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Thursday, 4 September 2014
Hunting Lodge of Tsar Nicholas II to be Opened for Tourism
Topic: Nicholas II

The former hunting lodge of Tsar Nicholas II at Sarikamis (now part of Turkey)
The hunting lodge of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, built during the forty-year Russian reign over Sarikamis, will be restored and serve as an expanded hotel with 124 rooms that will attract tourists throughout the year

Located in Sarikamis district of the Kars province, the hunting lodge of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia will be opened for tourists soon. Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Sarikamis Mayor Göksal Toksoy said that they want to introduce the region to tourism by making use of its natural and historical potential. Although Sarikamis has its peak season for five months in a year, Toksoy said their aim is to draw tourists to the region for the whole year. He noted that the region will be an attraction for Russian tourists in particular once the lodge is restored. 

According to the mayor's statement, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism will build a hundred bed capacity hotel matching the mansion's architecture following the restoration of the Tsar's hunting lodge. He further stated that they planned to contribute to the local economy and the local population's standard of living. "We are working on the project non-stop with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Governorate of Kars, the District Governorate of Sarikamis and the Provincial Culture and Tourism Directorate. Within the scope of the project, we immediately began the restoration of the historical mansion,"

Toksoy said. The mansion has 24 rooms, and after the construction of the hotel with hundred additional rooms, the region will be able offer its services to the visitors with 124 rooms that combine history and nature. Also known as Katarina Mansion, the 116-year-old hunting lodge was built with Baltic-style architecture without using nails between 1877 and 1878 (during the reign of Tsar Alexander II), during the 40-year-long Russian occupation in Sarikamis.

Back in July 2010, Royal Russia reported on the proposed restoration of this hunting lodge, click the link below to read the article in Royal Russia News:

Tsar Nicholas II's Hunting Lodge in Sarikamis to be Restored 

© Daily Sabah. 04 September, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:12 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 4 September 2014 8:22 AM EDT
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Saturday, 26 July 2014
How Nicky and Willy Could Have Prevented World War I
Topic: Nicholas II

Emperors Nicholas II of Russia and Wilhelm II of Germany
Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the July 25th, 2014 edition of the Washington Post. The author Graham Allison , owns the copyright presented below.

One hundred years ago this week, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany exchanged a series of telegrams to try to stop the rush to a war that neither of them wanted. They signed their notes “Nicky” and “Willy.”

Cousins who vacationed together, hunted together and enjoyed dressing up in the uniforms of each other’s military officers when sailing on their yachts, these two great-great-grandsons of Paul I of Russia wrote to each other in English, affirming their mutual interests and outlining an agreement that would have resolved the crisis on terms acceptable to both rulers.

Yet only three days after the tsar and kaiser’s initial exchange, Germany declared war on Russia, and World War I was underway. Tragically, these leaders were caught in what Henry Kissinger has called a “doomsday machine”: a network of interlocking alliances and military mobilization timetables that allowed the march of events to overcome their best efforts.

The telegrams between them were discovered by an American journalist in the Russian government archives in 1919 and caused a sensation when they were first published in 1920. A century after they were written, they are vivid reminders of the perils of crisis management — and the wisdom of preventive diplomacy to resolve challenges like today’s territorial dispute in eastern Ukraine before they become crises that suck great powers into confrontations.

The exchange began in the very early morning of July 29, just hours after Austria-Hungary (an ally of Germany) declared war on Serbia (an ally of Russia) in retaliation for the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. Time was short to find a diplomatic solution that would prevent a regional war from becoming a world war.

Tsar Nicholas wrote: “In this serious moment, I appeal to you to help me. An ignoble war has been declared to a weak country. The indignation in Russia shared fully by me is enormous. I foresee that very soon I shall be overwhelmed by the pressure forced upon me and be forced to take extreme measures which will lead to war. To try and avoid such a calamity as a European war I beg you in the name of our old friendship to do what you can to stop your allies from going too far. Nicky.”

Even before this telegram arrived in Berlin, Kaiser Wilhelm sent his own message to the tsar, reading in part: “The persons morally responsible for the dastardly murder should receive their deserved punishment. In this case politics plays no part at all. On the other hand, I fully understand how difficult it is for you and your Government to face the drift of your public opinion. Therefore, with regard to the hearty and tender friendship which binds us both from long ago with firm ties, I am exerting my utmost influence to induce the Austrians to deal straightly to arrive to a satisfactory understanding with you. I confidently hope that you will help me in my efforts to smooth over difficulties that may still arise. Your very sincere and devoted friend and cousin. Willy.”

