Places of Peter Kropotkin
The famous revolutionary, political scientist, geographer, publicist, philosopher and theorist of the ideology of anarcho-communism. He spent only half of his life in Russia and 40 years in exile.
1. Kropotkin’s House
Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin was born on December 9, 1842 into an aristocratic family in a typical manor house built by his grandmother at the beginning of the XIX century. In this period, such mansions were built up throughout the south-western part of Moscow and inhabited mainly by the nobility.
In the «Memoirs of a Revolutionist» this house is described as follows: «In these quiet streets, far away from the noise and the bustle of the commercial Moscow, all the houses had much the same appearance. They were mostly built of wood, with bright green sheet-iron roofs, the exteriors stuccoed and decorated with columns and porticoes; all were painted in gay colors. Nearly every house had but one story, with seven or nine big, gay-looking windows facing the street. A second story was admitted only in the back part of the house, which looked upon a spacious yard, surrounded by numbers of small buildings, used as kitchens, stables, cellars, coach-houses, and as dwellings for the retainers and servants.»
He lived in this house only for the first seven or eight years of his life. When his father married for the second time after the death of his first wife from consumption, he sold this house and bought another, in Malyy Levshinskiy lane.
2. Malyy Levshinskiy Lane
To this day, the house (№ 4) has not been preserved. Soon after the move, Pyotr Alexeyevich’s father sold this house as well. The family spent several winters in rented houses in the Old Konyushennaya quarter until a new mansion was bought in Maly Vlasyevsky lane in 1855.
District life in the «Memoirs of a Revolutionist» is described as follows: «Life went on quietly and peacefully — at least for the outsider — in this Moscow Faubourg Saint-Germain. In the morning nobody was seen in the streets. About mid-day the children made their appearance under the guidance of French tutors and German nurses who took them out for a walk on the snow-covered boulevards. <…> In the evening most of the houses were brightly illuminated, and, the blinds not being drawn down, the passer-by could admire the card-players or the waltzers in the saloons.»
3. Malyy Vlasyevskiy Lane
To this day, the house (№ 8) has not been preserved. Peter Alexeyevich lived in it until entering the Page Corps in 1857. As he writes: «We lived in this house during the winters of 1855–57, and it is associated with many memories: with the first awakening of literary inclinations, and then with the era of the “narodniks” movement. Just around the corner, in Sivtsev Vrazhek, in a courtyard with an iron gate, stood Herzen’s house*, and we passed it with a semi-religious feeling. With the same feeling we stopped when we reached Tverskoy Boulevard during our walks, and in front of the house* (or rather, it seems, in front of the wing), where Gogol was ill and died.»
On a parallel street (Starokonyushenny Lane, 19) there was a «Church of John the Baptist in the Starokonyushennaya sloboda» in which the funeral service of the old prince Alexey Petrovich Kropotkin (1805–1871) was held. It was demolished in 1933.
4. Page Corps
From 1857 to 1862, Kropotkin studied in the Page Corps and, after graduating with honors, was promoted to officer.
5. Kazarmennyy Lane
Kropotkin attended the Circle of Tchaikovsky: «I was in the “Literary Committee” of the circle. We met in the same apartment which was kept by Perovskaya — in Kazarmenny lane. It was not far from the Nevka river.»
6. Peter and Paul Fortress
On March 21, 1874, Kropotkin made a sensational report to the geographical society about the existence of the Ice Age, and the next day he was arrested for belonging to a secret revolutionary circle and imprisoned in the Peter and Paul Fortress. In 1874–1876, he was imprisoned in the Trubetskoy Bastion in prison cell № 39.
7. Nikolaev Military Hospital
With signs of scurvy, Kropotkin was transferred to the prison department of the Nikolaev Military Hospital (a two-story wing behind the main building), from where he made a daring escape on July 30, 1876.
8. Donon Restaurant
He hid from the gendarmes on the day of the escape: «“To Donon!” he suddenly called out to the cabman, naming one of the best St. Petersburg restaurants. “No one will ever think of looking for you at Donon,” he calmly remarked. “They will hunt for you everywhere else, but not there; and we shall have a dinner, and a drink too, in honor of the success of your escape.”»
9. Leontyevskiy Lane
In May 1917, after returning to Russia from emigration after the February Revolution, Peter Alexeyevich briefly lived there.
10. Kropotkin’s House-museum
In May 1918, Kropotkin and his wife moved to Dmitrov, having received a «security certificate» signed by Lenin. In early 1921, he became seriously ill with pneumonia and died on February 8, 1921, at the age of 78.
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