Novodevichii Cemetery

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Novodevichii Cemetery


in Moscow, the burial place of well-known Soviet government, party, and military figures, as well as of scholars, writers, and artists.

When the Novodevichii Convent was founded in the 16th century, a cemetery was formed on its grounds. This cemetery later became the traditional burial place of the Muscovite ecclesiastical and feudal aristocracy and, in the 19th century, of the intelligentsia and merchant class. In 1898 the cemetery was extended beyond the southern wall of the monastery. The new part became known as the new cemetery, and between 1898 and 1904 a wall was built around it. In 1949 the grounds of the Novodevichii Cemetery were extended to the south; between 1950 and 1956, walls, main gates, and service buildings were constructed. The modern Novodevichii Cemetery consists of the old section (area occupied in 1898) and new section (area added since 1949). There is a columbarium within the cemetery.

Among the Soviet government figures interred at the Novodevichii Cemetery are G. V. Chicherin, N. A. Semashko, M. M. Litvinov, A. E. Badaev, A. M. Kollontai, and V. D. Bonch-Bruevich. I. S. Isakov, an admiral of the USSR Navy, is buried there, as are the marshals of combat arms M. P. Vorob’-ev, S. I. Bogdanov, G. F. Odintsov, and P. S. Rybalko, Colonel General O. I. Gorodovikov, and many other military officials, as well as Heroes of the Soviet Union and Heroes of Socialist Labor. The following writers are buried there: V. Ia. Briusov, Dem’ian Bednyi, D. A. Furmanov, V. V. Mayakovsky, A. N. Tolstoy, A. A. Fadeev, N. A. Ostrovskii, S. Ia. Marshak, I. G. Ehrenburg, and A. T. Tvardovskii. Among the composers are N. G. Rubinstein, A. N. Scriabin, S. I. Taneev, and S. S. Prokofiev. The directors and actors include E. B. Vakhtangov, K. S. Stanislavsky, V. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko, V. I. Kachalov, and I. M. Moskvin. The singers include L. V. Sobinov and A. V. Nezh-danova. Among the well-known academicians buried in Novodevichii are V. L. Komarov, S. I. Vavilov, V. I. Vernad-skii, V. A. Obruchev, N. N. Burdenko, A. E. Fersman, A. N. Bakh, N. D. Zelinskii, O. Iu. Shmidt, and A. N. Tupolev.

In the 1930’s, Novodevichii received from other Moscow cemeteries the remains of and memorials to the writers S. T. Ak-sakov, N. V. Gogol, and A. P. Chekhov; the artists V. A. Serov and I. I. Levitan; the actress M. N. Ermolova; and the physiologist I. M. Sechenov, among others. In 1942 the remains of the Hero of the Soviet Union Z. A. Kosmodem’ianskaia were transferred to Novodevichii; and in 1959 the remains of the Heroes of the Soviet Union L. M. Dovator, I. V. Panfilov, and V. V. Talalikhin. In 1960 the remains of S. P. Suprun, twice decorated as a Hero of the Soviet Union, were reburied there. In 1966 the remains of N. P. Ogarev were brought to Novodevichii from England.

Many graves at Novodevichii have artistic memorials done by Soviet sculptors, including N. A. Andreev, M. K. Anikushin, E. V. Vuchetich, L. E. Kerbel’, S. T. Konenkov, S. D. Merkurov, V. I. Mukhina, N. V. Tomskii, and I. D. Shadr.


Antipin, G. G. Moskovskoe Novodevich’e kladbishche: Khudozhestvennye nadgrobiia, 1914–1969. Moscow, 1970.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.