Old Russian country estates, which not only survived revolution and war, but have been restored to their original grandeur, are attracting a growing number of foreign visitors to Russia. The head of the Russian Ministry of Culture Vladimir Medinsky, said this week that the ministry’s Russian Country Estate Project attracted three times more tourists from abroad last year than the year prior. The Minister made the statement during the Forum of Small Towns and Historical Settlements in Russia, held in Kolomna.
Medinsky noted that the project which originated three years ago, has attracted a growing number of foreign visitors. In particular, the number of French, German and Italian tourists has doubled. Visits by Chinese and Korean tourists has also increased.
The minister also called for the participation of private estates in the project. Medinsky praised the initiative and dedication by private investors to reconstruct and restore ruined estates. As an incentive, the government is charging a minimal rent on ruined country estates for a period of 99 years, on the condition that it be reconstructed and/or restored to it’s historic appearance. Investors are further encouraged to set aside rooms for museum space, in order to take advantage of further government benefits.
"I appeal to the heads of municipalities. We must do everything in our power to restore our ruined estates to benefit local economies and preserve history," said the head of the Russian Ministry of Culture.
Sixteen regions, in three federal districts are currently taking part in the Russian Country Estate Project. More than 200 tour routes of the project include old Russian estates, where famous politicians, outstanding scientists, writers, artists, and musicians lived.
Click here to watch a video of the Russian Country Estate Project in the Tula region.
Controversial Film Mathilde Banned in Ukraine Topic: Nicholas II
Russian film director Alexei Uchitel
This article was originally published by Pravoslavie.ru on 18 January 2018
Director Alexei Uchitel’s recently-released film Mathilde about the relationship between St. Petersburg ballerina Mathilde Kschessinskaya and then-Tsesarevich Nicholas II has been banned in Ukraine, reports the site of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The ban was reported by a member of the Expert Council of the State Committee for Cinematography Dimitry Kapranov.
“We have not allowed the showing of Mathilde according to formal criteria,” noted Kapranov. He explained that a musician on the so-called “black list” was involved in the making of the film.
Kapranov went on to note that viewers might object to such reasoning, and responded saying, “Are you willing to buy a watermelon at the market that has nitrates? Sure, there’s vitamins, but there’s also nitrates. These people on the ‘black list’ are nitrates. If they exist, then the product is considered to be poisonous.”
The film caused a scandal in Russia leading up to its release due to its irreverently unhistorical treatment of the person of the Royal Martyr Tsar Nicholas II. Several hierarchs have condemned the film as a “vulgarity,” including Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyeev) and Bishop Tikhon (Shevkunov). His Holiness Patriarch Kirill has also spoken out against it. Others had called for the film to be banned. The Athonite brotherhood of St. Panteleimon’s Monastery has also spoken out against the film, as has Abbot Ephraim of Vatopaidi Monastery. The movement against the film was championed by State Deputy Natalia Poklonskaya.
Although the film was approved for showing in Russia, various regions and theaters throughout the country made the decision not to show it.
My Mathilde: The Love Letters and Diaries of Nicholas II by Boris Sokolov
Interfax-Religion also reports that the book My Mathilde: The Love Letters and Diaries of Nicholas II by Boris Sokolov was among the 25 Russian publications that were banned by the Ukrainian State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting on January 10. The list also includes the book Orthodoxy: An Honest Conversation by Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin.
To Free the Romanovs: Royal Kinship and Betrayal Topic: Books
In June 2018, Amberley Publishing will release To Free the Romanovs: Royal Kinship and Betrayal in Europe 1917-1919, a new book on the Russian Imperial family by royal historian and Romanov expert Coryne Hall.
When Russia erupted into revolution, almost overnight the pampered lifestyle of the Imperial family vanished. Within months many of them were under arrest and they became ‘enemies of the Revolution and the Russian people’. All showed great fortitude and courage during adversity. None of them wanted to leave Russia; they expected to be back on their estates soon and live as before. When it became obvious that this was not going to happen a few managed to flee, but others became dependent on their foreign relatives for help.
