1st August, 1914 - Russia Enters World War I Topic: World War I
Monument to the Heroes of the First World War on Poklonnaya Hill in Moscow
Today, marks the 102nd anniversary of Russia's entry into World War I.
During the Soviet years, Russia's contribution and sacrifices made during the First World War were neither discussed or commemorated. In destroying the tsars, the Bolshevik revolutionaries denounced the Great War as imperialist, thus robbing it of its potential for a popular legacy.
It was not until 1st August, 2013 that Russia marked Russian Soldiers’ World War I Remembrance Day for the first time. The following year, Russia marked the 100th anniversary of the country's entry into World War I with a series of national events.
On 1st August, 2014 Russia's President Vladimir Putin unveiled a Monument to the Heroes of the First World War on Poklonnaya Hill in Moscow.
Behind the multi-figure composition, and set against the Imperial Russian flag can be found the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna (seen in the photo).
In recent years, Russia has made great efforts to recognize the country's efforts during World War I. An equestrian monument of Nicholas II was unveiled in Moscow in 2014, acknowledging his contribution to the war effort. It also opened its first museum dedicated to World War I at Tsarskoye Selo.
On April 30, 2015 , the remains of Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the Russian Empire Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich (1856-1929), and his wife, Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna, were reinterred in Moscow at the Bratsky Military Cemetery.
Royal Russia has published more than 20 articles on Russia and WWI, please click on the link below to review them:
Sisters of Mercy of the First World War Exhibit Opens at Tsarskoye Selo Topic: World War I
Note: this article has been translated from Russian and edited from its original by Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia
On 5th May, the Sisters of Mercy of the First World War exhibition, opened at the Russia in the Great War Museum in the Sovereign’s Martial Chamber at Tsarskoye Selo. The exhibit features cards and postcards dating from 1914-1918, from the private collection of Victor Palagnyuk, a member of the St. Petersburg History Club. Also on display are items from the collection of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve.
On 3 May (O.S.) 1867, Emperor Alexander II approved the charter of the "Society for the care of wounded and sick soldiers." In 1879 the company was renamed the Russian Red Cross. Its honorary members included the emperor, the grand dukes and grand duchesses, many high-ranking secular officials and representatives of the higher clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church.
In accordance with a tradition which dated back to the time of Empress Maria Feodorovna, wife of Emperor Paul I, Maria Alexandrovna became patroness of many charitable organisations in Russia, including the Red Cross.
During the First World War, the image of nurses was actively used to raise the spirit of national patriotism and anti-German propaganda. In an atmosphere of patriotic enthusiasm the Sisters of Mercy service to the Red Cross on January 1, 1917 consisted of about 20 thousand nurses.
The most famous Sisters of Mercy were the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and her eldest daughters Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana. "The women of the Imperial family served as examples of appropriate wartime service for Russian womanhood and were meant to inspire enlistment in the Red Cross," says Laurie Stoff of Louisiana Tech University.
For their courage and selflessness in the rescue and care of wounded soldiers on the battlefields many nurses received the St. George medal with the inscription of the Red Cross. The only woman to be awarded the Order of St. George "For Courage", was Rimma Ivanova.
The cards and postcards presented at the exhibition reflect the image of a nurse in a variety of circumstances of war: providing first aid to the wounded at the war front, to help protect them from the line of fire, nursing the sick and wounded soldiers in the hospitals, the hospital trains, etc.
Many of the cards and postcards depict the artwork of famous artists of the time: Mikhail Nesterov, Sergei Yaguzhinsky, Peter Heller, Timofey Mozgov, Mstislav Dobuzhinsky and their contemporaries.
Photographs are imprinted with activities of the medical service with the participation of nurses at the war fronts.
The exhibition presents the cards and postcards of various charities, the texts of which called for the care and compassion towards the sick and wounded soldiers.
True rarities of the exhibit include photographs of members of the Sisters of Mercy with dedications to their relatives and loved ones, as well as postcards sent by mail to the nurses themselves.
The collection of cards and postcards is complemented with unique items from the collection of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum. Together, they unite the theme of the Red Cross in Russia during World War I. The exhibition highlights the heroic role in which the nurses are reflected not only in various fields of life, but also art.
In June 2016 a monument to the Sisters of Mercy of the First World War will be unveiled in Moscow. Two draft models of the monument, by the sculptors Lev Beybutyanom and Jan Neumann, are currently on display during the exhibition in the Sovereign’s Martial Chamber at Tsarskoye Selo.
