HSE Perm to Help Reconstruct the Sudoplatov Family History
On 20th July 2015 at HSE Perm, History students and teachers met descendants of the Sudoplatov family who founded the ‘Kama’ confectionary factory in Perm. They travelled from France to Perm to find out more about their family history.
The meeting was attended by Alexander Chashchukhin, Academic Supervisor of the History programme, Vitaliy Mingalev, Senior Lecturer in Humanities, Boris Schweiner, Director of the ‘Permskaya’ confectionary factory, historian Andrei Bushmakov, Yan Mazitov from the Perm Regional State Archive and descendants of merchant Sudoplatov - his great-grandson Sergei (Serge) Vladimirovich Sudoplatov with his sister and children.
Boris Schweiner talked a little about the history of the factory and about how they discovered the Sudoplatovs’ relatives. ‘Merchant of the Second Guild Vladimir Vasilievich Sudoplatov opened the first ‘Kama’ confectionary makers in Perm in 1892. Before the revolution in 1917 they were very popular both in the region and all over Russia. We’ve slowly gathered scraps of information about what happened to the merchant’s family after October 1917. He had four sons. This spring Vladimir Vasilievich’s great-grandson, Serge Sudoplatov got in touch with us to try to piece together the puzzle of his family’s history.’
Serge Sudoplatov is in the IT business in France. He brought some unique documents to Perm - Vladimir Sudplatov’s address book and some scanned letters.
‘My great-grandad was called Vladimir Sudoplatov. I have about 120 letters dated from 1917 to 1923 and letters from 1927. They are personal and official letters. We know that Vladimir Vasilievich was born in Gorokhovtse but left for Perm. My grandpa was his eldest son so he didn’t go to fight in the First World War but stayed with his parents. During the 1917 revolution the entire family moved to Sukhumi’, explained Serge.
In Abhazia Vladimir Vasiliev organised a business selling flake tobacco. He died in 1922 at the New Athos Monastery. Serge Sudoplatov’s grandad left first for Germany on business and then moved to Paris where his descendants live to this day.
‘My grandad wanted to come back to Russia but his brothers who had stayed behind persuaded him not too. They just asked him to send them money. The tobacco business was not a success in Germany because the buyers asked for samples and grandad didn’t have any. So he went to France. We have his letters from that period - they are the last, from 1927. We don’t know yet what they are about because they are hand-written and difficult to read,’ said Serge.
Aleksander Chashchukhin said that it’s a fascinating topic for the university, ‘The history of the merchant Sudoplatov’s family is of real interest to us as I and a number of historians are actively studying the history of daily life, in other words, micro history, the destiny of families which reflect an entire epoch. They often present certain arguments which shatter stereotypes.’
Yan Mazitov presented some background information from the archive about Vladimir Sudoplatov’s relatives and Andrei Bushmakov suggested some other possible sources to investigate.
It was agreed that the HSE Perm History students would help with deciphering Serge’s grandfather’s letters and do their own research into what happened to his relatives.