Your Own Belgrade. The White Emigration in Serbia in the Wake of the Russian Revolution

Life of Russian anti-bolshevik refugees in Serbia
After the Bolshevik revolution, between 1 to 2 million people left Russia over three years. Up to a hundred thousand ended up in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. This influx of people certainly wasn't trivial for a country of this size. Russian emigration certainly left a very notable mark in the capital city of Belgrade. Was it a good or bad mark? Let's walk around, observe and figure it out for ourselves.

Why did so many Russian emigrants settle here? What are Nansen passports and why are they being mentioned again today? How did the Kingdom dare to do what even stronger countries never would - to host a fully-trained and even partially-weaponised army of another country? Let's find out! And while we do, let's try to solve a challenging question - how would you organise such an army in exile in a way that it would not:
  • overthrow anyone,
  • conquer parts of the country,
  • or starve to death

But, above all else, we will be talking about people. People of different political and social backgrounds, education, and age. Together, we will try to view Belgrade through the eyes of people who were forced to leave their homeland and found themselves in a completely foreign country. What surprised them? How did they earn a living? How did they entertain themselves, how did they dress, what did they eat and drink? What did they argue with each other about? Why did they have conflicts with locals? And how did each individual answer an impossible moral question on the eve of the Second World War: who was worse - the Nazis or the Communists? Of course, we will also examine all this from the other perspective - through the eyes of the locals. Finally, we will find out why Russian emigrants disappeared from Serbia and when this happened.

Type of tour:

On a day convenient for you
At a time convenient for you
3 hours
€220 for a group of 1-4 people

(for a larger group €55 per each additional participant)

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This tour takes you through Belgrade's most beautiful sites. We will meet you at St. Mark's Cathedral. From there, we will walk to the Russian church where Baron Wrangel is buried. While walking through a picturesque, formerly royal park, we will look for a "Russian footprint" in the city's architecture: we will see the Serbian Parliament and the buildings of the post office, the General Staff and ministries. We will talk about the contribution of Russian architects to Belgrade's current appearance and why this is not acknowledged quite so straightforwardly. We will pass by the Royal Palaces and the monument to Nicholas II. And this is a wonderful opportunity to talk about the special relationship between these two dynasties.

We'll take a walk down a street that used to be filled with craft workshops and is now taken over by designers. In the luxurious interiors of the "Moskva" Hotel, we'll have a coffee and try the "Moskva" and "Aurora" cakes, prepared according to a half-century-old recipe. And while we're there, why not take a peek at Belgrade's beau monde?!

We will walk to the National Theatre, where Russian ballerinas performed and scenic designers, choreographers, and directors worked. We will learn about "street songs" and find out who is worth remembering with kind words whenever you hear a choir singing in Serbia. We will see Belgrade University and the Academy of Sciences and Arts, and we will talk about the fate of emigrant scientists. We will visit the Gavrilo Princip square and talk about the role of the First World War and this incident's role in world history. And, of course, we will visit many places that Russian emigrants would visit a century ago. Places that still stand today and are open for us to visit!

This is a very informative tour. But we will definitely find time to have fun, eat delicious food and have a good laugh because you can't visit Serbia without all that. That's what makes it such a wonderful country! Join us!
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Photos by Anastasia Afonina, Diana Tamarova, Sergey Rozanov, Olga Tolstova, Oleksander Vladimirov, Maria Kuzmicheva, Irina Miftakhova, Yulia Bogdanova, Mihael Zholubovskiy, Irina Novichkova, Anna Dyerjabina, Elias Ouaghrib Fosset.

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