Fodor's Expert Review Russian Political History Museum
Almost as interesting as the paintings, posters, flags, and porcelain tracing the history of Russia in the 20th century is the history of this elegant art-nouveau house itself, built in 1905 by Alexander Goguen. It was the home of Mathilda Kshesinskaya, a famous ballerina and the mistress of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II, before he married Alexandra. Kshesinskaya left Russia in 1917 for Paris, where she married a longtime lover, Andrei Vladimirovich, another Romanov. One of Kshesinskaya's pupils was the great English ballerina Margot Fonteyn. The mansion served as Bolshevik committee headquarters in the months leading up to the October Revolution (an exhibit reconstructs Lenin's study from this period) and in 1957 was linked to the adjoining town house by a rather nondescript central wing and turned into the Museum of the Great October Socialist Revolution; it was given its current name in 1991.