So from the outset, both leaders expressed hope for a diplomatic solution. And Wilhelm had a particular compromise in mind: Austrian troops would be allowed to advance as far as Belgrade and remain there until Serbia dismantled the Black Hand terrorist group, responsible for the murder of the archduke.

The kaiser told the German chancellor to communicate this proposal to Vienna. But the chancellor privately opposed the “halt in Belgrade” policy and did not deliver the message clearly. Instead, he instructed his ambassador in St. Petersburg to tell the Russian foreign minister that if Russia continued preparing troops for battle against Austria, Germany would also mobilize and “a European war could scarcely be prevented.”

In the next volley of telegrams, sent on the evening of July 29, Wilhelm explained to his cousin why Russia should remain on the sidelines of a limited Austro-Serbian war. Nicholas responded: “Thanks for your telegram conciliatory and friendly. Whereas official message presented today by your ambassador to my minister was conveyed in a very different tone. Beg you to explain this divergency! It would be right to give over the Austro-Serbian problem to the Hague conference. Trust in your wisdom and friendship. Your loving Nicky.”

In this telegram, the tsar made clear that he was still eager to find a diplomatic solution. He endorsed the kaiser’s proposal of negotiations at the Hague, where Germany, Russia, France and England would mediate an agreement between Austria and Serbia. And later that night, because of the messages he was receiving from the kaiser, he resisted the counsel of his war ministers that an immediate mobilization of the entire Russian army was the only plausible response to Austria’s declaration of war. Instead, he issued an order permitting partial mobilization, hoping that this would be viewed less provocatively in Berlin.

Unfortunately, by the next day, both Nicholas and Wilhelm had been overwhelmed by competing views and the momentum of their governments. The tsar accepted his generals’ argument that full mobilization was necessary, because anything less would put his forces at a disadvantage in the event they had to be deployed against Germany. And the kaiser sent a telegram with strong language drafted by the German chancellor: “If, as it is now the case, according to the communication by you & your Government, Russia mobilises against Austria, my rôle as mediator . . . will be endangered if not ruined. The whole weight of the decision lies solely on you[r] shoulders now, who have to bear the responsibility for Peace or War. Willy.”

In the round of telegrams sent on July 31 (which crossed in transmission), neither side proved willing to make concessions or take actions that could have made room for a deal to prevent or delay the outbreak of war.

Kaiser Wilhelm: “I now receive authentic news of serious preparations for war on my Eastern frontier. Responsibility for the safety of my empire forces preventive measures of defence upon me. In my endeavours to maintain the peace of the world I have gone to the utmost limit possible. . . . My friendship for you and your empire, transmitted to me by my grandfather on his deathbed has always been sacred to me and I have honestly often backed up Russia when she was in serious trouble especially in her last war. The peace of Europe may still be maintained by you, if Russia will agree to stop the milit[ary] measures which must threaten Germany and Austro-Hungary. Willy.”

Tsar Nicholas: “We are far from wishing war. As long as the negociations with Austria on Serbia’s account are taking place my troops shall not make any provocative action. I give you my solemn word for this. I put all my trust in Gods mercy and hope in your successful mediation in Vienna for the welfare of our countries and for the peace of Europe. Your affectionate Nicky.”

Shortly after that telegram arrived in Berlin, the German chancellor sent an ultimatum to St. Petersburg, giving Russia 12 hours to “suspend every war measure against Austria-Hungary and ourselves.”

The tsar responded to the kaiser: “Understand you are obliged to mobilise but wish to have the same guarantee from you as I gave you, that these measures do not mean war and that we shall continue negociating for the benefit of our countries and universal peace dear to all our hearts. Our long proved friendship must succeed, with God’s help, in avoiding bloodshed. Anxiously, full of confidence await your answer. Nicky.”

Russia never received that guarantee. Germany saw its ultimatum rejected. The exchange between Nicky and Willy ended on Aug. 1, with the kaiser writing: “I must request you to immediatly order your troops on no account to commit the slightest act of trespassing over our frontiers.”

That evening, Germany’s ambassador to St. Petersburg handed the Russian foreign minister a declaration of war and then burst into tears. The last-inning efforts of the cousins clearly failed, and today the legacy of their correspondence is one of missed opportunities. Had the kaiser and the tsar started sooner and been better statesmen, they might have prevented a world war that in the end both of them would lose.

Graham Allison is director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School. 
© Graham Allison / Washington Post. 26 July, 2014 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:37 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 26 July 2014 6:47 AM EDT
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Friday, 25 July 2014
New Monument to Nicholas II Unveiled Near Moscow
Topic: Nicholas II

The monument to Emperor Nicholas II at the Saint Nicholas Berlyukovsky Monastery. Photo © IOPS
A new monument to Emperor Nicholas II has been unveiled at the Saint Nicholas Berlyukovsky Monastery, situated on the outskirts of Avdotyino, a village on the Vorya River, 42 kilometres northeast of Moscow.

The unveiling and consecration of the monument took place on July 24th with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Juvenal of Krutitsy and Kolomna. The monument to the Holy Passion Bearer Emperor Nicholas II, the Supreme Commander of the armed forces of the Russian Empire from 1915 to 1917 was made by the Russian sculptor Mikhail Leonidovich Serdyukov.

The "Romanov Walk of Fame" at the Saint Nicholas Berlyukovsky Monastery. Photo© IOPS
The monument is situated on the "Romanov Walk of Fame" - a path within the grounds of the historic monastery that also contains similar monuments to members of the Russian Imperial family who were closely associated with the history of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society (IOPS): Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolayevich (2011), Emperors Alexander I and Alexander III (2012), Emperor Alexander II (2013).

The monument is a joint project of the Saint Nicholas Berlyukovsky Monastery and the Revival of Cultural Heritage Charity Fund, with the support of the Moscow Regional Branch of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society. 

This project is aimed primarily at the patriotic education of our compatriots, the popularization of the great history of Russia, its heroes, generals, priests and rulers, who gave all their strength for the prosperity of the country.

The event is dedicated to the blessed memory of the Holy Emperor Nicholas II, the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Holy Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna and the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 25 July, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:34 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 25 July 2014 12:41 PM EDT
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Monday, 7 July 2014
The Great Eastern Journey of Tsar Nicholas II
Topic: Nicholas II

Tsesarevich Nicholas (standing to the right of the sphinx) in Egypt
Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the July 5th, 2014 edition of Russia Beyond the Headlines. The author Joe Crescente, owns the copyright of the version presented below.

Nicholas II, the future Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias was the first and only Tsar to visit Siberia and the Far East. Taking the journey several years before ascending the throne, Nicholas II covered approximately 51,000 km, including about 15,000 km of railway and 22,000 km by sea over about 290 days. After Peter the Great’s incognito fact-finding Grand Embassy tour of Europe in 1697-1698, a long educational trip became an important part of training Tsars-to-be for the challenges that lay ahead.

One major impetus for this trip was Alexander III’s (Nicholas’s father) decision to establish the Trans-Siberian Railway. He wanted a member of the royal family to be present for the opening ceremony in Vladivostok. This, of course, conflicts with some sources that suggest that Nicholas was considering traveling East to China and then through America and other claims that Nicholas’s father wanted to separate him from his lover, a ballerina at the Mariinsky Theater. What is indisputable is that the Romanovs wanted to use this trip as a spiritual mission to spread the Orthodox faith among new peoples and territories around the world.

The trip was planned by the general staff and the Holy Synod, the supreme governing body of the Russian Orthodox Church. The heir apparent embarked with an entourage on October 23, 1890 (old calendar) from Gatchina. His main companion was Prince Esper Ukhtomsky, a friend of the heir to the throne and official historian of the journey, but was also joined by his sickly younger brother, Grand Duke George. It was hoped that George’s health would benefit from the sun and sea air.

The delegation went first by train to Vienna and then Trieste where they boarded the warship, The Memory of Azov. The next stop was the Greek port city of Piraeus where Nicholas met his uncle, King George I of Greece. The King’s son, Prince George of Greece and Denmark, joined the delegation here. They went next to Egypt, with Nicholas and much of the crew touring the Nile and the pyramids, while the ship passed through the Suez Canal.

From there they sailed to India arriving in Bombay on December 11. It was here that Nicholas’s younger brother turned back as he had become ill. While in India Nicholas visited many of India’s main sites including the Taj Mahal and the Golden Temple. He met with rajas, went hunting, but was largely unsuccessful (whereas two princes that accompanied him bagged a tiger each), and bought numerous artworks, many of which can be found today in Russian museums. It was said that the future Tsar did not enjoy India as the heat was intense and he couldn’t stand the sight of British redcoats, reminders of Russia’s strained relations with Britain. The Indian portion of the journey culminated with a visit to the island of Ceylon, where one of the highlights was a show featuring 30 to 40 elephants and “devil dancers”.

Tsesarevich Nicholas (standing lower right) hunting in India
From there, the journey continued on to Singapore, where according to local accounts Nicholas’s visit created quite a stir. Then it was on to today’s Indonesia and Thailand, where Nicholas spent a week as a guest of King Rama V. Afterwards he made a port of call in China.

It was in Japan that perhaps the most notable event of the journey took place. Nicholas greatly enjoyed his first days on the island, buying handicrafts and even getting a large tattoo of a dragon on his right arm.

He was warmly received, as the Japanese were interested in bettering relations with Russia. However, on April 29, in Otsu, he was attacked by Tsuda Sanzo, a policeman assigned to protect him. Sanzo took a stab at Nicholas’s face, leaving him with a 9 cm scar on the right side of his forehead. The second thrust was blocked by his cousin’s cane. His life was never in danger.

Prince George of Greece and Tsesarevich Nicholas in Japan
Theories vary although xenophobia is largely considered Sanzo’s motivation. The Emperor rushed to meet the future Tsar. Japan was no match militarily for Russia at the time and feared provoking the government into war. Three Japanese princes accompanied Nicholas as escorts as he left.

The entourage arrived at Vladivostok on May 11 and after commencing with the official ceremony, they left the Memory of Azov behind and traveled overland and by riverboat through all of Russia. They first went north stopping at Khabarovsk and then on to Blagoveshchensk, where an enormous arc dedicated to the visit still remains (commemoration arcs still stand in many of these cities). Next on the itinerary were the Eastern Siberian cities of Nerchinsk, Chita and Irkutsk.

Tsesarevich Nicholas visiting the Trans-Baikal region of the Russian Empire on his return home to St. Petersburg
He next arrived in Tomsk. This visit is clouded in secrecy, as even Ukhtomsky, the chronicler, is uncharacteristically silent on what Nicholas did in the evening. Rumor has it that he secretly visited the cell of Theodore the Elder, a mystic that mysteriously arrived in Tomsk in 1837. Some believe that Tsar Aleksandr I faked his own death in 1825 to escape his fate, before reappearing years later as Theodore.

From Tomsk, the journey continued to Surgut, Tobolsk, Tara, Omsk and Orenburg, before returning to St. Petersburg by train.

In many ways this trip was more important for what it brought the Russian interior. For example, the future Tsar spent one night in Tomsk and yet it received funds for Tomsk Polytechnic University and the opening of a spiritual academy in the coming years. A monastic workshop there received orders from the Imperial Court for the next 20 years. It seemed that whatever the Tsar touched was gold, at least on this trip. 
© Joe Crescente / Russia Beyond the Headlines. 07 July, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:08 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 10 July 2014 8:22 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 2 July 2014
National History Museum of Romania Hosts Exhibit Dedicated to 1914 Visit of Nicholas II to Constanta
Now Playing: Language: Romanian. Duration: 1 minute, 51 seconds
Topic: Nicholas II
Archival film footage of the arrival of Emperor Nicholas II and his family at Constanta, Romania on June 14th [O.S. June 1st] 1914
On June 5th, a unique exhibition opened at the National History Museum of Romania in Bucharest. The exhibition marks the 100th anniversary of Emperor Nicholas II’s historic visit to Romania in June 1914, two months before the outbreak of the First World War. This was the only official visit by a Russian sovereign to Romania. The commemoration of this event is the subject of the exhibition Russian-Romanian Historical Consonances: Centenary Visit by Emperor Nicholas II to Constanta (1 / June 14, 1914).

