TGSV sponsored a commemoration ceremony unveiling the plaque in honor of Russian sailors and pioneers on Russian Hill in San Francisco on August 1, 2005. The event was organized by TGSV in collaboration with United Humanitarian Mission of San Francisco. The ceremony drew Mayors of San Francisco Gavin Newsom and Willie Brown, Aaron Peskinm, President of San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Yuri Bedjanian, Deputy Consul General of the Russian Federation, and Leonid Nakhodkin, founder and Chairman of United Humanitarian Mission of San Francisco. The memorial plate was made in Kusa Casting and Machine-building Plant in Russia and funded by TGSV’s managing partner Andrey Drobyshev.
The Russian sailors from the Russian tallship “Pallada” with their Captain Nikolay Zorchenko landed on Russian Hill of San Francisco to stand Honor Guard for 19th century forebears, who formed San Francisco’s community. During the ceremony, the plaque was formally blessed by the Eastern Orthodox Father Pavel.
“This ceremony should be considered as an important event underlining the historical connection between our two nations, the contributions the Russian people make into the multi-national and multi-cultural history and life of this beautiful city” – said the Russian Deputy Consul General Yuri Bedjanian.
“Who would have thought this small fishing village in 1850 or so would have been turned overnight to an international destination…Part of that contribution was made, of course, by the Russian people” – stated the Mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom.
The record of Russian sailors and pioneers landing in San Francisco comes from a true love story of the Russian Count Nikolai Rezanov, who undertook a trip on sails “Juno” and “Avos”* to California in 1806. With the aim of extending Russia’s international relations, Rezanov landed in a Spanish settlement near a monastery belonging to the order of St. Francis of Alssisi. The Russians received a hostile greeting by Jose de Arguello, the Governor of San Francisco, who planned a ball in honor of his sixteen-year-old daughter Conchita. After meeting Conchita at the ball, Rezanov begged her for love and finally took her.
Subsequently, the Russian-American Company’s commercial ties soured. The scandal and rumors caused by Rezanov’s dishonorable deed, made the Russians return to their ships and leave San Francisco. After a secret betrothal ceremony, Rezanov commenced his trip home. In Siberia near Krasnoyarsk he suddenly caught a cold and died. Conchita for a long time refused to believe reports about Rezanov’s death and waited for him for 36 years. At last she took a vow of silence, which she kept for the remainder of her days. She died in a cell of convent in San Francisco.
The Mayor Gavin Newsom officially announced the 1st of August the official Russian Hill History Commemoration Day in San Francisco.
*In Russian the word “avos” means “perhaps”, and sometimes “good luck”