Nikolai Belyaev (entrepreneur)

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Nikolay Vasilyevich Belyaev
Born27 April 1859
Moscow, Russia
Died15 February 1920
Resting placeunknown
Businessman, philanthropist
Alexandra Alexandrovna Belyaeva
(m. 1890⁠–⁠1920)
Children8, including Viktor Belyaev

Nikolay Vasilyevich Belyaev (Russian: Николай Васильевич Беляев) (27 April 1859 – 15 February 1920) was a Russian philanthropist, entrepreneur, founder and chairman of the Upper Volga Railway Society.


Nikolay Belyaev was born to a professor’s family in Moscow, Russia. Due to his father’s professional achievements, the family received the hereditary nobility status in 1884.[1] In 1879, he graduated from the Cadet Corps in Orel Bakhtin Military Gymnasium.

Nikolay Belyaev served as treasurer of the newly-founded Alexandrinsky Community[2] of Sisters of Mercy, named after Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, under the Committee of Christian Relief of the Russian Red Cross Society. It organized a comprehensive system of nursing services throughout Russia.[3] For his services to the community, Nikolay Belyaev was awarded the Order of St. Anna and the Order of St. Stanislaus of the 3rd class. In 1893, he became College Registrar [ru] and in 1896 be became a Provincial Secretary [ru]. In 1900 he became a State Councillor. He also participated in the Committee for Assistance to the poorest students of the 4th Moscow Gymnasium.[4]


Together with similar-minded entrepreneurs, he founded and later chaired the Society for the Construction and Operation of the Upper Volga Railway[5] which built and ran a railway line in the north of Moscow.[6] Nikolay Belyaev was one of the initiators of the creation of the railway, which was an alternative to the upper Volga river route. For a rapidly developing industry and trade in forests, more reliable and high-speed transport was required. Thus, the idea of building a railway was strongly supported by the regional officials and by entrepreneurs.[7] The railway was constructed in 1914-1918, and later finished in the 1930s.

Once privately owned, this railway is now part of the October Railway and connects Moscow with Kalyazin and Uglich.

Nikolay Belyaev was also a member of the jewelry trading house D.P.&M Frolov[8] and of the Moscow Automobile Society, organizing public car races and developing early traffic regulations.[9] He owned one of the first Mercedes Benz automobiles in Moscow.

As a liberal-minded member of the Constitutional Democratic Party, Nikolay Belyaev aimed to reform the Russian state as a candidate for the Moscow City Duma. He supported the Provisional Government.[10] The February Revolution proved to be a severe challenge for him and his family. While some members of the family fought in the White Army and heavily engaged in anti-bolshevik activities (and subsequently fled the country), others stayed and suffered repressions, until finally adapting for the new regime.

On 15 February 1920, Nikolay Belyaev died under unknown circumstances in the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius. Nikolay Belyaev was the last owner of the Golovin estate on Potapovsky Lane in Moscow.

Family network[11][edit]

His father, Vasily Alexeyevich Belyaev[11] (1823-1881), was a professor at the Lazarev Institute of Oriental Languages.[12] His mother, Olga Mikhailovna Belyaeva (1833-1912), was from the Frolov family, who were Moscow merchant jewelers.[8][13]

Nikolay Belyaev was married to Alexandra Alexandrovna Belyaeva (1865-1954),[11] who originated from the well-known Moscow merchant family Alexeev. Her father and grandfather owned the Lubyansky passage in Moscow. She emigrated to Nice.[14] They had eight children amongst whom the eldest, Alexander (1891-1977), emigrated to Berlin and later to Munich after fighting in the White Army.[11] Another son, Viktor Belyaev (1896 – 1955) became a renowned Soviet aircraft designer.[11]

His brother Sergey Belyaev[11] (after 1856 - 1917) was a general in the Russian Imperial army. His sister Maria Vasilievna Belyaeva[11] (1869-?) was married to the Consul general of the Russian Empire in Damascus, Secretary of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society Alexey Belyaev[15] (1859-1906). When she was stuck the war zone of World War I in Lausanne, Switzerland, she remained there with her children and, due to the Russian Revolution, never returned.[16]


  • Moscow, Armyansky lane, 4 (Frolov house)
  • Moscow, Potapovsky lane, 8 (Golovin estate, Belyaev house)


  • Chernopyatov V.I. Reports of the Christian Relief Committee of the Russian Red Cross Society, 1885-1890. – Moscow, 1890.


  1. ^ Central State Archive of Moscow. F.4. Op.10. D.287.
  2. ^ "Александринская община сестер милосердия при комитете "христианская помощь"". Retrieved 15 January 2023.
  3. ^ Kozlovtseva, E (26 August 2020). Moscow Sisters of Mercy Communities in the 19th – beginning of 20th centuries. Litres. ISBN 9785457891524.
  4. ^ The 4th Moscow Gymnasium. Society for assistance to the poorest students. In 6 volumes. 1895–1912.
  5. ^ Charter of the Society of the Upper Volga Railway. Moscow: T.-Litography I.Mashystov. 1914.
  6. ^ The Upper Volga Railway project: Explanatory a note to the project (PDF). St. Petersburg. 1913.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  7. ^ "How the railway came to Uglich". Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  8. ^ a b Reference book for traders having received merchant and trade certificates in the city of Moscow in 1887. 1887. p. 159.
  9. ^ All Moscow. Address and reference book. 1913.
  10. ^ "Elections to the Moscow City Duma". Russkoe Slovo. 130. 6 October 1917.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Savelov, L.M. (1913). Pedigree book of the nobility of the Moscow province. Vol. 1. Moscow. p. 208.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  12. ^ Speeches and a report delivered in the solemn meeting of the Lazarev Institute of Oriental Languages on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary (1815-1865). Moscow: Lazarev Institute of Oriental Languages. 1865.
  13. ^ Malyi Zlatoustinskiy 10 | House of the Frolov. My Moscow. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
  14. ^ Grezin, I (2012). Russian Orthodox cemetery Caucade in Nice. Moscow.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  15. ^ Krymsky, A.E. (1975). Letters from Lebanon, 1896-1898. Moscow. pp. 200–210.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  16. ^ Gazette de Lausanne, 1941.