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Topic: Russian Nobility in exile: various questions  (Read 16034 times)
« on: July 13, 2004, 06:47:42 AM »
Seamus O Brien
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To whom it may concern,
I am currently gathering information for a post graduate thesis on the fall from privilege of the Russian nobility in the aftermath of the 1917 revolution.  I need as much information as possible on the degradation of these 'former classes' and what became of them and their material possessions. Is it possible to get in contact with surviving memebers of these former classes and if so how do i go about contacting them.  

Yours Sincerely

Seamus    
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Reply #1
« on: July 13, 2004, 09:45:19 PM »
LisaDavidson Offline
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You might try contacting the Russian Nobility Association. I believe they have an office in either New York or DC.
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Reply #2
« on: September 06, 2004, 09:52:35 PM »
Paul Tompkins
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You might like to also consider, that many members of the Russian Aristocracy and wealthy miuddle classes, escaped to China and stayed there for a number of years , and then after the Communist revolution of 1948, escaped ( once again) to either the US , Canada or Australia. There is a sizable Russian community here ( in Australia) due to this issue. Just thought , you might like to inlcude this feature in your thesis as well.

Cheers.
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Reply #3
« on: September 10, 2004, 09:34:24 PM »
Belochka Offline
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Not all noble families had the opportinity to leave Russia straight after the Revolutions of 1917. Males who held high appointments in the Tsarist government were arrested by Kerensky, and continued to be held under Lenin for many years in the Peter and Paul Fortress. Some men were shot without trial during the intervening years, while a small number wallowed in prison for many years.

Surviving wives were only permitted to work on menial tasks such as cleaners and laundresses. After the death of Lenin, those men who remained alive in the Fortress were finally freed. However the privilege of residing in SPb was removed. These former noble families were forced to move out into smaller towns and rural regions into obscurity, losing all privileges accorded to ordinary Soviet citizens.

The matter of what happened to their properties - these were immediately nationalized after Lenin came to power.

With the intervention of WWII, many of these families, (along with all Soviets citizens) suffered under the hands of the occupying German Army. It was not unknown that some became POW's on German soil. When the war concluded, most of the camps were liberated by the U.S. troops. Many suffered the fate of forced repatriation back to the Soviet Union to meet further life challenges in Siberia, while the lucky few were able to re-settle as refugees or displaced persons, in countries such as Canada, Australia and Argentina.

A very long and painful journey to freedom for only a handful ...
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Belochka » Logged



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Reply #4
« on: September 11, 2004, 07:40:50 AM »
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an interesting point Belochka. In Tatiana Metternich's "Five Passports..." she writes about all of the emigre Russians living in Soviet occupied Germany and Czechoslovakia, who had left during the Revolution, being forcibly returned to Russia, as well as those emigre Russians sent out from the US and English occupied zones as well.
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Reply #5
« on: September 11, 2004, 08:56:33 AM »
Mike Offline
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Quote
 the emigre Russians living in Soviet occupied Germany and Czechoslovakia... being forcibly returned to Russia.

Also the whole Russian emigre community of Kharbin in China. They were however given a grace period from 1945 to 1949, and a considerable number managed to flee to the West via Shanghai and Hong Kong.
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« on: September 11, 2004, 09:29:25 PM »
Belochka Offline
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Many thousands of the Russian emigres from China finally came to Australia in the mid 1950's to early 1960's.
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Reply #7
« on: September 22, 2004, 05:00:23 PM »
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Okay, I need a little help. In pre-revolutionary Russia was it 20% of the population that were generally wealthy? I don't really think so but that's what my teacher says. I thought it was more like 5%. I don't feel like wasting a bunch of time looking through books for an answer so can someone provide me with real statistics?

I'd be really happy if I got a reply. Really.
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Reply #8
« on: March 16, 2005, 02:34:28 PM »
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Don’t know the percentage but they lived in unparalleled luxury(Shocked)

Nowadays London is full of extremely rich Russians. Apparently, everything that was swept away in old Russia still exists in the UK in some shape or another.
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Reply #9
« on: August 01, 2005, 02:53:06 AM »
AlexP
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Quote
Also the whole Russian emigre community of Kharbin in China. They were however given a grace period from 1945 to 1949, and a considerable number managed to flee to the West via Shanghai and Hong Kong.


As someone still living in China, I can speak to this issue with great accuracy.

Nearly all of the Russians living in Harbin did either four things : some were enjoined to return to the Soviet Union (quite a few went voluntarily, whereupon they were exiled to Kazakstahn (the mildest fate to befall them, others were not as fortunate) in the period 1945-1955; many others who had sullied their hands with the Japanese during the Manchuckuo Puppet Regime, fled to Tokyo with the retreating Japanese armies immediately in 1945 to avoid being executed for war crimes (this was not a small contingent by any means); many others departed for America, South Africa and Australia in the period 1949-1960 (the last immigrant actually left Harbin in 1960) and several thousand with strong local ties remained in both Harbin and Shanghai (although they had to pass through dangerous times later).

