Protection Of Residences Of Russian Emperors In Crimea


The paper provides a comprehensive scientific characteristic to the formation and development of protection of Crimean residences of Russian emperors – Livadia, Oreanda and Eriklik – in the 2nd half of the 19th – early 20th century. The author considers the measures taken to ensure the safety of royal persons on vacation and assesses their effectiveness. Special attention is paid to the analysis of the role of the following in the protection of individual units: Consolidated Guards Battalion (since 1907 – His Imperial Majesty Consolidated Infantry Regiment), Palace Police, His Imperial Majesty Convoy, as well as army troops. The author concludes that the specific nature of the protection of Livadia and other southern estates was due to its status as summer residences. Crimean estates were intended to live exclusively in the summer-autumn season and were not visited between long stays in the warm season. Therefore, the guard units functioned in two regimes – reinforced when the imperial family was in Livadia – and in weaker conditions the rest of the time. The transition from one regime to another was carried out in advance prior to the Emperor’s arrival to Crimea. Such a security arrangement in Livadia allowed saving money, but at the same time had a negative impact on the effectiveness of security measures, since the staff did not have adequate experience and did not know sufficiently the specifics of the security of residences near the busy resort.

Keywords: House of RomanovsPalace PoliceHis Imperial Majesty Consolidated Infantry RegimentLivadiaCrimea


The study of the history of the protection of imperial residences is a very relevant and promising field of historical research. A comprehensive scientific analysis of the system of protection of the royal palaces and their surrounding territories allows assessing the degree of protection of the imperial family from threats related to the activities of terrorist organizations. Besides, the protection profile of imperial residences makes it possible to formulate historical lessons and conclusions, which can be taken into account by modern security managers while optimizing the set of security measures to ensure security in the territory of government residences. The appeal to study the protection of imperial residences in Crimea – Livadia, Oreanda and Eriklik – is of particular importance in the context of building the security system of state villas in Crimea, which became Russian property in 2014.

Problem Statement

Full utilization of experience in protecting Crimean imperial residences is currently not possible due to extremely level of knowledge of this matter. The contradiction between the urgent need to update the results and lessons of the protection of Livadia, Oreanda and Eriklik and the almost complete absence of scientific papers on this issue is a problem that this study seeks to solve. The works of pre-revolutionary researcher Petin (1899), Soviet author Popov (1930), modern historians Palkeeva (2016) and Grigoriev and Kolokolov (2007) reflect various aspects of Crimean imperial residences. This paper summarizes, specifies and corrects the conclusions of the above-mentioned authors on the basis of the analysis of archival sources.

Research Questions

The subject of this study is the development of the security system of Livadia, Oreanda and Eriklik in the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Key attention is paid to the organizational and functional aspects of this process. Since a key audience addressed to in this study includes the organizers of the Mukhalatka guard and other state villas, the author deliberately focuses on technical aspects mainly interested to such specialists. Besides, the author seeks to identify the place and role of various components of the Imperial Guard, including military (primarily the Consolidated Guards Battalion transformed into His Imperial Majesty Infantry Regiment in 1907) and police officers – Palace Police and local general police units in the protection of Crimean residences.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to provide a comprehensive scientific characteristic of the development of protection of residences of Russian emperors in Crimea (Livadia, Oreanda, Eriklik) in the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The author seeks a detailed reconstruction of the protection system of southern residences of the House of Romanovs to the extent the preserved archival documents and existing scientific literature allow to do so. Therefore, the priority is given to the development of the security of Livadia and Oreanda in 1909–1914, which was most reflected in archival sources

Research Methods

This study involved a set of methods that make up the methodological arsenal of the classical direction in modern historical science. Thus, historical and comparative analysis allowed identifying the specifics of protection of Crimean residences and its key differences from the protection of other imperial palaces. The historical and systemic method made it possible to present the protection of Livadia not as a set of isolated activities carried out discretely by various structures, but as a holistic system built according to a clear plan. The specificity of the source base determined the address to the methods of working with archival documents, including archival heuristics.


