Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about Russian History => The Russian Revolution => Topic started by: karl on June 27, 2005, 09:16:00 AM

Title: Was It Easy to Leave St Petersburg in 1917-1918? How many people left?
Post by: karl on June 27, 2005, 09:16:00 AM
hi,

Does anybody know how many people left St. Petersburg during 1917 and 1918?

Was it easy to leave the county via Vladivostok or were "new names and new passports" required?
Was it easy to get access to a new identity at that times?

thanks

karl  
Title: Re: leaving st. petersburg
Post by: Grigorevna on September 07, 2005, 11:56:31 AM
Can't say for sure, but I can imagine that everything was possible with enough money. That is, in the midst of revolution, it is likely that total chaos ruled and nothing worked as it "should". Just think about the collaps of the CCCP and the unrest that it produced. It is known that a lot of Russians, wealthy and not, left the country to escape the revolution. I wouldn't be surprised if false passports and identities were very possible to buy, indeed.

//Grigorevna
Title: Re: leaving st. petersburg
Post by: AGRBear on September 07, 2005, 08:25:47 PM
I believe one of Yurovsky's little businesses he had on the side before the revolution was that of making false passports.

Although Yurovsky didn't continue is passport business,  others did.

When you ask if it was easy to moved out of St. Petersburg,  it depends upon the year, the month, the day and the hour.  

Life was in chaos.

At the border, no one knew if they were going to be able to cross.  Sometimes it took money, sometimes ones virginity, sometimes just a pair of boots and sometimes just a smile.

There were all kinds of characters at the border.  Some were very young but devoted to the cause and hated anything that looked a smelled of money or you had some who wished they were not in the position and jostled the people but let them through.

I'm not sure how many of you know this,  but the trains in Russia ran on different gages [width] then trains on the other side of the border, so,  I'm not sure how the crossings worked if traveling by train during the revolution.

There were areas that were held by Germans during certain parts of the war....

As for leaving by boat,  I don't have any information.

Americans and British were north of St. Petersburg....

Just south of the city were the Whites moving closer.....

All of this changed as battles were won or lost.

Traveling east was a long hungry march on foot, wagon and/or train.  Sometimes people traveled east then were told to go south then north than east than west...  Long long lines of people flowed in all different directions...

Boats for a time could be find on the east coast and tey could take you to safe ports, while many ended up on land and had to travel into China and Manchuria....

ABRBear
Title: Re: leaving st. petersburg
Post by: AGRBear on September 07, 2005, 08:37:01 PM
Here is a photo showng a mass of people moving out of harms way.

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v471/AGRBear/refugees2.jpg)
Title: Re: leaving st. petersburg
Post by: AGRBear on September 08, 2005, 11:23:40 AM
Here is just a quick look at a map which shows the position of the Whites and their Allies to give you an idea of who was where and when at this particular time and how difficult it was for anyone to travel or escape:

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v471/AGRBear/AlliesAntiBMap2.jpg)

The blacken area are Whites approaching St. Petersburg.

The line to the north are Whites who are with Americans and British who are approaching St. Petersburg.  The dark triangels are headquarters.

To find out more go over to the thread about the Americans Fight Against the Bolshseviks.

AGRBear
Title: Re: leaving st. petersburg
Post by: karl on September 08, 2005, 11:46:35 AM
thanks agr bear and grigorevna for answering

I have now got the information, that my grandma went to the east coast (by train?) with the two children of her husband which he had with his first wife. he himself was an officer and his father was commander at the east coast. so i would expect, that they travelled not on foot.
the two men (father and son) as the two children then disappeared from the familiy history and as well the two children.
perhaps it is better to retrace in st. petersburg -
does an adress book of st. petersburg of that times exist or other documents like telephone books etc?

best wishes

karl
Title: Re: leaving st. petersburg
Post by: AGRBear on September 08, 2005, 05:15:02 PM
The people who suffered through this time often found it too difficult to talk abot their experiences and those who died around them.

