Monument to Nicholas II at Vladivostock Topic: Nicholas II
A mounment to Emperor Nicholas II can be found in the city of Vladivostock, the port city located in Russia's Far East and home of the nation's Pacific Fleet.
The monument can be found at 52 Ulitsa Svetlanskaya, where the former home of the region's governor-general stood during tsarist times. It was here that Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich stayed during his visit to the city on May 19th, 1891 during his tour to Far East.
Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna and Peter of Oldenburg Topic: Olga Alexandrovna GD
Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna (1882-1960) and Duke Peter Alexandrovich of Oldenburg (1868-1924) were married at St. Petersburg on August 9th, 1901.
The couple met the year before when Peter began escorting the 18-year-old daughter of Emperor Alexander III, to the theatre and opera.
Peter asked for Olga's hand in marriage the following year, a proposal that took the grand duchess completely by surprise: "I was so taken aback that all I could say was 'thank you,'"she later told Ian Vorres.
The marriage was announced in May 1901. Her mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna wrote to her son and Olga's brother, Emperor Nicholas II: "I am sure you won't believe what has happened. Olga is engaged to Petya and both are very happy. I had to consent, but it was all done so quickly and unexpectedly that I still cannot believe it."
Nicholas replied to his mother: "I cannot believe that Olga is actually engaged to Petya. They were probably both drunk yesterday.....We both laughed so much reading your letter that we have not recovered yet."
A prenuptial agreement was drawn up by a committee which included the Tsar, the Oldenburg family, and government ministers. It promised Olga an annuity of 100,000 roubles from the Tsar, and 1 million roubles to be deposited into a fund from which she could draw interest.
The wedding was a grand ceremony attended by family, European royalty, government ministers, foreign ambassadors, government officials and courtiers. They spent their honeymoon at the Oldenburg estate of Voronezh.
In the fall of 1901 they travelled to Biarritz, France, where they boarded a yacht loaned to them by King Edward VII of Great Britain and sailed to Italy.
On their return to Russia, they settled into a 200-room palace (the former Baryatinsky mansion) at 46 Sergievskaya Street (today Tchaikovskogo Street), St. Petersburg. The palace was made available to them by Olga's brother, Tsar Nicholas II. The palace has survived to this day and now houses the Saint Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Their marriage remained unconsummated, and Peter was believed by both family and friends to be a homosexual. Olga asked him for a divorce and at first he refused. The couple eventually separated, their marriage was annulled by the Emperor himself on October 16th, 1916.
Olga married a cavalry officer, Nicholas Kulikovsky the following month. After the Russian Revolution, the couple escaped with their two sons and spent their final years in Denmark and later Canada. Kulikovsky died in 1958, Olga died in 1960.
Peter and his mother also fled Russia after the Revolution, and settled in France. He remarried to Olga Vladimirovna Ratkova-Rognova on May 3, 1922. The marriage was also without issue. Peter died at Antibes, France in 1924, he was 55.
Sources: The Last Grand Duchess (Pub. 1960) by Ian Vorres and Olga Romanov: The Last Grand Duchess of Russia (Pub. 1998) by Patricia Phenix.
Monument to Nicholas II at Tsarskoye Selo Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
I have discovered a new monument to Emperor Nicholas II at Tsarskoye Selo.
The monument was erected in 2011 on the site of a chapel built near the Alexandrovskaya Railway Station. The chapel was a memorial to Alexander II erected after an assassination attempt on the emperor's life in Paris in 1867. It was demolished by the local Soviets in 1949.
It was from the Alexandrovskya station that Emperor Nicholas II, his family and retinue departed Tsarskoye Selo and sent into exile in the early morning hours of 14 August [O.S. 01 August] 1917.
There are now three monuments to Russia's last tsar found at Tsarskoye Selo.
The World of Faberge - Shanghai Museum Topic: Faberge
Memory of Azov Egg presented by Emperor Alexander III to Empress Maria Feodorovna in 1891. Photo Credit: Moscow Kremlin Museum
One of the most precious Kremlin collections of a great historical and cultural value is the one incorporating pieces of jewellery produced by the famous Faberge firm, the distinguished Russian firms of P. Ovchinnikov, I. Khlebnikov, O. Kurlyukov, G. Klingert, M. Semyonov.
