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Friday, 12 July 2013
Royal Scots Guards Uniform Presented to Tsarskoye Selo
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo

Mrs. Helen Murray Threipland presenting the gift in the Semi-Circular Hall of the Alexander Palace, next to Nicholas II's Scots Guards uniform

 
The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards have honoured their former Colonel-in-Chief Tsar Nicholas II by donating a modern Colonel’s field camouflage uniform to the Tsarskoye Selo Museum on July 11, 2013.

The gift from Mr. Angus Hay, a retired Scots Greys Colonel from one of the oldest Scottish families, was presented at a ceremony in the Alexander Palace by Mrs. Helen Murray Threipland, the granddaughter of the Semyonovsky Regiment Colonel Pavel Molchanov.

The modern uniform consists of a jacket; a T-shirt; trousers; a pair of boots; a shoulder strap with embroidery (a crown, three stars and a Scots DG monogram); a wavy blue band shoulder stripe; and a grey peaked cap with a badge. It joins the museum collection which already boasts a Scots Greys Colonel’s full dress uniform, which Nicholas II wore in his portrait of 1902 by Valentin Serov (on display at the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Museum in the Edinburgh Castle, UK).

Tsar Nicholas II became Colonel-in-Chief of the Scots Greys on 19 November 1894, by appointment from Queen Victoria who thus honoured his engagement to her granddaughter Alexandra.

Since 1918, the guardsmen traditionally have the black backing behind the cap badge – in mourning for the killing of their Colonel-in-Chief. The Scots Greys regimental band played at the Romanov remains burial ceremony in the Peter and Paul Fortress of St. Petersburg in 1994. The band traditionally plays “God Save the Tsar”, the national anthem of the late Russian Empire, in the regiment’s officer mess – in honour of Tsar Nicholas II.
 
© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. 12 July, 2013
 

 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:19 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 12 July 2013 11:30 AM EDT
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Patriarch Kirill Conducts Romanov Dynasty 400th Anniversary Liturgy in St. Petersburg
Topic: 400th Anniversary

 

Note: The video includes footage of the exquisite interiors of the Peter and Paul Cathedral, including the newly restored iconostasis. It then shows the newly restored Tsar's Rooms which are located in the gallery connecting the cathedral to the Grand Ducal Mausoleum. Todays liturgy performed by Patriarch Kirill can be seen at the end of the video - PG. 

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia presided over a divine liturgy marking the 400th anniversary of the House of Romanov at the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg on Friday. 

Hundreds of worshippers gathered at the cathedral and in the square in front of it for the service, an Interfax correspondent reported. The event was also broadcast live on TV screens installed across St. Petersburg.
 
Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia arrived from Madrid to attend the religious service.
 
After the service, Patriarch Kirill said that it was dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty, Peter and Paul Day, as well as 1025 years of Christianity in Russia. "Today we are celebrating the 400 years of the House of Romanov. It is with gratitude that we recall what they did for the benefit of the people. We know how Russia turned into a great state, a world power, how its economy, industry and culture developed," he said.
 
"Today we prayed for the prosperity of Rus. We prayed for the growth of material well-being, which is so much needed today, to be accompanied by the growth of spiritual well-being. It is the beginning that is able to ensure the nation's step-by-step development without any frightening rifts, fractures and catastrophes," the patriarch said. 
 
© Interfax. 12 July, 2013
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:24 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 12 July 2013 10:47 AM EDT
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HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna - Interview
Topic: Maria Vladimirovna GD
 

HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna at Peterhof 

An Interview with the Head of the Russian Imperial House, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna in The St. Petersburg Journal, by D. Statsenko. June 27, 2013. 

Click Here to Read the Interview (English)

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 12 July, 2013


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:33 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 12 July 2013 9:41 AM EDT
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Thursday, 11 July 2013
Tsar Nicholas II's Rolls-Royce Ghost For Sale
Topic: Nicholas II

 
The purple 1914 Rolls-Royce Ghost, formerly owned by Emperor Nicholas II is up for sale in Germany.

Autoscout24 who specialize exclusively in the sale of luxury automobiles has listed the historic car for 5.5 million euros, which is equivalent of about $ 7 million.

After the murder of the Imperial family the car was transported to the United States where it made its way into the collection of John Ringling (of Ringling Bros. Circus). It was later exhibited in one of the casinos in Las Vegas. 