In 1860 Alexander II purchased the Livadia estate from the heirs of Count L.C. Pototski so that the Empress Maria Alexandrovna, suffering from tuberculosis, could undergo a full course of treatment in Crimea (Slyunkova, 2016). The estate was near the Oreanda estate built under Nicholas I, which belonged to the king’s younger brother Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolaevich. After that Crimea became the “place of permanent visits of the members of the imperial family” (Shendrikova & Shautin, 2016, p. 26) thus laying the foundation for the construction of the southern residence. By 1863, the large-scale reconstruction of the large Lord’s House of Pototski, which became the Great Livadia Palace, had been completed. This was also the time when the system of its protection was developed. In August 1863, a horse platoon of His Imperial Majesty convoy was sent to Livadia, and “since then, every time during the stay of His Majesty in Livadia, a Cossack platoon was sent there with the privileged shifts of the Crimean-Tatar team” (Petin, 1899, p. 74). Along with the Cossacks, the lower ranks of the 13th Rifle Battalion (that ensured guard service at the palace) and the Simferopol gendarmerie team were involved in the protection of the southern residence. The complex of special security measures in Livadia began in 1868: a fence was erected along the perimeter of the protected area, guard booths were installed at the entrance, and an alarm system was developed. The roads leading to Livadia and the surrounding area were patrolled by the convoy’s Cossacks, and a reinforced gendarmerie outfit was sent to Yalta. The secret agency was quite active. When the imperial family left Crimea in late autumn, the guards were removed. In winter, only servants and guards were present in Livadia. In 1872–1873 Eriklik was built – the third palace and park complex in Livadia, which occupied “a place between the front core of Livadia and the famous waterfall Uchan-Su” (Slyunkova, 2019, p. 20).

In the 2nd half of the 1870s, the Cossacks remained the major protection of Crimean residences. In 1876, a platoon of the 2nd Cuban Squadron and two privileged shifts of the Crimean Tatars team were involved in guarding measures. In 1877, in the heat of the Russo-Turkish War, the protection of Livadia at night was strengthened, for which purpose “... in aid of the two troops in Livadia, a special guard was organized for the protection of palaces, consisting of those people who either served in military service or were able to handle firearms”, and the park became protected by guards (Palkeeva, 2016, p. 52). In 1878 the guard of the Livadia Palace was assigned to the Terek squadron of His Imperial Majesty convoy. During the day the Cossacks occupied 2 posts, at night the guard was increased (Grigoriev & Kolokolov, 2007). After the beginning of the national terror, the army units were appointed to assist the Cossacks. Thus, in the autumn of 1880, “during rest of Alexander II in Livadia, the residence was first protected by the troop of the Erivan Regiment, then replaced by the troop of the Kabardin Regiment. The whole period of stay of the tsar in Livadia it was guarded by the troop of the Wilen Regiment” (Murov, 2006, p. 42). After the departure of Alexander II to St. Petersburg a small guard unit consisting of several non-commissioned officers of army units and the Separate Corps of Gendarmes was left in Livadia (Popov, 1930).

Additional measures to protect Livadia were taken under the rule of Alexander III. In 1882, gendarmes were replaced by police officers (Popov, 1930). In March 1886, the police officers of the Palace Police occupied 7 posts: duty officer, on the highway between the palaces, at the middle gate to Oreanda, at the upper gate to Oreanda, on the road at the Material Yard, on the road from the Main Stable to the Palace and at the Yalta Gate (RSHA, 1893). In 1894, 8 posts of His Majesty convoy were provided in Livadia palaces, and the road to Eriklik, where the Emperor and Empress traveled daily, was protected by 3 Cossack posts. For the night, additional posts were provided to the Small Palace, where the imperial family lived, but they were soon removed due to “inability to quietly turn out reliefs on flinty ground paths” (Petin, 1899, p. 71). Shortly before his death, the Emperor acquired Oreanda that was presented to the heir of the throne by Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovitch (Slyunkova, 2018). After the death of Alexander III, the convoy carried a reinforced post service in inner chambers.

In the reign of Nicholas II, the security system of Livadia was strengthened every time on the eve of the arrival of the august family. In 1904-1908, the Emperor did not travel to Livadia. In the summer of 1909, when it became known about the planned trip of the tsar and his family to Crimea, a new scheme of protection of Livadia and Oreanda was developed: “The first guard ring was represented by the Cossacks of the Convoy, who ensured protection in the palace itself, the ranks of the Palace Police and the lower ranks of the Consolidated Regiment, guarding the entrances to Livadia Palace and the territory of the park” (Murov, 2006, p. 61). The second external ring of protection was made up of guards from the military units of the Yalta garrison – Vilenskiy and the 16th Rifle Regiments, as well as the border guard troops. Finally, the third guard ring was formed by the agents of the Tavricheskiy Guard Department and the gendarmes attached to it during the Emperor’s stay in Livadia.

