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Wednesday, 17 July 2013
The Tsar Files: Who Killed the Romanovs?
Topic: Nicholas II

Even now, 95 years after the murder of Russia's last czar, Nicholas II, we do not know precisely how many people took part in the deed. One account of the event claims there were eight, and yet another insists there were 11—one for each murdered member of the Russian royal family. Yan Shenkman investigates the identities and lives of the killers of the tsar.
© Russia Beyond the Headlines. 17 July, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:18 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 17 July 2013 11:23 AM EDT
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The Last Emperor: 20 Years After the Collapse of the Soviet Union
Topic: Nicholas II

How do modern Russians view the royal legacy and what are their perceptions of the last Tsar, Nicholas II? Public attitudes towards him have undergone several shifts since the collapse of the Soviet Union two decades ago, with the most recent studies showing an increase in appreciation of the monarch.

On the anniversary of his death, political analyst Alexander Morozov looks at how post-Soviet Russia remembers the Tsar.


© Russia Beyond the Headlines. 17 July, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:29 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 17 July 2013 10:35 AM EDT
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The Romanov Family in the Memories of Their Contemporaries
Topic: Nicholas II

Memories of the last Imperial Family of Russia are recalled through the words of those who shared their private world. Included are Vladimir Kokotsev, Anna Vyrubova, General Mikhail Diterikhs, Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden, Klavdia Bitner, Pierre Gilliard and Sofia Ofrosimova.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 17 July, 2013



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:48 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 17 July 2013 9:57 AM EDT
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In Memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs - 17 July, 1918
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

Today marks the 95th anniversary of the murders of Tsar Nicholas II and his family.
The Tsar, along with his wife, Alexandra Feodorovna, their four daughters, Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, and their only son and heir to the Russian throne, Alexei were murdered in the basement of the Ipatiev House in the early morning hours of July 17th, 1918. There were no survivors.
Their murders were followed by the Red Terror unleashed by Vladimir Lenin and later by his successor, Joseph Stalin. For more than 70 years Russia would suffer under the hands of an evil regime, one that resulted in the murder of millions of innocent people.
In the last 20 years Communism has fallen, the Russian Orthodox Church reborn, the last tsar and his family canonized.
Indeed, the Bolsheviks had been brought down. 


© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 17 July, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:40 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 17 July 2013 8:49 AM EDT
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The Great Puzzle of the Romanoff Ilyinsky Family's Russian History
Now Playing: Language: NA. Duration: 9 minutes, 40 seconds
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
Today, the exhibition The Romanovs: From Tsarskoye Selo to Cincinnati opened in the Zubov Wing of the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo. Michael Romanoff Ilyinsky has written the following article on the history of the collection. He also shares with us a home movie of his grandfather, Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich during his years in exile. The exhibition will run until September 30th, 2013. 
This exhibition really began in 1987 when I was asked to be the chairman of a fundraiser for the Cincinnati-Kharkov Sister City Project. I agreed to participate as Kharkov is in Ukraine, which was part of the Soviet Union as was Russia. How could I pass up the opportunity to get involved with a project so closely connected to Russia?

In preparing for the event, I was interviewed for a local newspaper. Some of the questions were about my family’s history and connection to Russia, which I really didn’t know much about. At age twenty-eight all I knew about my family’s Russian history was that my grandfather was a Grand Duke who was related to the last Tsar Nicholas II. I knew Dmitri had been exiled from Russia because of his involvement in the death of Rasputin and this had ironically spared his life.

In September of 1989 I made my first voyage to Russia and the Soviet Union. I was one of a dozen volunteers who were working in the field of alcoholism and drug addiction. We spent three days in Leningrad, seven days in Volgograd and our last three days in Moscow. This first trip to Russia was without doubt one of the most powerful experiences of my life. Over the next five years I would return to Russia, Ukraine and the Soviet Union four more times.

There was a huge box that had been stored in my parent’s garage in Florida for years. As it turned out the black box was an old Louis Vuitton trunk filled with receipts, bills, photos, letters and small personal items of my grandparents. To me at that time, it was all treasure and nothing would be discarded until I knew exactly what it was and if it was a piece of my family’s puzzle. Little did I realize how many years it would require for me to fulfill my pledge.

I organized photographs by subject matter, though most of the time I was not aware of who, what or where the photos were taken. Working with the letters would always demand much more time as I could not help but read and reread them which at times would be quite emotional. Along with the photographs came envelopes and books of photographic negatives. Some of these were from Paris, Venice, Monaco, Biarritz, New York, Palm Beach and Davos. Then there were the films. I came into possession of a box of 16mm films that belonged to my grandfather. Some of the films, still in their original boxes, were identified with dates and locations — primarily the early 1930s. Unfortunately the aged and decayed condition of every film made each of them unusable. A white crystalline formation coated most of the film and any attempt to unwind them ended quickly as the delicate, dried and decrepit celluloid would crinkle, crumble and dissolve into a pile of lost memories. Removing the majority of the film from the first reel seemed to take forever. Then the film began to come off in two-inch pieces and as I got closer to the center of the reel the condition of the film was looking healthier and healthier. Finally, with most of the film in a crumbling heap, I came to a point where the film, still fragile and frail, actually looked like film. Off to the lab it went and in a few weeks time the Great Puzzle would begin to take a new shape. No, not a new shape but perhaps one of greater depth.

