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Friday, 20 January 2017
Sovereign. The Life and Reign of Emperor Nicholas II
Topic: Nicholas II

For more information about Sovereign, including the contents of each issue, please visit our web page:

Sovereign. The Life and Reign of Emperor Nicholas II


© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 20 January, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 3:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 21 January 2017 3:08 AM EST
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Thursday, 5 January 2017
Walking with Nicholas II in Mogilev
Topic: Nicholas II

This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2016

The ancient Belarusian city of Mogilev dates back to the Middle Ages. During the Second World War, the city sustained serious damage, however, numerous churches, cathedrals, monasteries and old merchant houses from the Tsarist period miraculously survived. 

One of the most significant buildings in Mogliev was the Governor’s Mansion. During the years 1915–1917, the building served as the Stavka, the General Headquarters of the Imperial Russian Armed Forces, after it was re-located from the city of Baranovichi to Mogilev in August 1915.

The city’s history is indelibly linked to Russia’s last emperor. As Commander-in-Chief, Nicholas II spent long periods in Mogilev, where he occupied the former Governor's Mansion. he was often accompanied by his son and heir, the Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaevna.

The Emperor loved to take walks or travel by car around the city and its surroundings, particularly the Dnieper River. In the autumn of 1915 the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna arrived with their four daughters. The Empress and her children lived onboard the Imperial train which always stood on a specially constructed siding near the railroad station.

Emperor Nicholas II took leave of the Stavka for the last time as Commander-in-Chief on 28th February 1917. It was from here that his train was forced to stop at Pskov enroute to Tsarskoye Selo, and forced to abdicate on 2nd March. He returned to Mogilev the following day. On 4th March, his mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna arrived in Mogilev - it would be the last time she would see her son. On 8th March, Nicholas II bids farewell to the army and boards a train for Tsarskoye Selo, where he and his family are placed under house arrest by the Provisional Government.   

The Governor's Palace was heavily damaged in 1941-1945. It was demolished in the late 1940s.
During the Soviet years the square in which it stood was renamed Glory Square
Beginning in the Spring of 2017, visitors to Mogilev will have an opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Emperor Nicholas II in a guided tour. The new tourist route is part of the Belarusian State Enterprise Mogilevoblturist, headed by the company's director Yelena Karpenko.

Mogilevobltourist will offer visitors the opportunity to see the places that Nicholas II often visited. It will be a full 3 to 4-hour excursion that will be launched in the spring of 2017. In the meantime, tourists are invited to take part in a shorter excursion.

History teacher and certified tour guide Andrei Makayev will perform the role of the Emperor. He will wear a stylized Colonel's uniform. He will welcome guests at the Regional History Museum which formerly housed the General Duty Office. Mayakev will regale visitors with the history of Stavka, the main events of the period and offer a short tour of Slavy (Glory) Square. In the future, the tour will include an opportunity to have a cup of tea with Mayakev and watch documentary vintage military newsreels in the museum.

Just recently a group of Russian tourists were the first to meet with Mayakev as part of a sightseeing tour of Mogilev. “For the first time, we have tested the tour with elements of theatrical entertainment. The tour is a result of our attempt to look at Mogilev and its history through the eyes of the Emperor and Saint (in 2000, the Emperor and his family were canonized as passion-bearers by the Moscow Patriarchate). Five groups of Russian tourists have already booked the tour with Nicholas II during the Christmas and New Year holidays,” Yelena Karpenko said.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 5 January, 2017 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:38 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 5 January 2017 1:33 PM EST
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Tuesday, 20 December 2016
Topic: Nicholas II

I am pleased to announce that the next issue of SOVEREIGN, our popular bi-annual periodical dedicated to the life and reign of Emperor Nicholas II is now available from the Royal Russia Bookshop - Paul Gilbert

