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400th Anniversary
A Russian Moment
Alexander I
Alexander II
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Alexander Mikhailovich, GD
Alexander Palace
Alexandra Feodorovna
Alexandra Nicholayevna, GD
Alexandra Pavlovna GD
Amber Room
Andrei Vladimirovich, GD
Anna Feodorovna, GD
Anna Ioannovna, Empress
Anna Leopoldovna
Anna Pavlovna, GD
Beautiful Orthodox Churches
Benckendorff, Count Paul
Catherine II
Conspiracy Theories
Constantine Constantinovich, GD
Country Estates
Dmitri Pavlovich, GD
Dmitri Romanovich
Dowager Empress Maria
Eagar, Margaretta
Ekaterinburg Remains
Elena Vladimirovna, GD
Elizabeth Feodorovna GD
Elizabeth Petrovna, Empress
Frederiks, Count Vladimir
Ganima Yama
George Alexandrovich, GD
Gibbes, Charles Sidney
Grand Duchess Xenia Alexa
Grand Dukes
Holy Royal Martyrs
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Ivan IV, Tsar
Kazan Cathedral
Kerensky, Alexander
Kolchak, Admiral
Konstantin Nikolayevich, GD
Maria Alexandrovna
Maria Feodorovna, Empress
Maria Pavlovna, Senior
Maria Vladimirovna GD
Marie Georgievna, GD
Mikhail Alexandrovich GD
Mikhail Nikolayevich, GD
Nevsky, Alexander
Nicholas Alexandrovich GD
Nicholas I
Nicholas II
Nicholas Mikhailovich, GD
Nicholas Nicholayevich, GD
Nicholas Romanovich
Oleg Konstantinovich, Prince
Olga Alexandrovna GD
Olga Konstantinovna GD
Olga Nicholayevna GD
Paley, Princess Natalia
Paul Alexandrovich, GD
Paul Gilbert
Paul I, Emperor
Peter and Paul Fortress
Peter II
Peter III
Peter Nicholayevich, GD
Peter the Great
Prince Michael of Kent
Romanov Descendants
Romanov Family Album
Royal Russia
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Russian Imperial House
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Russo-Japanese War
Sergei Alexandrovich GD
St. Petersburg
St. Theodore's Church
State Hermitage Museum
Stieglitz, Alexander
Stolypin, Pyotr
Tauride Palace
Tsarskoye Selo
Tsesarevich Alexei
Vera Konstantinovna, Princess
Vladimir Alexandrovich, GD
Vyrubova, Anna
Winter Palace
Witte, Sergei
World War I
Wrangel, Pyotr
Xenia Alexandrovna GD
Yelagin Palace
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Saturday, 6 October 2012
Yelagin Palace Hosts Stolypin Exhibit
Topic: Stolypin, Pyotr


The exhibition Hope of the Tsar dedicated to the 150th anniversary since the birth of the outstanding politician Pyotr Arkadyevich Stolypin (1862-1911)  has opened in the Konyushenny Building of the Yelagin Island Palace Museum.

Stolypin, a prominent statesman and great reformer of the Russian Empire, served as Prime Minister from 1906 to 1911.

 On September 14 [O.S. September 1] 1911, while he was attending a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tale of Tsar Saltan at the Kiev Opera House in the presence of Tsar Nicholas II and his two eldest daughters, the Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatian, Stolypin was shot twice, once in the arm and once in the chest, by Dmitri Bogrov (born Mordekhai Gershkovich), who was both a Jewish leftist radical.

Stolypin was reported to have coolly risen from his chair, removed his gloves and unbuttoned his jacket, exposing a blood-soaked waistcoat. He sank into his chair and shouted "I am happy to die for the Tsar" before motioning to the Tsar in his imperial box to withdraw to safety. The Tsar remained in his position and in one last theatrical gesture Stolypin blessed him with a sign of the cross. The next morning the distressed Tsar knelt at Stolypin's hospital bedside and repeated the words "Forgive me". Stolypin died four days later.

The exhibition is the final event in an extensive program of anniversary events and the largest project dedicated to this memorial date. The Yelagin Ostrov (Island) is one of the few memorial addresses of Pyotr Stolypin in St. Petersburg. In 1906 after an attempt on his life at Aptekarsky Island, that Stolypin and his family were transported here. 

The exhibit has been created on the basis of materials from over 15 to 20 archives and museums of the Russian Federation. Some documents and exhibits are displayed for the first time. 

