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Saturday, 19 April 2014
Ipatiev House - Where the Romanovs Were Murdered - Archived Images
Topic: Ekaterinburg

Photojournalist and historian Vitaly Shytov, author of the new book, 'Ipatiev House. Documentary and Photographic Annals. 1877-1977' 
Photojournalist and historian Vitaly Shytov has dedicated 40 years of study to the tragic history of the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg. He has just published his new book, Ipatiev House. Documentary and Photographic Annals. 1877-1977, which features many investigative and archival materials, presenting the most important events in the history of the Ipatiev House in chronological order. 

Shytov’s work provides a unique historical record which documents the importance of the Ipatiev House for the first time. "The country wants to know the truth about his past" - wrote former Russian president, Boris Yeltsin, who was promoted to the post of the first secretary of the CPSU Committee of Sverdlovsk Oblast in 1976 by the Politburo of the CPSU. The   following year, in 1977, as a party official in Sverdlovsk, Yeltsin was ordered by Moscow to destroy the Ipatiev House. 

In 1974, Shytov, an avid photographer, and graduate of the Faculty of Journalism at the Ural State University, began compiling information and photographs. He was offered the curator’s post at the Department of Culture, and during the Soviet years he worked in the Ipatiev House itself.

It was during his employment in the Ipatiev House that he began collecting genuine artifacts of the building. In 1977, when the building was being demolished, Shytov filmed the process using a hidden camera. These photographs are included in his book which are supplemented with additional images from local archives, many of which are published for the very first time.

Ipatiev House. Documentary and Photographic Annals. 1877-1977 is the most complete and detailed history of the famous house in Ekaterinburg. Published in a hard cover edition in Chelyabinsk by the Auto-Count Publishing House, the book features more than 700 pages and more than 1,000 photographs. Only available in Russian.

Vitaly Shytov was present for the book’s launch, held on March 27th, 2014 in the Romanov Memoral Hall of the Sverdlovsk Regional Museum, in Ekaterinburg. The Romanov Memorial Hall was a fitting venue for the book’s launch, for it’s display of preserved fragments of the Ipatiev House, as well as personal items of Tsar Nicholas II, his family and their retainers, discovered after their brutal murders in the early morning hours of July 17th, 1918.

Note: This article is for information purposes only, this book is not available for sale from Royal Russia. 
Click on the link below to view 13 photographs from the book: 

The Ipatiev House - Where the Romanovs Were Murdered - Archived Images  

 © Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 19 April, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 18 April 2014 6:03 PM EDT
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Friday, 18 April 2014
Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna: Izvestia Interview
Topic: Maria Vladimirovna GD

Head of the Russian Imperial House, HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna
Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, head of the Russian Imperial House, comments on Crimea, Ukraine and royal properties in Crimea during an interview on April 14th, 2014 with Izvestia. To read the full interview, click on the following link:

Izvestia Interview with HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna 

© Izvestia and the Russian Imperial House. 18 April, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:05 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 17 April 2014 6:18 PM EDT
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Thursday, 17 April 2014
Restoration Paints Bright Future for Kamennoostrovsky Palace
Topic: Palaces

Artist's concept of Kamenny Island Palace in Saint Petersburg after the restorations are completed. 
On Sat. 12 Apr, St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko inspected the restoration progress at Kamennoostrovsky (Kamenny Island) Palace, leaving so impressed that he has requested that the palace be better utilized by the city, reported Interfax Saturday.

"The palace is so good that it deserves a different approach than previously planned,” said Poltavchenko. “I immediately suggest the following new usages: First to create a common urban space with the park that surrounds the palace and second, make the palace space into a museum or even more interesting, make it into a school of arts,” he said.

Poltavchenko has given vice-governor Vasily Kichedzhi the duty of researching into his suggestions and reporting back the results in a couple of weeks, reported Interfax.

Restoration of the Kamennoostrovsky Palace is scheduled to be finished by 2015 with 70 percent already competed.

Beginning in October 2011, the total cost of reconstruction is estimated at 1.64 billion rubles ($46 milion), reported Interfax.


View of Kamenny Island and Palace in Saint Petersburg (1803). Artist: Semyon Shchedrin
This large neo-classical palace on Kamenny Ostrov ("Stone Island") in the north-west of St. Petersburg was built by Catherine the Great for her son and heir, Paul I. The island was presented to him in 1765, and work began on the palace in 1776 under the guidance of architect Yuriy Felten. Major flooding in 1777 caused an interruption to the construction, and when work resumed the following year, Felten had been replaced by Giacomo Quarenghi, although the former did complete the palace's unusual Church of the Birth of St. John the Baptist.

