The Vologda Exile Museum is located in a wooden two-storey house of the 19th century. Vologda became a place of exile for political prisoners back in the 16th century. The most famous prisoner who served time here was Joseph Stalin. He came to Vologda after completing the term he served in exile in Solvychegodsk.
Joseph Dzhugashvili was exiled to Solvychegodsk (at that time he had not yet taken the pseudonym Stalin) he served in 1909-1911. This city is located 550 kilometers northeast of Vologda. There he lived in the house of Maria Kuzakova, who gave birth to a son from Stalin. In August 1911, Joseph Stalin left Kuzakova`s house in Solvychegodsk.
He was ordered to move to Vologda and forbidden to live in the capitals and other major cities. However, Stalin, using the passport of his acquaintance, the exiled Peter Chizhikov, went to St. Petersburg, where he was immediately arrested and ordered to return to Vologda.
The Vologda Exile Museum is located in a house on the banks of the Zolotukha River, where Joseph Stalin rented a small room for 3 rubles a month in December 1911. He lived there for only 3 months until February 1912. He again received forged documents and again fled Vologda. This was the end of Stalin`s Vologda exile.
At the same time as Stalin, Vyacheslav Scriabin was also in Vologda exile, who later took the surname Molotov and was Minister of Foreign Affairs in Stalin`s government for several decades. Molotov was only 20 years old during his exile. He did not have such influence in the party as Stalin, so he served all three years of exile in Totma, Solvychegodsk and Vologda in full.
As Molotov later recalled about the possibility of escaping from Vologda: "It was easy to escape, no one was watching you, but it meant going into an illegal position and burdening the party’s cash office." To make life easier in Vologda exile, Molotov worked playing the mandolin in Vologda restaurants. Stalin later recalled this to him at feasts: "You played in front of drunken merchants in Vologda, they smeared mustard on your face." Molotov modestly kept silent.
In 1937, by order of Stalin, museums dedicated to Stalin`s stay in exile were opened in the Vologda house, as well as in the Kuzakova house in Solvychegodsk. A monument to Stalin was erected in front of the Vologda Exile Museum. In the 1950s, it was dismantled, and the museum itself was closed.
The house where Stalin served his exile has survived to this day without rebuilding. Thanks to this, in 2007 the city authorities decided to create the Vologda Exile Museum. It is dedicated to all political exiles who served their time in Vologda in the 19th and 20th centuries. In the small room that Joseph Stalin rented, you can see his wax figure.