RUSSIANS IN EXILE
– The History Of A Diaspora –
Have a good cry and start all over again
More Than A Million Immigrants
During it’s first year the Reign of Terror of the bolsheviki lead to a significant increase of refugees, who were called `White emigrants‘. The following groups of Russians came to France, to settle there temporary or permanently: -The Russian soldiers of the French and Macedonian front, who did not want to return to their native country; -The soldiers of Denikin’s and Vrangel’s White Army, who were embarked in the ports of the Black Sea, and looked for political asylum in the West, particularly in France, the only country that had recognized the Vrangel administration; -Russian citizens who rightly feared for the measures of the new authorities: people with property, people who could read and write, industrialists, professionals, the landed gentry, high officials, clergymen, Ukrainian nationalists, mensheviki (or members of other non-bolshevist parties, like Social Revolutionaries and Constitutional Democrats – KaDets). The majority of these refugees had left Russia by way of the Southern borders. Many people travelled via Constantinopel and hesitated to go to the West, because they kept hoping that the Revolution would end soon, so that they could return to their native country. One group took recourse in the Côte d’Azur, where the climate much resembled the weather conditions in the Crimea, which before the war was the popular holiday resort of many wealthy Russians. Some very rich refugees even possessed villa’s in the Côte d’Azur, or they rented one. The physicians, lawyers, photographers, writers and artists tried to practice their old professions in France, but the majority was forced to look for odd jobs in Paris (like cab driver, waiter, office clerk, et cetera). Many former soldiers enlisted the Foreign Legion. Almost everyone had a hard time of it. Misery was increasing and many Russians, who in their home land had known comparative wealth, lived in bitter poverty. Most members of the intelligentsia (writers, artists), who had given the development of the Soviet- Union a fair chance, but absolutely rejected the fact that state officials controlled their work, arrived from halfway the 1920s until and the early 1930s. The majority of the Russian élite grouped in Paris, which in the interbellum became the cultural and political center of the Russian diaspora. Until 1940 this group led a very active social existence. They founded schools, churches, unions and social institutions, and organized conferences, concerts, fund raising balls and theatrical performances. Paris might have been the capital of the Russian emigration, but initially Berlin was the literary capital, while Prague became the most important academical city of the Russian emigrants. In these cities, but also in Sofia, Belgrade, Warsaw, Tallin and Riga, lived thousands of Russian refugees. In Berlin was a large Russian writers’ colony, and there was a House of Arts, where Soviet writers and emigrants could meet. In the 1930s these activities receded significantly. Eastern Europe became unsafe, communism and fascism were pressing onward, and once more many Russians had to flight. The only Russian emigrants’ paper that was left in Berlin, was Petropolis.
Cultural And Intellectual Life
The Committee of the Zemstvo’s was founded in 1921. This committee was engaged in various forms of assistance to Russian refugees, like the education of Russian children, financial aid of agricultural projects of Russian refugees, and scholarships to adults. In the scholastic year 1929-1930 the committee administered 65 institutions (schools, boarding-schools, orphanages and recreation grounds), for the benefit of 2,500 children. In 1930 the committee was merged with the `Union of Zemstvo Members Outside of Russia’, which was resided on the address 6 Rue Daviel, and was headed by chairman Nicholas Avksentiev. The union was the umbrella organization of 102 Russian social institutions. In the early 1920s Montmartre was the quarter where one Russian cabaret after another was established. On October 22, 1922 the Château Caucasien was renamed Caveau Caucasien (54 Rue Pigalle), with a new interior, the gipsy choir of Dmitri Poliakoff, and the singer Nastia Polyakova. Tout Paris visited the establishment. The example was soon followed by the Yar (63 Rue Pigalle) and La Troïka (26 Rue Fontaine), which opened their doors for the public in 1923. In 1926 there were more than a hundred Russian cabarets, restaurants and cafés in Paris. On the address 79 Boulevard Saint-Michel in 1923 the Committee for the Protection of Juvenile Russian Students Outside of Russia was founded, in which some existing organizations for Russian emigrants were merged. In the academical year 1929 360 scholarships were subjected to Russian youngsters, and they had two apartment-houses, in which 75 students were put up. Chairman of the committee was Michael Feodorov. In the same building the National Russian Committee was resided, of which Antoine Kartashev was chairman. From 1921 more than forty Russian professors were engaged by the University of Paris. Professor Nicholas Kuhlman (1871-1940) was chairman of the Russian department of the literary faculty. In 1941 this department was closed down by order of the Germans. In the early 1920s, on the corner of the Closerie des Lilas, resided the Café de Port-Royal (22 Avenue de l’Observatoire), where the literary and artistic circle `Right Across’ gathered. Many young Russians were member of this group, among them the poets Ginger and Poplavsky, and the plastic artists Krémègne, Lanskoy, Pougny, Tereshkovich and Zadkine. The ACER (Christian Union of Russian Students) was founded in 1923, by Vasili Zenkovsky, who was appointed chairman. In 1926 the union moved into a part of the premises of the YMCA, 10 Boulevard du Montparnasse. In 1928 the garage was rebuild into a Russian-Orthodox chapel. The ACER was a center of cultural and religious activities. In December 1931 the Russian study center KIR was founded in the building, and until 1939 it organized many conferences.
