How the Kirillovich branch of the Russian Imperial Family supported Hitler and the Nazis

Under no pretext can we admit to the throne those whose ancestors belonged to parties involved in the 1917 revolution in one way or another. Nor can we admit those whose ancestors betrayed Tsar Nicholas II. Nor can we ignore those who ancestors openly supported the Nazis. Thus, without any reservations, the right to the succession to the throne of the Kirillovich branch should be excluded

In mid-July 2015, descendants of the Romanov dynasty were caught in the spotlight of the Russia media. Journalists reported that the “descendants of the imperial dynasty [Maria Vladimirovna and her son George Mikhailovich] intend to appeal to the Russian authorities with a request to grant official status to the Russian Imperial House and provide them with a residence in Moscow.” The message received conflicting responses.

Representatives of the Russian nobility Nikita Lobanov-Rostovsky, Alexander Trubetskoy, Pyotr Sheremetev and Sergey Kapnist took an irreconcilable position in relation to granting special status to the so-called “heirs to the throne”. In their letter to the President of Russia, they stated that Maria Vladimirovna had no right to call herself the Head of the House of Romanov, also drawing to attention of the close ties both her father Vladimir Kirillovich and paternal grandparents Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich and Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna with Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

In the years leading up to the Second World War, a number of representatives of the European royal houses also courted Fascist regimes. Even Mussolini proved in practice the possibility of combining a fascist dictatorship and the monarchy. King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, in turn, was a staunch supporter of the Duce regime. After the war, all male members of the House of Savoy were required to leave the country. The British monarch King Edward VIII did not hide his open sympathies for Hitler either, nor did Prince Bernard, the husband of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, who was both a member of the Nazi Party and the SS. Until the end of his life Bernard was forced to make excuses for his “uncomfortable episodes of his anxious youth.”

Of course, the scions of the German royal families, easily found themselves in various posts in the Hitlerite state. The Romanovs were no exception, many of whom openly supported the “brown movement”, naively hoping that Hitler would help them defeat the Bolsheviks and restore the monarchy in Russia.

From the moment of the revolution and the abolition of the monarchy in Russia in 1917, numerous representatives of the Russian Imperial House who found themselves in exile had heated debates among themselves over the possession of what was now a non-existent throne [the Russian Imperial House ended with the murder of Emperor Nicholas II on 17th July 1918].

At the time of the 1917 Revolution, Kirill was next in line to the throne, however, in exile, the sympathies of the majority of Russian refugees tended to favour Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich (1856-1929), the former Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Army. Naturally, he was fully supported by such an influential organization of the Russian diaspora as the Russian General Military Union (ROVS). However, in connection with the death of Nikolai Nikolaevich in January 1929, those in the pursuit of a “revived Russian Empire” passed to the Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich (1876-1936), and then to his descendants.

It is important to note that those members of Nicholas II’s family who managed to flee Russia following the revolution, did NOT support Grand Duke Kirill’s claim. Among those were the Tsar’s mother Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna (1847-1928); and his sisters Grand Duchesses Xenia (1875-1960) and Olga Alexandrovna (1882-1960). They never forgave Kirill for his premature recognition of the Provisional Government, nor did they support his claim as “Emperor” to the non existent Russian throne, as it carried “no dynastic validity”.

Opponents of the “Kirillovichs” fiercely disputed this branch of the Romanovs any rights as claimants to the defunct Russian throne. Among the arguments were often accusations of support by Kirill, his wife Victoria, as well as their children – primarily the Grand Duke Vladimir (1917-1992) – of German National Socialism.

PHOTO: Grand Duke Kirill with his wife Grand Duchess Victoria
and their children Kira and Vladimir. St. Briac. 1930s

Red-brown challenge

Kirill was born on 12th October 1876 in Tsarskoye Selo. He was considered one of the brightest and most extravagant representatives of the Russian Imperial Family. At the same time, his behaviour (both in secular life and in the naval service) were a constant thorn in the side of the dynasty. Kirill, a regular at the most fashionable cafes in St. Petersburg, was noted for his haughty and nasty demeanour towards senior officers, often neglecting his official duties.

Kirill created a real scandal when he entered into an incestuous marriage with his first cousin – Princess of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Victoria Melita (1876-1936). The latter was married to Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig of Hesse (1868-1937), brother of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. In 1901, their marriage was dissolved, and on 8th October 1905, Victoria and Kirill got married in the Bavarian resort town of Tegernsee, where the Grand Duke was undergoing treatment for nervous depression.

Their marriage, however, was in violation of the house law which forbid the marriage of any member of the Imperial Family without the advance permission of the Tsar. Kirill’s marriage also violated the canon of the Russian Orthodox Church prohibiting marriages between cousins.

As a result, the Tsar stripped Kirill of his imperial allowance and title of Imperial Highness, his honours and decorations, his position in the navy and then banished him from Russia. In 1907 Nicholas II took mercy and, after Victoria converted to Orthodoxy, legalized the scandalous wedding by a personal decree. The tsar restored Kirill Vladimirovich and Victoria Fedorovna to the rights of members of the Imperial House, including the right to the throne.

In the same year, Victoria and Kirill had a daughter, Maria, in 1909, Kira, and in 1917, a son, Vladimir.

During the revolutionary events of February 1917, Kirill broke his oath of allegiance to the Tsar and thereby committed high treason. Putting on a red bow, he arrived at the State Duma at the head of the Guards crew and reported it to its chairman, Mikhail Rodzianko: “I have the honour to appear to Your Excellency. I am at your disposal, like the rest of the people.” It is interesting to note, that by doing this, Kirill Vladimirovich protected himself from arrest, which many other members of the Russian Imperial Family had already been subjected to.

Shortly thereafter, Kirill and his family wasted little time in making arrangements to get out of Russia. In March, they illegally left for Finland, eventually settling in Victoria’s family estate in Coburg, Germany, where Victoria Fedorovna’s cousin, Karl Edward Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1884-1954) lived. In 1922, the Duke took a direct part in organizing the Day of the Nation in Coburg. Among the most honoured guests at this event was Adolf Hitler and his supporters.

It is interesting to note that during the Third Reich, Karl Edward, in gratitude for his financial support of the Nazis in the 1920s, was appointed Gruppenfuehrer of the Storm Troops, the Reich Commissioner for Transport, a Reichstag deputy and the President of the German Red Cross.

He later joined the Nazi Party as well as the Sturmabteilung (SA, or Brownshirts), in which he reached the position of Obergruppenführer. Charles Edward served in a number of positions in Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, including President of the German Red Cross from 1933–45

PHOTO: Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich and Grand Duchess
Victoria Feodorovna, living in exile. Saint-Briac, France 1930s

The union of the double-headed eagle and the swastika

Kirill and Victoria settled quite freely in Germany, where they enjoyed an enthusiastic following, who were primarily radical Russian emigrants. In the first years following the 1917 revolution an unusually powerful stream of Russian refugees poured into Germany. By the early 1920s, about half a million exiles from the Land of the Soviets settled here.

At first, Kirill was hesitant to lay claim to his place as “future emperor of Russia”. However, the ambitious strong-willed Victoria and numerous ultra-right Russian monarchists encouraged him. As a result, in 1922, Kirill declared himself “the guardian of the throne”, and in 1924 proclaimed himself “Emperor of Russia Kirill I.” It is curious that almost everyone who at that time was in the circle of those close to the “august person” was also closely associated with the activities of the nascent Nazi party.

In general, in the first years of the existence of the NSDAP [Nazi Party], many emigrants from Russia, mainly Baltic Germans, helped to swell its ranks. Among them were included aristocrats, army officers and politicians, who fought on the side of the Whites. They were seized by the idea that the revolution in Russia was staged by the Jews and that the same thing was about to happen in Western Europe.