For those who failed to escape, the questions remain. Why did they fail? What did their relatives do to help them? Were lives sacrificed to save other European thrones? After 35 years researching and writing about the Romanovs, Coryne Hall considers the end of the 300-year-old dynasty - and the guilt of the royal families in Europe over the Romanovs' bloody end. Did the Kaiser do enough? Did George V? When the Tsar’s cousins King Haakon of Norway and King Christian of Denmark heard of Nicholas’s abdication, what did they do? Unpublished diaries of the Tsar’s cousin Grand Duke Dmitri give a new insight to the Romanovs’ feelings about George V’s involvement.
Coryne Hall has written four books about the Romanovs, and numerous magazine articles on British and European royalty, including Majesty. Her most recent publication is a collaboration with Princess Olga Romanoff, A Wild and Barefoot Romanov (2017).
Coryne Hall is a regular contributor to the bi-annual journals Royal Russia: A Celebration of the Romanov Dynasty and Imperial Russia, and Sovereign. The Life and Reign of Emperor Nicholas II. Her 4-part series Nicholas II and the British Monarchs, was published in Sovereign issues No. 2 (2016) to No. 5 (2017) respectively.
On Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at 10am, William Doyle Galleries will hold an auction of Russian Works of Art. It will be presented as a special section of the sale of English & Continental Furniture & Decorative Arts and Old Master Paintings. Showcased are more than 135 lots of Fabergé, icons, silver, bronzes and memorabilia from private collections across the United States, including important works from the descendants of Russian Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna and Russian Grand Duke George Mikhailovich.
Property from the Descendants of Grand Duke George Mikhailovich
Highlighting the sale is property from the descendants of Russian Grand Duke George Mikhailovich (1863-1919), grandson of Emperor Nicholas I (1796-1855), and his wife Princess Marie Georgievna (1876-1940), née Princess Maria of Greece and Denmark, daughter of King George I (1845-1913). Having remained in the family over the course of the last century, the collection comprises 35 lots of Fabergé, silver, icons, books and family heirlooms with close connections to the Russian Imperial Family.
An icon depicting the Mother of God, Christ and John the Baptist (est. $7,000-10,000) is closely related to one produced for Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. An icon of similar design from the collection was bequeathed by the Grand Duke’s daughter, Princess Xenia, to Middlebury College Museum of Art in Vermont. An important group of four World War I photograph albums (est. $4,000-6,000), never before seen in public, document Grand Duke George’s important diplomatic mission to Japan in 1915. Sent as the representative of Emperor Nicholas II, the Grand Duke’s mission led to a secret Russo-Japanese alliance signed in 1916.
Produced in Fabergé’s Moscow workshops, a silver samovar (est. $35,000-55,000) is applied with the coat of arms of the Berdyaev family, an important aristocratic military and literary family in Imperial Russia. The family produced a long line of high-ranking military officers and the important political and religious philosopher Nikolai Alexandrovich Berdyaev.
Fabergé produced miniature sculptures of animals in a range of hardstones, inspired by Chinese and Japanese hardstone carvings. Property from a Virginia Private Collection offers two hardstone carvings by Fabergé, including a duckling that is nearly identical to one in the Royal Collection from the famous Sandringham Commission (est. $15,000-25,000).
A Fabergé Silver-Gilt Icon of the Mother of God (est. $7,000-10,000), which has descended in the family of Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia (1875-1960), was a gift from the grand duchess to her son, Prince Nikita, on Easter 1916.
A selection of Russian porcelain figures from a Philadelphia Private Collection includes examples by the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory and the Gardner, Popov and Kornilov manufactories. Highlighting the collection is a Rare Russian Porcelain Group of Pranksters, after a model by August Spiess (est. $9,000-12,000).
Among a wide range of bronzes by artists such as Troubetzkoy, Lanceray, Bertram and Grachev is a rare and large Bronze Group of a Troika after the model by E. Karpov (est. $20,000-30,000) from a New Jersey Private Collection.
Click here to view more than 135 lots of Fabergé, icons, silver, bronzes and memorabilia from this auction.
New Website Dedicated to First Greek Language Biography on the Holy Royal Martyrs Topic: Books
This article was originally published by Pravoslavie.ru on 15 January 2018
The Monastery of St. John the Forerunner in Mesa Potamos, Cyprus has opened a new high-quality website dedicated to the publication of the first biography of the Royal Martyrs of Russia, Tsar Nicholas II and his family, to appear in the Greek language.
Aspreviously reported, The Romanov Holy Royal Martyrs: What Silence Could Not Conceal, the first complete biography of the Royal Martyrs to be published in Greek, aims to clear away some of the misconceptions surrounding their lives and deaths, and to clearly portray the full scope of the martyric feat of the last Russian Royal Family, demonstrating why they are so greatly loved and venerated in Russia, and beyond.
“What is the truth about the last Romanovs? Why, for more than a hundred years, have there been methodical efforts to distort the facts of their life, while the Orthodox Church has glorified them as saints? The Monastery of St John the Forerunner in Mesa Potamos, Cyprus, having made use of the primary sources, presents for the first time to Greek readers what silence could not conceal,” the website reads.
The site is available in both Greek and English, and features texts and pictures from the book, as well as videos from the DVD that accompanies the book.
A PDF of the last chapter of the book is offered on the site, as well as high-quality photos dedicated to the member of the family separately, to the family as a whole, and to the hospital work undertaken by the sainted final royal family of Russia. The videos present newsreel footage from the coronation of Nicholas and Alexandra, the anniversary of the Battle of Borodino, and various shots of the royal children.
Six tracks from the DVD’s soundtrack can also be heard on the site, including the Russian Imperial Anthem as sung by the Valaam Brotherhood Choir.
Orders for the new book, The Romanov Holy Royal Martyrs: What Silence Could Not Conceal, can also be placed on the site.
Click here to review the English language version of the web site, which features excerpts from diaries and letters, newsreel footage, music, and a richly illustrated gallery of more than 40 beautiful colourized photographs of Nicholas II and his family, made by Olga Shirnina.
Lieutenant Colonel Johnny Biggart, commander of the elite Scots Dragoon Guards (SCOTS DG), holds the icon of the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II. This photo was taken in 2012 in Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan.
The icon was presented to the regiment by one of the descendants of the Russian Imperial family, when the Tsar was re-interred in St Petersberg on 17 July 1998, a ceremony for which the SCOTS DG provided a Guard of Honour. The icon of the holy martyr Nicholas II accompanies the Scots Dragoon Guards Scottish regiment whenever it deploys on operations.
Tsar Nicholas II was appointed an honorary member of the Royal Scots Greys by Britain's Queen Victoria in 1894, after he became engaged to Alexandra Feodorovna (Princess Alix of Hesse), who was Victoria’s granddaughter.
To this day Tsar Nicholas II is commemorated by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (which the Royal Scots Greys became in 1971), by the playing of the Russian Imperial anthem at certain mess functions.
Click here to read 4 additional articles with photos, about Nicholas II and the Royal Scots Greys
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This Week in the News includes a link and brief summary to full-length articles published in the past week from English language media and internet sources.
This initiative is a courtesy to those who do not have a Facebook account, or for some reason cannot view the Royal Russia Facebook page - now, with more than 130,000 followers from around the world!
Royal Russia is pleased to offer our dedicated followers with the following full-length articles, on a variety of topics covering the Romanov dynasty, their legacy, monarchy, and the history of Imperial and Holy Russia, for the week ending 13 January 2018:
Sergei Eisenstein’s last movie, 'Ivan the Terrible', was made at Stalin’s request, but its two parts had very different fates. The famed film director received the most prestigious state prize for the first part, but was harshly criticized by Stalin for the second, which was quite a dangerous matter at the time. On the eve of Eisenstein’s 120th birthday. Alexey Timofeychev takes a close look at the little-known story.
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In memory of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers
Icon depicting the children of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, situated in the Alexander Compound of Old Jerusalem
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Disclaimer: the links published on this page are for information purposes only,
and may not reflect the opinions of Paul Gilbert and/or Royal Russia
I am now down to the last case of each of the following three book titles - all published by Royal Russia. Please note that there will be NO further reprints on any of these titles once they have sold out.