The No. 3 - Autumn 2016 issue features 136 pages with nearly 100 black-and-white photographs, and 9 full-length articles, including 4 first English translations of articles written by Russian experts. 
NEW to this issue of SOVEREIGN:
Sovereign News 
featuring news highlights from Russian media sources
This issue also includes 4 first English translation articles by the following Russian experts:
Emperor Nicholas II. Initiator of Global Disarmament
by Pyotr Multatuli
Gunshot on the Moika and the End of the Russian Empire
by Archpriest Vladislav Tsypin 
Was the Tsar Right to Abdicate in 1917?
by Vladimir Moss
The Tragedy of Bloody Sunday
by Andrei Mantsov 
Additional full-length articles by guest writers in this issue:
Nicholas II. Russia's Last Orthodox Christian Monarch
by Paul Gilbert
Tsar and Shah. Were Nicholas II and Mohammed Reza Pahlavi Really Absolute Monarchs?
by Professor Hereward Senior
'Your Loving Nephew' Nicholas II and Edward VII
by Coryne Hall
My Impressions of Nicholas II
by Alexander Kerensky
Grounds for the Canonization of Emperor Nicholas II and His Family 
by Metropolitan of Krutitsa and Kolomna Juvenaly

This issue also includes 2 collections of historic photographs on the life and reign of Emperor Nicholas II:
1903 Costume Ball in the Winter Palace
Official Portraits of Emperor Nicholas II 
Emperor Nicholas II Photo Album
Historical Images of Russia's Last Emperor
Click on the link below for more information or to order the current or back issues of Sovereign. The Life and Reign of Emperor Nicholas II, please visit our web site:


© Royal Russia. 20 December, 2016 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:04 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 20 December 2016 3:36 PM EST
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Tuesday, 13 December 2016
Documentarian Seeks "Historical Justice and the Truth" for Russia's Last Emperor
Topic: Nicholas II

This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2016

Ural documentarian Sergei Aliyev has announced plans to release a documentary on the life and reign of Russia’s last emperor and tsar. The 10-part series is scheduled for release in March 2017, marking the 100th anniversary of the abdication of Nicholas II from the throne and the February Revolution.

The main objective of the project, is to gain a new and more honest assessment of who Nicholas II really was. Aliyev wants to create a portrait of the last emperor from a Russian perspective, and will be based on the opinions of historians, the clergy, monarchists and from ordinary Russian citizens. The documentary will will present a fresh assessment of Nicholas II in post-Soviet Russia.

"In March 2017 it will be 100 years since Nicholas II abdicated, but historical justice and the truth of Russia’s last emperor and tsar has yet to be done” - said Aliyev. “There are two diametrically opposed points of view regarding his 22-year reign: the Soviet - which is also embraced by Western historians and biographers - who believe that he was a spineless, tyrant; and the modern - which is embraced by Orthodox Christians and monarchists - who believe that the last Russian emperor was a devout holy monarch, one who loved his people, and made sacrifices for his country” - Aliyev added.

As part of a nationwide project, Aliyev will document the opinions of people from various regions of Russia, asking them each one question: “What does the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II mean to you?” He will also take into account the opinions of dozens of Russian historians and other experts, in which the documentarian will attempt to form an honest assessment of Nicholas II based on the results.

The ten part documentary (in Russian) on the life and reign of Russia’s last emperor and tsar will be made available on the internet in March 2017. 

Sergei Aliyev is well-known for his documentaries on Russian history and Orthodoxy. 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 13 December, 2016


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 3:40 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 13 December 2016 4:28 PM EST
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Saturday, 10 December 2016
Sovereign Marks First Anniversary
Topic: Nicholas II

Today marks the first anniversary of the premiere issue of Sovereign, our journal dedicated to the study of the life and reign of Emperor Nicholas II. 

Russia's last emperor and tsar is one of the most documented monarchs in history, and yet a century after his murder, he remains one of the most maligned and misunderstood. Much of this can be attributed to the many biographies and documentaries produced for the masses in recent decades. It is these books and documentaries which readers and viewers must consider the words of Walt Whitman - "re-examine all that you've been told . . . dismiss that which insults your soul". 