PHOTO: Otto von Kurzel (1887-1967) a Russian-born nobleman

Russian Germans, who were equally fluent in Russian and German, formed an intermediate link between the right flank of the Russian diaspora and the Nazis. Among them were many people who remained loyal to the House of Romanov in the person of Kirill. One of the most famous was Otto von Kurzel (1887-1967), a well-known Nazi artist, a member of the NSDAP, who founded the Russian Monarchist Union in Munich.

Influenced by Russian émigrés – the former Black Hundreds – the Nazi Party became fashionable with the expressions “Jewish Bolshevism” and “Soviet Judea”, and soon the stereotype of “Jewish Bolshevism” became the central point of the National Socialist image of the enemy.

Konrad Heiden, the author of a classic study on the early history of Nazism, noted that White Russian émigrés, who stood under the swastika banners, “were eager to involve Germany in the campaign against Lenin … It would be an exaggeration to call early foreign policy of National Socialism tsarist. But in fact, its spiritual origins are in tsarist Russia, in the Russia of the Black Hundreds and the Union of the Russian people”.

The activities of Russian émigrés were published in the central party newspaper, Völkischer Beobachter, and spoke at Nazi meetings. According to one version, the Nazis bought the newspaper itself partly with the money of Russian monarchists. The main ideologist of the party and also a native of the Russian Empire, Alfred Rosenberg, writes in his memoirs that “the most wealthy financial support was provided to the party by White Russian émigrés, who at any cost wanted to get their anti-Soviet propaganda out.”

PHOTO: General Vasily Viktorovich Biskupsky (1878-1945)

One of the main sponsors of Völkischer Beobachter, was General Vasily Viktorovich Biskupsky (1878-1945), a radical monarchist and confidant of Kirill Vladimirovich. It is known that Victoria gave Biskupsky money for the needs of the Nazi Party. Kirill’s enemies at the time claimed that the general and the Grand Duchess were involved in an intimate relationship, which was recorded in police reports.

Despite his reputation as an adventurer, Biskupsky served as Kirill and Victoria’s plenipotentiary representative in Germany. The Grand Duke told his personal secretary, Harold Karlovich Graf (1885-1966), that “in times of trouble you should not be afraid to get your white gloves dirty and rely only on people with an impeccable reputation, usually of little use in political struggle.”

PHOTO: Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter (1884-1923)

An early figure in the unification of the Nazis and radical Russian monarchists was Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter (1884-1923). He was born in Riga, and participated in the suppression of revolutionary uprisings in 1905-1907, and in December 1910 he moved to Munich, where he became an engineer. It was here that the nucleus of the “Russian-Baltic group” had already formed, which later, almost in its entirety, joined the NSDAP. In December 1917, Scheubner-Richter was appointed as an intelligence officer under the commander-in-chief of the Eastern Front in the Baltic States. He actively participated in the struggle against the Bolsheviks, and in 1919 he returned to the Bavarian capital, where through Alfred Rosenberg he established contacts with Russian emigrants.

In November 1920, Scheubner-Richter joined the NSDAP and quickly entered the closest circle of Adolf Hitler. By this time, he was already a member of Kirill’s intimate circle, and his wife Matilda was a close friend of Victoria Feodorovna. At the same time, Scheubner-Richter organized the Russian-German “Renaissance” (Aufbau) Society, the purpose of which was to unite all White Russian émigré forces under the command of Grand Duke Kirill and in alliance with the National Socialists. The plans of the society included the organization of an anti-Bolshevik “crusade”, as a result of which Soviet power would be overthrown and the nationalists would assume power in Russia, Ukraine and the Baltic states. Vasily Biskupsky became the deputy of Renaissance.

Biskupsky never broke with the Nazis. After the failure of the Beer Hall Putsch on 9th November 1923 (in the course of these events, Scheubner-Richter died, after which his organization ceased to exist), he sheltered Adolf Hitler in his apartment. At the same time, he continued to play an important role in Grand Duke Kirill’s entourage, being appointed to the post of Minister of War in Kirill’s “government in exile.” Biskupsky welcomed the triumph of the NSDAP in January 1933 and went to Berlin, where he met with various high-ranking party leaders. In May 1936, with the support of the SS and the Ministry of Propaganda, he was appointed head of the Bureau of Russian Refugees.

His task included organizational accounting, control and “nazification” of all Russian emigrants living in Germany. Biskupsky’s closest associates were Pyotr Nikolaevich Shabelsky-Bork (1893-1952) and Sergei Vladimirovich Taboritsky (1897-1980), both former members of the Renaissance Society, who were responsible for the murder of Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov (1869-1922) – the father of the famous Russian writer. With the outbreak of the war, Biskupsky’s department actively cooperated with the SS and the Abwehr [German military intelligence for the Reichswehr and Wehrmacht from 1920 to 1945] in the field of attracting emigrants for the needs of the German army (and in particular intelligence) as translators and agents.

PHOTO: Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna with Adolf Hitler. September 1923

But back to the early 1920s. At this time, Kirill and Victoria made no attempts to hide their sympathy for the Nazi movement. Generous sums for the needs of the party were transferred by them, as a rule, through Biskupsky, as well as through General Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff (1865-1937), at that time an ally of Hitler. According to one source the grand ducal couple gave 500 thousand gold marks for the “solution of the German-Russian national question”. In addition, Victoria attended the teachings of the Stormtroopers and sometimes took her young son Vladimir with her.

PHOTO: Boris Lvovovich Brazol (1885-1963)

During the crisis of the first half of the 1920s, Kirill and Victoria suffered significant financial losses. Nevertheless, Biskupsky continued to find and channel significant funds to the Nazis until Hitler came to power. He received most of this money from Victoria. It is not entirely clear where Kirill and Victoria got their financial resources after the 1923 crisis. It is only known that Boris Lvovovich Brazol (1885-1963), who was attracted by Scheubner-Richter to Vozrozhdenie as an anti-Semitic publicist, became president of the Russian Monarchist Club in New York.

During his stay in the United States, Brazol was an ardent supporter of the restoration of the monarchy in Russia and was the official representative of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich in the United States. States. He was one of the founders of the Order of the Russian Imperial Union. Several historians associate Brazol’s name with the first American edition of the Protocols of the Scholars of Zion.

Brazol was able to establish contacts with Henry Ford, the richest American automobile industrialist and a rabid anti-Semite. In 1924, when Victoria visited America, Ford allocated a large sum of money for Kirill. Brazol continued to act as an intermediary between Ford and Kirill into the 1930s.

It is important to note, that from 1957, Brazol was in charge of the Central Committee for the Collection of Funds for the Treasury of Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich [Kirill’s son].

Over time, the attitude of the Nazis towards the Russians underwent drastic changes. The growing strength of the NSDAP no longer needed the support of the Russian monarchists. After the death of Scheubner-Richter, no one in the party leadership spoke of the possibility of reviving the monarchy – neither in Germany, nor even more so in Russia. Kirill, in turn, also gradually distanced himself – at least outwardly – from the ultra-right radicals.

PHOTO: Home of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich in Saint-Briac, France

The Tsar and the Soviets

Since the authorities of the Weimar Republic, not wanting to spoil relations with the USSR, forbade Kirill to engage in political activities, the “Court” moved to Saint-Briac, France at the end of the 1920s . During this time, ties between the Kirillovich and Germany continued as before.

In 1925, Kirill’s first daughter, Maria (1907-1951), married Prince Karl of Leiningen (1898-1946). He served in the naval forces of the Third Reich, at the end of the war he was captured by Soviet soldiers and died in 1946 of typhus. In 1938, Kirill’s second daughter, Kira (1909-1967), married Louis Ferdinand Prince of Prussia (1907-1994), who served as an officer in the Luftwaffe.

As for the “emperor” Kirill, from the moment he moved to France, on the advice of Biskupsky, he began to draw himself closer to Alexander Lvovich Kazem-Bek (1902-1977), who served as head of the Union of Young Russians emigrant organization.