For the first time such a collection of artworks of C. Faberge and other renowned craftsmen from the Moscow Kremlin Museums funds is exposed in the country, which is distinguished by the tradition of jewellery making and art of processing of stones and metal.
Over a hundred high-quality articles are intended to present one of the most flourishing and outstanding periods in the history of the Russian goldsmithery in the epoch, which is called the “Silver Age” of the Russian culture and arts. At the turn of the XIXth century Russian craftsmen invented a new original consummate style, which incorporated a retrospective trend and national traditions along with fashionable utilitarian design, so popular in the modern society. The Faberge’s triumph and “genius”, mentioned by Russian Empress Maria Fyodorovna, has contributed to the development of the Russian jewellery industry and marked a new page in the history of the Russian and foreign industrial art.
The exhibition gives a unique opportunity to observe not only the items from the Armoury collection but also the rarities from the Moscow Kremlin Museums' funds, including religious items and memorabilia, pieces of jewellery and tableware, articles of coloured stones, as well as the Faberge masterpieces – precious Easter eggs, executed for the last two Russian Empresses.
The exhibits reveal the techniques perfected by the distinguished craftsmen of Moscow, Saint-Petersburg and Kiev, such as multicoloured enamel on filigree, highly skilled chasing, genre casting and stone cutting. Composed of the items, produced by various firms and workshops, the exposition explores the main features and mechanism of development of the art of jewellery making at the turn of the century.
The exhibition runs from September 28, 2012 to January 3, 2013 at the Shanghai Museum in Shanghai, China.
Restoration of St. Sergius Church at Tsarskoye Selo Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
St. Sergius Church at Tsarskoye Selo as it looks today
St. Sergius Church at Tsarskoye Selo was officially returned to the Russian Orthodox Church during a ceremony on September 21st.
The ROC announced that a full restoration of the church will take place, to be completed in 2014 which will mark the 700th anniversary of the saint.
St. Sergius Church as it looked in 1904
The church was originally built in 1889. It was consecrated on December 2nd [O.S. November 19th] 1904 in the presence of Emperor Nicholas II, the Grand Dukes Vladimir and Sergei Alexandrovich, and the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna.
The interior of the church included an iconostasis carved out of oak and an altar made of marble
After the Russian Revolution the church was closed by the Bolsheviks, and its dome destroyed. The building was badly damaged during World War II. Repairs to the church were carried out in 1980, although the bell tower was demolished and the interiors destroyed.
Unidentified vandals attacked a wooden cross dedicated to Orthodox mystic Grigory Rasputin onthe grounds of the former imperial palace Tsarskoye Selo, outside St. Petersburg.
Security guards on the estate, now an open-air museum, told Interfax that the vandals had taken a saw to the memorial Monday (September 24th) and that the damaged cross had been moved to the museum for safekeeping.
The guards said they were not responsible for looking after the memorial because it was mysteriously erected on the edge of the estate seven years ago without the permission of museum authorities.
Rasputin, who acquired a reputation as a psychic and faith healer in the early 20th century and became a close adviser to the wife of the last tsar, Nicholas II, is a controversial figure, and a definitive account of his murder in 1916 in St. Petersburg’s Yusupov Palace remains elusive.
After his death, the imperial family allowed Rasputin to be buried in a bell tower at Tsarskoye Selo, but his remains were later removed, burned and scattered elsewhere after the 1917 Revolution.
Monday’s attack on the memorial follows two cross-felling episodes in recent weeks. Earlier this month, vandals chopped down one Orthodox cross in the Altai republic and nine in the Leningrad region.
President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said attacks on religious traditions showed that the Russians were losing spirituality.
“There are losses of Christian clergymen and of other confessions. Very recently there was yet another crime committed against a spiritual leader in Dagestan. What does this mean? It means, unfortunately, that there is a substantial loss of our national spiritual code. It’s worrying,” Putin told the presidential cultural council, Interfax reported.