Trying to find out what happen may be impossible since so many who died were not recorded and often times ended up in unmarked graves.

Since there were family members who were officers, I think there are records [in Russian] which give lists of those who served and maybe the year they died and once in awhile the place where they died.

If I were you,  I'd get in touch with a group who are into genealogy.  They can lead you to many marvelous links on line,  to people, and to records.....

To travel by train or wagon or foot could be and was accomplished by many.

Good luck in your search.

AGRBear
Title: Re: leaving st. petersburg
Post by: Cely on May 14, 2006, 08:05:23 PM
I am trying to start some research on the escacpe of nobility during the revolution.  I was wondering if anyone knew any webcites or even better, books, about the experiences of these people escaping.  Also, does anyone know anything about the Tsar's family, such as cousins, uncles and such, escaping and how?  Thanks!
Title: Re: leaving st. petersburg
Post by: hg123 on May 18, 2006, 02:11:47 PM
There are a few statements here on alexanderpalace, for example Felix Yusupov description their escape from the Crimea in his memoirs "Lost Splendor". (The last two chapters or so from Lost Splendor, but be careful, he used to invent a lot). There are also some meories from the captain, who saved the royals from the Crimea, also on the main page here, and most of it actually confirms big parts of Yusupov's version. The group, which included the mother, one sister and most nephews and nieces of the of the Tsar, were saved by the ship HMS Marlborough.  The Tsar's other sister, her husband and their children escaped on another ship.

Also, there are several character biographies on the main page, describing the escape of the characters (if they escaped).  

See also in the forum this thread http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/YaBB.cgi?num=1102980627, and this site http://www.angelfire.com/pa/ImperialRussian/royalty/russia/survivor.html has quite a lot of information as well.
Title: Re: leaving st. petersburg
Post by: AlexP@asia.com on June 11, 2006, 07:54:48 AM
AGRBear is perfectly correct.

However, some managed to escape through the good offices of the Swedish Embassy, the Dutch Embassy, the Swiss Consulate, but these were not the masses, these were the very few très argenté.

Some made it on foot overland to Finland.  And yes it was chaos, truly chaos.

Bribery was the ordre-du-jour but not in valueless roubles...gold, diamonds, anything but not paper species.

A few very few of the more far-seeing nobility temporarily left after the fall of the Ancien Regime during Kerensky's disasterous  tenure.

Most fled after complete civil war broke out; some retired to their estates in the country, thinking that they would see it out like 1905.  Many of those were eventually murdered in their own manor houses.

As AGRBear mentioned, a not inconsiderable number of people went all the way east and fled through Siberia into the Middle Kingdom.

We know for a fact that nearly all of the upper class of Petersburg left as did a good part of the middle middle and upper middle classes.  Most escaped with nothing but the clothes on their backs.  Others did better.

It was an emigration from which Russia still has not recovered, not unlike, but in a different way, Spain's expelling the Moors and Jews in 1492.  An entire governing class was removed and Spain went into a three-hundred year disaster.  In Russia,  much the same.







Title: Re: leaving st. petersburg
Post by: Lyss on June 11, 2006, 08:54:38 AM
AlexP, having read your post I begin thinking about my birthcountry Poland. Being one of those who fled (age 6 with mama) in 1990 (the third wave) and looking at my countries history, especialy the 6 million killed during WW II (3 million jews, 10 000 officers, almost all the intelligentsia,...) I wonder how they managed to get where they are now. Ok, I understand the immens influence and power of the church. But still, they're not doing that bad for a country that had to start from scrach afer the war.
Title: Re: leaving st. petersburg
Post by: Dominic_Albanese on June 11, 2006, 10:19:29 AM
Quote
AGRBear is perfectly correct.

However, some managed to escape through the good offices of the Swedish Embassy, the Dutch Embassy, the Swiss Consulate, but these were not the masses, these were the very few très argenté.