The pass to the territory of Livadia and to the Palace was carried out by the ranks of the Palace Police under special instructions. The posts at the gate ensured that no outsider would enter Livadia, and the internal ones had to guarantee that “no one would enter the palace where Their Imperial Majesty stays with the august family” (Special duties of post No. 1 at Livadia Gate, 1911, p. 63). If an unknown person appeared on the territory of the estate, he should have been detained and then a town duty post or gendarmerie took the detainee to the office of the Palace Police. All gates were supposed to be set ajar, and at night they were locked. The police officers kept keys to the gate. The church gate had to be constantly locked. All members of the Romanovs dynasty travelling in cars, crews, riding and on foot were allowed to enter all gates at any time. Persons with tickets to travel through Livadia were allowed to pass through the gates indicated on the ticket. The head of the Palace Police suggested the police officers “to know all persons eligible to pass through his post by sight and by name, because he can pass a person only when he certainly and firmly knows him” (RSHA, 1916). In case of the smallest doubt, the police officer should report by phone to the head of the Palace Police or his duty assistant and expect further orders.

Unlike the order established in other residences in the late 19th century, the permit for the pass was granted exclusively by officials of the Palace Police: In case the valet of His Majesty or a footman ask a post to pass someone, the post must immediately report by phone to the head of the Palace Police, and in his absence to the duty assistant, and only after obtaining the permission for a pass they can pass those persons (RSHA, 1909). The pass lists were kept in posts. Persons who did not have certified photographic cards or certificates were passed only through the Cossack Gate.

His Imperial Majesty’s Consolidated Infantry Regiment was assigned the protection of the estate’s boundary along the Sevastopol Highway. The rest of the border was protected by the troops of the Yalta garrison. In 1911, the protection of the western border of Oreanda was entrusted to His Majesty Company, His Majesty 13th Leib-Grenadier Erivan Regiment, from which 28 posts were provided. The eastern border of Livadia was guarded by the 1st Company of the 52nd Infantry Vilenskiy Regiment of His Majesty Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich. The soldiers of this company occupied 15 posts. On the south of both estates, 8 posts were provided from the Livadian detachment of the separate border guard corps. It was suggested to the post that “the entire protection should make a living wall, through which no one should pass. The entry into protected estates was only through the gate, where the pass will depend on persons leading the internal guard” (RSHA, 1914).

There were patrols between the cordon posts. The guard on duty with rifles did not have to stand still in their places and could move along the protected frontier maintaining communication with the neighbors. It is worth noting that “the location of the patrol hidden to onlookers is always beneficial” (RSHA, 1914). At night, the guards had to stand as far away from the lights as possible in order to make themselves conspicuous. The leaders of the troops involved in the cordon was told that it was desirable to appoint the same people to each post, which could “achieve the greatest familiarity with the peculiarities of each post and therefore the best applicability to the environment” (RSHA, 1914). The observation of roads in the vicinity of Livadia and Oreanda since 1911 was entrusted to the Crimean Horse Regiment of Her Majesty the Empress Alexandra Fedorovna, which provided movable posts. In total, 169 people were involved in foot protection, 96 people were involved in horse protection. The inspection of the area of Livadia and Oreanda estates was entrusted to the companies of the Leib Guard of the Lithuanian Regiment, which searched the area with a chain starting from the Main Livadian Gate. Daily vierwer were appointed to the Cossack Gate from the 13th Leib-Grenadier Erivan Regiment and the 52nd Infantry Vilenskiy Regiment, and orderly men, which controlled a pass to the gate of the lower ranks of these troops – to the Main Livadian and Cossack Gate.

In accordance with the Instruction to the Ranks of the Guards for the Protection of His Imperial Majesty in Livadia, the guards were appointed to protect the Emperor and his family members. The special duty of guards at the posts was to prevent anyone from passing through the cordon line to Livadia and Oreanda. All those who wished to pass into the estates and who for this purpose approached the chain shall be sent to the crossing posts of His Majesty Consolidated Infantry Regiment and suspicious persons shall be detained and sent under convoy to the head of the Palace Police. In case of the attack on a guard or a breakthrough attempt the guard placed a weapon in service and turned out the guard with two short whistles. This signal was transmitted to all posts, after which each guard entered the line of his post and acted according to circumstances.

