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Russian nobleman by birth to run for Austrian president — archivist

According to archive documents, Alexander Van der Bellen is a grandson and namesake of a gubernatorial commissar whom the Provisional Government appointed to rule in Pskov in 1917
Alexander Van der Bellen EPA/CHRISTIAN BRUNA
Alexander Van der Bellen

PSKOV, March 14 /TASS/. Alexander Van der Bellen, a Russian nobleman by birth, will run for Austrian president on April 24 this year. His grandfather held the post of gubernatorial Commissar of the Provisional Government in the city of Pskov, Valery Kuzmin, director of the State Archives of Russia’s Pskov region, told TASS on Monday.

"According to the documents that we have in our archives, Alexander Van der Bellen, an Austrian presidential candidate, is a grandson and namesake of a gubernatorial commissar whom the Provisional Government appointed to rule in Pskov in 1917," Kuzmin said.

The Austrian presidential candidate’s Russian grandfather was called Alexander von der Bellen. The name can be found in the genealogical book of the Russian gentry. His family roots go back to the 18th century and, as we can see, have always been linked to Pskov, Kuzmin added.

Before the 1917 February revolution, Alexander von der Bellen had headed the Pskov governorate (guberniya), a territorial subdivision in tsarist Russia from 1708 to 1919, which was in charge of the local self-government. He ran the Pskov governorate from March to July 1917 on appointment of the Provisional Government. He quitted his post later.

"There are dozens of documents concerning the life and activities of the Bellen family in the Pskov governorate. They include protocols of the territorial government’s assemblies; property documents such as insurance, for example, and birth certificates," Kuzmin explained.

The archives director said that the Bellen family had stayed in the Pskov region until 1919 at least. Then they emigrated to the West together with the children, including son Alexander (born on October 8, 1898), the father of the Austrian presidential candidate.

Presidential candidate Alexander Van der Bellen, 72, is a well-known economist who represents Austria’s Green Party.

Andreas Khol from the Austrian People’s Party (OEVP) and Rudolf Hundstorfer from the Social Democratic Party will be Alexander Van der Bellen’s rivals in the forthcoming presidential race.