Any event in the Grand Kremlin Palace (Большой Кремлёвский дворец) is nothing short of splendid. The most magnificent of all Kremlin structures, the Grand Palace is the ceremonial seat of power for the Russian President and used for special government and diplomatic functions. Yesterday President Medvedev awarded senior officers from Russia’s security and defence agencies promotions in rank during a ceremony in the Grand Kremlin Palace’s St George Hall.
The ceremony formalized the promotion of officers to higher command positions and awarded them with top military commissions. The President told the officers that, Ensuring a high level of national defence capability is one of the essential conditions for us to be able to carry out our strategic plans. We are therefore developing not just our armed forces but also our international cooperation in this area, with our goal being to guarantee indivisible security in Europe and throughout the world. Our recent initiatives on jointly creating a European ABM system also pursue this goal. We, in any case, see no alternative to this.
At the far end of this photo is St. Andrew’s Hall, named in honour of the Apostle and Saint Andrew “the first called” and missionary to the Slavs. The Order of St.Andrew was instituted by Emperor Peter I on 10 March 1698. Saint Andrew’s hall holds the massive Throne of St. Andrew, with its Gothic vaults, two rows of square pillars and symbols to the sacred dignity of the Sovereign Power. Between these two halls is the famed Aleksandrovsky (Saint Alexander) Hall.
According to wishes of Metropolitan Philaret at the building of the palace, “The temple of St. George the Victorious was dedicated to be the Sanctuary of Glory for the victorious Russian Army.” Saint George is the largest of all the halls of the Palace and can accomodate over 2,000 people. When construction on the Grand Palace began in 1837 it was the largest structure in the Kremlin, some 500,000 square feet, and cost 11 million rubles to build. It was designed to link the older Terem Palace and Palace of Facets, with its new and glorious reception halls, a ceremonial red staircase, and private Imperial apartments.
It was in the Grand Palace that USA President Reagan and Soviet President Gorbachev the first START treaties in Moscow. The palace was remodeled in the early 1990’s.