Russia Hosts Fourth World Cossack Congress Topic: Cossacks
Photo: The Novocherkassk Army Assumption Cathedral hosted a memorial service on the event's opening day
Novocherkassk, the capital of Don Cossacks in southern Russia, is hosting the Fourth World Cossack Congress this week, which convenes about 500 participants from the CIS and from 40 countries outside the CIS, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports.
Foreign participants will drive into the city via two Triumphal Arches built to commemorate Russia’s victory over Napoleon in 1812, to which Don Cossacks, commanded by legendary chieftain Matvei Platov, contributed a great deal.
The Novocherkassk Army Assumption Cathedral will feature a memorial service on the event’s opening day, and memorial plaques will be installed at the cathedral’s burial vault. A Cossack parade will take place at Chieftain Platov Square followed by other commemorative events.
At the same time, representatives of Don Cossack Host – a public association uniting over 100,000 local Cossacks – will not attend the congress. Historically, the world congresses are only for “official Cossacks,” while the public association holds its own conventions and parades.
Don Cossack Host Chieftain Nikolai Kozitsyn complains that the authorities have always used the Cossacks for their own purposes, dividing them arbitrarily into “the red” and “the white,” or into “unofficial” and “official” Cossacks.
The World Cossack Congress will run until October 1, featuring gala performances, fairs and exhibitions, and an equestrian festival.
Nicholas Romanovich Turns 90 Topic: Nicholas Romanovich
On September 26 Nicholas Romanovich Romanov, the eldest living representative of the House of Romanov and a direct descendant of Emperor Nicholas I, celebrated his 90th birthday. A historic and preserver of family traditions, he has for nearly a quarter of a century headed the Romanov Family Association, ITAR-TASS reports.
“In our family – from the first sovereign to our day – I am the first man to live to the age of 90. None of the Romanovs, beginning from Mikhail Fyodorovich, reached such an age,” Prince Nicholas notes.
His father – Prince Roman Petrovich – was the godson and third cousin of the last emperor and his mother – Princess Praskovia Dmitrievna (née Countess Sheremeteva) – was the daughter of Dimity Sheremetev, a childhood friend and aide-de-camp of Nicholas II. His parents got married in exile and his father was among to the last of the White Army forces to depart from the Crimea during the Civil War, taking with him a handful of dirt from his motherland. “He could not return, but that bottle filled with earth from the Crimea remained with him wherever he moved,” Prince Nicholas recalls.
Born in Cap d'Antibes near Antibes, France, Prince Nicholas nonetheless speaks perfect Russian, thanks to the efforts of his parents, who as he says instilled in him “the Russian spirit.” Prince Nicholas lived and studied in Rome. In 1942 the 19-year-old Nicholas turned down an offer by the Fascist government to rule occupied Montenegro.
In 1989 he became the President of the Romanov Family Association. “Neither I nor any of the other Romanov lay claim to anything – only to the right to be of use to Russia,” Nicholas says. One of the organization’s activities is providing philanthropic support to hospitals and kindergartens in Russia.
Collection of Pre-Revolution Films Returned to Russia Topic: Russian History
Lenfilm Studios has received a collection of 350 Russian silent movies made before the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, the St. Petersburg City Culture Committee said on Friday, RIA Novosti reports. The collection was handed over by Steven Krams, president of Magna-Tech Electronic Co. Inc. The films were taken out of Russia during the Civil War.
Besides seminal cinematic works, there are also movies that are of historical value. As Drankov's famous footage of the writer Leo Tolstoy illustrates, making films was something of a fad among the upper classes in the latter days of the Russian Empire. Indeed, even Tsar Nicholas II himself was said to have made some of these "home movies."
Krams decided to return the films to Russia as a sign of respect for Lenfilm Studios’ contribution to cinematography. According to Lenfilm board chairman Eduard Pichugin, the collection will arrive in Russia by December. The films will be digitized and prepared for screening. Lenfilm, Russia’s second largest film studio, was founded in 1918.