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Friday, 24 July 2015
Campaign to Rename Moscow Metro Station Honouring Regicide Gains Momentum
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the July 23rd, 2015 edition of The Moscow Times. The author of this interview Daria Litvinova owns the copyright of the work presented below.

Long-running calls for the renaming of a Moscow district named after a revolutionary who played a part in the execution of Russia’s last imperial family appeared to have made headway Thursday, when Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin added his voice to the campaign to change at least the name of the metro station.

“I suppose we should think about [renaming] Voikovskaya metro station. It wouldn’t lead to changing the surrounding addresses, so we should let people decide,” he said Thursday in an interview with the Govorit Moskva radio station.

Pyotr Voikov — after whom a district, six streets and a metro station in north-western Moscow are named — was a Bolshevik revolutionary who played a key role in the decision to execute the tsar, his wife, their five children and family servants in 1918. The family was shot and bayoneted to death in the basement of a house in the Urals city of Ekaterinburg where they were being kept under house arrest. Voikov was also involved in the grisly disposal of their remains.

During the Soviet era, Voikov was hailed as a hero, but since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the idea of renaming the district has been raised repeatedly — but never with any result.

Voikovsky is one of the rare Soviet place names in Moscow that somehow survived the large-scale renaming of the 1990s that saw Ulitsa Gorkogo become Tverskaya Ulitsa, Ulitsa Gertsena become Bolshaya Nikitskaya Ulitsa and Ploshchad Dzerzhinskogo become Lubyanskaya Ploshchad.

Even Sverdlovsk, as Ekaterinburg was renamed in 1924 in honour of Yakov Sverdlov — a Bolshevik politician who is also believed to have signed off on the shooting of the royal family — had its imperial name restored in 1991, while Voikov’s memory continued to be immortalized.

Renewed Attempts
The most recent campaign to change the name was launched last week in the wake of a series of unofficial proposals to give the surviving descendants of the Romanov dynasty some sort of status in Russia, when a Voikovsky district municipal deputy filed a proposal with City Hall to rename the area.

Alexander Zakondyrin, the deputy, suggested organizing an online referendum on renaming the district.

“I suggested five different alternatives to choose from: Volkovsky, Kosmodemyansky, Nikolsky, Aviatsionny and Peterburgsky,” he told The Moscow Times on Wednesday.

“We don’t have resources to organize a real referendum, so I suggested to Anastasia Rakova [deputy mayor and chief of staff for the mayor and City Hall] the launch of an online vote via Activny Grazhdanin [an application designed by City Hall to get feedback from residents on various issues],” Zakondyrin said.

The deputy added that there might be a sixth option. “Right now no one knows where to put the monument to Prince Vladimir [that is currently being made]. We are ready to pick a location for it within the Voikovsky district and call it the Vladimirsky district — why not?” he said.

Diverse Support
His proposal hadn’t elicited any reaction from the authorities as of Wednesday, Zakondyrin said, since deputy mayor Rakova is currently on vacation. Nevertheless he received widespread support — some of it from unexpected quarters.

Representatives of the former imperial dynasty unsurprisingly sided with the deputy’s proposal the same day he filed it to City Hall.

“It’s about time it was done. The names of those involved in repressions and the execution of the tsar’s family should be taken off the map of Moscow,” German Lukyanov, an attorney for some of the surviving Romanovs, was cited by the Interfax news agency as saying last week.

On Tuesday, the Russian Orthodox Church — which canonized the imperial family as passion bearers in 2000 — expressed its support for the proposal, Interfax reported. Church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin called for Voikov’s name to be wiped off the city map and described him as “a terrorist and a destroyer” who deserves “eternal punishment and dishonor” rather than to have streets and metro stations named after him.

Prominent civil rights defender and head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alexeyeva agreed with Chaplin.

“It’s a rare occasion when I agree with the Russian Orthodox Church, but Voikov is an unsavoury figure, his reputation is blotted, and his name shouldn’t grace a metro station or anything else,” she was cited by Interfax as saying Tuesday.

