Author Topic: Count Petr Nikolaevitch Apraksin (1876-1962),secretary of Empress Alexandra  (Read 7956 times)

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Offline Teddy

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 Who can tell me more about Count Aspraskin?

He was the secretary of Alexandra!

Offline Olga

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I assume he was related to Tsaritsa Marfa Matveevna Apraksina, wife of Fyodor III Alexeevich.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by olga »

Offline BobG

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I have just finished Louis de Robien's The Diary of a Diplomat in Russia. in it he writes on Friday June 14, 1918:
" I spent the latter part of the evening a the Gorchakov's, where I stayed until dawn listening to Count Apraxin reading his memoirs; he was on the personal staff of the Empress, and he wrote memoirs day by day during the tragic times which he spent at her side at Tsarskoye Selo.  It was very interesting."

This thread is the only reference to him that I have found on this Discussion board.  Does anyone know more about him?  Were his memoirs ever published?  Are they lost in some archive somewhere?  If he really was Alexandra's secretary, he would have a unique perspective to relate.
Any information would be appreciated on Count Apraxin.
BobG

AlexP

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Here we go guys, this is like family territory, let me share everything that I can with you.

But first I want to warn you that Jacques Ferrand is not quite correct in his genealogy of this family, sometimes glaringly so.

1.  He was indeed related to wife of the first Romanov.  There were two branches to the Apraxine family, one located in Petersburg, one located in Moscow.   The Apraxine family originated in the area of Tula, Russia, at least that is where the principal family country manor house was located.

The Petersburg branch of the Apraxine family produced admirals, statesman, scientists, and the like for Imperial Russia in great numbers between the period 1750 - 1917.  In terms of "graftsvo", they are not one of the oldest count families in the country.

Over the generations, the Apraxinii married the Imperial Romanovii, the Princes Bariatsinkii, Counts Oserovii, the Princes Gagarinii, and the Princes Troubestkii (one of the oldest Russian families).  And since the Apraxinii were related to everyone under the sun who was related to everyone under the sun, they became a quite rich and very well-connected family.  They were related to everyone, nearly of the 500 great families of Russia, in one way or another.

Politically speaking, in terms of the last few generations, they were slavophiles as opposed to Westernophiles.  The count of whom you speak, who was not actually Alexandra's official secretary, Count Piotr Apraxine, I think, without consulting my books, but actually a kind of "taini covyetnik" to the Imperial Family.  He lunched with the Imperial Family as often as he could when they were in Petersburg.  He did not like the Vryubova very much and a little charade would go on.  When Vryubova was around, no lunch.  When Vrubova would not appear, lunch.  Only on the rare occasion would he sit at her table.  He WAS crusty.  His wife I believe, in fact, I am sure was a Princess Bariatinsky, by birth, but I will leave Belochka or Hikarushka confirm that for you.  He was on the best of terms with Sturmer, with Protopopov, and with Pobedenostov, the most conservative elements of the Ancien Regime.  He was again the Imperial Dumas in all of their incarnations and lobbied against them fervently and unceasingly.

There is an Apraxine Dvor in Petersburg, but that is just a shopping market.  The Apraxine town house today is located on the Millionaya, I believe, and Hikaru, please check the Bec Petera and provide us with the exact address and his old telephone number.  This is something that I was going to ask you anyway.  It is a gorgeous mansion, truly gorgeous, and the white-and-pink ballroom is still extant.

Anyway, as things became murkier and murkier in Petersburg, he actually put a considerable distance between himself and the Imperial Family.  It was shameful.  There is no other way to put it except everyone was engaging in "sauve-qui-peut".  There are STORIES floating around that he tried to go to Ekaterinburg, but they are just stories.  By this time the family was already preparing for the Emigration.  They actually left on a train, first-class for Bruxells, something rare in those days.  They lived for years believing that they would return to Russia sooner-or-later.

