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400th Anniversary
A Russian Moment
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Wednesday, 16 January 2013
Buranovskiye Babushki Visit Ganina Yama
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 13 minutes, 47 seconds
Topic: Ganima Yama

The Buranovskiye Babushki (Buranovo Grannies) visited Ganina Yama, near Ekaterinburg on January 10th, where they received a guided tour of the monastery.

The Buranovskiye Babushki is a group of eight elderly women from the village of Buranovo, Udmirtia, which is situated halfway between the Volga and the Urals in Russia. They represented Russia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan, where they finished in second place.

The group perform most of their songs in the Udmurt language, but have become one of Russia's most popular groups in the past year.

In 2010 they started a fund for the rebuilding of the Trinity Church in Buranovo. The church was originally built of stone in 1865, but was closed in 1939 by the Soviets and subsequently demolished. Proceeds from their musical events now go towards the church's reconstruction.

Even if you do not understand Russian, do not allow that to deter you from watching this video of these charming group of grandmothers as they visit one of Russia's holiest sites dedicated to the Holy Tsar Martyrs.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 16 January, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:49 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 16 January 2013 12:06 PM EST
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Tuesday, 15 January 2013
The War Years of Prince David Chavchavadze
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 5 minutes, 15 seconds
Topic: Chavchavadze

Prince David Chavchavadze is the subject of a short documentary and interview broadcast on Russian television recently in which he discusses his service during the Second World War. Chavchavadze entered the United States Army in 1943. After the war he entered Yale University, he then spent two decades as a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer in the Soviet Union Division.

Born at London, England in 1924, David Chavchavadze is descended from the royal houses of Georgia, Russia, Denmark and Greece. His father, Prince Paul Chavchavadze (1899-1971) was a direct descendant of the last King of Georgia, George XII. His mother, Princess Nina Georgievna (1901-1974), was the daughter of Grand Duchess Marie Georgievna (1876-1940) and Grand Duke George Mikhailovich (1863-1919).

Prince David Chavchadze is the author of 2 books: The Grand Dukes (1990), Crowns and Trenchcoats: A Russian Prince in the CIA (1990). In 2012, he authorized a reprint of his grandmother's memoirs, A Romanov Diary: The Autobiography of the Grand Duchess Marie Georgievna of Russia, published by Gilbert's Books (the publishing division of Royal Russia).

Video courtesy of

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 15 January, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:16 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 15 January 2013 7:09 PM EST
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Romanov Collectibles and Memorabilia No. 1
Topic: Collectibles


This beautiful colour calendar dating from 1910 showcases the last Imperial family: Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, and their five children: the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and the Tsesarevich Alexei.

The price in the lower right hand corner was 20 kopecks!

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 15 January, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:00 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 15 January 2013 11:06 AM EST
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Sunday, 13 January 2013
Order of St. Anne Sells for $59,000
Topic: Russian Orders


Photo: The Order of St. Anne, enamel, gold and diamonds, the red guilloche cross and openwork panels set with 106 rose cut diamonds, 18K gold hanging ring, removable center ring with St. Anne on one side, gold marked with St. Petersburg '56' and arms of the city.

A Russian St. Anne medal garnered particular interest at this year's Kaminski Auction's New Year's Sale, held at Beverly, Massachusetts.

The head of the Imperial House of Russia bequeathed these medals of the Order of St. Anne to those who preformed outstanding civil or military service. Receiving this imperial gift constituted one of the highest honors, and conferred upon the recipient a title of nobility. Certainly sought after during the reign of the Czars, the fine medals continue to draw many admirers today. Within the past decade, two of these medals have appeared for auction in Europe. In 2005, Christie’s sold a St. Anne medal of the first class for $39,000.00 in London, and in 2008 the Galerie Numismatique in France sold a medal of the third class for a record $475,000.00. The sale of the St. Anne medal at Kaminski appears to set a new record for sales in the United States, replacing the previous record of $25,000.00 set in 2010 at Jackson’s Auction in Iowa. The beautiful piece, which features a painted enamel image of St. Anne at the center of a red guilloche cross, was the highest selling lot of the auction. With keen interest from five phone bidders and a large number of online bidders, the medal ultimately sold for $59,000.00 on January 11th.