Residents of the district were also quick to express support for the change, and began enthusiastically discussing new names for the metro station and streets in numerous groups devoted to the neighbourhood on Russian social network VKontakte.

“[Let’s call it] Volkovsky. When I was a 6-year-old kid, I couldn’t understand why we have a street [in the district] named after the cosmonaut Volkov while the metro station is Voikovskaya. I always thought it was some kind of mistake,” Alexei Chernukhin, a local resident, wrote in a thread on the VKontakte group “Voika” dedicated to a possible name change.

“I studied at the MAI [Moscow Aviation Institute], so it would be cool to name the district Aviatsionny [Aviation],” another user, Yevgeny Koshelev, wrote in the same thread.

Years of Pledges
But this is not the first time calls have been heard to rename the district. The saga began in 1997, when the state commission responsible for identifying the remains of the royal family found outside Ekaterinburg stated that Voikovskaya metro station should be renamed.

Since then, attempts have been made by the Orthodox Church, pro-monarchy residents and religious foundations every couple of years. In 2008, some monarchist activists held a few meagre pickets in support of renaming all the places named after Voikov, but their efforts resulted in nothing.

The closest the campaign edged to success was in 2011, when Lyudmila Shve­tsova, deputy mayor for social development and head of the commission responsible for naming city sites back then, mentioned in an interview to the Izvestia newspaper that City Hall would “consider the proposal” to rename Voikovskaya metro station.

Following the interview, Russian media exploded with headlines stating that Voikovskaya would definitely be renamed, but once again the story fizzled out, and the station kept its name.

‘No’ to Rewriting History
Far from everyone agrees with renaming the Voikovsky district. The Communist Party has said it is an attempt to “rewrite history” and called on Muscovites to respect “the decisions our ancestors made to immortalize someone’s memory,” Valery Rashkin, a Communist deputy in the State Duma, told the Russkaya Sluzhba Novostei radio station on Tuesday.

“I categorically object to the renaming. We should look at the bigger picture, not at the opinions of some groups,” he was cited by the radio station as saying. “We should consider our history from the tsarist era and Soviet period through to the present as a whole,” he added.

Moscow City Duma Deputy Yevgeny Gerasimov, chair of the commission for culture and mass communications, agreed with Rashkin. “We should all calm down and preserve our history the way it is,” Gerasimov told The Moscow Times in a phone interview Wednesday.

“It’s about time we let go and stop renaming everything. Our history is too long and too versatile,” he said. “Moreover, I’m sure lots of people don’t even know who Voikov is,” the deputy added.

Gerasimov also said that renaming the district, the metro station and several streets would entail too much bureaucracy. “Can you imagine how many documents Muscovites would have to redo due to the address change, and how much money that would require? It would be a great inconvenience for local residents,” Gerasimov said.

Zakondyrin rejected that objection. “I’m surprised an experienced lawmaker would say such a thing,” he said in a phone interview with The Moscow Times. “No one will have to redo their documents right away. If a document expires, the new one will contain the new address — it’s a normal procedure,” he said.

‘Yes’ to Changing Times
Several Russian historians polled by The Moscow Times were unanimous in their verdict: Voikov’s name should be taken off the map.

“It’s preposterous to have his name in the capital [of Russia] or anywhere else as the name of a metro station, [Voikov doesn’t deserve to have] a public toilet [named after him],” journalist and historian Pyotr Romanov — no relation to the former imperial family — and author of the “Ostorozhno: Istoria” (Caution: History) educational project told The Moscow Times on Wednesday.

Grigory Revzin, an arts historian and journalist at Kommersant daily, agreed. “Voikov is a loathsome figure, and it’s strange that something is called after him,” he told The Moscow Times. “And those who fight ‘the rewriting of history’ are simply trying to declare their version of events the truest, and no one has ever managed to do that,” he said.

