince Menshikoff at this post. Rokassowsky was 
appointed a member of the Council of the Empire and 
moved to St. Petersburg. As a matter of fact, an appointment 
to the Council of the Empire was not a promotion; it was 
equivalent to being put out to pasture . Rokassowsky was 
too liberal to suit the Imperial government of Czar Nicholas I 

Rokassowsky left Finland with a heavy heart. He had 
learned to love this little contry in the north, and its people, 
so honest and industrious, and the population of the Grand 
Duchy deeply regretted seeing him leave. 

As a token of gratitude for his liberal rule, the Senate 
of Finland addressed a petition to the Czar asking to grant 
Rokassowsky a baronial title of the Grand Duchy of Finland. 
This petition \vas granted. 

It was at the time of the Great Reforms of the Czar- 
Emancipator (in 1861) that Rokassowsky was appointed to 
replace Count von Berg as Governor-General of Finland. The 
Finns were jubilant and at their request Rokassowsky entered 
rfelsingfors after dark. All streets of the city were filled 
with gay crowds, and the population arranged a torchlight 
procession in his honor. Rokassowsky carried orders from 
the Czar to prepare a new constitution for Finland. 

It took two years of work and finally, in 1863, Czar 
Alexander II, with all members of his family, and the 
Imperial Court, arrived in Helsingfors for the opening of 
the first Finnish Parliament (Seim). At the opening ceremony, 
the Czar delivered his speech in French, the language used 
in international relations, and this gesture of the liberal 
Russian Sovereign gave to every Finn an additional assurance 



149 



that his country was actually a separate dominion of the 
Russian Empire, with its own constitution, administration, 
code of laws, monetary unit (Finnish Mark instead of Rus 
sian Rouble), Post and Telegraph and Custom Houses along 
the entire Finnish border. 

The population of the Grand Duchy was jubilant- The 
streets in Helsingfors were decorated with flags and the 
initials of the Czar. In the evening there were tremendous 
fireworks, and at the Governor-General Palace, Baron 
Rokassowsky gave a ball in honor of the Russian Sovereign. 
According to the court etiquette, the ball was opened by a 
polonaise, and the leading couple were the Czar and Baroness 
Rokassowsky. Behind them, Baron Rokassowsky was the 
Empress's partner, and they were followed by the Grand 
Dukes and Grand Duchesses and members of the Imperial 
suite. 

At the age of sixty-eight, on doctor's orders, Rokassowsky 
presented his resignation. By that time he already had all 
the highest decorations of the Empire. On the occasion of 
his resignation, he received an edict from the Czar giving 
him seven thousand acres of fertile land in the Province of 
Samara. 

The point was that the salaries of high government 
officials in Russia were inadequate for their actual needs. For 
instance, in order to live in the Governor-General's Palace 
and provide the necessary entertainment, Rokassowsky was 
forced to sell one of his estates because the salary he received 
did not cover all his expenses. Therefore, it was customary 
at the time of resignation to present a high government 
official with an estate in order to compensate him for the 
expenses which he had paid out of his personal resources 

The Senate of Finland presented Rokassowsky with an 
address in the form of a parchment scroll, from all provinces 
of the Grand Duchy. At the head of his scroll were imprinted 
in colors the arms of Finland the golden Finnish lion 
holding a sword in the raised right paw. The address, written 
in Swedish, honored Rokassowsky *s services rendered to the 
Grand Duchy and assured him of the undying devotion to 
him of the grateful population of Finland. 



150 




A ball at r/w GovernorGeneral Palace in Hdsmgfor*. on of the 

of the First Finnish Parliament in 1863. 

Cmr II the ball with Batvness Alemndm 

mvsky, wife of the of Finland, grandmother of the author. 

from an sketch in History of by Af. M. ^o- 

rodkin t JV T York Public 



After his resignation, Rokassowsky, with his entire family, 
took a trip abroad. They were staying in a hotel in the 
city of Nice when he died of a heart attack, in March, 1869. 
He was buried in the Russian cemetery in Nice. 



151 



A FAMILY SQUABBLE 
CHAPTER XVI 



Vera Rokassowsky was fourteen years old when her 
father died. She remembered him well, although as a child 
she did not see much of him. 

Every morning after arranging her hair in two long 
tresses, and after being properly dressed, Vera was scrutinized 
by her French governess who conducted her into a big di- 
ningroom where her parents had their breakfast. She made 
a knicksen (curtsy) first to her father Bon jour, papk 

and she kissed his hand. He would stroke her hair and 
smile. Vera was the youngest of all his children, and as 
busy and preoccupied as he was, he always tried to be 
attentive and loving towards her. 

Then, Vera made a knicksen to her mother 
Bonjour, mam& and she kissed her hand, too, but her 
mother did not caress her, and Vera did not expect it from 
her. They both appeared quite indifferent to each other. 

After this brief ceremony, Vera sat at her place at the 
end of the table and kept quiet. She was not supposed to 
take any food other than that offered to her, and she was 
not supposed to talk at the table, even to ask for anything 

not even another piece of toast, although often she was 
quite hungry. 

After breakfast, Vera attended her lessons with the 

French governess and with Miss Davenhill, for whom she 

had a deep affection, and in whom she confided all her 

secrets. Every day, Vera had a music lesson. In the big 



152 



Governor-General Palace in Helsingfors where Vera was born 
was a room with a concert piano. This room was in the 
farthest corner of the building and was intended for the 
children of the Governor-General, where they could exercise 
without disturbing anyone- However, each child was permitted 
to stay in this room only one hour and to play only exercises, 
nothing else. The music lesson was followed usually by a 
dancing lesson, and finally, at some time in the afternoon, 
Vera was permitted to play with other children of her own 
age. In Finland, the nobility was Swedish, and all these 
children spoke Swedish. Vera learned to speak Swedish 
without any foreign accent, although she could not speak 
Russian at all. 

After breakfast, Vera never saw her parents for the 
rest of the day. All children had their lunch and dinner under 
the supervision of their governesses and tutors in another 
diningroom and were not supposed to disturb their parents. 

Over the week-ends, the whole family often went to 
their estate Degero, situated on one of the islands in the 
vicinity of Helsingfors. Vera remembered a big Navy cutter 
with fourteen oars and an officer in command waiting for 
them at the pier, and when her father appeared, the officer 
gave crisp orders, the flag of Governor-General was raised, 
and all fourteen sailors started to row in unison. It was a 
short ride to the island, where the children ran and played 
to their hearts' content. 

In winter the children enjoyed skating. In bad weather, 
Miss Davenhill forced them to take walks through the streets 
of the city for at least one hour every day. 

Although the education and background of Baroness 
Alexandra Rokassowsky, a daughter of some unknown colonel 
stationed in Orenburg on the border of Asia, were entirely 
different from the back-ground and education of her husband, 
they appeared to be a happily married couple. Baroness 
Rokassowsky followed her husband's instructions to the letter, 
and became well versed in court etiquette, and in her duties 
as a wife of a Russian aristocrat and an important personage 
as her husband was. After thirty years of married life, she 
mastered French, and became one of the well-known hostesses 
in St. Petersburg and Helsingfors. 



153 



As the wife of the Governor-General of Finland, she 
refused to take any part in or even to lend her name to any 
charitable society in which prominent women were interested. 
From time immemorial, in all countries, it happened quite 
often that these societies had been managed badly, and money 
collected for charity was often misused. Baron Rokassowsky 
was proud of his name and reputation and did not want the 
name of his wife to be connected in any way with any rumour 
of improperly used public funds. Baroness Rokassowsky 
never questioned the authority of her husband. At his 
request, she left the education of her children entirely to 
the French and English governesses and tutors engaged by her 
husband Perhaps this was the reason why she was not 
loved by the children. 

At one of the receptions at the Winter Palace, Baron 
Rokassowsky presented his wife to Czar Nicholas I and the 
Empress, the former Princess Charlotte of Prussia. At the 
same reception, Baroness Rokassowsky was presented to the 
Cesarevitch, the future Czar Alexander II and his wife, Grand 
Duchess Maria Alexandrovna, the former Princess of Hesse. 
The Cesarevna liked Baroness Rokassowsky and they began 
to correspond, always in French, and their correspondence 
lasted some thirty years, until Empress Maria Alexandrovna 
died in 1880. 

Baron Rokassowsky and his wife had nine children, but 
only seven reached maturity. Vera, born in 1854, was the 
youngest of the children. 

After his resignation in 1868, Baron Rokassowsky with 
his entire family, accompanied by governesses, tutors, valets, 
and chambermaids, took a trip abroad. Only the oldest 
daughter, Elisabeth, remained with her husband in St. 
Petersburg. 

Vera remembered well how she was called to her 
father's bedroom in the hotel where they were staying in 
Nice- She entered his room and was told to kneel by his 
bed. With great difficulty her father raised his hand blessed 
her and Vera kissed his hand for the last time. A few hours 
later he died. 

At the request of the city authorities, his funeral took 
place at night time. Nice was a well-known resort where 



154 



many sick people lived. They were told by their doctors 
and relatives that the warm sunshine and soft breezes of the 
Mediterranean would give them back their strength and 
health, and they wanted to believe it. In order not to upset 
those who were still alive with gloomy spectacles, all funerals 
took place at night. 

Late at night the coffin of Baron Rokassowsky was 
carried out of the hotel. All members of the family followed 
to the Russian cemetery, situated a few miles west of the 
center of the city. The Requiem service and the lowering 
of the coffin into the grave were conducted by the light of 
torches. This sombre spectacle made a great impression on 
Vera. She did not like the speed with which the Requiem 
service was conducted. It appeared to her that everybody, 
including the Russian priest, was trying to get through with 
this ceremony as fast as possible. 

After ordering a large square tombstone of the size of 
the grave, with a marble plate on which were engraved the 
name, rank and dates of birth and death of the deceased, 
the family returned to Kirjola, an estate near Wyborg, in 
Finland, where they stayed tor the summer The young boys, 
Vladimir and Alexis, were sent immediately to the Corps 
des Pages, an exclusive military academy in St. Petersburg, 
where their older brothers, Platon and Alexander, received 
their education. Vera was enlisted in a private high school 
of Princess Obolensky. In the fall. Baroness Rokassowsky 
rented an apartment on Fontanka in St. Petersburg. For the 
first time, Vera was sent to a Russian school. She did not 
speak Russian at all, but no one anticipated any difficulties 
Vera was in Russia now and it was taken for granted that 
she would speak her native tongue. 

Baron Rokassowsky died without a will. He had been 
preoccupied with the affairs of the state and did not make 
any will while in Russia. The fatal heart attack found him 
unprepared. The absence of a will made the question of the 
estate he left very complicated. 

According to Russian law, his widow was entitled to 
one-seventh of the entire estate. Each daughter was supposed 
to receive one-fourteenth part, and the rest of the estate was 
to be equally divided among all the sons. The law was quite 



155 



clear on the point of the division, but there was a question 
of appraisal. 

Inheritance taxes were exceedingly small in Russia, and 
the government was not interested in a fair appraisal of the 
estate. Landed estates situated in different provinces were 
appraised by petty local officials who could be easily 
influenced. They were always eager to please and for a small 
consideration could appraise a certain property far below 
its market value. 

The dowager Baroness Rokassowsky displayed an 
unusual interest in the settlement of the estate of her deceased 
husband Many years passed before the final settlement was 
made, and as a reward for her undying interest, the two 
largest estates Komchanskaia Rudnia and Dubokrai 
were awarded to her and to her youngest son Alexis, her 
favorite. For good measure, the estate Degere, near Helsingfors 
in Finland, was added to the share of the widow. 

Dubokrai f a property even a little larger than 
Komchanskaia Rudnia*, in the province of Vitebsk, was 
awarded to Alexis, the youngest son of the deceased. There 
was a large and very comfortable house in Dubokrai. The 
house was two stories high, built of bricks and stone in a 
colonial style, on the shore of a big lake. The lake was so 
big that only on clear days was the opposite shore visible. 
Vera's father maintained on this lake a couple of racing 
yachts. There was a park around the house and other 
buildings. The estate brought a very comfortable income. 

Komchanskaia Rudnia and Dubokrai were two 
estates which Prince Alexander Wiazemsky, with the approval 
of Empress Catherine the Great, presented to Vera's grand 
father, Ivan Rokassowsky, who was his natural son. The 
third estate, Dornbrovo , also presented by Prince Wiazemsky, 
and the largest of them all, was sold by Vera's grandfather. 

The portion received by the mother and her favorite 
son represented the lion's share of the entire estate, but the 
authority of the dowager Baroness Rokassowsky among her 
children remained indisputable and nobody protested. 

Vera and her sister Olga received as their share seven 
thousand acres in the province of Samara, an estate by 



156 



the Brook Karambulatka as it was described officially in 
the grant of Czar Alexander II made to Vera's father at the 
time of his resignation. Both sisters were supposed to be 
content to receive three and a half thousand acres each, 
somewhere on the border of Asia, where the value of land 
at that time was very low. 

Surprisingly for Vera, her studies in Princess Obolensky's 
school for girls proceeded without any difficulties. All the 
teachers in this school as well as all her classmates spoke 
French fluently. Within a few months, Vera began to speak 
Russian, and with the years to come, she learned Russian 
thoroughly, but she never got rid of a slight foreign accent. 

Vera finished the school of Princess Obolensky at the 
age of nineteen. In the fall of the same year, her mother 
arranged to present her to the Imperial Court at a ball 
given at the Winter Palace. 

While Vera, according to court etiquette, was making 
a deep reverence to the Czar and the Empress Maria 
Alexandrovna, her mother found time to point out to the 
Czar that she still had an unmarried daughter who had to 
be launched into society and she, the poor widow, needed for 
this reason an additional income. The Czar smiled at Vera 
and said a few words to her mother. Vera did not hear 
what he said, but by the expression on Baroness Rokassowsky's 
face, she understood that her petition was successful. 

A few weeks later, Vera's mother was notified that His 
Imperial Majesty the Czar decreed to give her an additional 
pension of six thousand roubles a year. For some reason, this 
additional pension was called a rent (in Russian * Arenda ). 

As soon as Baroness Rokassowsky received this news, 
she forgot completely about the existence of her unmarried 
daughter. She did not pay any more attention to Vera than 
she did to her maid or her butler. In her apartment on 
Fontanka, she received only people of her own age and 
devoted most of her time to her two Boulognese dogs and 
to her daily card game. 

Vera had a few friends of her own whom she met 
while she was in the fashionable school of Princess Obolensky, 
and these friends invited her to different parties, but due to 



157 



the fact that Vera's mother never arranged any party for 
the young people, Vera was unable to reciprocate, and the 
invitations to her became fewer every season until they 
stopped altogether. 

In the meantime, the Rokassowsky family was ^again in 
mourning on account of the tragic death of Vera's oldest 
brother, Platon. Platon was at that time a major of the 
Preobrajensky Regiment, and an aid-de-camp of the Czar. He 
was married to Sophia Saburoff, a girl of a very old Russian 
Boyar family. He and his wife had an apartment in the 
Winter Palace facing Millionaia Street and Zimnaia Kanavka, 
where the First Company of his regiment was stationed. 

Platon, like his late father, was making a brillant 
military career. Unfortunately, he was very much in love 
with his wife, who was a very shallow woman. His wife had 
been flirting with all his friends. All her dresses had decollete 
lower than usual. She was mean to her husband, and Platon 
realized that they did not suit each other. But he was 
much too proud to divorce her. Besides, according to a 
strongly established tradition, in case of divorce he had to 
resign from his regiment. All this made him very unhappy. 

One morning his feeling of despair was so intense that 
he climbed on a window sill of his apartment and cut his 
throat with a razor The window was open, and he fell 
down from the second floor on the sidewalk of Zimnaia 
Kanavka. When soldiers rushed to him, he was already dead. 

Vera adored her oldest brother and his death caused 
a great sorrow. At the time of death of her brother Platon, 
Vera was twenty-two years old. 

A couple of eligible young men made proposals of 
marriage to Vera but she refused. She was convinced that 
she could only marry a man with whom she was in love. 
She read all the novels of Thanckeray, Balzac, George Sand, 
and all the English and French novelists. She adored Rus 
sian Imperial Ballet and went quite often to Maryinsky 
Theater. She witnessed the triumph of Adelina Patti, a famous 
Italian coloratura-soprano who sang at that time in St. 
Petersburg. 

In a few years, Vera became quite independent. She 
was never afraid to travel alone, and learned to smoke, 



158 



which was unheard of then, and was greatly criticized. She 
read newspapers, and became interested in politics. 

At the time of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, her 
brother Vladimir Rokassowsky, also an officer of Preobrajensky 
Regiment, enlisted as an Esaul (pronounced Essa-oul, a 
major in the Cossack regiment) of His Majesty's Escort and 
took part in this campaign. He received several decorations 
for bravery and was made aid-de-camp of the Czar. Vera's 
sister Olga became a nurse and was sent with a detachment 
of the Red Cross to the fighting front. 

Vera read the official communiques and followed closely 
the events of this campaign. Like thousands of other girls 
in Russia, she adored the Czar-Emancipator and was proud 
to be a Russian. The slight foreign accent she had was a 
cause of great annoyance and embarrassment to her, especially 
in this period of her life. 

It was unbearable for Vera to continue to lead an idle 
life, and she decided to enter the St. Petersburg Conservatory. 
Four years later the studies were over, and she was again 
facing the same problem what to dedicate her life to? 
This problem Vera was unable to solve, but the death of 
Miss Davenhill made her life in St. Petersburg still more 
depressing, and she decided to move to the country. 

She would have moved to her own estate in the province 
of Samara, but it was much too far. The estate by the 
Brook Karambulatka was situated in the Kirghiz steppes, 
some one hundred miles from the city of Samara, and about 
seventy-five miles from the city of Uralsk. The nearest 
railroad station was at Samara. Besides, the entire estate 
had only one small building a four-room house occupied 
by the superintendent who lived there only a few months 
each year while the fields were seeded and until the crop 
was collected. It was a most primitive system. The entire 
estate was divided in five equal portions; these portions 
rotated... only one portion was seeded with wheat each year. 
Four other portions of the estate were left fallow- The estate 
v/as situated in the so-called black soil belt and the fields 
were never fertilized. The crop depended entirely upon 
sufficient rain. A dry summer could easily produce a drought, 
and the entire crop would perish. Therefore, the annual 



159 



income from this estate was very uncertain. There could be 
a j oss expenses on seeding the fields, but, on the other 
hand, in good years when the rainfalls were sufficient, the 
estate brought a considerable income. The wheat seeded on 
this estate was of the highest quality, so-called beloturka . 

Actually, it was the first attempt to plough the virgin 
soil , the steppes that had never been cultivated before. 
Russian steppes were covered with feather grass, called 
kovyl . This feather grass had very deep roots and prevented 
the soil from being blown by the wind into huge black 
clouds at the time of a drought. At that time, Russians were 
careful not to plow more than one-fifth of the available land, 
in order not to deprive the soil of the protection provided 
by nature. 

Vera moved to the house of Puchkovo in the province 
of Vitebsk. Unfortunately for her, a few months later she 
contracted pneumonia and for a couple of weeks was lying 
in bed with a high fever, unconscious. Doctor Talavrinoff 
who visited her daily did not expect her to live, but finally 
her healthy constitution helped her to pull through. 

Her recovery took a long time. First she was permitted 
to sit in the livingroom, but with the coming warm weather 
the doctor permitted her to sit on a couch outside, warmly 
dressed and covered by woolen blankets. Finally, she was 
allowed to take daily walks. 

The house of Puchkovo stood only about a mile from 
the highway and there was a wide road leading from the 
highway to the house. This road was always kept in perfect 
order and Vera usually walked along this road. She had to 
pass by the farriery where Jankel, a blacksmith, was always 
working. Jankel was a tall, heavy-set Jew who greeted Vera 
always with a friendly smile. 

Jews were usually traders, insurance agents, or hotel 
and tavern keepers, and Jankel represented an exception to 
his race. One day Vera noticed that every now and then 
Jankel walked out of his farriery to the highway, raised his 
right hand to his forehead, protecting his eyes from the 
sunlight, and took a good look in the direction of Nevel, 
only about five or six miles distant. Vera became curious 
and asked Jankel what he was looking for. 



160 



I look Jankel answered with a question. I look 
is Nevel burning already? 

Vera did not understand, What do you mean, Jankel? 
Should Nevel burn today? , 

Yes , answered Jankel, it is time for Nevel to burn . 

The fact was that practically all Jewish towns and 
communities in Russia burned down periodically, and after each 
fire better houses were built in place of the old ones. Needless 
to say, all houses owned by the Jews were heavily insured 
against fire. Periodic fires which destroyed Jewish towns 
were a well-known fact and yet it was exceedingly difficult 
to prove that these fires were started intentionally. A most 
rigid investigation conducted by the insurance companies in 
a labyrinth of narrow passages between old wooden build 
ings, with old rags hanging out of the windows, could not 
determine the cause of fire, and the insurance money was 
paid out. However, the fact remained that there were never 
any human victims in these fires, and the Jewish owners of 
the houses which were burned down completely usually 
managed to save all their personal belongings. 

Vera Rokassowsky was very lonesome. She did not visit 
anyone and entertained very little herself. She spent most 
of her time playing the piano and reading. But Doctor 
Talavrinoff warned her not to tire her eyes too much and 
to limit her reading to only about one hour daily. Under 
these conditions, Vera was glad when a few neighboring 
landowners and their wives came to visit her. 

Vera became very fond of the old Princess Maria 
Romadanovsky-Lodyjensky. At the time when Czar Peter the 
Great went to Holland where he was working as a common 
shipwright on the wharves at Zaandam, a direct ancestor of 
the Princess was made a Regent of Russia with the title of 
Prince-Caesar . While the Czar was working on the 
wharves, and visiting factories, picture galleries, anatomical 
theatres, commercial and other institutions in Western 
Europe, trying to learn everything he could, Prince 
Romadanovsky occupied the Russian throne in his place. 

Princess Maria, an old spinster, was the last in line of 
Princes Romadanovsky-Lodyjensky. Her estate * Zivilevo 

161 



was heavily mortgaged and the poor woman was in financial 
difficulties. 

Vera wanted to help her, and on one of the rare 
occasions when my father visited Puchkovo, Vera asked him 
for his advice. My father wrote a petition to the Czar for 
the Princess. As a result of this petition, the Czar was 
gracious enough to order all debts of the Princess to be 
paid out of his own purse, and she was granted a pension 
sufficient to take care of her modest needs. 

Unfortunately, this relief in her financial troubles came 
much too late. The Princess received the good news while 
she was visiting Vera in Puchkovo. Shortly afterwards, she 
became ill. Vera immediately called Doctor Talavrinoff whose 
office was in Nevel. He found that Princess Maria had a 
serious heart ailment and ordered her to bed. The Princess 
wanted to go back to her estate Zivilevo, but in the opinion 
of the doctor this trip, because of her weak heart, could be 
fatal. 

The Princess remained in Puchkovo, either lying in 
bed or sitting in a big, comfortable chair. Her dog, an Irish 
terrier, slept at the foot of her bed every night, and during 
the day never left her side. 

Two months passed, but the condition of the Princess 
did not improve. Every day Vera spent several hours in the 
room of the Princess, sitting by her bed and reading to her, 
trying to comfort the old, lonely woman. One evening, the 
Irish terrier of the Princess disappeared. The servants looked 
for him everywhere but could not find him- Finally, he was 
discovered in one of the livingrooms, far from his mistress's 
bedroom. The dog refused to come out from under a sofa 
where he was hiding. That same night the old Princess 
passed away. 

The misfortune of Princess Romadanovsky, her illness 
and her death brought my father closer to Puchkovo and to 
Vera Rokassowsky. Gradually his visits to Puchkova became 
more frequent. He enjoyed Vera's company. She was well 
read and an interesting companion- She could ride well, and 
quite often they rode together, galloping through the fields, 
meadows and forests. It required all the skill of an expert 



162 




Vera VOH Wrangell, burn Barunta** 
\ mother of the authui 



rider to follow Vera who loved to let her horse run at full 
speed. 

The Puchkovo house was very comfortable, and there 
was a billiard room. Vera and my father played pool together, 
or a more serious game of chess. It was quite natural that 
they both fell in love with each other, and decided to get 
married, but my father's wife Emilia stubbornly refused to 
give him a divorce. Besides, Vera's mother and all her 
brothers and sisters were decidedly against her marriage to 
a man who was already married twice, and not even divorced 
from the second wife yet! They declared that it was a dis 
grace that their sister was the cause for a divorce. 

Finally my father was prompted to take a drastic step. 
One day, or rather one night, he returned to Kolpino, as 
was his habit, and the following morning he had a stormy 
discussion with Emilia. He offered her a generous settlement 
for her agreement to a divorce. Otherwise, he threatened to 
make her life miserable. He was so determined that eventually 
Emilia gave in. 

According to a written agreement, Emilia was to remain 
the sole mistress of the Kolpino house for the rest of her 
life, and the office of the estate was to pay out to her a 
large sum of money annually for her personal needs. 

A divorce was granted within a few months, and my 
father and Vera Rokassowsky were married. Immediately 
after the wedding, they went by train to Moscow, and from 
there to Crimea, to the shores of the Black Sea. 



