Audio recording of the voice of Nicholas II

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This is a recording of a solemn speech made by Nicholas II in French, delivered in honour of the arrival of French President Emile Loubet in St. Petersburg on 8th May, 1902.

The year of 1901 noted in the video is incorrect. Also, the watercolours shown in the video document the visit of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna to France in 1901.

NOTE: Nicholas II was fluent in 4 languages: Russian, English, French, and German

The text of Nicholas II’s speech was published in the ‘Полном собрании речей императора 1894-1906 / Complete Collection of the Emperor’s Speeches 1894-1906’. The speech was also published in the Russian newspaper ‘Vestnik’ in 1902.

French text:

“Monsieur le Prèsident, Mes troupes dont Vous venez de voir le dèfilè sont heureuses d’avoir pu rendre les honneurs au Chef hautement estime de l’Etat ami et alliè. Les vives sympathies qui animent l’armèe russe a l’ègard de la belle armèe française Vous sont connues. Elles constituent une rèelle fraternitè d’armes que Nous pouvons constater avec d’autant plus de satisfaction que cette force imposante n ‘ est point destinèe à appuyer des visèes agressives, mais bien au contraire à affermir le maintien de la paix gènèrale et à sauvegarder le respect des principes èlevès qui assurent le bien-ètre et favorisent le progrès des nations. Je lève Mon verre à prospèritè et à la gloire de la brave armès française.”

English translation:

“Mr. President, My troops paraded before you, happy to have the opportunity to pay tribute to the highly respected Head of a friendly and allied state. You know the sincere disposition towards the excellent French army that reigns in the Russian army. Our armies are a true brothers in arms, which we can celebrate with all the more satisfaction, that this imposing force is in no way intended to support aggressive aspirations, but, on the contrary, to strengthen the maintenance of universal peace and preserve those lofty principles which promote progress and ensure the prosperity of nations. I raise My glass to the glory and prosperity of the brave French army.”

NOTE: This speech is in two parts. The first speech is the voice of Nicholas II. The second part most likely belongs to the French President, who turns to the Tsar and wishes power and prosperity of the great Russian army.

© Paul Gilbert. 25 August 2020

“A cross of gold” for Russia

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In 1896, Emperor Nicholas II ordered a major currency reform to place the Russian ruble on the gold standard. This resulted in increased investment activity and an increase in the inflow of foreign capital. It was one of the many achievements during his 22-year reign as Emperor of the Russian Empire.

Russia had not enjoyed a stable currency since the Crimean War (1853-1856) when the government suspended the redemption of paper notes for gold and silver. The [international] exchange rate of the credit or paper ruble fell considerably during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78.

The instability of Russia’s currency stemmed from its lack of any precise correlation with foreign currencies [based on the gold standard]. This instability created a serious obstacle to 19th century Russian commercial and capital transaction. Not only did Russians have to pay higher prices for foreign goods, fluctuations of exchange complicated the Russian export trade. 

Ivan Alekseyevich Vyshnedgradsky (1832-1895), who served as Russia’s Minister of Finance from 1886-92, began the process of accumulating a gold reserve in order to stabilize the ruble. His successor Sergei Yulyevich Witte (1849-1915), who served as Minister of Finance from 1892-1903, accelerated this policy of accumulation, partly by using foreign loans to obtain gold. 

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Emperor Nicholas II presides over a meeting of the State Council of the Russian Empire

While some acknowledged the virtues of the gold standard, they maintained nevertheless that it could not survive in Russia. The country was too poor, they said, and eventually all the gold would end up abroad. 

Under the terms of the monetary reform the new gold ruble, which was to become the basic monetary unit, was made to equal 1.50 old rubles. The gold reserve of the State Bank stood at 1,200,000,000 [1.2 billion] rubles [in new currency].

The struggle against the monetary reform did not cease, nonetheless, and indeed it took the most unexpected turns. During Nicholas II’s visit to Paris, for example, the French premier, Méline, tried to persuade the tsar that a gold currency would be harmful to Russia. Count Montebello, the French ambassador, pursued this line by submitting to the emperor, two detailed memoranda on the question.

Yet Nicholas II remained steadfast in his attitude toward the reform. He forwarded the French notes to Witte with the notation: “Enclosed are the memoranda which have been sent to me; I have not read them–you can keep them!” Finally on 2 January 1897 the Emperor convened a special session of the State Council at which he himself presided. The council decided at this meeting to proceed with the implementation of the reform. The Emperor’s ukaz of 3 January 1897 ordered the beginning of a new gold coinage in which the old Imperials [ten ruble gold coins] would be replaced by coins of the same weight and purity, but stamped “15 Rubles” instead of 10. 

The monetary reform entered Russian life without any fanfare and, contrary to the warnings of its opponents, without creating any tremors in the economy. For two years already the rate had remained stable. The speculation in rubles had ceased. The state had been selling gold at the rate of 1 ruble 50 kopecks for each ruble in gold, and the exchange of paper rubles for gold at the same rate was no novelty. Gold did not flow abroad, nor was any significant amount of it hidden away. Russia meanwhile stabilized its international financial position by painlessly moving on the gold standard, which by then most of the great powers had adopted. [Japan followed Russia’s example in March 1897.] The timing of the reform was fortuitous. Adoption of the gold standard followed four years of bumper crops (1893-96). 

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Sergei Witte (1849-1915) served as Russia’s Minister of Finance from 1892-1903

Towards the end of 1897 the government decided to produce new gold coins in values of 10 and 5 rubles. Over the next fifteen years and for the first time since the introduction of paper currently [except for the brief period between the devaluation of 1842 and the Crimean War], Russia enjoyed the normal circulation of gold currency.

Some of the most prominent European economists–the Germans Adolph Wagner and William Lexis and the Englishman George Viscount Goschen–unanimously recognized the timeliness and success of the Russian monetary reform. Indeed, confronted by the inertia of Russian opinion and by foreign interests hostile to stabilization, the currency reform probably would have failed except for the intervention of the Emperor who compelled an end to the dispute by forcefully expressing his will at the meeting of the finance committee on 2 January 1897.

Witte recorded in his memoirs that “in the end I had only one force behind me, but it was a power stronger than all the rest–that was the confidence of the Emperor. And therefore I repeat that Russia owes its metallic gold currency exclusively to Emperor Nicholas II.”

This article has been sourced from Last Tsar. The Autocracy, 1894-1900, by Prince Sergei Oldenburg, it has been abridged and edited by Paul Gilbert

© Paul Gilbert. 24 August 2020

The myth of Nicholas II’s indifference to the Khodynka tragedy

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More than a century after his death and martyrdom, a number of tragic events continue to haunt the legacy of Russia’s last tsar. It was the Khodynka tragedy, in which thousands were killed or injured during a stampede, that would haunt Nicholas II throughout his 22-year reign.

On the morning of 18th May 1896, over half a million revelers had gathered on the Khodynka Field in Moscow for ceremonies marking the Coronation of Emperor Nicholas II.

Organizers had set up 150 stalls to distribute 400 thousand free gifts to the people, a souvenir of the historic event.

The gift included a commemorative enamelled metal cup, bearing the cyphers of Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna 1896 and the Imperial Crown on one side, the Imperial coat of arms on the reverse.

The cup was distributed along with a variety of food presents, which included a 400 gram loaf of bread; 200 gram sausage stick; Vyazemsky gingerbread; a small bag full of sweets, nuts, and dried fruits.

Everything was tied in a bright calico commemorative scarf, on which the portraits of the imperial couple were printed on one side, and a view of the Kremlin on the reverse.

Sadly, the day began in tragedy. Rumours began to spread among the people that there was not enough beer or pretzels for everybody, and that the enamel cups contained a gold coin. A police force of 1,800 men failed to maintain civil order, and a catastrophic crowd crush and panic resulted in an estimated 1,389 people being trampled to death, and an additional 1300 injured, in what has become known as the Khodynka Tragedy.

Despite the tragedy, the program of festivities continued as planned elsewhere on the Khodynka field, with many people unaware of the tragedy that had taken place. The Emperor and Empress made a brief appearance in front of the crowds on the balcony of the Tsar’s Pavilion in the middle of the field around 2 p.m. By that time the traces of the incident had been cleaned up. The couple were clearly shaken by the news.

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The Emperor and Empress on the balcony of the Tsar’s Pavilion in the middle of the Khodynka Field

It was the Emperor’s attendance at a grand ball held on the evening of the tragedy, however, which planted a seed of gross misunderstanding and ridicule, one which Nicholas is criticized to this very day. I would like to take a closer look at this . . . 

The ball was hosted by the French ambassador Gustave Lannes de Montebello (1838-1907), in Moscow. The French spared no expense in the extravagant preparations for the ball. The ball in part marked the recently signed Franco-Russian alliance.

For the arrival of Their Majesties, foreign princes, princesses, members of the Imperial Family, representatives of the foreign diplomatic corps, court officials gathered in the halls of the embassy. For hours this mass paraded through the halls. The excitement was everywhere. Their Majesties were greeted by the French ambassador and his wife at the entrance and remained at the embassy until 2 am.

The tsars’ sister Grand Duchess Olga Alexandra wrote: “The French government had gone to immense expense and trouble to arrange the ball. Tapestries and plate were brought from Versailles and Fontainebleau and 100,000 roses from the south of France.

“Other guests shared their descriptions: “some of the rooms had been converted into winter gardens” . . . “in one room a fountain lit up with colourful electric lights”. 

The grand ball at the French ambassador’s party ended with a fine dinner. During the ball, the ladies were offered luxurious fans and bouquets of flowers brought from France. In general, the ball was wonderful; full of animation, luxury, extraordinary brilliance, it left an indelible impression on many.

During the ball, an orchestra played and a choir of Russian singers in luxurious Russian costumes sang. The wide hospitality of the French embassy was extended to all guests.

An open buffet, champagne, fine French wines, a magnificent dinner, flowers for guests – everything was there. The tables in the Tsar’s rooms especially stood out – among the luxurious silver there were literally mountains of fragrant flowers.

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Nicholas and Alexandra are greeted by the French ambassador and his wife

It was clear that the newly crowned Emperor and Empress did not want to attend the ball. Some historians believe that Nicholas was bullied by his uncles, urging him to attend. Because of the extravagant preparation for the ball, caused in part by France’s delight at the recently signed alliance with Russia, the failure of Nicholas and Alexandra to attend would have been a great slight.

According to the Countess Maria Eduardovna Kleinmichel (1846-1931), “in view of the terrible expense, the French ambassador begged the Imperial couple to attend, He urged the Emperor to agree to at least attending the reception, even if for a short while. The Tsar looked all haggard and pale as a white sheet. The Imperial couple walked in silence through the halls, bowing to those who had assembled. Then they went into the ambassador’s drawing-room, and shortly thereafter departed. The French were in despair, but they seem to have realized that their demands after such a tragedy, one which shook the Emperor and Empresses so deeply, were simply impossible.” 

Grand Duchess Olga Alexandra also noted: “I know for a fact that neither of them wanted to go. It was done under great pressure from his advisers . . . Nicky’s ministers insisted that he must go as a gesture of friendship to France.”

Count Sergei Witte, who served as Prime Minister under Nicholas II recalled that Nicholas “looked sick” and was “obviously depressed”.

“I know that both Nicky and Alicky spent the whole of that day in visiting one hospital after another,” wrote Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna.

Nicholas allotted some 90 thousand rubles to the victims families out of his own personal funds, and not the states. He ordered that a thousand bottles of port and Madeira were to be sent to hospitals for the wounded, and the sovereign himself visited the wounded in the hospitals and attended the funeral service for the dead. Further, all orphans received a pension until they were of age.