Taking Soviet names off the map is a good idea, prominent historian and author of numerous history textbooks Leonid Katsva told The Moscow Times in a phone interview, but Voikov is not necessarily the most pressing example.

“We still have a small town outside of Moscow called Dzerzhinsky [after the founder of the dreaded Soviet secret police]. It also has a square named after Dzerzhinsky and a highway,” he said. “Why pick Voikov as a target while there’s still a large street and a library named after Lenin, and the mausoleum [containing Lenin’s embalmed body] is still on Red Square?” the historian said.

Rewriting history happens all the time and is completely normal and even useful, said Katsva. “Every piece of new research can be considered rewriting history,” he said. “When they renamed Bolshaya Kaluzhskaya Ulitsa into Leninsky Prospekt, that was rewriting history, when they renamed the Rumyantsevskaya Library into the Lenin Library, that was rewriting history. It’s inevitable, and I don’t think it’s harmful,” he said.

“The Communists started ‘rewriting history’ after the [1917] revolution, when they renamed most of the streets,” agreed Alexei Dedushkin, a well-known specialist in the history of Moscow and one of the founders of the city history project. "So they shouldn't really complain," he added.

© Daria Litvinova / The Moscow Times. 24 July, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:39 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 25 July 2015 8:24 AM EDT
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Sunday, 19 July 2015
Monument to Nicholas II and His Family Unveiled in Alyauhovo
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

On July 17th, the day marking the 97th anniversary of the murders of Nicholas II and his family, hundreds of Orthodox Christians attended the unveiling and consecration of a new monument to the last tsar and his family at the Church of the Holy Royal Martyrs, in Alyauhovo, a tiny village situated near Moscow. 

The sculptor of the monument Vladimir Lepeshev created a unique monument to Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra, their four daughters Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and their son Alexei.

Moscow Region Governor Yevgeny Timonin, who was present said, "today is a memorable date for our country, one which changed the course of history. In addition to spiritual things, there must also be tangible things, which will remind us of our history, the errors of our ancestors, and how they can influence the fate of the Russian people."

The rector of the local church, Archpriest Alexy said of the unusual sculpture, "the monument to the saints - a sculptural icon, is unusual for Holy Russia, but it is increasingly part of the lives of our Church. The monument, which we set up here is special. It's not frozen faces often seen in iconography, the sculpture lives. These unusual faces of each member of the royal family express their resolve, faith, and acceptance of their fate.”

Vladimir Lepeshev in his studio, working on a miniature version of his sculpture dedicated to the Holy Royal Martyrs
 During the last two decades it has become a tradition on the anniversary of the execution of the royal family to establish monuments or commemorative banners in Russian towns and cities. Russia has also seen a growing interest in a restoration of monarchy during this period.
For more information about this monument to the Holy Royal Martyrs, please refer to the following article posted on 30 July, 2013: 

The Royal Family - A Sculpture by Vladimir Lepeshov 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 19 July, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:04 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 21 July 2015 6:21 AM EDT
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Friday, 17 July 2015
60,000 Mark Royal Days in Ekaterinburg
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

On the evening of 16/17 July, to honour the memory of the murdered Russian Emperor Nicholas II and his family, more than 60,000 Orthodox faithful took part in the 20-km royal procession pilgrimage from the Church on Blood in Honour of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land in Ekaterinburg to the Monastery of the Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama. The procession passed without incident, said "the regional newspaper" the press service of the Ekaterinburg diocese.

Before the procession a Divine Liturgy was held at the Cathedral on the Blood, which was headed by Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturye concelebrated hierarchs: Metropolitan of Tashkent and Uzbekistani Vincent, Archbishop of Sebaste Theodosius (Jerusalem Patriarchate), Bishop of Tarski and Tyukalinsk Savvatii, bishop of Glazov Igra and Victor, Bishop of Nizhny Tagil Serov and Innocent, Bishop Kamensky and Methodius of Alapaevsk.