163 



THE BOXER UPRISING 
CHAPTER XVII 



In 1895, my father and his third wife went to Yalta, 
and settled there. At that time, Yalta, the so-called Russian 
Nice was a small town on the shore of the Black Sea. 
The combination of the sea and the high mountains covered 
with pine forests presented a gorgeous background for the 
small town that was built on terraces up the mountainside. 
The mountains, approximately three thousand feet high, 
protected Yalta from the cold northern winds. On the south 
side of the mountains the temperature rarely reached the 
freezing point, and while the tops of the mountains were still 
covered with snow in May and the beginning oi June, at 
the base of the mountains by the shore grew cypresses, 
mahogany trees, rhododendrons and even some varieties of 
palms. The palms were not native to Crimea; they were 
planted. The blooming acacia trees, magnolia, wisteria and 
roses filled the air with a subtropical aroma. 

The original population of Crimea was of Tatar origin. 
The o!a Khans of Crimea had been vassals of the Sultans 
of Turkey, and Crimea was acquired by Russia comparatively 
recently, at the time of the reign of Empress Catherine the 
Gieat, in 1783. 

Back in the classic age, Herodotus described many 
Greek colonies on the shores of the Black Sea, situated near 
the present towns of Kerch, Feodosia, Eupatoria, Sebastopol, 
Kherson and others. There were many Greeks living there 
before the First World War. 



164 



In the early part of the Middle Ages, the powerful city 
of Genoa, competing with her rival, the Republic of Venice, 
established colonies on the peninsula of Crimea, and one 
could still see the fortresses which had been built to protect 
the trade of this maritime republic. 

The combination of Greeks, Italians, and Tatars produced 
a special race of the Crimean Tatars. They were Mohammedans, 
faithful to the Prophet, with their mosques and mullahs, and 
at the same time, had the features (straight eyelids) of the 
Aryan race. They abstained from liquor, respected the old 
traditions of the East, and were extremely honest. Many of 
them were very handsome. 

To the east of Yalta, along the sea shores, were situated 
the estates Massandra and Nikitsky<jardens, which belonged 
to the Department of Appanages, and the estate Selam of 
Count Orloff-Dovidoff. Further away was the village of Gursuf, 
with a Genoese fortress built on a big rock extending into the 
sea. From the ruins of this old fortress, one had a beautiful 
view of the mountain Ayu-Dag. The mountain had the form of 
a bear and jutted far out into the sea. The estates of Prince 
Murat and of Prince Bagration were situated close together 
here. Their ancestors had been enemies during the Napoleon 
campaign of 1812. In the moonlight of warm Crimean summer 
nights, the ruins of the old fortress, the graceful cypresses, 
and the outline of the Ayu-Dag, resembling a huge animal 
bending over into the sea, could easily be compared to a 
scene from Scheherazade. It was so beautiful that it seemed 
unreal. 

To the west from Yalta, about one or two miles, were 
situated two large estates of the Czar - Livadia and Oreanda. 
The latter estate had been acquired by the Czar from the 
Grand Duke Constantin Nicholayevitch, after the palace on 
this estate was burned down. The fire occurred in 1881, 
shortly after the assassination of the Czar-Emancipator. 

Further on was situated Haracks, an estate of Grand 
Duke George Michailovitch, the estate Dulber of the Grand 
Duke Peter Nichailovitch, the estate Ay-Todor of the Grand 
Duke Alexander Michailovitch and the beautiful estate Alupka 
of Count Worontzoff-Dashkoff, the late Viceroy of the Caucasus- 

Different parts of Alupka 's palace were built in dif- 



165 



fcrcnt styles. The wide marble staircases descending to the 
sea, with six marble statues of lions on guard, together 
with the Arabic architecture of the side of the palace facing 
the sea, reminded one of the Alhambra. Beyond the palace 
rose the high rocks of Ay-PetrL This tremendous rock ended 
the semi-circle that enclosed Yalta from the north. 

Yalta was an ideal place for two people in love who 
were trying to forget their unfortunate past and, at their 
advanced age, to start a new life. When about a year later 
a son was born to Vera, their happiness reached a culminating 
point. 

I was born on the twentieth of May, according to the 
old Russian (Julian) calendar, or on the first of June, 
according to the European (Gregorian) calendar, 1896. My 
first memories were connected with Crimea, the sweet aroma 
of wisteria and magnolia blossoms and the rhythmic sound 
of the waves,,. 

My mother adored me- I was her first-born, and I 
carne when she was already forty-two years old! She worried 
constantly about my health. The morning would start with 
calling a doctor and asking him if the weather was warm 
enough for her little Carl to go out, and on what side of the 
house her offspring should play? Then, the next hour was 
devoted to dressing him in a sufficiently warm suit. Little 
Carl did not like it and resisted as much as he could. Then, 
very strict instructions were given to the nurse to watch 
the boy carefully and not to permit him to do any mischief. 

As a result of this careful attention, I had pneumonia 
twice. One case was so severe that I nearly died. 

Every evening my mother would read to me before I 
fell asleep. She usually read books on history. Being the 
only child and always among grown-ups, I was well-informed 
for my age. When I was only eight years old, I surprised my 
elders with my knowledge of historical events, names and 
dates. Having an excellent memory, I knew by heart chapters 
of poetry, especially of Pushkin and Lermontoff, Russia's 
two greatest poets. 

Sometimes in the evenings, when I was comfortably 
tucked into my little bed, my mother played the piano, 



166 



playing the sonatas of Beethoven and nocturnes and valses of 
Chopin. 

I remember my father, holding himself very erect, 
with silver streaks in his thick hair. He was always tender 
and kind to me. 

Many years later, I learned that my parents came to 
Yalta intending to stay only a few months, but the beauty 
of the place made them want to stay there indefinitely and 
finally they built an entirely new life there. My father bought 
a piece of land in Kekeneiz, on the seashore, with the intention 
of building a villa there some day. He became a member of 
the local club and played * besigue and wint there at 
least four or five evenings every week. 

My mother took prolonged walks along the quai and 
in the Yalta pubblic gardens every day. During the summer 
season in this public garden an orchestra played every 
evening, mostly light music, Viennese valses, but occasionally 
arias from different operas and classical music which my 
mother liked so much. My mother was very fond of reading 
French and English novels, and I always remember her sit 
ting in a chair with a book in her hands. 

I remember the Boer War. The sympathies of the Rus 
sians were decidedly on the side of the Boers and Mr, 
Kruger. I remember a little song which Russian boys of my 
age used to sing at that time: 

Mama, buy for me a sabre and a drum, 

I shall go to Africa to beat up the English... . 

I remember the Boxer Uprising of 1900, which was 
very frightening, and which was caused by the greed of 
European powers, including Mother-Russia. 

On the 20th of October, 1894, Emperor Alexander III 
died in the old Livadia Palace in Crimea, and on the throne 
ascended his son, Czar Nicholas II, who was at that time 
only twenty-six years old. The young Czar married Princess 
Alix of Hesse and Rhine, who became Empress Alexandra 
of Russia. 

Right from the beginning, the young Czar displayed the 
characteristics of his ancestor, Emperor Alexander I 
mysticism, cunning, and even perfidy. However, Emperor 



167 



Alexander I was one of the best educated men of his time. 
Pratically all diplomatic acts of his reign were written in a 
rough draft by the Czar himself. On the other hand, the 
education of Czar Nicholas II was not above average. Czar 
Nicholas II had beautiful manners, gracious, polite and 
attentive at all times; his innate charm produced an effect, 
without fail, on everybody who met him for the first time. 
His memory for faces and names was remarkable, and he 
used it to his advantage. He had great poise. He was rather 
good-hearted, but actually, outside of his immediate family, 
he did not love anyone and did not cherish anything. As a 
result, he had no real friends. 

He signed the abdication without any struggle or regret. 
The thought that he, the captain, was abandoning his ship 
at the time of danger, did not occur to him. He declared that 
he would like to go to Livadia to devote his time to his 
favorite hobby planting flowers... 

In his every-day demands, he was very modest, but 
he had no knowledge of human nature and could not evaluate 
correctly the people around him. Possibly, as a constitutional 
monarch, Czar Nicholas II would have been popular among 
his subjects, but, unfortunately, for Russia, he had no 
makings of an Autocrat of a huge Empire. 

From the beginning of his reign, he was considerably 
influenced by the members of the Imperial family, his mother, 
his uncles, and cousins. The Grands Dukes interfered in the 
affairs of state which did not concern them at all and 
exercised a disastrous influence on the Czar. 

At the time of his accession to the throne, the war 
between China and Japan was in progress. Japan successfully 
invaded Manchuria and had captured Wei-hai-wei and Port 
Arthur. According to the Peace Treaty of Shimonoseki, China 
ceded to Japan Formosa, Pescadores Islands, and the 
Liaotung Peninsula. 

At that time, the Trans-Siberian Railway extended 
already to Irkutsk, and the question was how to build it 
further to Vladivostok in a roundabout \vay along the 
northern bank of the Amour River, or in a much shorter 
way, through the Chinese territory of northern Manchuria? 



168 



The Russian government had no hopes of obtaining the 
consent of the Chinese government to build the railway 
through Manchuria, but the young Czar, who as the Heir- 
Apparent had visited Japan, envisaged an extension of Rus 
sian influence in the Far East. On the advice of Serge Witte, 
a top statesman of his time, Russia adopted a policy of 
preserving the integrity of China, and received necessary 
support from Germany and France. These three powers 
presented an ultimatum forcing Japan to evacuate the 
Liaotung Peninsula, preventing her from acquiring any 
territory on the continent of Asia. 

In June, 1896, the Russian government signed an 
agreement with Li Hung-Chang, an outstanding Chinese 
statesman, who at that time arrived in Moscow for the 
coronation of Czar Nicholas II. This agreement was actually 
a defensive alliance between Russia and China against Japan. 
At the same time, Russia received a concession for the 
building of a continuation of the Trans-Siberian Railways 
across northern Manchuria. This concession was granted to 
the Russo-Chinese Bank, which, in turn, passed it to the 
Eastern Chinese Railway, a corporation formed for this 
purpose. 

The old Dowaver-Empress of China valued this defensive 
agreement with Russia, which, from her point of view, was 
to preserve the integrity of China, to such an extent that 
she did not trust a copy of this agreement to anyone, and 
kept it in her bedroom. 

However, the other European powers were unwilling to 
swallow the* fact that Russia received a concession from 
China, and in 1897, Germany seized Tsingtao, 

In direct violation of the agreement signed with Li 
Hung-Chang, and regardless of the protests of Serge Witte, 
Russia occupied Port Arthur and Dairen, and forced China 
to lease to Russia the portion of Liaotung Peninsula which 
included these two ports. Great Britain received concessions 
on the Burmese frontier and acquired Wei-hai-wei- Every 
power was anxious to get a slice of the Chinese melon. Rus 
sia, Germany and Great Britain did just what they did not 
want Japan to do, and Russia occupied that part of Liaotung 



_ 169 



Peninsula which a few years previously Japan had been forced 
to abandon! 

In order to appease Japan, in April, 1898, Russia signed 
an agreement with the Japanese Empire leaving Korea to 
Japanese influence. For the time being, Japan appeared to 
be satisfied. 

The Boxer movement, which originated in the south of 
China, was spreading to the north, and finally broke out 
with violence in Peking. The nationalist-minded Chinese 
started to loot European embassies in Peking, with the usual 
Chinese cruelty, killing some foreigners. The Boxer Uprising 
had a slogan, Protect the country, destroy the foreigners! . 

Russian troops were the first to enter Peking. They 
were supported by the Japanese, and, later on by the troops 
of other European powers. The Dowager-Empress and the 
Emperor fled, and the well-known Imperial Palace at Peking, 
with its priceless art and gem treasures, was looted. Unfortu 
nately, the Russian troops took part in this looting. 



170 



THE REIGN OF CZAR NICHOLAS II 
CHAPTER XVIII 



With tha accession to the throne of Czar Nicholas II, 
the domestic policy of the Russian government changed very 
little. The young Czar was more tolerant of the foreign 
names of some of his subjects, but on the whole, the 
Slavophils and the Slavophil ideas continued to have the 
same domineering influence. 

It was due partly to the influence - of Constantin 
Pobedonostsev, Procurator of the Holy Synod, and some 
other Slavophils, and partly to the deep feeling of respect 
and adoration which Czar Nicholas II had for the memory 
of his late father. This feeling he often carried to an extreme. 

While he was the Heir-Apparent, with the rank of a 
subaltern officer, Nicholas was appointed an aide-de-camp 
to his father and wore the initials of the late Emperor on 
his epaulettes. According to army regulations, with the 
promotion to the rank of a general, the initials of the Czar 
were removed from the epaulettes of the aide-de-camp, unless 
he was promoted at the same time to the rank of General 
of the Suite. 

At the moment of the death of his father, Czar Nicholas 
II was still a colonel. By the orders of the Army, he could 
have been promoted to a four-star general, or even to Field 
Marshal, but he wanted to keep the initials of his late father 
on his shoulder straps, and therefore remained a colonel for 
the rest of his life. 

In 1896, General Sheremeteff, Viceroy of the Caucasus, 
presented his resignation because of old age. In his place, 



171 



Prince Gregory Galitzine was appointed. The new Viceroy 
ignored completely the character and traditions of the various 
races which inhabited this region and proceeded to russify 
the Caucasus by very harsh measures. 

At that time, as a result of prosecutions by the govern 
ment of Sultan Abdul-Hamid, thousands of Armenians moved 
from Turkey to the Russian Caucasus- In his ardent desire 
to make a true orthodox Russian out of every subject of 
the Czar, Prince Galitzine became especially severe towards 
Armenians, 

The Armenians who moved from Turkey were experienced 
revolutionaries and proceeded immeditely to instruct in this 
art their brothers who were born on the Russian side of the 
border. 

There were a number of cases of violence. In retaliation, 
Prince Galitzine recommended that the Russian government 
would confiscate the properties of the Armenian Church. 

Due to the fact that there was only a slight dogmatic differ 
ence between the Armenian Church and the Russian Orthodox 
(Greek Catholic) Church, the majority of members of the 
cabinet were opposed to this measure, realizing the hypocrisy 
of it. However, with the support of Constantin Pobedonostsev 
and of Vyacheslav Plehve, at that time Secretary of the 
Interior, this measure was approved by the Czar. 

There was an attempt on Prince Galitzine's life and the 
unrest in the Caucasus became general. Finally Prince Galitzine 
was recalled to St. Petersburg, and Count Worontzoff- 
Dashkoff was appointed in his place. The new Viceroy 
discontinued the policy of russification and oppression of 
the natives. On his recommendation, the sequestration of the 
Armenian Church's properties was stopped, and he succeeded 
in pacifying the Caucasus. However, the greater part of the 
properties of the Armenian Church had already been 
confiscated. 

Russification* of the Grand Duchy of Finland was entrusted 
to General Bobrikov who was appointed Governor-General 
of Finland. The original constitution granted to the Finns 
in 1809 was confirmed by Czar Alexander II in 1872, and 
even by his successor, Czar Alexander III, in 188L For 



172 



Alexander III it was not a question of policy but of honor. 
Once a constitution was granted, he continued to stick to it. He 
asked the Finns for a union of customs, currency and postal 
service, but the Finnish Diet was reluctant to accede to it. 
Alexander III did not insist. 

In 1899, an Ukase, from Czar Nicholas II gave to the 
Russian government the right to supervise all laws concerning 
the Grand Duchy which affected the interests of the empire. 
The official Finnish journal refused to publish the Ukase. 
The Finns claimed that it was contrary to the existing 
constitution. They were opposed to the use of the Russian 
language in schools and government offices and to a new 
form of oath established for the Finns by the Russian govern 
ment. Discontent grew and ended with the assassination of 
General Bcbrikov in 1904. 

Poland, under the very liberal rule of Prince Imeretinsky, 
Viceroy of Poland, escaped this process of russification , 
but a strong Socialist-Democratic Party of Poland was 
organized with Joseph Pilsudski, the future Marshal and 
dictator of Poland, as one of its leaders. 

At this time a very hostile attitude was displayed by 
the Russian government towards the Jews. The policy of 
Czar Alexander II led to an eventual cancellation of all 
restrictive measures imposed by the government and a 
complete equalization of the rights of Jews with those of 
other subjects of the Empire. If his successors had followed 
this policy, the Jewish Question would never have existed 
in Russia, at least not in such an acute form. Unfortunately, 
with the accession to the throne of Emperor Alexander III, 
the restrictive measures towards the Jews were increased. 
This attitude of the government encouraged some anti-semitic 
elements to violence. In April, 1903, a pogrom broke out in 
Kishinev. Forty-five Jews were killed and about four hundred 
wounded before order was restored. In August of the same 
year, another pogrom took place in Gomel, in the province 
of Mogilev, These pogroms could not possibly have occured 
at the time of the reign of Czar Nicholas I and his son, Czar 
Alexander II. 

If the plight of the Jews was bad, that of the peasants 
was almost worse. The strengthening of the peasant com- 



173 



mimes had disastrous results on their welfare. The initiative 
of the strong peasants was completely suppressed. Having 
been kept in bondage of their communes, good and ambitious 
workmen in a village could not work properly on their land. 
It did not pay for them to work harder than the drunkards 
and the lazy ones did. 

During the last three decades, peasants' lands were 
yielding surprisingly poor harvests. The quality of the soil 
deteriorated rapidly, and the majority of the peasants were 
able to sustain themselves only by working for neighboring 
landowners who always needed some extra work. They paid 
for this work, and with this money the peasants were able 
to buy much needed grain. 

The noble landowners, on less than one-third of the 
fertile lands, produced enough grain to feed literally all Rus 
sian towns and cities, and to feed Western Europe as well, 
while Russian peasants, on more than two-thirds of the total 
arable lands could not produce enough grain to feed themselves! 

The increasing discontent of the masses resulted in some 
open revolts. Actual peasant uprisings took place in 1902 in 
the provinces of Poltava and Kharkov. Some army units had 
to be called to suppress these revolts. 

This growing discontent of the masses encouraged 
revolutionaries to start a war of terror again, which was 
discontinued with the assassination of the Czar-Emancipator 
in 1881. However, the Nihilists did not exist any more. 
Marxism was providing a new force, and terrorists were 
now members of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party. 

The first victims of the new terror were Bogolepov, 
Secretary of Education, who was killed in February, 1901, 
and Dmitri Sipyagin, Secretary of the Interior, killed in 
April, 1902. Bombing and assassinations of government 
officials were increasing rapidly, dissent was mounting among 
the students of Moscow and other universities, as well as 
among Russian intelligentsia. In July, 1904, Vyacheslav 
Ptefave, Secretary of the Interior, was killed by a bomb while 
driving in a carriage through the streets of St. Petersburg. 

In 1901, Japanese Marquis Ito arrived in St. Petersburg, 
trying to reach an agreement with Russia. By that time, 
Russia was already building a railroad across Manchuria, 



174 



connecting Port Arthur with the Trans-Siberian Railway, 
and Japan was considerably alarmed by the rapid Russian 
advance. 

At that time, Japan was willing to be satisfied with 
very little, namely, Russia was to confirm that Korea was to 
be in the sphere of Japanese influence. On the other hand, 
Japan was to recognize the Russian seizure of Port Arthur, 
and was ready to acquiesce to the construction of a railroad 
to Port Arthur, but only a regular force to guard the railroad. 
Russia was also to maintain an open-door policy in Manchuria. 

Marquis received a cold reception in St. Petersburg, 
He was anxious to reach an agreement with Russia because 
at that time the Japanese Ambassador to the Court of St. 
James was negotiating a treaty with Great Britain. In spite 
of all efforts, Marquis Ito left St. Petersburg without reaching 
any agreement with Russia. In the meantime, a treaty of 
alliance between Japan and Great Britain was signed in 
London. From that time on, the war party in Japan received 
a predominant influence, and war with Russia became 
inevitable. 

In his memoirs, Count Witte, Russian Secretary of 
Finance and Prime Minister, made Russia alone responsible 
for bringing about this war. However, there are very good 
reasons to believe that Count Witte was wrong. At the last 
moment, Czar Nicholas II was willing to accede to pratically 
all Japanese demands which by that time were already far 
from reasonable, but it was too late. The opportunity to 
avoid war by reaching an agreement with Marquis Ito was 
lost, and Russia was forced to face a struggle in the Far East. 

Predecessors of Czar Nicholas II were much more 
cautious in their aggressive advances in Asia. Czar Alexander 
II would not have missed a chance to avoid war and to 
secure successful gains. His grandson, Czar Nicholas II, 
advanced boldly in the Far East. It appeared that he did 
not realize that by his bold actions he jeopardized not only 
gains made in the Far East since he ascended the throne, 
but was risking Russia's prestige and position among the 
great European powers. 

In the Czar's Far-Eastern policy, the leading role was 
given to Bezobrazov, an irresponsible adventurer, whom the 



175 



Czar chose to trust more than his own ministers. Bezobrazov, 
a retired major of the Chevaliergardc Regiment, had a scheme 
of establishing timber concessions on the Yalu River. On the 
part of Russia, it was a breach of the existing treaties and 
of Russia's promise to Japan to leave Korea in the sphere 
of Japanese influence 

To the amazement of some members of the Cabinet, 
Bezobrazov was appointed State Secretary to His Majesty. 
A State Secretary in Russia was a rank in the civil govern 
ment service. It did not correspond by any means to the 
position of Secretary of State in the United States. Bezobrazov 
was supported by Plehve, Secretary of the Interior. Both 
these men supported Admiral Alexeyev, a protege of the 
Grand Duke Alexis, at that time Admiral-General. Admiral 
Alexeyev had no military or political experience and yet a 
new post of the * Viceroy of the Far East was created for 
him. 

It was a small group of irresponsible adventurers who 
influenced the Czar at that time in the questions of his Far 
East policies. It appeared that they did not realize that 
Russia was not prepared for war, and that it was folly to 
get Russia into war some four thousand miles away from 
European Russia, with only one single track of the Trans- 
Siberian Railway connecting the fighting front with its base. 
From the outset this war was destined to end in disaster. 



176 



REVOLUTION OF 1005 
CHAPTER XIX 



Vyacheslav Plehve, Secretary of the Interior, adopted 
underhand methods in his attempt to control the growing 
revolutionary movement among the working masses. He had 
his own agents provocateurs who pretended to defend the 
interests of the workmen, and were trying to organize them 
according to the instructions they received from the Police 
Department. 

A police agent who became well known in this field 
was a man by the name of Vladimir Zubatov. In order to 
discourage workmen who were trying to improve their 
conditions by strikes and other more or less aggressive 
methods, the strikes were arranged on orders of the police 
and brought the workmen nothing but trouble. 

After the assassination of Plehve in July, 1904, another 
agent provocateur appeared among the workmen in St. 
Petersburg. This agent was a Russian priest by the name 
of Father Gapon. With the knowledge and approval of the 
authorities, Father Gapon decided to lead workmen to the 
Winter Palace to present their grievances to the Czar. This 
march was scheduled to take place on Sunday, according to 
the Russian calendar on the 9th, according to the European 
calendar, on the 22nd day of January, 1905. 

On the eventful day, a multitude of workmen, carrying 
a portrait of the Czar and religious icons, with Father Gapon 
at their head, approached the Winter Palace. The military 
commander of the troops stationed in front of the palace 
ordered the crowd to disperse. The workmen believed in 



177 



promises made to them by Father Gapon that the Czar was 
ready to listen to them and, therefore, were reluctant to 
leave. They did not know that a few days previously the Czar 
had !eft St- Petersburg, 

Was this provocation arranged purposely by the 
distorted mind of some government official, or at the last 
minute, facing a multitude of workmen, did those in charge 
lose their courage? Anyway, an order was given to shoot, and 
several hundred workmen were killed and wounded on that 
day in the Palace Square. 

How was that event reported to the Czar? It was doubtful 
that the Czar actually was informed about all the details 
and especially about the brutal role of the Police department 
and of the Russian priest. 

Three days previously, on the 6-19 of January, 1905, at 
the time of a religious ceremony which took place on the 
ice on the Neva River, in front of the Winter Palace, guns 
placed at St. Peter and Paul Fortress fired a salute. And, 
suddenly, shrapnel hit the ice near the place where the Czar 
was standing and broke some windows of the palace. The 
Czar remained calm; there was not the twitch of a muscle 
on his face, and the ceremony proceeded as scheduled. 

Later on it was reported to the Czar that a real shell 
was used in one of the guns, which was the result of 
negligence on the part of some artillery officers. On orders 
of the Czar, these officers escaped punishment. They were 
only transferred to some other units of the army. In this, 
Czar Nicholas II was generous and forgiving. 

On the 17th of February, 1905, the Grand Duke Serge 
Alexandrovitch, the Czar's uncle and Governor-General of 
Moscow, was killed by a bomb- The body of the Grand Duke 
was blown to small pieces. The assassin, a member of the 
Socialist-Revolutionary Party, did not attempt to escape. The 
Grand Duchess Elisabeth, widow of the late Grand Duke, 
spoke to him and offered to make an appeal for his life. 
The man refused. 

After the assassination of her husband, the Grand 
Duchess retired to a convent and became a nun. She was 
murdered by the Soviet Government together with some other 
members of the Imperial Family in Alapayevsk, in the 



178 



Province of Perm, in 1918. The Grand Duchess was even more 
beautiful than her younger sister, the Empress Alexandra 
Fedorovna. 

