The France-Russia Friendship Monument

Petersburg Mayor P.I. Lelianov presents Nicholas II with an electric button on a red velvet pillow

uring the opening ceremonies of the Troitsky Most P.I. Lelianov, mayor of Petersburg, eagerly presented Nikolai II with an electric button – on a red velvet pillow – capable of engaging the drawbridge apparatus. Click here for a closer look at the button.

According to the report in the weekly magazine Niva, the bridge was festively lit at eleven in the morning. Upon their arrival, Nicholas II, his mother Maria Feodorovna, his wife Alexandra Feodorovna, and the royal heir received bouquets of orchids and white roses. The flowers were wrapped in tricolor (red, white, and blue) ribbons bearing the seal of Petersburg. A prayer of thanks ensued.

The celebration began once the Tsar pressed the button, causing the drawbridge to rotate and to lock into place against the bank of the Neva. Afterwards, a pair of silver scissors were presented to Maria Feodorovna on a sky-blue velvet pillow. She cut one ribbon; next, Alexandra Feodorovna was presented with another pair of scissors, again on a sky-blue velvet pillow, which she used to cut a second ribbon. The emperor, his mother and his wife stepped upon the bridge in the company of the clergy, who blessed it with splashes of holy water. Soon after, Nicholas II and his royal entourage were awarded gold metals symbolizing the electric illumination of Troitsky Most, along with an album of photographs depicting the bridge.

The bridge itself served as a monument to the twenty-five-year anniversary of Maria Feodorovna’s marriage to the late Emperor, Alexander III.

The electric button represents a point of narrative relaying, linking a sole digit of the Russian sovereign to the activation of an electronic system. This type of narrative inception embodies the rapidity and instantaneity of modern time. The concentration – or perhaps more precisely the reduction – of manpower to a single, trifling movement of a small body part bespeaks modern technological advancement.