At two o'clock in the morning on July 17, residents and guests of Ekaterinburg, which included Orthodox Christians, monarchists, among others began the 20-km procession, which ended at half past six in the morning. The procession was led by Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturye, accompanied by members of his clergy. They were followed by Cossacks carrying icons and banners. This year, a group of Japanese pilgrims, dressed in samurai armour took part in the procession. The column stretched for several kilometres.

Throughout the course of the procession, pilgrims were accompanied by mobile teams of assistance who provided the faithful with bottles of drinking water, and first aid. Buses were provided along the procession route for people to stop and rest, or for those who could not complete the journey.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 17 July, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:24 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 17 July 2015 12:35 PM EDT
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Romanov Descendants Want Romanovs' Murderers Name Erased from Moscow Map
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

Members of the Romanov dynasty intend to address the Moscow City Hall with the request to rename a metro station that currently is named after the Bolshevik who played a key role in the 1918 execution of Tsar Nicolas II and his family.

Representatives of the Russian Imperial House say that the renaming could be done on the anniversary of the killing, which happened in the early hours of July 17, 1918. The station in question is currently called Voikovskaya – After Pyotr Voikov who worked in the Bolshevik “Extraordinary Commission” security service and was in charge of first keeping the Romanovs under house arrest and later of their execution and body disposal. The Romanovs also want the city authorities to rename the whole Voikovsky district in Moscow for the same reasons.

The dynasty’s lawyer German Lukyanov told the Interfax news agency that the renaming should have happened a long time ago. “It is simply necessary to clear the Moscow city map of the name of someone who took part in repression and who organized the Tsar’s family killing.” He added that Voikov’s name was found under the order to issue 80 kilos of sulfuric acid used to dissolve the bodies of the last Russian Emperor, his wife and children and also some of their servants.

The lawyer said that a new name would restore historical justice. “The renaming would mean that Russia is a democratic state with no connections to the totalitarian past. Patriarch Alexy II [the late head of the Russian Orthodox Church] had said that the execution of the Tsar’s family was the beginning of repressions and the terrible terror unleashed against the whole population of Russia.”

A similar initiative has been prepared by municipal lawmakers of the Voikovskiy District. Aleksandr Zakondyrin suggested holding an online poll and choosing a new name for the area. The City Hall press service told the Kommersant newspaper that they have not yet received any suggestions regarding the renaming and such initiatives would be considered as soon as they arrive. At the same time, deputy Elena Shuvalova of the Moscow City Duma told reporters that many residents of the Voikovskiy District were against the renaming as it would require them to change their internal passports and other documents.

Earlier this year Leningrad Region’s lawmaker Vladimir Petrov asked the leaders of the Romanov dynasty - Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna and Dimitri Romanovich - to become symbols of national culture and maintaining traditions, like in many European nations that retained their monarchies to this day. The politician suggested that this move would help to smooth political controversies within Russia and help to restore the “spiritual power” of the nation. He said that if the Tsar’s descendants agree on his project the authorities could give them some guarantees and grant a residence in one of the palaces that belonged to them before the revolution.

The head of the Chancellery of the Russian Imperial House, Aleksandr Zakatov said that the Romanovs had no claims for property or political privileges and powers but would not mind if the imperial house becomes a historical institution and part of the national legacy.

An opinion poll conducted in 2013 in connection with the 400th anniversary of the Romanov royal house showed that 28 percent of Russian citizens would agree to be ruled by Tsars, but only 6 percent said that this modern monarch must be from the Romanov dynasty. About 13 percent hold that a contemporary Russian politician could become a new Tsar and suggested a nationwide referendum to decide on the candidate.

The majority of the people - 67 percent - said that Russia should leave the monarchy in the past and remain a democracy.