Czar Nicholas II adored his wife. Their marriage was a 
very happy one in all respects but one. The young couple's 
natural desire was to have a son, especially as it was important 
to have an Heir-Apparent to the throne of Russia- 

Year after year one girl after another was born... four 
girls in succession! Medical science could not offer any 
remedy, hence the Imperial couple turned to religion and 
to mysticism. At that time, the Grand Duke Nicholas 
Nicholayevitch, the future Commander-in-Chief of the Rus 
sian Army in the First World War, was interested in spirit 
ualism. In his palace near Strelna, besides the usual parties, 
spiritualistic seances were arranged. The Grand Duke instructed 
Count Muravyev-Amoursky, Russian Military Attache in Paris, 
to invite to Russia a certain doctor de Chose (nom cle plume) 
who was an authority on Jewish Kabbalah and had written 
a book on the subject. Count Muravyev-Amoursky happened 
to belong to a group of admirers of a certain charlatan 
and a quack doctor by the name of Philippe de Lyon. 
Admirers of this Philippe believed him to be a saint who 
was not born but came down from heaven. According to 
official records, this Philippe was tried several times by the 
police court for fraud. 

Following the request of the Grand Duke, instead of 
bringing to St. Petersburg Doctor de Chose, who refused to 
come, Count Muravyev-Amoursky brought Philippe de Lyon 
to Russia. The Grand Duke and his younger brother Peter 
Nicholayevitch and the two Montenegro sisters, Anastasia and 
Militza, were very much impressed by Philippe Vachot 
(Vachot was his family name) and managed to introduce him 
to the Empress. From that time on, Philippe Vachot often 
came to Russia and lived secretly near the summer residence 
of the Czar. 

He arranged stances and talked to the Empress and 
had an enormous influence on her, practically hypnotizing 
her. Under his influence, the Empress imagined that she was 
expecting a child. Evidently on his advice, she refused to 
submit to doctors' examinations, but all the symptoms of 



179 



her pregnancy were there. All court festivities were officially 
suspended, but when the time came, no child was born. 
Philippe Vachot was advised to leave Russia. 

After his departure, his admirers, including Grand Duke 
Nicholas Nicholayevitch, believed that he accomplished his 
mission on earth and ascended to heaven alive! 

At the court of the unfortunate King Louis XVI of 
France and Marie Antoniette, at one time a charlatan known 
under the name of Count Balsamo Cagliostro played an 
important role. In a curiously similar way, Philippe Vachot 
was also the harbinger of tragic events that followed. 

After the unfortunate experience with Doctor Philippe 
de Lyon *, the Imperial couple turned to the Mother Church. 

Count Witte, in his memoirs, told a story of how a 
hermit by the name Seraphim was canonized. This story 
was told to Witte by Constantin Pobedonostsev, Procurator 
of the Holy Synod. According to Witte, Pobedonostsev received 
an order from the Czar to canonize Seraphim, and Pobedonost 
sev obligingly executed the order. Of course, all necessary 
formalities were properly followed by the highest authorities 
of the Russian Church. 

The Czar and the Czarina went for the opening of the 
new Saint's relics at the Sarovsky hermitage. The Empress 
prayed, and her prayers were finally answered. On the 30th 
of July, 1904, a son was born to her, Cesarevitch Alexis 
Nicholayevitch. 

In the meantime, reports from the fighting fronts were 
far from reassuring. The Russo-Japanese War started on the 
9th of February, 1904, with a Japanese sneak attack on the 
Russian fleet at Port Arthur. In the first two months of war, 
Admiral Togo succeeded in sinking the flagship *Petropavlovsk 
of Admiral Makaroff, Commander of the Russian Asiatic 
fleet. Admiral Makaroff perished with his ship, and the 
Japanese gained an indisputable control of the sea. 

With the beginning of war, General Kuropatkin, 
Secretary of War, and former Chief of Staff of General 
Skobekv, a hero of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, was 
appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Army in 
Kfaochuria. He took some time to depart for the fighting 



180 



front, bidding goodbye to different government departments, 
garrisons and army units, and everywhere he was blessed 
with an icon, Even on his long journey to Manchuria, dif 
ferent delegations were awaiting him at the railroad stations 
in order to bless him, and each one presented him with an 
icon. By the time the brave general arrived at the fighting 
front, he had quite a collection of icons, but the Russian 
Army continued to retreat. 

Kuropatkin intended to retreat until the army units 
arriving from European Russia would give the Russians 
superiority over the enemy. However, Admiral Alexeyev, the 
Viceroy of the Far East, interfered continuously, and 
Kuropatkin was not strong enough to stand his ground. 

On the 1st of January, 1905, Port Arthur capitulated to 
the Japanese* In February-March of the same year, at the 
battle of Mukden, which lasted more than ten days, the Rus 
sians suffered their greatest defeat. By this time the irresponsible 
advisers of the Czar realized that Russia was not destined to 
* dictate conditions of a victorious peace in Tokyo as they 
were predicting, and began to scatter. 

The idea of sending the Russian Baltic fleet to the 
Far East proved to be disastrous. After the fall of Port 
Arthur, Admiral Rozhdestvensky decided to get to the naval 
base at Vladivostok- He reached the Tsushima Straits by 
the end of May, when a battle with Admiral Togo took 
place. In this battle, with the exception of a few small 
ships, the entire Russian Baltic fleet was lost, and Admiral 
Rozhdestvensky was captured by the Japanese. 

Due to the news from the fighting front, disappointment 
and bitterness increased among the Russian intelligentsia. 
They refused to believe in a possible Russian recovery, and 
were looking for revenge. They started an open struggle 
against the Czar. 

Strikes, bombings, assassinations of government of 
ficials were increasing daily. Practically in all Russian towns 
and cities socialist demonstrations with red flags took place. 
The Marsaillaise, a song of revolution, became a very popular 
song in Russia! Very often these demonstrations ended by a 
general pogrom when stores were looted by the mobs in the 



181 



streets. The local police were helpless to prevent these 
disorders. 

Throughout the country, peasants were pillaging and 
setting fires to the country homes of the gentry. They were 
destroying everything libraries, valuable furniture, oil 
paintings they were killing cattle and horses, and were 
burning down the barns and granaries of unfortunate 
landowners. 

As a matter of fact, it was not hatred that prompted 
Russian peasants to act that way towards their former noble 
lords. In their own way, the peasants were fighting for more 
land. They knew that the landowners, as a rule, did not carry 
any insurance, or their insurance was not sufficient to permit 
them to recover. After the loss of all their buildings and 
implements, many of them were forced to sell or to give up 
their land. And the peasants had exactly this aim in mind. 

A general railroad strike was proclaimed and for two 
weeks Russia appeared to be ruled by Khrustalev-Nosar, 
president of the council (soviet) of the workers. It seemed 
that the government was losing control. 

At this critical moment, on the 5th of September, 1905, 
Count Witte signed a peace treaty with Japan at Portsmouth, 
New Hampshire. In spite of defeat, the conditions of this 
treaty were not too harsh. Russia was to leave Lioatung 
Peninsula as well as Southern Manchuria and Korea. All 
these territories were to be in the Japanese sphere of 
influence. Russia agreed to surrender to Japan the southern 
half of Sakhalin Island. Komura, representing Japan in 
Portsmouth, with the approval of the Emperor of Japan, waived 
the question of indemnity. 

It was the end of the Russian Far Eastern adventure. 
On top of all material losses and thousands of men killed, 
Russia lost face * in Asia. In addition, Russia was enveloped 
in the flames of revolution. 

On the 17-30 of October, 1905, a manifesto of the Czar 
granting Russia a representative form of government was 
greeted with tremendous enthusiasm and turned the tide 
against the revolutionaries. Although the majority of intellec 
tuals were perfectly willing to cooperate with the government 
on the basis of this new constitution, the revolutionary 
kaders, socialists and communists continued to remain 



182 



hostile to the existing order. The socialists believed that 
socialism, and communism as its final phase, could be 
immediately introduced in Russia. They desired the abolition 
of landed property. During the fall of 1905, in nineteen 
provinces of European Russia, approximately two thousand 
landed estates were pillaged and destroyed. 

On the 3-16 of December, 1905, the council (soviet) of 
workers in St. Petersburg, with all its members, was arrested. 
Its followers replied by an armed uprising in Moscow. In 
many other cities and communities armed insurrections broke 
out. In many places along the Trans-Siberian Railway 
revolutionary upheavals took place. 

Count Witte was destined to be the first president of 
the unified cabinet. The government was facing two important 
and very urgent problems. First, on account of the recent 
war with Japan, the financial position of the government 
was rather weak. The government needed a loan and 
feared that the new Parliament would not sanction it. 
Second, the Russian Army was still in the Far East. Owing 
to the railroad strikes and disorders, the government was 
unable to transport the troops through Siberia back to 
European Russia and could not order a demobilization. 

In a very short time, Count Witte solved these problems. 
He succeeded in receiving a large loan from France. The 
archives of the Russian Imperial government made public 
by the Bolsheviks revealed the fact that Count Witte had 
paid large sums to the French press in order to make this 
loan possible. 

At the same time, Count Witte sent expeditionary forces 
to restore order on the Trans-Siberial Railway. The govern 
ment was compelled to act ruthlessly in this matter, and 
finally Count Witte succeeded in bringing back the army 
from the Far East. 

General Dubassov was appointed Governor-General of 
Moscow. He was entrusted with the task of restoring orda 
in this ancient capital, where revolutionaries had constructed 
barricades and were fighting soldiers on the streets. 

In different parts of the empire martial law was 
proclaimed. A governor was appointed for Yalta and nearby 



183 



districts. This governor was the famous General Ivan 
Antonovitch Dumbadze, a Georgian. He was extremely loyal 
to the throne. The socialist-terrorists were hiding in the 
mountains around Yalta, having at their disposal ammunition 
and bombs. General Dumbadze ruthlessly raided these 
socialist strongholds and paraded with his troops through 
the streets of Yalta. 

General Dumbadze stated that he was responsible for 
the order and safety of the members of the Imperial family 
who were living on their estates in Crimea and, therefore, 
mercilessly deported all suspicious persons. A reporter, 
Pervukhin, severely criticized General Dumbadze's actions, in 
the columns of a local newspaper. Instead of deporting 
Pervukhin, General Dumbadze challenged him to a duel. 
Dumbadze told my father that he would get rid of Pervukhin 
without order of deportation... Pervukhin left Yalta in a 
hurry* 

The lists of the deported individuals were published 
daily in the local newspaper- Some of them appealed to 
General Dumbadze personally. Dumbadze was very abrupt, 
and without going into details, usually asked the petitioners 
to give him their word of honor that they would in the future 
refrain from socialist activities. Whoever kept his promise 
was left undisturbed. 

Dumbadze was strict in the executions of his orders. 
At the same time, he was fair and kindhearted. His integrity 
was never questioned. 

How well I remember the sound of a terrific explosion. 
It was a bomb that was thrown at General Dumbadze on 
Nicholayevskaya Street, when he was driving in his carriage 
to Livadia, The bomb was thrown by a terrorist from a balcony 
of the villa of a Mr. Novikov- By the force of the explosion, 
General Dumbadze was thrown out of his carriage, but was 
not seriously injured. His escort of four soldiers who were 
riding behind his carriage jumped into the house, but it was 
too late. The terrorist, after throwing the bomb, shot himself 
ill the mouth. 

Soldiers of the infantry regiment stationed in Livadia 
adored General Dumbadze. When they heard the explosion, 
they rushed to the place of the incident. The villa was 



184 



surrounded and burned down. General Dumbadze had 
previously announced that he would destroy any building 
from which a shot would be fired or a bomb thrown at any 
government official. He made landlords and superintendents 
responsible for the people whom they admitted to their 
premises. Now he kept his word, and even the stone foundation 
of the villa was destroyed- 

Later on, the government paid Mr. Novikov seventy- 
five thousand Roubles ($ 37,500) for his villa. This was more 
than he could have gotten by selling his property. 

General Dumbadze's eardrums were injured by the 
detonation, and about a year later he took leave for a few 
months to consult ear specialists in St. Petersburg and 
Germany. During his absence, Novitzki, Governor of Crimea, 
gave permission to a number of persons who had been 
deported to return to Yalta. At that time it was rumored 
that Novitzki's honesty could be disputed. 

As soon as General Dumbadze came back for duty 
after his leave, he demanded the Governor to give an explanation 
for his actions. 

I deport, and you return, the same people I he 
exclaimed. In the course of the ensuring quarrel, General 
Dumbadze ordered the deportation from Yalta of Governor 
Novitzki himself, although he was his superior- Novitzki left 
Yalta, but appealed to St. Petersburg. Dumbadze was delighted, 
because he expected to be dismissed from his troublesome 
post. 

I am only a soldier , he used to say. 

However, members of the Imperial Family did not feel 
safe without Dumbadze, and he was ordered to remain at 
his post. 

Gradually, normal conditions were restored thoughout 
the Empire. Russia then entered a new era of economic and 
industrial activities and began to develop rapidly. New rail 
road were built, new factories were opened, new oil 
wells were drilled, and all kinds of minerals were mined. 
Russia's trade expanded rapidly every year, and prices on 
the St. Petersburg Stock Exchange were continuously rising, 
reflecting an unprecedented general economic, industrial and 
financial growth of the country 



185 



Of course, I was merely a boy at that time and these 
events did not affect my life much. I listened to the continuous 
discussions of my elders with great interest, being able to form 
my own opinion only years later. 



186 



PRINCE OUCHA DADIANI 
CHAPTER XX 



As soon as order was restored in Russia, the Czar 
resumed regular visits to his Crimean estate, Livadia. Even' 
year he spent two or three months there in spring or 
autumn. 

Long before his arrival the little town would be filled 
with all kinds of government officials, courtiers and members 
of St. Petersburg society. The exact date of his arrival was 
never announced- His Majesty's yacht, Standard , was 
traveling from St. Petersburg all around Europe, through the 
Mediterranean, to the Black Sea, where the Russian naval 
base at Sebastopol had a natural harbor of such tremendous 
size that the whole Russian Black Sea fleet was able to 
anchor there. The railroad from St. Petersburg to Crimea 
terminated at Sebastopol, and from Sebastopol to Yalta, the 
scenic shore drive through the mountain was famous for its 
beauty. 

The Czar traversed Russia on the Imperial train running in 
three sections, and boarded his yacht at Sebastopol. A few 
days before his arrival, some battleships, cruisers and 
destroyers were usually dispatched to Yalta and anchored in 
the open sea two or three miles from shore. When the 
Standard >, a most graceful yacht, slowly approached the 
pier at Yalta, the battleships and cruisers fired the Imperial 
salute of one hundred and one guns. This salute reverberated 
in the mountains which surrounded Yalta in the north. 

At the shore, the Czar was greeted by the solemn 
strains of the national anthem, God Save the Czar , and 
by the continuous hurrahs of the crowds. 



187 



Though the Czar had several motor cars at his disposal, 
he always drove from the pier to his estate in an open 
carriage, driven by two horses. Preceding the carriage galloped 
an old Tatar guide, seated on a prancing Crimean pony, 
and dressed in his national Tatar costume, all embroidered 
in gold. The carriage of the Heir-Apparent, Cesarevitch Alexis, 
followed, then the carriage of the four daughters of the 
Czar These three carriages were followed by innumerable 
carriages of the Grand Dukes and Grand Duchesses and the 
members of the Imperial Suite. 

The crowd appeared to forget the recent revolutionary 
outbreak and greeted their Soverign with tremendous 
enthusiasm that was restrained with difficulty by the police 
and by the soldiers placed along the road. 

After the assassination of Czar Alexander II in 1881, 
his son, Czar Alexander III appeared rarely on the streets 
of St. Petersburg. The last Czar, Nicholas II, never appeared 
on the streets of the capital, yet he often appeared on the 
streets of Yalta. He was usually accompanied by a few cossacks 
of His Majesty's Escort in their colorful uniforms. At times 
the carriage was driven slowly, and all the passers-by could 
see the Czar very clearly. He saluted the crowd in a military 
fashion, smiling in his usual gracious manner. His resemblance 
to his cousin, King George V was striking, yet his eyes were 
much kinder than those of the British Monarch. 

The Czar had a well-tanned complexion, and there were 
deep rings under his eyes- He had a habit of stroking his 
moustache in a rather nervous gesture, although he never lost 
his kingly poise, even after his abdication, when he was kept 
prisoner in Czarskoye Selo, and later on, in Tobolsk, in 
Siberia. 

The Empress Alexandra Fedorovna was always rather stiff 
and proud in her demeanor. She was a handsome woman, but 
her beauty was marred by red spots which appeared on her 
face- She had a nervous disposition. The Czarina, before her 
marriage, was Princess Alix of Hesse. There were four 
Princesses of the House of Hesse, who married members of 
the Romanov family. Countess (Landgrafin) Wilhelmina of 
Hesse was the wife of Czar Paul I (1796-1801). Princess Marie 
of Hesse was the wife of Czar Alexander II (1855-1881). Princess 



188 




t* 

|* 

, .' a 



Czar II. 




Czar X wholes II and his cousin Ju?ig George V with sons 

Prince of *now the of Windsor f md 



Elisabeth of Hesse was the wife of Grand Duke Serge, uncle 
of the last Czar, and her younger sister, Princess Mix of 
Hesse, was the wife of the last Czar, Nicholas II. All four 
of these Romanovs died violent deaths- 

The little boy, Cesarevitch Alexis, accepted the greetings 
of the crowd rather seriously, and punctiliously saluted back 
in a military way. He was usually accompanied by a sailor, 
Derevenko, who played the part of his nurse. I remember 
the Cesarevitch once lost his composure, and standing on 
the back seat of the carriage he screamed at the top of his 
voice: Hurry up, Derevenko! The crowd roared with 
laughter, looking at the sailor who was trotting on his pom 
behind the carriage. 

I remember Grand Duke Dmitri, brother of the Grand 
Duchess Maria Pavlovna, who was surrounded by a crowd 
in front of the Hotel de Russie in Yalta. The Grand Duke 
stood smiling in his carriage, asking the crowd to make way 
for him. The sight of the young, handsome man in the uniform 
of the Imperial Horse Guards aroused the enthusiasm of the 
crowd. The loud hurrahs acclaimed the young prince. 

Many members of the Imperial family had their estates 
in Crimea and lived on the shore of the Black Sea during 
several months every year. The native Tatars were extremely 
loyal to the Imperial family and to the Russian aristocrats 
who had their estates and villas there. These Tatars did not 
take part in the revolution of 1905. When the stores in 
Yalta were looted during the disorders that followed the Rus 
so-Japanese War, it was done by a street mob of Russians 
who had come to Crimea looking for work- Being Moslems, 
the Tatars had their own traditions, respecting their elders. 
Unbounded hospitality has always been an essential part of 
the religious code of an Oriental. He considered every guest 
as sent to him by Allah, and Russian owners of Crimean 
estates were regarded as guests in Crimea. 

As a matter of fact, the Caucasians and the Tatars were 
much more loyal to the throne and to their direct superiors 
than Russians. These Oriental subjects of the Russian empire 
were most interesting characters. 

I remember His Serene Highness Prince Oucha Dadiani 
of the former reigning family of Mingrelia, who served in 



189 



His Majesty's Escort. The Czar liked this Georgian Prince 
very much," and Oucha, in turn, adored his Sovereign. Out 
of 'deep affection for Oucha, the Czar singled him out by 
addressing him * thou *, a very intimate way. Czar Nicholas 
II addressed only very few of his most intimate friends that 
way. 

Prince Dadiani usually accompanied the Czar on his 
journeys in Crimea. More often than any other officer of 
His Majesty's Escort he took charge of the guards placed 
inside the Imperial Palace in Czarskoye Selo and in Livadia. 
The Czar usually stayed in his office late at night, sometimes 
until the early hours of the morning. But he got up every 
day without exception at six o'clock; therefore, quite often 
he" had only a couple of hours of sleep. This explained the 
dark rings under his eyes. 

The Czar had to read volumes of official papers and 
reports delivered to him daily from different government 
offices. Once in a while he felt tired and wanted to rest. If 
Dadiani was on duty, the Czar called him to his office. He 
liked to play chess with Dadiani, and listened to his stories 
about his native Caucasus, its traditions and customs. 
Although the Czar talked to Dadiani often in this informal 
way, he never discussed affairs of state with him. 

Dadiani had a considerable fortune, but he was a 
gambler. Sometimes the Czar paid his card debts, trying at the 
same time to persuade him to give up gambling. 

Once, when the Czar was returning to Livadia late in 
the evening, Prince Dadiani, as usual, accompanied him, 
riding behind the carriage of the Czar. It was dark, and 
raining. Dadiani lost his cap. His cossacks looked for it in 
the darkness but could not find it. The Czar was amused, 
and Dadiani felt embarrassed. 

The next morning, at nine o'clock, the Czar went from 
Livadia to visit Count Fredericks, the old Minister of the 
Court, who was lying sick in bed in the Hotel Marino in 
Yalta. The sun was shining, the fresh breeze was blowing 
from the sea, but on the road there were puddles of water from 
the previous night's rain. Dadiani again rode behind the car 
riage of the Czar. Early that morning his cossacks had found 
his cap hanging on a branch of a tree, and Dadiani's pride 



190 




Ero 






f/it" son af flic last Czar, 
Cesarevitch Alexis, 




Pnnee Oucha in Hie 

of an of His Majesty's 



of an efficient officer had been reinstated. When the Imperial 
cortege entered Yalta, a gust of wind tore off the navy cap 
of the Czar and it rolled along the street, 

It will fall in a puddle, I am afraid , the Czar 
remarked, and so it did. Now, it was the turn of Dadiani to 
be amused. Of course, he did not dare laugh. A baker ran 
out of his store, rescued the cap from the water and 
approached the carriage, proudly presenting it to the Czar. 

The Czar never carried money. He usually received a 
gold coin every Sunday from his private purse to put on a 
plate in church. It actually was the only allowance that he 
received in cash. And now the Czar had no money to tip 
the baker. 

Dadiani, give me a Rouble , the Czar asked. Dadiani 
had played cards the night before, and had lost his last 
penny. He turned to his sergeant, asking him for a Rouble. 
The sergeant had to dig the money out of his boot; it was 
wrapped in a piece of paper. The Czar wathched this slow 
procedure how the sergeant finally got hold of the money 
and gave one Rouble to Dadiani, and Dadiani in turn present 
ed it to the Czar. The Czar took his cap from the baker, 
thanked the man and gave him the money. Then he turned 
to Dadiani. 

Arent's you ashamed, Dadiani? You havent 1 a penny 
with you! the Czar said. Dadiani lost no time in replying, 

Your Majesty, if my Emperor has no money, how 
can it be expected from a poor Prince Dadiani to have any? 

The Czar laughed, and the Imperial cortege proceeded 
without any further incidents to the Hotel Marino. The 
same day, the Czar ordered the sum of fifteen thousand 
Roubles to be given to Prince Dadiani. 

In the First World War, with his native Caucasian 
squadron, Dadiani crossed the Dniester River under heavy 
fire from the Austrian artillery. His courageous deed marked 
the beginning of the advance of the Russian armies into 
Galicia. Prince Dadiani received the highest Russian 
decoration for bravery, the Cross of St. George, and his 
name was mentioned in the communique of the GHQ. 

I also remember a great friend of my father, the old 



191 



Sultan Akhmeth Girei, Prince Genghis. Prince Genghis was 
a direct descendant of Genghis-Khan, the great conqueror, 
who invaded Europe in the beginning of the XIII century 
Prince Genghis was brought up in the Corps des Pages in 
St. Petersburg and served in the Cossack Regiment of the 
Guards, He spoke French fluently and wore a lorgnette as 
was the fashion of the past century. He was of Moslem 
faith, was always dressed in a black Tatar national 
costume. Although as a Mohammedan he was allowed by 
the Koran to have several wives, he had only one. 

Princess Genghis was a small Tatar woman. Her 
wrinkled face bore traces of former beauty. In spite of her 
age, her hair had remained jet black. 

The villa of Prince Genghis in Yalta was built in Moorish 
style. Inside, the furniture was European, with Persian rugs 
hanging on the walls covering the low oriental divans- A 
Tatar servant greeted guests at the door with a deep selam , 
bowing and touching his forehead and his heart with his 
right hand. All servants of Prince Genghis were Tatars. 
They were known in Russia as the best and most loyal 
servants. 

Prince Genghis liked to play pocket billiards with my 
father, and they were close friends. 

One day my parents received an invitation for lunch 
from Prince and Princess Genghis. The lunch was arranged 
in honor of His Highness Said-Mir-Alim-Khan, Emir of 
Bokhara. In Central Asia, there were three Khanates: Kokand, 
Bokhara, and Khiva, under the protectorate of the Russian 
Empire. In 1876, Kokand was completely absorbed by Russia 
and renamed Ferghana Territory , but the two Emirates 
of Bokhara and Khiva preserved their semi-independence on 
the condition that in their territory slavery was abolished 
and their markets remained open to Russian traders. Bokhara 
was known for its caracul, oriental Bokhara rugs, and silk, 
somewhat similar to Chinese tussah. In Bokhara, silk cloths 
were made of especially bright colors and the combinations 
of colors were quite daring. Oriental robes for men ( khalates ) 
were made of this silk and were worn on the streets 

The Emir of Bokhara, with his suite, used to come to 
Yalta at the time when the Czar was living in Livadia, All 



192 



members of the suite of Emir consisted of men only* If 
there were some women, these women were well hidden 
because I never saw any. All men were dressed in long 
oriental robes (khalates) of very bright colors, with white 
turbans on their heads. 