The monument will be installed in the 3rd Central Military Clinical Hospital, the grand opening will take place on 23 June, 2016.
The Sisters of Mercy of the First World exhibition runs from 5 May to 5 September 2016 in the Sovereign’s Martial Chamber at Tsarskoye Selo
100-Year-Old White Army General's Daughter Gets Russian Citizenship Topic: World War I
Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the November 30th, 2015 edition of The Guardian. Shaun Walker own the copyright of the work presented below.
Irene de Dreier, whose family fled Russia for Paris when she was five, gets her Russian citizenship back days before she turns 100
After 95 years in exile, the daughter of a Tsarist-era army general has been granted Russian citizenship by President Vladimir Putin, before her 100th birthday on 15 December.
Irene de Dreier left Russia when she was just five. Her father, Vladimir von Dreier, was an imperial officer who fought for the White Army against the Bolsheviks during the Russian civil war, which broke out after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution.
The family fled to Crimea, where the last stand of the Whites took place, and left the peninsula by ship in 1920. The Von Dreiers eventually settled in Paris where the former general opened a wine shop. Irene won second place in a 1936 Miss Russia beauty contest held in Paris among émigrés from the nobility. She was married three times – to a Frenchman, an Italian and an American – and has travelled widely, but always dreamed of returning to Russia.
In 1920 thousands of White Army soldiers board ships in the Crimea
De Dreier had appealed to Putin in recent weeks: “I want to meet the creator not as a foreigner but as a real citizen of Russia, as a Russian in my heart and soul.”
The Russian television station NTV featured an appeal by De Dreier, speaking in both English and Russian, asking for Putin to return her citizenship. Apparently in sound mind and good humour, and drinking a glass of champagne, the 99-year-old said she had always felt Russian but since her mother died did not have anyone left to speak the language with. If her health allows, she wants to visit Russia before she dies.
During the Soviet period, the White Army were portrayed as evil villains in literature and cinema, but in recent years there has been a different approach. Putin has promoted a patriotic interpretation of all elements of Russian history, encouraging Russians to take pride both in the achievements of the Soviet state but also respect members of the White Army who fought against its creation.
A 2008 film, the Admiral, told a fictionalised story about Admiral Kolchak, one of the leading White commanders. Like the Red Army forces, the Whites engaged in terror as a tactic. But the film’s director, Andrei Kravchuk, said at the time that the White officers were an example to modern Russians: “These people have what we are severely lacking today – a sense of duty, honour, morals and an ability to remain dignified and composed in any circumstances.”
Putin approved De Dreier’s request, according to a decree published on the Russian government’s website on Monday.
Moscow World War One Monument Features Nicholas II Topic: World War I
In the center of the World War I monument is Emperor Nicholas II dressed in military uniform on horseback
On December 16, hundreds of Muscovites gathered to witness the grand opening of two memorials dedicated to the great wars of the 20th century. Russian Defense Minister and President of the Russian Geographical Society, Sergei Shoigu unveiled monuments dedicated to the heroes of World War I and World War II. The sculptures are situated on either side of the grand staircase of the building of the National Defense Management Center (NTsUO), situated on the Frunze Embankment in Moscow.
"Today we are opening at the same time two monuments dedicated to the soldiers-heroes who defended our country during the last hundred years, during World War I and World War II" - said Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu.
The bronze sculptures were created by Military Artists Studio named after M.B. Grekova under the leadership of the Russian sculptor Mikhail Pereyaslavets. The size of each of the compositions is about 11 meters in length, about 9 meters in height.
In the center of the World War I monument is Emperor Nicholas II dressed in military uniform on horseback. In the World War II monument is Marshal Zhukov on horseback.
According to Pereyaslavets, the sculptures required two and a half years of work, and more than 20 tons of bronze. He relied on archival photographs to achieve accurate historical characters in the finished sculptures.
Special envelopes dedicated to the monuments were released. The first copies were handed to Sergei Shoigu. One million copies have been printed and distributed to post offices across Russia.
Patriarch Kirill Consecrates Russian Necropolis in Belgrade Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 2 minutes, 20 seconds Topic: World War I
This past weekend in Belgrade, Patriarch Kirill consecrated the Russian Necropolis and the memorial ossuary to Russian soldiers
On Saturday, 15 November 2014, His Holiness Kirill of Moscow and All Russia consecrated the restored Iveron Chapel, the renovated Russian necropolis at the Belgrade New Cemetery, where, together with Serbian Patriarch Irinej, he held a service dedicated to soldiers killed in the First World War.
