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Vagankovo Cemetery

Coordinates: 55°46′05″N 37°32′54″E / 55.76806°N 37.54833°E / 55.76806; 37.54833
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Vagankovo Cemetery
Ваганьковское кладбище
Church of the Renewal of the Temple of the Resurrection at Vagankovo Cemetery
Vagankovo Cemetery is located in European Russia
Vagankovo Cemetery
Vagankovo Cemetery
Vagankovo Cemetery is located in Moscow
Vagankovo Cemetery
Vagankovo Cemetery
Vagankovo Cemetery is located in Moscow Ring Road
Vagankovo Cemetery
Vagankovo Cemetery
Location in Presnensky District, Moscow
Established1771 (1771)
Sergey Makeev Street [ru], 15
Presnensky District, Moscow
Coordinates55°46′05″N 37°32′54″E / 55.76806°N 37.54833°E / 55.76806; 37.54833
TypePublic, military graves, memorial
StyleEmpire style
Size47.9 ha (118 acres)
No. of gravesMore than 100,000[1]
Find a GraveVagankovo Cemetery

Vagankovo Cemetery (Russian: Ваганьковское кладбище, romanized: Vagan'kovskoye kladbishche) is located in the Presnensky District of Moscow, Russia. It was established in 1771, in an effort to curb an outbreak of bubonic plague in Central Russia. The cemetery was one of those created outside the city proper so as to prevent the contagion from spreading.

More than 500,000 people are estimated to have been buried at Vagankovo Cemetery from 1771 to 1990.[1] As of 1990, the cemetery contained slightly more than 100,000 graves.[1] The vast necropolis contains the mass graves from the Battle of Borodino, the Battle of Moscow, and the Khodynka Tragedy. It is the burial site for many prominent people from the academic, artistic, military, and sports communities of Russia and the old Soviet Union.

The cemetery is served by several Orthodox churches constructed between 1819 and 1823 in the Muscovite version of the Empire style.



Imperial era


Since its beginning as a minor city,[2] burying the dead—with some exceptions[a]—at places of worship had been the custom in Moscow,[4] like other cities in Russia. Peter the Great did not like tombstones on the church ground because he saw them as a hindrance to church ceremonies and disrespect for the church.[5] In 1723, he issued a decree that, in all cities in the Empire, only "eminent persons" should be buried in churches, and the rest in monasteries or parish churches outside cities.[5] This decree was not enforced, however, as he died shortly afterwards in 1725—leaving the custom of burying the dead in churches unchanged.[5]

In 1771, Catherine the Great, in an effort to curb the bubonic plague epidemic in Central Russia, by decree forbade her subjects to bury those who had died of the plague in any monastery or church cemetery in Moscow.[4] The Muscovites were told to bury the dead instead only in the churches assigned to them according to their residential districts.[6] Six "special churches" outside the city limits were designated for this purpose. One of them was at Vagankovo near Presnya (present-day Presnensky District); the dead from the first, third, and half of the fifth district of Moscow were to be sent there for burials.[6]

Soviet era


American political scientist William Taubman wrote that, during the Great Purge, alcohol-soused guards would execute weeping prisoners after the latter had dug their own graves in the cemetery.[7]

