Prince Alexis Alexandrovich Obolensky (1933–1939)
Prince Alexis Alexandrovich Obolensky was born in St. Petersburg in 1883, and was educated at the Imperial University of St. Petersburg. He graduated as a commissioned officer in His Majesty’s Own Chevalier-Gardes, and served throughout the First World War as a Captain. He married Princess Lubov Petrovna Troubetskoy in 1909, and had five children before leaving Russia after the revolution. The family moved first to France, and Prince Obolensky arrived in New York in the 1920’s. In 1933, Obolensky helped found the Russian Nobility Association in New York and was our first President. He resigned in 1939 after appearing in the Broadway musical “Leave It To Me!” under the stage name Alexis Bolan. For many years, Obolensky performed as a renowned classical singer, and performed with Dame Nellie Melba.
Mr. Vassili Vassilievich Wadkovsky (1939–1941)
Vassili V. Wadkovsky was born in Russia in 1878 and was educated both privately and abroad. Mr. Wadkovsky, a brilliant pre-revolutionary economist, ultimately served in the Russian Imperial Ministry of Finance, and later became the Vice President of the State Bank of Russia. Wadkovsky and his wife and children left Russia in 1917. Vassili Wadkovsky was at one time the official representative of HIH the Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich of Russia in the United States. He died in 1941 in New York.
Count Boris Georgievich von Berg (1941–1942)
Count Boris von Berg was born in Saint Petersburg in 1884 into a German noble family long resident in the Grand Duchy of Finland. The family’s title of count had been recognized and confirmed by the Russian Crown in 1857. Count Boris Georgievich von Berg served as a “Kamer-Junker,” or “Gentleman of the Chamber” to Emperor Nicholas II. After the Revolution, he left Russia in 1919, fleeing first to France, and thence to the United States, arriving in New York in 1924. In 1938, von Berg was one of the original directors of the Russian Nobility Association, and served as president at the beginning of the War. He died in 1953, but his wife, Countess Sophie von Berg (née Sannikow) remained active in the RNA for many years.
Count Paul Pavlovich de Kotzebue (1942–1953)
Count Paul Pavlovich de Kotzebue was born into an Estonian noble family in 1886, with a long tradition of service to the Imperial Crown. His uncle, Count Ernest de Kotzebue was the Russian Imperial Ambassador to the United States. De Kotzebue moved to Saint Petersburg to attend the prestigious institute of His Majesty’s School of Pages. Kotzebue graduated from the Corps de Page in 1903 as cornet and on the 1st January of 1909, he was made a Lieutenant (Poruchik) of the Life-Guards Ulans of Her Imperial Majesty the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna’s Own Regiment. In 1910 he was assigned to the reserve of the guards cavalry and assigned to the Ministry of Internal Affairs as an official for special assignments under Minister Stolypin. On August 10, 1912 he was promoted to court counselor, and in 1914, at the start of World War I he was recalled from the reserve for active military service and assigned to the headquarters of the General Staff for special record-keeping. From March 4 to 31, 1917 he was the commandant of the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoe Selo. Kotzebue was arrested in Petrograd in 1918. After the Revolution, de Kotzebue emigrated to France. On August 8, 1933 his second cousin Count Dmitrii Fedorovich Kotzebue-Pilar von Pilchau, according to the law of primogeniture of the counts Kotzebue, being the last representative of the counts Kotzebue-Pilar von Pilchau, and being childless, transferred the right to the title of Count Kotzebue to Pavel Pavlovich, the descendent of Avgust Efstafevich – the twin of Pavel Evstafevich. This act was confirmed by the Union of Estland Nobility on November 16, 1933; the head of the Imperial Russian House, Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, expressed his consent to the transfer of title by a letter dated January 11, 1934. Count de Kotzebue married HSH Princess Heinrich XXXIII of Reuss von Köstritz (née Allene Tew of Jamestown) in 1936 at Geneva. They divided their time between Paris, New York, and Palm Beach. He died in 1966 in Paris.
General Prince Leonid Vassilievich Eletskoy (1954-1958)
Prince Eletskoy was educated at the Poltava Gymnasium, and entered military service in 1895. He was graduated from the Nikolaevsky Cavalry School in St. Petersburg in 1897, and joined His Majesty’s Guards-Lancers Islands Regiment as a Cornet. He rose in the ranks as a Lieutenant in 1901, Staff-Captain (1905), Adjutant (1909), Brigade Captain (1909). He was made a Colonel in 1915, and in 1917 assumed command of the Cavalry Regiment. In 1918 he became the Army Staff General overseeing the evacuation of the Crimea. He was a Cavalier of the Orders of St. Anna 3rd Class, St. Stanislas, 2nd Class, and St. Vladimir, 4th Class. He was evacuated to Cattaro in Yugoslavia, and thence to the United States, where he served as President of the Union de la Noblesse Russe and the Russian Nobility Association from 1954-1958. Prince Eletskoy died in 1958 is buried at the Novo-Diveevo cemetery in New York.