Calling themselves “national revolutionaries”, the Young Russians proclaimed the goal of creating a “social monarchy” that would combine the features of autocracy with the Soviet system. The older generation of Russian émigrés accused Kazem-Bek of sympathizing with Bolshevism (and, as it turned out later, not without reason).

It was at this time that Kazem-Bek invited Kirill’s son Vladimir Kirillovich to most of the organizations major events.

PHOTO: Alexander Lvovich Kazem-Bek (1902-1977)

PHOTO: Vladimir Kirillovich (center) with Alexander Lvovich Kazem-Bek (right),
taking part in a Union of Young Russians rally. December 1930

The popular slogan of the Young Russians at the time, was “The Tsar and the Soviets.” Much in the ideology and external attributes of the Young Russians was taken directly from Italian fascism. Kazem-Bek was the only major Russian émigré politician who received a personal audience with Mussolini. The Young Russians learned from their black-shirt colleagues the principles of one-man management, hierarchy, and class solidarity. The Young Russians greeted their leader with a characteristic raise of their right hand and an exclamation of “Chief!”

However, by the mid-1930s, the Young Russians began to swing to the left, their press began to publish more and more materials that heralded the “Soviet experience”. They even began to call themselves “the second Soviet party”. A scandal occurred when in the summer of 1937 Kazem-Bek was found in one of the Parisian cafes engaged in secret talks with the famous Soviet general Alexei Alekseevich Ignatiev (1877-1954) who had arrived from the USSR.

The leader of the Young Russians was openly accused of being an agent of the Bolsheviks, after which Kirill broke off all relations with him. After the war Kazem-Bek returned to the Soviet Union and until the end of his life worked for the journal of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Friend of the invaders

Meanwhile, hopes for the revival of the monarchy were rapidly dwindling. Therefore, after the death of Kirill in 1938 (Victoria died a year and a half before that, during a visit to Nazi Germany), his son and “heir to the throne” Vladimir Kirillovich made a decision to not declare himself “emperor”, as his foolish father had done.

Generally speaking, Vladimir was much less involved in politics than his father, preferring to lead a secular life. However, this did not save him from reproaches for sympathizing with the Nazis. In 1938, he even made an official statement in which he emphasized that he “never met the German Chancellor,” which was not true, since little Vladimir knew Hitler as the leader of the party which had not yet come to power.

When German troops occupied France, Vladimir Kirillovich chose to stay in Saint-Briac. His relationship with the Germans, was apparently carried out “in an atmosphere of complete mutual understanding.” A few days after the establishment of the “new order” in France, Vladimir was summoned to Paris, to the German ambassador to occupied France Heinrich Otto Abetz (1903-1958). He was very courteous, but warned Vladimir about the need to observe complete loyalty to the Reich. Vladimir Kirillovich adhered to this “line” until the very end of the Second World War.

Grand Duke Kirill with his secretary Harold Karlovich Graf. St. Briac. 1930

It was following this meeting, that Vladimir fired the long-term head of the personal office of the “Imperial House” Harold Karlovich Graf and broke off all relations with him. When the Germans placed the latter under arrest, the Grand Duke made no attempts to try to alleviate the fate of his father’s faithful assistant. [In emigration, Graf converted to Orthodoxy and received the name George]

Graf himself later wrote with bitter regret in his memoirs: “The Grand Duke [Vladimir] fell completely under the influence of the Germans. In addition, the Germans who surrounded him usually belonged to the Gestapo. Most of them are Russian émigrés who serve as German agents and for the French police (Schutzmannschaft, the collaborationist auxiliary police) in a very bad way. Even the restaurants that the Grand Duke visits with them belong to those that are in bad favour with the police and would have long been closed if it were not for the help of the Germans …

“On the Grand Duke’s last visit to Paris, he was sitting in a restaurant, while German songs were sung at his table. From the French point of view, such closeness of the Grand Duke to the occupiers greatly compromised him and should have led to the fact that when the occupation of France was over, he would have to leave.”

PHOTO: Yuri Sergeevich Zherebkov (left) and Colonel V. I. Boyarsky (right)

At this time, the notorious Yuri Sergeevich Zherebkov (1908-1980), a former ballet dancer and the son of a Cossack general, became extremely close to Vladimir Kirillovich. In 1941, he headed the Committee for Mutual Assistance of Russian Emigrants in France, created by the Nazis, an analogue of the German bureau of General Biskupsky. Zherebkov was one of the most implacable anti-Semites and a fierce supporter of the Nazis.

In 1946, a Paris court sentenced Zherebkov to 5 years of “national dishonour”, and in 1948, for aiding in the deportation of Russian Jews, to forced labour for life (however, by that time, the former collaborator had already escaped to Franco’s Spain, where he died at the end 1970s).

It was Zherebkov, following the instructions of his German curators, who was responsible for Vladimir’s “political behaviour”. The most famous result of his activity was Vladimir’s “Appeal”, published on 26th June 1941, on the occasion of the outbreak of the war between Germany and the USSR. It was a direct call to cooperate with the Nazi occupiers. Here is its full text:

Address by the Head of the
Russian Imperial House,
Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich

In this terrible hour, when Germany and almost all the peoples of Europe have declared a crusade against communism-Bolshevism, which has enslaved and oppressed the people of Russia for twenty-four years, I appeal to all the faithful and devoted sons of our Motherland with an appeal: to contribute as much as possible and opportunities for the overthrow of the Bolshevik government and the liberation of our Fatherland from the terrible yoke of communism.

Vladimir
Saint-Briac,
June 26, 1941

However, the Nazis were by no means interested in such an “ally.” They stopped the spread of Vladimir’s appeal and threatened him that if he tried to play some independent political role, he would go straight to the concentration camp.

PHOTO: Prince of the Imperial Blood Gabriel Konstantinovich (1887-1955)

For the sake of objectivity, it should be noted that Kirill Vladimirovich, Victoria Feodorovna and Vladimir Kirillovich were by no means the only representatives of the Russian Imperial Family who openly supported the Nazis. For example, Prince of the Imperial Blood Gabriel Konstantinovich (1887-1955) – the son of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich (1858-1915) – also admired the success of the Fuhrer. On 12th August 1940, in a letter to Lieutenant General Nikolai Golovin (1875-1944), he wrote: “Yesterday in the cinema we saw the ceremonial meeting of the Reichstag and the triumphant return of the troops to Berlin. A stunning picture. I had tears from excitement … The arrival of “him” [Hitler] at the Reichstag is amazing. Wonderful cars, sparkling with cleanliness, enthusiastic crowd. Himself, the very simplicity, no imagination, while greatness and strength.”

Gabriel Konstantinovich also expressed satisfaction with the successes of the fascists in other European countries. On 16th October 1940, he wrote to the same addressee: “I am very glad that the Romanian King Karol was asked to leave. He is a very weak type and God knows what he was doing in Romania in community with his Jewess Lupescu … It seems to me that good has won out over evil and the time of light has now begun in the world.”

For the pretenders to the Russian throne, however, the “time of light” had not yet come. The Nazis made it clear that they had no plans at all to provide any part of Russia they had conquered with any independent form of government, let alone a monarchical one.

Moreover, in March 1941, in the diary of the headquarters of the operational leadership of the High Command of the Wehrmacht, an entry was made regarding the goals of the occupation regime on the territory of the USSR. Among other things, the document noted: “Socialist ideas in today’s Russia can no longer be eradicated … The Jewish-Bolshevik intelligentsia, which is the oppressor of the people, must be removed from the scene. The former bourgeois-aristocratic intelligentsia, if it still exists, primarily among the emigrants, should also not be allowed to power. It will not be accepted by the Russian people, and, moreover, they are hostile towards the German nation.”

