Russia faced several changes throughout its history, especially the city of St. Petersburg, the capital of Russia during the Romanovs' reign. The buildings in this city witnessed the turn of history's wheels several times. For instance, the Kschessinska Mansion which was the residence of the famous ballerina, Mathilda Kshesinskaya.
The Kschessinska Mansion locates in the Kronverkskiy Prospekt, near the Peter and Paul Fortress. This beautiful mansion designed and built by Alexander van Hohen for the ballerina in 1906. The art nouveau style of the architecture combined with the ballerina’s luxurious taste ended up creating one of the most exclusive and magnificent buildings in Kronsverkskiy Prospekt.
The grand mansion had several rooms and halls, each one with a different style which together made the fashionable and modern house even with today standards. Since the ballerina was one of the most famous people in St. Petersburg, her house was always crowded with important people from the upper class of St. Petersburg society. Nearly all the famous people such as artists, nobles, businessmen, and many others had visited the mansion at least once during their time in St. Petersburg.
While the October Revolution was happening, people had warned Kshesinskaya about the dangers she would face if she stays in St. Petersburg, and for that reason, she flew out of the country to France. Only two days after her departure, Bolshevik people occupied her mansion.
The beautiful mansion of Kshesinskaya turned into the new Bolshevik’s headquarter, and also the editorial board of the revolutionary newspaper Pravda. Even Vladimir Lenin made one of his famous speeches on one of the mansion’s balcony after his return from exile in Finland.
The mansion was the government offices for the next four decades until finally, the city committee gave it to the October Revolution Museum in 1955, which was taken place in the Winter Palace up to that moment.
The concept of the revolution museum was formed in the key players’ mind many years before the actual museum even starts to work. Bolshevik people such as Lenin, Gorbachev, and Yuri Gagarin had decided to keep and maintain the documents and their personal belongings after the first revolution in 1905 to create the future Museum of Revolution.
The first exhibition of the museum began in 1919 in one of the significant halls of the Winter Palace which some of the key members of the Bolshevik movement had attended at the opening day. The exhibition in the Winter Palace had been around for almost 25 years after opening.
The Second World War was one of the darkest periods of time for the October Revolution Museum, and other museums in general. The collections and items in the museum moved to the Hermitage during the first days of the war, and because of the rush and emergency of the event, many collections and exhibits were lost or destroyed during the transportation. The October Revolution Museum has lost 110,000 of its exhibits during that unfortunate time.
After the war, while the museum was about to start to work again in 1954, the city directors decided to give a new place for establishing the October Revolution Museum, and they had chosen the two luxurious buildings on Kronsverkskiy Prospekt which were Baron Brant and the Kschessinska mansions. The next two decades were bright for the museum since they gathered lots of crucial documents and items for the museum's collection.
The museum went through some critical changes in 1991. Its name changed to the History of Politics Museum, and this change came with the opportunity for other political parties to take parts in the museum as well as the Soviet Union. Since then, the museum worked as a neutral organization in which only displays the history without changing or covering any part of it.
Currently, there are over 500,000 exhibits in the History of Politics Museum from the beginning of the 18th century until now. The directors in the museum are trying their best to keep the museum documents up-to-date because of the importance of the subject. For this reason, the History of Politics Museum became one of the most favorite museums in Russia that host millions of visitors throughout the year.
The Museum has several permanent and temporary exhibitions which one of the permanent ones is the exhibition about the former owner of the mansion, Mathilda Kshesinskaya. One can find the information about the ballerina, some of her belongings, and the history of the mansion in this collection.
Following the changed policy in the History of Politics Museum that took place in 1991, other parties had joined in the museum as well as the communist party to display their collection of documents and exhibits, but the largest part of the museum is still about the Soviet Union and their history. Tough, unlike the past, the collections only offer neutral truth. One can find the key players’ belongings, documents, photographs, and many more items in this immense collection.
Currently, the exhibitions that held in the museum are “Empire on the way to modernization” which is about the history of Russian during the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, “The Russian revolution 1917-1922,” and “Soviet Epoch: between Utopia and Reality.”
The History of Politics Museum is a quite fascinating place for people who love politics and its history. This museum, however, is not in St. Petersburg tour plans as a default plan, but if you like to learn more about this topic, you can both see the beautiful Kschessinska Mansion and learn about the history of politics in Russia in one visit. We recommend you to check this museum out if you’ve had enough free time in your travel to St. Petersburg.