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Monday, 8 September 2014
Monument to Alexander II Restored at Buturlinovka
Topic: Alexander II


The monument to Emperor Alexander II at Buturlinovka
Photo Credit: Moe Online 
 
On September 5th, a monument to Emperor Alexander II has been restored in the Russian city of Buturlinovka, situated about 180 km southeast of Voronezh. The life-size bronze monument to the Tsar Liberator was created by Voronezh sculptor Maxim Dikunov. It was installed in Freedom Square - facing the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral - on the very spot where it originally stood more than a hundred years ago.

During Soviet times, the monument was destroyed, on the granite pedestal stood a monument to Vladimir Lenin, later - Joseph Stalin. 

The first monument to the Tsar-Liberator at Buturlinovka appeared in 1911 on the 50th anniversary of the abolition of serfdom, paid for by the descendants of the peasants. The original inscription on the pedestal of Finnish granite read: "Tsar Liberator Emperor Alexander II. Grateful peasants of Buturlinovka 1861-1911."
 


The monument to Alexander II stands in Freedom Square - facing the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral
- on the very spot where it originally stood more than 100 years ago. Photo Credit: Moe Online
 
The sculptors of the restored monument, Maxim Dikunov and his father Ivan Dikunov failed to re-create an exact copy of the lost statue because historic photos or drawings did not survive. 

The current monument was paid for by donations of citizens and patrons of Buturlinovka. Evdokia Bondarenko, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Buturlinovsky district said: "He, as then, more than 100 years ago, built on the people's money, that is, the means of donations, that is no funding from the municipal budget for this monument was used. We think that it will be a recognizable place in our city. I think it connects our past with our future." 
 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 08 September, 2014
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:40 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 9 September 2014 6:49 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 12 August 2014
Emperor Alexander II Monument Restored in Novgorod Region
Topic: Alexander II


A monument to Emperor Alexander II has been restored in the village of Lyubytino
 
A monument to Emperor Alexander II has been restored in the village of Lyubytino, located on the Msta River in the District of Novgorod Oblast.

The ceremony which took place on August 8th, was attended by the Governor of the Novgorod Region, Sergei Mitin; Chairman of the Novgorod Regional Duma, Elena Pisarev; His Eminence Ephraim, Bishop Borovichsky Pestovskij, and members of the local clergy. 

His Grace Bishop Ephraim performed the blessing of the monument, chanting the words: "O Lord, save thy people and bless thine inheritance ..." he then sprinkled the monument with holy water. 

“On behalf of the Government of the Novgorod region, I am grateful to all those who participated in the restoration of this monument and I hope that this event will be a significant contribution to the education of the younger generation," said Mitin.

At the end of the solemn ceremony, Bishop Ephraim, distinguished guests and villagers of Lubytino, laid flowers at the monument to the Tsar Liberator.
 


A pre-revolutionary photo of the monument to Alexander II in Lubytino
 
The monument to the Tsar Liberator first appeared in Lubytino in 1911. The bust was cast at St. Petersburg by Edward Nowicki in 1906, the 25th anniversary of the death of the emperor. The event was timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the liberation of peasants from serfdom. The monument was lost during the Revolution. It was found in 2000 in the storage rooms of the Museum of History in the city of Borovichy. In 2012, residents of the area appealed to Governor Sergei Mitin for the restoration of the monument. 

Alexander II is widely remembered in the Novgorod region. It was Alexander II who issued a decree on the establishment of the "Millennium of Russia" monument at Novgorod, thus recognizing the special role of  the city in the history of the state. The Emperor also opened the Noble Museum's collection of antiquities, today it houses the Museum of Fine Arts. Before the Revolution, there were more than a dozen monuments to Alexander II in the Novgorod region. 
 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 12 August, 2014
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:30 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 12 August 2014 11:09 AM EDT
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Saturday, 22 February 2014
Carriage for Children of Emperor Alexander II on Display in Moscow
Topic: Alexander II

A beautiful miniature carriage built for the children of Emperor Alexander II has been restored and put on display at the State Historical Museum in Moscow. Restoration work took place between 2010 - 2014 years, and included a full restoration of the metal, wood, leather and textile elements of the historic children’s carriage.