Basically the family emigrated among the first.   The Apraxinii, however, did not go to Paris.  They went to Bruxelles instead, in Belgium.  They were instrumental in building the Russian Orthodox Church for the New Martyrs in Bruxelles.  The current Count Apraxine, a son of Count Piotr Apraxine,  in Belgium is the "starosta" of this Parish and one of his daugthers has married one of the grandsons of Baron von Rosen and they have moved to St. Petersburg, where among other things, they have instituted a lawsuit seeking return of the Apraxine properties in the city.  I do not know the results.  The family is considered one of the stauchest members of the Russia Church Abroad, the emigre church.

Another one of the sons of Count Piotr Apraxine married Princess Ossorguina in Paris in 1948 and then they emigrated to Canada (basically, they could not live in France, because this Apraxine had well, been in the service of the German Government during the War, as were many White Russians) where they had three daugthers, who rather blandly exist today, without knowing much family history.  One is married to a Russian Orthodox priest outside of New York City. This Count Apraxine died several years ago of lung cancer.  The Princess Ossorguina in Montreal, who is now Mme Veuve Apraxinem is the sister of Mrs. Alexander Schmemann who husband was the former rector of St. Vladimir's Russian Orthodox Theological Seminary in New York and this Countess Ossorguine's daugther is the wife of the Head Priest of the Russian Cathedral in Montreal.  It really is a small world in the Emigration.

There is also a branch of the Apraxinii living today in Ireland, as very established country gentry.  They have been instrumental instrumental in building a new Russian Church in Dublin.  One of them is an extremely prominent scientist. They were quite successful in Ireland, and much of it was assisted by the family jewels that were smuggled out of Russia in those dark days.  I have seen some of the remaining Apraxine pieces of jewerly that have not been sold, after all of these years, and I can tell you that they are quite "Art Nouveau".

Another branch of the family settled in New York -- well, just one person, Count Pierre Apraxine, and he became an Assistant Curator of the Metropolitan Museum under Phillipe de Montebello.  I do not know if he is still alive because I have not seen him in years, but in the 1970s and the 1980s, he was quite prominent in the New York Society scene.  He was "A" list and worked closely with the late Mme Jacqueline Kennedy.  A grand old person if there ever were.

The Apraxinii possessed a beautiful, beautiful villa in Marseille, of all places, (I think Marseille, again it could be Nice, but I am writing from memory here) and when things became difficult financially for them during the war, it was deeded over to the Roman Catholic Church for basically free on the conditions that it be used as a school for proper young ladies with learning disorders, a condition which has been respected.

I hope that helps.

One last minor note :  it is my understanding the disease "apraxia" took its name from one of the members of the family who suffered from it.   It is a sad disease.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AlexP »

Offline BobG

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Dear AlexP,
This is really a very informative history and the fact that Count Piotr Apraxine managed to get to Belgium in a first class train car may mean his memoirs survived.  I wonder if any of his family know of them or if they were left to any archive in Belgium.  I would think historians would love to get their hands on his eyewitness account.  I'm surprised they were never published!
Hopefully, Hikaru can give us more information on their palace on Millionaya Street.
Thanks again for the detailed information.
BobG

AlexP

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Dear AlexP,
This is really a very informative history and the fact that Count Piotr Apraxine managed to get to Belgium in a first class train car may mean his memoirs survived.  I wonder if any of his family know of them or if they were left to any archive in Belgium.  I would think historians would love to get their hands on his eyewitness account.  I'm surprised they were never published!
Hopefully, Hikaru can give us more information on their palace on Millionaya Street.
Thanks again for the detailed information.
BobG


You ask an excellent question about the memoires.  I simply do not know.  I believed that he kept a diary.  I personally am not comfortable about approaching the family in Belgium as it would make them relatively uncomfortable, I am sure, to have a request for the father's or grandfather's papers made.  However, if you could find an intermediary of a relatively correct European social level, that might make all of the difference.  I have some ideas but if you wish to know, please pm me, but first I would need to know more about your and why you are asking.  They surely will ask.