© Russia Today. 17 July, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:16 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 17 July 2015 11:31 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 15 July 2015
Four Centuries of the Imperial House of the Romanovs - Awakening of Memories
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

On the occasion of the 400th anniversary since the accession to the Russian throne of the dynasty of the Romanovs, on the very day of martyrdom of Saint Tsar Nicholas the Second Romanov and his family and fellow sufferers, the exhibition “Four Centuries of the Imperial House of the Romanovs – Awakening of Memories” will be opened in the crypt of the Memorial Cathedral of Saint Sava on 17 July 2015 at 12 a.m. The celebration will commence with the Hierarchal Liturgy in the large Memorial Cathedral beginning at 9 a.m.

The exhibition consists of a block of historic photographs of Karl Bulla, who during a long period of time was an official photographer of the Imperial Court, and partly of original photographs, reproductions, copies of the artworks, graphics and other illustrative materials.

The exhibition “Four Centuries of the Imperial House of the Romanovs – Awakening of Memories” is being organized by the Society for Construction of Saint Sava Cathedral, which is co-chaired by the Serbian Patriarch and the President of the Republic. Following the solemn opening ceremony, the exhibition will be opened for public within the period from July 17-30.

© The Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Church. 15 July, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:26 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 16 July 2015 7:28 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 14 July 2015
House of Romanov Hopes Dispute Over Tsar's Family Remains Authenticity Will be Settled
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

The House of Romanov said they hope that an inter-agency working group set up by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's decree will put an end to a long-lasting dispute over the authenticity of the last Tsar's family remains, including the remains of the children of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II - Tsesarevich Alexey and Grand Duchess Maria, which are being kept at the State Archives.

Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, who lives in Spain, currently heads the House of Romanov.

"Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna hopes that the research of the Yekaterinburg remains will be thorough, unbiased and all-embracing," lawyer of the Romanov House German Lukyanov told Interfax on Monday.

"The House of Romanov hopes for a scientific approach to research and that the opinions of all authoritative experts will be heard. Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna hopes that the position of the Russian Orthodox Church will be taken into account in the research, the historical truth and the details of the death of the royal family will be found," Lukyanov said.

"This is important to take into consideration a resolution adopted by the Presidium of the Russian Supreme Court on October 1, 2008, which was signed by Chief Justice of the Russian Supreme Court Vyacheslav Lebedev on the recognition of Nicholas II and his family as victims of political repressions," Lukyanov said.

In the past week Medvedev signed a decree setting up an inter-agency working group on the research and reburial of the remains of Tsesarevich Alexey and Grand Duchess Maria.

The working group includes chiefs, deputy heads of the specific ministries and agencies, officials of federal executive authorities and the government's staff, officials of the St. Petersburg government, representatives of public and religious organizations.

Deputy Prime Minister and head of the government's staff Sergey Prikhodko is appointed as chief of the inter-agency working group.

Presently the remains of Tsesarevich Alexey and Grand Duchess Maria are kept at the State Archives.

Romanov representatives are not included in the working group, director of the chancellery of the House of Romanov Alexander Zakatov told Interfax.

"But this is good that such committee was created. We would be able to give assistance to the committee in legal and historical aspects," Zakatov said.

"This is important that relatives of the imperial family will know about the progress of research of expected remains. And it's even more important that society will be fully informed about it," he said.

"It is important not to repeat the mistakes made in the nineties of the previous century, when despite the church's position the Yekaterinburg remains were buried at the Romanov sepulchre. And this question remains a matter for debate in the society, but not for reconciliation. Yet, the church did not find any reasons to recognize as authentic the remains which were buried at the Peter and Paul Fortress [in St. Petersburg] and those remains which are being kept at the State Archives. The House of Romanov adheres to the church's position," Zakatov 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.

Members of the imperial family were buried at a sepulchre of the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg.

The remains of two more people were discovered during archaeological excavation works 70 meters 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 Grand Duchess 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.