In 1912, the security system of Livadia was slightly changed. Due to the fact that part of police officers of the Palace Police had to stay in St. Petersburg, the number of posts occupied by them decreased. The Palace Police post at the Basement Gate in Oreand was removed. Therefore, the cordon of sentries of the military guard from the 16th Infantry Regiment of the Emperor Alexander III was carried out not from the Basement Gate but from Sadovye Gate. Posts No. 10 on the Main Road opposite the Main Apartment House, No. 25 at Svitov Gate and No. 26 on the Lower Pass of the Svitov House were occupied by the lower ranks of His Imperial Majesty Consolidated Infantry Regiment. Since the double posts of the Palace Police at the Main Livadian and Cossack Gates were replaced by single ones, daily guards from the regiment were assigned in aid to post officers of these gates. The protection of the border of estates along the Sevastopol Highway was assigned to His Imperial Majesty Convoy. In total, 38 posts from His Majesty Company and the 7th Company of the 16th Regiment of Emperor Alexander III were provided from parts of the Yalta garrison on the western border of Oreanda. On the eastern border of Livadia 25 posts were placed from the 1st Company of the 52nd Infantry Vilenskiy Regiment of His Majesty Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich. On the southern border, on the shore, there were 10 posts from the Livadian detachment of the 24th Border Crimean Brigade. 14 posts (7 – on Sevastopolskoye Highway from Garden Gate to Koreiz and 7 – on Nizhne-Alupkinskoye Highway from Mayaksky Gate to the Lower Miskhor) were provided from a squadron of Crimean Horse Regiment of Her Majesty the Empress Alexandra Fedorovna for the protection of roads adjoining to Livadia and Oreanda. The fifth squadron held 3 posts on the New Oreanda Highway on vineyards from the Sevastopol Highway to the Mayak Gate, 8 posts from Ai-Nikola Gate to Eriklik via Ai-Nikola Valley, at the gate leading to Eriklik, at the turn to the Livadian Farm and along the Katemeiz Highway to its connection with Bahchisaray, 3 posts from Livadia Road to Uchan Su and 2 posts from Livadia to Yalta. Yalta and the eastward area was entrusted to a consolidated platoon of the same regiment providing 5 posts.

In March 1914, 30 posts occupied by the police officers of the Palace Police were provided in the estates of Livadia and Oreanda. On posts at wickets, on bridges and roads during hours of the Emperor’s walks there were sub-guards: in Livadia – 3, in Oreanda – 4. A number of posts at Oreanda were still handled by the Cossacks of His Majesty Convoy. Finally, class ranks of the Palace Police held 31 posts in Livadia, Oreanda, on the Farm and in Eriklik in order to observe roads, footpaths and lanes, yards, structures and surrounding area. For the same purpose, the buildings in Livadia and Oreand, as well as in Eriklik and on the Farm were distributed to police inspectors of the Palace Police.


Unlike other imperial palaces, Crimean residences were not intended for the residence of the tsar and his family during the cold season and, due to the distance of Crimea from St. Petersburg, were never visited between periods of long stay. Usually the imperial family came to Livadia in late summer and stayed there until late October or early November. This gave the security measures a pronounced cyclical nature: on the eve of the arrival of the Emperor, the security system was brought to full readiness and began to operate in a reinforced mode, and after the departure of the emperor’s persons it was weakened and until the next arrival acted in a reduced form. Besides, the Emperor did not go to Crimea every year, and the security of Livadia could therefore operate for years in a weakened regime. Hence, the ranks of the guard were often poorly familiar with nuances of protecting Crimean residences and their surroundings, which created some difficulties in security measures. That is why the permit regime in Livadia the was completely transferred to the Palace Police, whose officers were generally more familiar with guarding than the lower ranks and officers of the military units involved in the security of imperial residences.


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26 October 2020

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Cite this article as:

Grebenkin, A. (2020). Protection Of Residences Of Russian Emperors In Crimea. In D. K. Bataev (Ed.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism» Dedicated to the 80th Anniversary of Turkayev Hassan Vakhitovich, vol 92. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 403-409). European Publisher.