“Lenin, whom the Congress has not yet seen, is given the floor for a report on peace. His appearance in the tribune evokes a tumultuous greeting. The trench delegates gaze with all their eyes at this mysterious being whom they had been taught to hate and whom they have learned without seeing him to love. Now Lenin, gripping the edges of the reading-stand, let little winking eyes travel over the crowd as he stood there waiting, apparently oblivious to the long-rolling ovation, which lasted several minutes. When it finished, he said simply, ‘We shall now proceed to construct the socialist order.’” – Leon Trotsky, “The History of the Russian Revolution”
A dramatic painting of Lenin speaking to soldiers and workers in Smolny’s Grand Hall.
The Smolny Institute was definitely one of my favorite excursions. The Smolny Institute was a prestigious school for noble girls…they learned to sew and cook and use the right forks at the dinner table here. That’s not why it’s interesting, though. In 1917, the Petrograd Soviet, led by Trotsky and dominated by the Bolsheviks, established its headquarters here. It was from here that the Bolsheviks organized the coup of October 1917 that brought about the Revolution. Lenin lived and worked here until March 1918, when the government moved to Moscow. It remained the Leningrad Party Headquarters until 1991. It is now the office of the St. Petersburg mayor. This place was really awesome…we saw Lenin’s bedroom, his office, and the grand hall where he made numerous speeches. The Lenin museum in the Smolny Institute is also one of the few remaining Lenin museums in St. Pete. Most Lenin museums were closed during the wave of anti-communism that followed the breakup of the Soviet Union.
The Lenin statue outside of Smolny.
Myself with Lenin’s desk (Stalin also used it, too). I wanted to sit in the chair but there were several large Russian guards that wouldn’t have appreciated that.
A closeup of Lenin and Stalin’s desk.
A huge portrait of Lenin that hangs in the grand hall.
Myself, Will, and Kate with the Lenin portrait. Kate accidentaly hit her elbow against it and was afraid she had damaged it a little, but no harm done…and whatever, it’s not like they worship the guy anymore.
Myself pretending to be Lenin.
The grand hall.