An astonishment a day- 
drives your depression away...



Gold Medallists.

Alexander Ilich Ulyanov (picture alongside) (1866 - 1887) was hung for his involvement in the assassination attempt on Emperor Alexander III. The day of the assassination was to be 1 March 1887, exactly six years after the successful assassination of Alexander II. The conspirators were captured, incriminating confessions were forced out of them, they were sentenced for regicide and on the 8th of May, Alexander together with four of his co-conspirators were hung at the Shlisserburg prison. His mother, along with the family were in Simbirsk at the time. The news of the sentence reached there quickly, even posters of this information were displayed, as well as an article in the local newspaper. The whole family was in shock and the mother even contemplated suicide. Alexander was adored by his younger brother, Vladimir Ilich. 

Exactly at this time, Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov (later known as Lenin, 1870 - 1924) was taking his final exams as the Simbirsk Classical Gymnasium. These exams were exceptionally serious, they encompassed ten subjects and took place over an entire month (starting on the 5th May). 29 students sat the exams, and Lenin achieved the highest possible mark - a 5, in all of the subjects. He was the top student in the school and was to be awarded a gold medal for this achievement. 

The sister of Alexander, Olga Ilichna was also sitting exams at he women's gymnasium in Simbirsk, also with the same results and also to be awarded a medal - an important distinction  enabling her later career in the Russian Empire. Alexander Ilich had also received a gold medal at the same school just a few years previously. All of this had created a serious problem of those in power at the school, and not only those at the school. How to award the highest honor to the brother and sister of the man charged with a futile regicide? 

However, they were both awarded their medals, with the strong support of the director the Gymnasium, Fyodor Kerensky. Who by a strange historical coincidence was the father of Alexander Kerensky, with whom Lenin fought viciously. 

The reason that I write this is not to boast about the achievements of three graduates, but rather to expose something unbelievable - the liberal spirit, or inefficiency, of the Imperial rulers. Some years later, under the rule of Lenin, a much smaller offence than an attempted regicide would mean a goal and gulag for the entire family, or simply a lifetime of rotting in jail. (The photo is of Lenin in the year that he sat his exams.)

Vladimir Ilich and Olga Ilinichna Ulyanow (1871 - 1891)



(C) (selected from publications of 
 R. Antoszewski

Titirangi, Auckland, 
New Zeland

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February  2003