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Topics - Nadya_Arapov

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Russian Noble Families / Simonov and Obolensky families.
« on: April 26, 2008, 11:06:41 AM »
Kirill Mikhailovich Simonov is better known by his nom de plume, Konstantin Simonov. He was a Russian poet, novelist and playwright, with a most unusual background. An aristocrat by birth and a Communist by conviction.

I would love to see photographs of his ancestors. At the moment I have only photographs of Konstantin and his second wife, the actress Valentina Serova.



His character was described in this way during an NPR interview with the author Orlando Figes, whose book “The Whisperers,” has Simonov as a central figure.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17376494

“Simonov was a complex character. From his parents he inherited the public-service values of the aristocracy and, in particular, its ethos of military duty and obedience which in his mind became assimilated to the Soviet virtues of public activism and patriotic sacrifice, enabling him to take his place in the Stalinist hierarchy of command. Simonov had many admirable human qualities. If it was possible to be a 'good Stalinist', he might be counted in that category. He was honest and sincere, orderly and strictly disciplined, though not without considerable warmth and charm. An activist by education and by temperament, he lost himself in the Soviet system at an early age and lacked the means to liberate himself from its moral pressures and demands. In this sense Simonov embodied all the moral conflicts and dilemmas of his generation — those whose lives were overshadowed by the Stalinist regime — and to understand his thoughts and actions is perhaps to understand his times.”

His story certainly doesn’t follow the usual pattern of the lives of other members of the former nobility post-Revolution.

His father was Maj. Gen. Mikhail Simonov, Chief of Staff of the 4th Army Corps. In 1912 Mikhail married Princess Alexandra Leonidovna “Alinka” Obolenskaya (1890-1975), the daughter of Prince Leonid Nikolayevich Obolensky (1843-1910) and Daria Ivanovna Schmidt (1850- Leningrad 1923). According to “The Whisperers,” by Orlando Figes (2007), Alinka retained her aristocratic ideals, expecting people to be courteous, loyal to their friends, and highly principled.

Konstantin (Kirill) was born in 1915 at St. Petersburg. During WWI his father, an expert of military fortifications, was stationed in Poland. Mikhail disappeared in 1917. No one is certain where he was during the next four years, possibly fighting with the Polish Army or the Whites. Alinka was in St. Petersburg with Konstantin during the worst of the Revolution, when aristocrats and the bourgeois were being evicted from their homes, arrested, murdered, robbed, or harmed in others ways. Alinka was evicted from her apartment in 1919. Where she lived after that I do not know.  Alinka found work as a bookkeeper in a Soviet office. Many other former noblewomen, in order to survive, worked as translators, accountants and secretaries in various Soviet ministries.

As famine and disease gripped St. Petersburg Alinka petitioned the Soviets to be allowed to join her widowed sister Lyudmila in Ryazan. Lyudmila’s husband, Maximillian Tiedemann, was killed in action in 1917, and she was still living near his former barracks there. Relocating was not a simple process as many urbanites were fleeing the cities in the hope of finding food. Alinka was finally granted permission in late 1918/early 1919.

After four years of silence, Alinka finally received word from Mikhail in 1921. Mikhail wrote telling Alinka that he was in Warsaw and that he had become a Polish citizen. He begged her to bring Konstantin and live with him there. Alinka refused. She used a minor illness of Konstantin’s as an excuse to avoid leaving. According to Konstantin: “My mother reacted with sad incomprehension to the Russian post-Revolutionary emigration, even though she had friends and relatives who had fled abroad. She simply could not understand how it was possible to leave Russia.”  They would later falsely claim that Mikhail had been “lost in the war,” never admitting to any contact with him after that.

Only one of Alinka’s siblings, her brother Prince Nikolai, fled abroad after the Revolution. A graduate of St. Petersburg University, prior to the Revolution he worked for the Interior Ministry. He died in Paris, France in 1960.

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I didn't see another thread devoted solely to Faberge's beautiful artwork. Most of the threads were focused on the current location and survival of the eggs, exhibits, or regarded forged Fabergé pieces. I felt his work deserved a thread of its own.

Silver Anniversary Egg


Rosebud Egg


Pansy Egg


Mosaic Egg


Gatchina Egg - 1


Gatchina Egg - 2


Imperial Presentation Box


Icon


Frog Table Seal



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I found a scanned copy of this book online at this address:

http://www.vlib.us/medical/russdoc/RdocTC.htm

It is a first hand account of Dr. Malcolm Grow's three years in Russia serving as a Lt. Col. in the Imperial Russian Army Medical Corps. It reminded me a bit of Florence Farmborough's memoir. He was an American surgeon from Philadelphia who was convinced to travel to Russia during WWI by a colleague who insisted that Russia was in desparate need of physicians. He worked first in a hospital in St. Petersburg and later at the Front. He left Russia only after the October Revolution.

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Yes, Voeikov escaped. He was arrested in 1917 but released at which point he and Nini fled to the Crimea. They left Russia in 1919, going first to Romania, before settling in Finland near Nini's father. He died in 1947 at the age of 79.

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