So, the Nazis used Vladimir without promising him anything in return. With this state of affairs, he seems to have resigned himself. It is ironic that at the very beginning of the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945), Soviet propaganda actively exploited the topic of the potential revival of tsarism by the Nazis in Russia. On one of the posters of 1941, for example, read: “The excitement in the German convoy is not in vain, – / The Nazis are taking the tsar for Russia. / He sits, swaying on a skinny horse, / And he sees himself drunk in Moscow – in a dream …”

PHOTO: Edward Raczyński and Aleksandr Bogomolov

In an article, published in International Affairs, [Vol. 42, January-February 1996, No.1] Envoy Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Yury Vasilyevich Ivanov, reveals a different scenario.

In a letter dated 28th October 1941, Polish Minister Edward Bernard Raczyński (1891-1993) wrote to Soviet Ambassador to France Aleksandr Efremovich Bogomolov (1900-1969): “Referring to our conversation yesterday concerning contacts between Hitler and Grand Duke Vladimir [Kirillovich], I take the liberty of sending you information on this count, enclosed herein, which was recently received from a reliable source.”

“In early September this year an agreement was concluded between [Nazi] Germany and Russian Grand Duke Vladimir whereby Germany gave its consent to establish to the restoration of monarchy of the Romanovs. That state should establish a national-socialist or fascist regime. The non-Russian countries of the Soviet Union would be associated into a new Russia within a single union. The grand duke would renounce all claims to Poland. In execution of this agreement, the grand duke issued guidance to the White émigrés to collaborate with countries that are at war with the USSR.” In conclusion the document said: “The émigré community received this agreement with the hope that the ‘Whites’ would remain masters of the country also in the event of a German defeat.”

In addition to having fun in Parisian restaurants, Vladimir Kirillovich took part in financing France’s “eastern battalions” that were deployed in the middle of the war on the Western Front.

On the Eastern Front, perhaps, only one attempt is known to form a collaborationist Russian monarchical unit. In 1943, Nikolai Ivanovich Sakhnovsky, an activist of the “Russian Imperial Union-Order” organization, with twenty like-minded people living in Belgium, volunteered for the Wallonia SS assault brigade. As part of the brigade, Sakhnovsky created a detachment of Soviet prisoners of war, called the “Russian people’s militia”. Upon arrival in the occupied territory of the USSR, in the Korsun-Shevchenkovsky district, Sakhnovsky tried to deploy monarchist propaganda among the local population, which, however, did not have any noticeable response.

The “militias” wore a chevron on the sleeve in the form of an Orthodox eight-pointed cross with the inscription “Victory by this symbol.” The only combat operation in which the “militia” took part occurred during an accidental collision with the advancing Soviet infantry. Most of the soldiers died, the rest, along with the Walloon SS men, were withdrawn to the rear and disbanded. Some of them remained in the ranks of the formed 28th SS Grenadier Division “Wallonia” under the command of Leon Degrel, the rest were demobilized.

As for Vladimir, who then, seriously fearing for his life, before the liberation of France, managed to evacuate to Amorbach, Germany. At the very end of the war, fleeing from the advancing Soviet troops, he found himself in Tyrol in the company of Zherebkov. In the first days of May, they joined the column of the retreating pro-Axis collaborationist First Russian National Army, under Major General Boris Holmston-Smyslovsky (1897-1988). The latter was a career German intelligence officer of Russian-Finnish origin and, having enlisted the support of the Americans, brought to the West valuable cadres of Russian collaborationist saboteurs.

It is interesting that along with Vladimir and Zherebkov were the leaders of the French pro-Nazi Vichy regime – Marshal Henri Petain and Pierre Laval.

On the night of 2 to 3 May 1945, Smyslovsky’s army crossed the border of the neutral principality of Liechtenstein. It was here that the Russian Nazi accomplices were interned and subsequently escaped extradition to the USSR. As for the French and Vladimir, the authorities of the principality flatly refused to provide them with asylum – they were all extradited to representatives of the 1st French army of Marshal Jean de Latre de Tassigny (1889-1952).

PHOTO: Prince Vladimir Kirillovich in Madrid, Spain. 1950s

Laval and Petain, as well as Zherebkov, were handed over to the French by Vladimir Kirillovich himself – in exchange for his own immunity and permission to fly to Spain. There he was greeted by the Queen of Spain [Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, wife of King Alfonso XIII, who was waiting for him.

Vladimir’s escape to Francoist Spain undoubtedly saved him from possible retribution for his collaborationist activities. For almost ten years, he did not dare to travel outside of Spain.

Despite the damning evidence against Vladimir Kirillovich and his parents Grand Duke Kirill and Grand Duchess Victoria, Maria Vladimirovna and George Mikhailovich’s followers, the so-called “Legitimists” continue to argue that the evidence is nothing more than lies. So be it . . .

Truth does not mind being questioned. A lie does not like being challenged

© Paul Gilbert. 6 May 2021

Icon of the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II and the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards

PHOTO: Lieutenant Colonel Johnny Biggart holds the icon of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II

Lieutenant Colonel Johnny Biggart, commander of the elite Scottish military unit Scots Dragoon Guards, holds the icon of the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II. This photo was taken in 2012 in Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan.

The icon was presented to the regiment in August 2001 by the Moscow Caledonian Club “on behalf of the Russian people”. The icon of the holy martyr Nicholas II accompanies the Scots Dragoon Guards Scottish regiment wherever they are deployed. 

Tsar Nicholas II was appointed an honorary member of the Royal Scots Greys by Britain’s Queen Victoria in 1894, after he became engaged to Alexandra Feodorovna (Princess Alix of Hesse), who was Victoria’s granddaughter.

To this day Tsar Nicholas II is commemorated by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (which the Royal Scots Greys became in 1971), by the playing of the Russian Imperial anthem at certain mess functions. 

PHOTO: Newspaper shows Vitaly Mironov presenting icon to Major-General Hall

The Director of the Moscow Caledonian Club Vitaly Mironov notes that the idea to present an icon to the Scots Dragoon Guards Scottish regiment was one shared with historian Dr. Dmitry Fedosov, who then commissioned a church artist to paint this special icon. The icon was solemnly handed over by Mironov to the regimental commander on 24th August 2001, during a special ceremony in Edinburgh Castle in the presence of Mr. Smironov, the Consul General of the Russian Federation; the oldest member of the British Parliament Tam Dalyell; a large number of journalists and artists of the Russian Cossacks State Dance Company, who regularly perform in the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. 

When the producer of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Brigadier Melville Jameson asked Mironov “on behalf of whom do we want to present this icon to the regiment?”, he replied – “please mention that it was not done on our own behalf, but on behalf of ALL RUSSIAN PEOPLE.”

“This is extremely important for us,” added Mironov,  “because we considered the very fact of painting this icon and its presentation to the glorious Scottish regiment, as an act of the deepest repentance of ALL OF OUR PEOPLE for the greatest evil that our ancestors did to the Tsar, his family and members of the household … It is our history and our common historical memory.”

PHOTO: Scots Dragoon Guards holding the icon of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Vitaly Moronov for supplying me with this information and the importance of this icon of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II.

Click HERE for more information about the Moscow Caledonian Club

Click HERE to read the article Bonded in the Old Faith: Saint Andrew, Nicholas II, and the Birdcatchers by Monk Theodore, published in Orthodox Life on 13th December 2020

© Paul Gilbert. 4 May 2021

Historic link between Nicholas II and St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York

PHOTO: St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral was built in the Moscow Baroque style in 1902

This month marks the 120th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone for St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral, located in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York City. The cathedral serves as the administrative center of the Russian Orthodox Church in North America, and houses the representation of the Moscow Patriarchate in the United States.

On 25th August 1899, a plot of land of about 700 m² was purchased on 97th Street, between Madison and 5th Avenue, on which it was planned to build a cathedral that could accommodate 900 worshipers, as well as premises for a Sunday school, festive meetings and an apartment for clergy.

The cathedral was constructed in the Moscow Baroque style by the architect Ivan Viktorovich Bergezen. In 1900, permission to raise funds for the construction of the church was issued by Emperor Nicholas II, who on his own behalf donated 7,500 gold rubles to the project.

