Database Of Russian Burials In China To Be Created With Support Of Presidential Grants Fund

A round gate leading to the courtyard of the Red Fanza in Beijing. The territory of the Russian Embassy. Photo: Anton Ryazanov, participant of the RGS’s contest "The Most Beautiful Country"
A round gate leading to the courtyard of the Red Fanza in Beijing. The territory of the Russian Embassy. Photo: Anton Ryazanov, participant of the RGS’s contest "The Most Beautiful Country"

An electronic database of Russians buried in China in different historical periods will be created as part of a project of the Primorye Territory Branch of the Russian Geographical Society with the support of the Presidential Grants Fund. The information will be available on the special website "Russian Burials in China".

“Receiving this grant is a high assessment of our project by the commission. 120 years ago, the Russian-Japanese war of 1904-1905 began. And our task today is to perpetuate the memory of those heroes who gave their lives for their homeland and are buried in the land of China. I think that our team will be able to do this," said Alexey Buyakov, chairman of the Primorye Territory Branch of the Russian Geographical Society.

The main task of the project participants is to create the most informative and user-friendly platform for the accumulation, preservation, and replenishment of information about Russian graves of different historical periods in the People's Republic of China.

During the work, archives in various regions of Russia, including Moscow and St. Petersburg, metric books, reports on irretrievable losses during hostilities, publications in the press, information from private individuals (descendants of Russians buried in China) will be studied. Special attention is planned to be paid to military graves, as well as to elimination of gaps in materials on losses in the Russian-Japanese (1904-1905) and Korean (1950-1953) wars. The information about the battles in those areas where monuments on the mass graves of Russian soldiers have been preserved will be processed first.

New materials will be posted in the state information system "Memory of the People", including on the site that is being created "The Russian-Japanese War of 1904-1905".

The project participants have already completed some of the search work. In particular, representatives of the Far Eastern information and cultural center "Russians Abroad" have been studying the graves of Russians in the cities of Harbin (Huangshan Cemetery) and Port Arthur (Lüshun Cemetery) for many years. These materials will also be included in the combined database. Alexander Timofeev, who lives in Harbin, has been researching publications for the project for a long time.

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A working meeting of the project team. Photo: Primorye Territory Branch of the Russian Geographical Society
A working meeting of the project team. Photo: Primorye Territory Branch of the Russian Geographical Society

“The Russian Club activists in Harbin have been working on the study of the Russian part of the Harbin “Huangshan” cemetery since 2007: visits to the churchyard were conducted to census inscriptions on monuments, a burial plan was created, alphabetical and ordinal lists of the names of the deceased. Together with the Orthodox community of the Intercession Church, clean-up days were held. In 2011-2014, with the consent of the Chinese authorities in Harbin, 18 monuments were repaired with the financial support of indigenous Harbin residents from Australia,” said Sergei Eremin, head of the grant project.

As part of the project, an interactive map of China will be created, which will indicate all the burial sites of Russians. Russian graves and individual graves will be accompanied by precise coordinates and explanations in Russian and Chinese. Historical information will be provided for all Russian churchyards in China. A special system will provide a search for the name of a particular person. For each name, the source of information will be indicated: a link to the publication (indicating the page) or an archive (indicating the name of the archive, fund, inventory, case, and sheet). The work plans also include thematic lectures that will be held at the Pushkin Library, the Amur Region Study Society, and Vladivostok schools.

The project participants live in Vladivostok and Krasnoyarsk. Activists from Moscow and St. Petersburg are helping them. Roman Tarantul, curator of grant projects at the Primorye Territory Branch of the Russian Geographical Society, provided great assistance in applying for and receiving the grant.