On that occasion, the two patriarchs laid wreaths to the monument to the Russian soldiers in the Great War, within the necropolis, which also consists of a chapel and four lots where Russian refugees were buried.
In addition to a large number of citizens, the ceremony was attended by Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Chepurin, famous Russian film director Nikita Mikhalkov and members of the Russian Army.
The Russian patriarch thanked all the people who took part in the restoration of that sanctity, describing it as a monument to the Russian heroes that gave their lives for their faith, their Emperor and their homeland. At the same time, it is a beautiful monument symbolizing the brotherhood of the Serbian and Russian nation, said Patriarch Krill, adding that, by restoring that monument, we are also restoring our historical memory and the emotions we have for one another.
The Russian Necropolis at the New Cemetery in Belgrade reopened in the Serbian capital on August 1st, 2014 after an extensive restoration.
Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the Federal Agency for the CIS, Compatriots living abroad and International Cultural Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo), attended the opening ceremony which opened with a memorial service at the Necropolis’s Iberian Chapel. Patriarch Irinej, the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church who led the church service, said that Russians and Serbs were linked by centuries-old friendship and that the Serbs remembered how Russian soldiers came to their rescue during World War One.
“Today, Serbia is coming under great pressure to throw a shadow on the Russian people. But we will never be able to do that under no consideration,” the Serbian patriarch stressed.
Aleksandar Vulin, the Serbian Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social policy, said that Russia was the only “light in darkness” for the Serbs during World War One.
“History did not know examples when such a great nation made so many sacrifices for the sake of a small people,” Vulin stressed.
For his part, Konstantin Kosachev said that the current relations between the two counties were the best compensation for what happened a hundred years ago when Russian soldiers fought on the Serbian soil.
The orchestras played the anthems of Russia and Serbia. After that, the participants in the ceremony laid wreaths to a Russian and Serbian monuments to the WWI heroes. Live flowers were also lowered on the water at the confluence of the Rivers Danube and Sava on the traverse of the Kalemegdan fortress where the Russian flotilla stood to defend Belgrade during World War I.
A WWI exhibition has opened at the Progress gallery in central Belgrade. Apart from pictures, it features authentic artifacts of that time from Serbia, Russia and France.
A concert at the Russian Center of Science and Culture culminated the festivities in Belgrade. The programme included the most famous music pieces of the early 20th century played by Russian and Serbian musicians.
Russians who fought on the WWI fronts or immigrated to Serbia after the 1917 October Revolution are buried at the Russian Necropolis in Belgrade. More than 3,000 people, including 1, 360 generals, soldiers and officers who fought in WWI, are interred at the Necropolis.
The restoration of the biggest burial place of Russian compatriots abroad had been under way since 2010. Konstantin Kosachev said the project, valued at almost 2 million dollars, was financed both from the state budget and on donations of private companies and individuals.
The end of restoration works was timed to coincide with the centenary anniversary of the start of WWI. Austria declared a war on Serbia on July 28, 1914 while Russia entered the war a few days later on August 1.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin who unveiled a WWI memorial on Moscow’s Poklonnaya Hill on Friday said that Russia had fulfilled its allied obligations during World War One.
For centuries, Russia sought to establish strong ties and build trust among nations and its role in the pre-war years was particularly important.
“On the eve of World War One Russia did everything to persuade Europe to resolve the conflict between Serbia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire peacefully without spilling blood but it had to answer the challenge and defend the fraternal Slavic nation and its own citizens from an external threat,” Putin said.
Note: this section of the article was originally published on August 1st, 2014 by ITAR-TASS.
World War I monument located at the Novo Groblje Cemetery in Belgrade, Serbia
A few steps from the Iveron Chapel of the Novo Groblje cemetery stands the World War I memorial to Russian glory (above). It is in the form of a shell, topped by a sculpture of Archangel Michael. Carved into the monument are the Russian Emblem and several inscriptions. One of them says in Russian: “Memory eternal to Emperor Nicholas II and the 2,000,000 Russian soldiers in the Great War.” Another says in Serbian: “To the Russian brethren who courageously fell on the Thessalonika front, 1914-1918.” Under the steps leading up to the monument there is a crypt chapel in which rest remains of soldiers who fell on the Thessalonika front, and of officers and soldiers of two Russian artillery units who gave their lives in the defense of Belgrade.
