Moussia 10: Vladimir’s ancestry (2)


In the previous article, number nine in this series, we made a first acquaintance with two sons of Stepan Baranovsky, Vsevolod and Lev. Vsevolod, the father of Vladimir, Moussia’s first husband, was born on 26 November 1853. His brother Lev was born on 6 May 1855. These brothers married two sisters: Lydia and her younger sister Marija Vassilieva, who were daughters of a professor in Chinese language, culture and literature, whose works are still being read today. One of them, Islam in China, has been translated into English as recently as 1958. Professor Vasily Pavlovich Vasiliev did his research and lectured in the Department of Oriental Studies of the University of Kazan, the first institute of its kind in Russia, from 1834 until 1878.  He stayed at the Russian Orthodox Mission in Peking from 1840 until 1850 to study ancient Buddhist manuscripts. He may well have known the linguist Professor Stepan Baranovsky, the father of Vsevolod and Lev, professionally, see previous article, and it could be through their acquaintance that their offspring met each other. On the large photo above, taken by A. Selyaev in Kazan, we see Vsevolod with his wife Lydia, probably in their thirties.


Left: Young Vsevolod in the gala uniform of His Majesty the Czar’s Life Guard Cuirassiers Regiment  at the age of about 22, when he graduated from the elite Nikolaev Cavalry school in St. Petersburg. He fought in the Russian-Turkish war 1877-78. In 1883 he graduated from the Alexander Military Law Academy and went on to pursue  a varied career in the legal field. From 1883 until 1887 he served in Kopal, where his daughter Vera was born (1885). In 1887 he was transferred to Omsk in Siberia where he would serve until 1902 in various capacities, like military investigator and prosecutor. His son Vladimir  (in the middle) was born in Omsk  on 5 June 1889. Vsevolod became a military judge in Kazan in 1902-1907, then in Moscow 1907-1909, in  the rank of Major-General. His daughter Vera (on the right) went to study acting there and was one of the stars of Constantin Stanislawki’s Moscow Art Theater. From 1909- 1913, Vsevolod was military judge  in Odessa. In 1913, he and his wife moved to Helsinki where he became a member of the Senate of the Grand-Duchy of Finland, part of Russia since 1809. There, in 1916, he retired from military service in the rank of Lieutenant-General.

His curriculum vitae shows how at that time officers and their families were transferred across the immense country which is Russia. It also serves as backdrop for the youth of Vladimir, Vera and their younger sister Elena who was born in 1892, probably in Omsk, like her brother.

In the middle we see Vladimir V. on the photo of his 1917 passport which he used on his flight from Russia, together with Moussia. His American relatives gave me the chance to look at that passport and at a copy of his birth certificate and gave me permission to publish them and  to have those documents translated. I am publishing the copy of the birth certificate in full, it is an interesting time capsule:


Register of Birth of the Cathedral Resurrection Church in the town of Omsk, the register of 18 September 1890 Nr. 349
List of born

Month, day of birth: 05 June 1889

Names: Vladimir

Day of  baptism: 07 July 1889

Rank, first name, father’s name and last name of the parents:

The Captain of the Military-Judicial ministry Vsevolod Stefanov Baranovsky and his lawful wife Lidia Vasilieva, both of them Orthodox Christian.

Rank, first name, father’s name and last name of the god-parents:

Lieutenant-colonel Lev Stepanovych Baranovski and Mrs. Lieutenant-colonel Varvara Nikolaeva Zmetnova

The one who administered the baptism:

The priest Vladimir Pobedinski with the psalmist Pavel Bystrov

I, the undersigned, confirm the correctness of this copy, which was shown to me, Jacob Grigorievych Nikolsk, Notary Public of the town of Kazan, in my office at the address Petropvlovskistreet, ‘number the son of general-major fieldmarshall’ by Vsevolodovych Baronovski, living in Kazan, Pushkinstreet, the house of Voroztsovaia.

While comparing this copy with the original, I have not noted any deleted, added, crossed-out words or undiscussed improvements or other particularities.

The twenty-eighth of June 1905 in the register Nr. 2314.

No seal has been affixed to this copy in view of it to be shown to an educational institution.


The military Cathedral of the Resurrection in Omsk, a church which has disappeared after the Second World War

What can we learn from this certificate ? First of all that Vsevolod’s brother Lev was Vladimir’s godfather. He must have served in Omsk at the same time as his brother. Secondly, that young Vladimir, at the age of 16, needed the Extract in 1905 for showing it to some educational Institution in Kazan where he then lived with his parents.

I suspect that Vladimir was named after his uncle Vladimir S., the inventor who died in 1879 when a firing trial went wrong, the founder/owner of the very rich Baranovsky munitions empire. His uncle Lev had also named his son, born 20  May 1882, Vladimir.

Each of the brothers also named a daughter Elena. Unfortunately, not much is known about either Elena. So far I have not been able to find photographs of them.

Lev and Marija Vasilievna had three children. Vladimir, was born 20 May 1882 and died in 1936, by execution, during one of Stalin’s  purges. Olga, was born 26 November 1883, would become the wife of Alexander Kerensky. A sister Elena was born in 1898.

Lev divorced his wife Marija around 1900 and re-married, keeping his son Vladimir with him. An embittered Marija and her daughters Olga and Elena went back to her parents’ home. The old professor gave them a Spartan upbringing.

Vladimir Lvovich Baranovsky, seen on the left around 1905 and on the right a few years later. He also went to the prestigious Nikolaev school and  made a career in the Infantry, reaching the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel by 1915.

Olga Lvovna Kerensky, née Baranovsky, around 1910

All people mentioned above will figure in some way in Moussia’s story. In the next article, we are going to see what happened to all of them in 1917, the year of the Russian Revolution.

(to be continued)

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