Busts of Nicholas II in Belarus Topic: Nicholas II
Saint Nicholas Church in the tiny Belarusian village of Kraesk is home to a bronze bust of Emperor Nicholas II.
The bust was created in bronze by Russian sculptor Vladimir Zelyanko, and installed in 2008 marking the 90th anniversary of the murder of Tsar Nicholas II.
The inscription plaque reads: Holy Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II. This bust - our gratitude to the Holy Royal Martyrs of Heaven for protecting us believers, Christians, and our Orthodox parish of Kraesk.
Kraesk has a population of 340 inhabitants and is approximately 40 km from Minsk, the capital of Belarus.
A second bust of Nicholas II was presented to the regional museum in Mogilev by the former mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov in 2009.
During the years 1915-1917, Mogilev served as Stavka, the headquarters of the Russian Imperial Army. It was here that Nicholas II spent long periods of time as Commander-in-Chief, often accompanied by his son and heir, the Tsesarevich Alexei.
The Chandelier at the Hermitage Theater Topic: Winter Palace
On 3 April 2012, the chandelier at the Hermitage Theater was lowered for its annual cleaning and bulb-changing.
The Adolphe Morand Bronze Works were founded in Saint Petersburg in the mid-1850s under the auspices of the Electroplating House of Maximilian, Duke of Leuchtenberg, and continued to operate through 1917. The Works carried out numerous orders for the Imperial Palace, with their bronze creations frequently adorning the city’s grand ducal palaces.
In 1899-1900, Adolphe Morand fabricated chandeliers for the Jordan Staircase and the St. George, Coat-of-Arms and the Nicholas Halls of the Winter Palace. Yet, the Works’ first creation to receive widespread acclaim was the chandelier at the Hermitage Theater in 1889. With its intricate design and imposing proportions, the chandelier was originally intended to be equipped with electric bulbs, thereby making it possible to forego the single large-sized and twelve smaller oil-lamp chandeliers that had theretofore been used to illuminate the Theater.
The pear-shaped chandelier (such designs first became popular in the 1840s) is richly-ornamented and features Louis-XVI stylistic elements. The fixture’s multi-element bronze sconces, shaped like floral shoots, and opulent hoop designed to resemble acanthus leaves, were gilded using the electroplating method. The unique lighting effect is created by the manner in which the chandelier’s high-quality, possibly Bohemian, crystal plays in the light.
Majority of Russians Plan to Celebrate Easter - Poll
Easter service at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow last year
According to a poll conducted by the Levada Center, an absolute majority (about 90%) of Russian citizens will celebrate Easter on April 15, Interfax has reported.
Traditional Easter cakes will be baked, eggs painted, Easter curd puddings made and presents given to relatives and friends.
28% of respondents polled recently said they will celebrate Easter at home over a meal, and 26% said they will go out to see friends. 23% of those polled said they would see their dead relatives' graves, which, strictly speaking, is at odds with the church tradition.
Only 7% of those surveyed said they would join the night-time Easter church service and most of them (10%) are pensioners.
6% of respondents said the will not mark this church holiday at all, and most of them are business people (13%) and students (12%).
Women celebrate Easter one way or another more often than men, the Levada Center said. But men prefer to go out to see their relatives and friend on Easter.
Leading up to the Easter festivities in Moscow, catering enterprises and confectioner's workshops baked about 900 thousand Easter cakes, head of Moscow Trade and Service Department Mikhail Orlov said at a press conference.
About 90 million eggs were delivered to Moscow shops for Easter holidays, Orlov said.
Charitable dinners and tea parties will be organized for over 5 thousand Muscovites with low income.
Over 50 thousand of citizens with low income, disabled persons, war veterans will receive free Easter cakes.
Hunt for Amber Room to Begin Again in Germany Topic: Amber Room
The governor of Germany’s Nobitz municipality Hendrik Labe announced plans to search for the legendary Amber Room, looted by Nazi Germany during the World War II, in a local forest, the Bild newspaper said on Tuesday.
Labe said the search would be conducted on the border between the eastern German states of Thuringia and Saxony. Digging is due to begin this spring.
He sited research by amateur historian Thomas Kuschel, who collected wintesses' statements about the last days of the war. He also conducted a geoelectric sounding of the area, which revealed cavities measuring 70 by 40 meters deep in the ground.
“I’m sure we will eventually find something here,” Bild quoted Kuschel as saying.
Labe is not the first German official to announce a search for the legendary treasure, housed at the Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg and looted during WWII by Nazi Germany. It was brought to Konigsberg (Kaliningrad) and its further whereabouts were lost in the chaos at the end of the war in 1945.
The Amber Room is also being searched for by Heinz-Peter Haustein, the mayor of Deutschneudorf in Saxony. The search is being conducted in an abandoned copper mine in the Ore mountains, where a radar screening revealed a large amount of metal, believed to be too dense for copper.
Haustein said that the search in Nobitz is unlikely to yield any result. He added that the treasure hunting in the Ore mountains will resume after Easter.
The Amber Room is the 18th century chamber of amber panels, which was given by Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm I to Russia's Peter the Great as a gift in 1716.
The six-ton treasure, dubbed the "eighth wonder of the world," is decorated with pure amber panels, mirrors and precious stones.
Only two small elements of the room's decoration were eventually rediscovered and returned to Russia.
A partial replica of the Amber Room has been recreated according to available blueprints at Tsarskoye Selo near St. Petersburg.
Portraits of Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna Topic: Maria Pavlovna, Senior
These two portraits of the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna are little known in the West, and therefore may be new to many people.
The artist, Emil Wiesel (1866-1943), also served as museum curator and a board member of the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg from 1914.
