The Desolation of Exile:
A Russian Family's Odyssey

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Ulyanovsk Today

The city of Simbirsk was renamed Ulyanovsk in 1924 in honor of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin), who was born there. The city has maintained a historically preserved zone where houses built by and owned by members of the Ukhtomsky family still stand.  (These are shown in the video on the Simbirsk page). Yevgeniya Nikolayevna Ukhtomsky, my great-great-aunt had a house built on Pokrovsky St. (now Lev Tolstoy St.)., which served as income property.This is the first house pictured below.



Mikhail Ukhtomsky, my great-great uncle, also owned a house in Simbirsk (below). It is located across the street from Yevgeniya Nikolyaevna's house.

Rear of house

Mikhail Ukhtomsky also owned land where this house is now located on 1 Kirov St. It used to be 1 Sadovaya St. His sister Yevgeniya lived at this address after the revolution. Her house on Pokrovsky St. was seized by the authorities.

The Ukhtomsky house that stood on Vvedensiy Pereulok (Lane),now named Zelyoni Pereulok, no longer exists. New townhouses have recently been built on the spot where the Ukhtomsky house may have stood (below).

Gertruda Nazarieva lived with the Ulyanovs in 1875. They lived in this house (below) that year (now a museum). The picture on the right is the rear of the house. She probably would have had a room on the second floor here, looking out onto the yard.

Mariinsky Gymnasium, where Anna Valerianovna Ukhtomsky, nee Nazarieva, went to school.

Below is the street in Simbirsk named after Valerian Nazariev.

The actual graves at Pokrovsky Cemetery. where some Ukhtomsky family members were buried, are gone, but these plaques were placed at the cemetery listing the families that had loved ones buried there prior to the revolution. On the left, Knyagina (Princess) Paraskeva Appolosovna Ukhtomsky is listed specifically. She was Knyaz Nikolay Nikolayevich Ukhtomsky's wife, my great-great grandmother.

Below is a painting in the Karamzin Library depicting leading members of Simbirsk society in the 1870's or so. In the center with arms folded is Ilya Ulyanov, Lenin's father, a school inspector of the province. Just behind him and to his right is Valerian Nazariev, my great-great grandfather, and Ulyanov's first biographer. The photo on the right is an exhibit from the Nazariev museum, which includes a photo of Nazariev.

The building that used to house the District Council (Уездная Управа) (now a military officers' building). Alexander Nikolayevich Ukhtomsky would have worked here.

At left, the buidling of the military gymnasium where Alexander and Mikhail Ukhtomsky attended school (now a Suvorov military academy) and, on  the right, a classroom of the Simbirsk Gymnasium where the Ukhtomskys also went to school (now a museum).


The drawing below  is of the school Valerian Nazariev built in 1869 in the village of Novoye Nikulino, northwest of Simbirsk. The photos below it are that same school in its current building (built in the 1960s). The interior photo is the "Nazariev corner" in the school with information about him and his life.

Valerian Nazariev's gravesite near Novoye Nikulino, in the area where his home used to stand; putting flowers on his grave (2010).

Near the area where the Nazariev home used to stand.


The village of Bogorodskaya Ripievka today (2002).

In the vicinity where the Ukhtomsky estate used to be located.

An article about my 2002 visit

Read an article about my 2002 visit (in Russian). My patronymic is incorrectly stated as Giorgyevna. There were a number of articles published in local newspapers. This second article is generally accurate. A third article was fairly mean-spirited and full of mistakes, the main one being that the author insisted in it that my grandfather had been shot after his arrest (refuted by virutally every other source I found, both official and unofficial). It also includes a photograph that I had never seen before of the Ukhtomsky family but no one would tell me its source.


The Volga River

Размышления. Ульяновск.
Simbirsk, now Ulyanovsk, a modern city, has managed to maintain enough of its historic sites so that it is possible to picture how it looked in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  Approaching by train, however, one is met today, after traveling past green plains and forests, by monotonous apartment buildings, virtually identical in size and design to apartment buildings in all of the former Soviet Union, from the far north of Petrozavodsk to Ukraine to Vladivostok in the Far East.  These buildings, utilitarian and boxy in shape, are hideous and depressing, mostly plopped down as if by a giant childish hand, that is, haphazardly. Sometimes they surround a courtyard, which, more often than not, contains a children’s play area, always overgrown and looking neglected.  Other times, there is nothing, no garden, and no parking for vehicles, as few people had personal vehicles when the Soviet Union existed.

Through the wonders of the Internet, I had found Olga Anatolyevna, an employee of the Simbirsk Museum of Life in the 19th Century, whose help in my research into the history of the Ukhtomskys was invaluable. My travel to Russia to research my family's history was a culmination of months of Internet networking and a testament to my successfully establishing contact with the members of my father’s family in Ukraine...

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