ROYAL RUSSIA is pleased to announce that the third issue of our OFFICIAL magazine is now available.
This issue offers 9 full-length articles, many written by Russian historians and appear in English for the very first time. Plus, 2 photograph collections of the Russian Imperial family and their legacy enhance this issue.
Features include a full-colour cover highlighting the cover story: Grand Duke Nicholas Alexandrovich: Life and Death of the Tsesarevich, large 8-1/2" x 11" format, 128 pages, over 100 black and white photographs, and more!
Since the breakup of the Soviet Union Russia has struggled to find its identity- not only on the world stage, but internally as well. Real efforts to develop a true democracy have evolved into pseudo-autocracy with an outer glaze of democracy for international purposes. Part of this process takes the form of the government absorbing characteristics of the former Tsars.
Returning to the traditional color of the flag and the use of the double headed eagle were a natural decision since these were symbols which had taken on clear aspect of national identity for hundreds of years.
Some actions appear to be a genuine attempt to reconcile a nation with its ruthless treatment of the family which guided Russia into the modern era. The grand public funeral for Nicholas the Second, his family, and servants appeared to be an acknowledgement of the wrong done with purges that began soon after revolution of 1917 and continued through the majority of the communist period.
These efforts were innocent in themselves, but moves made during Putin’s terms in office hint at a weakened state shoring up a fragile structure with past glory. Putin appears to want to embrace not only the symbolism of the former Imperial family, but its essence as well.
Putin professes democratic efforts and reforms, but the policies enacted have consistently limited freedom and punished dissent.
Rarely does Putin pass up an opportunity to be photographed in the Kremlin, the heart of imperial splendor.
2012 has seen an acceleration of the process.
In May it was reported Putin was recreating the 1896 Kremlin gardens for his inauguration.
Putin has consistently moved closer to the Orthodox Church. Many confiscated churches have been transferred back into Orthodox hands. Archimandrite Tikhon Shevkunov is even believed to be the spiritual advisor to the enigmatic leader.
In December Putin expressed his desire to encourage the country to use Russia’s history as a blueprint for how it should move forward.
Putin even gave journalists souvenir Romanov memorabilia in gift bags to commemorate the four hundredth anniversary of the founding of the dynasty.
Surprising moves have been made by the Putin government in early 2013. Fast track citizenship for Romanov descendants was announced recently, streamlining the long and difficult process.
Regardless of the motivation for Putin wrapping himself in the Romanov mystique- Russia can only be truely great when it sees itself as it is- not how it was.
Tsarist Perfume Collection Donated to Tsarskoye Selo Museum Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve has received a precious present in the form of a collection of favorite perfumes owned by Russia’s last tsar, Nicholas II, and the members of his family.
The aromatic donation was made by Zinaida Volodina-Pessoa, president of the Canada-based Svetoch Slavic Culture Association. Volodina-Pessoa acquired the imperial perfumes at auctions and in antique shops in different locations.
“Indeed, the aromatic substances in these bottles have changed but it is possible to establish the base notes of each perfume’s composition,” said Irina Nacharova, a spokeswoman for Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve.
The collection consists of six bottles of perfume that are intimately linked to the family of Nicholas II. One perfume, a bottle of “White Rose,” is associated with empress Alexandra Feodorovna. “White Rose,” by the renowned Atkinson brand that was founded in London in 1799 and is currently based in Italy, was her favorite fragrance.
The daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra preferred floral scents, especially those from the famous French house of Coty. A graceful Rene Lalique bottle from the donation contains a dark aromatic substance — Grand Duchess Anastasia’s most beloved perfume, “La Violette Pourpre.”
A small pyramid-shaped glass bottle contains another Coty creation, “La Rose Jacqueminot,” a favorite of Grand Duchess Olga. Perhaps predictably, Grand Duchess Tatyana was another of the Romanov family members devoted to the creations of Coty. Volodina-Pessoa has found a half-full bottle of Tatyana’s preferred fragrance, “Jasmin de Corse,” and added the item to the collection. Grand Duchess Maria preferred “Lilas Pourpre,” also produced by Coty.
According to Volodina-Pessoa, all of the bottles were produced at the beginning of the 20th century.
The collection of imperial perfumes will become part of a new exhibition that is currently being arranged by the museum. The display will mark the 400th anniversary of the establishment of the House of Romanov and is expected to open to the public by the beginning of the summer.
Additionally, Zinaida Volodina-Pessoa has provided Tsarskoye Selo with valuable information in helping the museum to locate and purchase from a private collector in Canada a perfume bottle that is graced with the monogram of Nicholas II. Experts say it is likely that this bottle is unique and was owned by the tsar. The perfume bottle is made of glass and decorated with silver, gold and diamonds. It contains a fragrance produced by the award-winning soap and perfume manufacturer Rallet & Co., which was established in St. Petersburg in 1843 by Frenchman Alphonse Rallet.
Rallet & Co. catered directly to the Romanov family and the Russian court.
Volodina-Pessoa accompanied the gift of perfumes with a silver photograph frame made in England at the end of the 19th century and original photographs, dating from the 1860s.The images feature the mother, uncle and grandmother of empress Alexandra Fyodorovna — Princess Alice, then-Prince of Wales King Edward VII and Queen Victoria, respectively.
“Volodina-Pessoa also presented the museum with a copy of a score with a Christmas song that lists Nicholas II as the author,” Nacharova said. “Our curators will examine these relics.”
The Romanovs' 400-Year Reign Triumphant Again Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 13 minutes, 37 seconds Topic: 400th Anniversary
Russia’s last royal dynasty was honored Saturday in the ancient city of Kostroma in northern Russia. The first Romanov tsar was elected in this city in 1613, the year that put an end to the Time of Troubles in medieval Russia.
The enthronement of tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich Romanov took place at the city’s Ipatiyevsky Monastery. His dynasty lasted just over 300 years, until 1917, the Bolsheviks executed Russia’s last ruling monarch, Nicholas II, and his immediate family.
Various members of the Romanov family fled communist Russia, and their descendants survived to mark the 400 years of the Romanov dynasty.
Scouts and Orthodox cadets in pre-revolutionary parade uniforms lined the street across from the nearby Romanov Museum.
Present were State Duma deputy Yury Shuvalov, member of the United Russia party, Kostroma regional governor Sergei Sitnikov and Romanov anniversary organization chairman and St. Basil the Great charity founder Konstantin Malofeyev.
Until recently, Malofeyev was one of the biggest shareholders of Rostelecom.
The dignitaries greeted the guests and cut the ceremonial red ribbon opening the “Triumph of the Romanov Empire” exhibition, part of the yearlong Romanov anniversary celebration.
People from all over the country gathered at Kostroma’s Nobility Assembly Hall, an 18th-century building, to celebrate the Romanov Anniversary and hear lectures by historians and researchers dedicated to the study of the Romanov dynasty.
“The Romanovs’ role was a great one. In Kostroma, they undertook a historic mission to build a new state,” Leonid Reshetnikov, head of the All-Russian Institute of Strategic Assessments, said during a round-table on the Romanovs’ exhibition.
The “Triumph of the Romanov Empire” exhibit inside the museum showcases the diaries of the Grand Duchess Ksenia Alexandrovna, sister of Nicholas II, who fled revolution-torn Russia in 1919.
The diaries present a unique historical witness to the war, revolution and emigration through the eyes of a member of the royal family.
“This is wonderful that the grand duchess’ diaries, which she started writing in Russia before she emigrated, have returned 50 years after her death, and now for the first time are presented to the general public,” historian Nikolai Bokhanov told reporters at the exhibition.
The pages of the diaries are framed in plastic cases so viewers can hold them and read while watching the exhibition.
The outdoor part of the exhibition features posters and photos of great national accomplishments under the Romanov rule in the fields of industrial development, education, economics, social rights, labor laws, government and the military.
One of the posters states that in 1914, Russia had 105 universities and 127,000 students, which was by far greater than any other European country (Germany had 79,600 students; Austria-Hungary, 42,400; France, 42,000). By 1916, the number of university students in Russia had grown to 135,842.
“Over the 20-year period from 1894 to 1914, the Russian population increased 50 percent to over 180 million,” said Prince Zurab Chavchavadze, head of the St. Basil the Great charity foundation and a descendant of Georgian nobility. He was guiding the guests through the outdoor exhibition.
The Romanov Museum also now displays an exhibition of artworks by renowned artist Ivan Glazunov, son of another prominent Russian painter, Ilya Glazunov, a dedicated monarchist.
His paintings mostly depict local girls in colorful, traditional costumes from the Romanov era and landscapes of the Russian north. Glazunov also brought a collection of peasants’ costumes and household items to re-create an old atmosphere in the gallery.
“All of this ancient heritage along with songs, poetry and wooden architecture is like a dream for us. It inspires me and lives in my works,” Glazunov said.
Toward the evening, a concert of chamber music was held at the city’s State Philharmonic. “Music of the Romanovs” featured a choral ensemble, Sirin, which performed some rare Orthodox chants and spiritual songs from the 17th and 18th centuries.
The second part of the program was dedicated to secular 19th-century vocal romances and music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Modest Mussorgsky, all performed by noted Moscow opera singers and a piano virtuoso.
The "Triumph of the Romanov Empire" exhibition will be on display in Kostroma until April 3.
Russia to Mark Romanov Rule Topic: 400th Anniversary
Ivan the Great Bell Tower at the Moscow Kremlin
Bell-ringers of the Moscow Kremlin will give an unprecedented bell music concert on the day marking the 400th anniversary of the House of Romanov.
"After a solemn patriarchal service on March 6 the "Tsar Toll" will be rung to celebrate the end of "chaos" 400 years ago and the enthronement of the new governing dynasty," Igor Konovalov, artistic director of bell music performances at the Moscow Kremlin and Christ the Savior Cathedral, told Interfax-Religion.
The 1,200-pound bell, Reut, cast in 1622, will be the leader and it will be struck 400 times.
"The Reut ringing was heard by all of the Romanov tsars, from Mikhail Fyodorovich to Nicholas II," he said.
The Reut is the main ringing monument of the Romanov family, Konovalov said. "It was cast on order from the young tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich and his father Patriarch Filaret, to mark success in overcoming the chaos. The bell was made by the legendary Russian caster Andrey Chokhov, who had also made bells and cannons for Ivan the Terrible, and tsars Fyodorov Ioanovich and Boris Godunov, and who immortalized the art of casting by making his Tsar Cannon.
Bell Reut survived the 1812 Patriotic War when the belfry of the Assumption belfry was blown up. The bell fell for a second time during the coronation of Alexander II.
HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, Head of the Russian Imperial House has arrived in Russia where she will take part in celebrations marking the quartercentenary in Moscow and Kostroma.
Sofia Cancels Unveiling of Tsar Liberator Monument Topic: Alexander II
The repaired monument of Tsar Osvodboditel (Liberator King) in downtown Sofia is not going to be officially unveiled on Liberation Day as previously announced.
Standard daily writes Sunday the City Hall has cancelled initial plans to have the monument shown on the day Bulgaria celebrates the 135th anniversary of its independence from 5-centuries of Ottoman Empire rule.
Mayor of Sofia, Yordanka Fandakova, told the Bulgarian National Radio, BNR, what mattered most was the fact the sculpture's repairs have concluded successfully.
According to unofficial information, the opening is postponed for some date after May 12 when the country will hold a snap general election.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Construction Chamber, Svetoslav Glosov, noted three reasons for the delay: the political crisis; avoiding mixing the Liberation Day official ceremonies with the one for the monument, and the unavailability of the Chair of the Foundation which financed the restoration to attend on March 3.
In September 2012, the monument was temporarily removed from its location in front of the building of the Parliament to undergo full restoration, which ended in November.
In October, sculptor Velislav Minekov and art expert Lyudmil Veselinov, members of the newly formed Bulgaria for Citizens party, stirred a scandal by disclosing that the monument was abandoned in a backyard in the village of Trebich near Sofia, with no restoration work being performed on it.
The legs of the horse were replaced with new bronze ones due to the many cracks.
The project was implemented by the Bulgarian Construction Chamber with financial assistance from the Pokolenie (Generation) Foundation.
The entire sculpture – the horse and rider, Tsar Alexander II, was dismantled and sent to a shop near the capital Sofia. Bulgarian and Russian restorers were engaged for the works, along with a number of scientists. The sculpture was cleaned from the patina while the foundation was stabilized and also cleaned.
The Monument to the Tsar Liberator was erected in honor of Russian Emperor Alexander II who liberated Bulgaria of Ottoman rule during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78.
The Neoclassical memorial's author is Italian sculptor Arnoldo Zocchi, who won the project in competition with 31 other artists from 12 countries in the end of the 19th century. Bulgarian architect Nikola Lazarov participated in the monument's architectural design.
The foundation stone was laid on 23 April 1901, St George's Day, in the presence of Knyaz Ferdinand I of Bulgaria, and the monument was completed on 15 September 1903.
Ferdinand also attended the monument's inauguration on 30 August 1907.
Erected of black polished granite from the nearby Vitosha Mountain, the monument consists of a pedestal, a middle part with figures and a massive Neo-Renaissance cornice finished with the sculpture of the Russian Tsar on a horse. The bronze wreath at the foot was donated by Romania in memory of the Romanian soldiers that died during the war.
The main bronze bas-relief in the middle part depicts a group of Russian and Bulgarian soldiers led by Nike, the Ancient Greek goddess of victory, who raises her sword high above. Portraits of Grand Duke Nicholas Nicolaievich, Count Ignatiev and the generals Joseph Vladimirovich Gourko and Mikhail Skobelev surround the group.
Other bas-reliefs feature scenes from the Battle of Stara Zagora, the signing of the Treaty of San Stefano and the opening ceremony of the Constituent National Assembly in Veliko Tarnovo, as well as portraits of prominent Bulgarian figures from the period.
Beautiful Orthodox Churches of Russia No. 1 Topic: Beautiful Orthodox Churches
Today, I am launching a new topic: Beautiful Orthodox Churches of Russia. A new church will be featured each Sunday with a brief description and photographs. The Orthodox churches of Russia are magnificent architectural masterpieces of Tsarist Russia. Many miraculously survived the senseless desecration and destruction by the Bolsheviks and later the Soviets. - PG.
The beautiful Transfiguration Church at Nizhnyaya Sinyachikha is situated about 15 km (about 8 miles) from Alapayevsk in the Diocese of Ekaterinburg.
The Transfiguration Church was built in the Baroque style between 1794-1823. Crowned with nine gilded cupolas, the names of the architects are unknown.
After the Revolution, the church was desecrated by the Bolsheviks and subsequently closed in 1939. During the Soviet years it was used for a variety of purposes including a warehouse, mill, social club and a library.
In 1967, a local activist Ivan Samoylov began work on restoring the church. It took 11 years to complete the project. Today, the church is part of the Nizhnyaya Sinyachikha open-air museum. The ground floor features a collection of frescoes, icons, old manuscripts and books, crosses and other religious items. The second floor is a unique exhibit of Ural art.
Giving Back to Russia - Tsarskoye Selo and Peterhof Topic: Paul Gilbert
Since 1994, I have worked as an independent publisher and bookseller specializing in books and periodicals on the Romanov dynasty and Imperial Russia. In the past few years I have branched out into rare and second-hand books, and currently work through dealers in Moscow and St. Petersburg to offer collectors unique titles published in Russian and English.
Bookselling and publishing are my only means of support; I do not earn any income from Royal Russia at all. Therefore, I am very, very grateful to each and every one of you who support my online bookshop, because without your patronage there would be no Royal Russia.
Earning a living from my book business allows me to devote my free time to my web site and blog, even if that requires working extra hours 7 days a week. I love my work, and I trust that is reflected through my web site, blog and the publications that I produce. I am privileged and honoured to share Royal Russia with other Romanovphiles and Russophiles around the world.
Royal Russia is supported through the generous donations of people who share an interest in the Romanov dynasty and the history of Imperial Russia.
It is also supported by the sale of a calendar, created once a year with a unique theme and richly illustrated with rare and beautiful photographs and illustrations. The proceeds from the sale of this calendar help me to offset the costs of maintaining a growing web site and blog that is expected to receive 2 million visitors in 2013, a huge achievement and a new record!
I have been very blessed all these years to work at a job that I truly enjoy. As a result, I would like to start giving something back to Russia.
I am pleased to announce that on behalf of Gilbert's Books, I have made donations to the following;
$200.00 CAD to the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve
$350.00 CAD to the Peterhof State Museum-Preserve
These donations go towards restoration work and the acquisition of items for the palace-museum collections. I am very proud that I have been given the opportunity to make at least a small contribution to each museum. I am committed to helping to preserve the Romanov legacy when and where I can, and will continue to make ongoing donations in the years ahead.
Further, I have also made a personal donation in the amount of $250.00 CAD to the Children's Village at Pushkin. This wonderful organization helps orphaned Russian children, providing them with a safe place to live and grow. Helping children is a cause which is near and dear to my heart.
Once again, thank you to each and every one you who support my publishing efforts and bookshop, as well as those who purchased calendars and/or make donations to Royal Russia. Together, we are helping to keep the memories of old Russia alive!
Tsar's Cross Concert, St. Petersburg Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 5 minutes, 57 seconds Topic: Events
On March 10th, 2013 the Alexander Nevsky Lavra in St. Petersburg will host the Tsar's Cross Concert, this year in honour of the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. The annual concert features a recital by famed Russian spiritual singer, Irina Skorik.
Songs presented at the concert come from all over Russia. They reflect a page in the tragic history of the Russian state, the innermost stirrings of the Russian soul and the harmony, love, and courage of the last Imperial family of Russia.
One critic wrote: "The harmonious combination of the songs and photos increases the aesthetic, emotional perception of the music combined with the lyrics which awakens in the soul a deep sense of love, repentance, faith, and amazing clarity."
The above video offers a haunting spiritual song and slide presentation dedicated to the Holy Royal Martyrs Nicholas II and his family sung by Ms Skorik.