With the consent of Prince and Princess Genghis, my 
parents took me with them, although I was only about ten 
or twelve years old. We arrived at the villa and a Tatar 
servant greeted my parents with a deep selam We were 
conducted to the livingroom where some guests were already 
assembled. I watched my father greet Prince Genghis first. 
Then, he crossed the room, approached Princess Genghis, 
bowed and kissed her hand. The old Tatar woman blushed 
with pleasure and smiled at my father. I learned that my 
father was right in a house of a Mohammedan the host 
was more important than the hostess and had to be greeted 
first 

There was Princess Tarkhan-Moouravoff, sitting on a 
low sofa. The Princess had an estate Kuchuk-Lombat on 
the seashore, between Soouk-Sou and Ayu-Dag Mountain. 
My parents used to visit her quite often. There were two 
brothers, Princes Eristoff, a young Princess Dadiani, and 
Abdurakhmanchikoff with his wife. The last one was a 
member of an old noble family of Crimean Tatars which was 
related to the old Khans of Crimea. He also was related 
to Princess Genghis. 

In a few minutes the Emir of Bokhara arrived, 
accompanied by only one man of his suite. The Emir was 
about six feet tall, and rather fat. He had a flat face of a 
Mongol, with a long, dark beard, and wore the same oriental 
robe (khalat) made of silk, only his khalat was black, and 
his turban was unusually large. 

While Prince Genghis was introducing his guests to the 
Emir, General Dumbadze entered the room. He was followed 
by Michael Mikhailovitch Gvozdevitch, Police Commissioner 
of Yalta. Gvozdevitch rose from the ranks and became so 
important that once in a while he was invited to the luncheons 
given to the high government officials in Livadia. He was 
elevated to the status of hereditary nobility and had a villa 
in Yalta. 



193 



After the necessary greetings and introductions were 
over, we all proceeded to the diningroom. As the only child 
present, I was placed at the end of the table, on the left 
of Prince Genghis. The Tatar servants started to serve 
noiselessly and with great skill. The lunch was very simple. 
It consisted of some soup served in cups, and ragout of 
lamb with rice and green salad. No wine was served because 
all alcoholic beverages made of grapes were strictly forbidden 
by the Koran. 

When the ragout of lamb was served, I noted that a 
special dish in a covered silver pan was served to Prince 
Genghis. The Prince noticed my curious glance. 

Would you like to try it? he asked me with a smile. 
It is young colt's meat and it is delicious . 

I hastened to thank the Prince and refused. I did not 
know at that time that I was destined to be compelled to 
eat horse meat a year after the revolution, and of some old 
horse at that, as it was the only meat available in St. 
Petersburg in 1918. 

After lunch, we all moved to the livingroom, where 
Turkish coffee was served in small cups, and some Turkish 
delight, rakhat-loufcum , halva , and chocolate bonbons. 

About half an hour later, the Emir rose from his chair. 
He thanked his host and hostess, bidding goodbye to all the 
guests. Prince Genghis accompanied him to the door, and we 
all walked out on the small porch of the house. The carriage 
of Prince Genghis, with two prancing horses, was brought 
for the Emir to the entrance. 

What beautiful horses you have, Prince! the Emir 
complimented his host. 

They are yours, Your Highness! the Prince replied 
at once, following an oriental custom to present his guest 
with everything the guest admired- 

The Emir of Bokhara thanked the Prince and sat in 
the carriage. From that moment on the carriage and the horses 
became his property and the Tatar coachman of Prince 
Genghis at that time became his servant. 

A few days later, the Emir presented Genghis with 
a dozsn oriental robes made of the finest Bokhara silk. In 
the Orient this exchange of gifts was called Pesh-kesh . 



194 



RASPUTIN 
CHAPTER XXI 



About six months after the birth of Cesarevitch Alexis, 
the Czar and Czarina received an unexpected shock. Their 
only son and the heir to the throne. Cesarevitch Alexis, was 
found to be afflicted with haemophilia, commonly known as 
the bleeder's disease . This disease had been known since 
Biblical times, occurring in certain male members of afflicted 
families, transmission taking place through female members 
of the same families, but the women themselves remaining 
immune to it. 

Due to the traditions which forbade discussions of the 
Imperial family's health very few were aware of the afflic 
tion of the Cesarevitch. Eventually, the public learned the 
condition of his health, and blamed the Empress and the 
House of Hesse for transmitting this disease to the heir of 
the Russian throne. 

As a matter of fact, the House of Hesse was not to be 
blamed. The source of this affliction was to be found in the 
British Royal family, namely, the old Queen Victoria and 
Prince Albert, her consort. 

Fortunately for Great Britain, their oldest son, King 
Edward VII, was free from this misfortune, but his brothers, 
the Duke of Edinburgh and the Duke of Connaught, suffered 
from it, and the youngest brother, the Duke of Albany, died 
from it. The old Queen Victoria had five daughters who 
transmitted this disease to some other royal houses of 
Europe, Her oldest daughter, Princess Victoria was the 
mother of Emperor Wilhelm of Germany, who could not use 



195 



his left arm very well, although this detect could not have 
been attributed to haemophilia but to the fact that he had 
been crippled at birth. The second daughter of the Queen, 
Princess Alice, was the mother of the Russian Empress. Her 
third daughter, Princess Helene, was married to Prince of 
Schleswig-Holstein. The fourth daughter, Princess Louise, was 
married to Marquess of Lome, the oldest son of the Duke 
of Argyll they had no children and, finally, the young 
est daughter, Princess Beatrice, was married to the Duke 
of Battenberg, and her daughter was the wife of King 
Alfonso XFII of Spain, whose oldest son died from haemophilia 

How terrible was it for any mother to realize that she 
had transmitted an incurable disease to her child, and es 
pecially if the disease could be fatal! A small, insignificant 
cut could be followed by uncontrollable bleeding. A haemo 
philiac was constantly vulnerable and at any moment his 
life could be in danger. 

Cesarevitch Alexis was a very lively child, but an 
afflicted child romping about and falling on his elbows or 
knees could develop bleeding in the joints, which could 
eventually lead to deformities. One could imagine the poor 
Empress Alexandra watching her little boy, constantly being 
afraid of an accident that could be fatal to him. And court 
etiquette did not permit the Empress to be a nurse to her 
son. She had to appear happy and content, graciously smiling 
to everybody, while her only son was lying in his little bed, 
suffering from internal hemorrhages. 

All the doctors pronounced this disease incurable and 
fhe Empress turned to religion as her only hope. 

Empress Alexandra was reared in England, with its 
rigid and cold, well-regulated life. Therefore, she was much 
impressed by the deep mysticism of her new country, so much, 
as a matter of fact, that she accepted it and embraced it 
with her whole being and became even more addicted to it 
than the average native Russian. She expected miracles as 
something perfectly natural, and when she was told that a 
certain holy man by the name of Gregory Rasputin was 
able to cure her son, she was willing to believe it. Gregory 
Rasputin was a native of Siberia- He was brought to St. 
Petersburg by the Russian Archbishop of Korea, and his 



196 



first appearance in the Russian capital was possibly in the 
kitchen of Countess Ignatiev, a well-known hostess of St. 
Petersburg. 

The late husband of Countess Ignatiev was appointed 
Procurator of the Holy Synod, but died suddenly before he 
had time to take over this post. His widow decided to take 
over the administration of the affairs of the Russian Church, 
and the reception rooms of her mansion in St. Petersburg 
were usually crowded with archbishops, priests, monks and 
other representatives of the Russian clergy, including some 
Metropolitans (a rank of a Metropolitan of the Eastern 
Church corresponded to the rank of a Cardinal in the Roman- 
Catholic Church). They drank tea endlessly in the spacious 
dining room, telling the good Countess all their troubles and 
their aspirations to get a certain post or a certain parish. 

From the rear entrance of the house the Countess 

received so-called holy people , who sat in her servants' 

quarters and in her kitchen for hours, drinking tea and 
waiting to catch a glimpse of their benefactor. 

A number of Russian peasants, men and women alike, 
were leaving their native villages and were wandering from 
one monastery to another. In one place, they worshipped at 
the holy relics of some saint, at another they were kneeling 
in front of some miracle working icon, and so on. These 
wanderings lasted sometimes many months, even years. Quite 
often these holy people made pilgrimages on foot to the 
Holy Land to worship at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem 
Sometimes they were arrested in Russia by the police for 
vagrancy, but generally speaking, they were regarded as 
holy people * by the majority of Russians, and everyone 
gave them some money, food, and even a place to stay 
overnight. 

It was difficult to determine what exactly prompted all 
these people to go wandering from one place to another. 
Probably, many of them were just lazy, and left their native 
villages to escape hard labor in the fields. Some of these 
wanderers were possibly genuinely religious. 

Rasputin wandered for many years, and went on foot 
to the Holy Land. He received instructions from Buddhist 
monks in Siberia, and acquired a hypnotic power. In spite 



197 



of being an illiterate mujik, Gregory Rasputin made a very 
strong impression on all whom he met. 

The pale blue, almost colorless eyes of Rasputin made 
quite an impression on Countess Ignatiev, and she introduced 
him to Anastasia and Militza of Montenegro, who, in turn, 
introduced him to the Empress, 

A number of Russian peasants, men and women alike, 
were known to have an ability to cast a spell over the 
blood , i.e. to stop bleeding. They knew what plants, when 
applied to the tender tissue of the skin, could cause an 
immediate bleeding, they knew what plants could stop it. 
Some of them could make blood coagulate without even 
touching the wound ( to cast a spell over the blood , in 
Russian, zagovarivat krov). Was it a hypnosis? Maybe. 
They stood so near to nature that they knew many things 
which well-educated people did not understand. Rasputin was 
not the only one who possessed this gift. 

Rasputin was brought to the Empress for the specific 
purpose of helping the Cesarevitch who suffered horribly at 
that time from an internal hemorrhage. The boy was in bed, 
white as a ghost. Blood, accumulating in one place, was 
pressing and tearing tissues apart, causing terrible pain. 
Rasputin approached the bed of the Cesarevitch, knelt, and 
started to pray. Then he asked everybody, including the 
Empress, to leave the room- 

When, half an hour later, Rasputin emerged from the 

bedroom, the Cesarevitch was asleep. He slept soundly that 

night, and the bleeding stopped. The Empress believed 
Rasputin was a saint! 

A few months later, some railroad cars were derailed 
on the road leading from St. Petersburg to Czarskoye Selo, 
the residence of the Czar. Madame Anna Vyroubov, Lady-in- 
waiting of the Empress, happened to be on the train and 
her legs were injured. She was bleeding profusely... there was 
nc doctor around, but Rasputin, who knew Madame Vyroubov 
by sight, came to help her. In a very short time, the bleeding 
stopped 

After this accident, Madame Vyroubov became crippled 
for life, but absolutely nothing could shake her faith in 



198 



Rasputin, who possibly at that time saved her life. Madame 
Vyroubov was close to the Empress, and her strong conviction 
influenced the Empress still more to believe that Rasputin 
possessed some supernaturel powers 

The Empress was anxious to have Rasputin near her 
little boy at all times. Rasputin was called to the Imperial 
Palace at any time of day or night, and his frequent visits 
and his presence in the palace had to be officially explained, 

It was decided to make Rasputin a priest. But t un 
fortunately, he was illiterate! The task of teaching him to 
read and write was entrusted to Yeromonach (priest-monk) 
fliodor. 

Iliodor was a classmate of Joseph Stalin in a theological 
seminary. Stalin quit the school, being engaged in revolutionary 
activities. Iliodor was graduated and became a missionary. 
He was very successful, and his revival meetings attracted 
huge crouds, especially women. He was introduced to the 
Czar, a great reward for his achievements. 

Iliodor became ambitious. His aspiration was to become 
the Father Confessor to the Czar Instead, he was entrusted 
with the task of teaching an illiterate mujik to read and 
write, while he, the highly successful missionary, could not 
even hope to become a priest of the Imperial Chapel. Adding 
insult to injury, in the eyes of the Czar and Czarina, this 
illiterate mujik was a saint! 

Iliodor began to hate his pupil. These two men became 
mortal enemies. Their mutual hatred lasted for many years 
and induced Iliodor, from the place of his exile, Bergen, 
Norway, in the summer of 1914, to send one of his admirers, 
a woman by the name of Guseva, to kill Rasputin. 

At that time Rasputin was visiting his native village, 
Selo Pokrovskoye * in Siberia. The woman met him in 
Tyumen, in the Ural Mountains, on his return trip to St. 
Petersburg. She approached Rasputin for his blessing and 
thrust a knife into his abdomen. 

At the time of the assassination of the Archduke Franz- 
Ferdinand in Sarajevo, Rasputin was lying in bed in a 
hospital in Tyumen, recovering from this wound. He was 
sending telegrams to the Czar, one after another, strongly 



199 



advising him to avoid war at any cost. Rasputin was a true 
representative of the Russian peasants. The Czar knew it and 
valued his opinion. The war was extremely unpopular 
among the masses of the Russian people; if Rasputin had 
been in St. Petersburg in the summer of 1914, possibly the 
war would have been avoided who knows? 

But, fate decided otherwise. 

In december, 1916, Rasputin was killed by Prince Felix 
Youssoupoff, my classmate in the Corps des Pages. 

But, coming back to our story, Rasputin turned out to 
be incapable of mastering Russian spelling; he never learned 
to read and write, and never became a priest. 

In order to explain his presence in the Imperial Palace, 
hf was given a rank of a Lampado-vozjigatel . His official 
duties were to light oil lamps in front of icons in the palace 
rooms. His nearness 10 the Imperial family was very 
damaging to the popularity of the Empress. 

The Empress Alexandra was very much in love with 
the Czar- She ran like a young girl to greet him at the 
entrance of the palace when, during the First World War, the 
Czar used to return from the fighting front. There was no 
doubt that the Empress was a faithful and loving wife, and 
a good mother to her children. However, the behavior of 
Rasputin outside the Imperial palace was outrageous, and 
caused much gossip and criticism. AH four daughters of the 
Czar hated Rasputin, but the Empress stubbornly believed 
in him. Her letters to him she signed: I kiss your feet , 
believing him to be a Saint. 

Rasputin was known to frequent well-known night 
clubs in St, Petersburg where everyone could see him, often 
drunk. In his drunken stupors, he used to call the Empress, 
disrespectfully, by her nickname Sashka , He acted like 
an ill-mannered drunk-mujik who wanted to brag about his 
position in the Imperial Palace. On some occasions, in his 
usual intoxicated state, Rasputin insulted some high govern 
ment officials who happened to be in the same night club 
with him. Eventually, Rasputin became a notorious figure 
and was hated and despised by practically every loyal subject 
of the Czar- 



200 



And yel Rasputin never exercised the power which was 
attributed to him. The Czar listened to him, believing that 
he was a true representative of the masses of the Russian 
people. And, undoubtedly, it was correct Rasputin was 
a typical Russian mujik, but the Czar seldom followed his 
advice. 

The power of Rasputin was created by some government 
officials who were eager to grant his requests, hoping that 
by doing so they would win the favor of the Imperial family. 
This part of Rasputin's activities was practically unknown 
to the Czar, because the majority of government officials 
refused to receive him in their offices, and the fact remain!, 
that when in December, 1916, Rasputin was killed by Prince 
Youssoupoff, he was absolutely penniless. Simanovitch, 
secretary of Rasputin, amassed a fortune! 

After the revolution, this secretary wrote a book which 
was published in Russia. The title was A Jew Behind the 
Throne . In this book, Simonovitch tried to prove that 
Rasputin had a strong influence on the Czar and he, 
Simonovitch, exercised a very strong influence on Rasputin, 
which, undoubtedly, he did. 



201 



RUSSIAN FOREIGN POLICY IN EUROPE DURING THE 
LAST TWO DECADES 

CHAPTER XXII 



Right after the peace treaty between Spain and the 
United States was signed (August 12, 1898), Count M. 
Muraviev, at that time Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs, 
invited to his office in St. Petersburg ambassadors and 
diplomatic representatives of all foreign countries, accredited 
at that time to the government of the Czar, and read to them 
a manifesto of Czar Nicholas II on the necessity lo limit 
armaments. The declaration of the Czar stated that a 
continuous increase in armaments represented a heavy 
burden for every country and was leading to inevitable 
world conflict. 

Delivery of the manifesto was timed with the end of 
the Spanish-American War so as not to embarrass both 
belligerants. 

This manifesto of the Czar took European powers by 
surprise, and was met with resentment and suspicion, 

France, then an ally of Russia, was unreconciled to the 
loss of Alsace-Lorraine, and was inclined to consider the 
Russian declaration as some kind of insult to her national 
pride. Besides, from all the evidence, there was looming 
a war between France and Great Britain at that very 
moment the Anglo-Egyptian forces won a crushing victory 
over the Dervishes at Omdurman and occupied Khartoum, 
threatening the French at Fashoda. 

Emperor Wilhelm of Germany regarded any limitation 
of armaments as an invasion of his sovereignty. Imagine*, 



202 



he wired to the Czar, a Monarch dissolving his regiments 
sacred with centuries-old history and traditions! , 

The Russian government itself did not sincerely believe 
in the possibility of any armaments limitations. At that time, 
Russian financial resources did not permit the government 
to re-arm the Russian army with modern rapid-fire field guns 
Russia was helplessly behind in the arms race; hence, a 
Russian desire for limitation of armaments. 

The only groups that greeted enthusiastically the ma 
nifesto of the Czar were the liberals and the pacifists in every 
country. 

In spite of all the resentment and all the difficulties, 
the Russian government issued numerous invitations, and the 
opening of the International Peace Conference, representing 
twenty-six nations, took place at the Hague on the 18th of 
May, 1899. The conference remained in session for about two 
months. 

Discussions on the question of arms limitations did not 
bring any results, but the conference established a World Court 
of Arbitration and adopted certain modifications of the rules 
of warfare. The conference did not spare any effort trying to 
make conditions of war in the future more humane. 

The results of the Hague Conference were very disap 
pointing, because arbitration of any disagreement was not made 
obligatory. However, the delegates felt a necessity to satisfy 
public opinion and, therefore, a very unimportant case a 
dispute between Venezuela and Great Britain was presented 
to the World Court of Arbitration. This dispute was successfully 
solved by the decision of the Tribunal, and a few days later, 
without any arbitration, Great Britain went to war against the 
Boers in Transvaal. 

The Conference assembled for the second time in 1907, 
with the same disappointing results. At the time of the First 
World War, all measures adopted by the Hague Conference 
modifying the rules of warfare were thoroughly forgotten 
However, Czar Nicholas II had the right to claim to be the 
first head of state to call for an international peace conference, 
already at the end of the XIX century! 

At that time neither Emperor Wilhelm of Germany nor 
th* Czar himself could foresee the destructive force of the 



203 



coming world conflict and the disastrous results of this 
conflagration in which perished the old empires, the old ideals 
and traditions! 



At the end of the Russo-Japanese War in July, 1905, the 
C/ar made an effort to get rid of an undesirable inheritance 
left to him by his father the alliance of Russia with the 
Republic of France the notorious Entente Cordiale . 

Czar Alexander III broke away from the League of the 
Three Emperors and pulled Russia into an alliance with France. 
At the beginning, it was a secret one. From the Russian point 
of view, it was definitely a defensive compact, but France 
was not satisfied with the defensive character of this alliance. 
After a shameful defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870- 
1871, France was looking for revenge. 

In Russia itself, under the influence of some ver\ 
prominent people who hated the Germans for some reason, 
such as the Dowager-Empress Maria Fedorovna, the Grand 
Duke Nicholas Nicholayevitch, the Montenegro girls, and some 
influential Slavophils, Russian alliance with France eventually 
became not only official, but a very aggressive one. 

Russia was definitely on the wrong side of the fence. 
The Russian empire was placed in a position that, disregarding 
the outcome of the coming war, would make defeat for the 
Russian empire inevitable. In case of victory of the empires 
of Central Europe, Russia, as a country, would lose the war. 
In case of a defeat of these empires, the principle of monarchy 
would suffer a fatal blow and Russia, as an empire, would lose. 

The attitude of the French Republic towards Russia was 
outrageous! At the time of the Russo-Japanese War, when the 
Russian fleet from the Baltic Sea proceeded around Europe 
and Africa to the Far East, France refused to supply Russian 
warships with coal, and denied the facilities of the French 
ports to the Russian fleet- For instance, at Madagascar, the 
French governor gave permission to the Russian warships to 
remain in the harbor only twenty-four hours. As a result, they 
were loaded with coal from German transports in the open 
sea. The loading was done with enormous difficulty as stormy 
weather and high waves endangered the lives of personnel. 



204 



It was Germany who supplied the Russian fleet with coal 
all the way to the Far East. Furthermore, Germany guaranteed 
to Russia the safety of her western frontiers, and made it 
possible for Russia to concentrate her armed forces in 
Manchuria. 

In July, 1905, the Czar met Emperor Wilhelm at Bj6rko, 
at the coast of Finland, and the two monarchs signed a 
defensive treaty of alliance. Under this treaty, France was 
to be invited to adhere to this alliance at a later date. This 
treaty was actually directed against Great Britain, and if 
it had remained in force in 1914 r the First World War would 
have been avoided. 

Unfortunately, already in September of the same year, 
the Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholayevitch, Count Witte, at 
that time President of the Cabinet, and Count Lamsdorff, 
Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, persuaded the Czar that 
this treaty with Germany contradicted the Russian treaty 
with France (Entente Cordiale) which they considered to 
preserve at any price. The Czar was very reluctant, but 
finally conceded, and this treaty with Germany was cancelled. 

It was the last attempt to change the combination of 
powers in Europe. From that time on, a world war became 
practically inevitable. It was only a question of time. 



In October, 1908, Austria-Hungary announced the 
annexation of Bosnia and Herzogovina. This action preci 
pitated the Bosnia Crisis *. 

According to the Treaty of Reichstadt, concluded in 
1876 by Czar Alexander II with Emperor Franz- Josef, Russia 
already had given her consent to the annexation of these 
two provinces by Austria. 

At the Congress of European Powers in Berlin in 1880, 
at the urgent request of Prince Gorchakoff, Russian 
Plenipotentiary, Austria agreed to postpone an outright 
annexation and to get these two provinces * for occupation 
and administration , but now, about forty years later, when 
it became obvious that the Russian aggressive policy in the 
Far East ended in a fiasco, and when Russian attention was 



205 



concentrated on the Balkans, Baron von Aehrenthal, Austrian 
Foreign Minister, decided to confirm the right of Austria- 
Hungary to Bosnia and Herzegovina. He secured the consent 
of Alexander Isvolsky, Russian Foreign Minister, to annexation 
in exchange for his agreeing to the opening of the straits 
of Bosporus and Dardanelles to Russian ships of war. 

The two provinces were annexed on the 5-7 of October, 
1908, but Great Britain and France, our glorius allies , as 
these two countries were called in the Russian press during 
the First World War, objected to the opening of the straits. 
Therefore, Isvolsky could not get his share of the bargain, 
and, moreover, Russian public opinion cared little for the 
straits, but cared much for the Balkan Slavs, our little 
brothers , as the Slavophils used to call them. 

Russia was ready to protest and war seemed imminent 
when Charykoff, at one time Russian Ambassador to 
Constantinople and Assistant Secretary for Foreign Affairs, 
presented to the Czar a copy of the agreement of Reichstadt. 

In Russia this agreement was kept secret by the Rus 
sian government As a matter of fact, it was so secret that 
even Czar Nicholas II did not know the exact terms. After 
reading a copy of the treaty presented to him by Mr. Charykoff, 
the Czar realized that he had no right to object to Austria's 
actions. 

At the same time Peter Stolypin, Russian Prime 
Minister, declared that as long as he was in power, he 
would do everything humanly possible to avoid war until 
his reform would be fully established, and Russia would become 
strong and healthy. He felt that with millions of Russian 
peasants living in archaic communes, who were not as yet 
full and equal citizens of the empire, Russia could not be 
involved in any war. 

The fact that the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina 
was accepted by the Russian government* without protest, 
aroused indignation among Russian intellectuals, and 
especially among the Slavophils. In their opinion Serbia was 
now getting into the sphere of Austrian influence. It seemed 
that for the Slavophils interests of Serbia were much more 
important than interests of their own country! They were 
ready to plunge Russia into war, sacrificing millions of Rus- 



206 



sian lives, to protect Serbia from an imaginary danger of 
being swallowed by Austria. 

Especially excited was Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholavevitch, 
who had two important personal reasons for it, 

First, the Grand Duke knew that in case of war in 
Europe, he was to be appointed Commander-in-Chief of the 
Russian Army, and he was eager to prove that he was well- 
suited for the post. 

Second, the Grand Duke was married to Anastasia ol 
Montenegro, whose oldest sister Zorka was married to King 
Peter Karageorgevich of Serbia, and the Grand Duke felt 
that by protecting Serbia, he was protecting his family \ 
interests. Unfortunately, the Grand Duke had a very limited 
mentality and an unlimited opinion of his military talentv 



207 



THE COUNTRY OF THE PIG FARMERS 
CHAPTER XXIII 



At the time of the First World War and revolution 
which followed, Empress Alexandra Fedorovna was accused 
of being a German and of having pro-German sympathies. 
Of course, the Empress, before her marriage to Czar 
Nicholas II, was a German princess, but by education she 
was English. She was greatly influenced by her grandmother 
the old Queen Victoria, who, after the death of her consort, 
Prince Albert, was leading a very secluded life in the company 
of John Brown. 

