The title “Honorary Citizen of Odessa” is the highest sign of gratitude to the citizens of Odessa. It began to be appropriated back in the days – since 1862. This title is awarded to persons of outstanding merit who have made a tremendous personal contribution to the development of Odessa and whose activities have received wide recognition among the citizens of Odessa. People can be awarded this title, regardless of their citizenship and residence.
Twelfth Marine Minister (Manager of the Marine Ministry), Adjutant General, Admiral, Member Council of State, Honorary Member of the Conference Nikolaev Naval Academy, round the world traveler, explorer of Amur and Tatarsky Strait, Nikolay Matveevich Chikhachev was born on 29 (17) April 1830 in the village of Dobryvichi, Novorzhevsky district, Pskov province (now the town of Dobryvichi Bezhanitsky district of the Pskov region) in the family of Captain 2nd rank Matvey Nikolaevich Tchikhachev and came from hereditary noblemen of the Pskov province. Here Nikolay’s early years passed. At eleven years old (February 21, 1841), the boy was assigned to the naval cadet corps in St. Petersburg.
In 1849, he took part in the Far Eastern expedition of Admiral G.I. Nevelskoy in the military transport “Baikal”.
In 1860, he was appointed adjutant to the Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolaevich, who was in charge of the Naval Ministry. He helped his boss, the chairman of the Main Committee for Peasant Affairs, in the preparation of the 1861 reform. At the age of 31 he became chief of staff of the chief commander of the Kronstadt port.
Since 1862, Nikolay Matveyevich has been in Odessa. For 22 years, he headed the Russian Society of Shipping and Trade (ROPiT), played a prominent role in its development, significantly raising the rank of domestic shipping in southern waters. In 1865 he was unanimously elected director of the ROPiT for the second three years. Then it was repeated many times: in 1868, 1871, 1874 … In 1867 one of the ships was named “Admiral Tchikhachev”.
Thanks to Nikolay Tchikhachev, much has been done to improve the port. The port was cleaned, equipped technically, a railway overpass was built, and the transportation of oil in bulk from Batumi was arranged. In 1866, the training of skilled workers and mechanics for the needs of the Society began. Shipbuilding workshops were built in Odessa and Sevastopol. By 1869, ROPIT had 63 ships sailing on 20 regular lines in the Black, Azov, Mediterranean Seas, and Atlantic Ocean. In addition to foreign ones, there were also 12 regular domestic lines.
In addition to ROPIT in Odessa, Nikolay Matveyevich was among the founders of the Bessarabian-Tavrichesky Bank. He was also the director of the Odessa Railway Society, was an active member of the Water Rescue Society, where one of the rescue stations on the shore was named after him.
In Odessa, he lived on the 12 Primorsky Boulevard. On May 14, 1876, his youngest son, Dmitry Nikolaevich, was born in Odessa.
In 1876, Admiral Chikhachev and the society he headed served Russia an excellent service, carrying out large-scale transportation of troops, artillery, quartermaster supplies for the future theatre of military operations. During the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878. ROPiT allocated 12 steamers to the maritime department, 4 of which worked without any payment. When hostilities unfolded, Nikolay Matveyevich was appointed head of the coastal defense of Odessa. An active participant in the operations of the Russian flotillas at the Danube.
The Grand Duke Alexey Alexandrovich himself, being very sweet, honest and noble, at the same time was not a particularly serious business person, and he was led by Nikolay Matveyevich Tchikhachev, head of the maritime ministry. Thus, the idea of building a Baltic port was propagated by H. M. Tchikhachev, a man who was also very nice, smart, but smart mainly in commercial rather than military matters.Sergey Witte, Former Prime Minister of Russia
The construction of railways, so vividly affecting all interests in the state, could not, of course, not touch upon the interests of the Ministry of the Navy. With the rapid expansion of our fleet, which caused the reconstruction and improvement of port facilities, the construction of railways to Sevastopol, Nikolaev and other ports of the Black Sea coast indicated the state the need for the same railway track to the Baltic coast as possessing non-freezing raids in the cities of Vindava and Libava (Liepaja).
On February 25 (O.S.), 1893, according to the most humble report of the Minister of Internal Affairs, the petition of the Odessa City Duma, followed by the Highest permission to confer the title of honorary citizen of the city of Odessa to Admiral Tchikhachev.
Nikolay Matveyevich ended his career as a Member of the State Council, where from 1900 to 1906 he was Chairman of the Department of Industry, Sciences and Trade. He is immortalized in the famous painting by Ilya Repin “Ceremonial sitting of the State Council on 7 May 1901, marking the centenary of its foundation”.
For his service, he was awarded many Russian orders and royal thanks. Among the awards were foreign ones – the French Legion of Honour, the Prussian Red Eagle of the 1st degree, the Danish Order of the Grand Cross, the Serbian Takova of the 1st degree and others.
The wife of Nikolay Matveyevich was Baroness Evgenia Feodorovna Korf. They had nine children. His eldest son, Nikolay Nikolaevich Tchikhachev, was born on December 1, 1859, was a state councilor and chamber junker of the Imperial Court. He worked at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and then chose politics and was a deputy of the IV State Duma from the Kyiv Province, belonging to the nationalist faction. The daughter of Nikolay Matveyevich, Evgenia Nikolaevna Tchikhacheva, was a maid of honour of the Imperial Court.
Nikolay Tchikhachev was lucky – he died on January 2 (15), 1917, not having lived a little before the destruction of the country, which he served faithfully for many years. On a special train provided by the Emperor, the body of Nikolay Matveyevich was transported to his native estate in the Pskov village, Dobryvichi, where he was born.
In addition to the mentioned bay in the Sea of Japan, an island in the same sea, an island in the Korean Sea, a cape in the Tatar Sea are named after Admiral Tchikhachev.