MOSCOW, October 8 – Novosti, Tatyana Ryzhkova. The exhibition “To the 100th Anniversary of the Formation of the USSR: Chicherin and Soviet Diplomacy” has opened at the Patriarchal Palace of the Moscow Kremlin Museums. How the hero of the exposition made the whole world reckon with the Soviet Union, what the Japanese thought about him and why the people’s commissar needed so many dressing gowns – in the material of Novosti.
The main thing is that the suit sits
A black formal suit, dress shoes, a tie, a white shirt, and maybe a badge with Lenin’s profile – this is what a Soviet diplomat should have looked like.
But the legendary Bolshevik, People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs Georgy Chicherin wore Russian tunics, Japanese haori, and embroidered skullcaps. And dressing gowns – bright, colorful, golden, made of silk and brocade. Of course, he did not always wear them, but at meetings with ambassadors – he believed that it was necessary to communicate with representatives of other powers in their language, with attention to the cultural code. The result was treaties of friendship – for example, in the winter of 1921 with Persia.
Lamp with an incandescent filament in the form of a silhouette of V. I. Lenin
Junior researcher of the scientific and storage department “Armory” Ekaterina Bulgakova at the exhibits
Ambassadors gave him costumes as a token of affection. Bukhara presented a yellow-violet robe and a skullcap with the inscription “Al-Fattah” – one of the names of Allah. Japanese industrialist and diplomat Kuhara Fusanosuke presented a black haori with his family coat of arms. He spoke of Chicherin as a man who “goes forward, but he cannot be caught,” emphasizing how caution and benevolence were mixed in the Bolshevik’s personality.
Haori for men at the exhibition “To the 100th Anniversary of the Formation of the USSR: Chicherin and Soviet Diplomacy”
Behind every suit in the exhibition are stories about the victories of the Soviet Union, won not by blood, but by word. One of the brightest exhibits is “hovontey deel”, the national winter clothes of the Mongols made of golden Chinese silk and sparkling satin with oriental patterns. The most interesting – oddly enough, the tunic of the Red Army.
“There is a myth that artists Kustodiev and Vasnetsov developed the uniform with “talk” clasps and this is a legacy of the tsarist regime,” says Maria Sarycheva, a researcher at the Armory Department of the Kremlin Museums. In fact, the author of the “bogatyr” budenovka and the tunic is Mikhail Ezuchevsky, who returned from Austrian captivity after the First World War.
Waiting for “peasants in bast shoes”
Of course, the secret of the success of the People’s Commissar’s diplomacy was not only in his wardrobe.
“Chicherin was considered the most highly educated member of the Soviet government,” says Ekaterina Bulgakova, junior researcher at the Armory Department. “He knew more than ten languages, Western and Eastern, studied hieroglyphs and cuneiform. relations.”
The People’s Commissar won his main victory at the Genoa Conference in 1922.
A visitor at the exhibition “To the 100th Anniversary of the Formation of the USSR: Chicherin and Soviet Diplomacy” in the Moscow Kremlin Museum
“The Europeans were waiting for almost peasants in bast shoes,” notes Sarycheva. “And suddenly a brilliantly dressed delegation arrived, the head of which spoke all languages.”
Chicherin’s speech for Genoa was prepared only in Russian, and he immediately translated it into French. Noticing that British Prime Minister Lloyd George did not have time to follow his words, he repeated the speech in English – and made a splash. Subsequently, George, skeptical of the Bolsheviks, himself sought a meeting with Chicherin.
According to Sarycheva, the Europeans invited a delegation of the Soviets to Italy to make material claims – the Bolshevik government refused to be responsible for the debts of the Russian Empire. Western sovereigns threatened not to recognize the young state, which would lead to its isolation.
“The European countries wanted to overcome the post-war devastation at the expense of Soviet Russia,” adds Maria Sarycheva. “But they failed.”
Chicherin put forward counterclaims, each of which had documentary evidence. When they calculated all the losses from the intervention, it turned out that Europe owes Russia twice as much. In addition, in Italy, the Soviets signed a cooperation agreement with Germany, the so-called Peace of Rapallo. Georgy Vasilyevich later called it “an ideal treaty between countries.”
“The combination of Russian resources and German industry is a nightmare for the West,” Sarycheva explains. “Therefore, already in 1923-1924, they began to recognize the Soviet Union.”
Peace instead of fire
The exhibition shows Chicherin from unexpected angles. He played the piano and composed music himself, had a phenomenal memory. Mozart was his childhood idol.
The slogan of the exhibition is the words of Georgy Vasilievich himself. He wrote to his brother: “I had a revolution and Mozart. The revolution is my past, and Mozart is a foretaste of the future.” Much later, in his declining years, Chicherin published a monograph about the composer, which was a success.
A stand with exhibits and a slogan at the exhibition “To the 100th Anniversary of the Formation of the USSR: Chicherin and Soviet Diplomacy”
Love for the Viennese genius is not surprising. Just as Mozart was an innovator in art, so Chicherin was a revolutionary even among revolutionaries – instead of promoting “world fire” he insisted on “peaceful coexistence”. Lenin caustically called it “peaceful cohabitation.”
“The People’s Commissar was the first to pay attention to cultural exchange,” notes Maria Sarycheva. “He demanded that Soviet musicians go abroad and foreign performers visit Moscow. This is another form of rapprochement between countries.”
As relevant as ever
Today, Georgy Chicherin is important as an inspirer, and his works as a valuable experience. He developed an original, unparalleled diplomacy so that the USSR would strengthen itself on the world stage. Chicherin relied on the writings of Prince Alexander Gorchakov, who pulled the Russian Empire out of crisis in the 19th century. Their fates prove that any difficulties can be overcome.
A visitor takes pictures at the exhibition “To the 100th Anniversary of the Formation of the USSR: Chicherin and Soviet Diplomacy”
“The exhibition was conceived by us a long time ago,” says Ekaterina Bulgakova. “We started planning two years ago. But due to the changed foreign policy situation, it has become much more relevant.”
The exposition was supposed to be small – for four showcases in the lobby of the Kremlin Armory.
“But we expanded, invited other museums. It’s not about oriental robes, but about the era in which he had to work, build relationships between East and West,” Bulgakova emphasizes.
There are also a lot of items here: a silver cigarette case with Red Square on the lid, Dulevo porcelain, photographs and videos, badges and paintings from the Red Army parade. And red and white chess from Mikhail Kalinin’s office.
“Diplomacy is often compared to a game of chess,” Bulgakova adds. “We thought it was a good symbol for Chicherin.”
And finally, a cartoon from the Red Pepper magazine depicting Chicherin in the form of Peter I. They are really similar – both achieved wide international recognition for Russia, both were phenomenally hardworking and devoted to their homeland.