Some made it on foot overland to Finland.  And yes it was chaos, truly chaos.

Bribery was the ordre-du-jour but not in valueless roubles...gold, diamonds, anything but not paper species.

A few very few of the more far-seeing nobility temporarily left after the fall of the Ancien Regime during Kerensky's disasterous  tenure.

Most fled after complete civil war broke out; some retired to their estates in the country, thinking that they would see it out like 1905.  Many of those were eventually murdered in their own manor houses.

As AGRBear mentioned, a not inconsiderable number of people went all the way east and fled through Siberia into the Middle Kingdom.

We know for a fact that nearly all of the upper class of Petersburg left as did a good part of the middle middle and upper middle classes.  Most escaped with nothing but the clothes on their backs.  Others did better.

It was an emigration from which Russia still has not recovered, not unlike, but in a different way, Spain's expelling the Moors and Jews in 1492.  An entire governing class was removed and Spain went into a three-hundred year disaster.  In Russia,  much the same.


AlexP - As I read your message it occured to me that given "drain on humanity" in Russia as a result of people fleeing the revolution, the losses in WWI and the Civil War, Stalin's purges and WW II.  Was this loss of life - peasant and intellegensia part of the reason the Comunists lasted as long as they did?  In other words, anyone in the 'old regime' was either dead or exiled so there was really no one to be a leader in the fight against the communists over the next 70 years.  I'm not sure I am explaining this well - I hope you see what I mean.

dca
Title: Re: leaving st. petersburg
Post by: AlexP@asia.com on June 11, 2006, 10:49:41 AM
Quote
AlexP, having read your post I begin thinking about my birthcountry Poland. Being one of those who fled (age 6 with mama) in 1990 (the third wave) and looking at my countries history, especialy the 6 million killed during WW II (3 million jews, 10 000 officers, almost all the intelligentsia,...) I wonder how they managed to get where they are now. Ok, I understand the immens influence and power of the church. But still, they're not doing that bad for a country that had to start from scrach afer the war.

Dear Lyss,

I went to bed early tonight because I will have a full day tomorrow of examining university students on the finer points of science...in Chinese...but I couldn't sleep because your question was on my mind.

It is a excellent question.

BUT

Please open a separate thread, perhaps under the Polish Section, because I do not want to incur the wrath of the FA and the GFA because surerly this is off-topic here.

I await your new thread and would love to share my thoughts on this.  Yes,  "le cas polonais" is something very, very unique.

PM me please once the new thread is open and then let's discuss!

All of the best,


Alex P.

GuangZhou, PRC
2006.06.12
00h15
Title: Re: leaving st. petersburg
Post by: AlexP@asia.com on June 11, 2006, 10:59:33 AM
Quote
Quote
AGRBear is perfectly correct.

However, some managed to escape through the good offices of the Swedish Embassy, the Dutch Embassy, the Swiss Consulate, but these were not the masses, these were the very few très argenté.

Some made it on foot overland to Finland.  And yes it was chaos, truly chaos.

Bribery was the ordre-du-jour but not in valueless roubles...gold, diamonds, anything but not paper species.

A few very few of the more far-seeing nobility temporarily left after the fall of the Ancien Regime during Kerensky's disasterous  tenure.

Most fled after complete civil war broke out; some retired to their estates in the country, thinking that they would see it out like 1905.  Many of those were eventually murdered in their own manor houses.

As AGRBear mentioned, a not inconsiderable number of people went all the way east and fled through Siberia into the Middle Kingdom.

We know for a fact that nearly all of the upper class of Petersburg left as did a good part of the middle middle and upper middle classes.  Most escaped with nothing but the clothes on their backs.  Others did better.

It was an emigration from which Russia still has not recovered, not unlike, but in a different way, Spain's expelling the Moors and Jews in 1492.  An entire governing class was removed and Spain went into a three-hundred year disaster.  In Russia,  much the same.


