Noble girls from the Smolny

Noble girls from the Smolny

The unusual fate of the famous graduates of the Institute.

5 may 1764, Catherine II signed a decree on the establishment of the Imperial educational society for noble maidens, the future of the Smolny Institute.

It was the first in Russia and one of the world’s few women’s educational institutions.

According to the Imperial decree, the aim was “to give the state educated women, good mothers, useful family and society.”

Institution established soon as an experiment has existed for almost half a century, giving rise around women’s education in Russia. Among its graduates were many truly outstanding women.

Izvestia recalled the fate of some of them — saints, diplomats, secret agents, and soldiers, at different times emerged from the walls of the Institute.


Future Kolanowska Euphrosyne born in the family of Prince Vyazemsky, and at birth was given the name Evdokia. 18 years old Princess came in just created Smolny Institute, and then — in the ladies in waiting of Empress Catherine II. In front of her, belonging to the first, and most beloved Empress, the issue of smolyanka, opened all the doors. But having lived some time at court, she disappeared.

Dresses maid of honor and two other girls who were in the retinue of the Empress, discovered on the banks of the pond of Tsarskoye Selo. They were considered drowned, was in turmoil. But the girls, who staged his own death, was actually alive — dressed peasants, they fled from the Imperial court to start wandering life.

According to one biography, the escapee was still caught and taken to the Empress to the Palace.

However, after a conversation with Euphrosyne for the souls of Catherine II let her go, giving to get away from the world.

After years of wandering in the monasteries, taking the name Euphrosyne, she began to live in the hut at the women’s monastery near Serpukhov. Wanting to atone for the worldliness of his life at court, Euphrosyne led the life of a Holy fool — walked barefoot and slept on the floor with the animals, which are kept there, in the hut. Once a new mother expelled her from the monastery Euphrosyne settled in the village Kolyupanovo on the Oka river, where it and its fame has the gift of healing. They also said that she can see the future.

Did Euphrosyne in the end, the veil is unknown. However, before the end of her life she was called the mother Euphrosyne. After her death, the belief in the help of the old women has only increased, and by 1911 were collected 55 reported cases of healings after his conversion to her prayers. In 1988, Euphrosyne Kolanowska was canonized in Tula diocese.

The first woman-diplomat Russia

Daria benckendorff, daughter of Christopher benckendorff and sister of the future chief of police, early lost her mother. Her and another sister, Mary, Empress Maria Feodorovna, who was a friend of the deceased, gave in the Smolny Institute. It is believed that girls the exception were lodged in a separate room, and Maria Feodorovna visited them weekly.

After graduating from the Smolny in 1800 Daria Benkendorf became a lady-in-waiting of the Empress. She first offered her as a groom of count Arakcheev, but when the bride came from this suggestion in horror, gave her a party with 26-year-old war Minister Christopher Lieven. Soon Daria Lieven, along with her husband, was appointed envoy of the Russian Empire, found themselves abroad, first in Berlin and then in London. It was there for her its fame as a hostess of literary salons and fashion Queen.

It is believed, for example, that Daria Lieven introduced the waltz to England.

His contemporaries have left of her is very conflicting memories: someone said that it was a strong-willed woman, combining feminine sensibilities and masculine sobriety of mind, someone that she was a schemer who was not a wealth of knowledge in the arts or in politics. However, whatever the feedback, wrote about her including rené de Chateaubriand, the Duke of Wellington.

And the Daria Lieven, using the fact that her salons were attended by famous writers, politicians, representatives of the aristocracy, about the content of their conversations reported in Russia, and often itself influenced the course of conversations. In a letter to the Minister of foreign Affairs Nesselrode, Tsar Alexander I even noted that if the Countess Lieven was not wearing a skirt, she would make a brilliant diplomat.

Later, together with her husband she returned to Russia, but once again left the country and the rest of his life lived in Paris, where he kept one of the most famous salons.

The legend of Russian cooking

Among graduates of the Smolny Institute in 1848 were Elena Burman.

Daughter Arkhangelsk merchant returned after graduation to his native Arkhangelsk she’ll marry and take her husband’s name — hours. In 1861, in Kursk, she will release a book “a Gift to young Housewives, or a means to reduce costs in the household”. The book by Elena molokhovets for many years will be the main domestic culinary hit.

Only when the life of the author, it has withstood 29 editions, the total circulation exceeded 300 thousand copies. If the first edition included about 1.5 thousand of recipes, soon their number increased to 4.5 thousand Described in it, for example, dishes such as pudding, chicken, poularde with razvarnaya, oatmeal with rum and almonds and cheese from hare to Breakfast.

