Nikolai Ivanovich Grodekov
Governor-General of Priamursk, commander of the troops of the Priamursk Military District, the army ataman of the Cossack troops. Participant of Khiva campaign, participant of military operations in Afghanistan, Governor-General of Syr Darya region, member of the State Council, commander of military operations in Northern Manchuria, General of Infantry. Military writer. Chairman of Priamurskiy section of the Imperial Russian Geographic Society, scientist, patron of arts, collector and donator.
Nikolai Ivanovich was orphaned as a child, grew up in an environment of strict military discipline, got used to work hard and persistently, was ascetic in life, was consistent in everything, thanks to which he achieved success in the military and administrative career, even without influential patrons.
Grodekov lived in Khabarovsk for just over eight years and during this time he managed to implement a large number of important projects for the development of the Amur Governorate General Region.
His service in the Amur region began in 1893 with the post of Vice-Governor. Not yet having left the capital for his new appointment, Grodekov, by order of S. M. Dukhovsky, the acting Governor-General, went with an inspection to the penal island of Sakhalin. The result of Grodekov's trip was a detailed report, which marked the beginning of administrative changes in the island's management and personnel changes.
Nikolai Ivanovich was the founder and the first chairman of Priamursky department of the Imperial Russian Geographical Society (POIRGO). Under the patronage of the Governor-General, scientific expeditions were sent out, their members studied the living nature, geological structure, ethnography of the peoples of the Amur and Primorye regions of the Governor-General's Priamurskoye region, collected statistical data.
N.I. Grodekov put a lot of effort into the creation of the Museum of Natural History and Library of POIRGO in the administrative center - Khabarovsk. He donated large personal funds for the construction of the museum building, its internal arrangement, and a variety of thematic collections.
Gubernaya Gazeta "Priamurskie Vedomosti" wrote that "among the great merits of N.I. Grodekov must be attributed his ability to organize the work, to find people capable of helping at a given time, and to attract them to the common cause by his example and endearment. The tide of donations to the department's museum was so great that some of the donations could not fit in the temporary premises of the pharmacy warehouse.
In 1900, the Khabarovsk Museum of the IRGO took part in the Paris World Exhibition and was represented by "samples of national dress of the Amur tribes and stuffed animals of the most remarkable representatives of fauna". These exhibits were highly appreciated by the organizers and awarded at the exhibition. During the preparation Grodekov personally solved the problems of payment for all the expenses, clarified the place of collection of exhibits, their required number and the area for their placement.
In 1901, Nikolai Ivanovich also participated in the creation of the museum's art department. The beginning of the art collection was a collection of works of Russian fine art, donated by the Imperial Academy of Arts, as well as 15 paintings and 6 plaster casts, purchased at Grodekov's personal expense.
At the same time, Grodekov donated books to the museum's library.
He personally catalogued more than 700 copies and compiled a section of the catalog on "Ethnography and Anthropology". Even after receiving a new assignment in St. Petersburg, he continued to send to Khabarovsk books for it, and the remaining of his personal library in 1911 he bequeathed "Grodekovsky in the city of Khabarovsk of Primorsky region to the Museum of Priamursky department of the Imperial Russian geographical society".
Grodekov purposefully pursued a policy of increasing the population. He was a staunch supporter of peasant colonization of the Amur and Primorye territories. A census of population conducted in 1897, in the organization of which Grodekov was directly involved, showed that the Far Eastern outskirts were critically underpopulated. Only 371.8 thousand people lived in the territory, which was one of the largest in Russia.
For this reason, Grodekov pointed out in his numerous reports to the capital, demographic and migration issues were acute and required government involvement. Already by 1900, 15.4 thousand people had moved here in an organized manner, and in 1901, 16.7 thousand, exceeding the figures of resettlement in 1896 and 1898 four and six times respectively. The Amur Governorate General began to develop a new Regulation on the land tenure of the Amur and Primorsky regions.
Among the significant events that took place thanks to the initiative of Nikolai Ivanovich Grodekov and contributed to the resettlement policy are the construction of the Chinese Eastern Railway (CEL) and the work on the improvement of river routes.
During his leadership of the region, the construction of the Amur Wheel Road, the Amur Highway ("Amur Kolesukha"), a postal route linking Blagoveshchensk with Khabarovsk, was begun.
Regarding the industrial development of the region, he supported the idea of creating the Khabarovsk "Arsenal" (later the plant "Daldizel") and contributed to its laying.
Grodekov stimulated and approved many undertakings in the field of education. A Cadet Corps and a real school were opened in Khabarovsk in 1900, the first institution of higher education in the Amur Governorate General - the Oriental Institute (1899) was opened in Vladivostok. Under his leadership, 37 new elementary schools appeared in the region, more than 50 teachers were brought from central Russia.
With respect to the indigenous local population, he adhered to a policy of non-interference in their internal life. Grodekov emphasized that their orders and customs had a centuries-long history of independent existence that must be respected. In particular, he was concerned that aboriginal interests be taken into account when drafting a project to regulate fishing in the Amur basin.
Along with strictness and exactingness to himself and his subordinates, contemporaries noted cordiality and humanity in Nikolai Ivanovich Grodekov's character. His work as a Governor-General of Priamursk can undoubtedly serve as one of the best examples of the style of a leader of the highest rank.