'Petrograd Diary' Exhibition Dedicated to WWI Centenary Opens in St. Petersburg Topic: World War I
The Rumyantsev Palace in St. Petersburg is hosting the exhibition “Petrograd Diary”. The exhibition features more than 200 exhibits from the collections of the State Museum of the History of St. Petersburg and photographs from the Central State Archive of Cinema and Photo Documents.
It tells of the events of the First World War through the prism of life of Petersburg-Petrograd, chronologically covering the period from July 1914 (Russia’s entry into the war) until March 1918 (the signing of Brest-Litovsk peace, which marked Russia’s withdrawal from the war). The complex of documentary photographs, depicted Russian capital during the war time, and demonstrating by a number of photographs from the front positions of the Russia army, portraits of generals, maps with marked zones of combat operations and the movement of troops that allow to create historical parallels and to trace the close relationship of events, taking place at the front and the rear. The exhibition also features original overcoat and fur cap of ordinary Pavlovsky Regiment, items of military life of soldiers and officers of the Russian army; medical instruments and medical staff’s form of the First World War.
Of particular interest are materials devoted to charitable activities during the First World War. In particular, the exposition contains reconstruction of the "home hospital", reminiscent of that in the Rumyantsev Palace (at that time the mansion of Kotchubey) on the English Embankment, as in many other mansions of the Petersburg nobility, at the expense of the owners was organized a hospital for wounded warriors.
A special section of the exhibition is devoted to the military hospital trains. During the First World War, wealthy citizens, members of the royal family and members of the aristocracy on their funds organized military hospital trains and often went to the front, where par with simple medical personnel saved lives of wounded soldiers.
The exhibition is complemented with authentic and reconstructed military uniforms and equipment of the First World War from the private collections of members of historical clubs of St. Petersburg.
Serbs Should Remember What Russia Did for Them in WWI - Serbian President Topic: World War I
'Slavic Day' in Moscow on January 11, 1915. Note the Chudov Monastery in the background
It is important to preserve historical memory, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said at a meeting with Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill on Friday.
Patriarch Kirill is paying a three-day visit to Belgrade at the invitation of Patriarch Irinej of Serbia and the Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church. This is the second visit by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to Serbia since his enthronement in 2009.
“Serbia always lived as Russia did. When Russia was suffering, Serbia was also suffering. When Russia was progressing, Serbia was also making progress,” Nikolic said.
He added the Serbian people should always remember what Russia did for them, including in the First World War which broke out a hundred years ago and whose centenary anniversary is being marked this year.
Serbia regards Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church as a pillar of support, Nikolic also said.
“We are bound both with faith and blood. We are living through hard time. Christianity is facing great challenges. The Russian Orthodox Church provides a pillar of support for the Serbian Orthodox Church while Russia is a pillar of support for Serbia,” Nikolic said.
On Sunday, Patriarch Kirill will attend a ceremony of unveiling a monument to Russian Tsar Nicholas II in front the presidential palace in Belgrade. Under his rule, Russia joined WWI to defend Serbia.
“The Russian tsar risked the entire state and his people when he entered that war,” Nikolic emphasized.
During WWI, 30,000 Russian soldiers fought shoulder to shoulder with the Serbs in the territory of Serbia.
Soviet soldiers fought in Serbia during WWII. In October this year, Belgrade celebrated the 70th anniversary of Belgrade’s liberation from fascist occupiers.
Paris Pays Tribute to Russian Soldiers of WW I Era Topic: World War I
Monument to the soldiers of the Russian Expedition Corps in Paris
Parisians on Wednesday paid tribute to the Russian soldiers and officers who defended France during World War I.
A French brass band played the Russian and French national anthems at a ceremony that was held by the monument to the soldiers of the Russian Expedition Corps, located in downtown Paris.
Military honours to the Russian defenders of France were paid by the guard of honour of the French Armed Forces.
Russian Ambassador to France, Alexander Orlov, said in his speech the two countries were linked by an allied relationship during World War I, the centenary anniversary since the outbreak of which is widely marked this year.
“The Russian corps was dispatched to France to help an allied nation and many Russian men and officers died while defending the French soil,” he said.
The monument to Russian servicemen was opened on the right-hand bank of the Seine in 2011. It is located in the vicinity of a bridge named after the Russian Emperor Alexander III, whose reign was marked, among other things, by the signing of a Russo-French union accord.
In 2011, the opening of the monument was timed to coincide with President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Paris.