Like her royal grandmother, the Empress Alexandra 
was convinced that courtiers and members of society who 
stood near the throne were wicked. For the sake of her 
son, who suffered from haemophilia, she was inclined to 
lead the same secluded life as her English grandmother. In 
relations with other people she was shy and nervous and 
her shyness was taken usually for haughtiness. The unfortunate 
woman was not popular in Russia, but there was no reason 
to accuse her of pro-German sympathies. As a matter of fact, 
she did not like Emperor Wilhelm of Germany because, in 
her opinion, the Emperor was unfair to her brother the 
Grand Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt. 

On the other hand, the Dowager Empress Maria 
Fedorovna was very much at ease in her relations with 
people. She had a friendly attitude towards everyone and 
was well-liked in Russia- At all official social functions, the 
Dowager Empress stole the show. Besides, the Dowager 
Empress did not turn over to the young Empress the jewelry 



208 



which right-fully belonged to the reigning empress, and 
Empress Alexandra was forced to be content with the 
jewelry of the wife of the Heir-Apparent. The pride and 
vanity of Empress Alexandra, a young and beautiful woman, 
suffered continuously. 

Under these conditions it was not difficult for two 
Montenegro sisters to win the young Empress's favor. Both 
sisters were ready to serve the young Empress hand and foot, 
like chambermaids. They appealed to the vanity of the young 
woman. 

The dream of Anastasia of Montenegro was to become 
a Russian Grand Duchess. As a wife of Prince George 
Romanovsky, Duke of Leuchtenberg, she was only a princess. 
Her mind was made up; she divorced her husband in 1906. 
The fact that the approval of the Czar was won. in her 
divorce, proved to be a remarkable feat of diplomacy on 
her part. It proved also that Empress Alexandra exercised 
considerable influence over her husband, because, by tradition, 
divorce did not exist for a member of the Imperial family 

Anastasia of Montenegro timed her divorce with a 
period when the Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholayevitch broke 
off with Madame Bourenin, or another lady who was his 
favorite at the moment, and was an easy target for attack. 
The Grand Duke and the Montenegro girl were married in 
Yalta, Crimea, in 1907. 

And so it came to pass that the Russian Imperial 
family became related by marriage to the Serbian family 
of Karageorgevich and became involved indirectly in several 
murders. As a matter of fact, already in the second half of 
the XIX century, Russia became deeply involved in the 
Balkan's primitive politics. 

Prior to the First World War, Serbia was a country of 
pig fanners. There was no hereditary nobility, no class of 
intelligentsia, and people were uneducated. For some four 
hundred years Serbia had been a part of the Ottoman Empire 
and had been ruled by the Turks. The Serbs periodically 
rose against the Turks and fought them, hiding in the 
mountainous part of the country. Only at the beginning of 
the XIX century, among them appeared a leader. His name 
was Kara George ( Black George*). He was a pig farmer. 



209 



too- It was said that Kara George shot and killed his own 
father because the old man faltered in resisting the Turks. 

In 1804 there was a Serbian uprising which ended more 
or less successfully for the Serbs. Kara George was at the 
head of the uprising, but in 1813 some new Turkish forces 
arrived in Serbia and Kara George fled to Austria. 

At that moment another pig tycoon by the name of 
Milosh Obren appeared. Milosh Obren also fought the Turks, 
but he appeared on the scene as a better diplomat. He 
negotiated with the Turks and they agreed to grant autonomy 
to Serbia on the conditions that the Serbs recognize Turkish 
suzerainty and would pay an annual tribute to them. Milosh 
Obren, proclaimed himself and his descendants hereditary 
Princes of Serbia, which act outraged Kara George and his 
followers. One day the new Serbian prince received a basket 
with the head of Kara George. Nobody knew whether Milosh 
Obren sent the assassins to kill his rival or if it was a gift 
to him from some well-wisher. But from that moment on, 
for about a century, there was vendetta between the two 
families 

In May, 1868, Prince Michael Obrenovich, a descendant 
of Milosh Obren, was assassinated by the followers of Kara 
George's descendants. According to the Serbian tradition, the 
assassins celebrated their victory by thrusting their knives 
into the Prince's body again and again. Forty-five dagger 
wounds were counted afterwards. However, the followers of 
the Karageorgevich family did not succeed this time in 
establishing one of their family as a prince of Serbia. The 
heir to Prince Michael Obrenovich, Prince Milan Obrenovich, 
was proclaimed the ruler of Serbia. The fourteen year old 
prince arrived from Paris where he was finishing his 
education and was warmly greeted by his subjects. The 
popularity of Prince Michael Obrenovich was reflected in 
the attitude of the Serbs toward this young prince, and 
in a few years the very important question of finding a 
suitable bride for their young ruler occupied the minds of 
the majority of his subjects. 

Milan had tried to find a princess of royal blood, but 
Napoleon III and other European monarchs had not been 
inclined to establish a blood relationship with a family of 



210 



pig tycoons. Milan ended by marrying Natalie Keshko, a 
girl of sixteen, whose father was a colonel in the Russian 
army. It was hoped by some Russian diplomats that this 
marriage would help in establishing a permanent tie between 
Russia and Serbia- 

At that time two factions existed in Serbia; one fovered 
Austria-Hungary and Western Europe in general; the other 
one consisted of ardent adherents to the idea of Pan-Slavism, 
Slavonic Cause , Mother Russia, the Czar and the Serbian 
Dream of uniting Balkan Slavs, primarily Serbs, Croats 
and Slovens, into one great independent Slavonic State. 

The Obrenovich family leaned towards Habsburgs while 
the Karageorgevich family and their supporters favored 
Mother Russia and the Romanoffs. 

Prince Milan noticed that although Russia was pro 
moting the idea of an all-Slavonic union, Russian diplomats 
favored Bulgarians, Therefore, in 1877, the prince signed a 
secret treaty with Austria-Hungary accepting domination by 
the Habsburgs for his country. In the same year Czar 
Alexander II declared war on Turkey and won the war for 
the Balkan Slavs. At the congress of Berlin, Russia was 
deprived of the fruits of this victory, but the Balkan Slavs 
gained their independence. Therefore, many historians had 
been of the opinion that Prince Milan stabbed Mother Rus 
sia in the back and sold his country to the Habsburgs in 
return for the payment of his gambling debts. 

Anyway, the rivalry of the two Empires in the Balkans 
increased and with the assassination of the liberal Czar 
Alexander II in 1881, and the ascension to the throne of his 
son, Czar Alexander III, an ardent Pan-Slav, this rivalry 
caused the dissolution of the League of the Three Emperors. 

In the meantime, Prince Milan proclaimed himself a 
king at the ancient monastery of Zhitcha, where the medieval 
Serbian rulers had been crowned, and his Russian wife, 
Natalie, became a queen. The easygoing Milan usually fell 
under the spell of any attractive woman and this weakness 
caused a break in his marriage. The Russian diplomats 
tried to widen the rift between husband and wife with the 
idea of forcing King Milan to abdicate and of establishing 
Queen Natalie as a Regent of Serbia Several attempts on 



211 - 



the life of Milan were made, but none succeeded. Finally, 
Milan abdicated in favor of his son, King Alexander 
Obrenovich. 

The Russian government, in the meantime, had sent 
peddlers into Serbia to sell cheaply printed holy icons to 
the Serbian peasants. The Russian agents were trying hard 
to recruit them all into the Radical Party which promoted 
the ideas of the Serbian Dream , Mother Russia and the 
Czar, The adherents of Peter Karageorgevich belonged to 
this party of the Slavonic Cause and the party gradually 
became the most prominent one in Serbia. 

In 1893, the secret treaty signed by King Milan with 
Austria was published in French newspapers, to the great 
surprise and consternation of the Serbs. The Radical Party 
demanded the immediate accession to the throne of Peter 
Karageorgevich, but this movement was suppressed by force. 

The young King Alexander Obrenovich fell in love with 
Draga Mashin, a lady-in-waiting of his mother. Draga was a 
granddaughter of a rich pig farmer who had loaned money 
to Milosh Obren. This money the prince never returned and 
the rich family of a pig farmer became poor- Being a pretty 
girl, Draga managed to marry a man by the name of 

Svetozar Mashin, a Serbian civil employee, who was 
considerably older than his wife and who shortly afterwards 
died from alcoholism. A few years later Draga became a 
lady-in-waiting of Queen Natalie and, when the Queen was 
banished by Skupshtina (Parliament) and went to live in 
Biarritz, Draga went to live with her. 

Alexander visited his mother, met Draga and fell in 
love with her. Draga was several years older than Alexander, 
but evidently Alexander needed not only a sweetheart but 
a woman who would guide him. Against the wish of his 
mother, Alexander married Draga and she became the Queen 
of Serbia, which caused strong resentment on the part of 
the Serbs. The point was that after the death of her first 
husband, Draga had been very liberal in the choice of her 
lovers. Belgrade was a small place at that time, and there 
was talk that Draga was being supported by her numerous 
wealthy men. 



212 



Count Witte, Russian Prime Minister and Secretary of 
the Treasury at that time, wrote in his memoirs that one 
day Peter Karageorgevich appeared in his office asking for 
a substantial subsidy. Count Witte refused flatly to finance 
him in any shape or form, but with the approval of Czar 
Nicholas II, Peter Karageorgevich received a substantial loan 
from a bank in Bessarabia. The loan was secured by his 
estate in Romania- Count Witte wrote that when he received 
him in his office he could not imagine that this middle- 
aged, modest man would in a short time be the King! It 
was possible only through the cruel assassination of King 
Alexander and Queen Draga , added Count Witte in his 
memoirs. 

The assassination of King Alexander Obrenovich and his 
wife took place on June 11, 1903. They were killed under 
peculiarly atrocious circumstances. This murder was organized 
by Dragutin Dimitriyevich-Apis, a Serbian officer and imbued 
with rare cynicism and cruelty. Queen Draga was expecting 
a child and the assassins ripped open her abdomen. The 
bodies of the King and Queen were thrown out of a window 
of the palace onto the main street in Belgrade, where they 
were eaten by dogs and pigs. Those of my readers who 
would be interested in a detailed description of the Qbrenovich- 
Karageorgevich vendetta, I refer to the book The Mistresses , 
by Betty Kellen, chapter The Serbian Nightmare . 

Peter Karageorgevich did not actually take an active 
part in this murder, but was a member of the group which 
perpetrated the crime}. With the assassination of King 
Alexander and his wife, the Obrenovich family became 
extinct, and Peter Karageorgevich became the King of Serbia 

Great Britain withheld recognition of the new govern 
ment for some time due to the very lenient attitude of the 
government of the new King towards the assassins, but 
Russia, indeed at once, congratulated King Peter on his 
accession to the throne. 

In March, 1909, the oldest son of King Peter 
Karageorgevich, the Crown Prince George, was to abdicate 
his right of succession due to the fact that in a fit of passion 
he mortally injured his valet. His younger brother, Alexander, 
thus became Heir-Apparent. 



213 



And, finally, another murder was the assassination of 
the Austrian Heir- Apparent, Archduke Franz-Ferdinand, at 
Sarayevo, on the 28th of June, 1914. 

Professor V. Mayevsky made a thorough documentary 
research of this crime and in his book Inter-relationship 
between Russia and Serbia *, published in New York in 
1960, in answer to the question: Who directly caused 
the outbreak of the First World War? , there was given 
a well-founded and definite reply: The assassin of the 
Archduke was a Serb by the name of Gabrilo Princip, who 
arrived in Sarayevo directly from Belgrade. He lived in 
Belgrade and it was there that he was prepared for this 
crime and was supplied with necessary weapons and help 
by other Serbs . 

American Professor I. Remak, who studied Serbian 
sources, asserted that the assassination of the Austrian 
Archduke was organized by the same Dimitriyevich-Apis 
who organized the assassination of King Alexander Obrenovich 
and Queen Drage in 1903. This Dimitriyevich-Apis established 
in Serbia a secret terrorist society by the name of The Black 
Hand . Furthermore, Professor Rernak asserted that the 
Serbian Crown Prince Alexander, who was at that time Regent 
of Serbia, and Pasich, Serbian Prime Minister, knew about 
the crime they intended to commit- It was proved that the 
assassins had been in Belgrade, and had been secretly smuggled 
across the Drina River into Bosnia, after receiving hand 
grenades and revolvers from the Serbs. Pasich, Serbian Prime 
Minister, confided this secret to his friend, Count Sforza, on 
the Island of Corfu, This aforesaid knowledge of a crime to 
be committed made the future King Alexander of Yugoslavia 
and Pasich, Prime Minister of Serbia, accomplices to this 
crime. 

There has not been any doubt that Count Berchtold, 
Austrian Prime Minister in 1914, who succeeded Count 
Aehrenthal (Baron Aehrenthal was created Count in 1909), 
was right when he insisted that the plot to assassinate the 
Archduke Franz-Ferdinand originated and was organized in 
Belgrade. 

Italian historian, Luigi Albertini, after exhaustive 
documentary research and interviews of surviving key wit- 



214 



nesses, reached the conclusion that it was Dimitriyevich-Apis 
who organized the assassination of the Archduke Franz- 
Ferdinand and his wife, Duchess Sophie von Hohenberg, in 
Serayevo. 

Colonel Dragutin Dimitriyevich, Chief of the Military 
Intelligence Department of the Serbian army, was known in 
conspiratorial circles (the Black Hand organization) as Apis. 
According to Albertini, Colonel Dimitriyevich-Apis was on very 
friendly terms with N. H. Harting, Russian Minister in 
Belgrade, and particularly with Colonel (later General) 
Victor Artamonov. 

Colonel Artamonov and Dimitriyevich-Apis conducted 
joint secret service operations across the Austrian border, 
Dimitriyevich-Apis supplying secret agents and Artamonov 
contributing large sums of money out of the secret fund 
which was at his disposal as the Russian Military Attache. 
They both shared military intelligence collected by their 
agents, who were engaged at the same time in subversive 
propaganda, distributing copies of a monthly publication 
called Piedmont , an organ of the Black Hand organization. 
The aim of this terrorist organization was to achieve the 
union of all the Serbs, including those living within the limits 
of the Austro-Hungarian empire. 

It would be inconceivable to believe that Colonel 
Artamonov was uninformed about the plan to assassinate the 
Heir-Apparent to the Austrian throne, whose morganatic wife 
was a Czech woman (born Countess Sophie Chotek). The 
Archduke Franz-Ferdinand intended to combat the separatist 
tendencies of Serbs and Croats by offering the South Slavs 
home rule in a state of their own within the limits of the 
empire. Such a grant would deal a mortal blow to all the 
dreams of the Serbian nationalists as well of the Russian 
Slavophils. 

It would also be inconceivable to suppose that the Grand 
Duke Nicholas Nicholayevitch and his scheming wife, Anastasia 
of Montenegro, were not informed about the state of affairs of 
their nephew, the Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia, 
especially since the Russian Grand Duke had been anxiously 
awaiting a war against Austria and Germany. Reporting in 
advance of the plot to assassinate the Austrian Archduke, 



215 



Colonel Artamonov could count on a favorable reception of 
his news by the Grand Duke and his powerful support. 

Only one question remains unanswered: Was Czar 
Nicholas II informed about the actual role played in the 
assassination by Colonel Dimitriyevich-Apis, head of the 
Intelligence Service of Serbia, by Crown Prince Alexander, 
by the Russian Colonel Artamonov and the others? 

There has not been any doubt the Grand Duke Nicholas 
Nicholayevitch exercised a decisive influence on the Czar at 
this critical moment and made the Czar forget the oath he 
gave at the time of his coronation to uphold first and 
above all the interests of Russia! 

At the critical moment in 1914 only the interests of a 
group of irresponsible schemers were upheld, schemers who 
did not hesitate to commit murder! 

In 1914 Russia became involved in the bloodiest war, 
without being prepared to fight, against an enemy armed 
with the most modern weapons. There was a shortage of 
ammunition in the Russian army, shortage of clothing, 
shortage of boots. Russian railroads were inadequate to carry 
necessary supplies to the fighting front, Russian industry 
was in its infancy and was unable to produce all that the 
army needed. 

The government mobilized all able-bodied men from 
the age of eighteen up to forty-four, some fifteen million 
men, but many of them, hundreds and thousands of them, 
had to stay in the barracks because they had no suitable 
clothes, and no boots. They were actually barefoot and, 
staying in the barracks, spent their time in drinking tea and 
playing cards. The shortage of boots and adequate clothing 
produced much more tragic results at the fighting front 
where many soldiers had frostbitten hands and feet, neces 
sitating amputation. 

Many soldiers, sometimes a complement of the whole 
company, received only wooden sticks instead of rifles, made 
in the form of firearms. At the fighting front there was a 
decided shortage of artillery shells and Russian troops were 
trying desperately to stem well-organized German attacks 
without adequate ammunition by sheer superiority in 



216 



numbers. Some regiments lost their full complements of 
men several times. There was a decided shortage of officers. 
Russian losses were terrific! According to authoritative 
sources, Russian army losses were four million men killed, 
crippled and missing in action, far more than all the allied 
armies put together! 

France saw in this war an opportunity for revenge 
after the humiliating defeat it suffered in 1870. Great 
Britain saw in this war an opportunity to get rid of a 
competitor. British industry, with its archaic methods of 
production, could not compete with inexpensive German 
products of good quality which were gradually replacing 
British goods on the world's market. Even the German Navy 
was getting much too strong for Great Britain! 

But Russia could gain nothing in this war. Russia did 
not need any territorial gains. As a matter of fact, Russia 
and Germany supplemented each other, Russia selling 
Germany grain, lumber and other raw material and buying, 
in exchange, much needed products of German industry. If 
the last Russian trade agreement with Germany, signed in 
1904, was not very profitable for Russia, it was not worth 
sacrificing millions of men to change this treaty to a more 
advantageous one. The balance of trade with Germany was 
in Russia's favor anyway. 

The Russian intelligentsia were trying to distort the 
truth, stating that Russia was fighting to get the Straits of 
Bosporus and Dardanelles needed for Russian trade. They 
were deliberately misrepresenting the facts. They knew only 
too well that the empires of Central Europe were not so 
much opposed to the Russian acquisition of the straits as 
were the Russian allies. Especially for Great Brittain, it was 
inconceivable to permit Russia to have an access to the 
Meditteranean, so that Russia could menace the life-line of 
the British Empire to India. 

After two and a half years of fighting, in every Rus 
sian family some men were killed, crippled, or wounded. 
Slowly discontent was growing. Russian masses could not 
understand what this unprecedented slaughter was for! It 
is difficult to understand why a revolt did not break out 
sooner. In ** any other country, disregarding the form of 



217 



government, under similar conditions, a revolt would have 
broken out. In Russia the implicit faith of the Russian 
people in their Czar, and centuries-old traditions, were still 
holding people together until, finally, in March, 1917, after 
two and a half years of war, revolution broke out. 

The Czar and his family paid for this fatal mistake 
with their lives in the cellar of the Ipatiyev house in 
Ekatherinburg, and Russia was drenched in blood by the 
Communists! 

THIS WAS THE PATH OF DESTINY THAT LED TO 
THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE'S DESTRUCTION AND DOWNFALL! 



218 



RETURN TO KOLPINO 
CHAPTER XXIV 



In 1907, my father decided to visit our estate Kolpino. 
He had been absent for some twelve years and received 
information that our superintendent, Peter Brunner, was 
selling lumber from our forests without his knowledge and 
approval. 

In June, 1907, my father and mother and I went by 
steamer via Sebastopol to Odessa where we stopped at the 
Hotel London on the Boulevard de Richelieu. From our 
rooms we had an excellent view of Odessa's harbor. Right 
in front of the hotel was a wide stone and concrete staircase 
leading down to the harbor. The staircase was so long that 
next to it, two specially built cable cars were continuously 
going up and down, providing transportation for the people 
who did not want to walk hundreds of steps. At the bottom 
of the staircase were railroad tracks, and freight cars were 
moving day and night. Odessa was the largest commercial 
port on the Black Sea. 

We stayed in Odessa several days, and my father took 
me to the former mansion of his late uncle, Stanislaw 
Juriewicz, which was now Odessa's Public Library- 

The fortune left by Stanislaw Juriewicz to his oldest 
son, Mieczyslaw, was cut down considerably by the reckless 
spending of Mieczyslaw and his son, Frederyk. The mansion 
was sold, too, but Frederyk was still hanging on to Berszada. 
Paul Juriewicz, a son of Stanislaw from his second marriage, 
and a first cousin of my father, was married to Princess 
Elisabeth Woroniecka, and was at that time the President 
of the Racing Association in Warsaw. 



219 



When my father and I entered the imposing building 
of the Public Library, I noticed excitement in his usually 
calm countenance. This building was bringing back to him 
all the eventful years of his youth and his marriage to 
Adela. He did not pay any attention to the book shelves and 
book cases that now occupied every room. In a low voice, 
he was telling me that this room was a foyer, and here 
was a big livingroom, and there was a Blue drawing 
room , and there a cardroom, and so on. In every room, 
there were ceilings with handwrought sculptured friezes, 
mosaic floors with inlaid pieces of red and black wood, huge 
mahogany doors with heavy bronze handles. Finally, we 
entered a comparatively small area, and my father told me 
that it was a boudoir of the second Madame Juriewicz, the 
beautiful Lady Weinczeslawa! There was nothing in this 
room now to remind one that it had been the boudoir of a 
beautiful woman... only book cases stood there in a row 
by the wall. 

When we finally emerged from this building and were 
on the street again, my father took a deep breath. 

And so it goes , he said. Even a fortune which 
appeared inexhaustible was not large enough to stand the 
reckless spending of two generations. And the greater part 
of the Russian landed nobility are losing their fortunes, 
their estates are being sold to the State Bank of Peasants, 
organized by the government, to be resold to the peasants. 
It will not take long before most of the fertile lands of the 
nobles will pass into the hands of the peasants. The good 
Lord was merciful to Russia that Stolypin finally passed a 
law permitting peasants to get out of their communes! 
Otherwise, who could produce the necessary surplus of grain 
to feed Russian cities and towns? If all landed estates were 
taken away from the landowners, Russia would have a 
famine! . 

I remembered those words of my father when, after the 
revolution, as a result of the confiscation of the landed 
estates, there was a terrific famine in Russia (1918-1922). 

The Communist government accused the peasants of 
hoarding their grain and other products and of criminally 
sabotaing the newly created Government of the People . 



220 



The Communists accused them of being the enemies of the 
working class , and organized armed bands of city workers 
for the purpose of taking by force hoarded grain of the 
peasants. These bands were armed by the Soviet Government 
with rifles and machine guns. 

The real reason for the hoarding of grain by the peasants 
was the inflation of Russian currency and lack of manufactured 
goods. Peasants were reluctant to part with the little grain 
they had, getting worthless paper money in exchange. Millions 
of them had been soldiers in the Russian army during the 
World War I and had brought home their ammunition. An 
actual war began between cities and towns on one side, and 
villages on the other. Famine spread throughout the Volga 
region with its fertile soil. There were registered cases of 
cannibalism. An American, in the service of Hoover's Relief 
organization, disappeared, having been devoured by hungry 
peasants. 

But at that time, in Odessa, my father did not realize 
how prophetic he was! 

From Odessa we moved to Kiev, ancient capital of 
Prince Oleg, Prince Igor and St. Vladimir, the first rulers 
of Russia. For some reason, Russian historians were always 
looking to the Byzantine empire, trying to find the facts 
about the very beginning of Russian history. They neglected 
completely the Scandinavian sources, although Prince Rurik 
(in Scandinavian, Rorek), the first Russian ruler (862-879) 
was a Viking and a member of the Scoldung dynasty. 

My father took me to the Kievo-Pechersky Monastery. 
This monastery, with many churches and buildings, had been 
built on the western bank of the Dnieper River, which was 
rising high above water level. Some of the buildings were 
connected by underground passages with a series of caverns 
and caves in which hermits and monks used to live. A 
number of these hermits were canonized and became saints 
of the Eastern Church. Visitors of the monastery were 
conducted by monks to different caves, where they could 
kneel and kiss relics of saints, while placing money on a 
plate which stood by the relic, as their contribution to the 
holy place. This monastery provided an additional income 
to the Metropolitan (Cardinal) of Kiev of some fifty thousand 
gold Roubles annually. 



221 



The underground passages were narrow, with low 
ceilings, and filled with the strong odor of incense. The monks 
with long hair which never was cut by a barber, and long 
beards, looking very much like savages, produced a gloomy, 
rather horrifying impression on me, and I asked my father 
to get me out of these catacombs as quickly as possible. 
Although on my mother's side I had plenty of Russian 
blood, and one of my great-grandmothers was a Tatar girl, 
the sight of this monastery, which was greatly venerated 
by the Russians, did not arouse in me any religious feeling, 
and I was glad when we returned to our hotel on Krestchatik 
(the main street in Kiev). 

At last we arrived in Vitebsk, and stopped at the 
Kushliss Hotel on Zamkovaya Street. I was struck by the 
Gothic towers of many Roman Catholic cathedrals in this 
city, and the Jewish crowds on the streets. 