The carriage is a miniature copy of the Russian Court ceremonial coupe carriages of the mid 19th century. Similar to the parade carriages, however, it was designed for children. It includes five windows with lifting facetted glass, and window blinds which could be closed for privacy. Inside, the interior is richly decorated with silk and velvet. The seats are upholstered in patterned fabrics with folding footrests, the ceiling is decorated with moire embroidery.

The exquisite golden-silver-blue draperies successfully combine with the blue body of the coach - decorated with the symbol of the Order of St. Andrew, the main award of the Russian Empire, which was awarded to the royal children at birth. In addition, the coach has four glazed candle lanterns and springs for maximum comfort.

As members of the Imperial family the carriage was decorated with the heraldic symbols of the dynasty - imperial crowns and overlaid gilded coats of arms of the Russian Empire and the Kingdom of Poland, but also the personal monogram of its August owners, which are located on the doors and side panels of the carriage.
 

Museum experts believe that the carriage was made in 1847, a gift marking the fifth birthday of *Grand Duchess Alexandra Alexandrovna (1842-1849) - the eldest of the children of Alexander II, by the Moscow carriage master, Timothy Orlovskim. The carriage was designed solely for entertainment purposes, Alexandra and her brothers, Nicholas and Alexander (the future Emperor Alexander III), used it for riding through the palace park. It was pulled by tiny horses, sheep or goats, and the children were always accompanied by servants.
 
*Grand Duchess Alexandra Alexandrovna died from infant meningitis just weeks short of her seventh birthday on 16th June, 1849. She was buried at the Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral on 19th June, 1849.

In 1861 the children’s carriage was moved to the **Court Stables Museum in St. Petersburg, a building constructed to house the collection of the finest sleds, coaches and carriages of the Russian Imperial family. Due to the events of 1917, the carriage was one of many carriages evacuated to Moscow, and transferred to the Manage of the Neskuchnii garden, which then housed the Museum of Furniture. In 1927, the carriage was transferred to the collections of the Historical Museum, where it has remained to the present day. The miniature carriage of the children of Emperor Alexander II is now on display in room number 33 of the Main Building of the State Historical Museum, located on Red Square in Moscow.
 
**For more information on the Court Stables Museum, please refer to my article (10 pages with black and white illustrations), The Museum of Imperial Court Carriages: A History of the Collection, published in Royal Russia Annual No. 4 (2013) - click on the link below to order a copy of this issue

Royal Russia Annual No. 4 - Summer 2013

 
Click here to watch a short VIDEO (duration 2 minutes, 35 seconds) of the children's carriage, on display at the State Historical Museum in Moscow;

Carriage of the Children of Emperor Alexander II - Video (in Russian) 

 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 22 February, 2014


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:15 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 22 February 2014 9:06 AM EST
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Sunday, 26 May 2013
New Monument to Alexander II at Nizhny Novgorod
Topic: Alexander II

A new monument to Emperor Alexander II by the Russian sculptor Alexander Apollonov was unveiled today at the Pechersky Ascension Monastery in the city of Nizhny Novgorod.

The monument's inauguration marks the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty, and in memory of a visit made to the monastery in 1858 by Emperor Alexander II and his wife, Empress Maria Alexandrovna.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 25 May, 2013



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:48 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 26 May 2013 12:00 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 21 May 2013
Peterhof Displays Beautiful Alexander II Paperweight
Topic: Alexander II

Photo credit: Peterhof State Museum Reserve 

This beautiful paperweight from the Peterhof State Museum Reserve offers a portrait of Grand Duke Alexander Nicholayevich in baptismal clothes. The future Alexander II was born on 29th (O.S. 17th) April 1818 in the Moscow Kremlin. It is interesting to note that Alexander II and Peter I were the only Russian sovereigns native of Moscow. The sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation for the August baby were held in May 1818 at the cathedral at the Chudov Monastery in Moscow. A gala dinner marking this occasion was held by Alexander’s paternal grandmother Empress Maria Feodorovna. The memory of those happy days is preserved in this paperweight. The image of the baby Alexander is set in a gold frame and mounted on a malachite base. The future "Tsar Liberator" is presented as a pretty blue-eyed baby in a bonnet and smock. The object was bequeathed by Maria Feodorovna to her "beloved daughter-in-law Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, the mother of Alexander II. This beautiful family heirloom, a deeply personal item at that, somehow survived all the vicissitudes of history, and survived to this day.

