A Russian Moment No 33 - The Monument to the Millennium of Russia, Novgorod Topic: A Russian Moment
The Monument to the Millennium of Russia consists of 129 individual figures representing Russian monarchs, clerics, generals, and artists
The Monument to the Millennium of Russia, standing at the centre of Novgorod, was unveiled on September 8, 1862. It was erected to celebrate the millennium of Rurik's arrival to Novgorod, an event traditionally taken as a starting point of Russian history. The bronze monument is the work of Mikhail Mikeshin, an eminent Russian sculptor active in the second half of the 19th century.
The monument consists of a grandiose, 15.7-metre-high bell crowned by a cross symbolizing the tsar's power. The bell is encircled with several tiers of sculptures, 129 individual figures representing Russian monarchs, clerics, generals, and artists active during various periods of Russian history.
The kneeling figure in the upper tier of the monument personifies Russia. Below, around the sphere, there are six groups symbolizing different periods of Russian history up to the first quarter of the 18th century. Represented, among others, are Prince Rurik who, according to legend, was invited in 862 to rule Novgorodian lands; Princes Vladimir, Dmitry Donskoi, Tsars Ivan III, Mikhail I and Peter I.
The high-relief frieze in the lower tier of the memorial depicts military heroes, statesmen, educators, poets, writers and artists - 109 figures altogether. Here one can see the chronicler Nestor, Princes Yaroslav the Wise and Alexander the Nevsky, the Ukrainian hetman Bogdan Khmelnitsky, the founder of the Russian theatre Volkov, the satirical writer Fonvizin, the composer Glinka, the poets Derzhavin, Zhukovsky, Pushkin, Lermontov, the historian Karamzin, and the artist Karl Briullov.
The most expensive Russian monument up to that time, it was erected at a cost of 400,000 roubles, mostly raised by public subscription. In order to provide an appropriate pedestal for the huge sculpture, sixteen blocks of Sortavala granite were brought to Novgorod, each weighing in excess of 35 tons. The bronze monument itself weighs 100 tons.
During the World War II , the Nazis dismantled the monument and prepared it for transportation to Germany. Luckily, they never succeeded to accomplish this plan. After Novgorod's liberation, the monument was restored and in November 1944 once again unveiled to the public.
On March 4th, while responding to reporters' questions about the events in Ukraine and the Russian people’s reaction to them, Russian President Vladimir Putin referred to Tsar-Martyr Nicholas as “Bloody Nicholas”. His inappropriate choice of words have riled Russian monarchists and Orthodox Christians, who are deeply offended by the use of an old expression popular with the Bolsheviks and enemies of the monarchy. According to reports on monarchist web sites and blogs in Russia, this was not the first time that the Russian President has referred to the last tsar in such a derogatory manner. In the summer of 2011 at a meeting with members of the Olympic construction team in Sochi, Putin, unfortunately, used the same "epithet."
Critics of the last tsar nicknamed him “Bloody Nicholas” because of the Khodynka Tragedy, Bloody Sunday, and the anti-Semitic pogroms that occurred during his reign. Under his rule, Russia was defeated in the Russo-Japanese War. As head of state, he approved the Russian mobilization of August 1914, which marked the first fatal step into World War I and thus into the demise of the Romanov dynasty less than four years later.
Dmitri Sysuev, Head of the Russian Imperial Union-Order, issued the following statement regarding Putin’s use of the vulgar epithet: “It seems that after the large-scale, true folk celebrations, held last year in honour of the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty that such expressions are inappropriate and offensive to the feelings of millions of Orthodox people. Moreover, such ‘rhetoric’ in the current situation in Ukraine today is unlikely to contribute to the pacification of the country and the fraternal unity of those who are willing to resist the anti-Russian nationalist extremists, regardless of political persuasion, and the difference in assessment of various historical periods of our country.”
“On behalf of the oldest Russian monarchist organization urge those responsible for the fate of our country continue to avoid in formal political speeches similar expressions,” said Sysuev
The Russian Imperial Union-Order (RIUO) is a traditional Russian monarchist organization that was chartered in 1929 by white emigres living abroad. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the organization also gained chapters in the motherland. The organization supports the claim of HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, as the sole legitimate heir of the crown of Russia. The RIUO is member of the International Monarchist Conference. The RIUO marks its 85th anniversary in 2014.
Restored Portrait of Emperor Alexander I Returned to Novgorod Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 2 minutes, 7 seconds Topic: Alexander I
On March 4th, a press conference was held in the conference hall of the Museum of Fine Arts in Novgorod, where a portrait of the Emperor Alexander I by the British artist George Dawe (1781-1829) was unveiled after a restoration process that took five years to complete.
In 2009, the painting was sent to the All-Russian Scientific and Artistic Restoration Center in Moscow, where it was restored by a team of experts led by the Russian academician, Igor Grabar. The work went according to plan, but was interrupted by a fire in July 2010, during which the painting was badly damaged. Restorers had to start from scratch. But experts coped with the task, thanks to the efforts of the restorers of the oil painting under the guidance of Nadia Koshkina.
An inscription on the reverse of this portrait of Tsar Alexander I, records that it was given by Alexander's brother, Tsar Nicholas I to Charles Moberley of St.Petersburg in 1826. Charles was one of the seven sons of Edward Moberley, a merchant of St.Petersburg by his wife Sarah, daughter of John Cayley, British consul-general in Russia.
In 1948, Dawe’s portrait of Alexander I was transferred from the Artillery Museum to the collection of the Novgorod Museum. It is one of a number of official portraits of the Tsar which were commissioned for presentation. The prototype is probably a copy of the original in the Royal Collection. Other versions include a large full-length also in the Royal Collection, and another which was formerly at Londonderry House.
In the coming months, Dawe’s famous portrait of Alexander I will once again become part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Novgorod.
Video (in Russian) - Presentation of George Dawe's portrait of Emperor Alexander I at the press conference held in Novgorod on March 4th, 2014
It is believed that Alexander I first met Dawe during a visit to London in June 1814. Dawe enjoyed the patronage of the Duke and Duchess of Kent and also that of Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold. In 1819, while travelling with the Duke of Kent through Europe he once again caught the attention of the tsar who commissioned Dawe to paint the portraits of senior Russian military staff who had successfully fought against Napoleon and his army.
Dawe established a studio in St. Petersburg later that year, and with the help of royal patronage quickly established himself. He is reported to have built up a fortune of some £100,000 during this period. He remained in the Russian capital for the next nine years, painting over 300 portraits for the military collection. He also executed a 20 ft. high equestrian portrait of Tsar Alexander. This group of portraits was installed in a purpose-built gallery in the Winter Palace.
He became a celebrity throughout Europe and mixed with the Russian intellectual elite. Among others he met and knew were Pushkin who wrote a poem about him entitled "To Dawe Esq." In 1826 Nicholas I invited him to his coronation ceremony and in 1828 he was officially appointed First Portrait Painter of the Imperial Court.
He returned to England in 1828 and stayed for several months. During this time he exhibited many of his recent works and George IV was among those to whom they were privately shown.
He returned to St Petersburg in 1829 but soon became increasingly unwell with breathing difficulties following a serious cold. He had had pulmonary weakness throughout life following childhood illness. He returned to London in August 1829 and died on 15 October at the home of his brother-in-law, Thomas Wright, a celebrated engraver. He was buried in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral and his funeral was attended by many artists and officials from the Russian embassy.
The significant body of work he created in Russia is currently housed in the War of 1812 Gallery in the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. Many of his paintings are also included in the British Royal Collection. Despite the international celebrity he enjoyed in his own lifetime his popularity has not endured in his home country of England, although in Russia he is still well-known and held in high regard.
Reflections of a Bygone Era - Country Life at Liublino Estate Topic: Country Estates
A new exhibit has opened at the Liublino estate near Moscow. The exhibit reflects on the bygone era of Russian country life in the first half of the 19th century. The collective image is showcased at the former manor house of N. A. Durasov at Liublino. Visitors will view portraits of the people of the era, their hobbies and passions, among other objects from the collection of the Moscow State Integrated Museum.
In addition to family portraits of the noble houses are carefully hung portraits of Russia’s sovereigns. The living room is decorated with formal portraits of Emperor Paul I and his consort, the Empress Maria Feodorovna (from the collection of the Ostankino Museum-Estate in Moscow). Empress Maria Feodorovna visited Liublino estate in May of 1818.
Another room has been recreated to reflect the living room of the family of Nikolai Durasov, the original owner of the estate during the early 19th century.
The acquisition and development of the Durasov manor began in the early 19th century - during the Napoleonic wars. A large section of the exhibition is devoted to this period, including events and heroes of the Patriotic War of 1812. On display are engravings depicting the main events of Tilsit in 1807, and the anniversary tea set with military subjects. Portraits (including members of the Durasov family), porcelain, costumes and uniforms are also presented.
The museum has plans to expand this exhibit in the future, which will incorporate the historical narrative of various stages of the life of the Liublino estate, up until 1917 when the former "nobles nest" was the property of the merchants Golofteev.
For more information on Liublino estate, please refer to the following article;
A Russian Moment No 32 - Jordan Staircase, Winter Palace Topic: A Russian Moment
A stunning view of the Jordan Staircase in the Winter Palace
In the 18th century the main staircase in the Winter Palace was known as the Ambassadorial Staircase because the envoys of foreign countries ascended it when going to the palace for official receptions.
Later the staircase received the name of the Jordan Staircase. It was on the Feast of the Epiphany that the Tsar descended this imperial staircase for the ceremony of the "Blessing of the Waters" of the Neva River, a celebration of Christ's baptism in the Jordan River. The staircase is one the few parts of the palace retaining the original 18th-century style. The massive grey granite columns, however, were added in the mid 19th century.
The staircase was badly damaged by a fire that swept the palace in 1837, but Emperor Nicholas I ordered the architect in charge of reconstruction, Vasily Stasov, to restore the staircase using Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli's original plans. Stasov made two small changes: he replaced the original gilt bronze handrails with white marble and the original pink columns with gray granite.
Starting from the Main Gallery, the white marble staircase divides into two flights meeting again on the level of the first floor. The ten solid columns of Serdobolye granite support the vaults of the staircase. Full of light and gleaming with gilding and mirrors, the staircase extends for the whole height of the Winter Palace.
The stair hall, which has an 18th-century ceiling depicting the Gods at Olympus, is decorated with alabaster statues of Wisdom and Justice by Terebenev; Grandeur and Opulence by Ustinov; Fidelity and Equity by Leppe; and Mercury and Mars by Manuylov. At the centre of the first landing is an anonymous 18th-century marble sculpture, Allegory of the State.
During state receptions and functions the Jordan Staircase was a focal point for arriving guests. After entering the palace through the Ambassadors' entrance, in the central courtyard, they would pass through the colonnaded Jordan Hall, located on the ground floor before mounting the gilded Imperial staircase to the state apartments. Following a ball at the Winter Palace in 1902, The Duchess of Sutherland wrote: "The stairs of the palace were guarded by cossacks, with hundreds of footmen in scarlet liveries, I have never in my life seen so brilliant a sight—the light, the uniforms, the enormous rooms, the crowd, the music, making a spectacle that was almost Barbaric."
Today, as part of the State Hermitage Museum, this room retains its original decoration. In 2011, the Jordan received a much needed facelift. Specialists renewed marble decorations and sculptures, managing to preserve the old gilding of decorative components. The lighting of the staircase proved to be one of the most challenging tasks for architects. The entrance to the building appearance now resembles the architectural concept dating back to its 1830s original.
Alexander III Exhibition Opens in Finland Topic: Alexander III
The Alexander III and Finland - Imperial Summer Holidays exhibition catalogue is available in Finnish, Russian and English
A new exhibition, Alexander III and Finland - Imperial Summer Holidays, opened on February 2nd at the Maritime Centre Vellamo in Kotka, Finland.
Alexander III ruled Russia and served as the Grand Prince of Finland from 1881 to 1894. The Finns built a fishing lodge for the emperor in Langinkoski, Kotka (1889), to where Alexander III and his family retired for a few days in the summer, to lead a modest country life. The emperor spent his days fishing and chopping wood while his Danish-born spouse Dagmar, also known as Marie Feodorovna, made food for the family. The freedom the emperor enjoyed in Langinkoski in the summers was in stark contrast to the highly regulated life and court etiquette that he had to endure in St Petersburg.
The Alexander III and Finland exhibition showcases the life and leisure of the imperial family through paintings, watercolours and period items. Alexander III made a total of 31 trips to Finland, occasionally accompanied by Albert Benois, who immortalised the landscapes of these trips in his watercolours. The exhibition also includes a few paintings that depict the landscapes of south-eastern Finland. A wholly different perspective is revealed by pieces that depict the emperor’s official life in St Petersburg and his coronation in Moscow.
The exhibition includes portraits of the emperor and empress painted by Ivan Kramskoi and Carl Wenig’s oil painting Russian Girl. The exhibition is complemented by numerous period objects, such as glass and silver Fabergé items and items from the Imperial Porcelain Factory, including a plate that belonged to a set used on the emperor’s yacht Tsarevna. Some of the items from the collections of the State Russian Museum will be displayed in Finland for the first time.
From the National Museum of Finland, the exhibition includes parts of the emperor and empress’ personal washing set and a screen given to the empress as a gift, designed by Albert Edelfelt and Gunnar Berndtson.
The exhibition is further complemented by items on loan from the Imperial Fishing Lodge in Langinkoski, which celebrates its 125th anniversary. The items will be displayed in the Museum of Kymenlaakso’s main exhibition from 14 February to 30 September 2014. Visitors can look forward to seeing, for example, authentic silverware used at the fishing lodge, a waffle iron adorned by the two-headed eagle of Russia and a pair of sturgeon-patterned silver fish server.
The Alexander III and Finland exhibition also includes a publication with the same title, which will be available in Finnish, Russian and English from the Vellamo museum shop.
To watch a video (in Russian) of the Alexander III and Finland exhbition, please click on the link below;
More on the Latest Anna Anderson Theory Topic: Conspiracy Theories
Anna Anderson Manahan
The Anna Anderson Manahan drama has resurfaced once again. Yesterday, I reprinted an article translated from ITAR-TASS on a new book by leading Russian historian Veniamin Alekseyev, who disputes the fact that the entire family of the last tsar were murdered. The story generated a tremendous response from readers who contacted me to share their own personal views (both negative and positive) on the issue. One fact remains clear: Anna Anderson Manahan still has a faithful following of believers. I would like to clarify again, that I do not believe that this woman was the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II. I firmly maintain that the entire family were all murdered by the Ural Soviets in the basement of the Ipatiev House in the early morning hours of July 17th, 1918. There were NO survivors! Having said that, some have questioned me as to WHY I would publish articles about this issue. It is important to point out that this blog is a clearinghouse for information and news about the Romanov dynasty, their legacy, the Russian monarchy and the history of Imperial Russia. Like it or not, the story of Anna Anderson Manahan will forever remain a piece of Romanov history—Paul Gilbert.
The following article was originally published in the February 27th, 2014 edition of The Siberian Times, who own the copyright presented below.
Tsar's daughter may, after all, have escaped the execution which wiped out the royal family, says new book.
DNA evidence seemed to have put an end to the the claims of American Anna Anderson and others to be the lost princess. Now a new book to be published in Yekaterinburg, scene of the slaying of the Russian royals, will challenge the view that all the Romanovs were shot in a dank cellar in July 1918.
