Author of the Exhibition – Prof. Dr. Alexei Timofeev

24 September – 7 October, 2021

The exhibition “The Return of the General – 145th Anniversary of the Arrival of Russian Volunteers in Serbia”, authored by prof. Dr. Alexei Timofeev, has been organised by the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia, the Ministry of Culture of Russia, the Historical Museum of Serbia, the State History Museum of Russia and the Russian Center for Science and Culture, “Russian House”, in Belgrade.

The exhibition presents an unprecedented event in the history of the Russian people, which took place 145 years ago. It was then, for the first time in Russian history, that the phenomenon of military volunteering appeared. Although at variance with official state policy, it was supported by the civil society, and prominent representatives of the military, business and scientific elites.

Because of the widespread belief in the need to liberate the Orthodox Slavs from Ottoman rule, the Russian people was overwhelmed by one impulse – to establish, support and send volunteer groups to the Balkans. Some Russian volunteers arrived in the Balkans as early as 1875 and took part in the Herzegovinian Uprising, although most of them (some 4–7,000 officers, soldiers, doctors and nurses) arrived in the summer and autumn of 1876 and took part in the Serbian-Turkish war.

This difficult war, with its victims among the Serbian people and the wave of public support throughout Russia, drove the Tsar and the government to involve themselves more actively in the fate of the Slavs in the Ottoman Empire. Russia forced the Porte to accept an armistice, and soon afterwards entered the war herself against the Ottoman Empire in 1877–1878. One of the immediate outcomes of these events was the independence which the Principality of Serbia won in 1878.

The exhibition offers visitors a unique opportunity to become acquainted with the personal estate of Mikhail Chernyayev, the leader of the Russian volunteers and General of the Russian and Serbian Armies, which forms the framework of the exhibition dedicated to this important jubilee. Digitised materials from the funds of the State History Museum (Russia) will be displayed in Belgrade for the first time – photographs from the album “Memories of Serbia”, volunteer diplomas, the private notes of M. G. Chernyayev, and his correspondence with the organisers of the action, I. S. Aksakov and N. N. Raevsky.

The opening will be held on 24 September at 4 p.m. in the Historical Museum of Serbia. The audience will be addressed by Olga Sergeyevna Jarilova, Deputy Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation, Danijela Vanušić, Assistant Minister for Cultural Heritage and Digitalisation in the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia, and Dr. Dušica Bojić, Director of the Historical Museum of Serbia.

The exhibition will be open from 25 September to 7 October. Admission is free.

Author of the Exhibition – Prof. Dr. Alexei Timofeev
Editor-in-Chief of the Exhibition – Dr. Dušica Bojić
Exhibition Coordinator – Srdjan Beljić
Exhibition Design – Iva Jotić Lubura