Wednesdays and the Revolutionary Climate

Daily politics were not the primary concern at the Wednesday gatherings, but among the visitors were also people who took part in revolutionary activities and who were under police surveillance (such as the writer Aleksey Remizov, who knew Boris Savinkov well). On December 28th 1905 the secret police (okhranka) made a search of the apartment. Earlier that month, an order had been given that all public and private political meetings needed to be approved in advance by the authorities, and it seems they included the Wednesdays in that category.

Around midnight agents entered the apartment, accompanied by a small file of soldiers who blocked all the exits. In the attic they found two copies of the journal Revolutionary Russia, which Ivanov claimed to have acquired while living in Switzerland. Otherwise the police found nothing illegal. However, they took a few people with them to the station, one of whom was poet Maximilian Voloshin's mother. Apparently she attracted them for having just returned from abroad, and because of her highly unconventional appearance. She had short hair and – what astonished even the bohemian artists – she was wearing short wide trousers, a kind of breeches that bicyclists usually wore.

Dernov's apartment staircase Dernov's apartment ceiling

Maximilian Voloshin with his mother

Dmitry Merezhkovzky

After the search Dmitry Merezhkovsky could not find his hat anywhere, which made him write an open letter to Prime Minister Sergey Witte "Where is my Hat?" (published in Narodnoe khoziaistvo 1.1.1906). The hat was found later behind some piece of furniture in Ivanov’s apartment. But thanks to the article, the legend of the Tower spread around the city.