The Russian culture center (KRK) functioned there from 1933 to 1939.
The building also put up the Russian Institute of Technology, and a cafeteria for needy Russian unemployed. In 1935 the ACER moved to 91 Rue Olivier-des-Serres, where the activities were widened. A magazine was found, Le Messager de l’ACER, which started a campaign with the name of `Aid to the Religious Population of the Soviet-Union’. In October 1936 the church Présentati- on-de-la-Très-Sainte- Vierge-au-Temple was opened in the building, which inspired Vladimir Volkoff, son of a Russian emigrant, to write his novel Le retournement (1979). Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich Romanoff lived from July 1923 to October 1929 in Santeny (Val-de- Marne), in the Chƒteau de Choigny. There he founded a Russian-Orthodox chapel, where the Cossacks of his former regiment sang on Russian-Orthodox feasts. Late 1923, early 1924, a group of former teachers of the Imperial Russian conservatories founded the Russian Conservatory of Paris. At first the conservatory was resided in the Rue de Douai, and later in the Avenue de Tokio, but in 1932 they moved into the present premises on the address 26 Avenue de New York, where the institute was renamed Conservatoire Serge Rakhmaninov. On May 7, 1933 there was a reception in honour to the 60th anniversary of Rakhmaninov. Rakhmaninov himself, the honorary chairman of the conservatory, was welcomed by the director, Prince Serge Mikhaïlovich Volkonsky, a friend of Diaghilev. Before the Revolution Volkonsky was director of the Imperial theatres; he came from a family of Decembrists. The Committee of Russian Organizations was founded in 1924, to see after the legal and financial interests of many Russian unions and foundations. The committee was resided on the address 3 Rue Nicolo. At first the committee was the umbrella organization of 67 organizations. In 1929 175 institutions were part of the committee, but in 1936 this number had risen to 325. On July 18, 1924, the day of St. Sergius, the protestant church on the address Rue de Crimée was bought for the amount of 321,000 francs, and renamed `Colline Saint-Serge’. The money was gathered by the Russian community of Paris. On March 1, 1925 the Russian-Orthodox church was consecrated by Metropolitan Evlogi, and at the same time the Russian-Orthodox Theological Institute of Paris was founded. On April 30, 1925 the first lectures were given. Professor Antoine Kartashev, who before the Revolution was engaged by the Theological Academy of St. Petersburg, spoke about the history of the primitive Church. Saint Sergius is a world famous theological institute,and it did pioneering work, particularly as an intermediary between Orthodox and non Orthodox people. Three professors of the institute, father Grigori Florovsky, father Alexander Shmeman and father Johan Meyendorff, emigrated to America, where they played an important role in the development of American Orthodoxy.