PHOTO: the iconostasis of St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral

The foundation stone of the church was laid by Bishop Tikhon, the head of the Russian Church in the Aleutian Islands and North America – the future Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Tikhon (1865-1925) on 22nd May 1901.

On 23rd November 1902, a consecration service, the first to be held in the completed church, was led by Bishop Tikhon. Bishop Charles Chapman Grafton, representing the Episcopal Church, participated in the service. The Russian Holy Synod elevated St. Nicholas Church to Cathedral status in December 1903, and the Diocesan Seat of North America was transferred from San Francisco to New York in 1905. Restoration work was carried out on the Cathedral between 1954 and 1960.

Today St. Nicholas Cathedral continues to serve the needs of the Russian Orthodox Church in this country as it has since its founding.

© Paul Gilbert. 4 May 2021

Memories of Nicholas and Alexandra’s love that have transcended time

PHOTO: aerial view of Schloss Wolfsgarten, near Darmstadt

Hidden away from the eyes of most visitors to Wolfgarten in Germany and the State Hermitage Museum in Russia, are two haunting mementoes etched into simple window panes of each of the two former royal residences. Despite revolution, two world wars and palace renovations, these glass windows with inscriptions written by Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna have miraculously survived to this day.

Wolfsgarten, Germany

Schloss Wolfsgarten is a former hunting seat of the ruling family of Hesse-Darmstadt, located in the German state of Hessen, situated 15 kilometers south of Frankfurt. The hunting lodge was established between 1722 and 1724 by Landgrave Ernst Ludwig of Hesse-Darmstadt. In 1768, Wolfsgarten was abandoned until the 1830s when the grand ducal family began to restore and expand the property. From 1879, Wolfsgarten became a favourite country retreat for Grand Dukes Ludwig IV and his son Ernst Ludwig, brother of Princess Alix, the future Empress Alexandra Feodorovna.

PHOTO: the years marking visits by Nicholas and Alexandra are etched in a window at Schloss Wolfsgarten

In November 1903 Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna visited the *divorced and not yet remarried Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig. It was on this occasion, that the couple updated the record of their visits to Wolfsgarten, by carving the year on a glass window, as they had done on prior visits in 1896 and 1899 respectively. The Imperial couple returned to Wolfsgarten in 1910.

*On 19th April 1894 Ernst Ludwig married his cousin Victoria Melita von Edinburgh, among the European royals and nobility in Coburg. Ernst and Victoria divorced on 21st November 1901. Victoria married Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich on 8th October 1905.

On 9th October 1937, Ernest Louis died after a long illness at Schloß Wolfsgarten. He received what amounted to a state funeral on 16 November 1937 and was buried next to his daughter, Elisabeth, in a new open air burial ground next to the New Mausoleum he had built in the Rosenhöhe park in Darmstadt.

PHOTO: contemporary view of the Winter Palace (State Hermitage Museum)

Winter Palace, St. Petersburg

From December 1895, Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, resided for periods during the winter in the Winter Palace. They extended and redesigned the rooms which had been prepared for Nicholas, as Tsesarevich two years earlier. The architect Alexander Krasovsky was commissioned to redecorate a suite of rooms in the northwest corner of the palace.

Following the events of Bloody Sunday in 1905, Nicholas II and his family abandoned the Winter Palace in favour of the more private Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo. From this date until the fall of the monarchy, the Winter Palace was used only for formal state occasions.

PHOTO: Alexandra records a memory from March 1902 on a window in her Study

On 25th October 1917, following the Provisional Government’s arrest in the Small Dining Room of the Winter Palace, an eyewitness account records a systematic destruction of the Imperial apartments by the Bolsheviks. The only original interior to have survived to the present is Nicholas II’s Gothic Library. The remainder of the Imperial couple’s private apartments including the bulk of their contents have been lost.

One tiny memento, however, has survived. Hidden from view by a lace curtain in the former Study of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, a memory was recorded by Alexandra. On 7th March 1902, taking her diamond ring, she etched the following in one of the windows: “Nicky 1902 looking at the Hussars. 7 March”.

In 1926 the former living quarters of the Imperial couple were handed over to the State Hermitage Museum for use as exhibition halls. The same year the décor of the Study was destroyed: the yellow damask wall covering was removed and the vault painting with flowers and garlands was painted over (it has since been restored). The viewing platform in the corner was dismantled, from which the Imperial couple liked to look at the Neva River at different times of the year from “Alix’s window” as Nicholas II used to call it in his diary.

Today, Room 185 houses the exhibition dedicated to the work of the famous St Petersburg furniture maker Heinrich Gambs. On view here are pieces of furniture and objects of decorative and applied art executed in the Classicism style.

CLICK on the VIDEO below, which shows not only the former Study of Alexandra Feodorovna, but also the view from the window, which will give you a better perspective of where the engraved window is exactly:

© Paul Gilbert. 4 May 2021

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Dear Reader

If you enjoy my articles, news stories and translations, then please help support my research by making a donation in US or Canadian dollars to my project The Truth About Nicholas II – please note that donations can be made by GoFundMePayPal, credit cardpersonal check or money order. Thank you for your consideration – PG

The fate of Nicholas II’s hunting lodge in the Caucasus

PHOTO: early 20th century postcard of Nicholas II’s hunting lodge in the Caucasus

The history of the village of Krasnaya Polyana is closely connected with the Romanovs. It was here, in 1864, that the Caucasian War ended. A victory parade and solemn prayer service was attended by the commander-in-chief of the Russian army, Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich (1832-1909), who served for 20 years as the Governor General of Caucasus (1862–1882).

In 1898, a decision was made to rename the village of Krasnaya Polyana to the city of Romanovsk [named in honour of the Imperial Family]. After the construction of the highway from Adler [Sochi, Krasnodar Territory of Russia], the flat lands were divided into 300 sections, and the slopes of the mountains – into 70. It was at this time, that the development and settlement of Romanovsk began.

In 1902, on the advice of the mayor of St. Petersburg Daniil Vasilyevich Drachevsky (1858-1918), who owned an estate on the shores of the Black Sea and a dacha in the mountains of Krasnaya Polyana, Emperor Nicholas II leased a plot of land for 40 thousand rubles for a period of 15 years. The forests on the slope of Mount Achishkho were declared a protected area, and only members of the Imperial Family and senior government officials were permitted to hunt there.

PHOTO: Nicholas II’s hunting lodge was constructed in the traditional English style

A new hunting lodge for Nicholas II was constructed in the traditional English style. The three-storey lodge was completed in 1903, and contained 50 rooms. A telephone was installed in the lodge, which connected to the post and telegraph office and security. In addition to the main building, a huntsman’s house was built just below the main building, as well as a stone guardhouse and a protective wall. According to one source, the Emperor showed little interest in the project.

In September 1903, the hunting lodge received its first guests. It is known for certain that Nicholas II himself never visited it. However, the Grand Dukes Alexander (1866-1933) and Sergei Mikhailovich (1869-1918) frequently visited the hunting lodge. When members of the Imperial Family were not in residence, the hunting lodge was also open to tourists visiting the region. After the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the lodge was rarely visited by the grand dukes, all of whom had dedicated themselves to the war effort.

In 1920, Nicholas II’s hunting lodge was nationalized, and became the “property of the people”. Initially it housed a sanatorium for the Red Army.

During World War II, the building was converted into a hospital for wounded soldiers. They were brought here for the health benefits of the mountain-sea climate of Krasnaya Polyana. By 1945, more than 120 doctors and nurses staffed the hospital.

PHOTO: the abandoned hunting lodge of Nicholas II, as it looked in the mid-1990s

In the post-war period, Joseph Stalin visited Krasnaya Polyana, visiting the former hunting lodge, which by that time had fallen into disrepair. In 1949, Stalin gave the order to restore the building, and to build a path connecting the lodge with the main building of the Red Army sanatorium.