Prince Serge Sergeievitch Belosselsky-Belozersky (1959–1963)
Prince Serge Sergeievich Belosselsky-Belozersky was born in St. Petersburg in 1898, the oldest son of Prince Sergei Konstantinovich Belosselsky-Belozersky, and his American wife, née Susan Whittier of New York. Belosselsky was educated at His Majesty’s Corps of Pages, and joined His Majesty’s Horse Guards Regiment in which he fought in the last days of World War I. Arrested by the Red Guard in 1918, and imprisoned both in the Peter & Paul Fortress and the Kronstadt Island Naval Base, Belosselsky was released and escaped to Finland, from whence he joined the White Army in Reval (now Talinn) and fought with them until 1920. He emigrated to London and Paris, before marrying the former Florence Crane of Ipswich, Massachusetts. Belosselsky moved to the United States before World War II, and died in New York in 1979.
Col. Peter Martynov (1963–1971)
This biography is still under development
Prince Alexis Pavlovitch Scherbatow (1971–2001)
Prince Alexis Pavlovich Scherbatow was born in St. Petersburg in 1910, and emigrated from Russia in 1920 with his parents, Prince Paul Scherbatoff, a former military and diplomatic aide to H.I.H. Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia, and Princess Scherbatow (née Bariatinskaya), whose father Prince Vladimir Bariatinsky was General Aide-de-Camp to Emperor Alexander III. Together with his family he lived in Constantinople, Sofia, Rome, and Brussels before moving to the United States in 1937. He served in the US Army as a military translator from 1943 to 1946 on the European front, and was responsible for communications between the allied armies. After the war, Scherbatow completed his doctorate at NYU and Columbia University. For almost 30 years he taught Russian history at Farleigh Dickinson University. Prince Scherbatow was named honorary president of the Nobility Association “for life” by its grateful members. Scherbatow died in 2003, and is buried at the Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Monastery at Jordanville, New York.
Dr. Cyril Erastovich Geacintov (2002–2017)
Dr Cyril Erastovich Geacintov was educated in France and Austria, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and a Doctorate in Physical Chemistry from Syracuse University, SUNY. From 1953-1955, he served in the US Army Corps of Engineers. In 1970, Dr Geacintov founded DRG International, Inc, which now has offices worldwide. DRG specializes in high-tech medical and diagnostic equipment used in the health industries of many countries. His first visit to Russia (Soviet Union) was in 1966. Soon afterward, he organized the first exhibition in the USSR of Western medical equipment in Moscow at Sokolniki Park. DRG International subsequently expanded its work in Russia by opening offices in St Petersburg and Moscow. In 1974, Cyril Erastovich also became US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce at the US Commerce Department and Director of the Bureau of East-West Trade. In 2001, Dr. Geacintov was elected President of the RNA, and oversaw many changes, including the entry of the RNA into the digital age. In 2011 was recognized with the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for his achievements as a business leader of diverse ethnic origin. In 2017, Dr. Geacintov reposed, deeply mourned by his family, colleagues, and fellow members of the Nobility Association.
Prince Vladimir Kirillovich Galitzine (2017-2018)
Prince Vladimir Kirillovich Galitzine was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1942 to Prince Kirill Vladimirovich Galitzine and his wife, nee Marina Alexandrovna von Enden. The family left Soviet Russia in 1920, and in 1942, emigrated to Germany, where, during the War, they passed through Berlin to safety in the American zone, reaching Munich, where they lived in a displaced persons camp until they ultimately secured passage to the United States, arriving in 1951. Prince Galitzine was educated in New York, and went to work for the Bank of New York in 1960. He first joined the firm as an accountant, and shortly thereafter was promoted, founding the bank’s first Russian team. A member of that team was Tatiana Vladimirovna Kazimirova, whom he married in 1963. Prince Galitzine was a cornerstone of the Russian community in New York. Though he served as President for less than a year, he was the longest serving member of the board of the Russian Nobility Association with over fifty years. He also served as Starosta (or Warden) of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign (ROCOR) in New York for almost 40 years.
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