September, 24 – November, 5, 2014

Front hall of the Armoury Chamber

Organized by:
the Moscow Kremlin Museums

01# Яйцо с миниатюрой на мольбертеThe exhibition, marking the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the World War I, incorporates memorial items from the Kremlin Armoury collection. Over five hundred historical relics and documents are presented at the exhibition to reveal the significance and importance of the exploit performed by Russian soldiers and officers, the gallantry displayed by many distinguished representatives of the Russian people during the World War I.

In 1917, when Saint-Petersburg (Petrograd) was under threat of attack of German troops, treasuries of the Imperial family as well as precious decorations and various order insignia from the Chapter of the Russian orders were carefully transferred to the Armoury Chamber. The collection of the Royal family was successfully rescued and preserved in 1918 during the fighting for the Kremlin and later on in 1920s-1930s, in the period of expropriation of the Kremlin treasury, when the newly formed Soviet authorities, requiring a serious financial support in foreign currency, were on the edge of selling the Tsars' treasuries for nothing.

The project introduces military insignia — orders and medals — received by Russian soldiers and officers, including those of the Order of Saint George — the highest military decoration of the Russian Empire. The exposition presents foreign decorations, some of which were awarded to Russian warriors. Most part of these artifacts was transferred to the museum in 1918 as a part of the Chapter of the Russian orders collection. Statute of the Order of Saint Olga, Equal-of-the-Apostles, is of special interest — this decoration was intended for women as an award "for the merits in the various arenas of public and community service, as well as for the deeds and works for the benefit of their neighbor."

The exposition incorporates photographs from the State Archive of the Russian Federation, which still preserve the images of Russian war heroes. Among them are the general A. Brusilov, major-general I. Kostin as well as photos of ordinary soldiers and officers, decorated with various military insignia.

A special group of the exposed relics is closely related to the history of the Royal family. Emperor Nicholas II assumed the role of commander-in-chief of the Russian armed forces in August 1915, therefore took the responsibility for the military actions of Russia in war, its victories and losses. Here you can see the famous Easter egg by Carl Faberge firm, which was presented by the Emperor to his wife — Empress Alexander Fyodorovna — for Easter 1916, and a noteworthy memorial item —  the officer cavalry broadsword, which had belonged to Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich of Russia, who was appointed Inspector general of Artillery.

Grand Duchesses of the Romanov family made a valuable contribution to the development of military medicine in Russia during the war:  the mother of Nicholas II, Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna, the president of Russia's Red Cross, and his daughters were involved in the organization of hospitals, sanitary trains and sanatoriums; they worked as medical nurses, provided financial support for various social activities, participated in public events intended for the Russian servicemen, injured during the hostilities. At the exhibition you can see decorations granted to medics and other health-care workers —the insignia of the Order of Red Cross — as well as remarkable photographs with Grand Duchesses in hospital.

As in the Soviet period the World Was I has been referred to as a tragic "Imperialist war", launched by European countries along with Russia, the project provides a unique opportunity to learn something new about this historical period, to unveil an interesting page of the Russian history.


General partner:

Лого Ингосстрах

Media partners:

Россия 24 Сити Fm