January 18 in Russian history

1654: Pereyaslav Rada (Assembly) approved the treaty prepared by the Cossack Hetman, Bogdan Khmelnytsky, to re-unite Ukraine with Russia. In the morning the Hetman called the elders' rada (council of the leaders of Cossacks) and after their approval, the open rada assembled and confirmed the decision. The participants included representatives of all areas liberated from Polish troops, people from the town of Pereyaslav and peasants from nearby villages. The Hetman, the Cossack leaders and the people pledged their allegiance to the tsar Alexey I. The Russian government was very careful about the decision and declined the Ukrainian initiative for a number of times before finally signing the Pereyaslav Treaty on March, 14, 1654.

1825: The new building of the Bolshoi Theatre was inaugurated. The theatre was founded in 1776 and they gave performances in Znamensky theatre. In 1780, it was destroyed by a fire and a new theatre, Petrovsky, was designed by Osip Bove. In 1805, this building burnt down, too, and in 1808 the theatre moved to Arbatsky theatre built by an Italian architect Carlo Rossi. The Arbatsky theatre was destroyed when Napoleon took Moscow in 1812. In 1821, Osip Bove started the construction of the new building, designed by Alexey Mikhailov, the rector of the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. The Muscovites, impressed by the grandeur of the new building, called it Colosseum. During the first concert on January, 18, 1825, a piece by Russian composers A.Verstovsky and A.Alyabyev, "The Triumph of The Muses", was performed. In 1853, during a fire, the building was damaged, but it was restored in 1856. Now, in 2007, the building is closed for restoration works.

1926: Premiere of "Battleship Potemkin", a film by Sergei Eisenstein. The film is considered one of the most influential films. In 1958, during the World's Fair at Brussels, it was named by experts the greatest film of all time.

1943: The Soviet troops broke the blockade of Leningrad. After a week of fierce fighting, units of Leningrad and Volkhov fronts overcame the German fortifications and opened a corridor to supply the food to the dying city.

1944: Precisely one year later, on January 18, 1944, the siege was ended and the German troops were driven away from Leningrad, after 900 days-long tragedy, one of the most frightening ones in history. From 670,000 to 1,500,000 people died, mostly from starvation and exposure.

No comments: