Grandmother

If I've learned anything from her, it's whatever happens in life, and whatever difficulties cross your path; you always have the choice to remain a good person. You can choose not to let your environment change you, to remain who you are.

She had a lot of love for fellow human beings, and never expected anything in return. Didn't ask for anything in return. I've always admired that. I also learned that you can be unconditional as a person. And commit yourself to a goal based on love. She was always positive and cheerful.

My grandmother Anna Veniaminoff-Tauer was born in St. Petersburg on July 1, 1914, in a family of Russian nobles. Her great-grandfather was Metropolitan of Alaska and America, Saint Innocent of Alaska.

Her grandfather was the personal priest of Maria Fedorovna, Russian Queen Regent, mother of the last Tsar Nikolai II. My grandmother was born in a palace in St. Petersburg, her godmothers were Princess Shakhovskaya and Maria Fedorovna Romanoff herself.

With the arrival of Lenin, her father - he was a lawyer and white officer - and her grandfather the priest were arrested. They were sent from camp to camp for years, eventually ending up in front of the firing squad. My grandmother survived with her mother and sister thanks to her father's friends who forged papers. Grandma and her family were given the status of public enemy.

She was not allowed to study, not to the Conservatory. They have lost all their possessions to the state. Before Lenin, they even had a named hamlet with a small palace.

During the war, my grandmother lived in a carriage with her husband. He was chief engineer bridge construction. For example, the two main bridges leading to the Kremlin were built under his supervision. They have received several awards for their contribution.

My mother was a soloist. As a harpist, she played with the Leningrad Philharmonic, gave masterclasses and was a jury member of competitions. She also had her own festival in St. Petersburg. She passed away when I was 15.

My grandmother was always a very loving, committed woman. Without resentment to the state that has caused her so much pain and misery. She was always friendly, smiled a lot and loved people. Everyone was always welcome and she tried to please everyone with full tables of delicacies, right up to her last months. She read a lot and was a highly developed woman. My mother too, by the way. Grandma always came to all my gigs. After my mother died, she actually became my mother. In fact, she was long before that. She stopped working when I was born and came to live with us in

St. Petersburg!