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Shugaevsky Family

Part 11 A Cadet

Now I will return to presenting Leonid's story chronologically. 

Click on images to enlarge.

Petrovsky Poltava Cadet Corps 

(Петровский Полтавский кадетский корпус)

The earliest photo of Leonid we have is in the family portrait from 1903.  Using 1886 as his birth year, he would have been around 17 years old. On the back of this photo Valentin wrote that Leonid was a cadet in Poltava.  Cadet corps were military secondary schools. Leonid's brothers attended the classical gymnasium in Chernihiv (Chernigov), which was the other logical choice.

1903 detail of Leonid.jpg

Leonid in 1903

There were about thirty-two cadet corps in the Russian Empire.   I found a book on Russian cadet corps for sale on the internet (written in Russian). I’m mentioning the book because of the book description (shown in part below).

“A military education was very common for youths from Russian noble families. The graduates of the military schools not only joined the ranks of the army and state bodies but also became artists, scholars, and educators."


At the cadet corp, Leonid would have had a well rounded education which included classes in science, math and history as well as modern languages like French and German. Other activities included military training, physical education, fencing, swimming, art, music, singing, dancing and theater. The quote below compares  cadet corps with classical gymnasiums which were run by different ministries.

This is from a graduate thesis by Andrew J. Ringlee, Chapel Hill, 2010.

Seeking to train an independently minded officer and ensure loyalty to the autocratic state, the Russian Ministry of War paid great attention to providing its students with an ideal school experience centered on familial relations between teachers and students, progressive pedagogical innovations, and extracurricular activities. In contrast to the Ministry of War, the Ministry of Education viewed its students‘ political attitudes with suspicion and attempted to limit their exposure to radical thought through the teaching of classical languages and the classroom use of rote memorization and stern disciplinary measures.

c 1903-info leonid.jpg

Notes on the back of the photo

shoulder patch 3.jpeg

Detail from the above photo showing Leonid's shoulder strap. The ensignia for the Petrovsky Poltava Cadet Corp is (barely) visible.

Petrovo-Poltavski_Kad._Korp_(Pogon) (1).

Shoulder strap of the Petrovsky Poltava Cadet Corp

I had trouble finding out what Leonid's experience in the cadet corp may have been like. Most sources are in Russian (or Ukrainian) and the cadet corps changed over their 186 years of existence. An English language Wikipedia article Cadet Corps (Russia) claims that boys started between the ages of eight and fifteen (I have read nine to twelve elsewhere) and that the term of education was seven years. Leonid graduated the year he turned 18, so he may have left home to be a cadet when he was eleven years old. 

My mother remembers that Leonid was trained as an engineer. First I thought he had some rudimentary engineering training at the cadet corps (the cadet corp in Odessa even specialized in engineering), but then I found that Leonid traveled to St. Petersburg and studied at the Nikolaev Engineering Academy, graduating in 1907. When I discovered this I knew that the emigration date on the 1923 passport was false. Why did Leonid lie and was he really involved in the 1905 Russian revolution?

Shugaevsky, Leonid Andreevich

He graduated from the Petrovsky Poltava Cadet Corps in 1904, [and entered] the Nikolaev Engineering School.  Source: 

A. D. Romashkevich. List of cadets of the Petrovsky Poltava cadet corps, graduated from 1891 to 1908. Appendix to the Materials to the history of the Petrovsky Poltava cadet corps from October 1, 1907 to October 1, 1908. Year five. Poltava. 1908. P. 42
Photo: Graduation album PPKK 1904 

Leonid at PPCA.png

Badge of the Petrovsky Poltava Cadet Corp

Source (didn't work the last time I tried): Click here

This link ,  still worked when I last tried and it has Leonid listed for the class of 1904 along with information about classes, instructors, daily life, and more.

For the Russian Wikipedia article for the cadet corp, click here.

Web sites with some photos and history can be found by clicking here and here and here.  

Good photos can be found here.


Leonid is some where in the photo.

I found many photos of Leonid’s graduating class. Besides the photo with the entire class (on the right) there were photos of smaller groups with a background related to their interest (music, artillery, etc). Leonid's photo is in the bottom row, second from the right.

Poltava Cadet 1900.jpg

Old postcard of the Petrovsky Poltava Cadet Corp

Cadets Corps of Poltava go on military exercise, Poltava 1900. Leonid may be in this photo!

Poltava in Ukreaine.jpg

Leonid left his home in Chernihiv (Russian: Chernigov) to go to school in Poltava. Chernihiv is near the upper left corner of the map.  According to Google Maps the trip now takes over 5 hours by car. It was possible to go by rail at the time Leonid went there.

The city of Poltava was in an administrative district with the same name  My mother remembers that her grandmother, Leonid’s mother, grew up in Poltava.

This may be why two of her children went to school there. Leonid may have had relatives in the town where he went to study.

The Nikolaev Engineering College

(Николаевское инженерное училище)

Since one of the few details my mother learned about her Uncle Leonid was that he was trained as an engineer, it was exciting to find confirmation. 

Schools of military engineers in the years 1701-1960



Leonid Andreevich


Russian military engineer



1904 - graduated from Petrovsky Poltava KK. Entered into service in the School of Engineering in St. Petersburg.

1907 - Graduated from the Nikolaevsk . Graduated as second lieutenant.


source: Briukhovetsky R.I.


Old photo of the Nikolaevsk

Internet source for above: 

For a page with history and lists of graduates including Leonid: click here.

For a web site with great photos of the school, click here.   


My mother was told that the Leonid was married more than once – maybe three times. As we will learn further along, on an immigration document from 1910 he states that he is married. That is the only confirmation we have of a Russian wife. I may have found Leonid's wife in a database of victims of political repression (at International Memorial).


SHUGAEVSKAYA Maria Andreevna ( Lv. Butkova)


The Lv. abbreviation informs us that her maiden name was Butkova, and so she must be a different person than Leonid's sister. Maybe she was Leonid's wife. I know I'm probably creating history out of nothing, but I'm part Russian so I'm allowed. 

Screen Shot 2020-03-14 at 3.27.38 PM.png

This Russian  human rights organization publicizes past atrocities and is persecuted by the Russian government. More at Wikipedia here.

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