While Paul soon grew tired of the palace, much preferring his residences at Pavlovsk and then Gatchina, Kamennoostrovskiy Palace was the favourite home of Alexander I, and then passed to his younger brother Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich and his descendants. Until recently, the palace was used as a sanatorium for the Russian airforce, and it is currently being restored as the official residence of the Governor of St. Petersburg.

Closed to the general public, the Kamennoostrovskiy Palace is barely visible from the street, and is best viewed from the Lopukhinskiy Garden, on the opposite bank of the Malaya Nevka River. 
© St. Petersburg Times, Interfax and Royal Russia. 17 April, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:56 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 17 April 2014 7:18 AM EDT
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Lavish Russian Easter Eggs on Display in Moscow
Topic: Easter

Easter eggs from the Russian Imperial Porcelain Factory
Decorative eggs are often used as symbols of the Christian festival of Easter. In Tsarist Russia, aristocrats and royalty exchanged lavishly-decorated eggs at Easter time as a gesture of friendship. Now, a new exhibition in Moscow is celebrating that historic tradition.

Just days ahead of Orthodox Easter, Moscow’s State History Museum is opening a special exhibition. They’re showing porcelain Easter eggs which once belonged to the Russian imperial family.

At the time, scientists developed an original Russian recipe for a sufficiently white and translucent porcelain, and the Imperial Porcelain Factory started producing chinaware.

The first egg was made by Dmitry Vinogradov, the inventor of the porcelain, for Easter 1749.
"We begin the exhibition in the 18th century when chinaware in Russia gained widespread currency," said Marina Christyakova, head of conservation at Russian State History Msueum. "That was connected with the invention by the famous Dmitry Vinogradov. It ends with objects from the time of the World War I, 1915-1916, when there was a tradition of congratulating and exchanging Easter eggs with the military."

The opening is being attended by Pavel Kulikovsky, the great-great-grandson of Russian Emperor Alexander III. There’s no doubt which is his favourite Easter egg.

"The big one of Alexander III is a beautiful blue colour with gold on top and is just bigger than normal, so it’s very impressive. I think that’s very fitting for Alexander III," Kulikovsky said.

The eggs were painted with images of Russian saints, landscapes of memorable places, imperial monograms and even copies of paintings by famous artists like Rafael.

The Russian emperor met with thousands of people - including military personnel and aristocrats - to give them this special Easter present.

The exhibition also features a section where visitors can design their own eggs.

"It may take a week or more to finish one piece if it’s a complicated ornate image or painting. Some pieces take months," said artist Anna Sukanova.

Russian Orthodox Easter is on Sunday April 20th. 
© CCTV. 17 April, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:44 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 17 April 2014 12:50 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 16 April 2014
Carl Faberge's Lost Third Imperial Easter Egg Goes On Display
Topic: Faberge

Faberge's Third Imperial Egg on display at Wartski in London, England. Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
The Third Faberge Imperial Easter Egg is displayed at Court Jewellers Wartski on April 16, 2014 in London, England. This rare Imperial Faberge Easter Egg, made for the Russian Royal family in 1887, thought to be worth tens of millions of dollar, was seized by the Bolsheviks after the Russian revolution. It was sold at auction in New York in 1964 as a 'Gold watch in egg form case' for $2450 - its provenance then unknown. Later a buyer in the US Mid-West bought it for possible scrap metal value until he discovered it's true value.
For more information on the Third Imperial Egg, please refer to the following links: 


© Getty Images. 16 April, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:24 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 16 April 2014 6:44 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 15 April 2014
Inside the Amber Room
Topic: Amber Room

Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the April 14th, 2014 edition of The Daily Mail. The author Sanya Burgess owns the copyright presented below. All photographs © Alamy.

Take a close-up look at the stunning interiors of the Amber Room, located in the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo. Click on the link below to view a beautiful collection of 16 colour photographs. 

The Amber Room is the subject of a new episode of The Treasure Hunters on BBC One in the United Kingdom. Watch a short video in English of the documentary, hosted by Ellie Harrison, who investigates the Amber Room - a room so bejewelled with amber that it was thought to be the eighth wonder of the world - but its fate is surrounded by mystery.  


