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Wednesday, 17 December 2014
A Short Summary of My December 2014 Visit to St. Petersburg
Topic: Paul Gilbert


I have just returned from my recent working visit to St. Petersburg, one which marked my 25th visit to Russia since 1986. My 8-day visit - December 4th to 11th - was very productive, one in which I met many new Romanov experts.
 
I have made numerous visits to Russia during the winter months over the years, however, this was my first winter visit to St. Petersburg since 2009. While the thought of icy cold winds and knee deep snow may put many visitors off, it has never deterred me. I should like to note that I have yet to experience a real Russian winter. During this visit, aside from a few snow flurries, there was no snow on the ground, and very little ice on the Neva. There are many advantages to travelling to this beautiful city during the winter months. First, there are few tourists in the city, which mean no line ups and no crowds, and thus making visits to the palaces and museums more enjoyable. Second, hotel prices are considerably less, you can save up to 50% over peak summer rates! Third, cultural events are at a peak, including ballet, opera and symphony performaces. Fourth, there is something simply magical about visiting this city when it is covered in a blanket of white snow - when it does snow, of course!

This was a particularly interesting and productive work visit for me. I was introduced to numerous Romanov experts, several of which have expressed a sincere interest in working together on various projects, including a proposed Romanov conference to be held at a future date in St. Petersburg.
 
During this visit I once again met with my Russian-based book supplier and ordered several new titles that will be featured in the Royal Russia Bookshop in the coming months ahead.

The highlights of my December 2014 visit to St. Petersburg include:

Tour of the Grand Ducal Mausoleum
 
I was invited to meet with Dr. Marina Logunova the chief historian for the State Museum of St. Petersburg, and the woman behind the restoration of the Cathedral of Peter and Paul - final resting place for generations of Romanovs, including the last tsar, Nicholas II, and his family. Dr. Logunova provided me with a private tour of the Grand Ducal Mausoleum.
 
It was during this tour that I took the opportunity to ask her about the popular theory that the Bolsheviks opened and robbed the graves of the Romanovs after the Revolution. "I can confirm that some of the graves were opened by the Bolsheviks, however, an inspection of these graves in 1992-93 failed to show any evidence that they had been tampered with," she said, "I can also add that there are no documents in the archives to support claims that the Bolsheviks had robbed or desecrated them."
 
The Grand Ducal Mausoleum has been of particular interest to me for many years. Sadly, it has been closed to the public for some years now due to ongoing restoration which is expected to take years to complete due to lack of funding. I was honoured to have had such a distinguished and highly respected expert take the time out of her busy day to provide me with this incredibly interesting tour and commentary. Sadly, the lighting was very poor and many of my photographs did not turn out. I have, however, did manage to take photographs of many of the graves of the grand dukes and grand duchesses buried in the mausoleum. It is interesting to note also that the beautiful Resurrection of Christ stained glass window (recreated in 2006) has been restored to it's original place. Today, it can be seen from the outside of the mausoleum over the rear entrance created during the Soviet years. 
 
Dr. Marina Logunova also took me inside St. Catherine's Chapel, where the remains of Emperor Nicholas II, members of his family, as well as those of their four faithful retainers are interred. When asked why Nicholas II was not buried in the main cathedral alongside his ancestors, she explained that this was due to the fact that "Nicholas had abdicated, thus barring him from burial in the main cathedral," and that "the retainers could not be buried in the cathedral with the Russian sovereigns as they were commoners." She also confirmed that there are no plans to inter the remains of the Tsesarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria alongside the rest of the Imperial family any time soon, due to the position of the Moscow Patriarchate.
 
Imperial Obsession: The West’s Fascination with the Romanov Legacy
 
Several months ago, I had been invited by Elena Konyukhova, the Director of the Prince George Galitzine Memorial Library to give a talk about my magazine during my visit to St. Petersburg. I proposed that the talk be in two parts: the first would explore the West's fascination with the Romanov legacy, while the second part would focus on my magazine. 
 
This was my first official speaking engagement in Russia. My talk on December 8th was attended by 45-50 people, including Rudy de Casseres, who travelled from Helsinki, Finland to attend my talk. I had the opportunity of meeting with Rudy for coffee on two separate occasions during which he was kind enough to share with me his his vast wealth of knowledge about the Romanovs and St. Petersburg.
 
The event was also attended by numerous Romanov experts: Igor ZiminDr. Marina Logunova, Galina Korneva, Tatiana Cheboksarova, and Zoia Beliakova. Several of these experts expressed an interest in writing articles for future publication in Royal Russia.
 
At the end of my presentation, Dr. Marina Logunova thanked me and presented me with a copy of her new book on the burial ceremonies of the Russian emperors and empresses. In turn, I donated a full set of Royal Russia Annuals (6 issues) to the Prince George Galitzine Memorial Library, noting that copies of all future issues and books would be donated to the library for their English readers to peruse.
 
Overall, the evening was a success. I was overwhelmed with the kindness and enthusiasm I received from both the library staff and the guests during and after my presentation. I came away with the assurance that I had made many new friends and acquaintances in St. Petersburg. 

State Hermitage Museum 250th Anniversary

The celebrations marking the 250th anniversary of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg took place over the course of three days – from December 7 till 9. On the evening of December 6th, the State Hermitage Museum presented a colourful high-definition 3D mapping projection called the “Dance of History”. A series of videos illustrating the most significant historic events of St. Petersburg and the Hermitage, as well as the museum’s finest pieces of art were projected on to the Winter Palace and the General Staff Building. The display was accompanied by the performance of classical music from different time periods and poetry recitals.
 
The two events which interested me the most were the opening of the Great Church on December 9th, and the mounting of the double-headed eagle on top of the Telegraph Pavilion of the Winter Palace.
 
Faberge Museum
 
On my last evening in St. Petersburg I decided to return to the Faberge Museum. During my previous visit back in June, one had to join a group tour in order to view the Faberge treasures housed in the beautifully restored Shuvalov Palace, however, this has since changed.
 
The Faberge Museum is open daily (except Fridays) from 10:00 am to 8:45 pm. The ticket office is open from 9:30 am to 8:15 pm. Admission is 300 Rubles - a bargain!
 
Guided tours are offered from 10:00 am to 4:50 pm in both Russian or English. Duration of the guided tour is about one hour.
 
Individual visitors are admitted from 6:00 pm to 8:45 pm. Hand held audio guides in various languages (including English) are available to rent. I was delighted to have had the opportunity to purchase a ticket and spend a couple of hours browsing the numerous display cases filled with Faberge treasures at my leisure.
 
I would also like to note that the museum also has a gift shop on the ground floor, which offers a selection of souvernirs and books. I purchased 3 new Faberge books - all published by the Faberge Museum - to add to my library, including a 170-page Exhibit Index. For those visiting the museum independently, I would suggest purchasing a copy of this helpful little guide prior to visit. The price is only 150 Rubles.
 
Overall, my recent working visit to St. Petersburg was most productive. During my stay, I did a tremendous amount of research, compiling pages of notes, and took about 200 more photographs, some of which are shown above. I look forward to sharing the fruits of my research with Royal Russia subscribers and followers on my web site and blog, as well as the pages of Royal Russia Annual in the coming weeks and months ahead. 
 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 17 December, 2014
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:33 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 17 December 2014 1:48 PM EST
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Wednesday, 12 November 2014
Imperial Obsession: The West's Fascination with the Romanov Legacy
Topic: Paul Gilbert

© Royal Russia. 12 November, 2014


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:05 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 12:49 PM EST
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Tuesday, 20 May 2014
Paul Gilbert's Investiture Held at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville
Topic: Paul Gilbert


Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia, wearing the Imperial and Royal Order of Saint Stanislaus, III Class.
Photo by Nick Nicholson
 
This past weekend, I journeyed down to Jordanville, New York as a guest of the Foundation of Russian History to participate in a private exhibition preview of The Russian Word and Image: Four Centuries of Books and Art and the opening of the Russian Nobility Association Reading Room at the Holy Trinity Monastery.
 
Of particular interest are display cases containing items retrieved from the Ipatiev House by Nikolai Sokolov, including a delicate white blouse which belonged to the real Anastasia, or perhaps one of her three sisters. A tiny khaki military jacket was made for their brother, Alexei. A single pearl earring survives from their mother, Alexandra.
 
Distinguished guests included Paul Kulikovsky (great grandson of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna), and Michael Ilyinsky (grandson of Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich) among many others. I was delighted to meet up with old friends and acquaintances, some of whom I had not see in 20 years! It was also a great honour to meet a number of the guests at the reception who were followers of both the Royal Russia web site and magazine.
 

 
Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia receives the edict signed by HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna 
from Dr. Russell E. Martin, International Communications Advisor to the Chancellery of Her Imperial Highness.
Photo by Serge Shohov
 
The highlight for me personally was my investiture into the Order of Saint Stanislaus on Sunday, May 18th (the birthday of Emperor Nicholas II). The private ceremony was held in the Russian Nobility Association Reading Room. The investiture began with the reading of the edict by Dr. Russell E. Martin, International Communications Advisor to the Chancellery of Her Imperial Highness. He then presented me with the Imperial and Royal Order of Saint Stanislaus, III Class. It is truly a rare privilege for non-Russians to receive one of the historic Imperial orders of knighthood. The investiture was witnessed by Nick Nicholson, Serge Shohov and Andrei Liubimov. Special thanks to Rev. Vladimir von Tsurikov, Director and Curator for the Foundation of Russian History.
 
"The Order is being given in recognition of a lifetime of service to the Russian Imperial House. Gilbert is best known for his  Royal Russia web site and blog, the publisher of more than 30 books and magazines on the Romanov dynasty, his support of the Russian monarchy, and his personal dedication to distributing accurate information about the House of Romanov and to highlighting the importance of the Russian Imperial House in today's Russia." - Russian Imperial House Honours Paul Gilbert, published on 22 January, 2013 

The edict was signed by HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna at Madrid on January 7th, 2013. 

My interest with the Romanov dynasty and Imperial Russia span a lifetime, while I have dedicated the last 20 years of my life to Royal Russia as my full time occupation. I can think of no greater honour, and am truly humbled to have my work recognized by the Head of the Russian Imperial Family. 
 
© Royal Russia. 20 May, 2014
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:22 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 11 July 2014 3:12 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 18 March 2014
My Russia: The Petrovsky Palace, Moscow
Topic: Paul Gilbert


My Russia is a series of articles which I write for Royal Russia, a unique publication that celebrates the Romanov dynasty and Imperial Russia in words and photographs. In the current issue I write about my visit to the Petrovsky Travelling Palace in Moscow. The palace has a rich Romanov legacy, playing an important role in the coronation ceremonies of Russia’s last six emperors, from Paul I to Nicholas II. I am happy to share my impressions of this beautiful Neo-Gothic palace in the current instalment of My Russia.
 
 
In October 2013, I journeyed to Moscow for the first time since 2005. It was during this visit to the Russian capital that I was able to visit a popular architectural gem with an interesting history associated with the Romanov legacy.

Most visitors to Moscow get nothing more than a fleeting glimpse of the Petrovsky Palace while travelling to or from Sheremetyevo Airport. During my visit to the Russian capital, I was able to obtain permission to visit the Petrovsky Palace for the very first time. I was met by Galina Petrovna Glotova, the senior researcher of the Petrovsky Palace Museum, though now retired. 

Galina provided me with a private tour of the palace, regaling me with tales of its history from the time of Catherine the Great through to the six Russian emperors who stopped at the Neo-Gothic palace before their entry into Moscow for their respective coronations. Galina guided me through the interiors of the palace, including the museum on the ground floor, the magnificent Round Hall, the adjoining ceremonial rooms, the former royal apartments, among others. Galina was a walking encyclopaedia on the palace, and she was very pleased to share her extensive knowledge with me.  

My article on the Petrovsky Palace is based on the extensive notes which I compiled during my tour with Galina, as well as English and Russian sources from my personal library. It explores the history of the palace up to the present day, it’s construction, my impressions of the interiors, it’s August guests, efforts to preserve the historic interiors during its modern day restoration, its function today, and more.

My Russia: The Petrovsky Palace appears in Royal Russia Annual No. 5 (Winter 2014). The article is 14 pages in length and illustrated with 17 black and white photographs, many of which I took myself.

The Petrovsky Palace is now under the administration of the Moscow city government, and therefore not open to the public. While this beautiful palace, so rich in Romanov history may not be accessible to many visitors to Russia, it is my sincere hope that my article and photos will offer readers a brief glimpse into this historic palace from the comfort of their favourite armchair.

Click Here for more Information or to Order Your Copy

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 18 March, 2014


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:29 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 18 March 2014 9:34 AM EDT
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Thursday, 14 March 2013
Hermitage Museum Society Welcomes Paul Gilbert
Topic: Paul Gilbert

 

Paul Gilbert was the guest speaker at the Women's Art Association of Canada in Toronto last night. The event was hosted by the Hermitage Museum Society of Toronto.

Gilbert offered a powerpoint presentation in two parts. The topic of Part I (40 minutes) was entitled Far from the Fatherland: The Romanovs in Exile. Guests were introduced to members of the Russian Imperial family who escaped Russia after the Revolution. A series of slides were presented with discussion on the grand dukes and grand duchesses and their life in exile.

The topic of Part II (20 minutes) was entitled The Russian Succession. Gilbert discussed the Russian succession laws laid down Emperor Paul I in 1797. He went on to explain the legitimist  claims of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich, and the current Head of the Russian Imperial House, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna. 

The event was held in the Gignam Gallery of the Women's Art Association of Canada and was well attended by members of the Hermitage Museum Society, as well as supporters of Royal Russia.

Paul Gilbert has dedicated the last 20 years to the full time study of the Romanov dynasty. He is the founder of Royal Russia, a web site that received more than 1.2 million visitors in 2012, and the publisher and editor of more than 30 books on the Romanovs and the popular magazine Royal Russia Annual.

Earlier this year he was elevated to the Imperial and Royal Order of St. Stanislav, III Class in recognition of a lifetime of service to the Russian Imperial House.

The edict was signed by HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna on January 7th, 2013. The date for the presentation ceremony is expected to take place in Russia later this year.

It is truly a rare privilege for non-Russians to receive one of the historic Imperial orders of knighthood.

© Royal Russia. 14 March, 2013



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:24 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 15 March 2013 6:01 AM EDT
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Saturday, 2 March 2013
Giving Back to Russia - Tsarskoye Selo and Peterhof
Topic: Paul Gilbert

 

Since 1994, I have worked as an independent publisher and bookseller specializing in books and periodicals on the Romanov dynasty and Imperial Russia. In the past few years I have branched out into rare and second-hand books, and currently work through dealers in Moscow and St. Petersburg to offer collectors unique titles published in Russian and English.

Bookselling and publishing are my only means of support; I do not earn any income from Royal Russia at all. Therefore, I am very, very grateful to each and every one of you who support my online bookshop, because without your patronage there would be no Royal Russia.

Earning a living from my book business allows me to devote my free time to my web site and blog, even if that requires working extra hours 7 days a week. I love my work, and I trust that is reflected through my web site, blog and the publications that I produce. I am privileged and honoured to share Royal Russia with other Romanovphiles and Russophiles around the world.