In their book A Life for the Tsar, co-authors Greg King and Janet Ashton wrote: “They [Nicholas and Alexandra} visited the wounded in Moscow’s hospitals, and Nicholas announced that he would compensate the victims . . . yet the visits were mechanical and the pledge of financial aid went largely unfulfilled.” What is interesting to note is that their 189-page book, contains no less than 1,349 citations, yet there is no citation for their claim that Nicholas reneged on his promise to compensate victims. This in itself suggests that such a claim is based on rumour and not fact.

The Emperor’s kindness and empathy towards the victims and their families has been widely documented by numerous historians, both Western and Russian. The claim by King and Ashton that the “pledge of financial aid went largely unfulfilled”, simply goes against the personal character and deeply pious Orthodox beliefs of Nicholas II.

When asked if Nicholas II showed indifference to the victims of the Khodynka tragedy, Professor M.V. Lomonosov, who serves as associate professor of the history faculty of Moscow State University said:

“Here it is necessary to clearly separate the two matters. On one hand we have a situation related to human relationships, issues of empathy, compassion and mercy. On the other hand, there are issues of diplomacy and diplomatic protocol. And in this situation, they overlap one another.

“There was an official reception with the French ambassador, and it was necessary to demonstrate good relations with France. It was quite obvious that if Nicholas II for any reason ignored this event, then it would have a negative impact on Russian-French relations. As you know, his attendance at the ball was purely official.

“The  reception was not an entertainment event as such. It was political. There are things which need to be done, despite the fact that a tragic event overshadowed it.

“By attending, Nicholas II fulfilled his duties and Russia received a certain European political resonance.”

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Emperor Nicholas II at the bedside of a victim injured during the Khodynka tragedy

That evening Nicholas briefly noted the event in his diary: “Up until now, thank God, everything went perfectly. The crowd spending the night on the Khodynka meadow, in anticipation in the distribution of the food and mugs, broke through the barrier and there was a terrible crush, during which it is terrible to say about 1300 people trampled!!”

His lack of emotion or empathy in this entry for the victims does not reflect his private feelings. His detractors often cite this in their negative assessment of his reign. [for more on Nicholas II’s diaries, please refer to my article Nicholas II’s Diaries 1894-1918.]

Whatever the Emperor’s private feelings, the Khodynka tragedy created a number of negative images and impressions which would colour all later views of Nicholas, his government and his reign. The first such image was that of a young monarch dancing at a fabulous ball on the evening of a day when hundreds of his subjects had lost their lives as a result of the incompetence of his own government.

“The image was unfair,” notes Russian historian Dominic Lieven. Not for the last time, however, the Emperor’s self-control exposed him in temperamental Russian eyes to accusations of heartlessness and indifference.

Sadly, Nicholas and his government never erased the image which Khodynka implanted in the public mind.

***

Dear Reader: I am always pleased to present new articles based on my own research from Russian archival sources, and first English translations of new articles from Russian media sources on my Nicholas II blog and Facebook pages. It is these articles and topics which seldom (if ever) attract the attention of the Western media. I personally translate the articles, and complement them further with additional materials, photographs, videos and links.

If you found this article interesting, 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 GoFundMe, PayPal, credit card, personal check or money order. Thank you for your consideration – PG

© Paul Gilbert. 23 August 2020

20th anniversary of the Canonization of Nicholas II and his family

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Bas-relief on the wall of the Chapel of the Royal Passion-Bearers in Kostroma

On this day – 20th August 2000 – after much debate, Emperor Nicholas II and his family were canonized as passion bearers by the Moscow Patriarchate

The Moscow Patriarchate canonized the family as passion bearers: people who face death with resignation, in a Christ-like manner, as distinguished from martyrs, the latter historically killed for their faith. Proponents cited the piety of the family and reports that the Tsarina and her eldest daughter Olga prayed and attempted to make the sign of the cross immediately before they died.

