Decembrists' Square - Remembering the Uprising

The second greatest square to be found in St. Petersburg is the Decembrists Square, so named after the doomed Decembrists’ Revolution. The square can be found on the Neva riverbanks. On December 14, 1825 an event took place on the Senate square or the now Decembrists Square that was of such enormous significance that it went down into the History books of Russia.

On that day, the Senate were going to appoint Nicholas I as the newly crowned emperor. But a small group of mutinous officers who were ahead of their troops entered the square to try stop this process from occurring. They refused to swear allegiance to Nicholas I and so lined up in front of the monument of Peter. However, what these reformist officers did not know was that the Senators had, had an idea that something like this might occur and so secretly took an oath to the Tsar in secret before that time.

The soldiers were unable to find any of the Senators in the nearby building, but what they did find was several thousand-loyalist troops who had been ordered for action by the Tsar. This took the Decembrists by surprise and many did not know what action to take as the action reached its peak. The uprising was buried before any more action could be taken.

This led to the rebels being attacked and captured. Five of the main leaders were taken to Peter and Paul fortress and were hanged on the Kronwerk. Varying punishments were given, over a hundred officers were sent to penal servitude and many more were imprisoned, while others were “made to run the gauntlet” and then sent off to the army’s penal battalions on the field. Others were to be executed or banished.

In 1834, the architectural image of the Senate Square took shape and was built using a design of Carlo Rossi. Today the square has been renamed the Decembrists’ Square to mark the centenary of the uprising and houses the Central State Historical Archives of Russia.


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