Notable burials





  1. ^ Certain types of the dead could not be buried in church ground, including unbaptised infants, suicides and, after the Great Moscow Synod of 1666–1667, those who died without confession and communion.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Артамонов [Artamonov], Михаил Дмитриевич [Mikhail Dmitriyevich] (1991). Ваганьково [Vagankovo] (in Russian). Moscow: Московский рабочий [Moscow Worker]. p. 8. ISBN 5-239-01167-2. Retrieved 8 April 2023 – via Internet Archive. За 220 лет официального существования кладбища на нем захоронено свыше полумиллиона москвичей. Сохранилось же немногим более 100 тысяч могил.
  2. ^ Meyendorff, John (1981). "Byzantium and Moscow". Byzantium and the Rise of Russia: A Study of Byzantino-Russian Relations in the Fourteenth Century. Cambridge University Press. p. 147. ISBN 9780521231831. OCLC 6447483. Retrieved 9 April 2023 – via Internet Archive. A very minor city, [...] Moscow had been given in appanage to the youngest son of Alexander Nevsky, Daniel.
  3. ^ Kizenko, Nadieszda (2021). "Confession as Encounter with Early Modernity". Good for the Souls: A History of Confession in the Russian Empire. Oxford University Press. pp. 38–39. ISBN 9780192650573. Retrieved 9 April 2023 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ a b Артамонов [Artamonov], Михаил Дмитриевич [Mikhail Dmitriyevich] (1991). Ваганьково [Vagankovo] (in Russian). Moscow: Московский рабочий [Moscow Worker]. p. 5. ISBN 5-239-01167-2. Retrieved 1 April 2023 – via Internet Archive. В Москве с давних времен было обычаем хоронить умерших в оградах церквей и монастырей. (...) В 1771 г. в связи с эпидемией чумы Екатерина II указом запретила хоронить москвичей, умерших от чумы, на всех монастырских и церковных кладбищах.
  5. ^ a b c Розанов [Rozanov], Н.О. [N.O.] (1868). О московских городских кладбищах [About Moscow City Cemeteries] (PDF) (in Russian). Страстномъ бульварѣ [Strastnoy Boulevard]: Катков и К° [Katkov & Co.] pp. 1–2. Retrieved 2 April 2023 – via Twirpx.com. (...) Петру 1 не нравилось, что въ Москвѣ и другихъ городахъ, при церквахъ и монастыряхъ, надгробные камни лежатъ поверхъ земли такъ, что препятствуютъ въ хожденіи при церковныхъ церемоніяхъ, и Государь считалъ такие камни безобразіемъ для церкви; посему указомъ 12 апрѣля 1722 г. приказалъ, надгробные камни при церквахъ и въ монастыряхъ опускать вровень съ землею, и надписи на камняхъ дѣлать сверху; камни же, которые неудобно такъ размѣстить, велѣлъ употреблять въ строеніе церковное. Въ 1723 г. октября 10 государь далъ указъ, чтобъ въ Москвѣ и во всѣхъ прочихъ городахъ были погребаемы при церквахъ только знатныя персоны, а прочія чтобы похороняемы были въ монастыряхъ и при приходскихт церквахъ внѣ города. внѣ города. Впрочемъ этотъ указъ не получилъ силы, потому что Государь вскорѣ, а именно 27 января 1725 г. умеръ, и вѣковой обычай похоронять покойниковъ при церквахъ приходскихъ остался безъ измъненія. Public Domain One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  6. ^ a b Шокарев [Shokarev], Сергей [Sergey] (2020). "Глава III. Обзор источников по истории московского некрополя" [Chapter III. A Review of Sources on the History of Moscow's Necropolises]. In Козлова [Kozlova], В. Ф. [V. F.] (ed.). Источники по истории московского некрополя XII – начала XX в. [Sources on the History of Moscow's Necropolises of the 12th – Early 20th Centuries] (in Russian). Нестор-История [Nestor-History]. pp. 248–249. ISBN 9785043427991. Archived from the original on 1 April 2023. Retrieved 1 April 2023 – via Google Books. (...) что по указу 1771 г. для погребения умерших в Москве «определены» «особливые церкви, кои имянуются кладбищенские». Таких церквей названо шесть: (...) 4) «на Ваганьковке близ Пресни» – из 1-й, 3-й и из 5-й половина
  7. ^ Taubman, William (2003). Khrushchev: The Man and His Era. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 100. ISBN 9780393051445 – via Internet Archive.
  8. ^ a b "Тайны Ваганьковского кладбища" [Secrets of Vagankovo Cemetery]. Argumenty i Fakty (in Russian). 14 April 2003. Archived from the original on 12 October 2017. Retrieved 30 March 2023.