The term “passion-bearer” is used in relation to those Russian saints who, “imitating Christ, endured with patience physical, moral suffering and death at the hands of political opponents. In the history of the Russian Church, such passion-bearers were the holy noble princes Boris and Gleb (1015), Igor of Chernigov (+ 1147), Andrei Bogolyubsky (+ 1174), Mikhail of Tverskoy (+ 1318), Tsarevich Dimitri (+ 1591). All of them, by their feat of passion-bearers, showed a high example of Christian morality and patience.

Despite their official designation as “passion-bearers” by the August 2000 Council, Nicholas II and his family are referred to as “martyrs” in Church publications, icons, and in popular veneration by the people.

NOTE: The family was canonized on 1st November 1981 as new martyrs by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR).

This bas-relief also depicts their servants, who had been killed along with the Imperial family. They were also canonized as new martyrs by the ROCOR in 1981 The canonized servants were Yevgeny Botkin, court physician; Alexei Trupp, footman; Ivan Kharitonov, cook; and Anna Demidova, Alexandra’s maid. Also canonized were two servants killed in September 1918, lady in waiting Anastasia Hendrikova and tutor Catherine Adolphovna Schneider. All were canonized as victims of oppression by the Bolsheviks.

On 3 February 2016, the Bishop’s Council of the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) canonized Dr. Botkin as a righteous passion bearer. They did not canonize the servants, two of whom were not Russian Orthodox: Trupp was Roman Catholic, and Schneider was Lutheran.

© Paul Gilbert. 20 August 2020

The Romanov Family Photo Albums at Yale University

Today, August 19th marks World Photography Day – a perfect day to present the following article on the Romanov Family Albums stored in the collections of the Beinecke Rare Book Library at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

The first Kodak camera was gifted to the Tsesarevna Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna (future Empress Maria Feodorovna) in the late 1860s, when she took a serious interest in photography.

Her passion later became one of the favourite pastimes of her son Emperor Nicholas II and his family, who were often seen carrying Kodak Brownie Box cameras. They snapped thousands of images, pasted them in albums, many of which have survived to this day.

The family’s passion for photography was also shared by close friends, the most popular being Anna Aleksandrovna Vyrubova (1884-1964), the best friend and confidante of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna,

Anna was an avid photographer, one who captured the private day-to-day lives of Russian’s last tsar and his family on camera. During her years at the Russian Court, she diligently preserved her photograph collection into large handsome sturdy albums, bound in textured leather—green, blue, and brown.

In her memoirs, Vyrubova wrote that she and Alexandra pasted the photos onto the pages together. Often, the tsar himself—a notoriously fastidious man—stood over the two women, supervising them as they worked. “He could not endure the sight of the least drop of glue on the table,” wrote Vyrubova.

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Anna in old age and in exile, reliving memories of the Imperial family before the Revolution

Six of the *seven personal photo albums of Anna Vyrubova are today kept at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. The albums contain about three thousand (!) photographs of the everyday life of Emperor Nicholas II and his family.

[*Anna presented Album No. 1 to Queen Louise, who bequeathed it to Prince Ludwig. This album is now stored in Darmstadt – PG]

When Anna fled Bolshevik Russia in 1920, the albums were one of the few things she took with her into exile to Finland. In 1937, Robert D. Brewster, then a student at Yale University, visited Anna to learn more about the family of the last Emperor. In his article The Golden Hours of the Romanovs, published in the Summer 2003 issue of the Yale Alumni Magazine, writer Tim Townsend explains Brewster’s interest in the subject began after seeing the 1932 film Rasputin and the Empress.

Life in exile was not good for Anna,  her health was poor, she lived in very cramped conditions, she had no income, and she was even denied citizenship. As a result, Brewster persuaded Anna to sell him the albums, as well as 35 letters written by her from prisons of the Provisional and Bolshevik governments. In 1951, Brewster donated the albums and letters to his alma mater.

The albums were transferred to the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, where they were catalogued and remained there until 1966, almost unknown to anyone. It was not until the autumn of 1966, when the Pulitzer laureate Robert K. Massie, was finishing his now classic bestseller Nicholas and Alexandra, that brought him to Yale and discover the now famous photograph collection.