In 1961, the house and the accompanying sanatorium buildings were transferred to the Central House of Sports of the Soviet Army. In 1963, construction began on the buildings of the Krasnaya Polyana military camp site, situated one kilometer from the former tsar’s hunting lodge. In 1965, the building officially became part of the Krasnaya Polyana camp site of the USSR Ministry of Defense.

In 1967, work began on the intensified modernization of the camp site, as a result of which an observation deck, a parking lot, a public toilet, and a restaurant were constructed. The hunting lodge itself became a 4-star hotel with a restaurant. Guest rooms were decorated with Persian carpets, crystal vases and porcelain. The rooms were equipped with modern bathrooms.

Until the collapse of the USSR in 1991, the tsar’s hunting lodge was still in good condition. At the decisive stage of Perestroika, the building was transferred into the hands of an anonymous private individual.

PHOTO: the former hunting lodge of Nicholas II, as it looks today

In the first half of the 1990s, the building was privately owned by a legal entity registered in the Cayman Islands. The former hunting lodge itself was used as an ordinary hotel. In 1995, the building was abandoned, as was the restaurant, the latter of which had been very popular in the 1980s. Before abandoning the building, its owners stripped it of all its interior decoration, and also exposed the windows.

In 2008, the lodge fell into the possession of Elena Baturina, the wife of the mayor of Moscow, a billionaire according to Forbes. By 2011-2012, the former tsar’s hunting lodge had fallen into a terrible state of neglect and disrepair, the entrance to the building was completely exposed to the elements as well as vandalism.

In May 2013, work began on the reconstruction of the former lodge, with its completion scheduled by February 2014, for the opening of the Olympic Games in Sochi.

The former hunting lodge of Nicholas II in the village of Krasnaya Polyana did not open its doors to visitors during the Olympic Games. Instead, the building and the adjacent territory were purchased by a private individual. Sadly, almost nothing remained of the historic buildings former appearance, following the reconstruction. Entrance to the territory is now prohibited.

© Paul Gilbert. 1 May 2021

***

Dear Reader

If you enjoy my articles, news stories and translations, then please help support my research by making a donation in US or Canadian dollars to my project The Truth About Nicholas II – please note that donations can be made by GoFundMePayPal, credit cardpersonal check or money order. Thank you for your consideration – PG

Descendants of Russian aristocrats against the Russian Imperial House

PHOTO: Rebecca Bettarini, George Mikhailovich and Maria Vladimirovna

Earlier this month, a group of seventeen descendants of Russian aristocrats penned an open letter to the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, regarding the illegal claims from the descendants of the Russian Imperial House – Maria Vladimirovna Romanova and her son George Mikhailovich [of Prussia].

Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich!

On behalf of the many zealots of the history of Russia, as well as the descendants of the historical families of Russia, we appeal to you, to bring to your attention the falsification of the history of our country.

On 20th January 2021, on the website of the so-called “Russian Imperial House”, an announcement was made regarding the upcoming wedding of the so-called “Grand Duke George Mikhailovich” and a certain “hereditary noblewoman” Miss Rebecca Bettarini. The upcoming wedding was presented to the whole world, as the “event of the century”, of which Russia has not seen the likes of for more than a hundred years.

At the same time, the upcoming event is cynically compared with the marriage of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas Alexandrovich and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, Holy Royal Martyrs, which took place in 1894.

It is painful to see how before our very eyes there is again an attempt to legitimize the rights of the descendants of the Kirillovich branch of the Romanov family to the throne – rights that they do not have and cannot have.

For 30 years now, various supporters of the so-called “Russian Imperial House” have been trying to obtain a special status from the state for Maria Vladimirovna and her son George Mikhailovich, shamelessly falsifying both the history of the Imperial House and the history of Russia itself.

We firmly declare that we do not recognize any special rights for Maria Vladimirovna and her son George of Prussia, who according to all dynastic laws belongs not to the Russian Imperial, but to the Prussian Royal House.

The great-grandfather of George of Prussia, Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, due to an unauthorized marriage with a divorced cousin by the Emperor, was deprived of the right to the throne by Emperor Nicholas II.

Kirill Vladimirovich himself de facto renounced his rights in the days of the February Revolution, when on 1st March 1917 (before the abdication of Nicholas II) he marched with the Guards crew to the Duma and swore allegiance to the revolutionary authorities.

PHOTO: Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna with Adolf Hitler. September 1923.

George’s great-grandmother, Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna was an honorary guest at party congresses of the NSDAP [Nazi Party], where she was photographed with Hitler. Her son, George’s grandfather, Vladimir Kirillovich, after the outbreak of war in June 1941, openly supported Nazi Germany, in a special appeal urging the Russian emigration to rally under her banners.

After the war, fearing retaliation, Vladimir Kirillovich tried to hide in Liechtenstein, but the local authorities did not let him in. He then fled to Spain, where he settled under the protection of Franco.

In 1948, Vladimir Kirillovich secretly married the divorced Mrs. Kirby, nee Princess Leonida Georgievna Bagration-Mukhranskaya, entering into a morganatic marriage, which, according to the laws of the Russian Empire, denied any rights to the throne to his offspring.

The daughter of this marriage, Maria Vladimirovna, married Prince Franz Wilhelm of Prussia, a direct descendant of the German Emperor Wilhelm II, who, as you know, declared war on Russia in 1914.

Franz Wilhelm’s father, that is, George’s own grandfather, Prince Karl Franz of Prussia during the Second World War served as a lieutenant in the armoured division of the Nazi Wehrmacht. For military distinctions on the Polish front, he was awarded the Iron Cross.

Vladimir Kirillovich arbitrarily granted his son-in-law the title of Grand Duke, and Franz Wilhelm himself converted to Orthodoxy before marriage, becoming “Mikhail Pavlovich.” The marriage ended in divorce in 1985, and “Mikhail Pavlovich” returned to his Lutheran faith. From this marriage, a son, George, was born, who, according to all laws, belongs to the Prussian Royal House. However, in 1992, at the request of the Russian ambassador to Paris, Yuri Alekseevich Ryzhov, who did not understand the situation, George received a Russian passport with the surname Romanov, while according to German and French documents, his surname appears as Prussian.

Not finding a bride supposedly “equal” to his status, Prince George of Prussia decided to marry an Italian citizen Rebecca Bettarini, who unexpectedly became a “hereditary noblewoman” and, having converted to Orthodoxy in the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg, became known as Victoria Romanovna.

The false “nobility” of Bettarini was created by Maria Vladimirovna herself, who has no right to do so. Maria actively, and completely illegally distributes orders, medals and even titles of the Russian Empire. While many orders and awards of the Russian Empire have been officially restored in the modern Russian Federation, an ordinary civilian, and not a representative of the state, distributes the same order in appearance and name to her supporters on behalf of the “Imperial House”! How can we not call them fake?

Maria Vladimirovna “awarded” the Italian diplomat Roberto Bettarini with the Order of St. Anne of the 1st degree, thanks to which his daughter turned out to be a “hereditary noblewoman of the Russian Empire”!

This whole story – the history of the Kirillovich branch of the Romanovs and their descendants in the 20th century – is a series of betrayals, lies, deceit, scams and forgeries. And now they are trying to present another forgery to the people under the guise of “Imperial House” and “Imperial wedding”.

Moreover, it has already been announced that the wedding of George of Prussia and his bride should take place in St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg, the former cathedral of the Russian Empire!

Suffice it to say that in this cathedral, when it was still made of wood, only one of the Russian sovereigns, Peter the Great, was married there! And now the self-styled heir to the Russian throne, the self-styled Grand Duke and Tsarevich, the great-grandson of the one who betrayed the oath, the grandson of the one who called on the Russian emigration to fight Russia on the side of Nazi Germany, and the man whose ancestors fought in the ranks of the Wehrmacht and before that the First World War was unleashed—will now take place there! It is impossible to imagine a greater mockery of Russian history.