After the death of its owner the car was purchased by a German collector in 2010. He reportedly kept the Rolls-Royce in an "nuclear bomb-proof bunker” in the basement of his mansion."
 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 11 July, 2013
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:21 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 11 July 2013 1:29 PM EDT
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Faberge Dentures Found in Church Near St. Petersburg
Topic: Faberge

Luxury dental work: a Russian aristocrat's platinum and gold dentures made for her by Faberge 

A rather unusual Faberge story made headlines this week. A mystery Russian noble woman's remains were found in a church near St. Petersburg. Her luxury dental work, platinum and gold dentures are believed to have been made by Faberge.Her identity remains a mystery and for now she is known as Lady X.  

 

These are the first pictures of a female Russian aristocrat's bespoke dentures - made for her by Faberge from platinum and gold.


The mystery noble woman's remains were found in a church near St Petersburg during an archeological dig ahead of planned renovations - but it was the contents of her glinting jaw that astonished experts.


Her identity remains a puzzle and for now she is known only as Lady X.


She died aged between 50 and 60 in all probability in the opening years of the 20th century, before the Bolshevik Revolution engulfed her country, but scientists hope to be able to discover her real name with further research.


Her expensive tastes are already clear from what has been dubbed 'history's most jaw-dropping jaw'.


Professor Yury Molin, deputy head of the Bureau of Medical Forensic Examination for Leningrad region, said: 'We were about to finish our work when one member of our team assistant professor Alexander Gorshkov shouted: 'Yury, come here! Look what I've found!''

 


Buried: deformed lead sarcophagus where Lady X's remains were found 


His excited voiced echoed through tumbledown Taitsy village church, badly damaged during fighting in the Second World War, and dedicated to Othodox saint Alexander Nevsky.


'He was holding a skull. After removing the mud, we immediately spotted a shiny denture in the upper jaw, obviously not a simple one but made from precious metals. 


'Spectral and dental expertise proved it was a unique denture, produced around the beginning of the 20th century from gold and platinum by the Karl Faberge company.'


Dental experts from St Petersburg State Pavlov Medical University established that 'this denture is a high quality product made by jewellery dental prosthetic manufactory of the Karl Faberge Merchant House, which was based in dental department of Obukhovskaya hospital' in St Petersburg, then the capital of tsarist Russia. 


'Multi-layer china dentures were produced in Germany and supplied to Russia from the middle of 19th century until the time of the First World War.


'The mixture of metals in the denture - a high alloy of platinum with silver and copper in the dental plate, and a high alloy of gold with platinum and copper in the denture clasps, points to the fact that it was produced at the end of 19th or beginning of 20th century'.


This is because before 1891 a mixture of gold and iridium was used for clasps in Russia.'


'We quickly realised the skull belongs to a noble woman,' said Professor Molin, who was called in by local Orthodox priest Mikhail Vinogradov. 


'But we have not found anything about her in the archives yet. This is why we call her Lady X.


'Maybe she was from the Beloselsky-Belozersky or Lopukhin families, or from some other noble and well known family in this area.


'We have very good hopes of identifying Lady X. I believe there could be just a couple of dozen women at the time who could have afforded such a denture.


'Unfortunately, her skull was in a bad condition and almost fell into pieces in our hands, so we have little chance to reconstruct her face and compare with existing portraits which is often helpful. Still, we do not lose a hope and will continue working to identify her from material in the archives.'


Other remains dug up from the historic church have been identified as members of the Demidov family - a rich noble family from the Urals who were much earlier close to Peter the Great.


Archive evidence backed by DNA shows that the skeletons were those of  Petr Demidov, his wife Elizaveta Bezobrazova and their 12-year-old son.


A surviving button on the boy's clothing shows he was a military cadet in the mid-19th century.


The church records were lost perhaps during the Russian Revolution in 1917 and the area were later overrun by the Nazis.


'We found four graves, some of them were partly open and, unfortunately, destroyed,' said the professor.


'There were a lot of German bullets and helmets around. But we can't exclude the possibility  that the graves were touched before the second world war.


'There is also the fifth grave there but it is well protected with concrete cover and we have not examined it yet.'


The priest hopes that the unusual find in the church will lead to discovery of the identity of Lady X and help to raise funds for a full-scale renovation of the historic building which was badly damaged by German shooting during the Second World War. 


Archeologists also found frescoes, old clothes and utensils.

 


Uncovered: the Orthodox church in Taitsy village, near St. Petersburg where the dentures were discovered 


The church was associated with the Demidov family but it is not clear that Lady X was directly linked to this noble line.