The exhibition is the first cultural event conducted by the National History Museum of Romania in partnership with Russian institutions. It brings together a unique set of photographs and documents from the collections of several Russian partner institutions: State Archive of the Russian Federation (GARF), State Central Archives in St. Petersburg, Russian State Archive documentaries and Photo (RGAKFD), and the National Museum of History, the NAR and Diplomatic Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

Nearly 100 photographs, documents and other items on display at the National Museum of Romania in Bucharest

Nearly 100 photos, historic documents and other valuable items were put on display for the first time marking the historic event between the two monarchs. In addition to photographs that mark Nicholas II’s visit to Constanta in 1914, were photographs of the visit by King Carol (Charles) I and Prince Ferdinand to Russia in July 1898, and that of Prince Ferdinand (future King Ferdinand I) and Princess Maria (future Queen Marie), and their son, Carol (future King Carol II) in March 1914 to St. Petersburg. The National Museum of History also put on display the Order of St. Andrew, awarded to King Carol I and medals issued to commemorate the visit of Tsar Nicholas II in 1914.

Emperor Nicholas II, his wife Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and their children arrived at Constanta, situated on the Black Sea coast onboard the Imperial yacht Standart. The short video above documents their arrival at the Black Sea port on 14th June [O.S. 1st June] 1914.

Nicholas II had a close relationship with King Carol I (1839-1914) of Romania, especially after Crown Prince Ferdinand’s marriage to Maria who was a granddaughter of Tsar Alexander II. The meeting between the two sovereigns included political discussions which were aimed at maintaining peace in the Balkans and respect to the Treaty of Bucharest signed in 1913. 

Members of the Russian Imperial and Romanian royal families pose for a photograph at Constanta, June 1914
It was also during this visit that Ferdinand and Maria tried to make a match for their son, Prince Carol, with the Grand Duchess Olga Nicholayevna, eldest daughter of Nicholas II. This proposed match was strongly supported by the Russian Foreign Minister Sazonov, but nothing came of it. Olga struggled to make small talk with the Romanian crown prince. Carol's mother, was unimpressed with Olga as well, finding her manners too brusque and her broad, high cheek-boned face "not pretty." Olga later told Pierre Gilliard that she wanted to marry a Russian and remain in her own country. She said her parents would not force her to marry anyone she could not like. 

The exhibition ran from June 5th - 29th, 2014 at the National History Museum of Romania in Bucharest. The exhibition was accompanied by a catalogue in three languages: Romanian, Russian and English, richly illustrated with photographs and other documents from the exhibit. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 02 July, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:11 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 2 July 2014 2:52 PM EDT
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Thursday, 26 June 2014
Monument to Nicholas II Unveiled in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Topic: Nicholas II
A new monument to the Holy Russian Tsar and Passion-Bearer Nicolas II has been unveiled in Bosnia and Herzegovina, reports, citing the SRBIN INFO agency. 

Photo © Russian Academy of Arts
The monument was unveiled on June 21, 2014, in Banja Luka on the initiative of the Serbian Republic’s (Bosnia and Herzegovina) president, the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, the St. Basil the Great Charitable Foundation, and the Russian Military Historical Society. The Serbian Republic’s president Milorad Dodik and assistant to the Russian president Igor Shchegolev were to be present at the opening ceremony.

The artist of the monument is the sculptor from Russia Zurab Tsereteli. 

The monument was unveiled after a joint liturgy of Serbian and Russian clergy in the local cathedral. After the consecration ceremony performances of the “Kazachsky Krug” Cossacks’ group, the choir of the Ipatiev Monastery at Kostroma (the Ipatiev Monastery is historically connected with the first Tsar of the Romanov Dynasty) as well as a round table of Serbian and Russian historians took place. 

Photo © Russian Academy of Arts
The opening of the monument is timed to coincide with the centenary since the beginning of the World War I. When in July 1914 Austria-Hungary with the support of Germany started a war against Serbia, the Serbian successor to the Throne Prince Alexander Karadordevic appealed to the Russian Emperor Nicolas II, who assured him that “Russia will not remain indifferent to the destiny of Serbia”. Soon after that Russia launched a war against Germany in order to defend their brothers, the Serbian people. 