The kitchen is also of a kind science, which without any guide, and if you can not only devote some time, purchased not years, but decades of experience.Elena Molokhovets

However, the book “a Gift to young Housewives”, which Elena molokhovets went down in history, is not the only literary work smolyanka. In 1886, after hours and his family moved to St. Petersburg, she was fascinated by the ideas of spiritualism and mysticism. Among her later books were, for example, such as “the Voice of a Russian woman, about the state and the spiritual-religious-moral revival of Russia”.

Boss of all hospitals

If initially the main purpose of the Smolny Institute was considered the education of women able to give the Fatherland the worthy and noble sons, Olga Skobeleva who graduated in 1842, became his exemplary graduate. Wife of Lieutenant-General Dmitry Skobelev, commander of the Grenadier company of the Imperial, she was committed to her son, Mikhail Dmitrievich Skobelev.

His fame Mikhail Skobelev owes much to the participation in the Russo-Turkish war and in the struggle for the independence of the Slavic peoples on the Balkan Peninsula. His mother, differing, according to the memoirs of contemporaries, a strong and stern character, also went to the Balkans.

A graduate of the Smolny Institute, the daughter of the landlord, she in 1877, at the age of 52, first became the head of all hospitals in the Russo-Turkish war, and then, in 1879, headed the Bulgarian division of the red cross Society. In addition, Olga Skobeleva, left in the Balkans, which at that time was her son Mikhail Skobelev, managed to open in Bulgaria orphanage for 250 orphans and were going to found a school and a Church in memory of her late husband.

He was born September 29, Russian military leader and strategist, General of infantry, adjutant-General Mikhail Dmitrievich Skobelev (1843-1882).

Fund 1812 (@fond1812) 28 Sep 2016
Mikhail Skobelev

However, in 1880, during an overnight trip to a neighboring town on her and accompanying her entourage was attacked by a robber. Olga and most of the servants accompanying her were killed. The attacker was detained, it turned out to be orderly Mikhail Skobelev. “White General” was shocked by the death of his mother — he spent the day in the comfort of your tent.

In the place of her death, the Bulgarians have erected a monument in memory of Olga Skobeleva and in gratitude for all she has done for their land.

Female soldier

“A young, beautiful girl with a round face, with round blue eyes, in his military uniform of the ensign seemed elegant and slender boy. The daughter of a Russian General, educated in a military environment, she was not posing as an officer and has learned all military tactics naturally, as if she were a man. In a round fur hat, worn slightly askew, high patent leather boots and well-tailored military jerkin, she could not help but like” — well remembered member of the White movement, the Deputy of the pre-revolutionary State Duma Nikolay Lvov who served with him in the Volunteer army Sofia de Bode.

The daughter of a Baron who fought in the Russo-Japanese war and the First world, Sofia graduated from the Smolny Institute in 1914. In 1917 joined the women’s shock battalion, created against the background of increasing in the First world war soldiers ‘ unrest, and soon he graduated from officer training. In 1917, during the fighting in Moscow, 20-year-old Sophia de Bode commanded a detachment of cadets and during a firefight in the capital Nikitsky gate was wounded in the leg.

In the same year she joined the White movement and took part in the hardest Ice campaign of the Volunteer army in the Kuban. However, in addition to bravery and beauty, many de Bode remembered the implacable cruelty of the Bolsheviks — according to surviving memoirs, she could cold-bloodedly shot the prisoners at close range.

However, to his de Bode at the front were treated without any mercy. In April 1918 she was killed in battle during a cavalry attack white on Ekaterinodar. She was 21 years old.

The latest release

Among those pupils of the Smolny, whose release came at the chaotic pre-revolutionary years, many one way or another repeated the fate of Sophia de Bode.

So, then, on the eve of the revolution, graduated from the Smolny Maria Zakharchenko-Schultz, daughter of state Councilor, in the 1920-ies became one of the leaders of the White movement in emigration. She took part in several operations based in exile of the Russian military Union (EMRO), received from colleagues a nickname Mad Maria. Maria Zakharchenko-Schultz, who arrived in Moscow to commit sabotage, was murdered by employees of the GPU in 1927 while trying to leave the country.

Around those same years I was in College, the future Baroness Mary Budberg, common-law wife of Maxim Gorky and Hg wells. She was suspected of espionage and the double agent in the Soviet Union and England, but no one ever could prove it.

The latest Russian edition of the Smolny Institute for noble maidens was held soon after the revolution, in 1919, in a busy white Novocherkassk.