From 1925 the Society of Young Russian Writers and Poets, also known as the `Russian Club’, weekly, and sometimes more often, organized literary evenings on the address 79 Avenue Denfert-Rochereau. Numerous Russian writers held lectures there, among them: Teffi, Zayitsev, Khodassevich, Shestov, Shmelev, Berberova, Grigori Ivanov, Terapiano, Tsvetaeva and Prince D. Sviatopolk-Mirsky. The last enters of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in Paris were from 1926 to 1929, in the Théƒtre Sarah Bernhardt, 12 Place du Chƒtelet, nowadays the Théƒtre de la Ville. From June 27, 1927 Pas d’acier of Serge Prokofyev and Grigori Yakulov was performed, with Lyubova Chernisheva and Serge Lifar in the leading parts. From June 12, 1928 there was the performance of Strawinsky’s Apollon musagète. The choreography was done by George Balanchine, and Serge Lifar interpreted the part of Apollo. On May 21, 1929 was the première of Le fils prodigue, with music by Prokofyev and the choreography once more by Balanchine. Serge Lifar was in brilliant form in the leading part. `Rakhmaninov was sitting on the first row and showed his appreciation several times,’ Prokofyev wrote proudly in his memoirs. In 1933 Balanchine left for the United States; Strawinsky settled down there in 1939. Diaghilev died in 1929. Late 1929 the Union of Russian Cab Drivers, which had more than 1,200 members, took residence in the premises 65 Rue Letelier. Many Russian cab drivers had been officers in the Imperial Army. Just before World War II there were more than 3,000 Russian cab drivers, but in 1945 less than 1,500 were left.
Café des Deux-Magots. The painter Natalia Goncharova often visited this café when she had dined in the restaurant Le petit Saint-BenoŒt, in the Rue Saint-BenoŒt. Bella Reine wrote, `One day I walked into the Deux-Magots, as I saw Goncharova sit at a table with a strange woman. She gesticulated that I should come towards her, and after a little chat we stood up and sat down at another table. I asked her who the woman was. “She is Russian, a prostitute who’s specialized in elderly, cultivated gentlemen. I talk to her, now and then, because no Russian wants to be seen in her company.” Le D“me. This café was often visited by the sculptor Arshipenko and the painters Kandinsky and Survage. Picasso once said, `You can see Utrillo drunk everywhere, but Modigliani only gets drunk in the Rotonde or in the D“me.’ Café de la Rotonde. This café was opened in 1911, and was, early this century, the haunt of Russian artists like Arshipenko, Chagall, Shterenberg, Goncharova, Kikoyin, Krémègne, Larionov, Mané-Klatz, Marevna, Shana Orlov, Soutine, Maria Vasiliev and Zadkine. One could also meet the following writers there: the poet and art critic Maximilian Voloshin, the poet Khodassevich and his companion Nina Berberova, and Ilya Ehrenburg. Trotsky came there in 1915 and 1916, to copy his articles for a Kievian newspaper from the French and English newspapers. Vladimir Mayakovsky mentioned the café at the end of his poem Verlaine et Cézanne (1924), and in May 1925, after a soirée of the Union of Young Russian Poets and Writers, the members settled down in the Rotonde, together with Khodassevich, who hadn’t been there before. The writer Yuri Terapiano (1892-1980) wrote, `Khodassevich knew everyone. Within an hour he had told us everything about Berlin, Moscow, Blok, the famine in St. Petersburg, the House of Writers, Biély and Maxim Gorki. It was too much to recall. Khodassevich was a great story teller.’ The patron of the Rotonde was called Libion, a fat, jovial, fatherly man with grey hair. During the last years of his life the poet Poplavsky was also part of this group of regular visitors of the Rotonde. Ilya Ehrenburg: `It was a café of a dime a dozen. At the bar stood coachmen and cab drivers. Office- clerks drank their coffee and aperitifs. In the back was a dark room, with numerous small tables, and it was very smoky. This room was crowded every evening, and extremely noisy. (…) Every minute or so someone who had too much to drink was thrown out. From 2 to 3 a.m. the Rotonde closed it’s doors, after which the business opened again and the visitors could continue their conversations.’ Café Le Sélect. In the thirties this café was frequented by the Russian poets Adamovich, Ginger, Odarchenko and Anna Prismanova. Closerie des Lilas. This café, which was rebuilt and modernized in 1925, has always been a haunt of writers. Nicholas Stepanovich Gumilyov, who in those days still studied in the Sorbonne, met in 1907 the poet Jean Moréas there. From 1911 Ilya Ehrenburg spent his days there writing. Marevna, who came to Paris in the fall of 1912, met him one evening in the Closerie. `He had very long hair, hanging on his shoulders, and it was greasy. He was dressed very sloppy, and looked in every way like the nihilists about whom one can read in foreign novels. But his eyes were compelling and beautiful. His way of speech was very mordant.’