AlexP - As I read your message it occured to me that given "drain on humanity" in Russia as a result of people fleeing the revolution, the losses in WWI and the Civil War, Stalin's purges and WW II.  Was this loss of life - peasant and intellegensia part of the reason the Comunists lasted as long as they did?  In other words, anyone in the 'old regime' was either dead or exiled so there was really no one to be a leader in the fight against the communists over the next 70 years.  I'm not sure I am explaining this well - I hope you see what I mean.

dca

Quote
Quote
AGRBear is perfectly correct.

However, some managed to escape through the good offices of the Swedish Embassy, the Dutch Embassy, the Swiss Consulate, but these were not the masses, these were the very few très argenté.

Some made it on foot overland to Finland.  And yes it was chaos, truly chaos.

Bribery was the ordre-du-jour but not in valueless roubles...gold, diamonds, anything but not paper species.

A few very few of the more far-seeing nobility temporarily left after the fall of the Ancien Regime during Kerensky's disasterous  tenure.

Most fled after complete civil war broke out; some retired to their estates in the country, thinking that they would see it out like 1905.  Many of those were eventually murdered in their own manor houses.

As AGRBear mentioned, a not inconsiderable number of people went all the way east and fled through Siberia into the Middle Kingdom.

We know for a fact that nearly all of the upper class of Petersburg left as did a good part of the middle middle and upper middle classes.  Most escaped with nothing but the clothes on their backs.  Others did better.

It was an emigration from which Russia still has not recovered, not unlike, but in a different way, Spain's expelling the Moors and Jews in 1492.  An entire governing class was removed and Spain went into a three-hundred year disaster.  In Russia,  much the same.


AlexP - As I read your message it occured to me that given "drain on humanity" in Russia as a result of people fleeing the revolution, the losses in WWI and the Civil War, Stalin's purges and WW II.  Was this loss of life - peasant and intellegensia part of the reason the Comunists lasted as long as they did?  In other words, anyone in the 'old regime' was either dead or exiled so there was really no one to be a leader in the fight against the communists over the next 70 years.  I'm not sure I am explaining this well - I hope you see what I mean.

dca

Carissimo Domenico,

Yes, you understood my point.  Four million persons fled Soviet Russia in the early days of the Godless Regime -- almost the entire upper class, the majority of doctors, professors,  engineers, etc., etc,.  anyone and everyone that was educated left.

Those that did not see what was coming and remained -- well, many of those were murdered in the coming years.

Then, those that had somehow had survived were murdered by Beria and his henchmen in the waves of purges.

The country was left in the hands of what is called in Spanish "el poblacho", an undereducated, heavy drinking, amoral denizry.  Government was by terror.  There was no rule of law.  Thus there was no opposition because there was no one to provide an opposition.  This was braindrain on a massive scale.  
And population drain.  And no sound economic plan of any kind except heavy industrialization.  There was no illumination here at all.

Considering that preRevolutionary Petersburg probably had a registered population of several million and Moscow the same,  it is no wonder.

The creation of the gomus sovieticus was nothing more than the glorification of poor worker handed an axe and shovel.

But eventually the apparatus gave way under the strain.

Anyway back to the thread.
Title: Re: leaving st. petersburg
Post by: James1941 on June 15, 2006, 02:01:28 PM
And yet, this gomus soveticus managed to hold off, out produce and finally defeat the Nazis, and to give the United States a run for its money for nearly sixty years.
Title: Re: leaving st. petersburg
Post by: Elisabeth on June 17, 2006, 11:42:09 AM
The expression in English translation is homo sovieticus . In the  Russian language the same idea is colloquially expressed by the term sovok.