The above portraits of the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna (nee Duchess Marie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin) were painted by Wiesel in 1900 (left), and 1910 (right). The grand duchess served as the last President of the Imperial Academy of Arts after the death of her husband, the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich in 1909.
Georgia Protests Destruction of Royal Grave in Moscow Topic: Bagrations
Prince Ioane Bagratoni
The Georgian Foreign Ministry has formally protested against how Russia is treating a royal cemetary in Moscow.
Tbilisi believes that authorities in Moscow are going ahead with construction work on the cemetary, which contains the graves of the Georgian royal family Bagrationi.
Georgia’s Foreign Ministry sent an official note to Russia demanding a stop in the constructions works. The note went via the Swiss embassy. Georgia and Russia do not have diplomatic relations.
Nino Kalandadze, Deputy Foreign Minister said on Monday that Switzerland will try to find full information about what works are being conducted on the grave and in case it is true, they will appeal to Russia to stop the construction works.
“Afterwards, we will appeal with request to raise the issue of reburial,” Kalandadze added.
The Agency of Cultural Heritage Protection is waiting for additional material about the construction works over the grave in the cemetery with the help of the Swiss embassy.
“The fact that they treat a Georgian monument as vandals, we can consider a continuation of actions to delete Georgian traces. After studying the situation, very soon there will be put issue to rebury Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani in Georgia. We are waiting for additional material, which will be given to us with the help of the Swiss embassy,” the agency says.
The agency has very little information about the details of the photo and video material in its possession.
“We don’t yet have precise and detailed information of what territory is destroyed and where constructions are conducted.”
The cemetery is located in the northern part of Moscow. Georgian noblemen, including royals, were buried there in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, after Georgia was integrated in Russia. Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani, Georgian famous writer and Ioane, father of Petre Bagration, a famous Russian General with Georgian origins, are also buried in the yard of church in this cemetery.
Vsesvyatsky Cemetery existed until 1982, when it was destroyed, following an order to liquidate cemeteries in Moscow. Despite of this, some tombstones still remain there, including the one of Ioane Bagrationi.
There is a plan to build a park there instead. Construction work started in 2008, but were stopped because of disputes. In 2011, the work continued and is in progress. Currently, a one-story concrete building is being built over the graves and there is no constriction permits for this.
The church is on the list of protected monuments. So Moscow Cultural Heritage Protection Department made a decision to take away buildings; however, construction is still in progress.
Last Days at Tsarskoe Selo by Count Paul Benckendorff Topic: Books
Gilbert's Books (the publishing division of Royal Russia) is pleased to announce that a new edition of Last Days at Tsarskoe Selo by Count Paul Benckendorff, is scheduled for release in August 2012.
Originally published in 1927, Benckendorff's fascinating and insightful memoirs provide an eye-witness account of the final days of Tsar Nicholas II and his family at Tsarskoe Selo before being exiled to Siberia.
His memoirs are a recollection of the stay of the Russian Imperial family at the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoe Selo from March 1st to August 1st 1917. Benckendorff, who was the Grand Marshall of the Imperial Court and shared the captivity of the Romanovs at Tsarskoe Selo, provides a detailed account of Nicholas II’s abdication, transfer to Tsarskoe Selo, and daily life during his six months there under house arrest. Throughout, Benckendorff characterizes Nicholas and Alexandra as courageous, gracious, and poised despite their obvious concern over the safety of their family.
This title has been out of print for several years. Our new edition will include the original text and appendix, and will also include a selection of photographs that were not published in the original 1927 edition.
The Romanovs: Elizabeth and Sergei Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 1 hour, 52 minutes, 42 seconds Topic: GD Sergei Alexandrovich
This documentary tells about the life and work for the benefit of Holy Russia, of the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna and the Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich.
Married in 1884, they shared a great love and shared a deep Christian life up until 1905 when the Grand Duke Sergei was murdered by terrorists in Moscow. His wife gave up her privileged life at the Russian Imperial Court and became a nun. She founded the Martha and Mary Convent in Moscow dedicated to helping the downtrodden in Moscow. In 1918, she was arrested by the Bolsheviks and murdered at Alapeyevsk.
This documentary, made in 2009, tells their story through vintage photographs and film footage, diary and letter excerpts, and more. It is the second of more than 20 films entitled The Romanov Project.
St. Andrew's Flag: 20 Year Anniversary Topic: Imperial Russia
April 7th marked the 20th anniversary of the signing of an order by Russian President Boris Yeltsin on the transfer of the Black Sea Fleet to the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation. According to the document, the Black Sea Fleet of the former USSR came under the jurisdiction of the Russia. The decree also ordered that the St. Andrew’s flag be raised above the ships and vessels of the Black Sea Fleet.
St. Andrew’s flag has a white background with two blue diagonal bands, forming a slanted cross, called St. Andrew’s cross. When Peter I became a tsar, he started to design a flag of the Russian Navy. From 1692 to 1712, Peter I personally drew eight flags projects that have consistently been taken into the Navy. Description of the flag's final version by Peter I: “The flag is white, across it there is a blue St. Andrew’s cross, which was used to baptize Russia.”
The Black Sea Fleet is considered to have been founded by Prince Potemkin on May 13, 1783, together with its principal base, the city of Sevastopol. Formerly commanded by such legendary admirals as Dmitry Senyavin, Fyodor Ushakov and Pavel Nakhimov, it is a fleet of enormous historical and political importance for Russia.
After the revolution the Russian Navy Ensign was changed, but the St. Andrew’s flag was used by the White Army up to 1924. Pre-revolutionary flag was reintroduced to in 1992 and it still used today.