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Varashev's Stone and the stone on the Serdobol highway
On the Ladoha Lake near Pogranichnye Kondushi village of Olonets Uesd nearby the shore line some 10 sazhens from a small granite cape there is a very remarkable red granite stone, laying by itself in the water and called Varashev's Stone. This stone has a form of parallelepiped with the length of 2 sazhens and the width of 1 sazhen; the stone hieght from the water is about 2 arshins. The stones edges are rather sharp and it sides are rather even.
Academitian Ozeretskovsky, after having made roundtrip on Ladoga Lake in 1785 describes the Varashev's Stone: "This stone is without any hesitation made by human hands, as it is alone here and for a long way there is no any rocks and also, there are letters cut on it's upper surface, stating the year". The drawing of the Varashev's Stone with the lettering on it is presented in his book "Travelling by Ladoga and Onego lakes and around the Ilmen Lake", published by the Imperial Academy of Science in 1812. According to the people's sayings, gathered by Ozeretskovsky, the Varashev's Stone was a border sigh on the Russian-Swedish border. But nobody knows why it is called the Varashev's Stone. During the Ozeretskovsky's travel the stone was a border sign between Serdobol and Olonets Uesds.
On the contrary, Colonel A.P.Andreev in his hydrografic description of Ladoga Lake (St.-Petersburg, 1875, pp.27-28) declines the opinion of Academician Ozeretskovsky and supposed that the signs on the Varashev's Stone are nothing more than territorial signs of local inhabitants. "at present there is not much of the marks described by Mr. Ozeretskovsky – writes Col. Andreev – but on the Northern side there can be clearly seen numbers 1761 and on other places and on the stone's edges there are scattered different signs. Supposing that the numbers on the stone (1761) mean the year in which they were cut, then it positively can be said that over 100 years in the water, exposed to the ice pressure, the surf with a sand and other elements had not any effect the stone, especially noting that it contents a big part of quarts. Though it should be noted that the stones size is much less than it is marked by Ozeretskovsky: 2 sazhens long, 1 sazhen wide and 2 arshins in height¹. To be precise, the Varashev's Stone is not lying on the true border between Finland and Olonets Gubernia – the border is about half a mile to the East of the stone. It would be more correct to say that this stone is the border of the shore granite formation, as further to the East there is no more naked granite – the beach is only sand with cobbles scattered around.".
Due to the difference in the evidence from Mr.Ozeretskovsky and Mr.Andreev about the Varashev's Stone the President of the Olonets Gubernia statistical committee and the Head of Olonets Gubernia Mr.G.G.Grigoryev in the last year they took a precise full size copy of the lettering on the Varashev's Stone. Comparing it with the drawing made by Mr.Ozertskovsky they found that the latter is not quite precise in rendering of the upper part on the letters Indicating the year. The new copy allows to read the inscription easily:
1885. Marks on Varashev's Stone
The year reads as 7126, i.g. 1618 and not 1761 as was read by Mr.Andreev.
Concerning the opinions of Mr.Ozeretskovsky and Mr.Andreev about the meaning of the script on the Varashev's Stone, the historical documents say that the Varashev's Stone is really a border sign set to mark the border between Olonets Uesd and modern Finland.
To demarcate the Russian and the Swedish land in accord with 1617 Stolbovsky Treaty Russian and Swedish "plenipotentiary demarcation ambassadors" came "between Olonets Pogost of Novgorod Uesd and Solomensky Pogost of Korelsky Uesd at Varachin Stone, also known as Varachin, in the year 7126 in the 25th day of October". In the Demarcation Document² demarcation ambassadors say: "Borders and marks from the both sides were correctly found, investigated, set and erected according the old documents rightly as it was in the old times. And the signs on that border marks are set from the side of our Great Sovereign His Majesty the Tsar and from the Russian State there were set crosses and from the side of the Noble Sovereign His Majesty the King and from the Sweysky State there were set crowns. And on other places there were dug pits and filled with the coal. And the border between Olonets Pogost of Novgorod Uesd and Solomensky Pogost of Korelsky Uesd starts from Varachin Stone, also known as Varachin, that lays near the shore against the cape and there are sings on it: the cross in the circle and the crowns and the year number".
So, Varashev's Stone served as the beginning of the border line, set between Russia and Sweden according to Stolbovsky Peace Treaty. The year and the month cut on the stone are the same as mentioned in the text above, but the date is not 25th but 26th. Russian sign – the cross in the circle is also on place, as it is seen from the mew copy but Swedish crowns possibly are lost.
Another similar stone is near the Serdobol post highway between the Pogranichnye Kondushi village in Olonets Uesd and the house of Virdilä custom point in Finland. There is now doubt that this stone marks the continuation of the borderline, set by demarcation ambassadors in 1618. There are Swedish crowns and non-Russian alphabet letter cut on it. But the year is doubtful. According to the new copy the year is read as 1761, but the Stolbovsky Treaty was signed in 1817 and soon after the demarcation by the demarcation ambassadors took place. It might be assumed that there was some mistake done in the new copy and the year reads incorrectly – 1761 instead of 1617.
Also there is no Russian signs (cross in a circle) on the latter. Might be the words of the demarcation ambassadors about cutting Russian and Swedish border marks should be read so, that on one stone (Varashev's Stone) were cut Russian marks and on the other stone (the stone between the Pogranichnye Kondushi village and the house of Virdilä custom point) were cut Swedish marks. And thus both stones serve as supplement of one to another.
Active member – secretary of the Olonets Gubernia statistical committee A.Ivanov
¹ According to Ozeretskovsky the height four ond a half arshins, length eight arshins and width five and a half arshins³
² First full edition of the Laws of the Russian Empire, vol.1, N19, p.203.
³ Andrew Heninen: the difference in the measurements might came from the difference in used basic measure. In 1785 in Russia still used 3 different arshin – usual, Church and Tsar's (the latter two times bigger than the first), in 1875 – only one (Tsars arshin).
Sazhen – old Russian measure of length, about two yards
Arshin – old Russian measure of length, about thirty inches
Gubernia – first-level administrative unit in the Russian Empire
Uesd – first-level administrative unit in the Great Principality of Moscow and Russian Tsardom and second-level administrative unit in the Russian Empire
Pogost – second-level administrative unit in the Great Principality of Moscow and Russian Tsardom and municipality-level administrative unit in the Russian Empire