State-of-the-art multimedia technologies, among them interactive ones, have been actively employed in the exhibition. One of the interactive exhibits is a model of Yelagin Island which helps allows visitors a better understanding of the history and its role during the period when Pyotr Stolypin and his family lived there. 

The exhibition runs till December 15.

© Iskusstvo TV and Paul Gilbert. 06 October, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:51 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 6 October 2012 6:08 PM EDT
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Exhibition of 17th-20th Century Head-Dresses Opens in Tula
Topic: Exhibitions


Princess Zinaida Yusupova wearing a traditional Russian head-dress. Portrait by Konstantin Makovsky (1895) 

A new exhibition has been opened in the Antiquities Museum Exhibition Center at Tula.

The exhibition will acquaint visitors with the peculiarities of head-dresses during the 17th - early 20th centuries.

The kokoshnik is the more commonly used name for a variety of traditional Russian head-dresses worn by women and girls to accompany the sarafan. They  have always been considered a reflection of the epoch, the styles of which changed together with its laws, customs, and governors. 

Head-dresses were divided into daily and festive ones, the latter having a variety of ornaments and decorations. Festive head-dresses and headgears of the rich and privileged classes were often decorated with furs and jewels. 

All visitors of the exhibition will have a chance to learn about the history and rules of wearing head-dresses in Russia.

The exhibition runs till the beginning of April, 2013.

© Tula Foto and Paul Gilbert. 06 October, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:19 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 6 October 2012 10:40 AM EDT
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Moscow Kremlin in 1812
Topic: Exhibitions


Photo credit: Moscow Kremlin Museums 

The exhibition The Kremlin in 1812: War and Peace that has been staged in the Moscow Kremlin’s Armoury – the treasure-house of Russian tsars – will run from October 4 through January 10.

This exhibition provides information about the efforts that were made to save the priceless exhibits during Napoleon’s invasion, when Moscow was surrendered to Napoleon’ troops.

The Armoury is the first public museum of Moscow. In 1806 Emperor Alexander I of Russia signed a decree to set up the Armoury to keep national treasures, including tsars’ regalia, historical relics, and sacred things there. The construction of the building on the Kremlin’s territory for this purpose was completed in 1812. Parallel with this, work was done to select the exhibits for the Armoury, Director of the Moscow Kremlin Museums Yelena Gagarina says.

"It required 6 years to create the inventories and to classify the monuments. When the came to move to the new building this was impossible to realize because information appeared that Napoleon was on his way to Moscow. It was necessary to immediately evacuate the treasures from the Kremlin’s territory."

It was exactly that dramatic page that marked the beginning of the history of the Russian Armoury. Packaging work started after it became known that the French troops had entered Smolensk, the key town on Russia’s western border. More than 150 carts and wagons were needed to take away both the exhibits and documents. When all of them reached Kolomna near Moscow, they were loaded on ships to be transported to Nizhny Novgorod in the Volga Region.

Meanwhile, fires started in Moscow that was surrendered to the French troops. Historians are still involved in the heated debates about who was to blame for the then fires: the Russians or the French. The exhibition in Moscow offers proof in favour of none of these versions… And still, among the items on display is the English watch that belonged to the adjutant of the Moscow governor – Lieutenant Obreskov. According to family legend, it gave a signal to numerous acts of arson in Moscow. The city was burned down to ashes but the Kremlin survived. However, serious damage was done to it because the French turned its palaces and churches into storehouses and stables. Napoleon received no response from Russia to his proposal for peace, but leaving Moscow he ordered the destruction of the Kremlin. Fortunately, his order was not carried out. Nearly one year passed before the collections of the Russian Armoury returned to Moscow, the exhibition’s curator Viktoriya Pavlenko says.

"After the French troops left Moscow, the Armoury’s new building that was built shortly before the war – by 1813 was restored, and the Armoury’s valuables returned to the Kremlin."

The conduct of the Russian troops that defeated Napoleon’s army and entered Paris was different compared with the conduct of the French troops in Moscow. On display at the exhibition is a weapon set that the Paris residents gave General von der Osten-Sacken as a present, who in 1814 was appointed the governor of Paris, as a sign of gratitude for nobility and quietness displayed by the Russian troops.

© The Voice of Russia. 06 October, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:48 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 6 October 2012 9:54 AM EDT
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Monument to Nicholas II at Vladivostock
Topic: Nicholas II


A mounment to Emperor Nicholas II can be found in the city of Vladivostock, the port city located in Russia's Far East and home of the nation's Pacific Fleet.

