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07 October 2022 – 08 January 2023

Exhibition Hall of the Patriarch's Palace

Organized by:
The Moscow Kremlin Museums, Russian State Documentary Film and Photo Archive, Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History
Participants:

The Moscow Kremlin Museums, Foreign Policy Archive of the Russian Federation, State Tretiakov Gallery, State Historical Museum, State Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia, Russian State Library, Russian State Documentary Film and Photo Archive, Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History

Member of the Revolutionary War Council S.M. Budyonny and the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the USSR G.V. Chicherin in one of the Grand Kremlin Palace halls

The exhibition, marking two important anniversaries – the 100th Anniversary of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the 150th Anniversary of the brilliant diplomat, the first People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the USSR, Georgy Vasilievich Chicherin – brings together over eighty unique objects, most of which are presented to the public for the first time. The central place in the display is given to historical rarities from the collection of Moscow Kremlin Museums – the Red Army uniforms and presents from foreign delegations, which belonged to the legendary commissar identified as such as a result of recent research. Memorial items, as well as documents and photographs provided by the leading Russian archives, phaleristics artifacts, remarkable samples of agitation porcelain with revolutionary slogans, paintings, graphics and artistic metal from the Russian museum collections, tell about the life and work of G.V. Chicherin and about the turbulent and controversial era in which he was entrusted to be the leader of the Soviet Foreign Office.

On the 100th Anniversary of the USSR, it is worth remembering that G.V. Chicherin, who was a consistent advocate of the centralized model of foreign policy management, played a significant role in establishing the all-union People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs. The letter of 1923 signed by Stalin – presented at the exhibition – makes a point of the direct and active participation of G.V. Chicherin in "working out" the first USSR Constitution as well.

It is for the first time when the Moscow Kremlin Museums will show sets of uniforms of 1922-1924 model belonging to G.V. Chicherin: two soldier blouses, galifé pants and a greatcoat with sew-on buckle strips on chest. The great value of these items is due both to their commemorative significance and almost perfect condition, for only a few genuine examples of the Red Army uniform of the early 1920s have survived to this day. During official receptions in the Kremlin, the military uniform became a worthy alternative to the tails, tuxedo and top hat, which were stipulated by the norms of international protocol, but in Soviet Russia were associated with a hostile "bourgeoisie".

Another indispensable attribute without which contemporaries could hardly imagine the Commissar was his briefcase for documents. Visitors will be the first to see G.V. Chicherin's black calico briefcase, which dates back to the pre-revolutionary period when the future Commissar lived in exile in Western Europe. We can assume that in 1922, in a similar briefcase, the head of the Soviet delegation brought the text of the keynote speech to the Genoa Conference, which he read in French and English in the hall of the Palazzo San Giorgio and which made a deep impression on the participants of the international forum. It was the first time the representative of the new Soviet government, addressing the global political elites, put forward the principle of peaceful coexistence and mutually beneficial economic cooperation between states with different social systems and declared the need for an overall reduction of armaments. One of the items on display is the draft of G.V. Chicherin's speech in Russian, along with photographs taken during the Soviet diplomats' trip to Genoa.

As a joke Georgy Vasilievich Chicherin was referred to as "the head of the Orient faction in the People's Commissariat". The new foreign policy of the Soviet country indeed reckoned for active diplomatic relations with its Asian neighbours. In this connection, a special place is given to the group of oriental garments presented to G. V. Chicherin by the Asian delegations. Those gifts included a Bukhara robe, which the head of the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs wore during the official reception given for the delegation from Bukhara in 1924, and a Mongolian national robe, which replenished the Commissar's closet after he signed the agreement with the Mongolian People's Republic in 1921. In these fanciful oriental robes G.V. Chicherin appears on the photographs and rare documentary footage which are also on display.

In the first post-revolutionary years, G.V. Chicherin succeeded in virtually re-forming the office of the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs and introduced into its activities both – the rich diplomatic experience of the past and new principles and approaches aimed at ensuring the security of the Soviet Union and protecting its interests. It is indicative that the basic goals and guidelines of the Foreign Office, formulated by G. V. Chicherin in the Regulations on the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs of the USSR dated 12 November 1923, remained relevant throughout the existence of the Soviet Union, being replaced by the Regulations on the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs only at the very end of the 20th century.

 

EXHIBITION HALLS

Exhibition halls

 

Sponsor of the exhibition
Логотип Промсвязьбанка

With the support of

 

Lukoil

 
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