Anna Alexeyevna Smirnova (c.1793 - c.1871)

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About Anna Alexeyevna Smirnova

Смирно́ва, Анна Алексе́евнаSmirnova, Anna Alexeyevna

  • * c. 1793. 1788.
  • † c. 1871.

"In 1811 Nikolai married Anna Alexeevna Smirnova, a baptised Kalmyk, nineteen years younger than himself. The couple had four children, Ilya, Lenin’s father, being the youngest. Although Nikolai’s earnings were extremely modest, the family were able to acquire a two-storey house of their own, albeit in the poorest district of Astrakhan. Perhaps in keeping with his new status as a homeowner, Nikolai began to have his name entered on official documents no longer as ‘Ulyanin’, but as the more solid-sounding ‘Ulyanov’, the form subsequently used by the family." (White 2001: 14)

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The important fact is that the Smirnovs and Ulyanovs were related by marriage, for about the year 1821 Nikolay Vasilyevich Ulyanov had married Anna, the daughter of Alexey Smirnov. A census record, also found in the Astrakhan archives, records that on January 29, 1835, Nikolay Vasilyevich Ulyanov, aged seventy, living with his wife, Anna Alexeyevna Ulyanova, aged forty-five, had four children: Vasily, thirteen, Maria, twelve, Fedosiya, ten, and Ilya, three. They lived in a two-story wooden frame house at No. 9 Stenka Razin Street. The house, which was still standing in 1935, was a large one. From other records we learn that Nikolay earned a living as a tailor and that he died in poverty. The name Ulyanov (from ulei = beehive).

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"There also remains uncertainty about the identity of his [Lenin's] Astrakhan grandmother. According to some sources, she was Alexandra, whereas others have here as Anna. It cannot wholly be discontinued that she was a Russian by birth. But certainly Lenin's sister Maria was convinced that their Astakhan forebears had a Tatar ingredient in their genealogy; and Maria may have had her grandmother in mind when she referred to this. Most writer have here as a Kalmyk but it is conceivable that she was a Kirgiz." […] "Another piece of guesswork is even more peculiar. This is that Nikolai Ulyanov already shared a surname with his bride Alexandra. The suspicion has been aired that Nikolai and Alexandra were related by blood, even quite closly related. Nothing has been proven and, in the absence of documents, probably never will be. The only fair conclusion is that Lenin could not claim a wholly Russian ancestry on his father's side; indeed it is possible, but by no means certain, that he lacked Russian 'blood' on both sides of his family." (Service 2000:22-23).

"Writing in 1927, Lenin’s sister Anna recalled that when she was four years old or thereabouts, in 1868 or 1869, her parents took her and her little brother Alexander on a steamer trip down the Volga from Nizhnii Novgorod to Astrakhan, the home of her father’s relations. She remembered the small two-storey house in which her grandmother and her uncle Vasilii lived, the warm welcome they received there, and the great fuss made over Alexander and herself. The trip stood out in Anna’s memory because it was the first and last visit ever paid by the Ulyanovs to the Astrakhan branch of the family. When Anna visited Astrakhan her grandfather Nikolai Vasilevich Ulyanov (1768–1836) had been dead for over thirty years. He had started life called not Ulyanov but Ulyanin and as a serf in the village of Androsovo in the Nizhnii Novgorod province. It is possible that, while Nikolai belonged to the Orthodox faith, he might have been not a Russian but a Mordvinian or a Chuvash." (White 2001: 13)

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References

  • Service, Robert. Lenin: a biography. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-674-00828-6
  • White, James D. Lenin: The Practice and Theory of Revolution (European History in Perspective). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001. ISBN 0333721578
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