Royal Russia is supported through the generous donations of people who share an interest in the Romanov dynasty and the history of Imperial Russia.

It is also supported by the sale of a calendar, created once a year with a unique theme and richly illustrated with rare and beautiful photographs and illustrations. The proceeds from the sale of this calendar help me to offset the costs of maintaining a growing web site and blog that is expected to receive 2 million visitors in 2013, a huge achievement and a new record!

I have been very blessed all these years to work at a job that I truly enjoy. As a result, I would like to start giving something back to Russia.

I am pleased to announce that on behalf of Gilbert's Books, I have made donations to the following;

$200.00 CAD to the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve 

and

$350.00 CAD to  the Peterhof State Museum-Preserve

These donations go towards restoration work and the acquisition of items for the palace-museum collections. I am very proud that I have been given the opportunity to make at least a small contribution to each museum. I am committed to helping to preserve the Romanov legacy when and where I can, and will continue to make ongoing donations in the years ahead.

 

Further, I have also made a personal donation in the amount of $250.00 CAD to the Children's Village at Pushkin. This wonderful organization helps orphaned Russian children, providing them with a safe place to live and grow. Helping children is a cause which is near and dear to my heart.

Once again, thank you to each and every one you who support my publishing efforts and bookshop, as well as those who purchased calendars and/or make donations to Royal Russia. Together, we are helping to keep the memories of old Russia alive!

© Paul Gilbert. 02 March, 2013



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 3 March 2013 7:51 AM EST
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Tuesday, 22 January 2013
Russian Imperial House Honours Paul Gilbert
Topic: Paul Gilbert

 

The edict signed by HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna; the Imperial and Royal Order of St. Stanislav, III Class  

The Chancellery of the Head of the Russian Imperial House has announced that Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna has elevated Paul Gilbert to the Imperial and Royal Order of St. Stanislav, III Class.

The Order is being given in recognition of a lifetime of service to the Russian Imperial House. Gilbert is best known for his  Royal Russia web site and blog, the publisher of more than 30 books and magazines on the Romanov dynasty, his support of the Russian monarchy, and his personal dedication to distributing accurate information about the House of Romanov and to highlighting the importance of the Russian Imperial House in today's Russia. 

The edict was signed by HIH on January 7th, 2013. The date for the presentation ceremony is expected to take place in Moscow later this year.

It is truly a rare privilege for non-Russians to receive one of the historic Imperial orders of knighthood.

© Royal Russia. 22 January, 2013



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:25 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 23 April 2013 3:32 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 9 January 2013
Far from the Fatherland: The Romanovs in Exile
Topic: Paul Gilbert

 

© Royal Russia. 9 January, 2013



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:44 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 13 March 2013 1:12 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 27 November 2012
My Russia: Journey to Ekaterinburg
Topic: Paul Gilbert

 

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to visit Ekaterinburg. I have travelled to Russia more than 20 times, but this was my first visit to the Ural region.

My four day visit to the city allowed me to visit the sites associated with the final days of Tsar Nicholas II and his family in 1918.

My Russia is a series of articles which I write for Royal Russia, a unique publication that celebrates the Romanov dynasty and Imperial Russia in words and photographs. In the current issue I write about my visits to the Church on the Blood and Ganina Yama, including a brief history of each. I was profoundly moved by both of these holy sites and my impressions of each are found in the current installment of My Russia.

My Russia: Journey to Ekaterinburg appears in Royal Russia Annual No. 2 (2012). The article is 16 pages in length and illustrated with 20 black and white photographs, many of which I took myself.

Many people who share an interest in the life and reign of Russia's last Imperial family will never have the opportunity to visit Ekaterinburg, therefore I hope that my article and photos about my recent trip will allow them a brief glimpse from the comfort of their favourite armchair.

||| Click Here to Order Your Copy! |||

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 27 November, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:24 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 28 November 2012 6:49 AM EST
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