Kremlin Museum Hosts World War One Exhibition Topic: World War I
The exhibition, titled World War I: Forgotten Feats, Heroes and Awards of The Russian Army, marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the WWI. Over five hundred historical relics and documents are presented at the exhibition to reveal the significance and importance of the exploit performed by Russian soldiers and officers, the gallantry displayed by many distinguished representatives of the Russian people during the World War I, the website of the Kremlin Museums reports.
In 1917, when St. Petersburg (then called Petrograd) was under threat of attack of German troops, treasuries of the Imperial family as well as precious decorations and various order insignia from the Chapter of the Russian orders were carefully transferred to the Armoury Chamber. The collection of the Royal family was successfully rescued and preserved in 1918 during the fighting for the Kremlin and later on in 1920s-1930s, in the period of expropriation of the Kremlin treasury, when the newly formed Soviet authorities, requiring a serious financial support in foreign currency, were on the edge of selling the Tsars' treasuries for nothing.
The project introduces military insignia — orders and medals — received by Russian soldiers and officers, including those of the Order of Saint George — the highest military decoration of the Russian Empire. The exposition presents foreign decorations, some of which were awarded to Russian warriors. Most part of these artifacts was transferred to the museum in 1918 as a part of the Chapter of the Russian orders collection. Statute of the Order of Saint Olga, Equal-of-the-Apostles, is of special interest — this decoration was intended for women as an award "for the merits in the various arenas of public and community service, as well as for the deeds and works for the benefit of their neighbour."
The exposition incorporates photographs from the State Archive of the Russian Federation, which still preserve the images of Russian war heroes. Among them are the general A. Brusilov, major-general I. Kostin as well as photos of ordinary soldiers and officers, decorated with various military insignia.
A special group of the exposed relics is closely related to the history of the Royal family. Emperor Nicholas II assumed the role of commander-in-chief of the Russian armed forces in August 1915, therefore took the responsibility for the military actions of Russia in war, its victories and losses. Here you can see the famous Easter egg by Carl Faberge firm, which was presented by the Emperor to his wife — Empress Alexander Fyodorovna — for Easter 1916, and a noteworthy memorial item — the officer cavalry broadsword, which had belonged to Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich of Russia, who was appointed Inspector general of Artillery.
The Grand Duchesses of the Romanov family made a valuable contribution to the development of military medicine in Russia during the war: the mother of Nicholas II, Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna, the president of Russia's Red Cross, and his daughters were involved in the organization of hospitals, sanitary trains and sanatoriums; they worked as medical nurses, provided financial support for various social activities, participated in public events intended for the Russian servicemen, injured during the hostilities. At the exhibition you can see decorations granted to medics and other health-care workers —the insignia of the Order of Red Cross — as well as remarkable photographs with Grand Duchesses in hospital.
As in the Soviet period the World War I has been referred to as a tragic "Imperialist war", launched by European countries along with Russia, the project provides a unique opportunity to learn something new about this historical period, to unveil an interesting page of the Russian history.
More Than $3 Million Allocated from Repairs of Revolutionary Aurora Cruiser Topic: World War I
The crusier Aurora - once the pride of the Imperial Russian Navy
More than $3.3 million have been allocated for the repairs of the Aurora cruiser -a symbol of the 1917 socialist revolution in Russia. Now, the ship that has been harbouring in St. Petersburg, is a branch of the Central Naval Museum, ITAR-TASS reports.
The Aurora is not planned to sail to the docks unaided; an operation to bring the ship to a shipyard for repairs will be launched on September 21, when the Aurora with the support of four tow ships will move off its customary mooring berth and head for the docks.
The repairs are planned to continue for around 1.5 years. The Aurora is going to have its hull cleaned and painted anew; the interior of the ship will be restored to resemble its historical image as much as possible. Parts of the ship's hull and mechanisms of historical value that survived to the present day will be left intact, press service Chief of Russia's Western Military District Oleg Kochetkov told ITAR-TASS. But, new systems ensuring safe mooring, fire prevention and monitoring will be established on board, Kochetkov said.
The Aurora was first used as a war ship in the Battle of Tsushima during the 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese war. During WWI it took part in military operations in the Baltic area. But the ship went down in world history after it fired a historic cannon shot in St. Petersburg in 1917 which heralded the beginning of the 1917 October armed uprising followed by a storm of the emperor's Winter Palace in St. Petersburg.
After the socialist revolution the Aurora was used as a training ship. During WWII the Aurora crews fought against Nazis who besieged Leningrad. In 1948 the ship was moored at the Petrograd embankment on the Neva. It had been used since as a training base of the Nakhimov naval school until 1956 when the ship was turned into a museum.