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Power and society. Imperial women's patriotic society at the beginning of the 20th century and during World War I

m. A. Senina


Work is presented by department of the Russian history the Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia. The research supervisor - the doctor of historical sciences, professor I.V. Alekseeva

In article the activity of Imperial women's patriotic society in the conditions of increase of confrontation between the power and society is considered. Special attention is paid to the list of participants, the charter and financial sources of Society by the specified period. On the basis of for the first time the attracted sources from funds of the Russian State Historical Archive (RSHA) the Society is considered as an example of "traditional" charitable committee of the beginning of the 20th century not capable to react sensitively to moods of the charitable public.

M. Senina




The article reflects the activity of the Imperial Women&s Patriotic Society in the context of the political confrontation between the power and society. Special attention is paid to the members of the Society, charter and financial resources. The rare historical documents from the Russian State Historical Archive are analysed for the first time. The activity of the Committee is reflected as a typical example of the so-called & #34; traditional" charity, which was not so reactive to the opinion of society.

By the beginning of the 20th century the social structure of society of the Russian Empire considerably became complicated. It was caused by further development of capitalism which led to crisis of traditional way of society in general. Growth of the cities, appearance of new part of society - the proletariat, stratification of the village promoted emergence of the growing social problems which need of the decision increased. By the boundary of the 19-20th centuries the discrepancy of a political regime with those changes which happened in society led to increase of confrontation between society and the power. Otsutst-

the Viy of the centralized ministry of problems of social contempt it was replaced with departments and committees which did not correspond to realities of the 20th century any more

First of all it is the all-Russian charitable committees, such as: Department of institutions of the empress Maria Fiodorovna (WEAM) which included Guardianship of the monarchess empress Maria about deaf-mutes and Guardianship of the empress Maria Aleksandrovna about blind people, the Russian society of the Red Cross, Aleksandrovsky committee about wounded. Within these traditional committees members

Power and society. Imperial women's patriotic society at the beginning of the 20th century.

royal family were responsible for the concrete directions of the help or rehabilitation. The idea of unity of the people and tsar, the idea of predefiniteness of an autocratic system for Russia was the main ideological component of departments.

Imperial women's patriotic society [3, page 320] was one of such organizations of the help, "traditional" for the history of the Russian charity. Official date of establishment of Society it is considered on November 12, 1812 when the draft of the charter was offered on a statement to Alexander I. 12 representatives of the high St. Petersburg society became founders of society and its first members: princess V. A. Repnina, countesses M.V. Kochubey and E.A. Uvarova, princesses S.G. Volkonskaya and A.P. Vasilchikova, maid of honor E.M. Olenina, countesses M.A. Vorontsova, S.P. Svechina, M.D. Nesselrode, A.I. Orlova, E.V. Novosiltseva and E.I. Bakherakht. The famous public figure and the publicist A.I. Turgenev [8, page 6-9] became the first governor of affairs. It was the first organization of women of Russia in which basis the high property qualification was put. At the introduction the patriot needed to pay 200 rubles that was available not to each noblewoman. Alexander I's wife Elizabeth Alekseevna became the patroness of Society. According to the report, Society was engaged: distribution of money by the person in need "on the first requirements"; petitioned for the placement of poor children to schools on state contents or for an assignment them to masters for training in crafts; delivered apartments to that poor who could feed themselves with own work; provided to the ruined handicraftsmen of means, necessary for work.

In the second half of the 19th century the grand duchess Aleksandra Iosifovna who was taking up two years (1894-1896) position of the chairwoman was an active figure of Imperial women's patriotic society. With all affairs of Society it was helped by her daughter-in-law - the grand duchess Elizabeth Mavrikiyevna. For creation of church at the school which was located on Shpalernaya Street, 4

John of Kronstadt donated money and the lake. For weak health of schoolgirls of schools of Patriotic society the grand duchess Aleksandra Iosifovna gave an opportunity to have a rest in Pavlovsk [2, page 62, 63].

By the beginning of the 20th century the Society consisted under the patronage of the empress Alexandra Fiodorovna and was in department of institutions of the widowing empress Maria Fiodorovna. On January 29, 1904 Rudolf Ottovich Buksgevden was appointed the governor of affairs of Council. The general capital of society by the specified period was 21 thousand 892 rubles. In RGIA fund the interesting certificate that by 1903 the former capitals of Society were dissipated by the treasurer that in many respects demonstrates lack of necessary control of money from Society remained.

