— China Eastern Railway ~ 1921?-1925

George’s brother, Lyov (whom I never knew), fled Russia before his mother and siblings and got a job working for the China Eastern Railway. When his mother and her family managed to get out of Russia in 1924, they ended up with Lyova.

The Chinese Eastern Railway was, in those days, the Trans-Manchurian line of the Trans-Siberian Railway that ran from the Transbaikal region to Vladivostok and was finished in 1901. Three years later, in 1904, the line from Vladivostok was linked all the way to Moscow, and they completed the Trans-Siberian Railroad by 1916. At the time of its construction the Chinese Eastern Railway was the shortest route from St Petersburg to Vladivostok.

A map of the Chinese Eastern Railway route

A map of the Chinese Eastern Railway route

I thought that they went from Vladivostok to Harbin but from what George wrote, they were living somewhere else and he went to Harbin with his stepfather. So, a bit of confusion and no one alive left to ask  😛  However it could be that his memory had misted over by the time I asked him to tell me his life’s story.

If they didn’t go straight to Harbin, perhaps they went to a CER “station” where Lev worked and stayed in his house until the trip to Harbin? I have nothing to tell me what job Lev had with the railway company. He could have been an engineer, he could have been a labourer.

According to Wiki :

In 1924, an agreement was signed in Peking (Beijing) regarding the control of the China Eastern Railway. The agreement stated that only Soviet and Chinese citizens could be employed by the CER. This meant the Harbin Russians had to choose not only their nationality, but also their political identity. Many Harbin Russians took Soviet citizenship for patriotic reasons. However, there were also Harbin Russians who remained stateless, who were eventually let go from CER. Gradually, the national and the political identity of the Harbin Russians split the group into opposing sides.

That would have meant that instead of continuing with a somewhat secure job, both Lyova and Victor Petrovich would have had to find something else to earn money  🙁

As the RusGenProject scan shows, the next employer for Lyov was Marshal Chang Chung Chang!

I was sure it was George when I saw this photo but since finding out more about Lyova, I am totally confused now and no one can help me  🙁

When I saw it initially I was surprised to see George in a uniform as I knew he pestered his mother to let him concentrate on his music rather than attending school. Now if that was so, why would he then join a Cadet School or other military-type place where he’d have to wear a uniform.  So could this be Lyova and not George?

I can’t blow the photo up enough to figure out if it is George or not.  I made the same mistake with a photo of Lyova standing to attention at a parade for the Russian Auxiliary Detachment, thinking it was George then finding out it was his brother.

So … impossible to say for sure and nothing on the back of the photo to help.  I assumed that it was my father, George, in the photo but because of the uniform, I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be my uncle, Lyova  :/

 

 

 

 

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