Born in Moscow in 1796, Muravyov worked hard in what is now Poland, Lithuania, and Belarus to suppress nationalism by targeting religion and language. Catholic churches were torn down, and schools teaching in Polish and Lithuanian languages were closed. Russian teachers were brought in from elsewhere to take over the education system.
A Catholic church in Vilnius being torn down in 1877.
Additionally, the Roman alphabet was banned, and replaced with Cyrillic.
Similar policies were put in place by Russian officials in other regions – particularly Ukraine – and continued to be used by the Soviets.
Muravyov was recorded as saying: ‘What the Russian rifle did not succeed in doing, will be finished off by Russian schools.’
Pope Pius IX, head of the Catholic Church, died in the Apostolic Palace in Rome on the 7th of February, 1878.
Born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti in 1792, the Italian port town of Senigallia, Pius IX became the longest-running elected Pope in the history of the Catholic Church, with a papacy that lasted for over thirty-one years, from the 16th of June, 1846 until his death.
The Pope was beatified on the 3rd of September, 2000.
Daguerre in 1844
Photography pioneer Louis Daguerre was born in Cormeilles-en-Parisis, Val-d’Oise, France on the 18th of November, 1797. He became known as a father of photography after inventing the daguerreotype photography process.
Daguerre’s 1837 photograph recreating a still life is the earliest daguerreotype with a reliable date.
Above is Daguerre’s circa 1838 image of Paris. It is the first known candid photograph of a person. A man having his boots polished stood still long enough to be captured.
Also a painter and the inventor of the diorama theatre, Daguerre died in Paris in July of 1851, at the age of sixty-three.
This 1837 painting by Mikhail Lermontov depicts Russian Guard Hussars attacking Warsaw, Poland on the 7th of September, 1831. The original date given was the 26th of August, as the Russian Empire followed the old calendar.
The Battle of Warsaw was part of the Polish–Russian War of 1830–31 (otherwise known as the November Uprising). Tens of thousands were killed in the battle that resulted in the defeat of Polish uprising and victory for the Russians.
The Khodynka Tragedy was a deadly stampede that happened during coronation celebrations for Russia’s last emperor, Nicholas II, in 1896.
Falling on the 18th of May on the old calendar (which equates to the 30th of May on the new calendar), 1389 people were trampled or suffocated to death when panic broke out in a crowd of many thousands.
Evidence of the tragedy was cleared away before many at the event in Moscow became aware of it, and Nicholas and his wife Alexandra continued with their schedule, including attending a ball with French diplomats that evening. It was decided it was more important to have good relations with the French than to appease the people of the Russian Empire.
The minor imperial response to the disaster did no favours for the family’s public image.
Yuletide Fortune Tellers in Ukraine in an 1888 painting by Mykola Pymonenko. Ukrainians still celebrate the Christmas season by the old calendar, as do many neighbouring regions.