We declare that neither Maria Vladimirovna nor George of Prussia have the slightest right to be considered members of the Russian Imperial Family and heirs to the Russian throne. Another adventure of this family causes irreparable damage to Russia and plays into the hands of the forces trying to discredit the great history of our country.

With deep respect and faith in the triumph of truth!

  • Natalya Aleksandrovna Vinokurova – Deputy Head of the Department for Relations with Political and Public Organizations and the Media of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Crimea to the President of the Russian Federation.
  • Vladimir Nikolaevich Grekov – Chairman of the Association in memory of His Majesty’s Life Guards Cossack Regiment.
  • Nikolai Nikitich Dobrynin is a member of the Society for the Memory of the Imperial Guard.
  • Lidia Vladimirovna Dovydenko – editor-in-chief of the Berega magazine, secretary of the Russian Writers’ Union, candidate of philosophical sciences.
  • Igor Vasilievich Zhuravkov is a full member of the Russian Geographical Society.
  • Count Sergei Alekseevich Kapnist – Chairman of the Main Directorate of the Russian Red Cross Society of the old organization.
  • Alim Alimovich Krylov is a member of the Association for the Memory of His Majesty’s Life Guards Cossack Regiment.
  • Prince Nikita Dmitrievich Lobanov-Rostovsky is an honorary member of the presidium and co-founder of the International Council of Russian Compatriots, an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Arts.
  • Gleb Borisovich Lukyanov is a member of the St. Petersburg branch of the All-Russian Society for the Protection of Historical and Cultural Monuments.
  • Dmitry Dmitrievich Lobkov – Chairman of the Regional Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots in America, New Zealand and Australia.
  • Ivan Yurievich Matveev – Deputy Chairman of the Imperial Society of Zealots in Memory of Emperor Paul I.
  • Princess Julia Romanova is the widow of Prince Mikhail Andreevich, an honorary member of the Association of members of the Romanov family.
  • Anton Andreevich Skirda – Chairman of the Council of the Federal Building Association of Consumer Society “OUR DOM”.
  • Prince Alexander Alexandrovich Trubetskoy – Chairman of the Society for the Memory of the Imperial Guard, Chairman of the Franco-Russian Alliance Association, member of the International Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots.
  • The Marquis Ivan Farache di Villaforesta is the grandson of Prince Ioann Konstantinovich, an honorary member of the Association of the members of the Romanov family.
  • Ekaterina Sergeevna Fedorova – Doctor of Culturology, Professor of Lomonosov Moscow State University.
  • Count Pyotr Petrovich Sheremetev – Chairman of the Russian Musical Society in Paris and Rector of the Paris Russian Conservatory named after Sergei Rachmaninoff. Honorary Chairman of the Presidium of the International Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots.

Click HERE to read my article Paul Gilbert Cuts Ties with the Russian Imperial House, published on 5th February 2021.

© Paul Gilbert. 28 April 2021

Plots against Nicholas II by members of the Imperial Family

PHOTO: detail from a painting of Nicholas II by Pavel Ryzhenko (1970-2014)

Historian and author Brian Moynahan (1941-2018) writes about the plots hatched against Nicholas and Alexandra by members of the Imperial Family, following the murder of Grigory Rasputin, :

“At the weekend, over cards and liqueurs in the Imperial Yacht Club, the grand dukes aired plans to remove Alexandra to a nunnery. Sometimes Nicholas was to go too, to be replaced by one of themselves. [Grand Duke] Mikhail [Alexandrovich], his kindly and weak-willed brother, was one candidate. He had left Russia before the war after a clandestine marriage to the ex-wife of a captain in his own regiment. He had come back with the war, but his command of a Cossack brigade had been disastrous and he had been shuffled off to an obscure inspectorship. [Grand Duke] Nikolai Mikhailovich, the tsar’s cousin, had a more realistic claim, for his relative liberalism had won him the nickname “Nicholas Egalité.” Cynical, disparaging, and jealous by temperament, he was a historian who “worked only with words,” and was “too fond of scandal” to act decisively.

“No secrecy was observed in these intrigues. On Sunday, Petrograd rang with details of a coming coup. One theory was that a famous fighter pilot, Captain Kostenko, intended to crash his aircraft onto the imperial limousine. Another had several grand dukes plotting to use four regiments for a night march on the palace at Tsarskoye Selo to force the emperor to abdicate in favour of his son and a regent. Prince Gabriel Constantinovich gave a supper party for his mistress, a former actress, on Monday, December 26. The guests included Grand Duke Boris [Vladimirovich], the industrialist Alexei Putilov, a dozen officers, and a squad of elegant courtesans. They talked nonstop about the conspiracy and the details of which the regiments were to be seduced. All this was done with “the servants moving about, harlots looking on and listening, gypsies singing.”

“Tongues loosened by streams of Brut Imperial [a French sparkling wine] were heard by Okhrana agents. Nicholas and Alexandra were informed. They sent the grand dukes no Christmas presents that year and soon moved them and Rasputin’s murderers out of Petrograd. Grand Duke Dmitri [Pavlovich] was ordered to join the army staff in Persia, Yusupov was exiled to his family estates in the south. Vladimir Purishkevich had already gone to the front, where the military police were keeping an eye on him. The other grand dukes were sent to their estates or away on urgent naval business. The press was forbidden to mention Rasputin’s name.”

Source: Comrades. 1917 Russia in Revolution (1992) by Brian Moynahan (1941-2018)

CLICK on the LINK to watch THE CONSPIRACY AGAINST NICHOLAS II with Paul Gilbert

The Tsar’s poignant diary entry of March 2nd 1918 bore much truth to the betrayal by his ministers, generals, soldiers, and even members of his extended family who turned their back on their sovereign breaking their oath of allegiance and thus committing treason in the process. Even his distant relations, members of the various royal families of Europe, turned their back on the Emperor. Treachery was indeed everywhere.

© Paul Gilbert. 26 April 2021

Vandals destroy monument to Tsar’s family in Tatarstan

PHOTO: the memorial dedicated to the Holy Royal Martyrs situated on a cliff overlooking the Volga River, near the village of Pechishchi, consists of a Cross, a black-granite monument and a simple bench

Vandals have destroyed a memorial dedicated to the Holy Royal Martyrs situated on a cliff overlooking the Volga River, near the village of Pechishchi, Verkhneuslonsky district of Tatarstan. The monument bearing the images of Nicholas II, Alexandra Feodorovna and their five children was knocked from its pedestal and thrown over the side of a cliff. The Orthodox Cross was untouched by the vandals.

The composition includes an iron veneration cross and black granite monument were erected on 17th July 2013, to mark the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty, and to honour the memory of Nicholas II and his family, who were murdered in Ekaterinburg on 17th July 1918. A small bench was added, allowing visitors a place for solitude and reflection at the Holy Orthodox site.

PHOTOS: the black granite monument to the Holy Royal Martyrs – before (above) and after (below) Bolshevik sympathizers threw it over the nearby cliff

The plaque’s inscription on the Cross (below) reads:

“Императору великому мученику, его царственной семье, его верным слугам, с ним мученический венец принявшим, и всем россиянам, богоборческой властью умученным и убиенным. Россияне, склоните головы. Париж, Александро-Невский храм”.

“To the great martyr Emperor, his royal family, his loyal servants, who accepted the martyr’s crown with him, and to all Russians tortured and slain by the godless power. Russians, bow your heads. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Paris.”

Who the vandals are and how they managed to throw the multi-ton slab over the cliff remains unknown. although local officials claim those responsible would have needed heavy equipment to carry out their act of vandalism.

During the last decade, a number of monuments to Russia’s last emperor and tsar have been the target of vandals – mostly Bolshevik radicals.

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.”