The 63 year old professor waited before announcing the denture discovery until the bodies had been reburied in keeping with a request from priest Vonogradov.


'This denture was found quite a while ago but the Orthodox priest allowed us to make it public only now, when the process of second burial of the identified bodies was over,' he said.


'The local church wanted to do it the proper way - they found Demidov family descendents in Finland, invited them, and held the second funeral in the church.


'The denture was found in early December 2011. We were invited to come for a full working day to work at the scene.


'It was at the end of this working day that we spotted this amazing denture.


'Let me stress, you must call it a unique discovery. In 40 years of my expert experience, I have never come across anything like this - a full size denture.


'Tooth crowns were found before, this is not a surprise, but a full size precious denture is purely a stroke of luck. 


'We are proud to tell about our work now. There is no doubt this denture belongs to Karl Faberge company, we showed it to an elderly expert who studied Faberge dentures  - and a few matching dentures can be found in museums.'


The dentures from the village church do not carry the Faberge imprint, possibly because the were chipped. But he is entirely confident they are the genuine article.


'Lady X is not identified yet but we are still hopeful.


'She is re-buried now too but in a sort of temporary grave, but her remains may be removed any moment so we can access the body again. '

 

© The Daily Mail. 11 July, 2013 

 


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:41 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 11 July 2013 8:08 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 10 July 2013
Last Russian Tsar Was Michael, Not Nicholas
Topic: Grand Duke Mikhail Alexan

 Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich (1878-1918). Artist: Ilya Repin, 1901

The Moscow Times has published the following article by W. George Krasnow, president of the Russia & America Good Will Association in Washington, D.C.

Ninety-five years ago, on June 12, 1918, Grand Duke Michael and his secretary Nicholas Johnson were abducted from a hotel in Perm by a group of Bolshevik thugs and slain in the woods outside the city. This murder, five weeks before the Yekaterinburg massacre of former tsar Nicholas II and his family, was part of the Bolsheviks' plan to get rid of the Romanovs.

They had good reason to start with Michael II. Younger brother of the tsar and his legal successor, he refused the crown in an attempt to defuse the February revolution that overthrew autocracy. For the sake of restoring civil peace and to keep Russia at war, he empowered the Provisional Government to conduct a general election to the Constituent Assembly. Having lost the election, the Bolsheviks forcibly dissolved the assembly's first session, thus precipitating the five-year civil war that followed. Michael II, not Nicholas II, embodied the democratic alternative to their dictatorial rule.

Thus, Michael II, not Nicholas II, should be remembered as the last tsar. To this end, a grassroots movement has been founded to push for Michael II's recognition as a national hero. The town of Lokot in the Bryansk region, where Michael II had his Brasovo estate, has celebrated his memory for years.

Michael II was not only a brave soldier and talented military leader, he was also a master of intercultural communication. This skill enabled him to forge a fighting force out of many different ethnic groups that became a legend of valor and loyalty. Michael II was a patriot, war hero, peacemaker and a statesman who put Russia's interests above his dynasty's and his own.

The pro-Michael II movement is neither political nor monarchist. Above all, it aims at extracting historical truth from under the rubble to which the Communist dictators reduced Russia's past. Just as they built the Iron Curtain to prevent Soviet citizens from seeing the outside world, Communist officials barred generations of Russians from understanding Russia's true history. They preferred to talk about tsar Nicholas II's autocracy rather than Michael II's one-day stellar rule that planted the seed of democracy.

The examples of Britain, Scandinavian countries, Spain or Japan show that monarchy and democracy can be a good mix and can create an equitable, fair and dynamic society. By slaying Michael II on June 12, 1918, the Bolsheviks killed Russia's chance to develop along similar lines and took the country on a historical detour that ended in 1991.

© The Moscow Times. 10 July, 2013 


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:25 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 10 July 2013 2:34 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 9 July 2013
Rasputin - Russian, French, American...
Topic: Rasputin

 Gerard Depardieu as Grigory Rasputin, the resemblance is remarkable!

The film “Rasputin”, with Gerard Depardieu in the lead role that was shown in Moscow on the last day of the Moscow International Film Festival on June 22nd and created a sensation there, is gradually making its way to the Russian screens. As you know, the attitude towards Grigory Rasputin, a ‘holy man”, a prophet and a confidant of the family of the last emperor of Russia remains ambiguous, and there is a great deal of interest in the personality of Grigory Rasputin today. And not only in Russia.
 