Sovereign does not “rehash” the popular memoirs of disenchanted and bitter White Russian emigres who were lucky enough to have fled the Bolshevik Red Terror. Instead, Sovereign offers post-Soviet historians an opportunity to challenge their Western counterparts with contemporary assessments and studies, based on new documents from Russian state and private archives made accessible to researchers after 1991.

Sovereign in no way tries to “whitewash” Russia’s last emperor and tsar, however, from an historical perspective, it is important to take a fresh look at his life and reign, and credit him for his many accomplishments. Nicholas II was not the "weak, stupid, reactionary" ruler which his detractors would have us believe. The tragedies which befell him during his 22-year reign are quite often exaggerated or incorrect, based on misinformation, parlour room gossip and Bolshevik propaganda. 

The centenary marking the murder of Nicholas II and his family on July 17th, 2018, makes the publication of Sovereign timely. In the months leading up to this tragic anniversary, his life and reign will once again be the subject of even more books and documentaries, supplemented with exhibitions, conferences and debates. Sovereign has a responsibility to help set the historic record straight.  

Three issues of Sovereign have been published to date: No. 1 (published December 2015); No. 2 (published May 2016); and No. 3 (due at the end of December 2016). Combined, these three issues offer a total of 435 pages, featuring 22 full-length articles, news and more than 300 black-and-white photographs and illustrations.
The No. 4 issue (Spring 2017) issue will feature a rich collection of photographs of Emperor Nicholas II onboard the Imperial yacht Standart, with additional first English translations of works by Russian experts and guest writers.

Photo: the cover of the No. 4 issue features Emperor Nicholas II onboard the Imperial yacht Standart
On a personal note, I am very proud of what Sovereign has accomplished in its first year of publication. The popularity of Sovereign has thus far exceeded my expectations. I am delighted to offer a venue for Russian historians and experts to present first English translations of their work, and am extrememly grateful to Sovereign readers for their support of this important historic publishing project - PG
For more information on Sovereign, please visit our web site:

Sovereign. The Life and Reign of Emperor Nicholas II

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 10 December, 2016


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:03 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 11 December 2016 6:17 AM EST
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Thursday, 1 December 2016
Restored Portrait of Nicholas II Unveiled in St. Petersburg
Topic: Nicholas II

Rector of the Academy Stieglitz Vasily Kichedzhi presents the restored portrait of Emperor Nicholas II
This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2016

Historical justice is done, a portrait of Emperor Nicholas II - by the Russian artist Ilya Savich Galkin (1860-1915) - hidden from human eyes for some ninety-odd years - was presented at the St. Petersburg Museum of Applied Arts on November 30th. 

The restoration which took three years to complete, was initiated by the staff and students of the department of painting and restoration of the Stieglitz State Academy of Art and Design under Professor Tatiana Potselueva. 

The portrait of Russia’s last emperor was discovered on the back of a portrait of Vladimir Lenin in 2013. Today, the double portraits are presented to the public for the first time. Nicholas II is presented in an elegant frame, while Lenin is presented in the "workers and peasants” wood. 

The story of this unique painting attracted the interest of the Russian media, as well as specialists in the field of painting. They believe that the history of these portraits is both mysterious as mystical, symbolizing both the tragedy and the greatness of the country's history at a time of great change and upheaval.

In 1896, Ilya Galkin was appointed Court painter. The young artist painted a portrait of Nicholas II in the year of his coronation. The emperor appears in all his glory - in dress uniform, set against the background of a palace interior. The portrait was painted under the order for the Petrovsky Commercial College, which during Soviet times became Primary School No. 206.