In March 2015, head of the Russian State Archives Sergey Mironenko told Interfax that the remains of Tsesarevich Alexey and Grand Duchess Maria should be buried. 
© Interfax. 14 July, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:14 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 14 July 2015 11:24 AM EDT
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Saturday, 11 July 2015
Cross Vandalized Again at Russian Royal Family Memorial Near Ekaterinburg
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

The damaged memorial cross has been tied and nailed to a nearby tree. What kind of "human" desecrates the grave of murdered innocents?
A week before the 97th anniversary of the murders of Emperor Nicholas II and his family, the memorial cross which marks the spot where the remains of Tsesarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria were discovered has been vandalized yet again.

Russian media reported on July 9th, that the vandals had ripped the memorial cross from the ground and thrown it into the woods.

The State Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Sverdlovsk regional police have launched an investigation into this latest act of vandalism.
“This is now the third time that the memorial cross has been vandalized” - said Nikolai Neuimin, an employee of the Sverdlovsk Regional Historical Museum. “The damage this time will not permit us to place it back in the ground, so we had to tie and nail it to a nearby tree” - he added.

In June 2014, a resolution was passed by the Sverdlovsk regional government, designated the site where the remains of the family of Russia's last tsar Nicholas II and members of his family were found on the national cultural heritage list, and is now included in the state register of protected sites.
Click on the links below for related articles:

Cross Vandalized at Russian Royal Family Memorial Near Ekaterinburg - 25 June, 2012

Royal Remains Burial Site to be Entered on Russia's Cultural Heritage List - 11 June, 2014

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 11 July, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:21 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 11 July 2015 7:59 AM EDT
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Friday, 10 July 2015
Russia Announces New Efforts to Identify and Bury Remains of Last Tsar's Children
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has tasked a working group with studying and reburying the remains of two members of the Russian Imperial family who were murdered by Bolshevik revolutionaries almost 100 years ago.

Tsesarevich Alexei Nicholayevich and his sister Grand Duchess Maria Nicholayevna were murdered along with their other siblings and parents — Emperor Nicholas II and the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna — and four family retainers in the basement of the Ipatiev House where they had been imprisoned in the Ural Mountains city of Ekaterinburg in 1918 as White army forces closed in on the city.

A working group headed by deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko will oversee the reburial of their remains, according to a decree posted Thursday on the government's website.

Ministry heads and deputy heads and representatives of public and religious groups will join Prikhodko in the interdepartmental group, the decree said, along with representatives of the St. Petersburg government, suggesting the remains will be buried with those of the rest of the family in that city's Peter and Paul Cathedral.

“The working group's actions will be targeted at preserving the historical heritage of the Russian peoples and forming a civic identity of the Russian nation," read the decree signed by Medvedev.

"Today, under President Putin, I hope (the burial) will be completed," the head of Russia's archive agency, Andrei Artizov, told RIA Novosti news agency on Friday.

"The discovered remains of Alexei and Maria must be buried along with their parents," the head of Russia's state archives, Sergei Mironenko, told RIA Novosti news agency. "Personally I have no doubt that these are the remains of Alexei and Maria." Mironenko called the creation of the working group "a great step forward."

The remains of Alexei, who was only a month shy of his 14th birthday when he was brutally murdered, and Maria, 19, were discovered in the Sverdlovsk region in 2007, and their remains are currently being kept in the country's state archive.

The Romanov dynasty had ruled Russia for more than 300 years before the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 that saw the tsar abdicate and the Imperial family murdered along with other Romanov family members.

The remains of Nicholas, Alexandra and their other children Olga, Tatyana and Anastasia were discovered in the Sverdlovsk region in 1991 and were reburied amid great ceremony in the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg in 1998.

While Russian criminal investigators have ruled that the remains of Alexei and Maria are authentic after DNA testing, their identity has not been accepted by the Russian Orthodox Church, which has canonised the last Romanovs, or by members of the Russian Imperial House.

The Church does not recognise any of the remains of the Romanovs as holy relics and the Patriarch did not attend the 1998 burial.

The new working group will include members of religious organisations, the government said.