In the words of Holy Hierarch Nikolaj (Velimirovic): “Our debt to Russia is great. A person could owe a debt to another person, a nation – to another nation. But the debt the Serbian people owe to Russia for its actions in 1914 is so great that it won’t be repaid in generations and centuries. This is a debt of love, when one dies saving one’s neighbor. There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends, said Christ. The Russian Tsar and Russian people, who went to war in order to defend Serbia, entered it unprepared, knowing full well that they are facing death. But the love the Russians have for their brothers did not retreat in the face of danger and was not afraid of death”. 
© & Royal Russia. 26 June, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:55 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 26 June 2014 7:59 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 10 June 2014
All Family Members of Nicholas II Were Murdered - Investigator
Topic: Nicholas II

Investigators have no doubt that the remains found on the Koptyakovskaya road in Yekaterinburg are those of the late family members of Nicholas II, Vladimir Solovyov, a senior investigator with the Main Department of Criminalistics of the Russian Investigative Committee, who has investigated the Romanov family death since 1993, told reporters.

"The first publications on the remains made me doubt. But it was interesting, I had a chance to work in the archive and conduct forensic evaluations and I gradually came to the conclusion that yes, those are the remains of the tsar's family," Solovyov said at the opening of an exhibit devoted to the investigation into the death of the family of Emperor Nicholas II in the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg.

Solovyov said new serious identification methods appeared in forensic science in the past few years that have helped prove that the remains are those of the tsar's family.

"Among the items displayed at the exhibit is a shirt of Nicholas II which was stained with his blood when he was wounded by a Japanese police officer. That blood has been preserved and it was possible to conduct a full-fledged investigation. We compared the blood of Nicholas II with the remains of Nicholas II," the investigator said.

"The possibility that it is not Nicholas is one divided by ten to the seventeenth power. This figure exceeds the number of all people who have ever lived on earth by billions of times. There is no doubt that those are the remains of the tsar's family," Solovyov said.

Solovyov also said many imposters claimed to be surviving members of the tsar's family through decades.

"Publications are now appearing in the press stating that Grand Duchess Anastasia survived and her grandson now lives in Yekaterinburg. There were very much such false Anastasias. After 2007, when the remains of Tsearevich Alexey and Grand Duchess Maria were found, no one can say, even theoretically, that anyone [of the family of Nicholas II] survived," he said.

"We can now say with all confidence and without any doubt that these are members of the tsar's family. It's a pity that their remains have still not been buried," Solovyov said.

A grave with nine bodies was found on Staraya Koptyakovskaya Road near Yekaterinburg in July 1991. The remains were identified as those of Emperor Nicholas II, his 46-year-old wife Alexandra Fyodorovna, their daughters Olga, 22, Tatyana, 21, and Anastasia, 17, and their servants Yevgeny Botkin, 53, Anna Demidova, 40, Aloizy Trupp, 62, and Ivan Kharitonov, 48.

The remains of two more people were discovered during archaeological excavation works 70 kilometers south of the first grave on July 26, 2007. The remains have still not been buried, but numerous expert analyses indicate that the remains were most likely those of Tsesarevich Alexey and his sister Maria.

The Investigative Committee said in January 2011 that it had completed an investigation into the death of Nicholas II, his family members and entourage and closed the criminal case.

The Russian Orthodox Church has still not recognized the remains interred in Peter and Paul Cathedral as those of Nicholas II and his family members and entourage, claiming that it was not convinced by the proof of their authenticity that was presented.
Read a fascinating interview with Vladimir Solovyov and his investigation into the murders of Nicholas II and his family in the latest issue of our official magazine, Royal Russia: 

Hostages to Political Games: Did Lenin Order the Execution of the Royal Family 

© Interfax. 06 June, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:44 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 10 June 2014 5:55 AM EDT
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Monday, 9 June 2014
Nicholas II's Coronation Celebrations Took a Tragic Turn
Topic: Nicholas II

Coronation of Nicholas II. Artist: Laurits Tuxen. State Hermitage Museum
Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the May 28th, 2014 edition of the Deseret News. The author Cody K. Carlson owns the copyright presented below.

Nicholas II, the last czar of Russia, held his coronation on May 26, 1896. A few days later, a terrible tragedy would bode ill for his reign.

Following Russia's defeat in the Crimean War (1853-1856), Czar (or Tsar, a corruption of Caesar, meaning emperor) Alexander II believed that the victory of Britain and France owed much to Russia's political, social and industrial backwardness. In order to modernize his realm, Alexander II began a series of reforms, including the emancipation of Russia's serfs in 1861, two years before Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in the United States.

