THOSE WHO SERVED THE TSAR: Vladimir Nikolaevich Voeikov (1868-1947)

Major General Vladimir Nikolaevich Voeikov (1868-1947)

Vladimir Nikolaevich Voeikov (1868-1947) was a member of His Imperial Majesty’s Retinue, and served as Palace Commandant from 1913 to 1917. He was one of the most trusted associates of Emperor Nicholas II.

Vladimir was born in Tsarskoye Selo on 15th (O.S. 2nd) August 1868, to the family of cavalry general Nikolai Vasilievich Voeikov (1832-1898) and Princess Varvara Vladimirovna Dolgorukova (1840-1909), daughter of the Moscow Governor-General Vladimir Andreevich Dolgorukov (1810-1891).

He was educated in the Corps of Pages, after which, on 7th August 1887, he was released as a cornet in the Chevalier Guard Regiment.

In 1894, he married Eugenia Vladimirovna Frederiks (1867-1950), a maid of honour at the Russian Imperial Court (1890); and the eldest daughter of the Minister of the Imperial Court Vladimir Fredericks (1838-1927). In society, everyone called her Nina. The couple had no children.

PHOTO: Minister of the Imperial Court Vladimir Fredericks (left), with his son-in-law Vladimir Voeikov (right), Livadia 1914

Vladimir Voeikov enjoyed a successful and prestigious career, in which he received numerous promotions. In August 1891, he was appointed lieutenant, from April 1898 as headquarters captain and from May 1901 he was promoted to the rank of captain. He served as squadron commander for 5 years and 1 month, then as head of the education school for 5 years and 6 months.

From November 1905, he served as assistant commander of the Chevalier Guard Regiment, and in December 1905, he was promoted to colonel. In 1906 he was appointed adjutant wing to His Imperial Majesty.

From August 1907, Vladimir served as Commander of His Majesty’s Life Guards Hussar Regiment. In December 1909, Emperor Nicholas II promoted him to the position of major general and enrollment in His Imperial Majesty’s retinue.

Upon the birth of the Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaevich (1904-1918), Voeikov was named godfather to the Emperor’s only son and heir. In 1910 Vladimir began the construction of a summer residence for his godson, located on his estate, located in the Penza region.

PHOTO: after decades of neglect by its Soviet caretakers, Vladimir Voeikov’s unfinished palace for his godson Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaevich, today lies in ruins

The general plan of the estate initially consisted of three buildings (palace, a secondary building, and stables). The palace was designed in the style of an Italian villa, which included a park with rare trees and fountains. The palace consisted of two stories high, made in the neoclassical style, with a rotunda, surrounded by a balustrade and sloping stairs which led to the front entrance.

In 1917, the still unfinished palace was nationalized and placed at the disposal of the local Soviets, who used the building for a variety of purposes up until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The building has survived to the present day, however, it is in a terrible state of disrepair, despite the fact that the palace is recognized as a monument of history and culture of regional significance.

After the formation of the Russian Olympic Committee in 1912, Vladimir Voikov was elected its honorary chairmanm on 24th December 1913.

In 1913, Voeikov founded a mineral water bottling plant on his Kuvaka estate in the Penza region, with an annual production of 100 thousand bottles of water. The Voeikov estate was located on the territory of the modern city of Kamenka (Penza region) . During the war, Vladimir won a contract for the supply of his mineral water to the front and to hospitals.

PHOTO: in happier times, Vladimir and his wife Eugenia, wearing 17th century dress for the Costume Ball, held in February 1903, at the Winter Palace, St. Petersburg

During the February Revolution, Vladimir was arrested, kept under arrest, first in the Tauride Palace, then in the Peter and Paul Fortress in Petrograd, where he was interrogated by the Extraordinary Investigative Commission of the Provisional Government. He was subsequently released, but in the summer of 1918, under the threat of arrest by the Bolsheviks, he hid in the hospital of St. Panteleimon for the mentally ill, from where he kept in touch with his relatives.

In September 1918, having learned about the arrest of his wife, he fled to the Crimea , from where he went into exile, first to Romania, and then to Finland, where he lived at Dr. Botkin’s dacha in Terijoki (Terijoki), now Zelenogorsk. After leaving Finland, Voeikov moved to Sweden. During his years in exile, Voeikov wrote his memoirs С царем и без царя / With the Tsar and Without the Tsar [see below], published in in Helsinki in Russian in 1936.

In June 1919, during the offensive of General N. N. Yudenich on Petrograd, Vladimir’s wife Eugenia was arrested and transported to Moscow. She was held in a concentration camp in the Ivanovsky Monastery. [situated in central Moscow, inside the Boulevard Ring, to the west of Kitai-gorod]. In 1925 she received permission to leave the USSR, whereupon she moved to Finland with her father and sister. From 1939 she lived with her husband in Helsinki. In 1946 they moved to Sweden and settled in Danderyd.

Vladimir Voeikov died on 8th October 1947, and was buried in a local cemetery in the town of Djursholm, situated in the suburbs of Stockholm. Eugenia died in 1950 and was buried next to her husband. Later, their remains were reburied at the Kauniainen City Cemetery, in the same grave of Count Vladimir Fredericks – who died in 1927.

PHOTO: the proposed cover of the English translation, features this photo of Emperor Nicholas II and Vladimir Voeikov at the Stavka, the headquarters of the Russian Imperial Army, in Mogilev. 1915-1916

I am about to embark upon a major translation project: WITH THE TSAR AND WITHOUT THE TSAR by Major General Vladimir Nikolaevich Voeikov (1868-1947).

Originally published in Russian in 1936, this will be the first English translation of the sad but captivating story, about the man who, from 1913-1917, served as the last palace commandant to Emperor Nicholas II. Voeikov was the son-in-law of the Minister of the Imperial Court Vladimir Borisovich Frederiks (1838-1927). He was one of the few men at Court, who remained faithful to the Tsar.

His memoirs describe the events the February and October 1917 revolutions and their consequences for the Russian Empire and the Tsar; foreign policy intrigues and the chain of events that led to the First World War and Russia’s participation in it; Court vanity and envy; the private lives of the Tsar and his family at Peterhof, Tsarskoye Selo and Livadia; and Voeikov’s ordeals as he fled Bolshevik Russia.

Translations are very costly – this book is 330 pages – which is why I am reaching out to those who share an interest in the life and reign of Nicholas II.

Please consider making a donation to help fund the translation of Voeikov’s memoirs, a very important historical record on the life and reign of Russia’s much slandered Tsar.


Thank you for your consideration

© Paul Gilbert. 4 April 2022