© Sanya Burgess @ The Daily Mail. 15 April, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:11 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 15 April 2014 4:24 PM EDT
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Monday, 14 April 2014
Hostages to Political Games: Did Lenin Order the Execution of the Royal Family
Topic: Books

The murders of the Russian Royal family in 1918 was an event which has been interpreted differently at different periods for nearly a century. Over the decades, it has triggered a vast growth of conspiracy theories: some based on conscientious research, others conjured up by attention-seeking opportunists.
The interview attempts a point of view free from political speculation. Vladimir Soloviev is the Chief Major Crimes Investigator for the Central Investigative Department of the Public Prosecution Office of the Russian Federation. He was the officer in charge of the recent Royal murder case. On July 17 2013 he spoke to Pravda's political analyst Victor Kozhemyako. 

Vladimir Nikolaevich Soloviev, was appointed officer in charge of the criminal investigation of the murder of Nicholas II and his family since 1993. The investigation was launched in connection with the discovery of the remains of nine persons found in a mass grave not far from Yekaterinburg. Soloviev was the one dealing with their identification, summoning numerous scientists and other experts, including foreign ones.
The rest is history. While some were free to disagree with the experts' conclusions, in 1998 the  remains were reburied with due honours in St Peter and Paul's Cathedral of Petersburg as the factual remains of Russia's Royal family.
At the time, the case was closed - only to be reopened in 2007 when local amateur historians found the remains of two more people - supposedly, Nicholas II's daughter and son - not far from the original burial. Once again, Vladimir Nikolaevich Soloviev headed the new investigation that, despite participation of yet more experts, was closed on January 15 2009.
Going over his original investigation in every detail is a huge task. The extent of Mr. Soloviev' immersion in the events that took place over 90 years ago has made him a unique expert on the subject. He's examined a wealth of documents, memoirs, eyewitnesses' accounts and all sorts of historic research that was conducted over various periods of time.

Hostages to Political Games (first English translation translated by Irene W. Galaktionova) is published in the latest issue of our official magazine, Royal Russia Annual No. 5 - Winter 2014. The article contains 18 pages, illustrated with 11 black and white photographs. 

Click Here for More Information or to Order Your Copy

© Royal Russia. 14 April, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:48 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 14 April 2014 11:01 AM EDT
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Looking beyond Faberge: The Great Russian Jewelers of the 19th Century
Topic: Jewels

Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the April 13th, 2014 edition of Russia Beyond the Headlines. The author Marina Obrazkova, owns the copyright of the article presented below.

The whole world has heard of jeweler Carl Fabergé, purveyor to the Russian Imperial Court and the creator of the celebrated Fabergé eggs. Yet the 19th century produced many other talented jewelers in Russia, and though they are not household names, their works are no less valuable.

Until the mid-19th century, jewelers in Russia were considered to be ordinary craftsmen. It was only when they began to take part in international exhibitions that their names turned into commercial brands.
Stockholm syndrome

The Bolins, a family of Swedish jewelers, first came to Russia in the early 19th century, several decades before Fabergé. Overall, they served six Russian emperors. That was no easy work. Among other things, their duty was to design and make trousseaux, or bridal outfits, for tsars' daughters. A wedding set alone could cost as much as a house in the center of St Petersburg. It usually consisted of a wedding crown, several diadems, a necklace, and bracelets. On top of that, there were also rings and earrings to be made. On the eve of a wedding, the princess's new jewels were displayed for everyone to see. That was an old custom, as the value of a bride was determined by how much her trousseau had cost.

The House of Bolin operated in Russia up till World War I. At its outbreak, the then-owner of the firm, Wilhelm Bolin, happened to be in Germany. He tried to get back to Russia via Sweden but got stuck in Stockholm, where he subsequently opened a store and soon began to work for the Swedish royal family. That is to say, he exchanged one monarch for another.

Turning heads, Russian style

The jewelry workshop of merchant Pavel Sazikov dates back to 1793. His son Ignaty brought to the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London a collection of works inspired by the traditional peasant lifestyle. The items on display featured a bear with its tamer, a milkmaid, a candelabrum commemorating the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380 and other works inspired by folk themes. The candelabrum received a silver medal at the exhibition, and Ignaty returned to Russia a famous man.

Customers back home took Ignaty's recognition in London as an ultimate seal of approval and followed suit. The courtiers who were now bombarding Ignaty with their orders were dealing not just with some craftsman or other but with a jeweler who had been admired in London!

Russian aristocrats, who often spoke French better than they spoke Russian, could thus underline their belonging to Russia. It is therefore not surprising that the Russian style enjoyed such lasting popularity. Europeans fell in love with style “à la russe” too. At the Vienna Exhibition in 1873, jeweler Ivan Khlebnikov created a sensation with his samovar and tea set. The samovar stood on rooster feet and had handles in the form of rooster heads, while the cups in the tea set were decorated with precious stones and enamel. It was a thing of unusual beauty that could not but attract interest and admiration. Khlebnikov returned from the exhibition proud as a cockerel and threw himself into his work with renewed energy.