Don't miss this last chance to enjoy some great winter reading, and to add these titles to your personal Romanov library collection.
Last Days at Tsarskoe Selo - Expanded Edition!
by Count Paul Benckendorff
Price $20.00 CAD + postage
Count Paul Benckendorff served as the Grand Marshall of the Russian Imperial Court under Tsar Nicholas II. After the collapse of the monarchy, both he and his wife shared the captivity of the Russian Imperial family at Tsarskoe Selo.
His narrative provides a detailed eye-witness account of the last tsars’ abdication, transfer to Tsarskoe Selo, and daily life during his months there under house arrest.
Throughout, Benckendorff characterizes Emperor Nicholas II and his wife, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna as courageous, gracious, and poised despite their obvious concern over the safety of their family.
Originally published in 1927, this new edition of Count Benckendorff’s memoirs is the most comprehensive to date. New features include a preface, an expanded introduction about the author, as well as a collection of photographs not found in the original. The text is unabridged and includes all of the appendixes from the original edition.
Six Years at the Russian Court - Expanded Edition!
by Margaretta Eagar
Price $25.00 CAD + postage
Born in Ireland, Margaretta Eagar had been selected in 1898 by the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna to take charge of her daughters. By 1904, she had taken on the roles as nanny, nurse, and friend to the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Marie and Anastasia, all of whom she loved dearly.
She notes in her book: “Shortly after the birth of the Tsarevich, I said to the Empress that I often thought of writing my memoirs. She encouraged me to do so, saying so many untruths had been published that it would be a relief to have an account of the Russian Court which was absolutely true.”
She portrays the Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna as patient and loving parents to their children, as observed by Eagar. Her memoirs offer numerous anecdotes of the grand duchesses daily routine, their personal tastes, personalities, and their travels. She also offers her personal impressions of life in St. Petersburg, Moscow and the Crimea, as well as the palaces and residences of the Russian Imperial family.
Originally published in 1906, this new expanded edition features two additional chapters about the grand duchesses, written by Miss Eagar in 1909, five years after she left Russia. Also, an extensive 46-page introduction, written by Romanov historian and author, Charlotte Zeepvat is included which offers previously unpublished material on Miss Eagar's personal life before and after Russia, her thoughts on the grand duchesses, letters by or about her from the State Archives of the Russian Federation, the reason why she left Russia in 1904, as well as some of her own writing that does not appear in her book.
This new, expanded edition of Six Years at the Russian Court will be a welcome addition to any one with an interest in the four daughters of the last Russian tsar.
Of Bygone Days. The Memoirs of an Aide-de-Camp to the Emperor Nicholas II - 1st English Edition
by Semyon S. Fabritsky
Price $20.00 CAD + postage
Semyon Semyonovich Fabritsky (1874-1941) had a fascinating career during the twilight years of Imperial Russia. He began his naval career in the very first days of the reign of Emperor Nicholas II.
He was later personally appointed Flügel-Adjutant by the Emperor himself, a position he served with immense pride and devotion.
During his service to Nicholas II, Fabritsky earned both the trust and friendship of the Emperor. Through his often uninterrupted contact with Russia’s last sovereign and observing him at all hours and under a variety of conditions, Fabritsky was able to form a clear picture of Nicholas II and his family, through his own personal eye-witness observations.
He also served aboard the Imperial yachts, partaking in holidays with the Emperor and his family to the Crimea and the Finnish skerries. He shares interesting details and anecdotes about the Polar Star, Alexandria, and Standart.
Fabritsky provides great insight to the treachery, cowardice, and deceit which prevailed every where. He acknowledges ministers and generals who were either unworthy of their posts or unfit for them. Sadly, it was these men which surrounded Nicholas II during his twenty-two and a half year reign, who contributed to the downfall of monarchy and the destruction of the Russian Empire in 1917.
First English language edition, translated with introduction and notes by William Lee.
From 11 to 21 January, the DonExpocenter in Rostov-on-Don will host a unique multimedia exhibition Culture and History of Russia. The exhibit showcases life in Russia during the 20th century, and how art, science, literature, painting developed, viewing history through the eyes of artists and writers, scientists.