Manchuria was occupied by the Soviet Red Army from 1945-1955 and was considered a protectorate of the Soviet Union during that period.  Initially, the Russians in Harbin welcomed the Red Army with open arms...only to discover that Stalin had not sent Red Army regulars but criminals freshly let out of prison and put into army uniforms.  Harbin suffered a rampage of crime, rape and pillage at their hands until the commanding Generalissimo himself had enough and then they were replaced by regular troops.  From 1947-1955, Harbin was Sovieticized but relatively, albeit not as prosperous as before.

The quality of Russian emigres in Harbin was not of a Petersburg level, although they did build numerous beautiful churches, buildings, mansions, palaces, train stations, bridges.  The city was actually a focal point of culture.  But the Russian inhabitants were from the provinces of Russia, not the center and not the then capital nor Moscow.  The resident lists have been preserved and in pouring over the names one can many, many, many ordinary Russian middle-class names and very few, if any, of the names of the "500 families" that lived in downtown Petersburg.

There were also numerous Ukrainians, Balts, etc., etc.  To this date, the only established and working Orthodox Church in China is located in Harbin.

If you can read Russian, here is a site with a lovely history of the city and great pictures :

www.rusharbin.com

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by AlexP » Logged
Reply #10
« on: August 01, 2005, 02:55:21 AM »
AlexP
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Quote
Okay, I need a little help. In pre-revolutionary Russia was it 20% of the population that were generally wealthy? I don't really think so but that's what my teacher says. I thought it was more like 5%. I don't feel like wasting a bunch of time looking through books for an answer so can someone provide me with real statistics?

I'd be really happy if I got a reply. Really.



Under the Ancien Regime, less than 1% of the population, the landed gentry, controlled 95% of the land.

Less than 5% of the population contributed overall to 90% of the total GDP figures in terms of income, etc., etc.

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Reply #11
« on: August 01, 2005, 11:52:11 PM »
Belochka Offline
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The quality of Russian emigres in Harbin was not of a Petersburg level


Among the Harbintzi as they became known in Australia, many became qualified professional engineers, having set up their own polytechnical institute in Harbin. Others were occupied in trades. Few women possessed formal education. Generally their spoken Russian, mannerisms and life attitudes were quite distinct to those who migrated postwar from Europe as refugees.  A few of those emigres claimed to be members of the St. P nobility and interestingly many were highly educated professionals and intellectuals.

Sadly, with the passage of time few if any survive today.
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Reply #12
« on: August 08, 2005, 07:27:00 PM »
AlexP
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Quote

Among the Harbintzi as they became known in Australia, many became qualified professional engineers, having set up their own polytechnical institute in Harbin. Others were occupied in trades. Few women possessed formal education. Generally their spoken Russian, mannerisms and life attitudes were quite distinct to those who migrated postwar from Europe as refugees.  A few of those emigres claimed to be members of the St. P nobility and interestingly many were highly educated professionals and intellectuals.

Sadly, with the passage of time few if any survive today.


Belochka, how true what you write about the Harbintzii..I actually found them well, a rather rought crowd, if you excuse.  And yes, the postwar emigres were indeed different, as you write.

Thank you for all of your postings.

a.a.

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« on: August 08, 2005, 11:54:57 PM »
Belochka Offline
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Belochka, how true what you write about the Harbintzii..I actually found them well, a rather rought crowd, if you excuse.  And yes, the postwar emigres were indeed different, as you write.

Thank you for all of your postings.

a.a.



Permit me to relate an amusing incident that confronted my mother and I (during the 1960's) whilst walking along one of the main streets in Strathfield (Sydney) - which during that period was one of a few prominent Russian émigré enclaves; immersed in our own private conversation,

Two "dami" approached us upon hearing a familiar language:

Otkuda vi? (Where are you from?)

My mother replied somewhat taken back "Mi c Europi" (We are from Europe).

The women appeared aghast, looked at one another and exclaimed -

"Poidem, ne nashi!!" (Lets go they are not "ours"!!)

Never have I forgotten this vulgar behavior from complete stangers who had only recently arrived from Harbin. :-/


« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Belochka » Logged



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Reply #14
« on: September 04, 2005, 06:17:10 PM »
Dominic_Albanese Offline
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Please see the article I posted today in the News Thread regarding a new museum that has been set up to gather the stories of Russian exiles.  It might be of help to you in your thesis.

dca
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