Senate building is rightly considered a fine example of
Russian architecture of 18th century within the
complex of Moscow Kremlin buildings. The prominent Russian
architect M.F. Kazakov designed this remarkable structure.
The construction lasted from 1776 till 1788; the interior
decoration was completed in 1790.
it was intended to hold the assemblies of Moscow
Gubernia’s nobility here. In 1856, in connection with
the transfer of two Senate departments from St. Petersburg
to Moscow, it was given to the judicial departments of the
three-storied building has, in plan view, the shape of a
blunt-ended triangle. Its inner space is divided by two
straight archways thus forming three inner courtyards. The
upper angle of the triangle is marked with big green dome.
The Senate stands opposite Senate Tower, confronting the
Mausoleum on the outer side of Kremlin wall. The dome of
the Senate echoes another, smaller one, situated opposite
the big one.
main cupola was first crowned with Moscow’s crest, an
equestrian statue of St. George, which was replaced by the
emblem of royal justice in 1856. In 1918, when the capital
was transferred from Petrograd back to Moscow, a red flag
was mounted on the cupola, now replaced by a three-colored
flag of the Russian Federation.
Senate building is a brilliant example of early Russian
classicism in architecture. Outwardly severe and well
balanced it reveals ample examples of the new style in
beautiful décor. Big circular hall, recognized
masterpiece of Russian architecture, is most impressive.
Situated inside magnificent rotunda, this hall cannot be
detected from the outside. Only gigantic cupola marks the
location of this compositional center of the whole
is surrounded at the perimeter by light columns and
pilasters of Corinthian order supporting delicate
furnishing in full profile. There is narrow gallery above
it, with two tiers of plaster bas-relief replicas of
portraits of the Russian princes and tsars placed between
the windows. The famous Russian sculptor F.H. Shubin made
their marble originals in 1774-1775, for Chesmensky Palace
in St. Petersburg. One can see their copies in the halls
of the Armoury.
and blue walls, snow-white columns, blue upholstery,
golden rosettes on the cupola, light clear lines, ideal
proportions make this interior perfect artistically and
is 24.7m in diameter. At the height of 27m, it is covered
by grandiose caisson spherical cupola rising over the
delicate, even fragile, spherical circumference of the
the door arches in the hall’s lower part, there are high
relieves with allergic scenes, which glorify Catherine II
(sculptor G.H. Zamarayev). Hall was called Yekaterininsky
(Catherine’s) Hall up to 1919, when the hall was renamed
the Sverdlov Hall.
Oval Hall is situated under the second, smaller cupola of
the Senate. It is also white-and-blue colored like
Yekaterininsky Hall. On the cupola, along the longitudinal
axis, there is high-relieves of St. George, striking the
dragon. These crests are reminder of the fact that
originally the building was intended for holding Moscow
Gubernia’s assemblies of the nobility.
the revolution of 1917, there was a club for Kremlin
personnel and students of the military college in the
Senate building. In the spring of 1918, the capital of
Soviet State was moved to Moscow. At the end of April of
the same year, Lenin with his family, his wife and sister,
moved to the former Senate building. His flat and study
were on the third floor.
that time, the building has been the residence of Soviet
government. Party congresses and conferences were held in
Svedlov Hall. Highest government and state awards and
Lenin prizes were also presented here. People’s
deputies’ sittings took place here up to 1934, when
Alexandrovsky and Andreyevsky Halls were specially rebuilt
for 17th Party Congress. After that, party
congresses and plenums of Supreme Soviet were held here.
the Senate building was Stalin’s study consisting of big
reception room and small study. The destinies of the
country and the people were dictated here. A famous screen
with, large moving geographical map, is kept here. It is
known to millions of people since it is seen on newsreels
and feature films about the life of the governmental
Kremlin. The first map of this kind was made on Lenin’s
In the first year of 3rd millennium, the Senate
building is occupied by the administration of Russian