In 1881, assassins succeeded in murdering Alexander II, and his son, Alexander III, soon became czar. Unlike his father, the younger Alexander objected to any loss of czarist power. Though he could not reverse the freeing of the serfs, he did much to roll back the policies of liberalization that his father had begun. In 1894, not yet 50 years old, Alexander III fell ill with kidney disease and died. His son, the 26-year-old Nicholas, became the new czar.

Affectionately called "Nicky" by his family, the new czar did not feel up to the challenge of his new responsibilities, crying to a cousin, “What is going to happen to me and to all of Russia? I am not prepared to be a tsar. I never wanted to become one. I know nothing of the business of ruling. I have no idea of even how to talk to the ministers.”

Nicholas ruled for a year and a half as an uncrowned monarch, awaiting the most opportune time politically and logistically for the grand ceremonies that would mark his coronation. Finally, on May 26, 1896, he received the crown and his official name as Czar Nicholas II.

In her book “King, Kaiser, Tsar: Three Royal Cousins Who Led the World to War,” historian Catrine Clay quotes from Nicholas' diary: “A great, solemn day for Alix (his wife), Mama and myself. We were on our feet from 8 o'clock in the morning; though our procession did not move off till 9:30. Luckily the weather was heavenly. The Grand Staircase presented a glittering sight. Everything took place in the Uspensky Cathedral, and although it seems like a dream, I will remember it all my life!”

Clay wrote: “The priests went out onto the steps of the cathedral and to greet their Majesties, blessing them with holy water. Entering the cathedral, their Majesties bowed to the icons. At the alter the Tsar recited the Credo in a clear voice, then donned his purple mantle, raised the crown onto his own head, and took the orb and scepter, at which everyone sank to their knees.”

In a display calculated to both celebrate the coronation and showcase Russia's steps toward modernization, that night the Kremlin walls shined with electric lights. By any standard, the coronation had been a smashing success, and the young czar appeared pleased. Though Russia always had its share of revolutionaries and malcontents, for many Russians it appeared that the new czar's future reign looked bright.

On May 30, four days after the coronation, a tragedy occurred that foreshadowed later disastrous events in Nicholas' reign. The tragedy began with a show of generosity, as the new czar directed that a banquet be served to the Russian people just outside of Moscow, at Khodynka Field. A military training ground, Khodynka was chosen for its logistical advantages. Many thousands of Russian workers and peasants were expected to attend, and Khodynka was thought to be large enough to accommodate them all.

In addition to the free food, consisting of beer, pretzels and sausage, the organizers planned to distribute souvenir gifts to the crowd, including tankards carrying the date of the coronation upon them. Before sunrise an estimated half million Russians showed up for their food and gifts, far more than the organizers had planned for. As more and more people arrived, rumors began to spread that there was not enough to go around.

In his book “A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, 1891-1924,” historian Orlando Figes wrote: “The crowd surged forward. People tripped and stumbled into the military ditches, where they were suffocated and crushed to death. Within minutes 1,400 people had been killed and 600 wounded. Yet the tsar was persuaded to continue with the celebrations.”

Nicholas attended a ball that evening at the French embassy, and the week's festivities continued as planned. To most Russians, the czar's apparent lack of concern and sympathy was outrageous, and it significantly damaged his reputation with his subjects. It was a breach that never fully healed.

Sensing his people's outrage, Nicholas commissioned an investigation into the episode. The investigation singled out Grand Duke Sergius, Moscow's governor-general and the czar's brother-in-law, as the chief culprit in failing to adequately prepare for the crowds. When Nicholas considered punishing the duke, other nobles stepped forward to protest the punishment.

Figes wrote: “(The nobles) said it would undermine the principles of autocracy to admit in public the fault of a member of the imperial family. The affair was closed. But it was seen as a bad omen for the new reign and deepened the growing divide between the court and society. Nicholas, who increasingly believed himself to be ill-fated, would later look back at this incident as the start of all his troubles.”

As he predicted at the death of his father, Nicholas was not up to the role that fate had cast him. Lacking political subtlety and underestimating the forces of democracy, liberalism, nationalism and revolutionary socialism, Nicholas doggedly insisted upon retaining all of the traditional powers of his station, determined to hand them over to his son and heir intact when the time came. To this end, he repeatedly stifled attempts to create a Russian parliament until it was too late. By the time Russia did create a parliament, the Duma, in 1906, Nicholas had so estranged himself from the people that revolution was inevitable.