A postcard from Alexis Tolstoy, sent to the address of the café, directed towards `The badly cut gentleman’, was handed over to Ehrenburg without any hesitation. Before he returned to Russia in 1923, Alexis Tolstoy often visited the Closerie. He wrote his L’enfance de Nikita there, and the first part of his trilogy Le chemin des tourments. 1921 February 14: Because Evgenia Demidova’s husband has friends in the United States, it’s not difficult to become affidavits. They emigrate to New York, where her husband finds work in a hospital. March 1: Moshe Goldstein’s newspaper Posledniya Novosti (The Last News) was initially independent, but since today it is the official organ of the Constitutional Democratic (KaDet-) Party. The historian and politician Paul Nikolaevich Milyukov, one of the founders of the party, is now editor-in-chief. He can count on the co-operation of almost all Russian writers and journalists who reside in Paris. On the ground floor of the premises is the café Dupont, where the staff of the newspaper often drinks a cup of coffee or a beer.
March 17: Bloody oppression of the Kronstadt rebellion. In 1917 the bolshevists promised the navy men in Kronstadt economical, political and social reforms, if they only would take part in the Revolution, but after the Revolution the navy men saw that Lenin was just another dictator, a Pugachov, and that they had been fooled. During their rise hundreds of sailors are executed. From June 5 to June 12 300 persons take part in the European Conference of the National Russian Union in Paris, and Antoine Kartashev is elected chairman. He gave a lecture, titled `Free Russia of the Communist Slavery’ and a National Committee for this purpose was founded on the spot. The Conference takes place in the H“tel Majestic, 19 Avenue Kléber, where many Russian writers read from their own work. July 21: Count Anatol Feodorovich Buxhoeveden (1844-1921), member of the former Imperial Council, who lived in exile in Helsinki, Finland, since 1918, dies. His son Alexander and his family move to Paris. He takes his mother, Countess Maria Buxhoeveden, née J”ggiges, with him. August 2: Famine strikes thirty million Russians. Lenin asks the world for help. From Alexandra Rakhmanova’s diary: August 14, 1921: It was difficult to say goodbye to Omsk. August 15, 1921: The train moves slowly, passing endless deportation trains from the famine areas of the Volga and the North. The cattle trains are crowded with people, piled up like coal: men, women, children. But are this still people? Many of them lost their teeth, their gums are bleeding, their faces are green and ash-gray. August 21: The poet Alexander Blok has passed away in Petrograd! In the café Camél&e- acute;on, 146 Boulevard du Montparnasse, Paris, the gathering of the Putskamer, a group of Russian poets of the new generation, in which particularly Alexander Ginger (1897-1965) plays a creative part, is entirely dedicated to the Russian poet.
From Alexandra Rakhmanova’s diary: August 22, 1921: In the early morning we returned to the city we left in a panic on June 9, 1919. August 24: The bolsheviks accuse Patriarch Tikhon and the other leaders of the Church of having contact with the emigrés, which is strictly forbidden by Soviet legislation. At the invitation of the Patriarch of Serbia, escaped Russian bishops hold a Council at Sremsky-Karlovci in Yugoslavia, at which a temporary ecclesiastical administration for Russian Orthodox in exile is worked out. The Synod is headed by Anthony Khrapovitsky, formerly Metropolitan of Kiev, and adopts a resolution to restore the rights of the Romanoffs to the throne of Russia, by which the speakers hint that the leaders of the Russian Church in Moscow share this opinion. That’s why the bolsheviki accuse Patriarch Tikhon of treason. September 15: Baron Roman von Ungern-Sternberg is sentenced to death. This so-called `White’ General conducted a veritable reign of terror in Mongolia, from January to July. He was financially supported by the Japanese government, which appreciates the anticommunist points of view of the `White’ General. After he conquered Mongolia, he crowned himself `Tsar of all Russians’, and braced himself to crush the Red Army. That didn’t turn out as well as he planned, because his troops rose in mutiny and the Red Army brought him to Novosibirsk, to be tried. During the trial the Baron stated, `For thousand years the Ungerns have been in command. We have never taken orders from others. I refuse to acknowledge the authority of the working class.’ September 18: John Mott founds the YMCA-Press in Prague. His publishing-house is specialized in Russian literature. October 26: The Russian writer Zinaida Hippius (1869-1945) and her husband Dmitri Me- rezhkovsky (1865-1941) write the anticommunist pamphlet The Empire of the Antichrist. November 5: Birthday of my grandmother Princess Alexandra Constantinovna Obolensky, née Countess Mussin-Pushkin. Nobody heard anything of her since November 1917. This day she would have become 36. December 23: Prince Michael Feodorovich Obolensky, my grandfather, is murdered by the bolsheviks in a Moscow prison. 1922 From Alexandra Rakhmanova’s diary: January 10, 1922: I’m now in the maternity ward, for the third day… It’s a boy, we named him Jurka-Alexander… I am still much too weak and it’s hard to write. January 11: Metropolitan Anthony asks the Synod to openly choose the side of the Whites. The Soviet government accuses Patriarch Tikhon of having contact with the Synod and demands that he excommunicates the members of the Synod, amongst who bishop Evlogi of Paris. The Patriarch replies that he’s not competent to excommunicate people who are outside the territory of his Patriarchate. February 23: The bolsheviki order to confiscate all ecclesiastical objects within a month and to turn them over to the People’s Commissionary of Treasury. February 28: The Patriarch reacts with an appeal, in which he calls the ukase of the government an act of sacrilege. He calls upon all believers to resist. This appeal of the Patriarch is heard in the entire country. In many cities, towns and villages the believers resist the confiscation of ecclesiastical treasures, which results in bloody confrontations; thousands of people are persecuted, many are executed. February 28: The Russian poet Marina Ivanovna Tsvetaeva (1892-1941), who is befriended with writers like Rilke and Pasternak, escapes from the Soviet-Union, to join her husband Serge Efron in Prague. During the Russian Civil War Serge fought with the Whites against the bolsheviki. When the direct funding from Russia dries out because Holland doesn’t recognize the Soviet-Union, ad- interim chargé d’affaires Paul Poustochkine and his wife, Nathalie Likhachev (1889-1969), try to make a living as art painters. Nathalie is a skillful portrait painter, who was a student in the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg. Paul earns a little money on the side by selling antiques, while Nathalie designs dresses for the ladies of the Dutch high society. But even with that it’s hard to make ends meet, especially because Paul is still the representative of Russia, and has to pay for all official ceremonies that belong to the obligations of his office, out of his own pocket. Paul Poustochkine: `On behalf of the Dutch government we see after the interests of Russian prisoners of war in Turkey and Bulgaria. In Belgium this task is performed by my Spanish colleague Marquis de Villalobar.’ After Paul’s father Constantin passes away in Genoa in 1922, Paul’s mother, Lydia Vasilievna Poznansky (1864-1957), moves to The Hague. Initially Paul Poustochkine is appointed the diplomatic representative of the Denikin administration, and later of the Vrangel administration. February: The communist member of the Dutch parliament Willem van Ravesteyn utters his displeasure about the fact that Paul Poustochkine is invited to a banquet of Queen Wilhelmina. Jonkheer F. Beelaerts van Blokland, the head of the department of Diplomatic Affairs, tries to persuade Poustochkine into closing down the Russian legation in The Hague, but Poustochkine answers, `Most monarchies in Europe still have Russian delegations with diplomatic statusses. I have always tried to do my work as low profile as possible, without making any fuss. Possibly there will be a day in which one will have to recognize the short-lived administration of the bolsheviki – I am however convinced that Holland will do so as the last country.’ Beelaerts van Blokland yields to this argumentation, and to avoid any criticism from the parliament he no longer puts Poustochkine on the accreditation list as a temporary chargé d’affaires, but as the first secretary. This way he is suspended of the diplomatic obligation to put him qualitate qua in the limelight at every official affair.
