As Russia celebrates the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty, Skinner Inc. is proud to present the diverse and eclectic Fletcher Collection of Imperial Russia. The auction will take place on Saturday, April 6th in its Boston gallery
John Fletcher always had an intense interest in Nicholas II and his family. After over fifty years working with auction houses and specialized dealers worldwide, Fletcher has amassed a collection reflecting the splendor of Russia’s cultural Golden and Silver Ages, which includes yet another magnificent collection of photographs of the family's of Emperor Alexander III and Emperor Nicholas II.
Highlights from the collection include a white leather child’s shoe, by tradition belonging to Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich (lot 473, estimated between $3,000 and $5,000); a pair of Fabergé gilded silver and enamel napkin rings (lot 387, $6,000 to $8,000); a collodion print of the Russian Imperial Family by the Boisson and Eggler workshop (lot 348, $700 to $900); a letter written by Tsar Nicholas II (lot 536, $2,000 to $3,000); costume designs for a nurse and coachman from Petrushka by Alexander Nikolaevich Benois (lot 458, $500 to $700); and an icon depicting Christ Pantocrator (lot 546, $1,200 to $1,800).
Lenin, Bolsheviks, Romanovs Subject of Talks in Moscow Topic: Bolsheviks
An important round-table discussion was held in Moscow yesterday which assessed the role of the Bolsheviks and their leaders in Russian history.
The round-table talks were organized by the All-Russian Committee for the Removal of Lenin! www.netlenin.ru. The discussions were held in the State Duma of the Russian Federation and attended by more than 100 prominent politicians, scientists, historians, and philosophers, many of which tabled papers. Representatives from monarchist groups, Cossacks and the Russian Orthodox Church were also present.
The main purpose of the round-table is to consolidate public opinion from a historical perspective for the future development of Russia. Prominent thinkers, philosophers, scientists, along with representatives of the State Duma will work out a consensus on the moral and historical assessment of the October Revolution of 1917, the criminal activities of the Bolsheviks led by Vladimir Lenin. Of importance to those present will be the discussion of the removal of Lenin's remains from the mausoloeum on Red Square. The talks are considered a landmark, historic and watershed event in modern Russian history.
The main topics of discussion:
1. "Crimes of the Bolsheviks and their leaders.Extremism in the works of Lenin"
On the investigation of crimes committed by the Bolsheviks headed by Lenin himself; and by creating a public commission of inquiry into crimes of Lenin and to study issues relating to the murder of the Emperor Nicholas II and his family;
Speaker: Vladimir Lavrov, Russian historian Doctor of History, Academy of Natural Sciences, Deputy Director of the Institute of Russian History (up to 2011). Head of Research Center of Religion and the Church in Russia (until June 2012). Author of works on the history of the Orthodox Church in Russia, the history of the revolution of 1917 in the Russian Empire.
2. "Bolshevism as the Red Faith"
Speaker: Petr V. Multatuli, Russian historian, author of a contemporary study of Nicholas II.
3. "Evaluation of the Bolshevik era crimes in determining the identity of modern Russian"
Speaker: Alexander Tsipko, Russian expert in the field of social philosophy, political scientist. Senior Researcher, Institute of International Economic and Political Studies. Doctor of Philosophy.
4. "Spiritual and moral assessment of the further preservation of Lenin's body in the mausoleum on Red Square"
Speaker: Fr. Vladimir, a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church and the head of the Moscow Patriarchate Publishing.
5. "Lenin, as a source of inter-ethnic, and religious hatred in Russia"
Speaker: Leonid Simonovich-Niksic Donatovich, Russian public figure, the head of the Union of Orthodox Banner Bearers (SPH), the chairman of the Union of Orthodox Brotherhoods, co-chair of the St. Sergius of the Union of the Russian People, Deputy Chairman Union "Christian Revival", Deputy Chairman of the Society of Russian-Serbian friendship, head of the Russian-Serbian brotherhood.
6. "Cultural, historical and aesthetic background on the dismantling monuments to Lenin in Russia"
Speaker: Vladimir Makrousov, Prominent Russian sculptor, Honored Artist of the Russian Federation, Member of the Artists' Union, Member of the Russian Academy of Arts, the Chairman of the Parish Council of the community of Christ the Savior.
7. "Bolshevik leaders as government assassins"
Speaker: Boris S. Ilizarov, a leading researcher at the Institute of Russian History
8. "Russian legislation in overcoming the consequences of the communist terror"
Speaker: Daniel V. Petrov, Master of Laws (University). He worked as head of the arbitration department of the St. Petersburg City Property Management Committee, Head of the Department of State Policy Law Office "EPAM", Head of the Department of property management "RZD"
9. "Socio-cultural study of historical return is cities and towns of Russia, by the example of Ulyanovsk"
Speaker: Konnov Vladimir Deputy Simbirsk branch of the International Foundation of Slavic Literature and Culture, a public figure in Ulyanovsk.
10. "On the need for the establishment of a permanent anti-Bolshevik and anti-Leninist historial and ideological center"
Speaker: Yuri K. Bondarenko, writer and journalist.
Over a Quarter of Russians Would Welcome New Monarchy Topic: Russian Monarchy
28 percent of Russians say they would not mind a revival of the monarchy in the country, a poll has revealed, noting however that people don’t know anyone who could fill such a position.
Meanwhile, four percent of the population both want the Tsar back and do know who could come to the throne, a survey by the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) discovered.
Almost a century after the February 1917 revolution put an end to the rule of Romanov dynasty and the Russian Empire, one in ten Russians still believes that being a monarchy would be better for Russia. Notably, in Moscow and St Petersburg such a view is shared by 19 percent of residents.
However, the vast majority of respondents (82 percent) are happy with the current – republican - form of the government, where the head of the country is chosen through elections. Only 7 percent of people could not decide which of the two they would actually prefer.
Two thirds of Russians are confident that autocracy is a closed chapter for Russia. This opinion is particularly common for supporters of the Communist party and the elderly, pollsters found.
When asked who could hypothetically become a new Russian tsar, 70 percent of people stated that the revival of monarchic rule would simply be “impossible and wrong.”
At the same, time 13 percent of those questioned suggested that a possible ruler could be a politician or a public activist elected either directly by people through a referendum or – alternatively – by parliament.
Only six percent of respondents would want to see the descendants of the Romanov Family on the Russian throne.
2013 marks 400 years after the Romanov dynasty ascended to the Russian throne in 1613, reigning for over three centuries, until the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II in 1917. In July 1918, Nicholas and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks.
Editor's Note: This is just one of many polls conducted in Russia over the past decade asking the same question: "Should the monarchy be restored?" The results have been varied, one poll stating 35% support of a restoration. Even this statistic is remarkable given Russia's turbulent history over the last century. Who would have predicted the fall of the Soviet Union and Communism in 1991, or finding the remains of Tsar Nicholas II and his family, followed by their burial at St. Petersburg in 1998 and their canonisation by the Moscow Patriarchate in 2000. The poll fails to acknowledge the fact that many Orthodox Christians support the monarchy, and that the Russian Orthodox Church recognizes HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna as Head of the Russian Imperial House. So, will the monarchy return? Let's wait and see. Winston Churchill once said: "Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma." -- Paul Gilbert
The Romanov Murders at Alapaevsk Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 14 minutes, 52 seconds Topic: Alapaevsk
Note: the video depicts places associated with the final days of Grand Duchess Elizabeth, and other members of the Russian Imperial family at Alapaevsk. Included are the Grammar school where they were imprisoned, and the Monastery to the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia. Later in the video you will see the Holy Trinity Cathedral at Alapaevsk.
In 1918 the small Ural town of Alapaevsk hosted very unusual prisoners. Among them were members of the Russian Imperial family and their faithful retainers: Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna with her sister in Christ Varvara, Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich and his secretary Fedor Ramez, Princes Ioann, Constantin and Igor Konstatinovich, and Prince Vladimir Paley.
Here, in a Grammar School on the outskirts of Alapaevsk, the prisoners spent several trying months full of horror and suffering. On the night of 17-18th of July they were taken outside the town towards the Verkhne-Siniachikhinsky Factory, and their bodies were thrown in to the abandoned Staroselimskaia Shaft 12 miles away from Alapaevsk.
The White Army started an investigation of the murders immediately after they took Alapaevsk on September 28, 1918. On October 9-11, 1918 the bodies of the martyrs were taken out of the shaft, and on October 19, 1918 they were buried in a crypt of the Holy Trinity Cathedral with great honor. In July 1919, as the Red troops were advancing to the city Hiegumen Seraphim (Kuznetsov) transferred the coffins with the relics first to Chita, and later to Beijing (China). In January 1921 the relics of the Grand Duchess Elizabeth and nun Varvara were transferred to Jerusalem and buried in the crypt of the Church of Mary Magdalene of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission, where they remain now.