After the popular revolution of February 1917, in the midst of World War I, Nicholas was compelled to abdicate and the liberal-led provisional government announced its intention to create a republic. Workers councils, the Soviets, began to appear at the same time, calling for a more radical form of government. In October, Vladimir Lenin led a Bolshevik coup, dubbed it a revolution, and soon controlled the government. Nicholas and his family were soon arrested.

In July 1918, 22 years after his coronation, the Bolsheviks murdered Nicholas along with his wife and children. The Romanov line, which had produced Russia's czars since 1613, came to an end. 
© Cody K. Carlson / The Deseret News. 28 May, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:25 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 9 June 2014 5:34 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 2 April 2014
Serbia to Erect Monument to Tsar Nicholas II
Topic: Nicholas II

A monument to Tsar Nicholas II will be erected in the Serbian capital of Belgrade later this year. The monument will be established in the park leading to the Russian Centre of Science and Culture (Russian House) on Milan Street, near the National Parliament, said Goran Vesic, a spokesman for the mayor’s office during in an interview with Studio B.

The monument - a gift of the Russian Federation shall be established under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Serbia, Tomislav Nikolic. The initiative to install the monument to the Russian tsar was expressed last year, the year marking the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. The proposal was supported by public and governmental organizations in Serbia and Russia. 

“This is a great event for Belgrade” - said Vesic - "Serbia and Belgrade are indebted to Nicholas Romanov." Serbia holds strong links to Nicholas II, who came to the nations aid during World War I. After the 1917 Revolution and World War I, Serbia became home to many Russian immigrants.  “After the Revolution, Belgrade opened its doors to many Russian refugees,” - Vesic continued - "the rich went to Paris, and the middle class came to Belgrade. Many beautiful buildings in Belgrade were created by Russian architects. We owe so much to this man who did so much for us” - Vesic stressed.

During 2013, charity events were organized for the purpose of collecting the necessary funds for the construction and erection of the monument. The Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society (IOPS), who have maintained strong historical ties with both Serbia and the last Russian monarch played a key role. Tsar Nicholas II was elected an honorary member of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society in May 1884, while still Tsesarevich. The original document certifying his election is stored in Serbian State Archives (SARF) in Belgrade. After ascending the throne, he took a great interest in the activities and projects of the IOPS, which included his financial support.

The monument is expected to be unveiled on August 1st, the day marking the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 02 April, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:00 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 2 April 2014 5:13 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 11 March 2014
Tsar Nicholas II at Krasnoye Selo - VIDEO
Now Playing: Duration: 5 minutes, 5 seconds. Language: NA
Topic: Nicholas II
The following video offers some wonderful film footage of Tsar Nicholas II inspecting the troops during the summer military encampment at Krasnoye Selo. He is accompanied by his son and heir, Tsesarevich Alexei Nicholayevich. Also present are the Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholayevich (Junior) who served as commander-in-chief of the St. Petersburg Military District from 1905 to the outbreak of World War I (he then served as commander in chief of the Russian armies on the main front in the first year of the war, and was later a successful commander in the Caucasus); and the elderly Count Vladimir Fredericks, a Finno-Russian statesman who served as Imperial Household Minister between 1897 and 1917 under the last tsar. The date is uncertain, but most likely the late 1900s.

From 1765, by order of Empress Catherine II, Krasnoye Selo (Red Village) was used for large scale military manoeuvres, inspections and exercises, which were attended by the Empress  herself. However, it was not until the middle of the 19th century that Krasnoye Selo reached its zenith, becoming the summer military capital of the Russian Empire. It was in Krasnoye Selo that, on July 25, 1914, the council of ministers was held at which Tsar Nicholas II decided to intervene in the Austro-Serbian conflict, thereby bringing about the First World War.

During the 19th century, Krasnoye Selo developed as a recreational suburb of St. Petersburg with numerous summer dachas and villas, including the summer residences of members of the Russian Imperial family. These included Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolaievich, Grand Duke Nikolai Mikhailovich, and Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich, all of which were featured in our 2014 calendar, Romanov Legacy: The Palaces and Residences of the Russian Imperial Family.

This historical film is courtesy of the Deutsches Filminstitut in Wiesbaden, Germany. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 11 March, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:50 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 12 March 2014 6:17 AM EDT
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