Queen Wilhelmina is glad to see the back of the Soviet Russians. She says, `You may recognize as much as you like, as long as you don’t expect me to receive the envoy of Soviet-Russia.’ The government understands this point of view. `We don’t want to force the Queen to receive a representative of the ones who brutally killed her relatives – Her Majesty’s grandmother was a Romanoff.’ May 1: Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich Romanoff moves into the Villa Thénard, 66, Boulevard du Cap, Antibes. He uses the name of `Borissov’, which was the name of his estate in Russia. Nicholas Nikolaevich is married to Princess Anastasia of Montenegro. May 5: Patriarch Tikhon officially declares the ecclesiastical supreme council abroad abolished, but the charges of collaboration with the Whites aren’t dropped. May 17: Patriarch Tikhon and his locum tenens Agafangel are arrested. May 18: The traitor Vedensky and his obnovlentsi (`innovators of the Church’) are permitted to visit Patriarch Tikhon in prison, to force him to turn over the leadership of the Church to them. After an hour and a half Tikhon gives in.
The 34 bishops who went into exile in Constantinopel, together with a part of the White Army, found a new Churchly administration, the Russian-Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, by means of the Synod of Sremsky-Karlovci. This happens at Patriarch Tikhon’s request. They know that Tikhon has fallen into the hands of the bolsheviki, and they don’t even think about obeying the order of Serge, the new Metropolitan of Moscow, which says that every Russian abroad has to refrain from anti Soviet activities. May 19: The membership of a Scouting Club is officially prohibited. Although hundreds of scouts and leaders are murdered, the organization continues its existence in illegality, waiting for better times, that will not come. All cub scouts, brownies, scouts, and cub mistresses are considered Enemies of the Revolution. New York, May 20: The first edition of Kuzbas, a `Bulletin devoted to the Affairs of the Industrial Colony Kuzbas (5 cents)’, `Kuzbas, an effort to strengthen Soviet Russia, by S.J. Rutgers (Engineer and Member of Management Board). Workers of the World, Unite! KUZBAS is being surrounded by so much romanticism that many workers are likely to lose sight of the solid foundation and practical importance of the project. To clear the ground of the glamour that has arisen around a rather sober “Prospectus” it would be well to state briefly what Kuzbas is NOT. (…)KUZBAS is no place for theorists nor for dreamers nor is it a place to try out the plans for a future society. It is a place to work and to work hard in order to strengthen the Worker’s Soviet Republic’s economic front against capitalism. (…) KUZBAS is no solution for unemployment in America. Unemployment will last as long as capitalism rules. (…) KUZBAS is no co-operative, no productive association with possibilities for those who participate to get rich amid a starving population. The products belong to the RSFSR and the Americans will only receive a higher standing of living for the time being, because they require this standard to work with the highest efficiency. (…) Those who do not believe in the Soviet Republic should stay home. There must be close co-operation and mutual understanding with the Soviet Government. Antagonism would only help the “Whites” and the Allied property owners. (…) Soviet Russia needs foreign engineers and workers with their skill, tools and machinery. Here is an opportunity for only those who are willing to support in PERSON by THEIR LABOR Soviet Russia.’ About 600 Americans leave for Kuzbas and Nadezhdensk. June 10: Metropolitan Benjamin has to appear before a tribunal. July 6: Metropolitan Benjamin is executed. The trial and the execution cause anger and dejection among all believers. August 8: Grand Duke Kiril Vladimirovich Romanoff (1876-1938), grandson of Alexander II, who since 1921 lives in the villa Ker Argonid, 33 rue de Pleurtuit, in Saint-Briac sur Mer, Brittany, signs a manifesto in Saint-Briac in which he proclaims himself `chief of the Imperial House of Russia and administrator of the crown’. August 21: After two years of forced stay in Constantinopel, Tatiana Nikolaevna Masalitinov and her family leave for Bulgaria. Bulgaria is a very poor country, and life there is extremely difficult. Tatiana Nikolaevna meets and marries her Vladimir, a young Russian officer who fought in the White Army. Moscow, December 30: Since today Russia is officially named `Union of Socialist Soviet Republics’ (USSR). Stalin is appointed Secretary General of the Communist Party. 