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Friday, 8 March 2013
Quartercentenary of the House of Romanov - Exhibition
Topic: 400th Anniversary

The exhibition Quartercentenary of the House of Romanov features objects drawn from various collections held by the Bakhmeteff Archive and the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University. It consists of books, correspondence, original charters, maps, photographs, posters, personal documents, ephemera, and books and other possessions that belonged to the Russian Imperial Family. The exhibition will be on display from February 14th – June 28th, 2013 in the RBML’s Kempner Gallery.

One highlight of the exhibition is the 1622 manuscript Charter of Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov granting land and other privileges and rights to Onufrii, Archbishop of Astrakhan and Terek. Never shown before and unpublished, this charter is a very rare and significant document from the reign of the first Romanov tsar. Another highlight is the recently opened collection of nearly 500 letters sent by Dowager Empress Maria Fedorovna, mother of the last Russian Emperor, and her two daughters, Grand Duchess Ksenia and Ol’ga, to their close friend and companion, Princess Aleksandra Obolensky. There letters are written in French and Russian and reflect the daily life and expectations of the Imperial family in exile.

Most poignant is a white lace parasol that belonged to Aleksandra Fiodorovna (1872-1918), the last Russian Tsarina, along with a never-shown-before while lace pillow, that was also her property, preserved by one of her ladies-in-waiting, Countess Mariia Semenovna Benckendorff. Other items from the reign of the last Romanovs include a variety of elaborate menus and other ephemera relating to the coronation festivities of Nicholas and Aleksandra in 1896, a print announcing of the birth of the Tsarevich, Grand Duke Aleksei Nikolaevich, in 1904, a draft of Nicholas II’s abdication manifesto, 1917, and a volume of Nikolai Sokolov’s Preliminary Investigation into the Death of Nicholas II and His Family, Ekaeterinburg, 1918.

© Columbia University Libraries. 08 March, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:30 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 8 March 2013 6:33 AM EST
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Thursday, 7 March 2013
Academy of Arts Honours Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna
Topic: Maria Vladimirovna GD


HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna with Zurab Tsereteli (right) 

HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna has been made an Honourary Member of the Academy of Arts. The award was presented to HIH by Zurab Tsereteli, President of the Academy of Arts in Moscow.

"My parents would be very happy," she said, putting on the traditional hat and mantle of an academician.

In turn, Tsereteli was granted the Imperial Order of St. Anne, Ist Class by HIH. The Grand Duchess Maria had signed the edict for the award in 2009, but was waiting for the right time to present him with the award.

The exchange of honours and awards took place in a symbolic place--set against the backdrop of Night at the Ipatiev House, a sculptural composition dedicated to the last Russian emperor, Nicholas II and his family.

||| Click Here to Learn More About Night at the Ipatiev House by Tsereteli |||

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 07 March, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:55 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 7 March 2013 10:10 AM EST
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Grand Duchess Maria Attends Divine Liturgy in Moscow
Topic: Maria Vladimirovna GD

HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, Head of the Russian Imperial House attended a Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of the Dormition on Wednesday.

The Liturgy was performed by Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus, Kirill to mark the 400th anniversary of the election of the first Romanov tsar, Mikhail Feodorovich on March 6th [O.S. February 21st] 1613.

During the Liturgy His Holiness offered prayers "for the repose of souls of the departed servants of God, blessed memory of the rulers of the Holy Rus, the faithful princes and princesses, tsars and tsarinas, and all the power of the former, who had custody of the Immaculate faith and diligence, in the faith of the Christian law governs the Russian empire." The Liturgy also included the names of the emperors and empresses of the Romanov dynasty and proclaimed the health of the current Head of the Russian Imperial House, HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna.

At the end of the liturgy a short service of intercession was said for the Royal Passion Bearers - Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra and the royal children of Alexis, Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia.

The Cathedral of the Dormition (also knowsn as the Assumption or Uspenski Cathedral) is located in the Moscow Kremlin. Russian monarchs were crowned here from 1587 to the last coronation of Tsar Nicholas II in 1896.

The Divine Liturgy was followed by a procession to the Cathedral of the Archangel Michael, which is the final resting place of Russia's rulers, including the Romanov dynasty.