The paperweight is currently on display in the Treasury at Peterhof, along with the carrying basket and baptismal clothes of Alexander II. This unique museum houses new acquisitions including jewellery, costumes (dresses and uniforms), personal items of the Russian emperors and their families, from Peter I to Nicholas II. The treasures in this museum are housed in the former private apartments of Catherine the Great and updated on a regular basis.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 21 May, 2013


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:51 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 21 May 2013 7:57 AM EDT
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Thursday, 18 April 2013
"The Tsar and the President" Film Presented at the Library of Congress
Topic: Alexander II

 

A little-known friendship between Russia’s Tsar Alexander II and US President Abraham Lincoln in the mid-1800s came to light in a documentary shown in the United States for the first time Monday evening at the Library of Congress in Washington, and organizers of the event hope it can serve as a model for US-Russian relations today.

“This film ought to be in the schools. American children should know what a marvelous history we share with the Russians, and they don’t,” said former US Rep. James Symington, chairman of the nonprofit American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation(A-RCCF), which arranged the screening of “The Tsar and the President: Alexander II and Abraham Lincoln, Liberator and Emancipator.”

As for the US administration, Symington said, “I don’t think they even understand Russia as well as they should because Russia is our friend, basically, through the ages, and that’s never been looked at.”

“It’s really hard to build a future when we don’t have historic perspective, and the truth is that Russia at the time of the US Civil War was the only friend of the United States. The US had absolutely no one who was on their side, so Russia was the only one,” said A-RCCF Executive Director Alexander Potemkin in an interview with RIA Novosti.

“In showing this film my hope and I think the hope of our board is that we can remember this and build on these positive things,” he added.

The 25-minute documentary, produced in Russian with English subtitles, explores a warm and cordial correspondence between Tsar Alexander II, the heir-apparent to the throne who enjoyed a privileged life from his earliest years, and Abraham Lincoln, the second child of a poor family who lived in a one-room log cabin, a self-educated lawyer who rose to power through political office.

During his reign, Alexander II wrote a series of letters to American presidents, but it was the exchange with Lincoln that reveals a personal friendship reflected in political actions that came at a crucial time for the United States.

“These were warm, friendly, familial letters between the two, not at all political, one announcing the birth of a grand duke in the family. It was all very warm, ending with ‘Wishing you great success,’ and ‘God’s love on your country,’” said Marilyn Pfeifer Swezey, a guest curator for A-RCCF who produced the US version of the 2009 exhibition entitled “The Tsar and the President,” a collection of more than 200 documents, photos and letters that form the basis for the film.

The exhibit opened in Russia in 2011, and the film debuted there. Organizers hope to show it in New Jersey and say they have also received interest from the Reagan Library in California.

Though the two men never met, and came from vastly different backgrounds, there are odd similarities. Both freed slaves in their respective countries, Alexander II with a manifesto that abolished serfdom, signed in 1861, and Lincoln with the Emancipation Proclamation, issued in 1862 and signed in 1863. And both were later assassinated.

With the United States in the throes of a debilitating civil war, “Russia was the only European country that supported the cause of the union (the North). Russia was asked, Alexander II was approached by England and France to join them in supporting the South, the confederacy, and he refused,” Swezey said.

Months later, in September of 1863, shortly after the North had lost several bloody battles, two Russian Navy squadrons arrived in America. They served as a symbol to the South and its allies that there was a barrier for any ships sent to support the confederacy.

“When the Russian fleet arrived in New York and several months later in San Francisco, Lincoln and all the officials in Washington were overwhelmed and said ‘Thank God for the Russians.’ They received the news as a powerful sign of support,” said Swezey.

“Russian-American relations right now are not very good and it’s really important to point out how close and friendly they were in the past. Maybe we should think differently about Russia, and we should think again about the fact that Russia really was a great friend in the past and I would think would be again a great friend,” she added.

© RIA Novosti. 18 April, 2013



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:45 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 18 April 2013 10:56 AM EDT
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Monday, 4 March 2013
Sofia Cancels Unveiling of Tsar Liberator Monument
Topic: Alexander II

The repaired monument of Tsar Osvodboditel (Liberator King) in downtown Sofia is not going to be officially unveiled on Liberation Day as previously announced.