Today at Alapaevsk there is a Veneration Cross and a small chapel dedicated to Grand Duchess Elizabeth built near the old shaft. In 1996 a monastery dedicated to the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia was built nearby.
The classroom of the Grammar School, where Grand Duchess Elizabeth and Sister Varvara were held captive is now a memorial museum.
Grand Prince of all Rus Ivan III Topic: Exhibitions
The Kremlin Museums is hosting a new exhibition, being held in the One-Pillar Chamber of the Patriarch's Palace, which covers the time under the Grand Prince of Moscow Ivan III (1462-1505). His reign was marked by the overthrow of the dominance of the Golden Horde over the Rus and the gathering of Russian lands around Moscow as a political centre, which laid the foundations of the Russian state. However, the personality of Ivan III and his contribution to the development of Russia was not fully appreciated by his descendants.
Through presenting historical masterpieces, including icons and archival documents, the exhibition is intended to reveal the search for an ideology of the emerging Moscow state and show how the new images and symbols reflected the most significant deeds of the Grand Prince and Sovereign, who had turned the Moscow Principality into a Tsardom and Moscow - into a new capital, that had taken over the glory of the fallen Constantinople. The exposition is based mostly on the artifacts, which are closely related to the Kremlin as the Grand Prince’s residence. Artworks, lent by the leading museums of Russia, serve as a vivid illustration of the new tendencies and intentions of the epoch, which have been spread all over the territories, subordinated to Moscow, and demonstrate the influence of the new capital.
The exhibit covers a remarkable period within the history of Russia, introducing the figure of Ivan III to visitors and reveals his contribution to the development of the Russian state and culture as well. The exhibition runs until July 14th, 2013.
Photo: Ivan III depicted in the Monument of Russia at Veliky Novgorod
On April 3rd, Olivier Coutau-Begarie in Paris, France, will auction yet another selection of photographs and letters of the Russian Imperial family.
The collection of photographs is exceptional, including the private photo albums of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich (1857-1905) containing photos taken at Ilyinskoe, and more than 200 photographs from the private collection of Pierre Gilliard. There are also many individual photographs, and cabinet cards depiciting members of the various branches of the family: Alexandrovichi, Vladimirovichi, Constantinovichi, Nikolayevichi and Mikhailovichi. Overall, an outstanding collection of images!
Of particular interest with this collection are letters from Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich (1859-1919) to Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich (1878-1918); letters from Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna (1882-1960) to Ferdinand Thormeyer written between 1926-1939; and letters from Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna (1860-1922) to her brothers and parents dating from 1887-1921.
*Note: The full catalogue consists of 124 pages. I have only included the pages from the catalogue which reflect the Romanov letters and photographs being offered in the auction.
Lenin's Rolls Royce - An Example of Bolshevik Hypocrisy Topic: Bolsheviks
Why did Vladimir Lenin drive the ultimate rich man's car?
Did he not vow to create a classless state?
Communist revolutionary Vladmir Ilyich Lenin declared that revolutionaries must guard against bourgeois tendencies. And yet, Moscow’s State Historical Museum contains something Lenin owned that is one of the ultimate examples of bourgeois conveyance - a Rolls Royce car, Silver Ghost model complete with fog lamps and all-leather interiors.
What business did the leader of the Communist party have owning such a luxury automobile? How did he come to own it – and why did he keep it?
Early in the Revolution, the Bolsheviks had seized the Tsar's gold, and the Tsar's collection of fine automobiles. There were about 40 motor vehicles in the Tsarist garages and even the Communist leaders could not resist taking a liking to these cars.
So perhaps Lenin owned this Rolls Royce because he got it for free? To be certain, proof was needed to confirm that Tsar Nicholas II was the original owner.
Unfortunately the original documents do not exist. However, when researchers took a closer look at the auto itself, they looked more closely at the chassis number. The chassis number is fixed to the front of the dashboard under the bonnet. With a car this old, it would be surprising if the chassis number could be traced. Or maybe not? Rolls Royce keeps records of all the cars it has manufactured and sold. A request was made to the Rolls Royce head office in London. Incredibly, the original bill of sale was elicited. The purchaser was not Tsar Nicholas II, but an emissary of Vladimir Lenin. The date is 1922.
