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Tuesday, 23 September 2014
Russia Clears Name of Faithful British Servant Murdered by the Bolsheviks
Topic: Grand Duke Mikhail Alexan


The last known photograph of Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich and Nicholas Johnson in Perm, April, 1918
 
Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the September 23rd, 2014 edition of The Daily Mail. The author Will Stewart, owns the copyright of the work presented below.

He had devoted his life to serving his master  -  and, even in the face of certain death, that loyalty never wavered. 
 
Yet for 90 years, Briton Nicholas Johnson  -  murdered by Bolshevik revolutionaries in Russia  -  was officially branded an 'enemy of the people'. 

As valet to Michael Romanov, younger brother of Tsar Nicholas II, Johnson had known he faced execution as the 300-year-old dynasty was swept aside in 1917. 

Michael pleaded with his faithful servant to flee to the safety of Britain  -  but Johnson bravely refused to leave his side. 

On June 12, 1918, both were shot by a bloodthirsty rabble. 

As Johnson lay dying, the wounded Michael went to his aid, begging the execution squad: 'Let me say goodbye to my friend.' Moments later, he too was dead. 

Now, however, the Kremlin has officially rehabilitated Johnson  -  meaning he no longer carries any stain of guilt on official records. 

The Russian government declared Johnson, Michael and other members of the Imperial Family had been unlawfully persecuted and killed by the feared Cheka, the forerunner to the KGB. 

'The analysis of old archive materials leads to the conclusion that these persons were subject to persecution in the form of arrest, exile and surveillance by the Cheka without being charged with any specific crime, on account of their class and social status,' said officials. 

Johnson's remains have never been found. Nor have those of Michael, whose brother Nicholas and his family were infamously murdered a month later. 

It is not known if Johnson has any relatives in Britain to celebrate the official clearing of his name.

Johnson had been Grand Duke Michael's private secretary since 1912 and was described as being 'round faced, not very tall, and speaking three languages'.

His father, Nicholas, was a Briton, although it is not known exactly where he was from.

Nor is it known how he came to meet and marry Nicholas's mother, a Russian woman who was a music teacher at the Russian Imperial Court. 

Nicholas Johnson was an accomplished pianist, and a shared love of music led to his friendship and then employment with the lanky Michael.

The pair became known as 'Little and Large' around the court. Michael represented his brother, the Tsar, at the funerals of both Queen Victoria in 1901 and Edward VII of England in 1909.

As a result of his travels, he became something of an Anglophile.

Many of his tastes and preferences shaped during those years reflect those of the English aristocracy. He was an accomplished equestrian, an avid automobile driver, and loved animals and country living.

Johnson's moment in Russian history came in 1917 after Tsar Nicholas abdicated on behalf of himself and his sole heir, his haemophiliac son Alexey, 12.

Rather than renounce the throne altogether, Nicholas quit as absolute ruler in favour of his younger brother.

Johnson was involved in drawing up Michael's response a day after Nicholas' abdication on 15 March.

The response did not turn down the throne, but agreed to accept it only if Russia became a constitutional monarchy supported by the 1917.

Russian historians argue that while never crowned, Michael technically ruled for a matter of hours before Russia was declared a republic by the provisional government.

Aware of the dangers ahead, Michael told Johnson he should flee to Britain, but the aide refused to go unless Michael went with him to safety.

But the royal refused to leave Russia, which was then engulfed in the First World War. Both were soon exiled to the city of Perm.

Despite having to report to the guards every day at 11am, they lived in some luxury in a hotel, with a Rolls Royce at their disposal, much to the chagrin of local Bolsheviks.

It was local 'workers' who conducted the execution in a nearby forest  -  apparently on the orders of Vladimir Lenin, founder of the Soviet Union, amid fears the anti-revolutionary White Russians would liberate Michael.

Michael was struck by the first bullet, then Johnson was shot and mortally wounded.

After going to Johnson's aid the wounded Michael was shot at point blank range in the head.

The servant's antique watch was stolen by the man who killed him, Andrei Markov.

He boasted years later: 'I took it as a memory of him after I shot him dead.

'Since that moment, I haven't taken it off. It hasn't required any repair work.'

The murders were the first in an orgy of Romanov killings between June 1918 and January 1919. In all, 18 members of the Imperial Family were executed. 
 
© Will Stewart / The Daily Mail. 23 September, 2014
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:45 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 23 September 2014 5:55 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 10 July 2013
Last Russian Tsar Was Michael, Not Nicholas
Topic: Grand Duke Mikhail Alexan

 Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich (1878-1918). Artist: Ilya Repin, 1901

The Moscow Times has published the following article by W. George Krasnow, president of the Russia & America Good Will Association in Washington, D.C.

