Museum of Russian Political History
Behind the park on ulitsa Kuybysheva stands the former house of Mathilda Kshesinskaya, Russia’s prima ballerina before the revolution, whose affair with the Crown Prince Nicholas (later Nicholas II) was once the talk of St Petersburg. Gorky sniffed that she earned it “with leg shaking and arm-swinging”, but it was probably a gift from Nicholas. The house is the epitome of Style Moderne elegance, trimmed with tiles and floral tracery.
Now this former palace is known as Museum of Russian Political History.
In March 1917 the Bolsheviks commandeered it as their headquarters: Lenin came here straight from Finland Railway Station, addressed crowds from its balcony and mapped out party strategy here until 1917, when a provisional government clampdown sent the Bolsheviks into hiding and the house was wrecked by loyalist troops.
After restoration, it was an obvious home for the museum of the Great October Socialist Revolution, which moved here from the Winter Palace in 1957.
In 1991 this was recast as the Museum of Russian Political History, the only museum of its kind in Russia.
This fascinating museum offers a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the amazing and complicated political history of our country. The museum holds many testimonies of the political life of Russian society since the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 21st century, if you’re interested in the subject or in Kshesinskaya (to whom a section is devoted), its well-worth going with one of our guides in order to enjoy such things as the rather snazzy Soviet porcelain decorated with slogans, and caricatures of Lenin from newspapers that would be shut down once the Bolsheviks seized power, not to mention a visit to the second floor headquarters used by the central committee in July 1917, including the room occupied by Lenin.
The museum has an extensive collection of more than 500,000 exhibits, reflecting the history and transformation of government, the political system, and the fate of the most prominent historical figures from the past. It all attests to the upheavals and processes of the revolutionary, democratic and socio-political movements and parties in Russia.
The Fall of The Soviet Union
Personal belongings and documents of prominent public figures can be gazed upon here with original documents, among them, a decree of Napoleon, signed by his own hand, to the letters of Mikhail Gorbachev, the seventh and last undisputed leader of the Soviet Union whose policies of openness (Glasnost) and restructuring (Perestroika) as well as summit conferences with United States President Ronald Reagan and his reorientation of Soviet strategic aims contributed to the end of the Cold War, removed the constitutional role of the Communist Party in governing the state, and inadvertently led to the breakup of the Soviet Union.
The museum’s collection of materials about political parties represent virtually the entire political spectrum of modern Russia including at the federal and regional level. The collection also includes materials on the activities of state and party leaders, community leaders, members of both houses of The Russian Parliament, the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region and many other subjects within the Russian Federation.
Information about the 1917 Revolution and the Civil War are also included with hundreds of rare pamphlets, documentary photographs, and much more, awaiting discovery within the museum.
In addition, the museum has one of the most complete collections in the country on the history of modern Russia. Today, the museum exhibits are devoted to the most important dilemmas and problems from the political life of Russia during the 19th to early 20th centuries and includes a number of stationary exhibitions, memorials and historic interiors.
Why you should visit
A visit to Russia and St Petersburg entails a step back in history to a time of great upheaval and confusion, a time when the whole industrialised world was perched upon a precipice and relations were extremely strained and eventually broken.
The splendour of our Palaces and the grand excesses of our monarchy and nobility were soon to be replaced and it is here that you will experience the administrative machinations of our countries leaders.
This is what makes this museum one of the most popular places to visit among our perhaps older clients and younger ones interested in the political sciences.