Standard daily writes Sunday the City Hall has cancelled initial plans to have the monument shown on the day Bulgaria celebrates the 135th anniversary of its independence from 5-centuries of Ottoman Empire rule.

Mayor of Sofia, Yordanka Fandakova, told the Bulgarian National Radio, BNR, what mattered most was the fact the sculpture's repairs have concluded successfully.

According to unofficial information, the opening is postponed for some date after May 12 when the country will hold a snap general election.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Construction Chamber, Svetoslav Glosov, noted three reasons for the delay: the political crisis; avoiding mixing the Liberation Day official ceremonies with the one for the monument, and the unavailability of the Chair of the Foundation which financed the restoration to attend on March 3.

In September 2012, the monument was temporarily removed from its location in front of the building of the Parliament to undergo full restoration, which ended in November.

In October, sculptor Velislav Minekov and art expert Lyudmil Veselinov, members of the newly formed Bulgaria for Citizens party, stirred a scandal by disclosing that the monument was abandoned in a backyard in the village of Trebich near Sofia, with no restoration work being performed on it.

The legs of the horse were replaced with new bronze ones due to the many cracks.

The project was implemented by the Bulgarian Construction Chamber with financial assistance from the Pokolenie (Generation) Foundation.

The entire sculpture – the horse and rider, Tsar Alexander II, was dismantled and sent to a shop near the capital Sofia. Bulgarian and Russian restorers were engaged for the works, along with a number of scientists. The sculpture was cleaned from the patina while the foundation was stabilized and also cleaned.

The Monument to the Tsar Liberator was erected in honor of Russian Emperor Alexander II who liberated Bulgaria of Ottoman rule during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78.

The Neoclassical memorial's author is Italian sculptor Arnoldo Zocchi, who won the project in competition with 31 other artists from 12 countries in the end of the 19th century. Bulgarian architect Nikola Lazarov participated in the monument's architectural design.

The foundation stone was laid on 23 April 1901, St George's Day, in the presence of Knyaz Ferdinand I of Bulgaria, and the monument was completed on 15 September 1903.

Ferdinand also attended the monument's inauguration on 30 August 1907.

Erected of black polished granite from the nearby Vitosha Mountain, the monument consists of a pedestal, a middle part with figures and a massive Neo-Renaissance cornice finished with the sculpture of the Russian Tsar on a horse. The bronze wreath at the foot was donated by Romania in memory of the Romanian soldiers that died during the war.

The main bronze bas-relief in the middle part depicts a group of Russian and Bulgarian soldiers led by Nike, the Ancient Greek goddess of victory, who raises her sword high above. Portraits of Grand Duke Nicholas Nicolaievich, Count Ignatiev and the generals Joseph Vladimirovich Gourko and Mikhail Skobelev surround the group.

Other bas-reliefs feature scenes from the Battle of Stara Zagora, the signing of the Treaty of San Stefano and the opening ceremony of the Constituent National Assembly in Veliko Tarnovo, as well as portraits of prominent Bulgarian figures from the period.

© Sofia News Agency. 04 March, 2013



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:16 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 4 March 2013 9:31 AM EST
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Sunday, 2 December 2012
Alexander II Statue Returns to Sofia
Topic: Alexander II

 

The landmark statue of Russian Emperor Alexander II was returned to the square in front of Parliament in Sofia Thursday, after undergoing repair.

The statue of the mounted tsar was re-assembled, with workers installing a headless horse first, then installing its head and the torso of the tsar.

Some of the legs of the horse had to be replaced because of wear, and other parts of the statue and the additional figures that went missing had to be also replaced.

Svetoslav Glosov, who was part of the team responsible for the reconstruction, defended the procedure used as both innovative and flawless.

During the restoration process there were controversial reports that the landmark statue is not being taken adequate care of.

Around December 20, a photo exhibition will open at the Sofia Central Bath documenting the whole process.

The restored monument will be officialy inaugurated on March 3, the day of the peace contract in the 1877-8 Russo-Turkish war led by Alexander II, which resulted in Bulgaria's liberation from the Ottoman Empire.