The monument can be found at 52 Ulitsa Svetlanskaya, where the former home of the region's governor-general stood during tsarist times. It was here that Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich stayed during his visit to the city on May 19th, 1891 during his tour to Far East.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 06 October, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:17 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 6 October 2012 8:33 AM EDT
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Friday, 5 October 2012
Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna and Peter of Oldenburg
Topic: Olga Alexandrovna GD


Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna (1882-1960) and Duke Peter Alexandrovich of Oldenburg (1868-1924) were married at St. Petersburg on August 9th, 1901.

The couple met the year before when Peter began escorting the 18-year-old daughter of Emperor Alexander III, to the theatre and opera.

Peter asked for Olga's hand in marriage the following year, a proposal that took the grand duchess completely by surprise: "I was so taken aback that all I could say was 'thank you,'"she later told Ian Vorres.

The marriage was announced in May 1901. Her mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna wrote to her son and Olga's brother, Emperor Nicholas II: "I am sure you won't believe what has happened. Olga is engaged to Petya and both are very happy. I had to consent, but it was all done so quickly and unexpectedly that I still cannot believe it."

Nicholas replied to his mother: "I cannot believe that Olga is actually engaged to Petya. They were probably both drunk yesterday.....We both laughed so much reading your letter that we have not recovered yet."

A prenuptial agreement was drawn up by a committee which included the Tsar, the Oldenburg family, and government ministers. It promised Olga an annuity of 100,000 roubles from the Tsar, and 1 million roubles to be deposited into a fund from which she could draw interest.

The wedding was a grand ceremony attended by family, European royalty, government ministers, foreign ambassadors, government officials and courtiers. They spent their honeymoon at the Oldenburg estate of Voronezh.

In the fall of 1901 they travelled to Biarritz, France, where they boarded a yacht loaned to them by King Edward VII of Great Britain and sailed to Italy.

On their return to Russia, they settled into a 200-room palace (the former Baryatinsky mansion) at 46 Sergievskaya Street (today Tchaikovskogo Street), St. Petersburg. The palace was made available to them by Olga's brother, Tsar Nicholas II. The palace has survived to this day and now houses the Saint Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Their marriage remained unconsummated, and Peter was believed by both family and friends to be a homosexual. Olga asked him for a divorce and at first he refused. The couple eventually separated, their marriage was annulled by the Emperor himself on October 16th, 1916. 

Olga married a cavalry officer, Nicholas Kulikovsky the following month. After the Russian Revolution, the couple escaped with their two sons and spent their final years in Denmark and later Canada. Kulikovsky died in 1958, Olga died in 1960. 

Peter and his mother also fled Russia after the Revolution, and settled in France. He remarried to Olga Vladimirovna Ratkova-Rognova on May 3, 1922. The marriage was also without issue. Peter died at Antibes, France in 1924, he was 55.   

Sources: The Last Grand Duchess (Pub. 1960) by Ian Vorres and Olga Romanov: The Last Grand Duchess of Russia (Pub. 1998) by Patricia Phenix.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 05 October, 2012


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:24 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 5 October 2012 8:30 AM EDT
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Thursday, 4 October 2012
Monument to Nicholas II at Tsarskoye Selo
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo


I have discovered a new monument to Emperor Nicholas II at Tsarskoye Selo.

The monument was erected in 2011 on the site of a chapel built near the Alexandrovskaya Railway Station. The chapel was a memorial to Alexander II erected after an assassination attempt on the emperor's life in Paris in 1867. It was  demolished by the local Soviets in 1949.

It was from the Alexandrovskya station that Emperor Nicholas II, his family and retinue departed Tsarskoye Selo and sent into exile in the early morning hours of 14 August [O.S. 01 August] 1917.

There are now three monuments to Russia's last tsar found at Tsarskoye Selo.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 04 October, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:58 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 6 October 2012 10:00 AM EDT
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The World of Faberge - Shanghai Museum
Topic: Faberge


Memory of Azov Egg presented by Emperor Alexander III to Empress Maria Feodorovna in 1891. Photo Credit: Moscow Kremlin Museum 

One of the most precious Kremlin collections of a great historical and cultural value is the one incorporating pieces of jewellery produced by the famous Faberge firm, the distinguished Russian firms of P. Ovchinnikov, I. Khlebnikov, O. Kurlyukov, G. Klingert, M. Semyonov.

For the first time such a collection of artworks of C. Faberge and other renowned craftsmen from the Moscow Kremlin Museums funds is exposed in the country, which is distinguished by the tradition of jewellery making and art of processing of stones and metal.