Visitors to the exhibition, using touch screens and interactive screens will be able to learn about the events of 1917 that affected the course of Russian history and the fate of the great Russian artists, musicians, writers who worked during and after the revolution.
Two of the four halls are dedicated to the life and death of the family of Emperor Nicholas II. The exhibit features rare documents from the State Archives of the Russian Federation (GARF), including Yurovsky's note, ration cards issued to the family in Tobolsk, and the act of abdication. The last diary of Nicholas II is also on display, open to the blank page dated 17 July (O.S. 4 July) 1918.
High-tech multimedia allow visitors to the exhibition to see photographs and paintings, which depict different moments from the life of Nicholas II, as well as portraits of the emperor himself and his family.
A 30-minute panoramic program explores important events in the life of Nicholas II, illustrated with the canvases of Valentin Serov, Vladimir Pchelin, Laurits Tuxen, and other artists: these include his ascension to the throne, his marriage to Princess Alix of Hesse, his coronation in Moscow, the birth of his only son and heir, his abdication, his house arrest , and the tragic death of the Imperial family.
The exhibition Culture and History of Russia runs until21 January, at the DonExpocenter in Rostov-on-Don.
The Catherine Palace is a Neoclassical residence of the Empress Catherine II on the bank of the Yauza River in Lefortovo, Moscow. It should not be confused with the much more famous Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo.
The residence is also known as the Golovin Palace, after its first owner, Count Fyodor Alekseevich Golovin (1650-1706), who was the last Russian boyar and the first Chancellor of the Russian Empire, field marshal, general admiral (1700). Until his death he was the most influential of Peter the Great's associates. After his death, Emperor Peter I instructed the State Treasury to purchase the palace and surrounding park.
During her 10-year reign, Empress Anna Ioannovna commissioned Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli to replace the Golovin Palace with a Baroque residence known as Annenhof. It consisted of two wooden two-storey buildings, the Summer Palace and the Winter Palace, and was to be Anna's preferred residence.
Annenhof was abandoned after a fire in 1746. Catherine II, who found both edifices rather old-fashioned and dilapidated, ordered their demolition in the 1760s. In the 1770s, the empress commissioned Antonio Rinaldi to construct a new palace in their place. In 1771, a bridge was constructed to connect the Catherine Palace with the nearby Neoclassical residence in Lefortovo.
Early 20th century view of the Catherine Palace in Moscow
Problems in the construction of the Catherine Palace led to the restructuring under the guidance of architect Carl Blanc, who completed the first phase of construction by the end of 1781. In February 1782, the empress transferred the project to Giacomo Quarenghi, entrusting him with interior decoration, and the facade, in order for the Colic columns to be corrected. The architect Francesco Camporesi also participated in the final stage of construction.
After the death of Catherine II in 1796, her son and heir Paul I, known for his dislike of his mother's palaces, converted the residence into barracks of the Moscow garrison regiment. The decoration of the main rooms, including the throne room, was significantly simplified; while the area in front of the palace was converted to a parade ground.
In 1812, the palace was destroyed by the French - although, according to the French version it was burned by Russian incendiaries. The palace was restored only in 1823 under the supervision of Major-General PS Ushakov, director of the Smolensk Cadet Corps. In 1824, the Smolensk Cadet Corps was housed in a renovated building and was renamed the Moscow Cadet Corps in 1838. The building’s interiors were again renovated by the Italian-Russian architect Joseph Bové.
In October 1917 the Moscow Cadet Corps mounted a fierce resistance against the Bolsheviks in Lefortovo. Colonel V.F. Rahr organized the defence of the barracks with cadets from the senior classes. Fighting lasted for six days, until heavy artillery from the enemy forced their surrender. Some of the prisoners were subsequently shot by the Reds in the neighbouring Lefortovo barracks.
Since 1937, the building has housed the Military Academy of Armored Forces, now the Combined Arms Academy of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. Given its status as a military institution, the building has generally been inaccessible to the public. In 2004, the Moscow authorities initiated negotiations with the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation on transferring the property rights of the Catherine Palace to the city.
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