In the years following the bloody revolution, all industrial nations imposed an embargo, forbidding trade with the Russian Communist State. So how did Lenin manage to do business with a British car maker? A clue lies not in cars, but in planes. Rolls Royce made the best engines for bomber planes and Lenin needed them for his war machine. Lenin asked the British to break the embargo. He knew that Britain was mired in depression, with idle factories and hungry workers. British leaders held their noses and allowed the Bolshevik government to buy several of their most advanced airplane engines. To sweeten the deal, Lenin was given a 15% discount on something else . . . . . a Rolls Royce automobile, a luxury in which he paid £1850.
The Rolls Royce engines helped Lenin and his Bolsheviks win the civil war and impose a brutal totalitarian state.
Beautiful Orthodox Churches of Russia No. 3 Topic: Beautiful Orthodox Churches
Church of the Epihany of Our Lord, St. Petersburg
Situated near the edge of Gutuevsky Island, near Ekateringof Park, this small, late 19th century church is still undergoing large-scale restoration after the ravages it suffered in the Soviet period. The parish church for St. Petersburg's main sea port, which was moved from Kronshtadt to Gutuevsky Island in the mid 19th century, the Church of the Epiphany of Our Lord was designed by Vasiliy Kosyakov, Director of the Petersburg Institute of Engineering and Construction, and funded mostly by Ivan Boronin, a wealthy textiles manufacturer who wished to establish a family mausoleum at the church.
The church was built to glorify the miraculous escape of Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich (the future Emperor Nicholas II), from an assassination attempt in the city of Otsu in Japan, where he received a sword wound to the head by a Japanese fanatic on 29th April 1891.
The red-brick church had an intricately decorated facade, featuring tiled mosaics, gilded reliefs, and "kokoshniki" - medieval Russian decorations in the shape of a traditional headdress like a tiara. With its large arched windows, single gold dome and slender belltower, the church, standing right on the banks of the Ekateringofka River, recalls a ship in full sail.
The church's interior was also richly decorated, with a marble alter and ivory iconostasis, as well as bright frescoes covering all the walls. Sadly, all theses precious decorations were plundered or destroyed after the Revolution.
The church was closed in May 1935. It was used variously as a warehouse, a soap factory, a garage, and a morgue. A concrete wall was erected around the church. Due to its proximity along the waterfront, the church was heavily shelled along with nearby port buildings during the Second World War.
In 1991, the ruined building was returned to the Orthodox Church. The first service was held on January 19th, 1992, and restoration work began later that year. On May 4th, 1995 a cross was erected on the central dome of the church. In recent years a partial restoration of the church frescoes was carried out, the consecration of the newly created ceramic iconostasis took place in September 2012. The massive restoration program is finally nearing completion and the Church of the Epihany of Our Lord in St. Petersburg will once again bask in all its bygone splendour.
My first visit to the Alexander Palace was on September 5th, 1997. I have returned every year to discover new aquisitions, speak with the curators and staff, and to soak up the ambiance of this historic residence, its adjoining park and numerous pavilions. In the past few years my interest has been piqued even further with interesting new exhibitions and the initiation of long awaited restoration work on the palace.
After the departure of the Russian navy in 2009 the palace was officially handed over to the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve. The palace's new custodians wasted no time implenting their plans to convert the neglected monument into a multi-use museum and exhibition complex. They restored the 3 State Rooms in six months, and turned the former children's rooms of Tsar Nicholas II into exhibition rooms. This was only the beginning!
My Russia is a series of articles which I write for Royal Russia, a unique publication that celebrates the Romanov dynasty and Imperial Russia in words and photographs. In the current issue I write about the history of the Alexander Palace as a museum since 1917, including restorations since World War II. Further, I provide details on the restorations which will continue through to 2018. I also offer a two-page study of the Restoration of the Alexander Palace Master Plan by Studio 44, the architectural studio in charge of the restoration of the Alexander Palace.
My Russia: The Rebirth of the Alexander Palace appears in Royal Russia Annual No. 3 (2013). The article is 11 pages in length and illustrated with numerous black and white photographs which I took myself during my visit to the Alexander Palace last summer. It is one of nine articles on the Romanovs, monarchy and Imperial Russia that appear in this issue.
The Alexander Palace captures the interest and imagination of Russophiles and Romanovphiles around the world. My article is the most current and up-to-date on the restoration and future of the last residence of Tsar Nicholas II and his family.