A Capital Move

The Fourth All-Russian Congress of Soviets also ratified the move of the Russian capital to Moscow.  Petrograd had been the scene of the start of the October Revolution, but its position on the edge of Russian territory made it vulnerable to foreign intervention.  Moscow, where serious street fighting had broken out after October, became the overall safer bet.

The postcard on display is of the German Embassy in Petrograd (note that the postcard’s caption name of the city was altered to reflect the WW1-era renaming of the city to a less Germanic variant of St Petersburg), an enormous building near St Isaac’s Cathedral.  The building was attacked after the outbreak of war, with the enormous statues above its front facade among the architectural casualties.  It would remain in German ownership, becoming the new consulate to Moscow’s new embassy, from 1922 until 1939.

Most Entente foreign missions had already left Petrograd in February because of the perceived threat of German invasion, with the regional city of Vologda chosen as an initial safe haven.  The challenges for all diplomats would intensify as the year continued.  March 1918 also saw the landing of British forces in Archangel; having disentangled itself from the World War, Russia would now face increasing foreign intervention in its own, growing civil war.

Germanskoe posol’stvo (1910s?) Cooke.Postcards