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.

CLICK HERE TO MAKE A DONATION

Thank you for your consideration

© Paul Gilbert. 4 April 2022

THOSE WHO SERVED THE TSAR: Prince Vladimir Nikolayevich Orlov (1868-1927)

PHOTO: Emperor Nicholas II and Prince Vladimir Orlov

This is the first in a series of biographical essays about the men who served Emperor Nicholas II between 1894 to 1917, researched primarily from Russian sources by Independent Researcher Paul Gilbert

Prince Vladimir Nikolayevich Orlov was born in Brussels, Belgium on 13th January 1869 (O.S. 31st December 1868). He was one of two sons born to Prince Nikolai Alekseevich Orlov (1827-1885) and Princess Ekaterina Nikolaevna Trubetskaya (1840-1875). Vladimir had one brother Prince Alexei Nikolaevich Orlov (1867-1916),

Vladimir’s father served as adjutant general, cavalry general, and diplomat in Brussels, Paris and Berlin, as well as a military writer. His great grandfather was Count Fyodor Grigorievich Orlov (1741-1796), who along with his brothers Counts Alexis and Grigory Orlov, took part in a coup which placed Catherine the Great on the Russian throne in 1762.

In 1887 Vladimir entered the junior special class of the Corps of Pages in St. Petersburg, from which he graduated in 1889 as a cornet in the Life Guards Horse Regiment. He held numerous distinguished ranks during his life, including Lieutenant (1893), Staff Captain (1899), Captain (1901), Colonel (1904), Major-General (1909, enrolled in the suite), and Lieutenant-General (1915).

In 1900 Orlov participated in the Summer Olympics held in Paris, competing in equestrian sports: the four-in-hand competition which is a carriage driven by four horses, with the reins arranged so that one driver can control all four horses. Very little is known of the 1900 event, which had at least 28 carriages entered. The title was won by Belgian Georges Nagelmackers.

PHOTO: Emperor Nicholas II and Prince Vladimir Orlov

On 7th January 1901, he was appointed Assistant Chief, and he received his first post as Adjutant, thanks to the patronage of the Minister of the Imperial Court Baron Vladimir Borisovich Fredericks (1838-1927). It was on this date, that he entered the close circle of the emperor and empress. The prince recalls in his diary as follows: “Wjile on duty, I often dined and had breakfast with the sovereign; at first it was very difficult for me, because I was terribly shy, but then little by little it began to pass”.

Orlov, who bore the nickname “Fat Orlov,” was an exceedingly rich man. He was a highly cultivated man, sarcastic, with a dry humour, and enjoyed great social prestige. He was “a witty and charming man with a great knowledge of the world, he was a typical representative of aristocratic culture and, in addition to his native language [Russian], he spoke English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Serbian.”

For many years he was one of the most trusted people of Nicholas II. With no thought whatever for his personal career, he was devoted to the Tsar and to the cause of the Russian monarchy, devoted in the highest sense in which the word can be used.

Prince Vladimir Nikolayevich Orlov also served as one of Nicholas II’s closest advisors, and on 26th August 1906, he was appointed Chief of the Military Campaign Chancellery of His Imperial Majesty. a position he held until 1915. As the head of the military cabinet, Orlov was a keen technologist interested in military applications of the motor car. 

PHOTO: Orlov dressed as a 17th falconer for the
1903 Costume Ball in the Winter Palace

Prince Orlov married twice. His first wife Princess Olga Konstantinovna Beloselskaya-Belozerskaya (1872-1923), goddaughter of Princess E.P. Trubetskoy and Count P.P. Shuvalov, maid of honour, daughter of Prince K.E.Beloselsky-Belozersky and N. D. Skobeleva. In society, she was known as the first fashionista and the most elegant woman in St. Petersburg. In her salon, playing cards and dancing reigned. In 1917, their son Nikolai (1896-1961) married Princess of the Imperial Blood Nadezhda Petrovna (1898-1988), they had two daughters.

His second wife Countess Elizaveta Alexandrovna Luders-Weimarn (1883-1969).

