Peter the Great's House in the Netherlands to Be Renovated Topic: Peter the Great
The 17th century house in the Dutch city of Zaandam where Russian tsar Peter the Great lived during the first days of his 1697 visit to Holland was closed for renovation on Thursday, RIA Novosti reports. “The museum closes for the work and will reopen in March 2013,” said Zaans Museum, which administers the building. The renovation is due to take about three months.
The house was built in 1632 from old ship's wood. A heavy wooden frame was built in late 19th century to support the old structure. Later it was encased in a brick building on the order of Russia’s last tsar Nicholas II.
Peter the Great, who came to power at the end of the 17th century, was determined to modernize Russia. At the age of 25, he travelled to the Dutch Republic, the leading power at that time. It was his first foreign visit.
Peter the Great stayed in Zaandam only for the eight days and studied shipbuilding incognito, posing as a Russian carpenter named Pyotr Mikhailov.
The house was designated a historical monument in the 18th century. It was handed over to the Russian royal family in 1886, but in 1948 the heirs of the Romanov family returned the building to The Netherlands.
Set of Medals Honour Russian Sovereigns Topic: 400th Anniversary
The Property Management Department of the President of the Russian Federation has announced that it will offer a series of collectible souvenirs marking the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty in 2013.
Among them is a set of 20 medals depicting Russian sovereigns who ruled from 1613 to 1917: from Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich to Tsar Nicholas II.
The medals are made of silver and gold plated. Each medal depicts the portrait of a sovereign of the Romanov dynasty on the face, and the coat-of-arms on the reverse. The set of 20 medals is packaged in a box of polished mahogany. All sets are numbered and each has its own certificate. They are currently for sale at museum shops in the Moscow Kremlin. Price: 175,000 rubles ($5,700 USD).
Religious Association Rises in Defense of Russian Orthodoxy Topic: Russian Church
Chairman of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society, Sergei Stepashin and Patriarch Kirill
Russia's Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society has called for setting up "a public system" in Russia that would "rule out insults to the religious feelings of believers."
"In condemning attempts by certain forces to sow discord in society and question the role of Orthodox tradition in shaping the identity of the Russian people, we state our readiness to act resolutely in national interests, defend Christian values and help promote national unity, civil peace and harmony in Russia," the Society said in a statement passed at a meeting in Moscow on Wednesday.
After "humiliating persecution and accusations," the people of Russia have a right to establish "a public system that would rule out insults to the religious feelings of believers," the Society said.
The Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society was set up in 1882 by Emperor Alexander III to organize Russian pilgrims' journeys to sacred places including Palestine, Mount Athos and Bari, assist the Russian Orthodox Church's service abroad, do cultural and educational missionary work in the Middle East and study the historical heritage of Holy Land.
After the 1917 Revolution, the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society was closed, but a Russian Palestine Society was formed at the Academy of Sciences, which continued the traditional studies of the historical heritage of Holy Land.
The Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society was registered again in May 1992 under its historical name. It has 18 regional branches and is chaired by Sergey Stepashin.
Cossacks Evoke Spectre of Imperial Russia Topic: Cossacks
Renowned for their sword-fighting prowess and horsemanship, the Cossacks are taking on new enemies – beggars, drunks and improperly parked cars on the streets of Moscow.
With the approval of city authorities, eight Cossacks clad in fur hats and uniforms patrolled a Moscow train station yesterday looking for signs of minor public disturbances.
The Kremlin is seeking to use the once-feared Tsarist paramilitary squads in its new drive to promote conservative values and appeal to nationalists.
The southern province of Krasnodar – which includes Sochi, the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics – launched Cossack patrols in September to crack down on Muslim migrants from the neighbouring Caucasus.
Cossacks trace their history in Russia back to the 15th century. Serving in the Tsarist cavalry, they spearheaded imperial Russia’s expansion in exchange for special privileges, including the right to govern their villages.
In the 2010 census, about 650,000 Russians declared themselves Cossacks. Yesterday’s patrol was a test run for whether the group can become an armed and salaried auxiliary police force, with the power of arrest, patrol leader Igor Gulichev said.
Mr Gulichev’s group, which he said numbers up to 85, has patrolled south-western Moscow with police approval for the past year, and has brought about 35 arrests. They are unpaid but receive free public transport passes and uniforms.
The conservative Cossacks have increased their political activity in response to an impromptu protest that feminist punk rockers Pussy Riot staged in Moscow’s main cathedral in February.
Groups of Cossacks recently barred visitors from entering a Moscow art exhibition that daubed Pussy Riot’s trademark balaclavas over Orthodox Christian icons, and they led a successful campaign to cancel a staging of Vladimir Nabokov’s racy novel, Lolita, in St Petersburg.
A government-backed Cossack political party held its first congress in Moscow last weekend. Communists have called it a cheap attempt to siphon pensioners’ support from their party, which is widely known by the same acronym. Six other groups have applied to form splinter Cossack parties.
Mr Gulichev, whose official title is deputy ataman, a Turkic word meaning commander, said he expected his group’s responsibilities would expand to fighting drug trafficking and terrorism, mirroring the special relationship Cossacks had with the tsars.
“Cossacks have always been on the frontiers of the Russian empire, fighting foes and adversaries, illegal immigration – repulsing raids, as people say today,” he added.
President Vladimir Putin was inducted into what is known as the Cossack host in 2005 and given the rank of colonel, previously held by tsars.