Though the Great Puzzle is still not complete, it has a definite shape and tells a fascinating story. I am still finding new pieces to add while always trying to figure out where the existing pieces fit together. Just recently my friends at the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve have informed me as to the meaning of several items that were in my father’s house my entire life. Some of those items you will see in the exhibition.

I hope you will enjoy this exhibition of “The Great Puzzle” of my grandfather’s Russian history as much as I have enjoyed the unique and wonderful opportunity to piece it together.

Michael Romanoff Ilynisky
Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. 17 July, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:43 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 8 August 2013 9:51 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 16 July 2013
"Priceless" Faberge Punch Bowl Set Exhibited in US
Topic: Faberge


A "priceless" Fabergé punch bowl set presented to an American horse trainer by members of Russia’s pre-revolutionary racing elite has gone on display in Lexington, Kentucky, The Lexington Herald-Leader report.

The 11-piece cloisonné set was a gift to Frank Caton, an American trainer and breeder who was a prominent figure in Russian horse racing in the late 19th and early 20th century.

A 1913 New York Times report has Caton as the top bidder at an auction in Madison Square Garden on horses to be exported to Russia. Caton left Russia in 1916; his sons, also trainers, fled Bolshevik rule in 1922. 

The punch bowl set, created in 1900 by the workshop of Karl Fabergé was until recently kept in the San Antonio, Texas home of Bill Sims, 77, who is Caton’s great-grandson. It is on display at the International Museum of the Horse in Kentucky.

© RIA Novosti. 16 July, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:30 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 16 July 2013 6:38 AM EDT
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Monday, 15 July 2013
Ekaterinburg Hosts Major New Romanov Exhibition
Topic: 400th Anniversary

The Sverdlovsk Regional Museum in Ekaterinburg is hosting a major new exhibition to mark the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. The Romanovs at the Turn of the Century opened July 12th and will run until October 6th, 2013.

The exhibition which is housed in four large rooms of the Poklevskii-Kozell House, a branch of the Sverdlovsk Regional Museum is a joint project in cooperation with six major Russian museums in Moscow and St. Petersburg who provided unique items from their respective collections. They include the State Historical Museum, Museum of the Armed Forces and Kolomenskoye State Museum-Preserve in Moscow, the Pavlovsk and Peterhof State Museum-Preserves in St. Petersburg, as well as the State Archive of the Sverdlovsk Region and the regional Minister of Culture in Ekaterinburg. The exhibition is further complemented with items from numerous private collections. 

One of the main items on display is Zurab Tserteli’s statue, Night at the Ipatiev House. In 2007 Tsereteli unveiled the bronze multi-figure composition which is dedicated to the murders of Emperor Nicholas II and his family at Ekaterinburg on 17th July, 1918.

Visitors can see a wide selection of photographs, portraits, and personal items from members of the Russian Imperial family. A darker side of the exhibit features items belonging to the last tsar and his family from the armed train that carried the last Imperial family into exile. Their personal items were later confiscated by the Ural Soviets. Also on display are personal items of Yakov Yurovsky, including his leather jacket and the gun in which he claimed took the life of Nicholas II.

In another hall, visitors will see rare film footage from the Russian archives of pre-Revolutionary Ekaterinburg, and film chronicles of the private and public life of the Emperor Nicholas II and his family. Excerpts from the diaries and letters of  Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra Feodorovna, and the man in charge of their murders, Yakov Yurovsky are told through professional actors.  

The Romanovs at the Turn of the Century promises to be one of the most exciting and large-scale cultural events marking the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty, featuring many unique items never put on display at any previous Romanov exhibit.




© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 15 July, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:25 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 15 July 2013 3:49 PM EDT
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Saturday, 13 July 2013
The Romanovs: From Tsarskoye Selo to Cincinnati
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
On July 17th, a new exhibition, The Romanovs: from Tsarskoye Selo to Cincinnati will open at Tsarskoye Selo.
The exhibition will feature more than 300 personal items of Grand Duke Dmitry Pavlovich (1891-1942), including photographs, documents, letters and portraits. A home movie dating from 1930 which depicts the private life of the grand duke in exile promises to be the sensation of the exhibition.
The collection was recently donated to the Tsarskoye Selo Palace Museum Preserve by the grand duke's grandson, Michael Ilyinsky, and now makes up the largest collection of archival material on Grand Duke Dmitry Pavlovich in Russia.
Dmitry was the grandson of Emperor Alexander II and a cousin to Emperor Nicholas II. His father, Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich was murdered by the Bolsheviks in January 1919.
Grand Duke Dmitry Pavlovich's involvement with the murder of Grigorii Rasputin in December 1916 resulted in his exile to Persia. After the Revolution he lived in London, Paris and Davos, Switzerland where he died in 1942.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 13 July, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:23 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 14 July 2013 4:45 PM EDT
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Amber Room Welcomes 10 Millionth Visitor
Topic: Amber Room


The Tsarskoye Selo Palace Museum Reserve announced this week that it had acheived an historic milestone that it has been looking forward to for the past few months. The Amber Room in the Catherine Palace has welcomed its 10 millionth visitor. 

Andrei Tebryaev, a businessman from Chelyabinsk, Siberia received a commemorative plaque, a copy of the book Three Centuries of the Amber Miracle, and a bouquet of flowers from the greenhouses at Tsarskoye Selo.
The Amber Room opened to the public on May 31, 2003, it is now considered by many as the "eighth wonder of the world."

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 13 July, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:47 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 13 July 2013 8:12 AM EDT
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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: Wednesday, 12 April 2017 5:00 PM EDT
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