Olga Ivanovna Ivanova (Anenkova)

Olga Anenkova[1] was 6 years old when she and her family were sent to hard labor in the village of Belsko for her father’s activities as a Decembrist. Until then, she lives with her mother and father in Petrovsky Prison. The family then settles in Turinsk and Tobolsk. She remembers and tells especially well about life and the situation in Petrovsky Prison, about her first music teachers and dear people. He presents his parents with firm and strong characters, obedient to fate, who never complain about their hard life. The upbringing they give her in the close society of the Decembrists, among whom they live – educated and brought up – develops in Olga Ivanovna a strong character, great energy, and self-control, so necessary for her in her difficult life.     

In her memoirs about the Petrovsky Prison, which she describes in detail, Olga Ivanovna tells how and when she has learned Western languages. “Of course, the situation with the prisoners is more than modest. There was nothing but beds and the simplest chairs. On the other hand, we had many books and magazines not only in Russian but also in French, German and English. They were all sent in abundance by relatives. There was no shortage of books at all, and many Decembrists later built entire libraries. Prison comrades passed on their knowledge to each other and learned so many foreign languages that they did not know until prison[2].

            Here is what she remembers about her mother (who is French): “The first who did not want to stay in Russia and decided to share their fate with their male prisoners were nine, namely: Princess Volkonskaya, Princess Trubetskaya, Naryshkina, Fonvizina, Muravyova, Davidova, Yushnevska, Baroness Rosen and Yantaltseva. Then my mother comes to Chita. She is a bride when my father is arrested and convicted, and she is French and not a Russian citizen, so she could not take advantage of the established rules that allow women to follow their interned men. She overcame many obstacles to reach my father, personally begging Emperor Nikolai Pavlovich. She told all this herself in her notes, known as “Stories of Praskovya Egorovna Anenkova” and published in the magazine “Russian Antiquity” for 1888[3].

In 1852 she marries Konstantin Ivanovich Ivanov, who at that time was the adjutant of the Omsk general – governor. The young couple settles in Omsk and begins to live quite modestly. In 1854 her husband is sent to St. Petersburg, where the young family grows with two children – Elena and Sergei. Konstantin’s unmarried sister and his brother Ivan Anenkov also come to live with them.

Olga Ivanovna dedicates herself entirely to her family because her husband’s modest salary costs her a lot of effort. ”She is extremely beautiful, but serious and strict beauty. Her calm and profound nature directs her mind to serious readings. She is waiting for the Decembrists’ cherished dream of realizing the peasants and judicial reform to come true. In St. Petersburg, she became close with Trubnikova and Cherkesova, with whom she joined the Publishing Artel. In 1854, her husband was sent to work in the Caucasus, and then in Irkutsk, where she devoted herself even more to her family and the upbringing of her children. Without pampering and embracing them, she chooses serious teachers, without considering the expenses, which her husband’s relatives do not like[4].

She dies on March 10, 1891.

[1] Очерк от Е. Гагарин, ВОСПОМИНАНИЯ ОЛЬГИ ИВАНОВНЫ ИВАНОВОЙ [ Essay by E. Gagarin, MEMORIES OF OLGA IVANOVNA IVANOVA]. https://biography.wikireading.ru/238878

[2] Ibid., https://biography.wikireading.ru/238878

[3] http://www.azlib.ru/a/annenkowa_p_e/text_0020.shtml

[4] Ibid.