As soon as we entered the lobby of the hotel, being 
followed by porters who carried our numerous suitcases, my 
father was surrounded by a crowd of Jewish factors . 
Factors were familiar figures throughout Poland, Lithuania 
and Belorussia in those days. They were like guides, who 
used to attach themselves to the hotel guests. Such a guide 
followed you continuously, trying to guess what you would 
wish to do next. You could order him to mail a letter for 
you at the postoffice, or to get a watchmaker, also a Jew, 
into your room at the hotel, to repair your watch, or to 
get tickets for the next performance at a local theater, or 
to find out all about prices for grain in Windawa and in 
Riga in short, anything. At the same time, your factors 
considered it their duty to supply you with all kinds of news 
and gossip of the city. At times, they would be annoying, 
but on the whole, extremely obliging, being satisfied with 
very little pay, and in a short time you would find your 
factor indispensable. 

My father, being by nature generous and lazy, was 
attended usually not by one factor but by several. From 
their point of view he was an ideal customer. And now they 
recognized him and surrounded him on all sides. 

At this moment, an old Jew with a gray beard and 
whiskers, dressed in a lapserdack, a sort of long overcoat 



222 



worn by the orthodox Jews, who had stood quietly in a 
corner, all of a sudden jumped at my father and attempted 
to grab his hand to kiss it. My father drew back his hand 
quickly, but, recognizing the old man, patted him on the 
shoulder. Then he turned to me, and said, addressing him: 

Look, Yossel, what a big boy I have! 

To my great surprise yossel approached me, with tears in 
his eyes, and kissed my forehead. Then he stroked my 
head gently with one hand and with the other wiping tears 
which continued to roll down his cheeks. He was overcome 
with emotion at seeing his former Pan and his son. 

I found Vitebsk very picturesque and interesting, but, 
unfortunately, my parents did not stay there long. 

My parents were facing the fact that Emilia, the 
divorced wife of my father, continued to live in Kolpino. 
Therefore, it was decided that my mother would stay in 
Nevel, a small town situated about thirty miles from Kolpino, 
and my father and I would visit Kolpino alone. 

We arrived in Nevel by a passenger train, and at the 
railroad station took a couple of isvostchik and ordered 
them to drive us to the best hotel in town. My father knew 
this hotel and its owner well It was owned by Mr. Papernov. 
When our isvostchiks stopped in front of the hotel, my 
father alighted from his carriage and entered a store next 
door to the entrance of the hotel. Being very curious, I 
followed him closely. We found the store completely deserted 
except for a boy about eleven or twelve years old, who 
stood behind the counter. 

Are you Papernov's son? my father asked. The boy 
nodded yes . 

Where is your father? 

Tatale? (father in the Yiddish dialect), repeated 
the boy. He is in the cellar . 

What is he doing there? 

What is he doing there? the boy repeated again. 
He is making Madeira . 

It was a little strange to find a Jew in a small town 
in Belorussia making a well-known brand of Portuguese 
wine in his cellar, My father laughed. 



223 



Call him! he ordered the boy. 

In a few minutes Papernov-father appeared in the store, 
and after many greetings, lamentations, and expressions of 
joy, the two best rooms of the hotel were placed at our 
disposal, and our suitcases were carried there. 

The same evening my father and I proceeded by horse 
carriage to Kolpino. The horse and carriage were placed 
at my father's disposal by the same Mr. Papernov. 

We arrived in Kolpino at night. My father was overcome 
with emotion. He pointed out to me the house, the park 
and different buildings and gave explanations about every 
thing, although it was dark and I could barely see anything. 
The superintendent, Peter Brunner, was expecting us and 
took us to the guest house, where a suite of rooms had 
been prepared for us. 

The next morning we went for breakfast to the main 
house. When we entered the diningroom, Emilia threw 
herself in my father's arms, weeping with joy at seeing her 
Stas again. She covered me with kisses and immediately 
proceeded to feed me some home-made mazurki (cookies), 
jelly and freshly made coffee with thick cream. 

At least twenty people were sitting around the dining 
table; my half-sister Nussia, with her husband and their 
four children, with a German Fraulein; Miss Alexandra 
Bogomolec, a spinster, (emotionally upset out of sympathy 
to her friend Emilia); Leonid Skorulsky, a neighboring 
landowner, who had lost his fortune and had lived ever 
since at Kolpino... and several guests. 

My father was in the best of humor, graciously giving 
to everyone a chance to kiss him, smiling and answering 
innumerable questions. 

After breakfast, I explored the house. 

I made good friends with my nephew, Nicky, the son 
of my half-sister, who was three and a half years older 
than myself. My three nieces, Mary, Natalie, and Nina, 
attracted my attention. I was a little shy as I had never 
played much with little girls- Nicky took me to the Kolpino 
Lake, which actually was a quarter of a mile away from 

224 



the house, to swim. Here we had a wonderful time. Because 
I had lived on the shore of the Black Sea, I was a better 
swimmer than he, but he knew much more about shooting 
than I did, and I was a little envious of this superior 
knowledge. 

My father, being in a perfect mood, postponed 
indefinitely the dismissal of the superintendent, and presented 
me with a horse. I petted the horse, brought him sugar, and 
could not sleep at night, worrying if he was well taken care 
of. 

Next day, I rode through the fields and forests of 
the estate, There were beautiful vistas on it. Everything 
was new and interesting to me. I realized that here my 
ancestors had lived, and here I would live, too, when I grew 
up. Visions of the beautiful Crimea gradually faded from my 
memory. A few days later, my father received a letter stating 
that my mother had moved to the estate Gregorovo , 
which belonged to the family of de Grave- 

My mother's youngest brother, Baron Alexis Rokas- 
sowsky, was brought up in the Corps des Pages in St. 
Petersburg, but had been expelled for bad behavior and 
unsatisfactory results in his studies. He was transferred to 
the army, where he served as a private (junker) until, finally, 
he received his first commission. He served as Kornet 
(Lieutenant) in the Hussar Regiment of Pavlograd for about 
a year, retired and settled down in Dubokrai, which he 
received as his share of the estate of my grandfather 
Rokassowsky. He married Helen de Grave, a daughter of a 
neighboring landowner, but remained just as reckless and 
senseless as when he was a boy. He continued to live above 
his income, borrowing money from Jewish lenders, until, 
finally, his estate Dubokrai was sold at an auction. Alexis 
Rokassowsky was ruined. 

In the meantime, his wife died, leaving him three 
children, two boys and a girl. The older boy, Alexis, Jr., 
entered the Corps des Pages, the girl Alexandra was in a 
private school, and my uncle, with his youngest son, Platon, 
moved to Gregorovo, an estate which belonged to his late 
wife and her two sisters. By this time, he was trying to 
drown his sorrow in drinking. He drank to excess, but as 



225 



soon as he learned that my mother was alone in a hotel in 
Nevel, he considered it his duty to bring her to Gregorovo. 

Gregorovo was only about twenty miles from Kolpino, 
and the following morning, my father and I went there. We 
stayed at Gregorovo for a couple of days, and I noticed 
that my father did not like his brother-in-law, but for the 
sake of my mother, was polite and kind to him. My father 
invited him and Platon, who was about my age, to come 
with us to Kolpino. 

There was then a great family reunion at Kolpino. The 
divorced wife of my father threw her arms around my 
mother, and both women cried with emotion. From that 
moment, they started to call each other by first names 
Emilia and Vera and became good friends. Only the 
peasants could not understand the situation, and, shaking 
their heads, they insisted that the Lord of Kolpino had two 
wives. 

That autumn we stayed at Kolpino. Trees of the old 
park were turning different colors, leaves were falling, the 
squirrels were jumping in the bare branches of the trees. 
I learned to ride, and usually went in the evenings through 
a path of a thick forest to one of the lakes to watch the 
sunset. The lake appeared to be a piece of a broken mirror, 
thrown by an unseen hand between the hills. It reflected the 
hilly shore covered by forest, and the sky with passing clouds 
of different shapes. I learned to love autumn, and later on, 
I liked it still more for the hunting season that began in 
September. 

Late in the fall we returned to Yalta. From that year 
on, we used to visit Kolpino every year, staying there for 
three or four months in the summer and early autumn. 



226 



PEASANT PROBLEM 
CHAPTER XXV 



As soon as constitutional form of government was 
granted to Russia on the 17-30 of October, 1905, a new 
political party was organized. This party was called The 
Party of the 17th of October . As the name implied, the 
political program of the party was based on the Czar's 
manifesto granted on that date, and my father was one of the 
first to join it. 

My father did not approve of autocracy. From his 
point of view, it was not fair to blame one man, the Czar, 
for the actions, sometimes very stupid, of every governor, of 
every government official, just because they all acted in the 
name of the Czar. On the other hand, my father was very 
far from being an admirer of democracy. From his point 
of view, democracy was well represented by Russian peasant 
communes (obstchina) where an illiterate and stupid 
majority ruled without restraint, A man with intelligence 
above average had no chance unless he was able to get 
out of his commune. 

In the opinion of my father, at the head of the govern 
ment there should always be a man who had received a 
broad education, and who was well versed in the history of 
his country; who stood above all classes of society, above 
every group and political party; who did not need to seek 
re-elections; who certainly was independent financially and 
whose only aim was the welfare of his country as a whole. 
A man with a broad vision who cared for the future of 
his country even after his own death, on account of his 



227 - 



natural desire to leave to his son the best heritage. My 
father was a monarchist through and through, but in his 
opinion, the people of the country had an inherent right to 
have a voice in the government. 

And my father gladly accepted the constitution granted 
by the Czar in October, 1905, as a basis for constructive 
work and the development of the empire. 

However, my father was a landowner first of all, and 
he realized only too well that the greatest, the most vital 
problem of Russia was not solved by the manifesto granted 
in October, 1905. The peasants represented the great bulk 
of the population of the Empire and their problem was not 
solved. The great majority of the Russian peasants did not 
understand the word constitution , in Russian con- 
stitutzia . Some of them got an idea that it was a first 
name for girls just like Constantin was a name for boys. 

The landed nobility understood better than anyone else 
the real needs of the peasants- The nobles realized that 
unreasonable demands for confiscations of their estates were 
ridiculous and would not solve the problem. Such confiscation 
would inevitably result in a famine in Russia. The nobles 
hated and feared the word commune (obstchina in Rus 
sian) and blamed the system of communes for all misfortunes 
of the Russian peasants. They realized that as long as this 
system existed, they could not be safe living on their estates. 
It was life on the brink of a volcano! 

A marxist publication, The Beginning (in Russia, 
Nachalo ) in 1889 noted with satisfaction that the standard 
of living of the peasants was lowest in the provinces where 
they owned more land, even with the quality of soil much 
better, but where the peasant communes were the only 
form of the peasant ownership of the land! The liberal intel 
ligentsia was of the opinion that the peasant problem could 
be solved by granting peasants equality of rights and pol 
itical freedom, and by distributing among them the lands 
of the Church, of the landowners, and of the Crown. But 
even the most liberal economists realized that abolition of 
landed estates in Russia would inevitably lead to disaster! 

The liberal economists' opinion was based on the 
productivity of the lands. The peasants' lands were known 



.228 



for the lowest productivity. It was the landed estates that 
produced the surplus of grain needed to feed Russian towns 
and cities, and also needed for export. 

In January, 1902, the Czar organized an ad hoc com 
mittee to determine the agrarian needs of the empire. The 
committee consisted of twenty high government officials, 
mostly members of the Cabinet. The opinions were 
controversial, and even the majority of peasants themselves 
did not know where the root of the evil was- The committee 
decided to organize special committees in all provinces 
of European Russia. These committees had the right to 
question and to consult anyone they considered necessary. At 
this moment, D. Sipiagin, Secretary of the Interior, and a 
very important member of the committee, was killed by a 
terrorist. This murder antagonized the Czar, but the work 
of the committee and subcommittees continued. 

The great majority of the committees declared themselves 
against peasant communes. However, Konstantin Pobedonostsev 
and some other members of the Cabinet happened to be 
faithful adherents to archaic communes, and in 1903, on the 
advice of Vyacheslav Plehve, Secretary of the Interior, who 
succeeded Sipiagin, the work of the committees was stop 
ped. 

But after the Russo-Japanese War, about two thousand 
landed estates were burned down by the peasants, and the 
government then realized the importance of the peasants' 
problems. 

In the spring of 1906, the Czar appointed Peter Stolypin 
to the post of Secretary of the Interior. Stolypin was a 
Marshal of Nobility in Kovno and for a short time Governor 
of the province of Grodno. During the difficult times of the 
Russo-Japanese War and the revolution which followed, he 
was Governor of the province of Saratov, where he proved 
to be an excellent administrator. 

He risked his life freely on several occasions, 
restraining a revolutionary mob in a town, and restoring 
order in a village. He was practically the only Governor who 
maintained order in his province during this stormy time, 
and who won the respect even of his adversaries. 



229 



But, most important! Stolypin was a true representative 
of the landed nobility and knew the real needs of the peasants. 
In July of the same year, Stolypin was appointed to the 
post of Prime Minister. Stolypin dissolved Parliament (the 
first Duma) and according to paragraph 87 of the 
Constitution (1), on the 9-22 of November, 1906, passed a 
law permitting an individual peasant (or a village as a whole), 
if he so desired, to get his share of the land ( Nadel ) as 
his individual private property in one piece of land. Such a 
peasant would cease to be a member of his commune and 
would become an individual farmer. 

It was necessary for Stolypin to pass this law without 
its being discussed in the Russian Duma, because he knew 
he would not win the necessary support for this measure. 
Reactionaries and revolutionaries, for different reasons, 
united in their ardent desire to preserve the archaic com 
munes! 

At the same time, Stolypin passed a law making 
peasants eligible for any rank in the government service. In 
other words, Stolypin freed Russian peasants of their com 
munes (if they so desired), granting to them at the same 
time a complete equality of rights. It was the greatest reform 
since the Act of Emancipation of Czar Alexander II in 1861. 

When this reform was first put into effect by Stolypin, 
the great masses of Russian peasants were reluctant to quit 
their communes. Their main worry was the small pasture 
each one of them would have for his horse and cow. Only 
gradually some of them agreed to become individual farmers. 
Those who agreed to it, became prosperous in a couple of 
years! Following their example, other peasants, many 
thousands of them, filled out their applications. The movement 
was gathering momentum with an ever increasing number 
of applicants. There was a decided shortage of surveyors 



(1) Paragraph 87 of the Constitution permitted the Czar, while 
Parliament was not in session, to enact the necessary laws 
without approval of the Parliament. These laws were supposed 
to be discussed and approved by the Parliament at some future 
date. 

Note of the Author. 



230 




CTOJ!HIlEK r K 



Pn'rae Minister Peter Arcadievitch STOLYPIN. 



measuring the land. Some of the peasants had to wait their 
turn for a year or more. 

In spite of all these difficulties, in the period of only 
eight years preceding World War I, approximately twenty 
percent of all peasants became individual landowners. It 
appeared that Russia was getting on the right track to 
become a prosperous member among other Great European 
powers, and if the First World War had been avoided in 
1914, and somehow postponed for a couple of decades, in 
spite of a revolution, Russia would never have become Com 
munist! It was proven by actual fact that in those parts 
of the empire where the system of communes had not been 
introduced in 1861, such as Finland, Esthonia, Latvia, 
Lithuania and Poland, in spite of the terrific impact of the 
revolution and the highly publicized genius of Lenin, Com 
munism was not established. All these parts became 
independent republics with a real democratic government 
established in every one of them. 

The system of communes was never introduced to the 
natives of the Russian Caucasus, and the Georgians put up 
a stubborn fight against the Communists, until they were 
subdued by the detachments of the Red Army. 

The system of communes never existed in Russian 
Siberia, Turkestan, and other Asiatic possessions of the 
empire. However, the population in those remote areas was 
very sparse. As a matter of fact, the entire population of 
all Russian possessions in Asia amounted to only about 
ten percent of the population of European Russia. Consequently, 
they could not offer any resistance to the armed forces of 
the Soviet government. 

During the first few years of Stolypin's leadership, Rus 
sia enjoyed a new era of prosperity, an era of unprecedented 
industrial and economic growth, and everyone was looking 
hopefully for a bright future. 

This tremendous industrial and economic growth 
continued up to the very outbreak of the First World War 
when, in the flames of the war, empires perished. 

* * * 

My father believed that the reform of Stolypin, which 
permitted Russian peasants to become small proprietors and 



zai 



full and equal subjects of the Empire, would make Russia 
immune to any socialist upheaval. Russia was an agricultural 
country, and Karl Marx's doctrine was supposed to appeal 
to the class of industrial workmen, the so-called proletariat . 
In Russia, at that time, workmen of industry constituted 
less than ten percent of the population. 

Only once, during the Bosnia Crisis , my father made 
a very solemn statement in my presence. He said that if a 
revolution would some day break out in Russia and the 
Czar should be forced to abdicate, Russia would inevitably 
became Communist. 

It is obvious , he added, with the great majority 
of the population living in communes, one cannot expect 
anything else . 

I always remembered his prophetic words. My father 
knew Russian people better than the majority of Russian 
intellectuals, and certainly better than the Slavophils, 
although the latter pretended to speak on behalf of the people. 



232 



STOLYPIN'S REFORM 
CHAPTER XXVI 



In March, 1909, Vasili von Hacken brought his wife, 
my half-sister, Nussia, to Yalta. Nussia had comsumption 
and her doctors advised her to go to a warm climate. 

Nussia and her husband arrived by train in Sebastopol, 
where they hired a carriage to drive them to Yalta. The 
road from Sebastopol to Yalta, from the Baidary Gates 
(Baidarskiye Vorota) down along the Crimean shore, was of 
a rare beauty. On one side of the road were the high vertical 
rocks, and on the other a breath-taking view of the mountain 
slope, with the road winding like a serpent between huge 
rocks, and, below, the great expansion of the sea. 

When Nussia and her husband arrived at our house, 
Nussia was still under the spell of the beautiful scenery, 
while her husband was completely calm and indifferent to 
the beauty of nature. He was preoccupied with a new cigarette 
lighter that someone had presented to him. 

The next day, Vasili von Hacken went back to Velikie 
Luki, leaving Nussia with us, parting with her much against 
her wishes. My father tried to be cheerful, but I could see 
that he was worried. He was informed by Emilia and by 
some friends that Nussia was very unhappy in her marriage. 
Her husband rarely stayed home in the evening, playing 
cards in a local club until all hours of the morning, and it 
was known that he had many affairs with other women- 
Yet Nussia was still very much in love, although she 
suffered a great deal. Many sleepless nights when she was 
waiting and worrying about her husband and his activities 



~ 233 



had undermined her health and now, in the opinion of the 
doctors, it was a question of only six months, maybe a year. 

My father knew it well, and realized that he was 
helpless to change the situation. He was very attentive to 
Nussia, and tried to be kind to his son-in-law, who was 
only a few years younger than him-self. In his conversations 
with Nussia, my father carefully avoided the topic of her 
marriage. 

Nussia stayed with us until the end of May and then 
went back home. Early in June, the schools closed for the 
summer, and Nussia's children were anxious to get to Kolpino, 
where they usually spent their summer vacations. 

When my parents and I arrived in Kolpino that year, 
Nussia and her children, together with their German Fraulein, 
were already there. Nussia was staying in bed most of the 
time. She was feverish and was losing weight- 

While my father was in Kolpino, he spent much time 
every day talking to peasants or Jews who came to see him. 
Ever since the time of his resignation as a judge, peasants 
of his judicial district remembered him as one who was 
always fair to them. They all had a feeling of deep respect 
for him, and now they all came to him asking his advice. 

My father usually received them in the guest house, 
where my parents and I occupied a suite of rooms, in a room 
which served as his office; sitting behind his desk he 
greeted them in a friendly way, never permitting anyone 
to kiss his hand, and asking them to sit down. He usually 
placed along the front of his desk a big box of cigarettes, 
containing over two hundred, and he invited them to smoke. 
My father insisted that they should smoke his cigarettes 
made of Turkish tobacco because he could not stand the 
heavy and biting odor of makhorka , the local tobacco 
which Russian peasants smoked. 

At that time, the reform of Stolypin was of paramount 
interest to all peasants, and although my father could tell 
in advance what questions they intended to ask, he never 
started the conversation. He was always ready to listen to 
them, to all their grievances, doubts and troubles. Their 
main worry was the small pasture each one of them would 

234 



have for his horse and cow, should they quit their com 
munes. My father usually gave them ample time to tell in 
their own way their stories- He used to wait for a while 
after they finished talking, and only then he would begin 
to tell them his own ideas on the subject. He used their own 
expressions, in a language which was easily understandable 
to them. He told them that long walks were not beneficial 
for the cows and described to them some dairy farms in 
Denmark where cows never left their yards at all. The 
peasants listened attentively to him, smoking and repeating 
the same questions again and again. My father was very 
patient with them. He knew that they all were slow, and 
that it took some time for them to digest new ideas. 

The beneficial results of Stolypin's reform could be 
seen in all the villages which got rid of their communes and 
partitioned their land, each peasant becoming an individual 
farmer. These new farmers usually built new homes for 
themselves, apart from their villages, with fences around 
their small yards and vegetable gardens. Their fields were 
well fertilized, well ploughed and void of any stones and 
weeds. It was a joy to see these new farms! And, within 
a couple of years, they all became well-to-do, substantial 
farmers! 

During the following years, peasants did not bother my 
father with the same questions about pastures. They had 
already learned the answer and their minds were made up- 
They came to ask him to write petitions for them to the 
Department of Agriculture to send land surveyors to partition 
their land. Now they all were anxious to get rid of their 
archaic communes! 

Stolypin's reform was progressing, bringing satisfactory 
results. In the period of only eight years preceding World 
War I, approximately twenty percent of all peasants became 
individual landowners and full and equal subjects of the 
Empire. The idea of private property was strongly established 
in their mind. As a matter of fact, when in 1929, Stalin 
started general collectivization throughout the Soviet 
Union, these individual farmers resisted most stubbornly re 
form of the Soviet Government, of re-introducing the old 
communes in the form of collective farms (Kolkhoz). They 



235 



were called kulaks , were declared enemies of the Soviet 
Union , and were ruthlessly exterminated by the Soviet 
government. 

If only the First World War had been avoided in 1914, 
or post-poned for some ten or fifteen years, a Communist 
form of government would never have been established in 
Russia! All Communists, or advocates of the Communist 
doctrine, would have been chased out of every Russian village, 
or would have been lifted on pitch forks in the true 
Russian fashion. 

One day that summer, when we were all sitting in the 
diningroom having lunch, our maid, Katia, announced that 
Itzeck had come to say goodbye to us. We all left the table 
and went to the entrance hall where Itzeck was waiting. 

Itzeck was a Jewish tailor. Contrary to the police 
regulations of that period, which forbade the Jews to reside 
in villages, Itzeck and his family were living in the village 
of Lakushi , where there was a Russian Orthodox Church 
and a Russian priest the priest Odintzov lived- 

Itzeck (pronounced It-zeck) was the most inoffensive 
creature in the world. We usually ordered him to make 
linen suits out of material produced by peasants in Belorussia. 
This material was sold at eleven kopecks (five and a half 
cents) a yard, but it was just as good as the Irish linen. 
We wore these suits in the summer, especially for hunting. 
The linen was of excellent quality, washable and durable. 
We wanted Itzeck to make our suits well-tailored. Therefore, 
we usually gave him a suit made by a good tailor in St. 
Petersburg and asked him to copy it. Itzeck would take 
apart the suit which was given to him as a model, cut out 
a new suit exactly like the old one, and then finish both. 
For his work he charged two Roubles (one dollar). 

Evidently Itzeck enjoyed his work- When he wanted 
to enter the room, he did not knock. Instead, he first opened 
the door very carefully. In the half-opened door, his head 
would appear, turning to all sides and looking around. When 
he saw us, he would smile, open the door widely and step 
into the room. After the usual greetings, he would produce 
a suit, ready to be tried on. He would walk around the 
person who was trying on the new suit, as a great artist 



236 



observing his masterpiece. He would stand at one side, 
spreading his arms and tilting his head; then, in a few steps, 
he would take a similar pose on the other side of the person, 
and then, all of a sudden, he would jump like a tiger right 
on the person's chest, where he had noticed a thread which 
he intended to bite off as tailors usually did at that time. 

We all knew Itzeck well and liked him very much. The 
announcement that he came to tell us goodbye puzzled us a 
little. 

Where are you going, Itzeck? Why... , everyone was 
asking. 

In the meantime, Itzeck attempted to kiss my father's 
hand, but my father never permitted him to do it. Itzeck 
stood silently for a few seconds, and thep solemnly announced: 

I am going to America! 

This announcement produced a considerable effect ,on 
all of us., we were surprised, and wondered why Itzeck 
was travelling so far. Then, again, there were questions. 

But why, Itzeck? Are you unhappy here? And how 
about your family? Are they going with you? 

Itzeck could not answer all the questions at once. He 
waited a little, and then said quietly: 

I did not tell you how horrible it was all these years 
for me to live in the village among the mujiks (peasants!) 
It was terrible. Every Saturday and Sunday, all glasses in 
my windows in my little house were broken. We all sat inside, 
afraid to move trying to keep quiet... my wife, my children, 
trembling... And outside a mob of drunken mujiks, young 
and old, and their loud voices, Dirty, damned Jew! We 
are going to show you , and they banged on the door. We 
wondered if the door and locks were strong enough. Every 
Saturday night, every holiday, as soon as they would get 
drunk. It was a torture! . 

