04:50 GMT +324 October 2019
Listen Live
    A cat pictured in the Hermitage museum basement during the annual Hermitage Cat Day event.

    Tyumen: How Siberian Cats Saved the Hermitage State Museum in Leningrad

    © Sputnik / Igor Russak
    Get short URL
    by
    0 95
    Subscribe

    Many know Tyumen as the capital of the cold and oil-rich region in Western Siberia. But the old Siberian city has a fascinating history that involves the evacuation of the body of Vladimir Lenin from Moscow to Tyumen during World War II.

    The Tyumen Oblast was the first region in Siberia that welcomed us when we crossed the Ural Mountains. It was a significant mark, as now we were cycling through the plains of Western Siberia.

    Being the westernmost city in Siberia, it’s not surprising that Tyumen is the oldest city in eastern Russia. As I’m writing this article, the city is celebrating its 430th birthday.

    Nikolai with his dog Pastushok leaving Moscow
    © Photo : Nikolai Pavlov

    The oil-rich, well-developed city is a startling contrast between some of the depressing small towns in the Ural Region that we passed before. The offices of the biggest Russian oil and gas companies stand along the central streets of Tyumen.

    Tyumen residents are proud of the fact that during the Great Patriotic War, the body of Vladimir Lenin was moved from Moscow to Tyumen. In the summer of 1941, shortly after Nazi Germany began the invasion of the USSR, Soviet authorities decided to evacuate the body of Lenin out of the Russian capital in case the Germans took Moscow.

    At the time, however, nobody except a few high-status government officials knew about the move. Regular Soviet citizens believed that the leader of the Communist Revolution was in Moscow, enduring the hardships of war with everyone and providing moral support to his fellow Soviet citizens.

    The body was brought to Tyumen on a secret train, guarded by armed members of the Soviet secret police, and stored in one of the city’s agricultural institutes. Only when the war ended in 1945 was Lenin’s body returned back to Moscow. The fact that the body of Lenin spent four years in Tyumen only became known to the general public years after.

    Tyumen also helped out the residents of St. Petersburg, then Leningrad, during World War II. When Leningrad was under the blockade, the population of rats in the Hermitage Museum increased to the point that the rodents became a danger to museum collections.

    To battle the rat invasion in the Hermitage, Tyumen residents gathered 230 cats and sent them to Leningrad. After the cat army from Tyumen landed in Leningrad, the problem with rats quickly disappeared.

    When the residents of Tyumen leave the city, many of them make sure to throw a few coins into the monument of the Rose of the Winds on the Tsvetnoy Bulvar. It is believed that the ritual brings good luck and safe travels.

    Considering that the Siberian Tract is filled with trucks and the road is a narrow two-lane highway, I made sure to throw in a bunch of coins into the Rose of the Winds monument to make sure our travels end well.

    I wish we had more time to explore not only the city of Tyumen, but also the huge oblast in Western Siberia that encompasses the oil-rich and culturally unique autonomous territories of Yugra and Yamal. Perhaps some other time…

    Озеро Гурино _________ Gurino lake #thelong_wayhome #путешествия #путешествияпороссии #озерароссии #nature #naturegram

    Фото опубликовано Велопробег Москва-Мирный (@thelong_wayhome) Июн 24 2016 в 3:40 PDT

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

    Related:

    Nizhny Novgorod Region: The Land of Genuine Russian Hospitality
    Satka’s Drunken Mountain: Where the Russo-Bashkir Friendship Began
    Learning Through Doing: Visiting Real Sabantuy in Bashkir Republic
    The Hidden Treasures of Chelyabinsk Region: Ayskie Cliffs and Lake Turgoyak
    Tags:
    tradition, adventure, history, travel, Russia, Tyumen Region, Saint Petersburg, Tyumen
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik