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Friday, 30 January 2015
New Film Tells the Story of Pavlovsk Palace and its Blockade Director, Anna Zelenova
Topic: Pavlovsk

Anna Ivanovna Zelonova (1913-1980)
On January 26th, the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library in St. Petersburg offered the premiere and organized a discussion of the documentary directed by Igor Smirnov, "Anna Zelenova. The Fate of the Museum Curator." The film is timed to the centenary of the legendary director of the Pavlovsk State Museum, Anna Zelenova. The film is part of “Restored Beauty,” a publishing and exhibition project carried out by the Presidential Library and Pavlovsk State Museum, which marks the year of the 70th anniversary of Victory. Screening of the film is also timed to the Day of complete lifting of the blockade of Leningrad. The premiere was attended by veterans of Pavlovsk.

Anna Ivanovna Zelenova was born in St. Petersburg on 28 February, 1913. She arrived at Pavlovsk to work as a tour guide when she was very young and instantly knew that she had found her place in life. In August 1941, she was appointed acting director of the palace complex. Thus, she had to shoulder all the problems associated with the rescue and evacuation of the exhibits on the eve of the invasion of German troops in Pavlovsk. Anna organized transportation of some of the exhibits to St. Isaac's Cathedral in Leningrad; the other part was shipped by rail to Siberia. During the siege Zelenova, like many other members of the suburban museums, spent a lot of time in the basement of St. Isaac's Cathedral, preserving and saving valuable exhibits.

Anna Zelenova had been a permanent director of the museum from 1941 to 1979. During the 900 Day Siege, she worked in Leningrad under harsh conditions. After the expulsion of the invading troops from the suburbs of Leningrad, she oversaw the restoration of the Pavlovsk palace and park facilities. 

On 20 January, 1979 she was forced to quit as director of the museum, due to disagreements with the Leningrad "party leadership" (in particular with the YF Soloviev , First Secretary of the Leningrad Party Committee). She died of a heart attack on 16 January, 1980, she was buried at the cemetery in Pavlovsk. During the remaining years of the Soviet Union, her name was forgotten, however, in 2005, Anna Ivanovna Zelenova was posthumously awarded the title of honorary citizen of the city of Pavlovsk, one of the streets of the city was also renamed in her honour.

The film tells the story of revival of the Pavlovsk Palace and park through the prism of the tragic fate of Anna Zelenova. The core of the film is represented by video interviews with people who knew her. The film also reveals the monumental problems associated with the implementation of the post-war restoration works.

The film has been awarded diplomas of the winners of the XVI International Festival of Films and Television Programs "Radonezh», VII International Candlemas Orthodox Film Festival "Vstrecha», VI Festival of Christian Cinema 2012 "Nevsky church bells», XI Kiev International Documentary Film Festival "Film Chronicle." 
© Yeltsin Presidential Library and Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 30 January, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:41 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 30 January 2015 1:17 PM EST
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Faberge's Lost Treasures, Still Waiting To Be Found
Topic: Faberge

Some of Russia’s most incredible riches, from the magnificent amber panels of the Catherine Palace to the jewels of the Russian Imperial family, are still out there somewhere, lost, and waiting to be found. It is, however, the missing Fabergé Imperial Easter Eggs which continue to allude Fabergé aficionados around the world.

When the Bolsheviks nationalized the tsar’s properties in 1918, eight priceless Fabergé eggs — made with precious stones, expensive metals and precise engineering went missing. It is known 50 Fabergé Imperial Eggs were created and delivered in total. Until last year, the whereabouts of only 42 were known. It is the mystery surrounding these missing Imperial Eggs which adds to the romance of the Fabergé story. While they have never been found, it is possible several of them made it to Britain and the United States, their provenance and historic value possibly unknown to their current owners.

In 2014, one of the missing eight Eggs was discovered: the Third Imperial Easter Egg (created in 1887). It had been seized by the Bolsheviks and mysteriously made its way to the United States. By chance, an unidentified man bought it at a market in the U.S. Midwest for $14,000, intending to sell it for scrap. The Egg was sold for an undisclosed amount, and was later displayed at Court Jewellers Wartski over four days in April 2014 in London, England. This now leaves seven Fabergé Imperial Easter Eggs missing or lost.

The Third Imperial Easter Egg was featured in the article, Empress Marie Feodorovna's Missing Fabergé Easter Eggs, co-written by Annemiek Wintraecken and Christel Ludewig McCanless (co-editors of the Fabergé Research Newsletter). The article was published in the Royal Russia Annual No. 3 in 2013 and consists of 8 pages and 10 black and white photographs. 

An interesting article recently appeared in the Fabergé Research Newsletter (Winter 2014) about the 1896 Alexander III Portraits Egg. Today the egg is part of a large Fabergé collection at the Hillwood Museum in Washington (DC). The surprise in the Fabergé egg has been missing. As it turned out, the research team, Anna and Vincent Palmade, discovered four photographs of the surprise - a folding miniature frame, and published them on the Faberge Research Site. The whereabouts of both the frame and the six portraits is currently unknown, however, the newsletter notes that they “hope the surprise may be alive and well in the care of an unsuspecting collector.”

Royal Russia News is read by thousands of Romanov enthusiasts and lovers of Imperial Russian history daily. It is my sincere hope and wish that one of these readers may know the whereabouts of the missing frame and portraits of the Alexander III Portraits Egg, or any of the seven missing Faberge Imperial Easter Eggs and their surprises. If you have any information on the whereabouts of any of these missing treasures, please contact me. 
Contact information for Royal Russia:
Mr. Paul Gilbert
41 Temperance Street,
P.O. Box 163,
Bowmanville, Ontario,
Canada L1C 3K9
Telephone: (905) 623-9168
Note: Your privacy is assured, all disclosures and contact information will be held in the strictest confidence. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 30 January, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:34 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 30 January 2015 1:29 PM EST
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Thursday, 29 January 2015
Romanov Tabernacle Found in the United States, Returned to Russia
Topic: Russian Church

A rare Russian Orthodox tabernacle with a Romanov provenance found several months ago in an antique shop in the United States, was been returned to Russia earlier this week. It is currently in the hands of the Church on Spilled Blood in Ekaterinburg. It is believed that the tabernacle is about 150 years ago, and was presented as a gift to an unknown church by the Tsesarevich Alexander Alexandrovich (future Emperor Alexander III). 

The tabernacle was made in 1865, by the then-future Emperor Alexander III in memory of his deceased brother Nicholas Alexandrovich who died of tuberculosis in Nice. It is interesting to note that while the inscription on the relic has been well preserved, the name of the church has been removed. One theory suggests that this was done on purpose, alleging that the relic was stolen. It is quite possible that Alexander III presented the tabernacle to the memorial church in Nice, where a daily commemoration for the deceased tsesarevich was held.

The silver plated tabernacle was recently found by an Orthodox priest in an antique store in Jacksonville, Florida. The priest was responding to an appeal made by the Church on Spilled Blood in Ekaterinburg, who have made repeated appeals to Orthodox Christians during the past year, with a request to locate and return any artefacts and personal items related to the Romanov family to Russia.

The inscription on the relic has been well preserved, however, the name of the church has been removed. Photo © E1.RU
The church which is built on the site of the Ipatiev House, maintains a museum dedicated to the Romanov family, and currently housed in the Patriarchal Compound. For many years now, it has collected hundreds of items connected with the Imperial family. I had the opportunity to visit this museum during my visit to Ekaterinburg in 2012.   

The fate of the tabernacle has not yet been determined, however, there are two possible options. The first would transfer the relic to the permanent collection of the Romanov Museum. The second would see the tabernacle used for its intended purpose in the church itself. The tabernacle are usually located in the sanctuary, and as you might guess from the name, to hold sacred gifts: bread and wine consecrated during the liturgy.  

The tabernacle is to be cleaned and repaired, restoring the missing details, after which Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturye will decide whether it will be stored in the church or become a museum piece. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 29 January, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:28 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 29 January 2015 10:04 AM EST
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Wednesday, 28 January 2015
The Head of the House of Romanoff Visits Moscow, December 16-20, 2014
Topic: Maria Vladimirovna GD

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia greets HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna during her recent visit to Moscow
On December 16-20, 2014, the Head of the Russian Imperial House, H.I.H. The Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, traveled to Moscow at the invitation of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
It was during this visit that His Holiness presented the Head of the Russian Imperial House, HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna with the Order of St. Sergius of Radonezh Ist Class - the Church’s highest award - in recognition of her many years of work for the good of the Church and also in connection with her 60th birthday.

Click on the link below to read the summary of Grand Duchess Maria’s visit to Moscow and view the colour photographs: 
The Head of the House of Romanoff Visits Moscow, December 16-20, 2014 
© Russian Imperial House. 28 January, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:55 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 28 January 2015 9:05 AM EST
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Tuesday, 27 January 2015
Film on Nicholas II's Affair with Ballerina Might be Banned
Topic: Nicholas II

A scene from the Russian film Mathilde
Alexei Uchitel’s historical drama Mathilde about the affair of Tsar Nicholas II with the imperial theatre ballerina Matilda Kschessinskaya might be banned from world distribution.

The film creators Vladimir Vinokur and Alexei Uchitel signed a contract with David Weisman for joint production of the historical drama three years ago. One of the contract items specified that in case if the Russian party gets to work on the project without notifying the American partner about it the latter would be entitled to a large compensation.

Now David Weisman files a lawsuit with the requirement to pay him the due amount, and if the contract terms are violated by the Russian party, he intends to out bluster the prohibition of Mathilde in world film distribution and at the international film festivals.

So far Mathilde film creators of have not reacted to the American’s claim in any way. 
For more information on this film, please refer to the following article:

Coronation of Nicholas II Scenes Shot in St. Petersburg for New Film + VIDEO

© Russia Info-Centre. 27 January, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:41 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 28 January 2015 6:58 AM EST
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Monday, 26 January 2015
Putin's Wish to Rebuild Kremlin Monasteries Is Left Unfulfilled
Topic: Kremlin

Early 20th century photograph of the Voznesensky monastery in the Moscow Kremlin
President Vladimir Putin's suggestion in July to rebuild two monasteries within the Moscow Kremlin has been left unfulfilled as researchers struggle with a lack of information on how to properly conduct the project, state news agency Vesti reported Thursday.

"At the current stage, we have no more than 20 percent of the information needed for reliable reconstruction" of the Chudov and Voznesensky monasteries, historian Vladimir Kiprin, an adviser on the project, was quoted as saying.

During a meeting with Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and the curator of the Kremlin Museums last summer, Putin said that reconstruction of the monasteries and an accompanying church could take place if the project receives enough public support as well as approval by the United Nations' cultural branch UNESCO due to the Kremlin being an internationally designated world-heritage site.

That approval, however, has yet to be given, and demolition of an administrative building, Corpus 14, to make room for the monasteries, "might cause a number of rather negative consequences," Kremlin Museums associate director Andrei Batalov said in comments carried by Vesti.
For more information on this topic, please refer to the following articles:
Kremlin Awaits UNESCO Decision Before Restoration of Historic Monasteries
Reconstruction in the Kremlin to Surpass all the Project's Ever Coordinated With UNESCO

Restore Destroyed Orthodox Monasteries in Kremlin, says Putin

Archaeologists Believe Excavation of Kremlin Monasteries to Yield Great Discoveries

Putin Wants Monasteries, Church Rebuilt in Kremlin 
© Moscow Times. 26 January, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:39 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 28 January 2015 8:49 AM EST
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Sunday, 25 January 2015
Beautiful Orthodox Churches of Russia No. 27 - St. Sophia (Ascension) Cathedral, Tsarskoye Selo
Topic: Beautiful Orthodox Churches

The St. Sophia (Ascension) Cathedral in the district centre of Sofia, a settlement, which was later merged with Tsarskoye Selo, was one of the first purely Palladian churches to be built in Russia. Rather paradoxically, it may also be defined as "the first example of Byzantinism in Russian architecture".

The cathedral was founded in July 1782 at the instigation of Catherine II of Russia as a reminder of her lifelong Greek Plan. The Tsarina, eager to liberate Constantinople from the Turks, wished to have a replica of the Hagia Sophia in the proximity of the Catherine Palace where she spent her summers. But the first project - an exact copy of the Hagia Sophia - was very expensive.

Then the Empress called upon her favourite architect, Charles Cameron, to design this "Byzantinesque" church, but the Scottish architect, though well versed in the Palladian idiom, had a vague idea of what Byzantine architecture stood for. His design called for an austere and monumental whitewashed exterior, with Doric porticoes on each side, probably a reference to the works of Lord Burlington.

Construction works, supervised by Ivan Starov, lasted for six years. In the eventual variant, the five wide domes were placed on squat drums, vaguely reminiscent of the Hagia Eirene. The spacious interior of the church was dominated by four massive granite columns with gilt bronze ionic capitals. The church was consecrated on 28 May 1788 in the presence of the Empress. During the two decades that followed, the Imperial Academy of Arts had the interior adorned with Neoclassical paintings. A detached two-storied bell tower was added considerably later, in 1905, to a design by Leon Benois.

The iconostasis of St. Sophia Cathedral as it looks today
In 1784, the cathedral was to be the chapter church of the newly established Order of Saint Vladimir. The first dean was archpriest Andrey Samborsky - the religion teacher of tsarina's grandsons.

In 1817, Alexander I of Russia gave the cathedral to a hussar regiment of his Hussar Life Guard Regiment, which was quartered in Sophia. During the rest of the 19th century, the regiment had the cathedral transformed into a sort of military museum, its walls lined with marble plaques honouring the hussars' victories. Near the altar, for instance, were placed the banners captured by General Cherniaev from the Khan of Kokand.

In 1934, the Soviets had the cathedral closed down, and turned into a storehouse. The marble plaques and precious furnishings were nationalized or stolen.

In 1989, the Russian Orthodox Church resumed worship there. The same year, a bust of Alexander Nevsky was added nearby, by way of commemorating the 750th anniversary of the Battle of the Neva.

The complete consecration after the restoration took place on May 19, 1999.

In 2003, a granite monument to the His Majesty's Life-Guards Hussar Regiment was erected south of the cathedral. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 25 January, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:37 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 28 January 2015 7:58 AM EST
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Saturday, 24 January 2015
Winter Promenade in the Romanovs' Residence - Tsarskoye Selo
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo

The Catherine Palace, Tsarskoye Selo. Photo © Ivan Dementievskiy
Copyright Notice: The following collection of photographs was originally published in the January 24th, 2015 edition of Russia Beyond the Headlines. The photographer Ivan Dementievskiy, owns the copyright of the photographs presented below.
Tsarskoye Selo [Tsar’s Village] is situated 25 km from St. Petersburg. More than a hundred monuments are scattered across an area of 300 hectares: palaces and pavilions, bridges and marble monuments, as well as exotic edifices in the Gothic, Turkish and Chinese style. The territory features two main palaces - the Alexander Palace (Neoclassical) and the Catherine Palace (Rococo). The Great hall of the Catherine palace is over 800 square metres was intended as the venue for official receptions and celebrations, banquets, balls and masquerades.
Russia Beyond the Headlines has published a collection of a dozen colour photographs of Tsarskoye Selo in winter, by Russian photographer Ivan Dementievskiy. 

Click on the link below to review the short article and the beautiful colour photos by Dementievskiy:
Winter Promenade in the Romanovs' Residence - Tsarskoye Selo
© Ivan Dementievskiy / Russia Beyond the Headlines. 24 January, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:20 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 24 January 2015 9:36 AM EST
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A Russian Moment No. 56 - Monument to His Majesty's Life-Guards Hussar Regiment, Tsarskoye Selo
Topic: A Russian Moment

In 2003, a granite monument to His Majesty's Life-Guards Hussar Regiment was installed on the south side of the park which surrounds St. Sophia Cathedral in Tsarskoye Selo. A plaque commemorating the His Majesty's Life-Guards Hussar Regiment was consecrated on June 10th of the same year by the Metropolitan of St Petersburg and Ladoga Vladimir. The monument was installed in accordance with the program of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation with the support of the administration of St. Petersburg. Funding for the monument was made possible thanks to the Baltic Construction Company.

The monument is a three-level composition. The first level - three-step pedestal. The second level - the middle part of the mark on which the information elements. On the central front faces of the pyramid is the regimental badge, made of porcelain, and includes the monogram of Emperor Nicholas II. On the side faces - bronze plaque with a description of the regiment and its militant form. On the back side - bronze plaque with sculptural reliefs depicting a ceremonial regiment in Paris in 1814. In the final, the third level of the monument, the central rectangular facade is the emblem of the Russian Army, made of gilded porcelain.

The history of the Hussar Life Guards Regiment (from 1855 His Majesty’s Regiment), dates back to the Life Hussar Squadron, formed in 1775, which in 1796 was incorporated into the Cossack Life Hussar Regiment, in 1798 was formed into its own regiment; enjoyed privileges of the Old Guards, consisted of 2 to 5 squadron battalions, in 1802 was re-formed into a 5-squadron unit. Participated in the wars with France of 1799, 1805, 1806-07, 1812-14, in the Russo-Turkish Wars of 1828-29 and 1877-78, in suppressing of the Polish Uprising of 1830-31. From 1802 the regiment was stationed in Pavlovsk and Krasnoe Selo, from 1814 – in Tsarskoe Selo, (hence the informal name “hussars of Tsarskoe Selo – tsarskoselsky hussars”). 

The barracks were situated in the neighbourhood bordered by Volkonskaya (now Parkovaya), Sofiyskaya, Furazhnaya, Gussarskaya, Stesselevskaya (now Krasnoy Zvezdy Street) and Gospitalnaya Streets. 

From 1817, Emperor Alexander I decreed St. Sophia Cathedral (the traditional name of the Holy Ascension Cathedral) the regimental church of the Hussar Life Guard Regiment and the regiment trophies and treasures were kept there. From 1855 reigning emperors were the regiment’s patrons, future Emperors Alexander II and Nicholas II commenced their service in its ranks. During WW I 1914-18 the regiment within the 2d Guards Cavalry Division was dispatched to the North-Western front. His Majesty's Life-Guards Hussar Regiment was disbanded in early 1918. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 24 January, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:37 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 24 January 2015 8:49 AM EST
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Friday, 23 January 2015
Personal Belongings of Nicholas II on Display at Novosibirsk Museum
Topic: Nicholas II

A number of personal items of Emperor Nicholas II are now on display at the Novosibirsk City Museum. The items include a teacup with the personal monogram of the emperor, dated 1897. Judging from the abrasions, the cup is believed to have been used frequently by the tsar. According to a museum press release, cups, plates, spoons and other such items with such monograms were made for the exclusive use of members of the Imperial family. 

The items originally belonged to Carolina Bergman, a maid of honour of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. She served the Imperial family up until the final months of their stay at Tsarskoye Selo. On parting with the Imperial family, the woman received a number of items as a gift in recognition of her service. Subsequently, the maid of honour was to endure many hardships, her husband was executed in 1937, and because of her own infirmity, was taken in by a kind family. In gratitude, the former maid-of-honour tried to be helpful and even taught German to one of the children. In gratitude for their kindness and friendship, Caroline bequeathed the items to the hospitable family. According to the museum staff, the personal belongings of Nicholas II from this private collection are being exhibited for the very first time at Novosibirsk.

The exhibition runs at the Novosibirsk City Museum until 19 May 2015.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 23 January, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:23 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 23 January 2015 4:27 PM EST
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