Ninety-five years ago, on June 12, 1918, Grand Duke Michael and his secretary Nicholas Johnson were abducted from a hotel in Perm by a group of Bolshevik thugs and slain in the woods outside the city. This murder, five weeks before the Yekaterinburg massacre of former tsar Nicholas II and his family, was part of the Bolsheviks' plan to get rid of the Romanovs.

They had good reason to start with Michael II. Younger brother of the tsar and his legal successor, he refused the crown in an attempt to defuse the February revolution that overthrew autocracy. For the sake of restoring civil peace and to keep Russia at war, he empowered the Provisional Government to conduct a general election to the Constituent Assembly. Having lost the election, the Bolsheviks forcibly dissolved the assembly's first session, thus precipitating the five-year civil war that followed. Michael II, not Nicholas II, embodied the democratic alternative to their dictatorial rule.

Thus, Michael II, not Nicholas II, should be remembered as the last tsar. To this end, a grassroots movement has been founded to push for Michael II's recognition as a national hero. The town of Lokot in the Bryansk region, where Michael II had his Brasovo estate, has celebrated his memory for years.

Michael II was not only a brave soldier and talented military leader, he was also a master of intercultural communication. This skill enabled him to forge a fighting force out of many different ethnic groups that became a legend of valor and loyalty. Michael II was a patriot, war hero, peacemaker and a statesman who put Russia's interests above his dynasty's and his own.

The pro-Michael II movement is neither political nor monarchist. Above all, it aims at extracting historical truth from under the rubble to which the Communist dictators reduced Russia's past. Just as they built the Iron Curtain to prevent Soviet citizens from seeing the outside world, Communist officials barred generations of Russians from understanding Russia's true history. They preferred to talk about tsar Nicholas II's autocracy rather than Michael II's one-day stellar rule that planted the seed of democracy.

The examples of Britain, Scandinavian countries, Spain or Japan show that monarchy and democracy can be a good mix and can create an equitable, fair and dynamic society. By slaying Michael II on June 12, 1918, the Bolsheviks killed Russia's chance to develop along similar lines and took the country on a historical detour that ended in 1991.

© The Moscow Times. 10 July, 2013 


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:25 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 10 July 2013 2:34 PM EDT
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Friday, 15 February 2013
Monument to Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich Planned for Perm
Topic: Grand Duke Mikhail Alexan

A proposal to erect a monument to Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich has been submitted to the city of Perm.

The monument by the Russian sculptor Rudolph Vedeneev would be erected in Decembrist Square, located in Perm's city center.

The final design has not yet been submitted, and one of the designs also includes Brian Johnson, who served as the grand duke's private secretary.

In March 1918, Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich and Brian Johnson were sent to Perm where they were imprisoned. They were both murdered by the Bolsheviks on the night of June 11th, 1918.

Their remains have never been found. In August 2012 the SEARCH Foundation returned to Russia to search for the remains of Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich and Brian Johnson. They plan to return in the summer of 2013 to continue their search.

There is currently one monument to Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich in Perm, in the hotel where he and Johnson were held captive.

For more on Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich and Brian Johnson, please refer to the following articles;

Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich Remembered

Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich's Valet, Brian Johnson Has Name Cleared

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 15 February, 2013


  


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:06 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 17 February 2013 8:15 AM EST
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Wednesday, 14 December 2011
Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich Cufflinks
Topic: Grand Duke Mikhail Alexan

A pair of gold cufflinks decorated with photos of the Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich at different ages (about 1888 and 1898) were sold this week at a Geneva auction for 66,000 CHF (Swiss Francs).

The unique set of cufflinks, decorated with diamonds and peridot, were from the collection of Ferdinand Thormeyer, Swiss tutor to the children of Emperor Alexander III.

On his return to Switzerland, Thormeyer took with him many gifts and photographs of the Russian Imperial family.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 14 December, 2011



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 16 December 2011 10:05 AM EST
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Friday, 17 June 2011
Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich Remembered
Topic: Grand Duke Mikhail Alexan

On 13 June, the Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich was remembered in the city of Perm, where both he and his faithful servant, Nicholas Johnson were murdered in 1918.

Mikhail and Johnson were kept under house arrest at a hotel in Perm. The grand dukes' room was directly above the main door at the right (see ablove photo). It was from here that they were taken to an undisclosed location and shot. A plaque in honour of the Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich has been placed on the building which once occupied the hotel.

© Royal Russia. 17 June, 2011


  

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:42 AM EDT
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