Leonardo DiCaprio, an American actor, said he is going to play the role of Rasputin in a movie, which Warner Bros is set to shoot. And as regards the work of Gerard Depardieu, it is meant for the French television, and what was shown at the film festival in Moscow was the Russian version of the French film “Raspoutine|”. This film was edited by the Russian film director Irakly Kvirikadze, who used the material of the French film maker Josee Dayan. In fact, what has emerged is a new film with the same actors. “For many years I had a dream to play Rasputin because, as it seems to me, I understand him very well”, Gerard Depardieu said.
 
“I believe that Rasputin lives in each of us. What is Rasputin? The answer is very simple - life energy.”
 
It should be said in all fairness though that Depardieu has failed to outperform the prominent Russian actor Alexei Petrenko, who played the role of Rasputin in the film “Agony” by film director Elem Klimov. This film was released in this country in the 70s of the last century.
 
During his lifetime and after his death some people called Grigory Rasputin a vicious demon, saying that he was responsible for the death of the family of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia while others said that he was a wickedly calumniated prophet. Grigory Rasputin was an uneducated person – a muzhik (a dark peasant) from Siberia. Despite that, he managed to become a confidant of the Russian tsarina and a friend of the Russian tsar, and also the ruler of the destinies in the Russian empire. He caused irritation, envy, and hatred, and finally, he was killed by plotters in December of 1916. But how can one explain the fact that there is much interest in the personality of Grigory Rasputin nowadays? “People need such extraordinary personalities today”, the author of the book about Rasputin, Alexei Varlamov, a well-known writer, said in an interview with the Voice of Russia.
 
"What we can see now is a dramatic degeneration process, which is developing fast. Information is putting pressure on all of us. Hence, there is a great deal of interest today in extraordinary, charismatic, deep, and versatile personalities – such as Grigory Rasputin was."
 
Nearly 300 films about Rasputin were made last century, and the work continues.

© The Voice of Russia. 09 July, 2013
 

 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:09 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 9 July 2013 6:18 PM EDT
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Monday, 8 July 2013
Archives of the Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna
Topic: Exhibitions

An exhibit at the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg will present documents from the archives of Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna starting July 12th, 2013.

The exhibit will include diary entries and rare photographs dating 1917-1919. Together they offer unique historical evidence of the final years of the monarchy in Russia. It is the story of war, revolution and the beginning of years of exile for the Romanov survivors.

Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna (1875-1960) was the eldest daughter of Emperor Alexander III and Empress Maria Feodorovna, and sister of Emperor Nicholas II. She fled Russia along with members of her family on April 11th, 1919 onboard the British warship HMS Marlborough.  

The exhibition is organized by the State Museum of the History of St. Petersburg and the Charity Foundation of St. Basil the Great. It will be open to visitors in the Ioannovsky Ravelin of the Fortress until August 4th, 2013. Tickets are 50 RUB. 

 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 08 July, 2013


 

 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:16 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 1 August 2013 6:10 AM EDT
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Sunday, 7 July 2013
Beautiful Orthodox Churches of Russia No. 16
Topic: Beautiful Orthodox Churches

Unlike most churches in St. Petersburg after the Revolution, the Transfiguration Cathedral was never closed 

During my recent visit to St. Petersburg I had the opportunity to explore several areas of the city that were new to me. Within the vicinity of my hotel I stumbled across several beautiful Orthodox churches, including the magnificent Transfiguration Cathedral.  Located next to a beautiful square on Preobrazhenskaya Ploschad, just off Liteiny Prospect, the Transfiguration Cathedral occupies an area that was once the home of the Russian Imperial Army's Transfiguration Regiment in St. Petersburg. 

On the night of the 24th November 1741, Peter the Great's daughter Elizabeth came to gain support from the soldier's regiment for a coup against Empress Anna Ioannovna and her appointed successor Ivan, who at the time was 2 months old. 

As a sign of gratitude, Empress Elizabeth commissioned the construction of a church after her accession to the throne on the 7th December 1741. Mikhail Zemstov was commissioned as architect to design and build the church, but construction was actually carried out by Antonio Trezzini after the sudden death of Mikhail. Construction began in St. Petersburg on the 9th June 1743 when Empress Elizabeth laid the first stone of the foundation. On the 5th August 1754, on the eve of the Feast of Transfiguration, the church was consecrated and declared a Cathedral by order of Empress Elizabeth. 