Click HERE to view ALL 6 Romanov Family Albums stored in the collections of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Note; click on each album to open and view the photographs.

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Robert K. Massie (1929-2019)  wrote the introductory text for the book The Romanov Family Album (published by Vendome Press in 1982), explaining how he discovered the Romanov albums and of their immense historic value:

“I see wonderful things!” – exclaimed British archaeologist Howard Carter, when he first poked his head into Tutankhamun’s tomb and there, by the light of a flickering candle, glimpsed the glitter of golden objects that had slept for thirty centuries. Something of the same thing came over me the first time I saw the collection of Romanov photographs from which the present series has been selected.

My wife and I found them almost by accident. In the autum of 1966, I was nearing the end of three years work on Nicholas and Alexandra. Suzanne, long involved with the research and editing, had taken complete charge of the search for illustrations, scouring commercial film libraries and seeking individual pictures in private hands. At the time, she was also writing about ballet and had become a friend of Evgenia Lekhovich, the director of the School of American Ballet. Evgenia and her husband Dmitry both were interested in our attempt to recreate the life of the last Russian Imperial family, and Evgenia suggested that I might like to meet a Russian friend of their, Sergei Taneyev, who lived in New York. Taneyev was the brother of Anna Vyrubova, the intimate friend and confidante of the Empress Alexandra. Perhaps, Evgenia suggested, he could add something to the story his sister told in her book Memories of the Russian Court [published by Macmillan in 1923 – PG]. I was eager, but Mr. Taneyev, it developed, was not; he had apparently tired of being identified as “Anna Vyrubova’s brother”. But he did say to Evgenia Lekhovich: “Tell Mr. Massie that Yale University has some of my sister’s things.”

I reacted casually to these words. After telephoning New Haven, where a charming research librarian named Marjorie Wynne, confirmed that Yale did, have certain materials catalogued as “Romanov Memorabilia”. I arranged to go and take a quick look on Saturday morning before attending a football game. I had been writing myself into exhaustion; an afternoon in the fresh air seemed a healthy prescription.

And so, on an October morning in 1966, Suzanne and I walked into Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. We met Miss Wynne and filled out the required forms. Soon, from behind closed doors, a small, rolling table was wheeled in, laden with six fat albums in cloth and leather, all peeling and cracking at the edges. We opened the first album. Here were photographs of an Edwardian family in the lighter moments of life. But, incredibly, they were not just any Edwardian family; they were the Russian Imperial family, which a few years later would be obliterated in the revolution, along with so much of the life and culture of Old Russia. Turning the pages, we found hundreds of pictures, collectively confirming the millions of words that I had read about the life of this couple and her children. It was an extraordinary collection: the most complete set of intimate photographs of the imperial family to survive the holocaust of the revolution. Not only had most images of this kind been lost, scattered or confiscated during the revolution itself, but afterwards there were stories of attempts by Soviet agents to locate, remove, and destroy from all public and commercial archives any photographs depicting the last tsar and his family as normal human beings, whose faces and activities might arouse a shred of interest or sympathy.

But here they were, like Tutankhamen’s treasure, miraculously surviving. We have them today because of an unusual set of circumstances. The years when these pictures were taken coincided with the first days of the age of popular photography. The capturing of images on a light-sensitive surface was half a century old by the turn of the 20th century, but it was during the pre-war years of the Edwardian era that amateurs began regularly to take informal pictures – we call them snapshots – of family and friends, on guard and off. Kings and Queens, no less than nobleman and middleclass folk, issued the command: “Look this way! Now hold very still!” pointing their Brownies at each other.