The procession to the Cathedral of the Archangel Michael was accompanied by ‘the solemn ringing of bells’, a peal used for processions. After the short memorial service in the Cathedral a triumphal royal peal of bells was performed - revived by the bell-ringers of the Kremlin and the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on the basis of the peal of bells in the coronation scene in Musorgsky’s opera ‘Boris Godunov’. It was performed on the bells of the first, second and third stages of the bell-tower of Ivan the Great, using the ‘Reut’ bell, which hangs in the Dormition belfry. The ‘Reut’ is the oldest 1000-pood (over 16 tons) Russian bell, and was cast in 1622 by the master-founder Andrei Chokhov. The inscription on the bell mentions Tsar Michael Feodorovich Romanov and his father, Patriarch Philaret Nikitich Romanov.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 07 March, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:51 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 8 March 2013 6:57 AM EST
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Romanov Dynasty Marks 400 Years as Remains of Tsar's Children Are Left Unburied
Topic: 400th Anniversary

This year, Russia celebrates 400 years of the Romanov dynasty, which goes back to 1613 when nobleman Mikhail Romanov was elected to rule the country. The grand celebration plans are perfectly in keeping with Russia's recent political trend of recognizing its historical roots.

Meanwhile, the remains of the last Romanov heir, Tsesarevich Alexei, and his sister, Grand Duchess Maria have still not been buried. While their remains are stored in boxes at the National Archives, the Moscow Patriarchate continues to be at the center of a scandal.

The theme of children is exceptionally popular these days. Heated debates continue over adoptions, child abuse, and the frequent kidnappings and killings of children in Russia. And there is one more notorious “child” problem there for all to see but going completely ignored: a murdered child that has not been able to rest in peace for almost 100 years now.

In 1998, the remains of Nicholas II, his wife, Alexandra, and their three daughters, discovered near Yekaterinburg, were buried in a crypt in the Peter and Paul Cathedral. It was not until nine years later that the remains of the heir and another grand duchess, Maria, were found, not far from the rest of the family. The fragments of bones, weighing only a few grams, were given over for investigation purposes until the summer of 2011, when they were handed over to the National Archives – almost discreetly, in the presence of just an investigator, the archive director and a few others.

It was stressed that the archives would store the remains only temporarily before they were to be buried next to the family in the crypt. That was 18 months ago.

“Last summer we held a special exhibition dedicated to the last years of the Romanov family and their murder,” say the staff of the Exhibition Hall at the National Archives. “We were hoping to remind the officials of the two Imperial children that are still waiting to be buried, but it didn't happen. “The people who are supposed to bring an end to this tragic story are reluctant to disturb the past. It is up to top officials to take the initiative and arrange a burial ceremony but they are keeping silent. The president and the government prefer to avoid the issue. There do not seem to be any obstacles standing in the way of arranging a proper funeral though. Russian Orthodox Church officials refuse to accept the fact that the bones belong to the Imperial family and this may in fact be the real reason behind the reluctance to put the matter to rest.

© Moscovsky Komsomolets and Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 07 March, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:15 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 7 March 2013 8:51 AM EST
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The Romanov's 300th Anniversary in Film
Now Playing: Language: Russian (with English subtitles). Duration: 2 minutes, 47 seconds
Topic: Romanov

The 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty occurred March 6, 1913. The major state jubilee was a public celebration which commemorated the reign of the House of Romanov in the Russian Empire.

A film by Aleksandr Drankov was released to commemorate the tercentenary of Romanov rule in Russia. This film was said to have the blessing of Tsar Nicholas II himself.

The House of Romanov was the second and last imperial dynasty to rule over Russia, reigning from 1613 until the 1917.

© Rossiyskaya Gazeta. 07 March, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:10 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 6 March 2013 6:37 PM EST
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Wednesday, 6 March 2013
Royal Russia Annual No. 3 (2013) - NOW IN STOCK!
Topic: Books

 ||| Click Here to Order Your Copy! |||

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!

Price: $20.00 CAD + Postage.

© Royal Russia and Gilbert's Books. 07 September, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:05 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 6 March 2013 5:37 AM EST
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Putin Highjacks Romanov Heritage
Topic: 400th Anniversary


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.

© Frank Wimberly III @ 06 March, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:05 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 6 March 2013 5:37 AM EST
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Tuesday, 5 March 2013
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.”


© St. Petersburg Times and Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 05 March, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:07 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 5 March 2013 7:33 PM EST
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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.

© The Moscow Times. 05 March, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:14 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 5 March 2013 2:29 PM EST
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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.

© Interfax and Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 05 March, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:06 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 6 March 2013 5:01 AM EST
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