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/ Main / News / 240th anniversary of Odessa city administrator’s duke Richelieu

Placed: 27.09.2006 13:37:52

240th anniversary of Odessa city administrator’s duke Richelieu

On September, 25, the 240th anniversary of Novorossiyskiy district general-governor and Odessa city administrator’s duke Richelieu was celebrated in Odessa

“He was quiet, affectionate and tireless”
On September, 25, the 240th anniversary of Novorossiyskiy district general-governor and Odessa city administrator’s duke Richelieu was celebrated in Odessa
Armand Emmanuelle was the fifth representative of Richelieu duke house and the direct descendant of this house’s founder, the famous cardinal of Ludwig XIII court.

The young duke joyfully perceived the news of people having taken Bastille by force on July, 14, 1789. But later he found out his total inability to perceive its cruelty and chaos.
The young aristocrat took part in the historical battle of Izmail headed by the prince G.Potyomkin, and his courage served him well. As a result, he received the 4th level Georgievskiy cross decoration and a golden sword.

In one year’s time, the Russian emperor Alexander I offered Richelieu the post of Odessa city administrator. At the time, the city was just eight years old, but the Russian government considered it to be the main port for the Russian foreign trade on the Black sea shore.

Richelieu arrived to Odessa in May, 1803. Its population didn’t exceed 9000 people that time. In 11 years of his administrating the city changed totally. One of Richelieu’s friends wrote in his “Letters about Odessa”: “The city surrounded with empty fields was built on the shore of the sea, which was considered to be the most dangerous one, turned out to be the most flourishing one in the whole Europe”.

Richelieu did his best for the city to become the cultural center of Europe. He managed the foundation of a gymnasium, a commercial college, a lot of private boarding-schools, etc. On his demand, the architect Toma de Tomone created the theater building project, and the theater was built in 1809.  In his free time, Richelieu was walking around the city and the port, was inspecting the works being carried out, visited the newly-arrived people on quarantine and suggested them to stay in Odessa. He had no secretary, so he managed all of his papers on his own. He could speak fluent Russian, English, German, Italian and French. The historian A.A.Skalkovski emphasized, that duke Richelieu was an extremely quiet, affectionate and tireless person, and also a very healthy one, and the only thing that drove him mad was people’s treating the trees he had planted all over Odessa’s streets badly.

In 1812 during the plague epidemy in Odessa he didn’t leave the city for good to join the army, but stayed in it to support the citizens.
After Napoleon’s having lost, Bourbons’ having come to power again and Ludwig’s XVIII and Alexander’s I having asked him for many times, Richelieu came back to Paris and became the Internal affairs minister head and France’s Prime minister. But still he yearned to come back to Odessa and to spend the rest of his life there.
On May, 16, 1822, Armand Emmanuelle Richelieu died because of brain hemorrhage.
After his death, duke Langerone asked people to collect money to install a monument to Richelieu in Odessa. And M.S.Vorontsov, having taken the post of Odessa city administrator in May, 1823, orders a monument at I.P.Martos’ workshop. Efimov, the master from St.-Petersburg, made a bronze monument to Richelieu dressed in Roman toga. There are also three brass bas-reliefs on the monument to symbolize arable farming, trade and justice. The opening of the monument to Duke, as the generations of Odessites affectionately call Armand Emmanuelle Sofia-Septimani du Plessie Richelieu, took place o April, 22, 1828. Nowadays, this monument is a visit card of Odessa. And it is hard to imagine, what could Odessa be like without that wonderful Frenchman Richelieu.

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