© Paul Gilbert. 22 April 2021

Obituary: French historian and author Marc Ferro (1924-2021)

PHOTO: French historian and author Marc Ferro (1924-2021)

Marc Ferro was born on 24th December 1924 in Paris. In 1941, he lived with his mother Oudia Firdmann and stepfather. Ferro was 5 years old when his father died. His mother was a designer at Worth, the first haute couture house in the French capital.

Ferro was a student at the Lycée Carnot. During the German occupation of Paris, he was the victim of the new Vichy regime’s rabid anti-Semitic policies, due to the Jewish origin of his mother. His philosophy professor, Maurice Merleau-Ponty recommended that Ferro and his classmates flee the occupied zone as soon as possible. Ferro took refuge in Grenoble as it was located in an unoccupied zone. His mother was deported and died on 28th June 1943 at Auschwitz.

Between 1948 and 1956, Ferro taught at the Lycée Lamoricière in Oran, in French-occupied Algeria. He was then appointed professor in Paris, at a number of higher learning schools. He later served as Director of studies at the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. At the beginning of the 1960s Ferro specialized in Soviet history, focusing on the Russian Revolution of 1917 .

The popular French historian and author is probably best known for his books on early 20th-century European history, the Russian Revolution and Emperor Nicholas II.

PHOTO: English edition of Nicholas II: Last of the Tsars (1991)

In 1990, his book Nicholas II: Last of the Tsars, was published and translated into many languages. Sadly, Ferro like most Western historians paint Russia’s last emperor and tsar in a very poor light.

For his biography, Ferro researched extensively in Russian archives to illuminate Nicholas II’s character. Ferro paints a portrait of “a reluctant leader, a young man forced by the death of his father into a role for which he was ill-equipped”.

“A conformist and traditionalist, Nicholas admired the order, ritual, and ceremony identified with the intangible grandeur of autocracy, and he hated everything that might shake that autocracy – the intelligentsia, the Jews, the religious sects”.

Ferro documents Nicholas II’s reign, as “one of continual trouble: a humiliating war with Japan; the 1905 revolution that forced Nicholas to accept a constitutional assembly, the Duma; the international crisis of 1914, leading to World War I; and finally the Revolution of 1917, forcing his abdication”.

The French historian believes that the Tsar was “utterly opposed to change and to the ferment of ideas that stirred his country, who felt it was his duty to preserve intact the powers God had entrusted in him”.

Ferro also provides an intimate portrait of Nicholas’s personal life: his wife Alexandra; his four daughters, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia; his son and heir Alexei, who suffered from haemophilia; and the various figures in the court, most notably Rasputin, whose ability to revive the frequently ailing Alexis made him indispensable to the Tsaritsa”.

Perhaps most intriguing is Ferro’s chapter on the fate of the Tsar and his family, examining all the rumours and contradictory testimony that swirl around this still popular conspiracy theory. Ferro concludes that Alexandra and her daughters may have survived the revolution, and the woman who later surfaced in Europe claiming to be Anastasia may well have been so.

PHOTO: La Vérité sur la tragédie des Romanov (2012)

In 2012, Ferro published a second book La Vérité sur la tragédie des Romanov [The Truth about the tragedy of the Romanovs], in which he explores even further his belief that the Empress and her daughters survived the bloody regicide.

Ferro never believed the official version of the deaths of the Imperial Family in Ekaterinburg on 17th July 1918. He questions the murder of the Romanovs, based on a series of documents, allegedly discovered in the Vatican archives. The sudden death or execution of judges or witnesses, truncated documents, stolen investigation files, controversial DNA tests, put Ferro on the trail of a sacrilegious hypothesis: that the Empress and her four daughters were saved thanks to to a secret agreement between the Bolsheviks and the Germans. According to Ferro’s book, only the fate of the Tsarevich, Alexei, remains unknown, due to lack of “reliable” sources.

PHOTO: La Vérité sur la tragédie des Romanov DVD (2018)

In 2018, a French-language documentary was released in DVD format. The 1 hour 26 minute film presents a series events surrounding Nicholas II’s reign based on Ferro’s research: Bloody Sunday 1905, the February 1905 Revolution, the abdication of the Emperor, the coming to power of Lenin, the Tsesarevich’s haemophilia, Rasputin, the Empress’s alleged political influence over Nicholas. Among those interviewed in the documentary are actor Pierre Carbonnier who quotes Pierre Gilliard, and the participation of historians Hélène Carrère d’Encausse, Orlando Figes, Jean-Jacques Marie, historian of photography Daniel Girardin and Pierre-Frédéric Gilliard, nephew of Pierre Gilliard .

Marc Ferro died due to complications of COVID-19, on 21st April 2021, at the age of 96, in Saint-Germain-en-Laye (Yvelines), surrounded by his family.

© Paul Gilbert. 22 April 2021

Gothic Library of Nicholas II in the Winter Palace

PHOTO: The Gothic Library of Emperor Nicholas II in the Winter Palace, as it looks today

The Gothic Library of Emperor Nicholas II in the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, remains one of the most beautiful interiors to have survived to the present day. In addition, the library is the only interior of the Emperor’s private apartments in the Winter Palace to have retained its historical appearance without undergoing any changes.

This library was created in 1894-95 by the Russian architect Alexander Fedorovich Krasovsky (1848 – 1918). Krasovsky embodied the restrained spirit of old English castles: an abundance of wood trim, a ceiling with caissons and openwork chandeliers, bookcases placed along the walls as well as a massive fireplace. For it’s decoration, the architect made extensive use of the English Gothic style.

This interior with its decorative panels of tooled and gilded leather, monumental fireplace and tall windows with tracery carry visitors back to the Middle Ages, thus creating an incredible historical ambiance. It also features a coffered walnut ceiling embellished by quatrefoils. On the desk is a porcelain sculpture portrait of Nicholas II, an identical copy of the original the biscuit porcelain bust of the Emperor completed in 1896 by the Russian sculptor Léopold Bernstamm.

The library was located in a separate wing of the private apartments of Nicholas II. To accommodate the vast library, an upper balustrade and staircase were added. The walls above the bookcases were decorated with panels of embossed gilded leather.

An important element of the interior was the Gothic fireplace decorated with images of griffins and lions – heraldic figures of the family coats of arms of the House of Romanovs and the House of Hesse-Darmstadt, to which the empress belonged.

PHOTO: Furniture for the Gothic Library of Nicholas II, designed by N. V. Nabokov, made by N. F. Svirsky

The furniture which decorates the room was designed by the architect Nikolay Vasilyevich Nabokov (1838 – after 1907), and made by Nikolai Fedorovich Svirsky, at his workshop located at 45/47 Borovaya Street in St. Petersburg. The Russian State Historical Archive [RGIA] has preserved Svirsky’s furniture design drawings to the present day. Some of his creations for the Gothic Library were displayed in a temporary exhibition held in the State Hermitage Museum in 2018.

In 1905, Nicholas II and his family moved to Tsarskoye Selo, where they took up permanent residence in the Alexander Palace. Following his abdication in February 1917, the Imperial Residences were all nationalized under the new Provisional Government. It’s leader Alexander Kerensky (1881-1970) wasted little time in acquisitioning the Gothic Library for his own personal use.

PHOTO: Kerensky seated in Nicholas II’s Gothic Library in the Winter Palace, 1917

In March 1917, a decree was issued declaring the contents of the Winter Palace as state property. Only a portion of the library’s original book collection have been *preserved. Today’s caretakers in the State Hermitage mUSEUM confirm that the Emperor read all the books that were kept, often leaving his notes in them.

*In the 1930s and early 1940s, 10,915 titles, 15,720 volumes from Nicholas II’s library in the Winter Palace, were sold to various libraries in the United States, including Harvard, NYPL, and Stanford. In addition, about 2,800 volumes were acquired by the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

I am pleased to share a link to a beautiful three-dimensional panorama of the Gothic library of Nicholas II in the Winter Palace, courtesy of the State Hermitage Museum – Click HERE to view.

© Paul Gilbert. 22 April 2021