Author Topic: Was It Easy to Leave St Petersburg in 1917-1918? How many people left?  (Read 12337 times)

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Offline karl

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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  
« Last Edit: April 11, 2009, 09:24:04 PM by Alixz »

Offline Grigorevna

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Re: leaving st. petersburg
« Reply #1 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

Offline AGRBear

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Re: leaving st. petersburg
« Reply #2 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
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AGRBear »
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Offline AGRBear

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Re: leaving st. petersburg
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2005, 08:37:01 PM »
Here is a photo showng a mass of people moving out of harms way.

"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

Joubert, Pensees, No. 152

Offline AGRBear

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Re: leaving st. petersburg
« Reply #4 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:



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
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AGRBear »
"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

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Offline karl

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Re: leaving st. petersburg
« Reply #5 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

Offline AGRBear

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Re: leaving st. petersburg
« Reply #6 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
"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

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Offline Cely

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Re: leaving st. petersburg
« Reply #7 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!

Offline hg123

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Re: leaving st. petersburg
« Reply #8 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.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by hg123 »

Offline AlexP@asia.com

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Re: leaving st. petersburg
« Reply #9 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.







« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AlexP@asia.com »
All of the Very Best from GuangZhou.

Offline Lyss

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Re: leaving st. petersburg
« Reply #10 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.
Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by ignorance or stupidity.

Offline Dominic_Albanese

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Re: leaving st. petersburg
« Reply #11 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

Offline AlexP@asia.com

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Re: leaving st. petersburg
« Reply #12 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
All of the Very Best from GuangZhou.

Offline AlexP@asia.com

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Re: leaving st. petersburg
« Reply #13 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.
All of the Very Best from GuangZhou.

Offline James1941

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Re: leaving st. petersburg
« Reply #14 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.