Smolnyi

Smol’nyi

 

a building in Leningrad associated with historical events of the October Revolution of 1917; it formerly housed the Smol’nyi Institute for Wellborn Girls.

On Aug. 4 (17), 1917, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Petrograd soviet moved from the Tauride Palace to the Smol’nyi; the Bolshevik faction of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee was quartered in one of the rooms. The suppression of the Kornilov revolt in August was directed from the Smol’nyi. On October 7 (20), the Third Petrograd All-City Conference of the RSDLP was convened at the Smol’nyi, and on October 11 (24) the congress of Soviets of the Northern Oblasts was convened there. The Petrograd Military Revolutionary Committee was also located in the Smol’nyi.

On the evening of October 24 (November 6), V. I. Lenin arrived at the Smol’nyi to direct the armed struggle. It was there that he wrote his appeal “To the Citizens of Russia,” which the Military Revolutionary Committee addressed to the country’s population on the morning of October 25 (November 7) as an announcement that the bourgeois Provisional Government had been overthrown. At 2 : 35 P.M. of the same day, a special session of the Petrograd Soviet was convened, at which Lenin presented a report on the tasks of Soviet power. At 10:40 P.M., the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies opened in the Assembly Hall of the Smol’nyi. It proclaimed Soviet power and created the first Soviet government, headed by Lenin.

With the victory of the revolution, the Smol’nyi became the official residence of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Soviet government. Initially, room no. 67 (under the old numbering system) in the right wing of the third floor served as the office of the chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars, Lenin. In the first half of November 1917 the Council of People’s Commissars and its apparatus were moved to several adjoining rooms in the left wing of the third floor (referred to collectively as room no. 81). At first, before the former ministries were taken over, the people’s commissariats were housed in the Smol’nyi along with the Council of People’s Commissars. The Smol’nyi also housed the Central Committee of the RCP(B) and the apparatus of the central bodies of the party. Lenin lived and worked in room no. 86 on the second floor (now a memorial museum) from mid-November 1917 to Mar. 10, 1918. After the Soviet government moved to Moscow in March 1918, the Petrograd soviet and the administrative party bodies of the city and province remained in the Smol’nyi.

The Leningrad city and oblast committees of the CPSU and the Executive Committee of the Leningrad oblast soviet are now located in the Smol’nyi. The premises of the former Smol’nyi Convent are occupied by the Leningrad oblast and city committees of the All-Union Lenin Communist Youth League, the Institute of Party History attached to the oblast committee of the CPSU, and other institutions.

The Smol’nyi, along with a complex of structures, forms one of the most noteworthy architectural ensembles in the city. One of the two most important parts of the Smol’nyi ensemble is the Smol’nyi Convent—an outstanding example of the Russian baroque (1748-54, from a design by V. V. Rastrelli; the interior and the block of cells were completed in 1832–35, architect V. P. Stasov). The convent complex is dominated by the well-proportioned, magnificently decorated building of the cathedral, erected in the center of a courtyard and surrounded by a block of cells and four corner churches. Situated near the convent is the majestic and austerely proportioned building of the former Smol’nyi Institute for Wellborn Girls, an example of late classicism (1806-08, architect G. Quarenghi). In the period 1923-32, with the participation of the architects V. A. Shchuko and V. G. Gel’freikh, classicist propylaea were erected in front of the building of the former Smol’nyi Institute and a regular garden was laid out (1923-25); a monument to V. I. Lenin (1927, sculptor V. V. Kozlov) and busts of K. Marx and F. Engels (1932, sculptor S. A. Evseev) were also added (all monuments are of bronze and granite).

REFERENCES

Smol’nyi: Kratkii istoricheskii ocherk [2nd ed.]. Leningrad, 1965.
Klopov, E. V. Lenin ν Smol’nom. Moscow, 1965.
Iroshnikov, M. P. Sozdanie sovelskogo tsentral’nogo gosudarstvennogo apparata, 2nd ed. Moscow-Leningrad, 1967.
Gegello, A. I. Smol’nyi: Istoriia arkhitekturnogo ansamblia. Leningrad, 1958. [23–1860–]
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