Andrei Shmeman was born on September 13, 1921 in Revel, Estonia.
In 1929, he emigrated to France with his parents.
Andrei Shmeman was the only representative of the first wave of Russian emigrants not to take French citizenship. He spent his entire life in France with the status of refugee, renouncing the social and other benefits French citizenship would have given him saying that he “could not betray Russia”. This decision not to become a French citizen prevented him from pursuing a professional career and he spent his working life as administrator of a small art gallery and was actively engaged in assisting Russian emigrants (helping refugees, working with children and so on).
Starting in 1930, Andrei Shmeman studied at the Russian Cadets Corps in Paris. He joined this organisation as a child, later became an instructor in it and headed the organisation from 1984 to 1994.
Today Andrei Shmeman is chairman of the Cadets Society and guardian of the Cadets Museum. He and the society he heads provide assistance to the cadets corps that have been founded in Russia, in particular, to the Second Don Cadets Corps.
Andrei Shmeman initiated and was directly involved in bringing to St. Petersburg icons for the grave of the imperial family on behalf of the Cadets Society.