Nicholas II had an especially keen interest in photography. [see my article Nicholas II: The Amateur Photographer – PG] It was he who commissioned the extraordinary collection of color photographs of the Russian Empire by Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii, a collection that has recently been published. Traveling for six years across the expanse of Russia, Prokudin-Gorsii took pictures of rivers, lakes and forests, of simple wooden churches and thick-walled fortress monasteries, of muddy village streets and everyday peasant life, of canals, locks and bridges, and brought them back so that the Emperor could see his Empire. Naturally, like most monarchs of the day, Nicholas II also employed official court photographers who recorded the ceremonial scenes of pomp and flourish which went with the specialized work of royalty. In addition, however – and this is where we today are extremely fortunate – Nicholas kept some of these photographers on assignment even when he and his family were off-duty; now the cameraman’s task was to capture moments of intimate family life. And so the shutters clicked while the Emperor went rowing, finished a set of tennis, or strolled off into the woods in search of mushrooms. They recorded the Empress knitting on her yacht or wading barefoot along a rock-strewn beach. They caught the little Tsarevich Alexei playing soldier and teasing his kittens. Sometimes, the cameras were in fact, held by royal hands – several of the pictures in this book were taken by Empress Alexandra herself.

Once the films had been processed, duplicate prints were delivered to the Imperial apartments. There, after dinner, the family hugely enjoyed settling down to an evening of pasting pictures into green leather albums stamped in gold with the Imperial monograph. After 1907, the Empress’ closest friend Anna Vyrubova, joined this intimate circle. She too had copies of the prints, and she arranged and captioned them in her own albums.

© Paul Gilbert. 19 August 2020

 

 

“There are still many conjectures surrounding the death of Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna”

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The Alapaevsk Martyrs painted in 1997 by the contemporary Russian artist Vera Glazunova

WARNING: please be aware that this post includes graphic images of the dead bodies of the Alapaevsk victims, which some readers may find disturbing.

They include: Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich, Princes of the Imperial Blood Ioann, Konstantin and Igor Konstantinovich, Prince Vladimir Paley (son of Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich), and two faithful servants: sister of the Marfo-Mariinsky Convent Varvara Alekseevna (Yakovleva), and Fyodor Semyonovich (Mikhailovich) Remez, secretary of the Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich – PG

***

In 2019, a new book «Крестный путь преподобномученицы Великой княгини Елисаветы Феодоровны на Алапаевскую Голгофу / The Way of the Cross of the Holy Martyr Grand Duchess Elisabeth Feodorovna to the Alapaevsk Golgotha» was published in Russia.

The Russian language book by Ludmila Kulikova, features 728 pages!, with photographs, and copies of original documents. It presents a new account of the life and death of the Grand Duchess, revealing many new details.

Kulikova challenges the findings presented by Lubov Miller in her book Grand Duchess Elizabeth of Russia: New Martyr of the Communist Yoke, published in 2009. The Russian author disputes Miller’s popular held belief, that that the Grand Duchess and the other Alapaevsk martyrs were thrown into the mine alive. Kulikova also disputes Millers’ claims that the victims could be heard singing an Orthodox hymn from the mine shaft, that Elizabeth Feodorovna bandaged the head wound of Prince Ioann Konstantinovich in the dark, and more. According to Kulikova: “they are all myths!”

Kulikova points out that the findings of Lubov Miller are not confirmed by any documents of the original investigation and forensic medical examination. In order that readers can see for themselves, she decided to publish all the documents of the preliminary investigation on the murder of the Grand Duchess and members of the House of Romanov, which was conducted in 1918, by the investigator Nikolai Alekseevich Sokolov (1882-1924)..

There are a lot of documents in the file: protocols of the inspection of the mine, the bodies and personal items found, the results of the forensic medical examination, the interrogation of witnesses. These materials have not been published in full in Russia, only excerpts.

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Receipt signed by Grand Duchess Elizabeth and other members of the Imperial family
with regard to their transfer from Ekaterinburg to Alapaevsk, dated 19th May 1918

There was no singing of an Orthodox hymn from the mine

– With regard to the belief that after being pushed into the mine, the victims began to sing an Orthodox hymn, they are referring to the testimony of one of the witnesses, a local resident Alexander Samsonov. Samsonov brewed moonshine in the forest not far from Alapaevsk, but still far from the mine where the murder took place.

