The farming estate of Dmitry Stakheev (1877-1938) was one of the best in the early 20th century Russia. After studying agriculture in Germany, Stakheev purchased a neglected piece of land in the village of Agishevo and in ten years turned it into a highly productive, modern agricultural facility.
He built a school for local children and hosted internships for students of the Moscow Agricultural Academy. Yet despite of his successes in business and a happy family life, Dmitry Stakheev, in his own words, "lived on a volcano." A smart and sensitive man, he understood the explosive political situation in Russia well.
When Russian Revolution of 1917 came, Dmitry abandoned his prosperous farming facility and moved into a small house in the nearby town with some furniture and a cow. His model farm was soon looted by the local farmers and his cattle slaughtered for meat, while the former owner worked as an ordinary agronomist in a local agricultural commune. This downgrading, no doubt, saved the life of a man, whose parents and wife, Sofia Stakheev-Krestovnikov, came from one of the richest families in the country.
The photos in this exhibition capture the still peaceful life of the Agishevo farm. They also show the artistic side of this extraordinary man, a talented photographer and a businessman, whose life spanned one of the most dramatic periods in the Russian history.
Photos: Provided by Maria M. Kaverzneva. The archive of the Stakheev-Krestovnikov family.