State Central Museum of Contemporary History

Today this museum houses an overwhelming display of Soviet and post-revolutionary collections, including propaganda posters, statues, symbols, uniforms, weapons and World War II relics of the former Soviet Union. Visitors are shown the eras of modern Russian political history as well as the achievements of the 20th century. Aside from the revolution and world wars, scientific exhibits such as the USSR’s space program is on display.

Also known as L. Razumovsky’s Estate, many interesting stories may be told about this building. There are amazing, fascinating, dramatic and amusing ones. It is no surprise given that the house has been standing at this place for centuries. And still there is one especially remarkable story.

The first wooden house at the estate’s territory was owned by a clerk of the tsar in the 16th century and by the Duke Odoyevsky – in the 17th century. The General Alexander Kheraskov bought the estate in 1777 and started building a stone house which now represents the central and oldest part of the existing structure. Following Kheraskov’s death, the Count Lev Razumovsky took the possession of the estate. He rebuilt the house into a palace of classicism style. From then on and up to this day the marble lions stay frozen in front of the estate’s entrance.

The patron of arts, the glib talker, the mason and the organiser of all kinds of entertainment, Lev Razumovsky knew how to live in a jolly way. He used to arrange the so-called ‘Thursdays’ where he invited the most outstanding people of the time; he organized grand feasts at his interior garden which was then quite a new thing for the Muscovites.

The Count who was the Major-General and the richest man in Russia fell in love with a married woman – Maria Golitsyna the Duchess of Vyazemsk, the Duke Alexander Golitsyn’s wife. The Duke was deemed to be a despot and a spender who had blown out all his fortune. Maria met Razumovsky at a ball and they helplessly fell in love with each other.
Razumovsky even wanted to challenge Golitsyn to a duel but then he understood that the issue could be decided by other means. Knowing about Golitsyn’s passion for gambling, Razumovsky managed to arrange things so that he and Golytsyn were at the same game table. The Count offered the Duke to play with Maria on stake putting against this bet all his winnings of that night. Alexander Golitsyn accepted the offer, though not without a delay, and lost again. Lev Rasumovsky did indeed take only Maria with himself leaving all his winnings to Golitsyn.

The spouses Razumovsky had lived together in happiness and agreement for sixteen years. Maria outlived her husband by almost half a century. Until her last days she used to go to Paris and resorts and play roulette. But she never played cards.

The English Club occupied the Razumovsky Estate in 1831. Following the Revolution of 1917 the English Club had been closed and the estate was handed over to the Soviet Museum of Revolution which was still to be created. The Museum of Revolution was renamed to the Museum of Russian Contemporary History in 1998 and was granted the status of a national museum of federal significance. Tour to Moscow