James1941, it's no surprise that the Soviet Union helped defeat Nazi Germany, when they had millions if not billions of dollars worth of war materiel and supplies flowing in, courtesy of the American program of Lend Lease (it's true, Russians aren't terribly familiar with the American contribution to their war effort, but it was huge, nonetheless). The Soviet Union also still had its enormous population to fall back on, which is no longer the case, and has not been for some time, as Russian population figures continue to decline precipitously. Indeed, so horrendous are these figures that a future historian might well ask, did the Bolshevik regime ultimately destroy Russia, or at least the Russian people?

Nor did the Soviet Union give the United States a "run for its money for nearly sixty years." In fact the USSR was only in the competition for forty years, from 1945-1985, if for even that long. Indeed, studies conducted within the USSR itself during the early 1980s showed that the Soviet economy was hopelessly in decline and the infrastructure of the country ready to collapse. These conclusions are somewhat surprising if you consider totalitarian regimes an economical and efficient means of harnessing all human resources - that is, all power, knowledge, and technology - to the state. Surely given such vast resources the Soviet Union should have lasted well into the twenty-first century? And yet somehow it collapsed into a heap of rubble from 1989-91, with barely a nudge from the outside...  



Title: Re: leaving st. petersburg
Post by: James1941 on June 18, 2006, 01:51:50 PM
1. I confess to my error about homo sovieticus--Soviet Man or Soviet Woman, as the case might be. I regret the mistake. I am very familiar with the term and it was sloppy of me.

2. The effect of the British and American aid to the Soviet Union is debated today among military historians. Certainly we are not going to settle that debate here. The concensus seems to tend toward that it was mainly significant in smaller vehicles like jeeps and trucks that gave the Soviet army greater mobility. In armor, the Soviet T-34 tank proved to be one of the best in the war, and the Soviets produced them in huge quantities. Even Hitler admitted that he had been mistaken about the Russians ability to produce such tanks.

3. Even so, it was not British or American materiel that made the difference in the heroic siege of Lenningrad, nor was it jeeps or trucks that held the Germans at Stalingrad. Here it was the sacrifice of the homo Sovieticus. Today when you see those old white haired men and women, their chests covered in medals, taking great pride in their part in the Great Patriotic War, one cannot help but cheer them.  Almost all military historians of the war acknowledge that without the great battles that took place on the eastern front, the Americans and British would never been able to land in France in 1944, not perhaps for years. The war was won in great measure on the blood soaked battlefields of the Motherland. Yes, I am aware that the Communist regime spent the blood of their men and women in prodigious quantities to defeat the Nazis, but that doesn't lessen the bravery of those men and women.

4. We quibble at how long the US-Soviet Russia confronted one another, but it was a real confrontation none the less. I remember vividly sitting glued to the TV in 1962 during the Cuban missle crisis and wondering whether I would live to graduate from college, while our next door neighbors were loading the car ready to flee north into the hills of Oklahoma and what they hoped would be safety from a nuclear blast. I also personally participated in a little war in Southeast Asia which came about mainly to prevent the spread of communisn (the domino theory). And North Vietnam was a Soviet client, not a Chinese one. And the U.S. poured out its treasure during the Reagan presidency to litterally spend the Soviet regime into its grave. In order to counter Soviet influence the U.S. spent trillions proping up tin pot dictators around the world, much to our discredit.
Had not the Soviet threat existed how much of that treasure could have been spent on building up the social fabric of poor nations rather than their military.

5. Yes, the communist system fell with a whimper because it had ceased to be what every government must do---meet the needs and hopes of its people. But, then the Romanov regime also was kicked over and collapsed without a trace by a few hundred thousand hungry and cold citizens, sick and tired of a war their government seemed could not win but would not end.

6. I do not defend the Soviets, but then again I do not denigrate their achievemnts either. No rational individual will deny that the communist rule of Russia was a tragedy for not only the Russian people and their captive nations but also for the world. Stalin's oppressive and monstrous reign was unsurpassed by any tsar. And very few regret its demise. But like all human endeavors it did have some good points, and whether we like it or not many ordinary Russian look back with some nostalgia to those good points.
Title: Re: leaving st. petersburg
Post by: Tania+ on June 18, 2006, 03:04:26 PM
[size=10]Dear James1941,

Your number at the end of your name is enough to evoke memories of the war. I was born in '43, but for many it was a war that was not easily forgot.