Anastasia - the youngest of the tsar's four daughters - was 17 when she was supposedly killed in 1918.
What makes the theory even more intriguing is that the author is leading Russian historian Veniamin Alekseyev, an academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences who was a member of the Russian government commission which investigated the authenticity of bones purporting to the those of the royals. He became convinced Nicholas II's remains had been found, but he is far less certain about Grand Duchess Anastasia's, whose bone remnants are - officially - interred in St Petersburg.
'I do not assume presumptuously she was executed by the Bolsheviks, nor do I assume she remained alive', he said, reported Itar-Tass. 'This is for the reader to decide. On the basis of the archive documents discovered, and new Russian and foreign evidence I have seen since 1991 as a scientist, I have reasons to believe the royal family's fate is not as certain as it has been believed for almost 100 years'.
The mysterious Anna Anderson - also known at various times by the family names Tschaikovsky and Manahan - was for years during the Cold War seen as a possible Anastasia, though her claim was rejected by a number of relatives and servants of the royal family after they met her. Later DNA tests after her death in 1984 were seen to establish her real identity as Franziska Schanzkowska, a Polish factory worker with a history of mental illness. A lock of her hair and medical samples showed no link to the Romanovs, according to scientists.
Yet the author of the new book - 'Who are you, Ms Tchaikovskaya?' - is concerned that she has been labelled an imposter too easily.
Alekseyev has unearthed documentary evidence from the Russian State Archive and elsewhere to produce 'the first-ever publication of evidence of the imperial family's confidantes, opinions of Romanov House members and doctors, who treated the woman and came to the conclusion 'the patient's identification as the Grand Duchess is quite possible and even probable'.'
Russian historian Veniamin Alekseyev
He argues against the sole reliance on DNA testing of remains discovered in the Porosyonkov log locality, near Yekaterinburg. Historians have ignored archive documents that cast considerable doubt over this version, he said.
'The interests of both the Bolsheviks and Kolchak (leader of the White Guard Movement which opposed Communism) under whose auspices the Yekaterinburg tragedy was investigated in 1918, uniquely coincided in this case. The former needed an image of an uncompromising new government determined to wipe out the old world without a trace, and the latter - a Great Russia without an emperor,' said Alekseyev.
Alekseyev admits he touches on a very delicate issue regarding whose remains were buried in the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St Petersburg. He hopes for new insights when documents pertaining to the royal family are released in 2018. These evidently concern secret diplomatic contacts between Germany and the Soviet Union over the German born tsarina Alexandra and her daughters, and a possible secret exchange in the First World War.
Leading French historian Marc Ferro has long argued that the wife of Nicholas II and the imperial couple's daughters were saved. Documents in Vatican archives are said to support this.
'Why such mercy on the part of the Bolsheviks? After the leftist Social-Revolutionaries assassinated German Ambassador Mirbach, Wilhelm II could breach the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which would have ruined the Soviet regime. Therefore, they had to negotiate,' said Alekseyev. 'All over the world this issue has been degraded for decades by unpretentious stage productions, garbage literature and films.
'We need scientific clarity over this complicated issue. Therefore, I am only publishing the documents. Where the truth lies, is up to the readers to decide.'
In 1995 Alekseyev discovered a document in the Siberian town of Tobolsk which convinced him the tsar's bones had been discovered.
'Before I got my hands on these documents six months ago I had strong doubts that the remains were those of the Tsar. But today my doubts have vanished,' he said at the time.
One of Alekseyev's documents belonged to a dentist, Maria Rendel, who examined Nicholas from late 1917 until mid-1918. Rendel wrote that the Tsar had 'a mouthful of rotten teeth'. Decades later a medical expert studying what was thought to be the Tsar's skull said it showed signs of the dental disease paradontosis.