During the upheaval of the 1917 Revolution, to which Galkin did not live to witness, the disappearance of the portrait went unnoticed. As it turned out, the portrait of Nicholas II did not disappear, it was merely hidden. The artist Vladislav Izmailovich utilized the reverse of the canvas of Nicholas II for a portrait of the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin (1924). Izmailovich’s initiative in fact saved Galkin’s portrait of Russia’s last emperor. For the next 90 years, the back-to-back portraits hung in the hall of Primary School No. 206 in Leningrad.
It was not until 2013, when Primary School No. 206 asked for the portrait of the Bolshevik leader, which was ripped at the bottom, to be restored. When the Stieglitz Academy restorers took the painting out of the frame, they discovered that the back of the canvas was covered with black water-soluble paint. Beneath the paint they found the well preserved portrait of Emperor Nicholas II.

Portrait of Emperor Nicholas II (1896) Ilya Savich Galkin (1860-1915)
What's next?

Professor Tatiana Potselueva, engaged students of the Academy in the restoration of the portrait. These young artists took great pride and honour by participating in this historic event. Now that their work is complete, the question now, is what will the Academy do with the portraits?

Rector of the Academy Stieglitz Vasily Kichedzhi, notes that this painting requires special storage conditions and should be put on display in a large museum. In addition, he notes that the portrait has always been the property of the state and should continue to belong to the state.

“It is not just a picture, it is - the personification of the history of the country and the state” - said Kichedzhi. The rector wrote a letter to the Minister of Education and Minister of Culture with a request to determine the future fate of the picture.

In the meantime, a number of prominent museums have expressed an interest in the portrait of Emperor Nicholas II. Among those is the Director of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve Olga Taratynova, who believes that the panting should be displayed in the Alexander Palace, which will reopen as a multi-museum complex in July 2018.
The Museum of Political History in St. Petersburg, is believed to be a perfect venue to display the portrait of Lenin.

While the fate of both portraits is being decided, visitors to St. Petersburg can view the portraits of Emperor Nicholas II and Vladimir Lenin at the Stieglitz Applied Arts Museum in St Petersburg, from December 1st.
For more information on the restoration of this painting, please refer to the following article:

Image of Emperor Nicholas II Found Beneath Portrait of Vladimir Lenin

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 1 December, 2016


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:02 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 2 December 2016 11:58 AM EST
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Wednesday, 23 November 2016
Monument to Nicholas II Established in Vladivostok
Topic: Nicholas II

This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2016

A new monument to Emperor Nicholas II has been established on the grounds of the Cathedral of the Intercession in the center of the Russian city of Vladivostok.

The monument is timed to mark the 125th anniversary of a visit by Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich to the city from 11-21 May 1891, after returning from his Eastern journey of Asia in 1890–91. It was during this historic visit, that an assassination attempt was made on Russia's future emperor in Otsu, Japan on 11 May [O.S. 29 April] 1891.

The official opening and consecration of the monument will take place on December 19 - the feast day of St. Nicholas - patron saint of Saint Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 23 November, 2016


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:49 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 23 November 2016 11:56 AM EST
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Friday, 11 November 2016
Image of Emperor Nicholas II Found Beneath Portrait of Vladimir Lenin
Topic: Nicholas II

The recently discovered and now restored portrait of Nicholas II
A portrait of Tsar Nicholas II was discovered during the restoration of a full-size painting of the 1917 October Revolution leader Vladimir Lenin. The image was "hidden" for the last 90 years beneath water-soluble paint on the back of the canvas used by Soviet artist Vladislav Izmailovich for Lenin's portrait.

The discovery was made by restorers from the Stieglitz Art and Industry Academy in St. Petersburg, where the portrait has been on loan from the Russian Museum for restoration since 2013. The recovered works of the two artists will be presented at the St. Petersburg Museum of Applied Arts on November 30, 2016.

"The large-scale double-sided portrait, painted by different artists under different political regimes, is a unique phenomenon that has no historical parallels," the Academy's press service told RBTH.

The history of the "double" portrait began in 1896, when artist Ilya Galkin, who portrayed the royal family many times, created a large-scale (9' x 6') ceremonial portrait of Tsar Nicholas II. The painting was commissioned in the year of the monarch's coronation for the assembly hall of the Merchant Society's Petrovsky Trade and Commercial School.

