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The Imperiia Project: a spatial history of the Russian Empire

The Creators of Novo-Nikolaevsk

Tsar Nicholas II

Nicholas II and Novo-Nikolaevsk were tightly bound together for the entirety of the time that they shared a name. Tsar Nicholas II had been intimately linked with railway construction and railway towns even before Novo-Sibirsk existed– the future Tsar was appointed to the chairmanship of the Committee of Siberian Railway Construction in 1892. He was officially made Tsar on 26 May 1896, just as Novo-Nikolaevsk was beginning to develop and expand. In the spirit of this coronation, the city was renamed to Novo-Nikolaevsk, representing a ‘new Nicholas’ on the Russian throne and honoring his involvement both in Imperial rule and Trans-Siberian town development and construction.

Vladimir Ipolitovich Zhernakov

Vladimir Zhernakov was the first mayor of Novo-Nikolaevsk, one of the first government figureheads to ever supervise this growing city. Prior to his political career, Zhernakov was a prominent merchant and undeniable capitalist who arrived in Novo-Nikolaevsk to open a trading house. His tenure as mayor lasted between 1909 and 1914, when he fell into ill health and could no longer serve his post. He is also fairly well known as a proponent of continuing railway construction between Novo-Nikolaevsk and Altai, claiming that the addition of this branch would further increase the prominence and economic importance of his city. He lived until 1943, and remained a prominent figure in Novosibirsk politics well into the Soviet period, serving in leading roles in the Novo-Nikolaevsk and Novosibirsk state banks.

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