We all listened to Itzeck in complete silence. We all 
knew he was telling the truth. Russian peasants were 
ignorant and cruel even towards their own wives and children. 
And they all hated the Jews with the blind hatred of ignorant 
people. We felt sincerely sorry for Itzeck. 



237 



But why did you stay in Lakushi? Why didn't you 
move somewhere else? someone asked. 

I am poor , Itzeck said, and it costs money to 
move. And, now it has been decided, we all are going to 
America, and I came to bid goodbye to all of you . There 
were tears in Itzeck's eyes as he approached my father 
again. My father kissed Itzeck on his forehead and put some 
money in his hand. 

Here, it is for you. Take it! You will need it. , and 
he patted him on the shoulder. 

In a few minutes poor Itzeck was gone. 

Poor fellow , my father said. He certainly had a very 
difficult time- I only hope that he will have better luck 
where he is going . 

In the fall we returned as usual to Yalta, and in 
February of the following year, my father received a telegram 
that Nussia had died. She was buried in the family cemetery 
at Kolpino. 



238. 



CONCLUSION 
CHAPTER XXVII 



In the early autumn of 1911, the unveiling of the 
monument of the Czar-Emancipator took place in Kiev, and 
the Czar with his family, the Imperial Court, members of the 
Russian government and the diplomatic corps went to this 
ancient capital of Prince St. Vladimir, who introduced 
Christianity to Russia in the year 989. 

On the 2-15 of September, the headlines of all newspapers 
in Russia carried the tragic news that in Kiev, during the 
performance of a play in a theater, in the presence of the 
Czar, an attempt on the life of Prime Minister Stolypin took 
place! 

The attendance on that day was only by personal 
invitation. Stolypin was sitting in the first row of the 
orchestra, not far from the Imperial box. During the second 
intermission, the majority of the people went to the foyer. 
Stolypin stood facing a half-empty theater and leaning on 
the balustrade which separated the orchestra from the first 
row of chairs. He was talking to Count Freedericks, Minister 
of the Imperial Court. 

All of a sudden, a man dressed in a tailcoat walked 
rapidly towards him through the middle aisle and fired 
point-blank two shots- For a few seconds, Stolypin continued 
to stand. Then, turning slowly towards the Imperial box, 
he made a sign of the Cross, blessing the Czar, and fell on 
one of the chairs. A big scarlet spot appeared on his white 
uniform. 



239 



The would-be assassin tried to escape, but was stopped 
by the people who rushed from the lobby at the sounds 
of the shots. He would have been torn to pieces but the 
police saved him from the crowd. He happened to be a 
man by the name of Mordka Bogrov, an agent of the Security 
Police, and a member of the Socialist Revolutionary Party 
at the same time. 

The revolutionary leaders realized that Stolypin's reform 
was dealing a mortal blow to the very idea of revolution 
and decided to kill Stolypin. But how a member of the 
Socialist Revolutionary Party happened to become an agent 
of the Security Police, entrusted to guard members of the 
government in the presence of the Czar, was a mystery! 
Obviously, something was amiss somewhere. As a strong 
leader, Stolypin had many enemies among the high govern 
ment officials. 

Stolypin, lying in a chair, was carried out of the 
theater. It was difficult to describe the excitement of the 
crowd. At that moment, the strains of God Save the Czar 
came from the orchestra and the crowd sang the National 
Russian anthem. The great majority had tears in their eyes. 
The Czar stayed in the Imperial box while the anthem was 
played, and then left the theater. 

Stolypin was taken to a hospital. There were two wounds; 
one bullet had gone through the liver, and the other had 
hit his right arm. The best medical doctors and physicians 
from all over Russia rushed to Kiev and volunteered their 
services. According to the doctors' opinion, Stolypin was not 
in immediate danger, and they expected to save his live. The 
Czar received a most reassuring report from Dr. Botkin, 
the Czar's personal physician, and did not cancel all the 
festivities connected with the unveiling of the monument, 
but on the fifth day Stolypin's condition took a turn for 
the worse, and late in the evening on the 19th September, 
he passed away. All Russia mourned the great statesman. 

The newspapers reprinted the excerpts of his speeches 
in the Parliament (Russian Duma) when he was facing a 
strong, hostile opposition- He spoke always very clearly, 
very much to the point. He repeated many times that he 
counted on the strong, hard-working peasants, not on the 



240 



drunkards and the lazy ones. He was trying to free Russian 
people from the poverty and misery of archaic communes. 
During one speech, turning to the members of the revolutionary, 
parties, the left wing of the Duma, he shouted: 

YOU ARE SEEKING GREAT UPHEAVALS, BUT WE 
NEED A GREAT, STRONG RUSSIA!!! and in these few words, 
he characterized the whole attitude, the desires and the aims 
of the Russian revolutionaries on the one hand, and the 
constructive work of the government under his leadership on 
the other. Emperor Wilhelm of Germany was a great admirer 
of Stolypin, and considered him the greatest statesman of his 
time. 

The agrarian reform of Stolypin continued to bring its 
beneficial results. Every year, many, thousands of Russian 
peasants became small proprietors, and Russia was enjoying 
an unprecedented prosperity. But at the critical moment caused 
by the assassination of the Archduke Franz-Ferdinand in 1914, 
the strong hand of a great Russian statesman was lacking, 
and Russia became involved in a fatal war. 

In Kolpino we all mourned Stolypin. In contrast to his 
usual jovial disposition my father was in a depressed mood, 
and, for several weeks, there was a feeling that we had lost 
a close relative who was very dear to all of us- 



It was o cloudy day early in October of 1911. A fine, 
drizzly rain was beating against the window panes. This 
dreary weather usually continued for weeks during the fall 
in the northwestern part of Russia until the first sharp frost 
came, covering the meadows with a hazy white blanket. 

I was sitting in the gallery in Kolpino house, looking 
at the oil painting of Prince Michael Kasimir Oginski, Hetman 
(Grand Chancellor) of Lithuania. He was a direct descendant 
of St. Michael, Prince of Chernigov, whose great-grandson, 
Gregory, was called Ogon (means fire in Russian). The 
Oginskis were the feudal lords of Kozielsk. In the latter part 
of the XV century, the Oginski family moved to Lithuania, 
and thereby escaped persecution of the Czar Ivan the Terrible. 
At that time the feudal lords had the right to choose their 
sovereign. And now the proud countenance of the Lithuanian 



241 



Hetman, dressed in a Polish national costume, looked at 
me from his place on the wall 

Next to him was an oil portrait of Prince Michael- 
Kleofas Oginski (1765-1833), famous composer of Oginski 
polonaises. Most of his life he lived in Florence. 

Further on was a portrait of Joseph Deszpot-Zienowicz, 
husband of Princess Polonia Oginski, owner of Kolpino. 

At that time, many Russian and Polish nobles used to 
go to Paris. It was right after the occupation of the French 
capital by the Russian troops in 1813-1814. The Russian 
nobles studied the advanced doctrines of Voltaire, 
Montesquieu and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and the history of 
the French revolution. Being influenced by these ideas of 
freedom, the Russian aristocrats organized a Revolt of 
Decembrists in 1825. 

Joseph Deszpot-Zienowicz also used to visit Paris and the 
French Riviera, travelling in a dormeuse. This was a huge 
travelling carriage on eight wheels that required at least 
eight horses to pull it. Inside, the seats could be converted 
into sleeping berths. At this time, as it was before the 
invention of the locomotive, a trip to Paris would take about 
a month* 

Once Deszpot-Zienowicz took his valet on his trip. The 
valet Zakhary was his Belorussian serf, an ugly looking 
fellow, with long arms hanging limply at his sides. When 
Zienowicz arrived in Paris and stopped at the hotel, he warned 
Zakhary not to leave the house under any circumstances, 
being afraid that he might get lost. 

Zakhary did not obey the order of his master, and 
eventually did get lost. Deszpot-Zienowicz notified the police, 
and looked every-where, in vain, for his valet. About a 
month later, Zienowicz happened to ride through a public 
square in Paris where a street bazaar was going on. One of 
the advertisements attracted his attention; he bought a ticket 
and entered a booth. 

On a small stage, an alert Parisian was delivering a 
short lecture to the crowd about some unknown Polynesian 
tribe. He explained that he had captured one of the savages. 
Then two men dragged a cage on the stage. To the great 



242 



surprise of Deszpot-Zienonwicz, he discovered his Zakhary 
sitting inside the cagel Large pieces of raw meat were brought 
on a plate, and the Frenchman explained that the Polynesian 
tribesmen he was talking about ate only raw meat, and even 
human flesh- He put a piece of meat on a long iron stick 
and pushed it into the cage. Zakhary grabbed the meat and 
ate it greedily, being evidently frightfully hungry. 

Deszpot-Zienowicz approached the cage and poor Zakhary 
fell down on his knees. My Lord, save me! he cried in 
his Belorussian dialect. Deszpot-Zienowicz ordered him out 
of the cage, and took him away, though the Frenchman made 
good offers to him for his serf. 

Also hanging on the wall of the Kolpino gallery was 
a portrait of Joseph Juriewicz, a direct descendant of a 
Lithuanian princely family. Their appanage was the Orsha 
district in the province of Mogilev. Centuries ago, the 
Juriewicz family had moved to Poland, members of this 
family intermarried with Polish aristocracy, and Joseph 
Juriewicz had a characteristically Polish countenance. He was 
very handsome with his long Polish moustache. He came 
into possession of Kolpino after his marriage to Anna 
Deszpot-Zienowicz, my great-grandmother. His principal 
estates were Kraszuty, Franopol, and Porzecze, and in Kolpino 
he was only a visitor- On his occasional trips to Kolpino, 
he usually was greeted by a crowd of his serfs, who would 
all come to pay their respect to their lord. Juriewicz would 
address them with a short speech, and then give them vodka, 
the famous Russian and Polish national drink, without which 
no celebration was complete. Usually several barrels of vodka 
were prepared on the day of the arrival of Joseph Juriewicz 
to his wife's estate. Being very generous, be usually 
instructed the superintendent of the estate to grant all the 
petitions of his serfs, which were presented on this occasion. 

The curly head of the decidedly Germanic countenance 
of my grandfather Wrangell, dressed in a high white lace 
jabot, gazed sternly at me from his bronze frame. My father 
told me that he had a real hypnotic power over people. His 
portrait was painted by Khrucki, a well-known Polish painter. 

I looked at those portraits of my ancestors in the 
gallery of Kolpino house. They had all been persons of culture, 



243 



who were accustomed to live in luxury and comfort. And I 
remembered the ignorant faces of the peasants who lived 
in their villages only a few miles away. I wondered why 
there was such a difference between these two types of 
human beings. I was deep in my thoughts when my father 
entered the room. He was dressed in a hunting outfit. In 
spite of his age, he held himself erect, and was in his 
habitual good humor. 

What are you doing here, Carl? he asked me. The 
weather is dreadful , he continued. It is too wet to go 
shooting. How do you like the country when it rains this 
way? . 

I do not mind it, Father. In fact I like this rain. It 
has a certain charm... I was looking at those portraits , 
and I pointed to the wall. 

What is wrong with the portraits? my father 
inquired. Why are you in such a pensive mood? Do you 
feel all right? . 

I am fine. I just want to know why the peasants 
are so ignorant! . 

Oh, well , and my father turned his head away. 
Don't occupy your mind with such ideas. You are too 
young to understand it . He looked at me, and, seeing my 
disappointment, added more seriously. 

First of all, Carl, our ancestors were of a different 
race- Beginning with Jean-Jacques Rousseau, they are trying 
now to prove that inheritance means very little, practically 
nothing. Well, I do not agree with that. Then why do we 
breed thorough-bred racing horses and pedigreed dogs? He 
stopped for a moment, and then continued. 

In Russia, Europe and Asia meet. And Russian peasants 
have a large amount of Mongolian blood, although void of 
good traits of Asiatics. They inherited the worst features of 
the Europeans and the cunning cruelty of the Asiatics. Rus 
sian intelligentsia is trying to promote a myth that Russian 
people are religious and good-hearted. In reality, they are 
superstitious and extremely cruel! Russian priests are poor 
and are just about as ignorant as the peasants themselves. 



244 



Look at our priest Odintzov. He is a mujik in a long 
black frock! Look how cruel they are to the poor Itzeck! 
They killed Andrushka, a boy servant of my mother because 
my mother liked the boy and they were envious. They are 
cruel to all defenseless animals- They beat their horses, their 
dogs, all domestic animals. A peasant beats his children and 
his wife, too. And if he doesn't, it means that he does not 
love her! My father stopped for a moment again. 

Last year the Czar signed the law of universal 
education , he continued. According to the plan, in 1922, 
education of practically all children in Russia is supposed 
to be accomplished. The government provides a school 
building and the cost of the teacher's salaries for any com 
munity or communities with forty-five children. But the 
climate is very severe. You cannot send children to school 
in the winter when it is so cold that one hesitates to put 
a dog out of doors! In the summer the children are working 
the fields, helping their parents. It will take time before 
all the people will learn to read and write. But even now, 
more than fifty percent of all recruits are literate . My 
father got a cigarette out of his cigarette case and lighted it- 
I knew that once he started, he would continue. 

We, the landowners, can influence the peasants in 
the best way, We have to keep up with the times, introducing 
new methods of farming and new machinery. Our estates 
should represent schools were the peasants would be able 
to learn correct agricultural methods. We do not need to go 
to them. Primitive people are like monkeys. They are eager 
to copy their masters, if you leave them alone. If you try 
to force them, they become stubborn, like all ignorant people 
who immediately become suspicious that we have some 
ulterior motive. It is not difficult to go down to their level, 
like Count Leo Tolstoy did. But we do not need to go down 
to their level. We have to raise them to our level! It is 
our problem! Can you imagine me dressed in a peasant's 
attire, barefoot, ploughing a field, like that crazy old fool? 
It was a publicity stunt and the height of hypocrisy on his 
part 

No, I laughed. The thought of my father dressed in 
Tolstoy's fashion was ridiculous! My father smiled, and said, 



245 



Yes, I am telling you the truth! Tolstoy would go to 
plough a field, dressed as a peasant, just for one purpose 
to have his picture taken. Then he would come home, 
and a butler in white gloves would serve lunch to him. But 
you, Carl, remember: always be natural in all your relations 
with peasants. Do not hesitate to accept all sorts of signs of 
respect on their part. You know, they still continue to kiss 
our hand. It was a custom of the time of serfdom, and I 
do not like any sign of humiliation and submission on their 
part. But you are a lord, and be one! Primitive people are 
like children. They have a natural distrust for any kind of 
pose. And do your duty work in Kolpino and forget 
about the peasants. The better you work, the more they 
will have to learn from you 

My father had a very low opinion of the Russian 
people. He found them lazy, ignorant and cruel. The subsequent 
Russian revolution proved that his opinion was justified. At 
the time of the Red Terror when millions of innocent 
people were liquidated , the Soviet leaders found among 
Russian people ready and willing executioners. 

Contrary to the Russian intelligentsia, with Count Leo 
Tolstory as one of them, my father had no illusions he 
realized that no law which would give Russian peasant a 
complete equality, could make them cultural and intelligent. 
In his opinion it would take generations, may-be centuries, 
before masses of the Russian people would attain a higher 
degree of culture. My father never tried to lower himself 
to their level, but he realized that the Russian peasants were 
human beings and treated them accordingly. Being constantly 
conscious of his own superiority, he was tolerant to their 
short-commings as any cultured European would be tolerant 
to a savage. 

At that moment, my niece Natalie appeared in the room. 
Her pretty head was covered with heavy reddish-brown hair. 
Her big green eyes were shining with mischief. She ran to 
my father, and standing on the tips of her toes, kissed him 
on his cheek. 

Please, Grandpa, play your mazurka that I like so 
well! At fifteen she was very attractive, and I was secretly 
in love with her. I did not dare to show my feelings to her, 



246 



and suffered as every other boy of fifteen suffers when he 
falls in love for the first time. 

My father went to the piano in the ballroom and 
played an old mazurka by Szopowicz. The strains of the 
stately Polish dance filled the room. My father had a good 
touch and played with great feeling. 

The same evening, as usual, we had many guests. Our 
neighbors, Korsak, Emmanuel Mohl, Count Plater, and my 
father, played cards. My mother and Emilia were playing a 
double solitaire. Madame Korsak and Alexandra Bogomolec 
were watching them- Our dogs were lazily lying in front of the 
fireplace. In the ball-room Leonid Skorulski was playing dance 
music, and I was dancing with Natalie. Continuing to dance, 
we slipped away into the gallery. It was half-dark there, 
and I kissed Natalie on her lips. The eyes of our ancestors, 
from their portraits in heavy frames, seemed to watch us 
and to follow us about the room... 



In 1912, we stayed in Kolpino until late in the fall. It 
was a beautiful autumn- I was sixteen years old and spent 
most of my time shooting grouse, partridge and snipe. 

Late in October my mother and I returned to Yalta. 
My father remained in Kolpino because he wanted to supervise 
personally the felling of trees in our forests which were sold 
for sleepers railroad ties to some German railroad. Staying in the 
forest for hours at a time, my father contracted pneumonia. At 
first he decided that he had only a severe cold, but as his 
condition did not improve, a doctor was fetched by carriage 
from Nevel, a town that was some twenty miles from Kolpino. 
The doctor diagnosed pneumonia and insisted that a wire 
would be sent immediately to my mother urging her to come 
at once. 

My mother and I went immediately from Yalta to 
Sebastopol by car, and took an express train north to Kursk, 
Orel, Smolensk, Vitebsk a distance of more than a thousand 
miles. We arrived when my father was already in a coma. 

It was dreadful to see my father, always so handsome, 
usually smiling pleasantly, in his last moments. His face had 
become drawn and thin. His eyes, usually so kind and intel- 



247 



ligent, and sparkling with good humor, stared now with 
a vacant, still expression- He was delirious. 

The moment my mother entered my father's bedroom, 
she knelt by his bed and remained there until he died, 
holding his hand and muttering prayers... 

I was told to approach his bed. For a moment he 
recognized me and wanted to give me his blessing. He raised 
his thin hand but it fell limply on the cover of his bed. 
Half an hour later he passed away. For the first time I 
fully realized that there was something in our life that we 
could not avoid nor escape. My father died on the 13-26 of 
January, 1913, et eight o'clock in the evening, and was buried 
in a specially built vault in our family cemetery in Kolpino. 



248 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

ALEXANDER, GRAND DUKE OF RUSSIA - Once a Grand Duke - 
New York, 1932. 

ALMANACH DE GOTHA, 1887 AND 1914 - Gotha, Germany. 
ANNUAIRE DE LA NOBLESSE DE RUSSIE - St. Petersburg, 1900. 
BENSONS, E. F. - King Edward VII, Longmans, Green & Co. - New York. 

BOCK, M. P. VON - Reminiscences of my father PA. Stolypin - 
New York. 1953. 

BORODKIN, M. M. - History of Finland. Time of Emperor Alexander II 
- St. Petersburg. 

CARPELAN, TOR BARON - Attartavlor - Helsingfors, Finland, 1900. 

COWLES f VIRGINIA - Gay Monarch. The Life and Pleasures of 
Edward VII - Harper & Bros., New York. 

DEUTSCHES ADELSARCHIV, JANUAR, 1952 Marburg, Germany. 

ESSEN, NIKOLAI-VON ROKASSOWSKIJ (Ginealogy) ACTA 
WRANGELIANA (Family publication) - Veru Roela. Estalnd, 1939. 

FINLANDS RIDDERSKAPS OCH ADELS KALENDER 1941 - Helsingfors, 

Finland. 
GENEALOGISCHES HANDBUCH DES ADELS 1961 - Furstliche Hftuser 

Band VI - C.A. Starke Verlag, Germany. 
GENEALOGICHESCHES HANDBUCH DES ADELS 1962 - Freiherrliche 

Hauser A. Band IV - C.A. Starke Verlag, Germany. 
GILLIARD, PIERRE - Thirteen Years at the Russian Court - New York 

1921. 
GOLOVINE, NICHOLAS, LT. GEN - The Russian Army in the World 

War. Yale and Oxford, University Presses, 1931. 



249 



GOTHAISCHES GENEALOGISCHES TASCHENBUCH DER ADELIGEN 
HAUSER - Deutscher Uradel 1924 - Gotha, Germany. 

HAENSEL, PAUL PROF. - The Truth about Czarist Russia. Publication 
Rossia - New York. 

ILIODOR (Trufanov, Serge) - The Mad Monk of Russia New York. 1918. 

KAREEV, PROF. - Russian History, University Lectures - St. Petersburg, 
Russia. 

KELEN, BETTY - The Mistresses - Randon House. New York. 

KLYUCHEVSKY, VASILI, PROF. - Russian History. University Lec 
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LAMB. HAROLD - The City and tht Tsar. - Doubleday & Co., Inc. 
LAMB, HAROLD - Genghis Khan, Emperor of All Men. 

THE LETTERS OF THE CZAR TO THE CZARITZA 19i4-1917. 
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LOCKHART, BRUCE - British Agent New York & London - Putnam, 1933. 
LOUIS-FERDINAND, PRINCE OF PRUSSIA - The Rtbel Prince 

LETTERS OF THE CZARITZA TO THE CZAR 1914-1916 - London, 1923. 
Henry Regnery - Chicago, 1952. 

MARIE, GRAND DUCHESS OF RUSSIA - Education of a Princess - 
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MASSIE, ROBERT K. - Nicholas and Alexandra 
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OBOLENSKY, SERGE - One Man in His Time, Me Dowell, Obolensky, 
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PALEOLOGUE, MAURICE - An Ambassador's Memoirs, translated by 
F. A. Holt - New York, 1925. 

PALEOLOGUE, MAURICE - La Russie sous les Tsars 

PARES, BERNARD - A History of Russia. Alfred A. Knopf - New Yoi k 

PLATONOV, S. F., PROF. - Russian History - University Lectures. - 
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PALIAKOFF, V. - The Tragic Bride, the story of the Empress Alexandra 
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250 



ROMANOVSKY - KRASSINSKY, PRINCESSE - Souvenirs de la 
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RUSSIAN BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY - Rokassowsky, Baron Platon 
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RUSSIAN BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY - Juriewicz, Stanislaw - 
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TARSAIDZE, ALEXANDRE - Czar and Presidents. McDowell, Obolensky 
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TISDALL, E. E. P. - Marie Fedorovna, Empress of Russia. The John 
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VYRUBOVA, ANNA - Memoires of the Russian Court - Macmillan, 1923. 

WATSON, HUGH SETON - The Russian Empire 1801-1917 - Oxford, 
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WITTE, SERGE, COUNT - Memoirs - Moscow, 1960. 

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251 



INDEX 



Abaza: 105 

Abdul Hamid, Sultan of Turkey: 
94 - 172. 

Abdurakhmanchikoff: 193, 

Act of Liberation of peasants in 
1861: 66 - 70 - 71 - 73 - 74. 

Aehrenthal, Baron (Count): 206 
214. 

Aksakov, Ivan writer and Slavo 
phil: 72 - 96. 

Albert, Prince-Consort: 59 - 195 
208. 

Albertini, Luigi, Italian historian: 
214 215. 

Alexander I, Czar (1801-1825): 15 
16 - 89 - 110 - 167 - 168. 

Alexander II, Czar (1855-1881): 6 
45 - 51 59 - 60 - 71 - 88 
90 - 91 - 93 - 97 - 101 - 103 
105 - 109 - 131 - 141 - 142 
149 - 172 - 188 - 205 - 211. 



j Alexander III, Czar (1881-1894): 
105 - 106 - 109 - 117 - 138 
140 - 142 - 143 - 167 - 172 
173 - 188 - 204 - 211. 

Alexander, Crown Prince of Serbia 
also see: Karageorgevich, 
Alexander: 214 215 - 216. 

Alexander Michailovitch, Grand Du 
ke: 165. 

Alexander, Prince of Wurttemberg: 
15. 

Alexandra Fedorovna, Empress 
(Princess Alix of Hesse): 154 
179 - 188 - 196 - 200 - 208. 

Alexeyev, Admiral, Viceroy of the 
Far East: 176 - 180. 

Alexis, Grand Duke: 56 - 59. 

Alexis Nicholayevitch, Cesarevich: 
188 - 189 - 195 - 196. 

Alfonso XIII, King of Spain: 196. 
Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh 



Alfthan, Baroness: 145. 

Alice, Princess of Great Britain: 
196. 

Alix, Princess of Hesse and Rhine, 
Russian Empress: 167 189. 

Anastasia, Princess of Montenegro: 
109 - 179 - 198 - 207 - 209 
215. 

Andrew Vladimirovitch, Grand 
Duke: 54. 

Anna loannovna, Empress (1730- 
1740) 

Annexation of Bosnia and Herze 
govina 

Antoufiev, Nikita Demidovitch 
forefather of Demidoff fa 
mily: 45. 

Argyll, Duke of: 196. 

Artamonov, Victor, Colonel, later 
General: 215 - 216. 



Battenberg, Prince Heinrich 
Batu, Khan: 89 - 90. 

