August 2022
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Ukrainian for beginners

Russian Chernivtsi

The history of Russian community of Chernivtsi occupies the shortest time if compared with histories of other communities. The first Russian settlers appeared on the territory of Chernivtsi oblast only at the end of the 18th century, while in Chernivtsi city they settled even one century later. Nevertheless, close historical connection between Russia and Bukovyna/North Bessarabia has left a few interesting monuments in the city with which our itinerary is starting.
The Orthodox monastery Saint George’s Church (another name Assumption of Virgin Mary Church) in the suburb Horecha (1765-67) is a most ancient historic monument of Chernivtsi, which has been connected with two Russian emperors by the historical tradition. Russian empress Catherine II made a donation for construction of Saint George’s Church, and the description of emperor’s Alexander I visit to this church in 1823 became one of the most favourite Chernivtsi narratives.
Emperor Alexander I resided in so called «General’s House» in Sholem Aleichem St #2. It was the first stone house in Chernivtsi, constructed in 1780 by order of Austrian military governor of Bukovyna Major-General Karl baron von Enzenberg.
And a short time previously, in 1771, by order of Russian military governor of Bukovyna general field marshal count Peter Vorontsov, another baron Peter Nikolaus Neugarten von Gartenberg-Sadogursky established a mint for mintage of Russian coppers in Sadagura (nowadays Sadgora is a part of Chernivtsi). These coins were used by Russian army in its payments with the inhabitants of the occupied principalities of Moldova and Valachia.
The Vice-Consulate of Russian empire was established in Chernivtsi in 1868, 25 years before the opening of a similar Vice-Consulate in Lviv. The following year it was became a Consulate and operated in such status until the breaking of World War I in 1914. Russian consuls in Chernivtsi – A. Nazimov, D. Kira-Dinzhan, M. Ladyzhenski, S. Goryainov, P. Vigel-Panchulidzev and A. Dolivo-Dobrovolski – promoted the moskvophile (Russophile) movement in Bukovyna and provided financial support to those politicians, who constrained Bukovynians to adopt Russian national identity. During its long history the Russian Consulate in Chernivtsi was situated in different buildings. At the end of the 19th century it occupied the house in June 28 St #60 decorated with extremely interesting bas-reliefs, and later it moved to a respectable house in Kobylyans’ka St #34а.
The most known leaders of moskvophile movement in Bukovyna were the representatives of the Gerovski family – a lawyer and former deputy of Austrian Parliament Yulian Gerovski and his two sons Alexey and Georgiy. Russian public organizations such as «Russian club», student society «Karpat» were situated in Gerovski’s house in Sheptyts’kyj St #1. In contrast to Ukrainian National House by the efforts of moskvophile politicians and due to the financial support of Russian government the «Russian-People House» was constructed in Sadova St #6. The Russian Boarding School – a hostel for the pupils whose parents considered them to be Russians – worked here until the World War I. The most prominent manager of this institution was the University professor Yevgen Kozak; another prominent representative of moskvophile movement in Bukovyna was a priest Kassian Bohatyrets’, law and theology doctor. The «Great Russian» National House was closed down by Soviet power in summer 1940 as well as all other National Houses of Chernivtsi were.
Russian old believers (Lippovans), who had escaped from cruel persecution of Russian government, settled in Bukovyna at the end of the 18th century. Thanks to the support of their coreligionists in Russian empire they established an ecclesiastical centre of their confession in the village Bila Krynytsya, where the majestic Assumption Cathedral (1900-1908) and other churches were constructed. The Chernivtsi Lippovans occupied themselves with gardening, commerce and sausage-making; they resided mostly in the suburbs Monastyryshche and Rosha. In total there were 84 Lippovans residing in Chernivtsi in 1910.
The Lippovans monastery was the owner of so called «Lippovans House» in Holovna St #50, which was purchased in 1898. Yevstratiy Lazarev was the housekeeper of this property; he established the Lippovans chapel in Chernivtsi in his own house in Kosmodemyanska St #26. Russian Lippovans’ community in Chernivtsi was destroyed in the Soviet times and restored its activity already in the independent Ukrainian state. The new Lippovans Nativity of Christ Church was constructed in Koshovyj St #40 a few years ago.
Another architectural model in a traditional Russian style, the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Bukovyns’ka St #10 was constructed almost at the same time. It is situated in the centre of the monastery that belongs to Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchy.
The activity of many Russian religious figures, who confessed Catholicism, is connected with Chernivtsi. For example, the nephew of a famous Russian writer Lev Tolstoy Nikolai Tolstoy, a prominent figure of Russian Catholicism, recited the liturgy in Greek Catholic Assumption Church in November 28, 1897. Former rector of «Collegium Russicum» in Rome and future martyr of concentration camps in Soviet Russia, Jesuit missionary and bi-ritualist Vendelin Javorka served as a priest in the same Greek Catholic Assumption Church in 1941-1946.
A lot of Russian historical figures resided in Chernivtsi during the World War I. We should mention among them a famous writer Mikhail Bulgakov, who was operating on the wounded Russian soldiers in the Oblast Hospital in Holovna St #131 as an army surgeon. Russian military administrators of Bukovyna generals Yevreyimov and F. Trepov resided in so called «Governor’s House» in Ukrainian St #37, where already in the Soviet times a famous philologist, professor Roman Volkov resided.
Destiny of many Russian scientists who worked at the local University after 1940 was connected with Chernivtsi. A prominent scientist-geneticist Nikolai Vavilov resided in the University hostel in Vavilov St #9; in front of this hostel he was arrested on August 6, 1940 and soon disappeared into Stalin’s prisons forever. The most outstanding egyptolog of Ukraine Yevgeniy Cherezov resided in the house in Darwin St #4. The prominent philologists, professor Nikolai Gulya and docent Olga Gulya, resided in the house in Kotsyubyns’kyj St #7.
The buildings of Chernivtsi Academical Theatre named after О.Kobylyans’ka on the Theatre Sq #1 and Philharmonic Society on the Philharmonic Sq were closely related with Russian culture. Many famous Russian theatre companies performed their places on the stage of this theatre, and many Russian actors and producers worked as members of Chernivtsi theatre troupe. The hall of Philharmonic Society may be proud of the fact that the world famous Russian singers (Fyodor Shalyapin), pianists (Svyatoslav Richter) and violinists (David Oystrakh) appeared on its stage.

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