It was Prince Orlov who seems to have integrated automobiles into the life of the Imperial Family. In 1904 he drove his own Delaunay-Belleville to the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo Then, as described by court official Alexander Mosolov (1854-1939), “Orlov placed his automobile at the Tsar’s disposal, and driving excursions became an almost daily diversion… After that, he never relinquished his role as chauffeur”.

“We never had a single accident on any of our excursions; of course, I was always extremely careful. I didn’t consider it appropriate for a subject to crush his Tsar,” said Orlov.

In the autumn of 1905 Nicholas himself decided to acquire some automobiles. “I can no longer impinge upon Orlov’s good will. Buy two or three cars, but let Orlov choose them. He knows better than any professional”.

As the Emperor’s collection of automobiles grew, the construction of Imperial Garages begun at Tsarskoye Selo, Peterhof, St. Petersburg (Winter Palace) and Livadia. On 18th February 1907, a fleet administration, with Prince Orlov at its head, was officially established within the Ministry of the Imperial Court.

Prince Orlov encouraged the Imperial Family’s interest in automobiles in every way he could. It was he who arranged for Tsesarevich Alexis to be presented with a small, two-seater Bébé Peugeot, which measured 2445 x 1140 mm. This little car had debuted at the Paris Auto Show in 1904.

The automobile trips became more frequent, which helped to bring Vladimir Nikolaevich closer to Nicholas II. They had long conversations, the emperor took an interest in the opinion of the prince. From that moment on, the family’s attitude toward the prince changed significantly. He became especially close. The Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna affectionately called him “Vladi”.

PHOTO: Orlov chauffeuring Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna
in a Delaunnay-Belleville, 1905

Subsequently, the role of chauffer was transferred to 25-year-old Adolphe Kégresse (1879-1943), a Frenchman with impeccable references specially assigned to this position by Orlov himself. This was done, and Orlov was entrusted with the organization of the Imperial Garage at Tsarskoye Selo.

Like many who served the Emperor, Orlov held a negative view on Rasputin. On 19th August 1915, after an unsuccessful attempt to discredit Rasputin in a newspaper, both he and Vladimir Dzhunkovsky (1865-1938), First Deputy Interior Minister, were discharged from their posts.

Upon learning of Orlov’s dismissal, the Empress Dowager Maria Feodorovna wrote to Grand Duke Andrei Vladimirovich: “This was not done by my dear boy. He is too kind to do such a thing. He loved both of them [Orlov and Dzhunkovsky] very much. No, this is her [Alexandra Feodorovna] doing. She alone is responsible.”

On 25th August 1915, Orlov was banished by the Tsar in 1915 to the Caucasus, where he served under the Viceroy Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich (1856-1929).

On 16th November 1915, Orlov was appointed assistant of civil affairs of the Viceroy in the Caucasus. On 31st March 1917, he was dismissed from service due to illness with a uniform and a pension.

PHOTO: Chateau Belfontaine in Samois-sur-Seine, where Orlov lived in exile

After the October Revolution of 1917, Orlov lived at Tchair, the Crimean estate of Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich. He followed members of the Imperial family into exile, settling in France, where he lived until the end of his days. Prince Vladimir Nikolayevich Orlov died on 29th August 1927 at his estate Chateau Belfontaine, situated near Paris. He was buried in the Samois-sur-Seine cemetery, Seine-et-Marne, Ile-de-France, France.

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Dear Reader: It is always a pleasure for me to present new articles based on my own research from Russian archival sources, as well as offering first English translations of new works from Russian media sources on my Nicholas II blog and Facebook pages. Many of these articles and topics seldom (if ever) attract the attention of the Western media. Please note that I personally translate the articles, and complement them further with additional materials, photographs, videos and links.

If you found this article interesting, then please help support my research by making a donation in US or Canadian dollars to my project The Truth About Nicholas II – please note that donations can be made by GoFundMe, PayPal, credit card, personal check or money order, or click HERE to buy one of my Nicholas II calendars – the net proceeds help fund my work. Thank you for your consideration – PG

© Paul Gilbert. 1 December 2020