On the November 12, 1796, during the reign of the Emperor Paul I, the regimental Transfiguration Cathedral received the honorary title "of all the Guards." 

The magnificent fence which surrounds the cathedral is dominated by 102 bronze cannon barrels, set on 34 granite bases and surmounted with gold double-headed eagles with crowns. After the Revolution the eagles were removed but were restored in recent years 

The Cathedral's interior, including the marvelous gold iconostasis and altar vestibule were designed by Bartolomeo Rastrelli. This iconostasis was rescued from a fire that almost burnt down the Transfiguration Cathedral on August 8th, 1825. Construction of a new church on the site in St. Petersburg began in 1827 designed by Vasily Stasov and was consecrated on 5th August 1829. 

According to Stasov's plan a beautiful square was laid out around the new church in 1830. From 1832-1833 under Stasov's direction a fence was built around the cathedral commemorating the victory in the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-1829, the basis of which was formed by the barrels of Turkish cannons taken from Turkish fortresses. Preserved on the barrels is the engraved coat of arms of the Ottoman Empire, and on some of the barrels can be seen the names given to the cannons. 

The fence consists of 102 bronze cannon barrels, set on thirty-four granite bases, and three barrels per base. They are set with the muzzles facing downwards to signify that they will never again be used in combat. All of the middle barrels are decorated with gold double-headed eagles with crowns. All the groups of barrels are linked by massive decorative chains. The two sides of the main gate are decorated with shields with bronze depictions of the medals presented for the war. Also, around the cathedral stand twelve cannons and two Unicorn (long-barreled) cannons, which are the properties of the Preobrazhensky regiment. 

In 1886 a chapel (restored in 1988) was built in the fence by the architect Ivan Blazheyevich Slupsky. In 1916, construction of a burial-vault for the burial of officers fallen in World War I was planned by the architect Sergei Osipovich Ovsyannikov, but the project was never realized. 

After the 1917 October Revolution the cathedral remained open for worship. In 1918 it became a parish church, and the banners, ordnance, and war trophies being kept there were removed and transferred to the Artillery Museum; since 1950 those relics have been part of the Hermitage collection. Also during the 1920s many valuable icons were removed. 

The interior of the Transfiguration Cathedral 

From 1922 to 1926 (under Antonin Granovsky's Union of Church Regeneration) and from 1935 to the spring of 1944 the cathedral was in the hands of the Renovationists; and from 1939, after the closing of the Church of the Savior on the Sennaya, it was the main Renovationist church in Leningrad. During the Siege of Leningrad an air-raid shelter capable of holding 500 people was constructed in its basement, where first aid was given to the wounded. A restoration of the facades and the interior was carried out between 1946 and 1948. 

In the cathedral are kept the regimental relics and war trophies, and on the walls are bronze plaques with the names of officers of the Preobrazhensky regiment fallen in battle. Under glass in separate cases are the Preobrazhensky uniforms of Alexander I, Nicholas I, and Alexander II, as well as a saber that Alexander II was wearing during an attempt on his life on March 13, 1881 (March 1, O.S.), which still has some of his blood on it.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 07 July, 2013

 


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:54 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 11 July 2013 2:46 PM EDT
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Saturday, 6 July 2013
British Newspaper Photographer Was One of the First to See Empress Alexandra's Diary
Topic: Alexandra Feodorovna


Photo: The camera often caught the Empress lost in thought. Her heart carried a tremendous burden, one that eventually took its toll on her overall physical and mental health. Over the past century she has been unfairly treated by Western historians and biographers who based their research on malicious gossip - PG.

Recently, The Siberian Times received a remarkable response to a stash of pictures of the Russian royal family found in a vault in the Urals. Now they continue the theme with Keith Waldegrave's recollections of handling the diary of Alexandra who, with the rest of her family, was moved from Siberia back to Yekaterinburg on their final journey.

It was a small dusty lilac pink book thinner and smaller than a paperback novel. The cover bore a Buddhist swastika symbol and on its plain pages were the inner-most thoughts of a woman deemed to be an evil foreign influence on the Russian ruler Tsar Nicholas II.

It was the personal diary of the Tsarina.

To read the article, please refer to the following link at Royal Russia News:  

British Newspaper Photographer Was One of the First to See Empress Alexandra's Diary

© The Siberian Times. 06 July, 2013 


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:47 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 6 July 2013 8:09 AM EDT
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