Winter Palace

The Controversial Count, the railway he built, and the poem

My great-great grandfather, Count Pyotr Andreevich Kleinmichel is apparently still quite well known in Russia (one might say infamous rather than famous), despite being dead for over 150 years. He is not an ancestor I am proud of but, as the saying goes, you cannot choose your family… Pyotr Andreevich

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The Winter Palace fire and my great great grandfather

On 17 December 1837, the Winter Palace in St Petersburg, Russia, burst into flame. Almost as soon as the last embers ceased to burn, Tsar Nicholas I started to plan the rebuilding of this remarkable structure, hoping the new palace would wipe the memory of this disaster from the minds

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