© Sofia Morning News. 02 December, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:30 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 2 December 2012 4:55 PM EST
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Monday, 8 October 2012
Alexander II Monument Abandoned Near Sofia?
Topic: Alexander II

 

The monument to Tsar Alexander II, considerd a symbolic landmark of the Bulgarian capital now sits abandoned in a village yard 

The Monument of Russian Tsar Alexander II, one of Bulgarian capital Sofia's main landmarks, has been abandoned in a village backyard, an oppositional party has alarmed.

Sculptor Velislav Minekov and art expert Lyudmil Veselinov, members of the newly formed Bulgaria for Citizens party, have revealed that the monument is currently located in a backyard in the village of Trebich near Sofia, with no restoration work being performed on it.

The monument that has been sitting in front of the Parliament in downtown Sofia was dismantled in September to undergo restoration.

According to Minekov, the monument has been completely abandoned and is now surrounded by "a complete mess."

"This is insulting and humiliating for the monument," he has declared, as cited by dnevnik.bg.

Minekov has argued that the monument could have been restored for two and a half days and for much less than for much less that the BGN 1.2 M announced by authorities, adding that he suspects a corruption deal.

According to the sculptor, the recent dismantlement of the monument has been triggered by investors who want to construct a parking lot beneath it.

Known as the Monument to the Tsar Liberator, it was designed by Italian sculptor Arnoldo Zocchi, and unveiled in 1907, since when it has been a landmark in Sofia.

It celebrates Alexander II, the Russian Tsar who led the 1877-78 war against the Ottoman Empire, which resulted in the liberation of Bulgaria.

© Sofia News Agency. 08 October, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:03 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 8 October 2012 10:08 AM EDT
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Monday, 3 September 2012
Tsar Alexander II Monument in Sofia Removed for Restoration
Topic: Alexander II

 

The famous monument of Tsar Osvodboditel (Liberator King) in downtown Sofia will be temporarily removed from its location in front of the building of the Parliament to undergo full restoration.

The legs of the horse will be replaced with new bronze ones due to the many cracks.

The project is implemented by the Bulgarian Construction Chamber with financial assistance from the Pokolenie (Generation) Foundation.

The entire sculpture – the horse and rider, Tsar Alexander II, will be dismantle and sent to an atelier near the capital Sofia. Top Bulgarian and Russian restorers will be engaged for the works, along with a number of scientists. The sculpture will be cleaned from the patina while the foundation will be stabilized and also cleaned. The area around the monument will be renewed as well.

The cost of the project is estimated at BNG 1.1 M, but Russian experts say this amount will end up being by 40% larger.

The dismantling of the monument will happen at some point next week, most likely in the evening when there is less traffic in downtown Sofia. The restoration works will last about 2 months. During this time, pictures of the monument will surround the location.

The restored sculpture will be revealed on March 3 2012, which is Bulgaria's National Holiday, marking the gaining of its independence from Ottoman rule.

The Monument to the Tsar Liberator was erected in honor of Russian Emperor Alexander II who liberated Bulgaria of Ottoman rule during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78.

The Neoclassical memorial's author is Italian sculptor Arnoldo Zocchi, who won the project in competition with 31 other artists from 12 countries in the end of the 19th century. Bulgarian architect Nikola Lazarov participated in the monument's architectural design.

The foundation stone was laid on 23 April 1901, St George's Day, in the presence of Knyaz Ferdinand I of Bulgaria, and the monument was completed on 15 September 1903.

Ferdinand also attended the monument's inauguration on 30 August 1907.

Erected of black polished granite from the nearby Vitosha Mountain, the monument consists of a pedestal, a middle part with figures and a massive Neo-Renaissance cornice finished with the sculpture of the Russian Tsar on a horse. The bronze wreath at the foot was donated by Romania in memory of the Romanian soldiers that died during the war.

The main bronze bas-relief in the middle part depicts a group of Russian and Bulgarian soldiers led by Nike, the Ancient Greek goddess of victory, who raises her sword high above. Portraits of Grand Duke Nicholas Nicolaievich, Count Ignatiev and the generals Joseph Vladimirovich Gourko and Mikhail Skobelev surround the group.

Other bas-reliefs feature scenes from the Battle of Stara Zagora, the signing of the Treaty of San Stefano and the opening ceremony of the Constituent National Assembly in Veliko Tarnovo, as well as portraits of prominent Bulgarian figures from the period.

© Sofia News Agency. 03 September, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:09 AM EDT
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