1923 Paris, February 23: The dancer Isadora Duncan (1880-1927), and her husband, the Russian poet Serge Andreevich Esenin (1895-1927), take up their residence in the H“tel de Crillon, in the Place de la Concorde. Esenin is the artistic leader of the imaginists and, especially to young people, one of the most popular poets of the 20th century. Isadora Duncan is an American with Scottish-Irish parents. During a European tour, as a dancer in the group of Loie Fuller, she was discovered by an impresario. In 1905 she performed in Russia, where she met dancers, which later, from 1909, would become famous with the Ballets Russes of Diaghilev. Particularly Fokine was influenced by her. In 1904, in Berlin, Isadora got acquainted with the English director and stage designer Edward Gordon Craig. Isadora had three children. The father of her daughter Deirdre was Gordon Craig. Her son Patrick died in 1913, together with his sister Deirdre, as the car in which they were waiting drove into the Seine. Isadora’s third child died at birth. From Alexandra Rakhmanova’s diary: June 7, 1923: Arnulf has left the house without me. The philosophical club has its debate night and I can’t come, because my boy Jurka-Alexander needs me. He’s a little ill. Paris, June 13: Première of Strawinsky’s ballet Noces, in the Théƒtre de la Gaite-Lyrique. The choreography was done by Bronislava Nijinsky (a younger sister of Viachlav), while Natalia Goncharova was responsible for the décors and the costumes. July 14: Igor Sikorsky manages to gather 800 dollars in cash and 2,000 dollars in doubtful promises, and with twelve Russian refugees, who work for him without being payd, he begins to build his first aeroplane in the United States. His `factory’ is in the open, behind a chicken farm in Long Island. From Alexandra Rakhmanova’s diary: November 17, 1923: Professor Beloborodov suffers terribly under the mental pressure of the bolsheviki. He visited us tonight, pale, emaciated, in short: a man on the brink of the precipice. 1924 Moscow, January 22: Vladimir Ilyich Lenin dies. Paris, January 24: The yearly Russian writer’s ball in the Salle Bullier, for the benefit of colleague’s in need. The play-bill says, `This yearly ball is known in all Paris as the most quaint ball of Montparnasse. Who doesn’t remember the ball of last year, in which the quality and the quantity of the public rivaled with the beauty and the originality of the costumes? But we’re through with the eternal search for originality. Away with it! This year we want a banal ball!’ September 13: Grand Duke Kiril Vladimirovich Romanoff, who lives in Brittany, adopts the title of `Tsar of all Russians’. 1925 April 7: Patriarch Tikhon dies. From Alexandra Rakhmanova’s diary: April 16, 1925: Arnulf is over the moon! He was offered a chair abroad! I am so afraid. We’re leaving Russia in about a month. May 11, 1925: Tomorrow we travel to Moscow. We want to stay there as long as necessary to get hold of all the paperwork. June 1, 1925: Two suitcases with linen, two pillows and two blankets. That’s how we leave the country of the proletarians. We have sold everything, and with the profits we will try to start a new life abroad. June 18, 1925: Because it took so long before we could leave Russia, the faculty who invited Arnulf has hired someone else. Paris, August 4: The painter Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin and his wife Alexandra Shchekotikhin Pototskaya move to the address 25 Boulevard Pasteur. Bilibin, a pupil of Ilya Efimovich Repin (1844-1930), escaped from Russia in 1920, after which he had lived in Egypt for five years. His wife Alexandra blandly exhibits her work in the pavillion of the Soviet-Union, on the World Exhibition of Decorative Art. Every Wednesday she entertains escaped Russian writers, journalists and artists. The Soviet Russian journalist Ivan Mozalevsky wrote, `Ivan Yakovlevich friendly took my arm, and led me to the middle of the studio, where he announced in his high-pitched voice, “May I introduce you to my former pupil and friend Ivan Ivanovich Mozalevsky. Sure, he’s a bolshevik, but he’s not a bad kid.” Many guests left the studio, while the others maintained a sinister silence. Only some young writers and journalists looked at me inquisitive. One of them asked me a provocative question, “When do these bolsheviki pop off the hook?” “You shouldn’t ask that question to me, but to the People’s Commissioner of Public Health,” I answered. “Unfortunately I’m not completely familiar with the state of health of all Soviet citizens.” October 17: Choreographer George Balanchine, pseudonym of Grigori Melitonovich Balanchivadze (1904-1983), who carries on the Petersburg tradition, succeeds Bronislava Nijinska as house choreographer of the Ballets Russes in Paris. November 1: The writer Marina Tsvetaeva, who has just arrived from Prague, together with her daughter Ariadna and her son Grigori, moves in with Russian friends, on the address 8 Rue Bouvet, Paris. November 23: her husband Serge Efron joins his family. Marina is very depressed. December. Marina writes, `The quarter in which we live is horrifying, it looks like a London slum out of Dickens’ time. There is an open sewer and the air is polluted by the smoke of the chimneys, not to mention the soot, and the noise of the trucks. No neighborhood to go for a nice walk, no parks. (…) Nevertheless we walk – along the canal with the dead, taint water. (…) The four of us live in one room, and I can’t manage to write in peace.’