A 400,000-strong all-Russia Cossack host directly subordinate to Mr Putin is scheduled to be launched by the end of the year.
The dressing rooms of the Romanov dynasty and the chambers of their maids of honor became part of the permanent exhibition at Gatchina Palace last week.
The rooms have become part of an exhibition called “The Family Members of the Emperor Alexander III in Gatchina,” which forms part of the museum collection of the former royal estate at Gatchina.
Wardrobes, trunks and other everyday belongings can be seen in the imperial dressing rooms, as well as a unique object called a wardrobe-suitcase, in which one part serves as a wardrobe with coat hangers, while the other is meant for smaller items. Such suitcases were convenient for long journeys, and reflect the new approach to the packing and transport of luggage following the appearance of trains, cruise ships and automobiles.
The interiors of the rooms designated for maids of honor were designed in a simple, formal manner that emphasized the service function of the chambers. There were no decorative elements, only essential belongings, and the furniture was often old.
My Russia: Journey to Ekaterinburg Topic: Paul Gilbert
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to visit Ekaterinburg. I have travelled to Russia more than 20 times, but this was my first visit to the Ural region.
My four day visit to the city allowed me to visit the sites associated with the final days of Tsar Nicholas II and his family in 1918.
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 my visits to the Church on the Blood and Ganina Yama, including a brief history of each. I was profoundly moved by both of these holy sites and my impressions of each are found in the current installment of My Russia.
My Russia: Journey to Ekaterinburg appears in Royal Russia Annual No. 2 (2012). The article is 16 pages in length and illustrated with 20 black and white photographs, many of which I took myself.
Many people who share an interest in the life and reign of Russia's last Imperial family will never have the opportunity to visit Ekaterinburg, therefore I hope that my article and photos about my recent trip will allow them a brief glimpse from the comfort of their favourite armchair.
Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna's Faberge Cross Pendant Topic: Faberge
A diamond and topaz platinum mounted Faberge cross pendent purchased by the Tsar Nicholas II and the Empress Alexander Feodorovna in St Petersburg in 1912 bought for the Tsar's sister Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna is seen during a press preview at Christie's auction house in London. It was expected to fetch some 50-70,000 pounds (US$ 79-111,000 , euro 61-86,000) when sold at auction on Nov. 26.
1812 War Anniversary Ball Held in Grand Kremlin Palace Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 3 minutes, 29 seconds Topic: Kremlin
On Sunday the Grand Kremlin Palace hosted a glamorous ball inspired by Napoleon’s 1812 defeat at the hands of the Russian army and dedicated to the traditions of military valor, in its St. Andrew Hall, St. Alexander Hall and St. George Hall, RIA Novosti reports.
It is the first ball to be held at the palace since 1903. Young couples demonstrated historic dances such as the polonaise, minuet and quadrille. The couples had a chance to dance a waltz to the live music of the Presidential Orchestra. Costumes for the guests as well as their hairstyles were based on the designs from the early 19th century.
The ball is the last in a series of events celebrating the 200th anniversary of Russia’s victory in the 1812 war. The ball organizers hope the event will become a tradition.
Great Styles of Tsarskoye Selo Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
A recent collaboration between the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve and the St. Petersburg designers of Mantrastudio has brought forth a new memory and attention game that entertains and educates all ages with pictures of the Tsarskoye Selo collection highlights.
The game consists of 72 illustrated cards, depicting 36 unique objects in the great historical art styles of Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassicism and Empire. An enclosed game instruction inlay provides information on the title, origin, period and style of each pictured object.
The cards are supposed to be placed face down on the table. The first player turns two cards over. If they match, the player collects the set and takes another turn. If the cards do not match, the player turns them back over in the same spot, and the next player turns two cards over. Play continues until all the cards have been matched. The winner is the player who has collected the most matches – therefore it is important to remember positions and pictures of the previously opened cards.
This versatile game can be played in many different ways, depending on age of players. Possible variations are in collecting and matching the cards in accordance with styles and/or categories of the objects. And who says you cannot make up your own table rules to beef up the game to suit your great style?
The game sells for 500 rubles and is available in the bookshop which is located in the vestibule of the Catherine Palace.
Napoleon's "Blow up Kremlin" Letter at Auction Now Playing: Language: English. Duration: 1 minute, 56 seconds Topic: Russian History
A CODED letter in which Napoleon Bonaparte vows to blow up the Kremlin will go under the hammer near Paris next month, 200 years after the French invasion of Russia.
"I will blow up the Kremlin on the 22nd at three am," reads the missive written in numbers and signed "Nap", expected to fetch up to 15,000 euros ($18,916) at the sale in Fontainebleau.
Dated October 20, 1812, the day after Napoleon retreated from the centre of Moscow, it is addressed to his external relations minister Hugues-Bernard Maret.
Napoleon's order was carried out by Marshal Mortier, who destroyed several towers and sections of wall at the Kremlin, at the time both an imperial palace and military fortress.
The towers were later rebuilt identically.
"Letters written by Napoleon from Russia are rare," said Alain Nicolas, expert for the auctioneer Ocenat. "Many were lost, probably intercepted by the Russians."
Napoleon's army entered Moscow on September 14, 1812, but much of the population had already fled and the emperor was forced to leave without securing a formal victory over Alexander I, embarking on a disastrous westward retreat.