© Art Daily. 13 January, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:05 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 14 January 2013 7:15 AM EST
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Saturday, 12 January 2013
A Russian Moment No. 4 - Ganina Yama
Topic: A Russian Moment


A frosty, snow-covered evening envelopes Ganina Yama 

Ganina Yama was a 9 foot pit in the Four Brother's Mine near the village of Koptyaki (about 15 km north of Ekaterinburg). In the early morning hours of July 17th 1918, the bodies of Tsar Nicholas II, his family and faithful retainers were secretly transported to Ganina Yama and thrown into the pit.  Desperate to conceal their crime, the Bolsheviks later returned, retrieved the bodies from the pit and buried them in two unmarked graves at the Porosenskov Ravine, situated about 2.8 km from Ganina Yama.

A lone pilgrim approaches a wooden causeway built around the abandoned mine pit. The site has become a popular spot for Orthodox Christians and monarchists, who come here to pray and reflect on the Tsar Martyrs.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 12 January, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:40 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 30 March 2013 1:00 PM EDT
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Friday, 11 January 2013
Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral - Then and Now
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo

The Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral as it looked in 1977 
My first visit to the Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral at Tsarskoye Selo was in the early 1990s. I recall vividly the sadness that I felt in my heart upon seeing the state of the building for the first time. Decades of neglect at the hands of the local Soviet had left this historic and holy site in near ruin.

During the Soviet years the Cathedral was desecrated and pillaged before it was finally closed in 1933.

After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 the Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church. It was consecrated again on February 29th, 1992. Restoration of the Cathedral lasted nearly 20 years, and once again, the Cathedral is the crown jewel of Tsarskoye Selo. Celebrations marking its 100th anniversary were held in September of last year.

Due to its history and association with the last Russian Imperial family, regular services are held in memory of Nicholas II and his family, all of whom were murdered at Ekaterinburg on July 17th, 1918.

It is one of the most beautiful churches in all of Russia and one that I highly recommend to visit and worship in.

The Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral as it looks today 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 11 January, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:59 PM EST
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Ankvab Receives Order of Holy Martyr Tsar Nicholas
Topic: Russian Church

President of Abkhazia, Alexander Ankvab has been awarded the Order of the Holy Martyr Tsar Nicholas on behalf of the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad Hilarion, Vestnik Kavkaza reports.

The order was awarded for Ankvab's work in strengthening Orthodoxy and preserving Orthodox shrines in Abkhazia. Alexander Ankvab was also given a myrrh-streaming icon of Tsar Nicholas.

© Russkiy Mir and Royal Russia. 11 January, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:04 PM EST
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Romanov Ice Sculptures in Ekaterinburg
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 1 minute, 47 seconds
Topic: Ekaterinburg

For the past 7 years, the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg has played host to the Star of Bethlehem Ice Sculpture Festival.

This year's theme marked the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty in which 11 teams took part. Each team created a sculpture of the Holy Royal Martyrs from ice.












© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 11 January, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:21 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 11 August 2016 9:40 AM EDT
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Thursday, 10 January 2013
Vintage Photo of Nicholas II No. 12
Topic: Nicholas II


Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna on the roof of the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow, 1903. Nicholas, like his father (Emperor Alexander III) preferred Moscow to St. Petersburg.

According to Marc Ferro: "Nicholas II preferred Moscow to St. Petersburg because the old city embodied the past, whereas St. Petersburg represented modernity, the Enlightenment and atheism."

During his reign, Nicholas expressed the desire to spend Holy Week in the former Russian capital, and it was here, during the coronation festivities (1896) and the Romanov Tercentennary (1913), Moscow's fervent greeting to their Tsar confirmed his feeling for the city. 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 10 January, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:12 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 10 January 2013 7:33 PM EST
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25th Wedding Anniversary Gift to Grand Duchess Elizabeth Mavrikievna
Topic: Constantine Constantinovich, GD


In 1909, Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich (KR) and his wife, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Mavrikievna (nee Princess Elizabeth of Saxe-Altenburg) celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.

Konstantin presented his wife with this beautiful silver frame containing his image at the top and the dates 1884-1909, marking their 25 years of marriage.

Below are the images of their 8 children: Ioann, Gavriil, Tatiana, Konstantine, Oleg, Igor, Georgi and Vera.

Also depicted are their 4 residences: the Marble Palace, Strelna, Pavlovsk, and Ostashevo.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 10 January, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:04 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 10 January 2013 9:17 AM EST
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