Over a hundred high-quality articles are intended to present one of the most flourishing and outstanding periods in the history of the Russian goldsmithery in the epoch, which is called the “Silver Age” of the Russian culture and arts. At the turn of the XIXth century Russian craftsmen invented a new original consummate style, which incorporated a retrospective trend and national traditions along with fashionable utilitarian design, so popular in the modern society. The Faberge’s triumph and “genius”, mentioned by Russian Empress Maria Fyodorovna, has contributed to the development of the Russian jewellery industry and marked a new page in the history of the Russian and foreign industrial art.

The exhibition gives a unique opportunity to observe not only the items from the Armoury collection but also the rarities from the Moscow Kremlin Museums' funds, including religious items and memorabilia, pieces of jewellery and tableware, articles of coloured stones, as well as the Faberge masterpieces – precious Easter eggs, executed for the last two Russian Empresses.

The exhibits reveal the techniques perfected by the distinguished craftsmen of Moscow, Saint-Petersburg and Kiev, such as multicoloured enamel on filigree, highly skilled chasing, genre casting and stone cutting. Composed of the items, produced by various firms and workshops, the exposition explores the main features and mechanism of development of the art of jewellery making at the turn of the century.

The exhibition runs from September 28, 2012 to January 3, 2013 at the Shanghai Museum in Shanghai, China.

© Moscow Kremlin Museum. 04 October, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:43 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 4 October 2012 5:46 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 3 October 2012
Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholayevich at the Caucasian Front
Now Playing: Language: NA. Duration: 6 minutes, 57 seconds

With the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Russia once again found itself in armed conflict with the Ottoman Empire.

In September of 1915, the Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholayevich was appointed Commander-in-Chief and Viceroy of the Caucasus region of the Russian Empire. 

In this video, the grand duke is seen reviewing Russian troops at the Caucasian Front near Kars.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 03 October, 2012


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:59 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 3 October 2012 10:19 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 2 October 2012
Restoration of St. Sergius Church at Tsarskoye Selo
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo


St. Sergius Church at Tsarskoye Selo as it looks today 

St. Sergius Church at Tsarskoye Selo was officially returned to the Russian Orthodox Church during a ceremony on September 21st.

The ROC announced that a full restoration of the church will take place, to be completed in 2014 which will mark the 700th anniversary of the saint.

St. Sergius Church as it looked in 1904 

The church was originally built in 1889. It was consecrated on December 2nd [O.S. November 19th] 1904 in the presence of Emperor Nicholas II, the Grand Dukes Vladimir and Sergei Alexandrovich, and the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna.


The interior of the church included an iconostasis carved out of oak and an altar made of marble 

After the Russian Revolution the church was closed by the Bolsheviks, and its dome destroyed. The building was badly damaged during World War II. Repairs to the church were carried out in 1980, although the bell tower was demolished and the interiors destroyed.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 02 October, 2012


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:40 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 2 October 2012 10:03 AM EDT
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Rasputin Memorial Vandalized
Topic: Rasputin


Unidentified vandals attacked a wooden cross dedicated to Orthodox mystic Grigory Rasputin onthe grounds of the former imperial palace Tsarskoye Selo, outside St. Petersburg.

Security guards on the estate, now an open-air museum, told Interfax that the vandals had taken a saw to the memorial Monday (September 24th) and that the damaged cross had been moved to the museum for safekeeping.

The guards said they were not responsible for looking after the memorial because it was mysteriously erected on the edge of the estate seven years ago without the permission of museum authorities.

Rasputin, who acquired a reputation as a psychic and faith healer in the early 20th century and became a close adviser to the wife of the last tsar, Nicholas II, is a controversial figure, and a definitive account of his murder in 1916 in St. Petersburg’s Yusupov Palace remains elusive.

After his death, the imperial family allowed Rasputin to be buried in a bell tower at Tsarskoye Selo, but his remains were later removed, burned and scattered elsewhere after the 1917 Revolution.

Monday’s attack on the memorial follows two cross-felling episodes in recent weeks. Earlier this month, vandals chopped down one Orthodox cross in the Altai republic and nine in the Leningrad region.

President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said attacks on religious traditions showed that the Russians were losing spirituality.

“There are losses of Christian clergymen and of other confessions. Very recently there was yet another crime committed against a spiritual leader in Dagestan. What does this mean? It means, unfortunately, that there is a substantial loss of our national spiritual code. It’s worrying,” Putin told the presidential cultural council, Interfax reported.

© The Moscow Times. 02 October, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:16 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 2 October 2012 9:32 AM EDT
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