The historian has long argued that evidence hidden in Russian archives, and those of European royal families, can hold clues as to the fate of the Russian royals. Following Anderson's appearance, the Soviet Foreign Minister Georgi Chicherin said: 'The fate of the young daughters of the czar is at present unknown to me. I have read in the press that they are now in America'.
Ferro pointed to testimony from Gleb Botkin, who identified the tormented Anderson as the grand duchess.
'Being the son of Dr. Botkin, the tsar's physician who was murdered with him at Yekaterinburg, (Gleb) knew the sisters well and was their playmate for several years, right down to their incarceration at Yekaterinburg. He recognised her at once as Anastasia,' said Ferro.
Anderson appeared in Berlin in 1920. Originally she was labelled Fraulein Unbekannt - Miss Unknown - after refusing to give her identity. Later she used the name Tschaikovsky. An investigation by the tsarina's brother concluded she was Franziska Schanzkowska, though she remained a focus of media attention.
She emigrated to the United States in 1968, marrying Virginia history professor Jack Manahan.
The Russian Orthodox Church has long expressed reservations over the authenticity of the bones. DNA tests conducted in several Western countries were said to match the bones to a number of royal relatives, including Philip, the husband of the British Queen, Elizabeth II.
Faberge and Oligarch in Trademark Dispute Topic: Faberge
Alexander Ivanov, owner and director of the Faberge Museum at Baden-Baden, Germany
The following article was originally published in the February 26th, 2014 edition of The Art Newspaper. The author Gareth Harris owns the copyright presented below.
A legal battle has reignited between the Russian oligarch Alexander Ivanov and the Fabergé Ltd company over the trademark rights to the Fabergé name. Ivanov opened his Fabergé museum in 2009 in Baden-Baden, a spa town in southwestern Germany. The museum houses hundreds of Fabergé items including a 1902 Fabergé egg made as an engagement gift for Baron Édouard de Rothschild, a member of the French banking dynasty.
The Fabergé company, meanwhile, is now based in London and is owned by the gemstone miner Gemfields. The rights to the Fabergé name changed hands several times after 1917 following the Russian Revolution; Unilever acquired them with the acquisition of Fabergé Inc in 1989 for $1.6bn.
In 2010, a German appeals court ruled in favour of Ivanov in a legal dispute with Fabergé Ltd over trademark rights, which aimed to block the use of the Fabergé trademark by the museum. However, “Fabergé is looking at other options to prevent the use of the Fabergé trademark by the museum,” says a Fabergé Ltd spokesman.
“In 2010, we conclusively won the legal dispute with Fabergé Ltd when a European court ruled that ‘Fabergé Museum’ is in the public domain free for everyone to use. Fabergé Ltd has no chance whatsoever to appeal this decision,” Ivanov says. Meanwhile, Ivanov says that his lawyers continue to work on “depriving” Fabergé Ltd of the rights to the Fabergé trademark. “We want to place it in the public domain so that everyone anywhere can use it freely.”
A Fabergé Ltd spokesman says: “In 2012, the appeal process held that the mere registration of a company name does not create a right (unless, in some cases, prior use of the trademark can be shown).” The museum could not show such use and hence lost the appeal, the spokesman says. “[We] believe Ivanov’s avenues on this front to be exhausted and consequently Fabergé has defeated the attack by the museum against our Fabergé trademark registrations.”
The Russian mining magnate Viktor Vekselberg, who bought Malcolm Forbes’ Fabergé egg collection in 2004 for a sum estimated to be up to $120m, put 4,000 items drawn from his fine and decorative art collection on show in St Petersburg’s Shuvalov Palace, which is due to fully open to the public this month. His institution is also named the Fabergé Museum.
“We have numerous trademark registrations in Russia, but we don’t have the ‘Fabergé Museum’ trademark in the class of trademarks applicable to museums in Russia. That trademark is indeed held by Mr Vekselberg’s museum and therefore they have the right to use it,” says the Fabergé Ltd spokesman.