Paris, December 5: The Soyuz Dvoryan (Union of Russian Aristocrats) is founded. (The union still exists and is resided in Paris, 1 Square the Chƒtillon. The present President is Prince Serge Sergeevich Obolensky.) From Alexandra Rakhmanova’s diary: December 22, 1925: Arnulf just returned from one of his rambles through the city. Tired and low-spirited he dropped on the bed, in which Jurka-Alexander is sleeping. His face is tensed and gloomy. It is absolutely impossible to get a job, whatever you try. Living of the pen is completely out of the question. The editors don’t know which way to turn with all the manuscripts that are dropped on their desks every morning. December 23: John Mott’s YMCA-Press moves from Prague to Paris (where it still is resided on the address 11 Rue de la Montagne Sainte-Geneviève). December 28: The French railroads hired 250 Russian emigrants, who are accommodated in barracks near the station of Clermont-Ferrand. One of these Russian workers says, `Every Sunday the whole population of the town comes to look at us. We feel like monkeys in a zoo. Yet civilization isn’t completely strange to us, because we sing songs of Mussorgsky and others, conducted by a colleague who has been a musician in the Opera of Odessa.’ December 30: Igor Strawinsky visits the United States for the first time. Count Paul Ignatieff, the director of the Russian Red Cross in Paris, is considered an important official and assembles with many important people, like President Herbert Hoover of the United States and other heads of state. His wife Natasha, who lives in Sussex, however keeps thinking of herself as a refugee and stays homesick for Russia. The children grow up as English lads.
Paris in the Interbellum In the interbellum more than half of the Russian expatriates who went to France, lived in Paris. Paris, of course, had a enormous gravitational pull, but life there often didn’t come up the expectations of the refugees at all. Eight adults living in one tiny room wasn’t exceptional.
Ilya Ehrenburg: “Instead of a blue sky there was a filthy, wadding smoke, which absorbed all greasy odours and the smell of human excrements. No, this Paris didn’t look at all like paradise. (…) In the Rue Morillon is a lovely abattoir, and around it spring up hundreds of small businesses, where wine is sold at the counter. Fattened up cattle-traders, whose aprons are covered with ox blood, come in. They poor the blood red wine inside, as a result of which their cheeks turn purple. (…) They gorge down the white wine in gallons, and bite in pieces of cheese, which give out a smell that reminds me of soldiers’ feet. (…) The rag-pickers gather on the Boulevard Pasteur, at 5 a.m. From time to time they disagree over a broken plate, often the bitches even scuffle. They grab each other’s sweaty hairs, which are full of lice, after which they go through the dust-bins once more. On the address 38 Rue Falgier is a brothel, with beautiful boys. Right across the brothel is a police-station. (…) Furthermore one can find pharmacists here, without diploma’s, who sell drugs which are supposed to cure the clap. (…) All this crawls about the streets and does its work. It swallows a hot potato, right out of the frying-pan, without even masticating it; it drinks miserable wines, it smoothes out crumpled, greasy paper francs; it sings its sentimental, tear jerking songs, in short it suffers (sic) from its rich and shaded, joyful life. This is Paris”
The expatriates’ statusses differed. Some were naturalized French citizens, by request or by marrying a French citizen. Others kept the nationality of the first country they went to after they had escaped, for example Yugoslavia or Czechoslowakia. There were also Russians who preferred to keep the refugee status, and they were holders of an identity-card which was called the “Nansen passport”, after the United Nations High Commissioner for the Refugees. In view of these different statusses it is hard to tell how many Russian refugees there were in France during the 1920s. In 1924 the United Nations estimated the number of Russian refugees in France 400,000. In those days there were living about 100,000 Russian refugees in Berlin.