Sedova Vera Valerianovna



Wife of George Yakovlevich Sedov, nee May-Mayevskaya. Her uncle was General Vladimir Zenonovich May-Mayevsky, an active fighter with the Soviet government.

Unfortunately, information about Vera Valerianovna is extremely scarce. Her whole pre-Zedov period is almost a white spot. It is known that for the first time she saw Georgy Sedov in the stalls of the Mariinsky Theater, when he took an autograph from the brilliant ballerina Nadezhda Pavlova. The girl fell in love without memory, and the stately sailor reciprocated her.

They were married two years before the expedition of Sedov to the North Pole. The wedding was a long-awaited event, which promised them only happiness. For a long time he could not make an offer due to lack of livelihood. For two years Sedov served on the Kolyma, making maps. Good money was paid for this, and finally, in 1910, they were accumulated enough to play the wedding. It happened in the summer. But on July 22, George Yakovlevich went on an expedition to Novaya Zemlya. Sedov wrote letters to “his Verochka” in which he told how he loves her and devotes all her discoveries on Novaya Zemlya to her. The following year, Sedov worked on the maps of the Caspian Sea, and a year later he went to the Pole, from which he never returned. The wife was for Sedov muse and support in the campaigns, but her personal fate was unenviable. Almost all of their short life together, she waited for George and, one might say, most of all they communicated in letters.


Couple Sedovykh



Photo couple Sedov 1910


And after the death of Sedov, the life of Vera Valerianovna did not work out.

September 3, 1918 Peter Alekseevich Novopashenny, who commanded the icebreaker "Vaigach" in a historical expedition B.A. Vilkitsky, gave a reception in his home in honor of the 5th anniversary of the opening of the expedition of the Archipelago Land of Emperor Nicholas II (Severnaya Zemlya), to which he invited his expedition comrades A.M. Lavrov, Nikolai Alexandrovich Gelchert and his wife’s older friend Vera Sedova. Nikolai Alexandrovich Sedov liked at first sight, and at the end of the evening he asked for permission to take her home to Kirpichny Lane, where Vera Valeryanovna lived in the apartment she left from her husband. So they met. He became her civil husband and, according to eyewitness accounts, loved her madly. Nikolai Alexandrovich burst out to her at the first opportunity provided by the service.They learned a lot about each other, Gelchert’s particular concern caused her relationship with the ardent enemy of Soviet power, whose portrait in a gilded frame hung on the living room wall.

Most likely, these herding were not in vain. Their happiness did not come true. The lovers spent the holidays on the second anniversary of October together, and two weeks later Gelshert was arrested by the Chekists in the apartment of Sedova and shot on November 25, 1919. Lavrov, who fell to inform her of this message, replaced the terrible word "shot" with a softer one.   "Died", but it also deprived her of consciousness. Recovering and finding out the real truth, she told Lavrov:   “Probably, I’m to blame for his death as well - I’m the niece of General May-Mayevsky, with whom I haven’t had any connection for a long time”.

For many years it was believed that from that moment on, Vera Valerianovna Sedova was left alone. Until the last days she lived in Leningrad in the house 27 along Khalturin Street (Millionnaya) in apartment 23, located in the outbuilding, without leaving it even on the harsh days of the blockade. In 1953, in this apartment, she was visited by the Donetsk journalist Mikhail Savelevich Alter. Now in the wing is a closed joint stock company "Academstroy".


Outhouse in the courtyard of the house 27 on Millionnaya Street


The first doubt appeared after it became clear that in the certificate of her death, received by the Museum of the Arctic School No. 336 of the State Unitary Enterprise“Funeral Services”, Vera Valerianovna was listed as Sedova-Gelshert. What is such a Gelshert, if they were not registered with Nikolai Aleksandrovich Gelshert?

It was possible to approach the solution of this riddle from an unexpected side. In the same enclosure with the grave of Sedova there is another grave in which Alexandra Fedorovna and Dmitry Dmitrievich Kolchina-Garina are buried. With the help of archives, with the help of kindly Evgeny Vladimirovich Nikov, a leading employee of the State Unitary Enterprise “Funeral Services”, Olga Dmitrievna Kolchin-Garin, granddaughter Alexandra Feodorovna and Dmitry Dmitrievich’s daughter were found.And it turned out - Alexandra Feodorovna nee Gelshchert, the daughter of Fyodor Dmitrievich Gelshert, whom Vera Valerianovna officially married sometime in 1920-1921. Happiness of Vera Valerianovna and in this case turned out to be short-lived, not more than a year: Fyodor Dmitrievich soon died. Who Fedor Dmitrievich was, what he did, Olga Dmitrievna does not know. On the Internet, we managed to find a suitable Fedor Dmitrievich Gelchert, a 1904 graduate of the Imperial School of Law. The acquaintance of both Gelchert and Sedova suggests that they have a rather close relationship.


Elizaveta S. Gelshert (Teplova) (died from a Spaniard in 1919) and Fedor Dmitrievich Gelshert


Some sources have unreliable information about Vera Valerianovna. For example, they call her ballet dancer, but the ballet dancer Sedov, a good friend of George Yakovlevich, was called Yulia. Another source reports that she worked in a foreign department of the library of the Academy of Sciences, but the senior editor Sedova Antonina Mikhailovna is listed among the library staff in the archive of the Academy of Sciences.