The investment company Pallinghurst, founded by Brian Gilbertson, is a controlling investor in Gemfields. In 2012, Vekselberg won a legal battle with Gilbertson when a court in the Cayman Islands ruled that Gilbertson had breached his fiduciary duties (the legal responsibilities of directors) by cutting Vekselberg out of a deal to buy the Fabergé Ltd company. However, the judge refused to award Vekselberg compensation.
Fabergé’s workshops in Moscow and St Petersburg, which employed more than 500 craftsmen at the end of the 19th century, are known for their elaborate decorative Easter eggs made for the Russian Imperial court. Fabergé was appointed as Imperial goldsmith in 1885, earning him the sobriquet “jeweller to the tsars”.
Russian Historian Speculates That Tsar's Daughter Might Have Escaped Execution Topic: Conspiracy Theories
H.I.H. Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna (1901-1918)
Despite the overwhelming evidence that Anna Anderson Manahan was not the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna, conspiracy theories and urban myths continue to surface. Most people now believe she was Franziska Schanzkowska, a Polish peasant. DNA tests conducted in 1991 on a sample of Anderson's tissue, (part of her intestine removed during her operation in 1979), plus several strands of Anderson's hair proved her to be an impostor. Now, an aclaimed Russian historian presents yet another theory, one which has been making headlines in the Russian media this week. Personally, I do not support the idea that the youngest daughter of Nicholas II escaped Ekaterinburg, I am reprinting the following article translated from ITAR-TASS for information purposes only—Paul Gilbert.
Russian Emperor Nicholas II’s youngest daughter, Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna, might have escaped execution in 1918, lived up to 83 years and died in the US under the surname of Manahan, previously known as Anastasia Tchaikovskaya and Anna Anderson. This is the version offered by a leading Russian historian, academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) Veniamin Alexeyev in his book “Who are you, Ms. Tchaikovskaya?” The study, together with the accompanying letters, references, photos and witnesses’ evidence, has been submitted for print to the Yekaterinburg publishing house Basco. It is expected to come out in March, Alexeyev told ITAR-TASS on Tuesday.
The new book is based on documents of the Russian State Archive and is the first-ever publication of evidence of the imperial family’s confidants, opinions of the Romanov House members and doctors, who treated the woman and came to the conclusion “the patient's identification as the Grand Duchess is quite possible and even probable”.
“I do not assume presumptuously she was executed by the Bolsheviks, nor do I assume she remained alive. This is for the reader to decide,” says the historian. “On the basis of the archive documents discovered, and new Russian and foreign evidence I have seen since 1991 as a scientist, I have reasons to believe the royal family’s fate is not as certain as it has been believed for almost a hundred years.”
According to Alexeyev, Russia’s dominating version of the royal family's death is primarily based on the DNA testing of the remains discovered in the Porosyonkov log locality, near Yekaterinburg in the Urals. Meanwhile, he adds, archive documents that cast considerable doubt over this version are practically ignored.
“The interests of both the Bolsheviks and Kolchak [commander of the Imperial Russian Navy, one of the leaders of the White Guard Movement] under whose auspices the Yekaterinburg tragedy was investigated right in the aftermath in 1918, uniquely coincided in this case. The former needed an image of an uncompromising new government determined to wipe out the old world without a trace, and the latter - a Great Russia without an emperor,” said Alexeyev.
Alexeyev admits he touches upon a very delicate issue of whose remains were buried in the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg. But the academician hopes the 'i's will be dotted in 2018, when the term of secrecy of international relations between Soviet Russia and Germany expires. According to French scholar Marc Ferro, who worked with archive documents in Vatican, the papers say the wife of Nicholas II and the imperial couple’s daughters were saved.
Veniamin Alexeyev is a famous Soviet and Russia historian, Doctor of Historical Sciences, founder of the Institute of History and Archaeology of the RAS branch in the Urals and its Head in 1988-2013. In 2006 he was decorated with the Demidov Prize for scientists. In 1991-97 Alexeyev represented Russia in the International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage (TICCIH).