A senior Orthodox Church spokesman, Vsevolod Chaplin, called the working group "timely" and "serious", but stressed that it must "eliminate all the questions from experts and the public."

"I hope the working group will help answer all the difficult questions in a spirit of openness and honesty," Chaplin told TASS news agency.
Sources: The Moscow Times and AFP. Revised and Edited by Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 10 July, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:33 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 10 July 2015 12:47 PM EDT
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Royal Days Festival Opens in Ekaterinburg
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

The Annual International Orthodox Festival Royal Days runs from 10th - 20th July 2015 in Ekaterinburg
The annual International Orthodox Festival Royal Days, opened today in the Ural city of Ekaterinburg. The annual event dedicated to the memory of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II and his family, runs until July 20th. This year, Royal Days will also be held in Alapaevsk - the town where Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna and other members of the Romanov dynasty were murdered on 18th July 1918 by the Bolsheviks. 

As part of the commemorative events, Royal Days, will host exhibitions, musical evenings, performances, lectures, and more. On the evening of July 16th, thousands will gather at the Church on Blood in Honour of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land in Ekaterinburg for a divine liturgy. In the early morning hours of July 17th, according to tradition, Orthodox Christians, monarchists and other pilgrims will take part in a 20-kilometre royal procession which follows the historic route of the Imperial family’s murdered remains from the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg to the Monastery of the Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama. It was here, at the site of the Four Brothers Mine where the remains of the Imperial family were secretly transported snd thrown into the pit by their murderers.

White Flower Day will be held 17-18 July, 2015 in Alapaevsk
In addition, the town of Alapaevsk will mark White Flower Day on July 17-18. The symbol of this event is the white daisy, which today is distributed to all who make a donation. During these two days, a charity fair will be held in the central square of the town, featuring handicrafts and food, a concert of sacred and chamber music, needlework school for children, a floral exhibition, and more. The tradition of the White Flower charity festival originated in 1911 by the last Empress of Russia, Alexandra Feodorona.

Also this year, one of the highlights of this years Royal Days cultural program will be an exhibition "The Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich and Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna in the Mirror of Russian Media. 1884-1905 years." The exhibition opened in the Patriarchal Compound in Ekaterinburg on July 15 and will run until August 30th. The exposition includes not only rare photos and documents of the press of the time, which reflect the private and public life events of the grand ducal couple.

The tradition of commemorating the martyred Royal Family began in 1992. Since then, the Royal Days festival in Ekaterinburg attracts tens of thousands of people from all over Russia, including Orthodox Christians, monarchists and other pilgrims who come to pay homage to the Holy Royal Martyrs. Each year, more Russian cities and towns are marking the murder of Emperor Nicholas II, his family and other Romanov relatives with their own Royal Days festivals and similar events. 

For more information on past Royal Days held in Ekaterinburg and other Russian cities, please refer to the following articles—including many videos and photographs—in Royal Russia News: 

Russia Commemorates the Holy Royal Martyrs - 2013 - includes 3 videos + 16 colour photos

Russia Commemorates the Holy Royal Martyrs - 2012 - includes 3 videos + 25 colour photos

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 10 July, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:42 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 10 July 2015 9:10 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 7 July 2015
Mystery of Russian Royal Family's Execution Still Unsolved
Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs

Night at the Ipatiev House, a sculpture by Zurab Tsereteli
A sad date in the history of Russia - the shooting of the royal family - is drawing near.  Despite the investigation, neither the Russian Orthodox Church, nor members of the royal family recognized that the remains that were buried in the Peter and Paul Cathedral in 1998 were the remains of the family of Nicholas II. Pravda.Ru talked about the mysteries of the Romanovs family to Charge d'Affaires of the Russian Imperial House, German Lukyanov.
Bolsheviks executed Nicholas II and his family in Yekaterinburg

"On July 17, 1918, the Russian royal family was executed in the city of Yekaterinburg. After the emperor abdicated, he and his family were arrested. They were exiled first to Tobolsk and then to Yekaterinburg, where they were killed. It was  an act of murder without a statute of limitations.