After the 1917 revolution, the trade school building was converted into a regular school, and in 1924, after Lenin's death, experts speculate that Vladislav Izmailovich covered the portrait of the tsar with several layers of paint and then illustrated the revolutionary leader on the back.

Lenin, standing on a pavement against the background of the Admiralty, was hung in the same place in the assembly hall. The painting hung there for nearly a century, until the school's administration decided to send the portrait, which was damaged during the Soviet era, for restoration.

Restoration of the portraits took three years to complete
"At the bottom of the canvas, numerous small holes were discovered, presumably marks made with bayonets during the revolution," the Academy's press service said.

"It is noteworthy that an X-ray examination of the canvas found that the heads of Lenin and the emperor are almost in the same place."

© Russia Beyond the Headlines. 11 November, 2016


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:32 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 13 November 2016 6:50 AM EST
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Thursday, 3 November 2016
Personal Items of Emperor Nicholas II Returned to Livadia Palace
Topic: Nicholas II

This article has been translated by Dmitry Lapa. Courtesy

Rector of the Church of the Ascension of the Lord in Gorokhovo Pole in Moscow Archpriest Vasily Golovanov has given personal items of the Holy Emperor Nicholas II to Livadia Palace in the south of Crimea, reported deputy of the Russian State Duma Natalia Poklonskaya.

“Some items which were used by Tsar Nicholas II himself are now returning to the museum of Livadia Palace, including the stationery from the holy emperor’s worktable: a stamp box, a small bell, a lion figurine on a stand along with bronze statuettes of Gottfried and Lohengrin,” Poklonskaya wrote in her LiveJournal blog.

According to her information, the items had been in private ownership until 2000 when they were presented to the rector of the Church of the Ascension of the Lord in Gorokhovo Pole in Moscow. “And now Archpriest Vasily Golovanov is gratuitously giving these unique historic pieces to the museum of Livadia Palace,” the deputy wrote.

The chief of Russia’s Military Orthodox Mission Igor Smykov helped deliver the pieces to Crimea. The ceremony of donation of the items to the palace took place on Wednesday. They will be placed on the writing desk of the holy tsar’s study on the first floor of the palace where they were originally kept.

© 3 November, 2016


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:22 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 3 November 2016 9:32 AM EDT
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Saturday, 17 September 2016
New Bust of Emperor Nicholas II Installed in Simferopol
Topic: Nicholas II

This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2016

On September 8th, a bust of the last Russian emperor Nicholas II was unveiled near the entrance to the Office of the Prosecutor General in Crimean city of Simferopol.

The bust is mounted on a pedestal in front of a small memorial chapel, which was constructed on the donations of employees of the department in honour of the Holy Royal Martyrs - Nicholas II and his family.

The building houses the office of Natalia Poklonskaya. In recent years, Crimea’s Prosecutor General has repeatedly demonstrated her admiration for Russia's last emperor: 

- July 2016 Poklonskaya presented a new portrait of the last Russian Imperial family to Livadia Palace

- May 2016 Poklonskaya took part in a procession carrying an icon of Saint Nicholas II Tsar-Martyr of Russia 

- October 2014 Poklonskaya presented 80 photoraphs of Emperor Nicholas II to the Livadia Palace-Museum

- On 20th July, 2014  Poklonskaya was awarded the Imperial Order of Saint Anastasia during a ceremony in Moscow by the Head of the Russian Imperial House, HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna 

The bust in Simferopol is one of several monuments to Nicholas II in the Crimea:

- May 2016 a bust of Emperor Nicholas II was unveiled in Yalta

- May 2015 a bust of Emperor Nicholas II was unveiled at the Livadia Palace 

- December 2014 a bust of Emperor Nicholas II was unveiled in Sevastopol 

- September 2012 a monument to Emperor Nicholas II and Prince Lev Golitsyn was unveiled at Massandra in the village of Novy Svet 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 17 September, 2016


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:43 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 17 September 2016 10:03 AM EDT
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