Beatrice, Princess of Great Britain: 

i 196. 

I 

Beethoven, composer: 167. 
Berchtold, Count: 214. 

Berg, Count, Governor-General of 
Finland: 149. 

Bezobrazov, Statei^ecreta|ry: 175 

| 176. 

i 

i Bismarck, Prince, Grand Chancel- 
1 lor of Germany: 80 - 95 - 96 

143. 

Bobrikov, General, Governor-Gene 
ral of Finland: 172 - 173. 

Boer War: 203. 

Bogolepov, Russian Minister: 174. 

Bogomolec, Alexandra: 119 - 224 
247. 



Balzac, Honore de, French writer: 
158. 

Barszczewska, Wienczslawa: 46. 
Barthou, French Minister: 142 
Battle of Budapest, 1241 

Battenberg, Prince Alexander Prin 
ce of Bulgaria: 96 - 99 - 142. 

Battenberg, Prince George: 117. 



lypin: 240. 



Arthur, Duke of Connaught: 195. | Bogrov, Mordka, assassin of Sto- 

Bagration, Prince: 165. 

Bakunin, Michael, anarchist: 104, 



Bokhara, Emir of, Said-Mir-Alim- 
Khan: 192 - 193. 



Bonaparte, Jerome, Prince de 
Montfort: 45. 

Botkin, the Czar's physician: 240. 
Bourenin, Madame: 209. 
Borer Uprising: 167 - 170. 
Brown, John: 208. 

Brunner, Otto, superintendent: 
115 - 135 - 136. 



Brunner, Peter, superintendent: 
118 - 219 - 224. 

Buffalo, Bill: 59. 
Cagliostro, Balsamo: 180. 

Canovas, Spanish Prime Minister: 
103. 

Caprivi, Count, Grand Chancellor 
of Germany: 143. 

Carnot, President of France: 103. 
Caserio, Santo, anarchist: 104. 

Catherine I, Empress of Russia 
(1725-1727): 116. 

Catherine II the Great, Empress 
(1762-1796): 22 - 35 - 89 116 
156 - 164. 

Charykoff, Russian Assistant-Se 
cretary for Foreign Affairs: 
206. 

Charlemagne: 15. 

Charles X, King of France: 23. 

Charlotte, Empress of Mexico: 79. 

Charlotte, Princess of Prussia, Rus 
sian Empress: 154. 

Cherkassky, Prince, Slavophil: 72. 
Chopin, Frederic: 43 - 167. 

Chotek, Countess Sophie, Duchess 
of Hohenberg: 215. 

Chuprov, A., economist, professor: 

5. 



Clemens, Russian General 

Clement XIV, Pope of Rome: 36 ; Disraeli: 92. 



Communist Manifesto of 1848: 71. 
Congress of Berlin: 205. 
j Congress of Vienna: 30. 

i Constantin Nicholayevitch, Grand 
| Duke: 16 - 165. 

i Constantin Palaelogus, Byzantine 
| Emperor: 89. 

Constantin Pavlovitch, Grand Du 
ke: 89. 

i Crimean War of 1854-1855: 33. 
| Dadiani, Princess: 193. 
Dadiani, Prince Oucha: 189 - 190. 

Dagmar, Princess of Denmark, Rus 
sian Empress: 106. 

D'Anthes 

Davenhill, Miss: 145 - 152 - 153. 

Demidoff, Anatol, Prince San Do- 
nato: 45. 

Demidoff, Nicholas: 45 - 46. 

Demidoff, Paul, Prince San Dona- 
to: 45 - 46. 

Derby, Lord: 93. 
Derevenko, sailor: 189. 

Deszpost-Zienowicz, Anna: 63 82 
243. 

Deszpot-Zienowicz, Jan: 63 - 242. 

Dimitrijevich-Apis, Dragutin, Chief 
of Serbian Intelligence: 213 
214 - 215 - 216. 



Dmitri Pavlovitch, Grand Duke: 
189. 

Dolgoruki, Prince Youri: 98. 
Dolgoruki, Prince Michael: 97. 

Dolgorukij Princess Catherine, 
Princess Yourievsky: 97 - 98. 

Doroshin, engineer: 78. 
Draga, Queen of Serbia: 212. 
Dubassov, General: 183. 
Dulbet, General: 117. 

Dumbadze, Ivan Antonovitch Ge 
neral: 183 - 185 193. 

Edward VII, King: 195. 

Elisabeth, Empress of Austria: 79 
104. 

Elisabeth Petrovna, Empress of 
Russia (1741-1761): 105 - 116. 

Elisabeth Fedorovna, Grand Du 
chess: 178. 

Elisabeth, Princess of Hesse: 189. 
Entente Cordiale: 109 205. 
Eristcff, Prince: 193. 

Ernst-Ludwig, Grand Duke of 
Hesse 

Estherka (Esther) sweetheart of 
King Kasimir the Great of 
Poland: 36. 

Eugenie, Empress of France: 80. 
Farragut, American Admiral: 57. 
Fashoda 



Faure, Sebastien, anarchist: 104. 

Ferdinand I, Emperor of Austria: 
32. 

Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of 
Toscana: 45. 

Ferdinand, Prince of Saxe-Coburg- 
Gotha: 142. 

Fox, Gustavus: 61. 

Francis II, Emperor of the Holy 
Empire: 15, 

Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871: 
95 . 140 . 143 - 204. 

Franz-Ferdinand, Archduke: 199 
214 241. 

Franz-Josef, Archduke, Emperor of 
Austria-Hungary: 32 - 79 - 80 
92 - 141 - 205. 

Franz-Karl, Archduke: 32. 

Frederic the Great, King of Prus 
sia: 22. 

Freedericks, Count, Minister of the 
Imperial Court: 190 - 239. 

Galitzine, Prince Gregory: 172. 
Gambetta: 81. 

Gapon, Priest: 177 - 178. 
Garfield, James, President of the 
United States: 103, 

Genghis Khan: 88 - 89 - 90. 
Genghis, Prince: 192 - 194. 
Genghis, Princess: 192 - 193. 
George V, King: 188. 



George, Duke of Leuchtenberg: 110. 

George Michailovitch, Grand Duke: 
165. 

George, Prince zu Waldeck: 145. 

Giers, Nicholas, Russian Minister 
for Foreign Affairs: 142 - 143. 

Goldman, Emma, anarchist: 104. 
Goncharoff, Natalie: 117. 

Gorchakoff, Prince: 95 96 - 142 
205. 

Grant, Ulysses S., President of 
the United States: 59, 

Grave, Helen de: 225. 
Greek Uprising of 1821: 31 
Gregory Ogon, Prince: 241. 

Grinevetsky, anarchist: 105. 

Gruber, Gabriel, General of the 
Jesuits: 36. 

Grudzinska, Joanna, Princess 
Lowicz: 16. 

Gusseva: 199. 

Gvozdevitch, Police Commissioner 
of Yalta: 193. 

Hacken, Anna (Russia): 223. 
Hacken, Mary: 224. 
Hacken, Natalie: 224. 
Hacken, Nicky: 224. 
Hacken, Nina: 224. 
Hacken, Vasili: 137 - 138 - 233. 



The Hague Peace Conference 
Halturin, workman: 100. 

Hannibal, Abraham Petrovitch: 115 
117. 

Hannibal, Nadejda: 116. 
Hannibal, Joseph (Osip): 116. 
Hannibal, Sophie: 116. 

Harting, N. H., Russian Minister 
in Belgrade: 215. 

Haussmann, Prefect of the Seine: 
27. 

Hegel, philosopher: 136. 

Helena Pavlovna, Grand Duchess: 
100. 

Helena, Queen of Italy: 110. 



Helene, Princess of Great Britain: 
196. 

Henry, Emilie, anarchist: 104. 

Henri III de Valois, King of 
France: 22. 

Herodotus: 164. 

Hohenberg, Duchess Sophie von, 
Countess Chotek: 215. 

Hohenlohe, Prince and Princess: 
80. 

Holy Alliance: 30 32 - 34. 
Holy Roman Empire 

Hoover, Herbert, President of the 
United States 

Humbert, King of Italy: 104, 



Hungarian Uprising of 1848 
Ibrahim Hannibal: 115. 
Ignatiev, Countess: 197 198. 
Igor, Prince: 221. 

Iliodor (Iliodor) Russian priest- 
monk: 199. 

Imeretinsky, Prince: 173. 
Isvolsky, Alexander: 206. 
Ito, Marquis: 174 - 175. 

Ivan III, Grand Duke of Moscow: 
89. 

Ivan IV the Terrible, Czar: 35 - 89 
241. 

Jadwiga, Queen of Poland: 21. 

Jagello, Grand Duke of Lithuania: 
21. 

Jesuit Order: 36 - 37. 

Johnson, Andrew, President of the 
United States: 60. 

Juarez: 79 - 80. 

Jurievsky, Princess Catherine: 98. 

Juriewicz, Adelaida (Adela): 64 
65 - 87. 

Juriewicz, Anna: 11 - 21 - 39. 
Juriewicz, Conrad: 43. 

Juriewicz, Emilia-Paulina: 76 - 82 
86 - 87. 

Juriewicz, Franciszek: 43. 
Juriewicz, Fryderyk: 133 - 219. 



| Juriewicz, Jacob, Kniaz: 23. 

Juriewicz, Jan: 43 - 64 65. 

Juriewicz, Joseph: 39 - 63. 

Juriewicz, Michael: 42. 

Juriewicz, Mieczyslaw: 29-43-133 
219. 

Juriewicz, Paul: 62 - 219. 

Juriewicz, Stanislaw: 23 - 26 - 28 
39-40-42-43-44-45 
47 - 53 - 54 - 55 - 62 - 65 
69 - 75 - 76 - 80 - 133 - 219. 

Kamayev, Elisabeth: 148. 
Kankrin, Count: 50. 

Kara George, a Serbian pig farmer: 
209 - 210. 

Karageorgevich, Alexander: 142. 
Karageorgevich, George 

Karageorgevich, Peter, King of 

Serbia: 142 - 207 - 212 - 213. 

Karagosov, Dmitri, anarchist: 60. 

Kasimir the Great, King of Poland: 
36. 

Kellen, Betty, writer: 213. 

Keshko, Natalie, Queen of Serbia: 
211. 

Khrucki, Polish painter: 243. 

Khrustalev - Nosar, revolutionary: 
182. 

Kibalchich, anarchist: 105. 
Kishinev Pogrom: 173, 



Kisselev, Count: 50. 

Kokovtzev, Count, Russian Secret 
ary of Finance 

Komura, Japanese plenipotentiary: 
182. 

Korsak, landowner: 247. 
Korsak, Madame: 247. 
Krabbe, Russian Admiral: 57. 

Krassinskaya, Princess, born Mat- 
hilde Krzesinska: 54. 

Kropotkin, Prince Peter, anarchist: 
104. 

Krueger, Johannes: 167. 
Krzesinska, Mathilde, ballerina: 54. 

Krzesinski, Felix, dancer of the 
Imperial Ballet. 

Kurcpatkin, General: 180 - 181. 
Kuzminsky, Alexandra: 148. 
Kuzminsky, Vasili, General: 148. 
Lamsdorff, Count: 205. 

League of The Three Emperors : 
141 - 143 - 211. 

Lenin, Vladimir: 231. 
Leo, Pope of Rome: 15. 
Leopold, Duke of Albany: 195. 
Lermontoff, Michael: 166. 

Leskoff, Nicholas, Russian writer: 
13. 

Lessovsky, Russian Admiral: 56 
57. 



Li-Hung Chang, Chinese statesman: 
169. 

Lincoln, Abraham, President of the 
United States: 55. 

Lincoln, Mrs.: 55. 
Loris-Melikoff, Count: 99 - 105. 
Lome, Marquess of: 196. 

Louis XVI, King of France: 79 
180. 

Luise, Princess of Great Britain: 
196. 

Louis-Philippe, King of France: 27 
31. 

Lowicz, Princess, Joanna Grudzins- 

ka: 16. 

i 
i 

! Luxemburg, Grand Duke of, Prince 
i Nicholas of Nassau 

Makaroff, Russian Admiral: 180. 

j Malatesta, Enrico, anarchist: 104. 

i 

| Manifesto of the 17th of October: 
31 - 52 - 182. 

Maria Alexandrovna, Russian Em 
press, bora Princess of Hes 
se: 97 98. 

Maria Alexandrovna, Grand Duc 
hess, Duchess of Edinburgh: 
: 59. 

: Maria Fedorovna, Cesarevna and 
Russian Empress: 106 - 143 
157 - 204 - 208. 

Maria Pavlovna, Grand Duchess: 
189. 



Maria Theresa, Empress of the 
Holy Empire: 22. 

Marie Antoinette, Queen of France: 
79 - 180. 

Marie, Princess of Hesse: 188. 
Marx, Karl: 31 - 136 - 232. 
Mashin, Draga, Queen of Serbia 
Mashin Svetozar: 212. 

Massie, Robert K., American wri 
ter 

Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico: 

79. 
Mayevsky, Professor 

Macklenburg-Strelitz, Dukes: 110. 

Menshikoff, Prince Alexander Da- 
nilovitch: 116 - 149. 

Menshikoff, Prince Alexander Ser- 
geyevitch: 149. 

Merenberg, Natalie, Countess: 117. 
Merenberg, Sophie, Countess: 117. 

Michael Nicholayevitch, Grand 
Duke, Viceroy of the Cau 
casus: 117. 

Michael Michailovitch (Mish-Mish) 
Grand Duke: 117. 

Mikhailov, anarchist: 105. 
Milford-Haven, David, Marquis: 117 

Militza, Princess of Montenegro: 
110 - 179 - 198. 

Miloradovitch, Count: 17. 
Milutin, Count Dmitri: 105. 



Milutin, Nicholas: 72 
Mingrelia, Prince of: 145. 
Mohl, Emmanuel: 247. 
Mohl, Stanislaw: 118. 
Moltke, Count: 80. 

Montfort, Prince de (Jerome Bo 
naparte): 45. 

Montfort, Princess Mathilde de: 45. 

Montesquieu, Baron de, French 
philosopher: 242. 

Maszynska, Joanna: 23 - 24 

Moszynska, Maria, Countess Szem- 
bek: 24. 

Moszynsky, Pietr: 24. 
Murat, Prince: 165. 
Muravjev-Amoursky, Count: 179. 
Muraviev, Count M.: 202. 

McKinley, William, President of 
the United States: 103. 

Napoleon I, Emperor: 45 - 79. 

Napoleon III (Louis - Napoleon) 
Emperor: 79 - 80 81 - 210. 

Nassekin, Constance: 11-48. 

Nicholas I, Czar (1825-1855): 13 
16 > 28 34 - 44 - 48 - 49 
50 - 51 71 - 72 - 97 - 102 
154. 

Nicholas II, Czar (1894-1917): 72 

101 167 168 - 169 - 171 

173 - 175 - 178 - 179 188 

190 - 203 - 206 - 213 - 216. 



Nicholas, Cesarevich (son of Alex 
ander II): 175 - 180. 

Nicholas Nicholayevitch, Grand 
Duke: 94 - 179 - 180 - 204 
207 - 209 - 215 - 216. 

Nicholas, Prince of Montenegro: 
109. 

Nicholas, Prince of Nassau, Grand 
Duke of Luxemburg: 117. 

Nietzsche, German philosopher: 136 
Nihilists: 174. 

Novikov, landlord in Yalta: 184 
185. 

Novitzki, Governor of Crimea: 185. 
Obolensky, Princess: 155 - 157. 

Obren Milosh, Prince of Serbia: 
210 - 212. 

Obrenovich, Alexander, King of 
Serbia: 212 - 213. 

Obrenovich Milan, Prince of Ser 
bia: 210. 

Obrenovich Michael, Prince of Ser 
bia: 210. 

Odintzov, Mrs. 85. 

Odintzov, Russian priest: 84 - 127 
130 - 236 - 245. 

Offenbach, composer 

Oginski, Prince Michael-Kasimir: 
241, 

Oginski, Prince MichaednKleofas, 
composer: 242, 



Oginski, Princess Polonia: 43 63 
242. 

Oleg, Prince: 221. 

Order of Malta 

Orloff-Davidoff, Count: 165. 

Osman-Pasha, Turkish General: 93. 

Pahlen, Count: 61. 

Palmerston, Lord 

Papernov, hotel proprietor: 223. 

Pasich, Serbian Prime Minister: 
214. 

Patti, Adelina, Italian coloratura- 
soprano: 158. 

Paul I f Czar (1796-1801): 36 - 188. 
Paul Alexandrovitch, Grand Duke 
Peace Treaty of Portsmouth 
Peasant Uprising in Poltava 

Perovsky, Alexander, Count: 145 
148. 

Perovsky, Sophia, nihilist: 105. 
Pervukhin, newspaper reporter: 184 

Peter the Great, Czar, (1698-1725): 
45 - 72 - 116 - 161. 

Peter III, Czar (1761-1762): 116. 

Peter Nicholayevitch, Grand Duke: 
110 - 165 - 179 - 207. 

Philippe, Comte de Paris: 31, 
Philippoff, Mr: 48 - 54. 



Piasts, aid Polish dynastry 

Pilsudski, Joseph, Marshal and dic 
tator of Poland: 173. 

Pius VII, Pope of Rome: 15 - 36. 
Plater, Count: 247. 

Plehve, Vyacheslav: 172 - 174 - 176 
177 229. 

Pobedonostseff, Constantin: 106 
171 - 172 - 180. 

Polish Uprising of 1830-1831: 141. 
Polish Uprising of 1863: 118. 

Poniatowski, Stanislaw, King of 
Poland: 22 - 23. 

Popov, Russian Admiral: 56. 
Princip, Gabrilo, assassin: 214. 

Pushkin, Alexander, Russian poet: 
115. 

Pushkin, Alexander, son: 115 

Pushkin, Gregory: 115-117-119 
166. 

Pushkin, Maria: 117. 

Pushkin, Natalie, Countess von 
Merenberg: 117. 

Pushkin, Serge: 117. 
Radziwill, Prince: 21 - 22. 
Rasputin, Gregory: 196 - 200 - 201. 
Ravachol, anarchist: 104. 
Re-Insurance Treaty: 143. 
Remak, Professor: 214. 



Revolt of Decembrists: 15 - 16 - 49 
51. 

Revolution of 1905 
Revolution of 1917 

Richelieu, Duke de 
Rokassowsky, Alexander: 155. 

Rokassowsky, Alexandra, born 
Kuzminsky: 111. 

Rokassowsky, Alexandra, grand 
daughter: 153. 

Rokassowsky, Alexis: 225. 
Rokassowsky, Alexis, Jr.: 148 - 155. 
Rokassowsky, Elisabeth: 147 - 154. 
Rokassowsky, Ivan (Johann): 156. 
Rokassowsky, Olga: 147 - 159, 
Romadonovsky, Prince-Caesar: 161. 

Rokassowsky, Platon, Governor- 
General of Finland: 148 - 149. 

Rokassowsky, Platon, son: 148 - 155. 

Rokassowsky, Platon, grandson: 
148. 

Rokassowsky, Vera: 110-111-144 
152 - 154 - 162 - 226. 

Rokassowsky, Vladimir: 147 - 155 
159. 

Romadonovsky, Prince-Caesar: 161. 

Romadonovsky-Lodyjensky, Prin 
cess Maria: 161 - 162. 

Rotkirch, Adam: 116. 
Rotkirch, Vera 116. 



Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, French 
philosopher: 242 - 244. 

Rozdestvensky, Russian Admiral: 
181. 

Rubinstein, Anton, composer: 144. 
Rurik (Rorek) Prince: 63 - 97 221. 

Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905: 
180 - 189 - 204. 

Russo-Turkish War of 1828-1829 

Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878: 
97 - 141 - 159 - 180 - 211. 

Rysakov, nihilist: 105. 
Saburoff, Sophia: 158. 

Said-Mir-Alim-Khan, Emir of Bok 
hara: 192, 

St. Michael, Russian Prince: 241. 
St. Vladimir, Russian Prince 
Samarin, Slavophil: 72. 
Sand, George, French writer: 158. 
Schleswig-Holstein, Prince of: 143, 

Schopenhauer, German philosopher: 
136. 

Sepoy's Rebellion of 1857: 58. 

Seraphim Sarovsky, Russian saint: 
180. 

Serge Alexandrovitch, Grand Duke: 
178 - 189. 

Seward, William, U.S. Secretary of 
State: 77. 



Shremeteff, General: 171. 
Shevardin-Maximov, Luba 
Shishko, Nicholas: 146. 

Sienkiewicz, Henryk, Polish writer: 
22. 

Simanovitch, Secretary of Raspu 
tin: 201. 

Sipyagin, Dmitri, Russian Minister: 
174 229. 

Skjoberg, Chris tine-Regine: 116. 

i Skozelev, General: 180. 
1 Skorulski, Pani: 64. 

Skorulsky, Leonid: 224 - 247. 
I Slavophils: 171 - 204 - 206 - 232. 
I Sobieski, Jan ; King of Poland: 22. 

Soloviev, Slavophil: 72. 



Sophie, Archruchess of Austria 
born Princess of Bavaria: 32 
215. 

Sophia Paleaologus, Princess of By 
zantium: 89. 

| Stalin, Joseph: 8 - 199 - 235. 

i Stephan Batory, King of Poland: 

| 35. 

: Stoekl, Baron, Russian Ambassa- 
: dor to the United States: 77. 

; Stolypin, Peter, Russian Prime 
Minister: 206 - 229 - 230 - 234 
239 - 240 - 241. 



Sforza, Count: 214, 



. Stowe, Harriet Beecher: 51. 



Strauss, Johaim, Viennese com 
poser: 80. 

Sygmunt-August I, King of Po 
land: 21. 

Szembek, Countess Maria: 29. 
Szembek, Count Sygmunt: 28. 
Szapowicz, Polish composer: 247. 
Talavrinoff, Doctor: 161 - 162. 
Tarkhan-Moouravoff, Princess: 193 
Tarsaidze, Alexandre: 57 - 78 - 103. 
Teutonic Order 

Thackeray, William, English wri 
ter: 158. 

Thiers: 81. 

Tiesenhausen, Baron von: 145. 

Togo, Japanese Admiral: 180 - 181. 

Tolstoy, Peter, Russian Ambassador 
to Turkey: 115. 

Tolstoy, Count Leo, writer: 115 
245 - 246. 

Torby, Countess Nadejda: 117. 
Torby, Countess Sophia: 117. 
Traubenberg, Alexander: 116 
Traubenberg, Dorothea: 116. 
Treaty of Bjorke: 205. 
Treaty of Paris of 1856: 51. 
Treaty of Portsmouth of 1905 
Treaty of Reichstadt of 1876: 205, 



Treaty of San Stefano of 1878: 95. 

Treaty of Shimonoseki: 168. 

Treaty of Tilsit: 15. 

Triple Alliance: 143. 

Turgenev, Ivan, Russian writer: 52. 

Union of the Rhine: 14, 

United Nations: 31. 

Vachot, Philippe, doctor Philip 
pe de Lyon: 179 - 180. 

Vaillant, Edouard, anarchist: 104. 

Victoria, Princess of Great Britain, 
Empress of Germany: 195. 

Victoria, Queen of Great Britain: 
59 - 92 - 94 - 208. 

Vladimir Alexandrovitch, Grand Du 
ke 

Voltaire, French philosopher: 242. 
Vyroubov, Anna: 198. 

Waldeck and Pyrmont, Prince zu: 
145. 

Waxei, Leo: 117. 
Wessoczinska, Pani: 82. 
Wiazemsky, Prince Alexander: 156. 
Wilhelmina, Countess of Hesse: 188 

Wilhelm I the Great, Emperor of 
Germany: 141 - 202 - 203. 

Wilhelm II, Emperor of Germany: 
143 - 195 - 204 - 241. 



Wilte, Count Serge, Russian Pri 
me Minister: 169 - 175 - 180 
182 - 183 - 205 - 213. 

World War I: 203. 

Waroniecka, Princess Elisabeth: 
219. 

Worontzoff-Dashkoff, Count, Vice 
roy of the Caucasus: 172. 

Wrangele, Hinricus de 

Wrangell, Adela, born Juriewicz: 
75 76 - 82. 

Wrangell, Adela, daughter: 87 - 137. 

Wrangell, Albert-CarlJohann: 75 

76. 

Wrangell, Anna, born Juriewicz: 
28 - 29 42 - 43 - 46 76. 

Wrangell, Anna-Leonida (Nussia): 
75 - 76 - 82 - 86 - 87 - 88. 

Wrangell, Carl Philipp: 11 - 14. 

Wrangell, Emilia Paulina, born 
Juriewicz: 76 - 82 - 86. 



Wrangell, Ferdinand, Governor-Ge 
neral of Alaska: 78. 

Wrangell, George: 117 118. 

Wrangell, Peter, Commander-in- 
Chief of the White Russian 
Army: 117. 

Wrangell, Stanislaw Alexis: 11-54 
59. 

Wrangell, Vera, born Rokassowsky: 
144. 

Wrangell, Woldemar-Constantin: 87 
Wurttemberg, Alexander, Prince 

Youssoupoff, Prince Felix: 200 
201. 

Zhelyabov, nihilist: 105. 
Zhukowsky, Russian poet: 97. 

Zorka, Princess of Montenegro: 
209. 

Zubatov, X'ladimir, police agent: 
177. 




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