Very interesting, one might say sensational, information was found on the Internet on the website quite recently. Granddaughter Sedov, Natalya Kalinina (nee Sedov), Doctor of Psychology, Professor at the Department of Pedagogy of Ulyanovsk University in an interview in 2008 reports:  There are few couples together, but naturally, I want to have children. After the next meeting in Arkhangelsk, Vera Valerianovna became pregnant, and in 1911 my grandfather, Sedov Pavel Georgievich, was born. He is born a very weakened child, with a bunch of childhood illnesses, he needs to be nursed. To be closer to her husband, Vera Valerianovna moves to Arkhangelsk. At the same time he loses the support of his noble family and begins to live on the funds that George Yakovlevich could give her. It was not necessary to speak about prosperity. The husband is almost never at home, and they have no more children .  And further :  .... In Soviet times, our ancestors, for obvious reasons, were not very proud of belonging to a noble family, tried not to advertise it. My grandfather was ... no, let's say: became a simple peasant. He did not conquer the sea, was weak in health, but participated in the Great Patriotic War, was wounded at the front. He died in 1948. My father was born in 1937, when it was just impossible to say that you have nobles in the family. Therefore, my father was not told about his origin for a long time . 

This is news, you do not know what to think. On the one hand, the source of information, a very serious person, inspiring respect and trust, on the other hand, nowhere else did the information about Sedov’s son pop up, Kolchina-Garina know nothing about him, and most importantly, Sedov, who wrote warm letters full of love to his wife , never in these letters, nor in his diary, never mentioned the child. Now the leadership of the Museum of the Arctic in St. Petersburg school №336 is trying to find Natalia Valentinovna Kalinina, who moved from Ulyanovsk to Moscow.


Members of the asset of the Museum of the Arctic named after G.Ya. Sedov State Budgetary Educational Establishment of School No. 336 of the Nevsky District of St. Petersburg monitors the condition of the grave of Vera Valerianovna Sedova.

The second from the right is Elena Pavlovna Afanasyeva, museum manager.


Vera Valerianovna was buried at the Serafimov cemetery in St. Petersburg.

Glacier (Vera) on the west coast of the northern island of Novaya Zemlya. Named in 1913 by G.Ya. Sedov.


Glacier Vera

(Photo And, And, Lavrent'eva. MAKE)


Bay (Vera) in the Krestova Bay on the west coast of the northern island of Novaya Zemlya. Named in 1913 by G.Ya. Sedov.



Ps. Elena Pavlovna received a response from Natalia Valentinovna Kalinina. Here is its content:  Hello, dear Elena Pavlovna. Unfortunately, I can not be useful to you. This information with a thorough investigation may be - a family myth. Since its creators are no longer with us, and the successors are in a very, very respectable age with the mythologization of consciousness peculiar to this age, I will not look for more truth. I apologize. 

So that, it is clear - the son was not.


Pps. On June 20 , 2018 , I received an e-mail from Olga Dmitrievna Kolchina in which she records the interview of her grandmother Alexandra Fedorovna Kolchina (Gelshert), given to the writer Elena Alexandrovna Matveeva, who was preparing a book about George Sedov . This record contains the most valuable biographical information about Vera Valerianovna Sedova. Here is the text of this entry with minor corrections:


Alexandra Feodorovna Gelshirt was born in 1906, left her mother early. In the 20s, her father married Vera Valerianovna Sedova. It was a difficult time, she needed support. Settled in the apartment Gelshherta, at Konyushennaya. The girl was sent to a shelter (Herzen Institute). Shurochka was jealous, coming from a shelter, sat her father on her knees, hugged her neck. "Daddy, I love you, I want to live with you." He was embarrassed, ashamed: "Big already." A year and a half have lived, then my father died.


V.V. she graduated from the Patriotic Institute, after Sedov's death, lived abroad, received a pension before the revolution, then was married to G (felder), and after his death, began to bother about retirement from owls. state-va. Perhaps for this she gave the diaries and letters of Sedov, which the sailors gave her. And Shurochka finished school, she got a job. Received 30 or 40 rubles, 10 rubles. took V.V. Visited her. Having received a pension, V.V. I did not take money. She did not offer any things left from her parents, except for her mother’s underwear. She moved into the house for prof. widows on st. Khalturina. Did not work. She survived the war in L de. During the war, her sister died of hunger, with whom she was not close.  However, she did not discuss my affairs with Shurochka. She died without leaving a will. Things V.V. together with the things of the family G. moved to the state. Shurachka asked the bailiff for a mirror, powder box and something else made of blown silver - mother's things.

Alexandra Feodorovna gave birth to a son, sent a boy to the evacuation, then looked for. At 70 years old (?) She remarried and lived with her second husband longer than with the first.


Now the main milestones of the life of V.V. Sedova can be considered defined. I would like to know whose merit in creating a very decent gravestone on her grave. But this, probably, will never be known.


PPPS 03.16.2020 Olga Dmitrievna Kolchina sent me information from the site "Historical Forum - People of Ivdelag: V.F. Gelshert - a descendant of the famous noble family of Simbirsk province", from which it follows that Fedor Dmitrievich Gelshert was a cousin of Nikolai Alexandrovich Gelshert. Fyodor Dmitrievich graduated from the Imperial School of Law in 1904, before the October Revolution he was a titular adviser to the Ministry of the Interior, and a full member of the board of trustees of the Prince P.G. Oldenburgsky St. Petersburg.

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