Society, as well as at the beginning of the 19th century, was made by "whole world" of the St. Petersburg capital aristocracy: Vice-chairwoman, the lightest princess M.M. Golitsyna, its highness princess E.G. Saksen-Altenburgskaya, princess N. Yu. Muruzi, lady-in-waiting A.N. Naryshkina, countess M.F. Sheremeteva, maid of honor E.A. Ozerova, princess S.A. Demidov. Princesses Z.N. Yusupova, M.A. Vasilchikova, S.P. Durnovo, E.D. Kozlovskaya, the maid of honor S.V. Belgardt were participants of Society with an advisory vote, Thus, the social composition of Society at the beginning of the 20th century demonstrates that the power did not include as members of personalized committees of representatives of the commerce and industry capital and also representatives of other estates.

Fixed assets of Society were: contributions and donations of their imperial highnesses; grants from the state treasury; grants from department of the empress Maria Fiodorovna; the income from real estate belonging to society; the money gained from orders and sale of products by institutions by Societies; kruzhechny collecting; income from arranged in favor of society or offices of exhibitions, concerts, performances, markets, lotteries and any other receipts. It is necessary otme-

to tit that the means provided by representatives of royal family were obviously insufficient. So, Mikhaylovichey we learn from the sheet of joint account of office of grand-ducal family that from January 1, 1912 to January 31, 1913. To imperial Women's Patriotic Society 300 rubles were released. This sum was allocated for the maintenance of two schoolgirls [6, l. 14]. On expenses on the device of a historical exhibition 20 thousand rubles [4, l were taken away. 26]. Holding charitable exhibitions, concerts and markets created favorable image of the power and gained lines of promotion.

Reconsidered in 1904. The charter of Society set as the purpose: "to bring up girls mainly of the poorest state, in articles of faith and morality, to give them the professional and also primary general education, to assist the former pupils of institutions of society in a priiskaniye of places and classes" [4, l. 209]. This ideological foundation by the beginning of the 19th century was laid by Paul I's wife Maria Fiodorovna who in the address to the director of the Moscow office of school of St Catherine in 1805 wrote about pupils: "Has to try that they got used to the idea of poverty in advance, and in the village to a privacy, looked not for wealth, but a comfortable state... and to be ready to any difficult situations" [1, page 118]. Hundred years later, also Nicholas II who was in every possible way seeking for preservation of a soslovnost held the similar opinion.

Respectively, for achievement of this purpose the Society established schools, courses, workshops, rukodeln which would train schoolgirls for practical activities, as art teachers, needlework, nurses, handicraft works instructors and also got referrals in kindergartens, sanatoria [4, l. 209].

In 1904 in Tsarskoye Selo the school of nurses which is under direct protection of Alexandra Fiodorovna was open. Tsarskoye Selo which became the main residence of royal family began to attract to charitable active

st of numerous followers [6, l. 114]. The total number of the pupils admitted to school made 50. The age of pupils should not have exceeded 16 years. The orthodox religion was the main requirement imposed to them. Special privileges were provided for children of soldiers, victims in the war. It, undoubtedly, is an everyday occurrence for personalized committees. So, for example, traditional lunches and concerts in People's house, the Mariinsky Theater were carried out for the lower ranks invited according to special lists. The Chairman of the Committee about wounded expressed a wish: "at a concert the presence only of the lower ranks which would use protection of Committee with the right for free places" [7, l is desirable. 48]. Similar charity was not so much social problems ostentatious, how many not corresponding to level.

The grand duchess Olga Aleksandrovna was "assistant" to Society, according to the empress Alexandra Fiodorovna, also. Its contributions to advantage of the St. Petersburg school of Society were small (60 rubles a year, since 1902) [4, l. 261]. Also grand duchess since 1909 regularly deducted 200 rubles a year on the maintenance of "the apartment for the poor". The request for payment belongs to the first days of war that demonstrates that Society still addressed traditional sources of financing and was afraid that from the beginning of war these assignments can stop. Throughout 1914, 1915, 1916 Olga Aleksandrovna helped the maintenance of the apartment, just as did not disregard any request, to it turned. Moreover, families of employees of its yard received contents from its personal means, unlike the serving other grand-ducal yards receiving only state rations [5, l. 432]. The grand duchess Olga Aleksandrovna, her disinterested, service to a good cause rather an exception against the background of formal activity of most of authorities was more sincere.

During the periods of wars and social shocks, with which the power independently

could not cope any more, she addressed for to a riod of World War I the mechanism

the help to a charitable obshchestven- relationship of the power and society in the sphere

to Nosta as, for example, in the period of terrible to charity it was delivered on "about -

hunger of 1891-1892. Thus, to pe- Verka".


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