Offline BobG

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AlexP,
My questions about the availability of the Count's memoirs was more general.  I certainly would not pursue them personally, but I think for a true historian/biographer of Nicholas or Alexandra Feodorovna this would be a something that might add to our understanding of their lives and be worth pursuing.

It was somewhat surprising for me to read about the memoirs in de Robein's book as I had never heard of Count Apraxin.  I was using this forum to see if his memoirs had ever surfaced and if others knew of them.

I am a Romanov enthusiast, but hardly a valid historian/biographer, and if the Apraxin memoirs still exist, I leave it to them to pursue it.

I would think that with the great interest in the Romanovs (for example the huge crowds I encountered at the Newark museum for the recent exhibit At home with the Last Tsar) the family may want to pursue publishing his memoirs themselves, and that is something it might be worth passing on to the family.

Maybe some historians on this discussion board like Greg King or Penny Wilson, or a publisher like Eruohistory might like to pursue this.

Thanks for your reply.
BobG

AlexP

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Dear Bob:

It is my very big pleasure to assist you, indeed, my very big pleasure.

I just happen to know how "crusty" this well-known and long-established Russian family is and I would not expect a particularly high degree of cooperation from them...and let me tell you why.

Several years ago, about 20, I think France-Culture was going do to a radio program on this and othe memoires from the period, with one of the most prominent "professeurs-en-Sorbonne" to host it.  The family became aware of it, and as you can in France, quashed the program legally in two or three days.  And that is about where things have remained.

Anything else, please just ask.

With all the best from Shanghai,


A.A.

AlexP

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From 'The Complete Wartime Correspondence of Tsar Nicholas II and the Empress Alexandra', edited by Joseph T. Fuhrmann, Greenwood Press, 1999, there are many references to Count P.N. Apraxin.

Alexandra's letter #650, March 2, 1917: "...Apraxin gets through here [Tsarskoe Selo] in civil dress..."

Alexandra's letter #651, March 2, 1917: "...Apraxin and Resin whole time disturb & my head goe's [six] around..."

From these letters and Fuhrmann's notation in the Biographical Index, Count Apraxin remained loyal to the Imperial Family during the early days of the revolution.

Joanna



Ioanna,

This was in the EXCEPTIONALLY early days of the February Revolution, a velvet revolution so to speak compared with the next revolution.

And per what you cited, you will note that the Empress was not exactly thrilled with Apraxine.  As I told you, this was the beginning of the refroidissement.

And who is Fuhrman, please, and upon what did he base this?  What I have set forth is based upon Apraxine family recollections and other items from the immediate family.


AlexP

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Hello Alex,

My apologies if my quotes have given an interpretation that I did not intend. I wanted to show from an original document that during the early days of the revolution Count Apraxin returned to the Imperial Family under difficult conditions from St. Petersburg. I am not aware of the circumstances later of his departure from the palace.

J. Fuhrmann's edited correspondence is an exceptional reference for the period 1914-1917. He has also written Rasputin, A Life.

I was interested to read of the frissure between Count Apraxin and A. Vyrubova. I am curious what he wrote of their trip to Novgorod.

Joanna



Dera Joanna,

Not at all -- I quite enjoyed your original posting.

What I meant was that it was amazing what Alexandra alluded to in her short diary entry and which was to what I was speaking.  This was the day, I believe, of the relatively major falling out, or at least "refroidissement total" between the Empress and Apraxine.

Remember, he was also interviewed by the Goskomitet Bezaposnostii several times.  The fact that such a VERY senior member of the Camarilla (the private Inner Court) of the Empress was never jailed NOR executed, while so many others were, and that he remained more-or-less peacefully in Petersburg until they departed for exile, with jewels, possessions, a small fortune, etc., should greatly but indirectly speak to the fact as to what occured during his interviews with the Secret Police.

There had to be a major trade-off -- a very, very major tradeoff.  It was obvious then and it must be surely obvious now.

With all of the best,


A.A.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AlexP »

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