For Russians who had escaped or members of their family[ies] had managed to escape, this war must have seemed an added eternity. For those whose family members still lived in Russia, or who had friends who still lived, words can't possibly begin to express what they must have gone through. My heart goes out in remembrance of all of those involved. I just had to mention this, because it is so much a part of all of those war years...

I had heard many stories then, and later of how the British and Americans did and did not come to the aid of the Soviet Union. But as you stated, nothing to date is going to settle the debate here, when again, it is still being debated by military historians.

But the most important part no nation should forget is that the women and men, and their children of Russia put their very lives on the line countless times in order to keep the Nazis from invading thier land. The loss in life was horriffic again. In our trip to Russia in the 70's, we went to many set aside grave yards where countless numbers [in the thousands] lay in great mounds, and there were many burial mounds. To view this, of ordinary citizens graves, was deafining. Yet this was then, about 45 years after that war. If it made me stop and think of the loss then, I can imagine what the loss meant again for all who were burying their loved ones in those great mounds then. Poor Russia, for them it must have seemed, that war for them would never end.

I am not a defender of the soviets, but again, to be fair, the Russia people did not deserve such plunder, and the loss of life they have endured to this day. I am hoping that Russia will not ever have to meet war as they did when fighting the Nazis. No nation, or peoples should have to endure the suffering they endured, or the total in loss of life they lost. Many lost were just ordinary citizens like you and i.

Tatiana+[/size]
Title: Re: leaving st. petersburg
Post by: Mie on June 21, 2006, 02:51:50 PM
I know that many designer of Faberge were Finss and they had nationality of Finalnd so when revoluiton came they escaped to Finalnd -by train. But I know that train did not always worked very well so...  :-/ by ships I believe some did escape. For example Olga Aleksandrovna did... I have also red that there were navy of other country who *rescued* some *fine*people... the original population followed bolsevics or if they wanted to leave out of country they had to take a really long walk...  :-/ :(
Title: Re: leaving st. petersburg
Post by: historylover on January 27, 2007, 11:59:12 PM
Hello everyone,

There is an excellent book on the escape of some of the Romanovs - The Flight of the Romanovs.  I have just read it and enjoyed it very much.

Also Imperial Dancer describes the escape of the ballerina, Kschessinska, who was the mistress of the last Tsar.

Best Regards,

Lisa
www.webwritereditor.com
www.bookaddiction.blogspot.com
Title: Re: leaving st. petersburg
Post by: Alixz on April 11, 2009, 09:27:05 PM
Hello everyone,

There is an excellent book on the escape of some of the Romanovs - The Flight of the Romanovs.  I have just read it and enjoyed it very much.

Also Imperial Dancer describes the escape of the ballerina, Kschessinska, who was the mistress of the last Tsar.

Best Regards,

Lisa
www.webwritereditor.com
www.bookaddiction.blogspot.com

I agree that this book give a good indication of how many Romanovs escaped and how hard it was.  However, once anyone has read this book, I think you will see that leaving was not easy.

It may have been easier for the common citizen, but for the royals and the members of the defunct government, it was almost impossible.
Title: Re: Was It Easy to Leave St Petersburg in 1917-1918? How many people left?
Post by: historylover on April 17, 2009, 05:37:41 PM

That's true.  I have read many accounts now.  The former Empress Marie certainly had a very
difficult time. She was very lucky.
Title: Re: Was It Easy to Leave St Petersburg in 1917-1918? How many people left?
Post by: Constantinople on April 18, 2010, 12:53:15 AM
It depends on where you left from.  Leaving from Crimea or Vladivostok was easier than leaving from St Petersburg or Moscow and after 1921, leaving from almost anywhere was difficult