October 15 in Russian history


By October 15, the Nazi armies came very close to Moscow. The State Committee of Defense adopted the following order:

Due to the unfavorable situation in the region of the Mozhaisk defense line, the SCoD has ordered: To authorize comrade Molotov to inform the foreign diplomatic missions that they are to evacuate to Kuibyshev. To evacuate today the Presidium of the Supreme Council and the Government (Stalin evacuates tomorrow or later, depending on the situation). To evacuate the Narkomat (ministry) of defense and Narkomat of navy immediately to Kuibyshev, and the main group of the General Staff — to Arzamas.

2-3 days later the first government trains began to arrive to Kuibyshev. The chairman of the Supreme Council M. Kalinin and a member of SCoD K. Voroshilov were among the first evacuees. On October 20, the first foreign diplomats arrived. The diplomats were accompanied by 400 officers of NKGB (Narkomat of State Security). A group of Soviet military commanders, accused of a plot against Stalin, also arrived in one carriage of the same train. They were executed in Kuibyshev on October 28.

There was not enough buildings in Kuibyshev for all evacuated government institutions, and some of them were sent to Syzran and Ulyanovsk.

On October 22, the deputy head of Sovinformbureau (the Soviet information bureau) S. Lozovsky held the first press-conference for the foreign journalists. He said: "Today we resume our work in Kuibyshev. This move by no means recognizes that the defense of Moscow will be weakened. On the contrary, the organization of the defense will be even more effective.

On October 25, the general secretary of VTsSPS (the all-Union Central Council of Trade Unions) N. Shvernik met with the representatives of British trade-unions and visited the Maslennikov factory.

Kuibyshev remained the second capital of the USSR for a year and a half. The buildings where the foreign embassies were located are now marked with plaques. So, the British ministry embassy was located in a nice little palace near the embankment of Volga, where currently the Samara Palace of Children and Youth is located (on the photo).

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