Where the executed Decembrists are buried

On December 14, 1825, something incredible happened in St. Petersburg - an attempted coup d'état. Moreover, most of the rebels consisted not of peasants and Cossacks, as it was before, but of officers - representatives of noble families. The uprising was suppressed within a few hours, and three days later the new emperor Nicholas I established a Commission to investigate malicious societies.

In the summer of 1826, the Supreme Criminal Court issued a decision - five participants in the riot were sentenced to quartering, another 31 - to beheading. Soon, Nicholas the First showed his royal mercy - to replace quartering with hanging, and send the rest of the active participants to hard labor in Siberia or to the Caucasus as privates in the army.

The execution took place on July 13, 1826 in the courtyard of the Peter and Paul Fortress. On this day, Kondraty Ryleev, Pyotr Kakhovsky, Pavel Pestel, Sergei Muravyov-Apostol and Mikhail Bestuzhev-Ryumin were hanged. All of the above facts are generally known, you can learn about them from any school history textbook. There are much more questions about where the executed were buried.

Interestingly, no one can answer this question for sure, although most sources point to the Golodai Island, which in Soviet times was called the Decembrists Island. In the 18th century, the site on the island was owned by Thomas Golliday, after whom the island was named. True, the Russian people were more accustomed to calling him in their own way - Hunger.

By the order of the emperor, the grave of the Decembrists should not be marked in any way, so as not to arouse unnecessary curiosity. Some, however, argued that the exact burial place was known by Ryleev's widow, who often came to her husband's grave.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, a grandiose construction was launched on Golodai - it was planned to build a whole residential area called New Petersburg here. During the excavation work, the builders found an oak coffin, and then a whole company of soldiers was sent here to excavate, who found 4 more coffins. Hasty conclusions were made - the grave of the Decembrists was discovered!

Soon, a revolution broke out, then the Civil War, therefore, the study of the found burial was closely tackled only in 1925, when the Soviet Union was preparing for a significant date - the 100th anniversary of the uprising on Senate Square. It was concluded that the likelihood that this is, in fact, the grave of the Decembrists is practically zero. For example, the fact that the buried were in military uniforms was already in doubt, so they simply could not bury state criminals.

Nevertheless, in 1939 an obelisk was erected on the island with the inscription “Here on July 14/26 the Decembrists Pestel, Ryleev, Bestuzhev-Ryumin, Muravyov-Apostol, Kakhovsky were buried”.

This is what the official, but far from the only, version looks like about where the Decembrists could be buried after the execution. There is an assumption that the burial place is Petrovsky Island, on the territory where the Almaz shipbuilding company is now located. This version was stubbornly defended by Anna Akhmatova.

But there is one more assumption, which, however, did not receive any documentary evidence: Nikolai the First, in an effort to completely erase the memory of the Decembrists, ordered the bodies to be sewn into a bag and thrown from the ship into the waters of the Gulf of Finland.