He took his themes from history and literature: scenes from the lives of Tsar Ivan the Terrible or Russian Orthodox Church saint Sergius of Radonezh, or the poems of Mikhail Lermontov. The most interesting of Khlebnikov's works are his enamels. The State Historical Museum in Moscow has a wine set consisting of a carafe in the form of a rooster and cups in the form of chickens decorated with champlevé enamelling. He also made silver and gold dishes using the same technique.

A social climber

Enamel was the trademark technique of another outstanding Russian jeweler, Pavel Ovchinnikov. He was particularly famed for his filigree, painted and stained-glass enamels. Filigree enamel used to be popular in Kievan Rus, to where it had been brought from Byzantium, but the technique was lost during the years of the Mongol invasion of Russia. It was Ovchinnikov who revived that lost craft.

His was an unusual life story. Pavel Ovchinnikov was born a serf but already at a very young age he displayed a talent for drawing and was sent to become an apprentice to a gold and silversmith. After eight years of work he managed to save enough money to buy his freedom, made a good marriage and opened a workshop of his own.

By the time Ovchinnikov was just 24, he had an annual turnover of half a million rubles. In today's money, that would be enough to make the Titanic movie. Furthermore, he already had 600 people in his employment at that time. By the age of 35, Ovchinnikov became a purveyor to the Imperial Court and an honorary citizen, and had been decorated with several state awards.

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, jewelers began to leave Russia. They found it impossible to work in a country blighted by hunger and desolation, where jewelry was being expropriated for the needs of the working class. The craft of the jeweler, which was all but lost in this period, was later gradually revived, although it was a different school and had a different aesthetic. These days the high style of the imperial jewelers can be found only in museums and private collections. 
© Marina Obrazkova @ Russia Beyond the Headlines. 14 April, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:02 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 14 April 2014 8:31 AM EDT
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Sunday, 13 April 2014
IMPORTANT NEW Contact Information for Royal Russia
Topic: Royal Russia

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 13 April, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:32 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 13 April 2014 6:34 AM EDT
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Thursday, 10 April 2014
Tsarskoye Selo Receives 100-Year-Old Russian Imperial Haute Couture
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo

On April 8th, 2014, Tsarskoye Selo received an extraordinary gift of two early twentieth century pieces of attire worn at the Russian imperial court.

The gift came courtesy of Mr. Vincent George Poklewski-Koziell, a Polish-Austrian noble family descendant who is visiting Tsarkskoye Selo together with his wife Victoria Ann. His great-grandfather, Baron Edouard de Stoeckl, served as the Russian minister to the United States and was responsible for selling Alaska in 1867. His grandfather Vincent Poklewski-Koziell and uncles were fortunate Polish Russian entrepreneurs known as ‘The Siberian Rockefellers’.  

Mr. Poklewski gave the Museum a ceremonial court dress with a kokoshnik headpiece which his mother Zoia de Stoeckl, a maid-of-honour to the last Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia, wore together with 300 other maids-of-honour at a Romanov 300th Anniversary celebration in the Winter Palace in 1913.

The dress of crimson velvet with a wide round neckline, hanging sleeves, a train and a cream coloured satin skirt, is decorated with a floral embroidery design of metal threads, sequins and gimp. Its corsage belt bears the mark of the English fashion designer Charles Frederick Worth, the ‘father of haute couture’ who made dresses for the consorts of the Russian emperors Alexander II, Alexander III and Nicholas II.

The other gift, a chamberlain’s court uniform of black broadcloth with gold embroidery, belonged to Mr. Poklewski’s grandfather, Baron Sasha de Stoeckl. Although following an established pattern, each of those uniforms was custom-made for a particular holder of the rank.

The dress and the uniform left Russia after the 1917 revolution and moved to the house of Mr. Poklewski’s grandmother in London. Later they spent years at Luton Hoo, on loan to the Russian Rooms exhibit, run by Countess Anastasia de Torby, a great-granddaughter to Emperor Nicholas I of Russia on her father’s side and a great-granddaughter to the poet Alexander Pushkin on her mother’s side. The objects went back to Mr. Poklewski after the exhibit was closed down in the 1990s. They have come full circle and returned to Russia where the Tsarskoye Selo Museum, according to Mr. Poklewski, is ‘the best place where they belong’.

The dress and the uniform will be first put on display at the Alexander Palace for the Night of Museums event on May 17th, 2014. 


© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. 10 April, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:45 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 10 April 2014 6:15 AM EDT
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