"After the fall of the communist regime, when the process to return the Russian Imperial House to Russia started, the head of the Russian Imperial House, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, raised the question of investigation into the death of her family - Emperor Nicholas II and his family.

"I was working with this issue as a lawyer of the Grand Duchess. First, the question was raised about whether the death of the royal family was registered. Numerous inquiries to all organizations of St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg were made. The answers were negative - the fact of the death of those people was not documented. 

"Everyone knows that a person receives a birth certificate in the beginning of their life, and when a person dies, a death certificate is issued. Nothing was issued when the Russian royal family was executed. 

"The fact of death of the royal family was documented in 1996. The death certificate for Nikolai Romanov was issued saying that he died on July 17, 1918 at the age of 50 years. The book of registration of death contains record 151 from 10 July 1996: "Cause of death: executed in the city of Yekaterinburg, at the house of special purpose."

"Bolsheviks executed tens of thousands of people. They were destroying the cream of the nation. Bolsheviks were killing without trial, but the members of the royal family were an exception. There was a telegram to Moscow that said that the emperor was shot by sentence of the Ural Sovdep. The latter found Emperor Nicholas II guilty of countless incidents of bloody violence over the Russian people.

"The supreme body - the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee - considered the telegram and declared the execution rightful. Soviet leader Yakov Sverdlov made an extraordinary message at the Council of People's Commissars about the shooting of Nicholas Romanov by the verdict of the Ural Sovdep."

"Do you have all these documents at your disposal?" 

"Yes, all of them that relate to this issue. The head of the Russian Imperial House, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, was studying and collecting all the necessary documents to raise the question of legal rehabilitation of her relatives, members of the royal family."

"Who was supposed to make a decision on rehabilitation?"

"By the law on victims of political repressions that was in effect at that time, it was up to the Prosecutor General Office of the Russian Federation to decide. When all the necessary documents were submitted, the Prosecutor General Office reviewed the application and denied rehabilitation, stating that there was no reason for rehabilitation. It was said that rights and freedoms had not been violated and the Soviet totalitarian Bolshevik state had had no relation to the death of the royal family. This was in 2005.

"After that, the grand duchess went to court to recognize the decision declining the rehabilitation of the royal family illegal. She wanted Russia to recognize the members of the royal family as victims of political repression. There is a law that states that political repression are measures that the state applies against persons for their affiliation to exploiting classes, depriving a person of their freedom, rights and life.

"Bolsheviks did not expose the information about the evacuation of the royal family. They knew that the people of Russia and other countries would not accept that, even in those hard times.
Will Russia ever know the truth?

"They released the following notice: "Considering the fact that counterrevolutionary groups were approaching the red capital of the Urals, and the possibility that the crowned executioner could avoid people's trial, the conspiracy of the White Guards, who tried to kidnap him, was disclosed. The Presidium of the Regional Council, executing the will of the revolution, ordered to execute by shooting former Tsar Nicholas Romanov, comma, guilty of countless incidents of bloody violence against the Russian people on July 16 overnight, 1918."

"In fact, the royal family was executed in the basement of the Ipatiev House, where they were detained on July 17 overnight.

"After the execution, the bodies were removed, and attempts were made to destroy the bodies. The bodies were doused with sulfuric acid. The heads were allegedly shown in the Kremlin to Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. There is a version of a special room, where they found something, but it all remains a secret, and no one nows what was found. 

"The question of the authenticity of the discovered remains is still open. There are accurate methods of medical genetics research, but science moves forward, and new circumstances may open."

"Will we ever learn the truth?"

 "A lot has been done at this point, but the most important question remains open. This is a very complicated question, some things can not be solved at once. Russia has come a long way, and the Russian society is changing. We have all mechanisms, both legal and political ones for peace and consent in our society." 
© Pravda. 07 July, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:39 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 7 July 2015 2:07 PM EDT
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