The Red Route. Chinese comrades in Red Petrograd

Complicated and controversial events of 1917 were created by a lot of people of different nationalities.Among them were also Chinese students and workers, who lived then in Petrograd

The year of 1917 was very hard for Russia. The events which happened then affected not only our country, but also the course of world history. As Saint Petersburg (at that time – Petrograd) was the capital of the Empire, most of crucial moments and turning points are associated with our city.

But the revolution cannot be done overnight. A series of events led to it. As a result, by 1917 it became clear that "upper classes do not want, and people at the grassroots cannot" go on living the old way. People who believed in their ideals over the years conducted explanatory work among others, took part in rallies, organized strikes, were engaged in a political struggle. They were willing not only to go speaking from the rostrum, but even to go into exile or to the gallows.

We used to talk about the Russian Revolution, though the Empire was multinational, and representatives of various nationalities took part in its life. Hardly anyone would be surprised that Chinese people lived in Petrograd. But the fact of their participation in the political life of the Russian capital, as well as the activities of the "Union of the Chinese workers" are obscure. The route will get you acknowledged with the main places in Saint Petersburg that are important to the Chinese participants of the Russian revolution.

  • points of interest 3 ,
  • railway stations 1 ,
  • squares 1 ,
  • palaces 2 ,
  • museums 1 ,
  • parks 1
16 km, 573 m
Finlyandsky railway station

Finlyandsky railway station

St.Petersburg, Ploschad Lenina, 6

The majestic building of the Finland Railway Station. It is crowned with a traditional spire-topped clock tower in Petersburg style. Its main facade erected by architects Ashastin, Baranov, Lukin in style of Functionalism completes the ensemble of Lenin Square with the famous monument to the leader of the Revolution. It was on this station in 1917 arrived Chinese workers who were employed in the construction of the Murmansk Railroad and afterwards formed the major part of Red Army international units.  

Mansion of Kschessinskaya

Mansion of Kschessinskaya

St. Petersburg, ul. Kuybisheva, 2-4

The mansion was built in 1904-1906 in Art Nouveau style, designed by A.I. von Gauguin for a prima-ballerina Mathilda Kschessinskaya. In February 1917, the building was occupied by the Petrograd Committee of the RSDLP. Afterwards here was located the Petrograd Committee of the Bolshevik Party, their military organization and a part of "Pravda" newspaper`s editorial staff. The mansion`s balcony was used as a makeshift rostrum by V. I. Lenin, when he made several appeals to his supporters. It is known that here the members of the Union of Chinese Citizens were listening to the speeches of Bolshevik leaders.

2 km, 282 m
Saint Petersburg State University

Saint Petersburg State University

St. Petersburg, Universitetskaya naberezhnaya, 7-9

A remarkable Building of the Twelve Colleges is not only an architectural landmark of the time of Peter the Great, but also the oldest classical university in Russia. Not only the subjects of the Russian Empire received an excellent education here in this University, but also the representatives from other countries. Eight Chinese students who formed in 1917 in Petrograd the Union of Chinese Citizens (Since 1918 – the Union of Chinese workers) studied in different departments of the University. Its permanent head Liu Shaozhou (Liu Zezhong) graduated from the Physics and Mathematics Department and worked as a teacher at the real school. 

3 km, 209 m
Administration of the Saint Petersburg City Government and Police

Administration of the Saint Petersburg City Government and Police

St. Petersburg, Admirateysky pr., 6

A branch of the Museum of Political History of Russia is located in the building on Gorokhovaya street. Before the revolution, in this house designed by Quarenghi were located town governor’s office. Under the Bolsheviks the house became the headquarters of the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission (VCheka), after that here was located the headquartes of the Petrograd OGPU (Unified State Political Directorate). Yesterday's Chinese workers unconditionally accepted the revolution and willingly joined the VCheka and Special Forces.

2 km, 69 m
The Field of Mars

The Field of Mars

St. Petersburg, Marsovo pole

The historic site of military parades in the first years of Soviet power became a memorial, where the burial of those who fell during the struggle for the world revolution were carried out.On September 1, 1918 funeral of M. Uritsky, chairman of the Petrograd Cheka took place at Marsovo Pole. During the funeral, a military parade was held, in which for the first time participated the Petrograd Chinese detachment and mine battalion. Both the military compounds distinguished themselves in the battles for the defense of Petrograd from Yudenich troops.

2 km, 292 m
The Garden of Friendship

The Garden of Friendship

Saint Petersburg, Liteiny prospekt, 15

The garden was opened in May, 2003  in honor of the 300-year anniversary of Saint Petersburg. It is a gift from Shanghai, sister-city of Saint Petersburg.  It is the reduced copy of the Shanghai Yu Yuan garden ("Garden of Joy"). On its territory there are “Nine dragon wall”, “Friendship Pagoda”, a little stone bridge over a small pond with fountain.  Different stones placed in the garden, according to the Chinese tradition, imitate miniature mountain ridges. Garden is decorated with the trees – small pines, willows and apple trees. 

1 km, 360 m
Loshkarev’s House

Loshkarev’s House

St. Petersburg, ul. Chaikovskogo, 22

In April 1917, a group of eight Chinese students led by a graduate of St. Petersburg State University Liu Shaozhou (Liu Zezhong) created the Union of Chinese Citizens, soon renamed the Union of Chinese Workers. The organization in the years of its existence covered 50,000 members. The headquarters of the Union was located in the building of a former Chinese Embassy that had been closed due to recall of Chinese ambassador from the Soviet Republic.

469 m
Tavrichesky Palace

Tavrichesky Palace

St. Petersburg, Shpalernaya ul., 47

A remarkable piece of classicism architecture of XVIII century, designed by I.E. Starov for Prince Potemkin Tavrichesky. The palace witnessed great events of Russian political history.  Here in this palace the State Duma had met, and later here also met the Interim Government and The All-Russian Constituent Assembly. In Soviet times the Tavrichesky Palace was used to host large meetings, congresses of the Party and the Soviets. In July 1920, in Tavrichesky Palace was held the Second Congress of the Comintern. In fact, during this congress was proclaimed the establishment of the Communist International.

Liu Shaozhou (Liu Zezhong) was a delegate from the Central Organizing Bureau of the Union of Chinese Workers; he made a speech on behalf of the Chinese workers living in Russia, and of the entire Chinese people. He also persuaded Lenin to accept the mission headed by General Zhang Silin and sent by the Chinese government. Liu Shaozhou (Liu Zezhong) participated in the acceptance of the mission, during which the Soviet Russia and China agreed to exchange diplomatic missions, in Petrograd and Moscow.

1 km, 616 m
Smolny Institute for Noble Girls

Smolny Institute for Noble Girls

St. Petersburg, Smolny St., 1

The building of the Smolny Institute, designed by Quarenghi as the first Russian school for girls that marked the beginning of female education in Russia. In this building had been located a legendary headquarters of the revolution in 1917, which served as the residence of Bolshevik government and personally of V.I. Lenin, before the capital was moved to Moscow. The Bolshevik leaders did not have the personal protection, but the building of Smolny itself inside and its outside perimeter were very securely guarded. For this purpose were involved the famous Latvian Riflemen, Finnish and Lithuanian internationalists, soldiers the Petrograd Chinese detachment. It even fuelled rumors about specially trained Chinese bodyguards of Soviet leaders.

2 km, 566 m