Acquaintances came to to warn him that he had been denounced for making moonshine (it was against the law). Samsonov hid the bottles and the still and returned home in the evening. The murder of the Alapaevsk martyrs was committed that night.

The version could also have come from the memories of one of the participants in the murder –  Vasily Ryabov (his memoirs were written later, but Kulikova gives an excerpt from them in my book). Ryabov tells how Elizabeth Feodorovna was first pushed into the mine, then Varvara, and suddenly everyone heard them floundering in the water, trying to save each other.

It was in these “memories” that he mentions the victims singing an Orthodox hymn “Save Lord, Your people” from the bottom of the mine. But none of this is supported by facts: the water was at the very bottom of the mine, but had been filled with debris. None of the bodies made it to the water. 

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The bodies of the Alapaevsk Martyrs were brought to the morgue in the
cemetery of the Church of St. Catherine. Alapaevsk. October 1918

First they were killed, then thrown into the mine

– After Alapaevsk was liberated from the Bolsheviks in September 1918 and occupied by the Siberian government troops, the search for the bodies of the members of the Imperial family began. The bodies were recovered and buried on 18th October, but the crypt was opened on 26th October, to exhume the bodies.

Materials of the forensic medical examination and autopsy show that all eight Alapaevsk martyrs were first inflicted with fatal blows, and then the bodies were thrown into the mine. The grenades the killers threw into the mine did not explode. More precisely, only one exploded, at the very top.

The conclusion of the examination and autopsy of the bodies was as follows: the death of seven of the *eight victims was due to blows with a blunt object on the head (one of them was also hit in the region of the heart) or as a result of falling into a mine. (* Only Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich showed a bullet hole in the crown of his head.)

The modern forensic experts to whom I passed the case file say that if these injuries were the result of falling into the mine, they would not be the same for all the victims.

The specialists with whom I spoke, consider the traces of injuries to be the result of a strong blow, and the murder weapon, presumably, could have been an ax with a wide blade and a short hatchet – exactly what they found in the mine. The killers most likely hit their victims with the side of the ax, resulting in cerebral edema and death.

Perhaps it was a method of murder that had already been repeatedly tested: the trauma left little (if any) chance of survival. 

Only one of the victims of the massacre was still alive after the blow – Fyodor Semyonovich Remez, secretary of the Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich. Fyodor Remez. Having gathered his last strength, he managed to crawl along the track which transported the coal to the engine room. This is where his body was found.

Perhaps, for a short time, a glimmer of life still glowed in Varvara Alekseevna Yakovleva,  judging by the fact that her fingers were “set in the formation of the blessing of the Cross”, as recorded in the file.

I believe that this was the fate of Remez and Varvara, because the killers treated the servants differently: they struck a blow, and pushed their bodies into the mine shaft. The main goal of the murderers was to kill the Romanovs.

The fact that Elizabeth Feodorovna was already dead when she fell into the mine is indicated by the position in which her body was found. Her body lay vertical, her arms folded over her body. If a living person falls down a depth of 15 metres (50 ft.), it would be impossible to fold ones arms so evenly.

It should also be noted that both hands of Elizabeth Feodorovna were tightly clenched, fingers bent, her nails sunk into the skin – this happens when a person is in severe pain.

In one hand, she clutched two laced bags containing some small items. Her head, eyes and nose were tied with a handkerchief folded in four layers. So, even if she remained alive in the mine, her position and the scarf on her face and head, from which she did not free herself, do not correspond to the version about bandaging the wounded grand duke.

All this speculation came about because Lubov Miller, who lived in Australia, came to Russia to work in the archives, but many archives were still closed at that time. The first edition of her book was published in 1988, therefore, she had no way of checking all the facts.

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Malshikov and his team at the mine where the Alapaevsk Martyrs bodies were thrown

Facts show that there was no monastic tonsure

– There is a version that Elizabeth Feodorovna also took monastic vows with the name Alexia – in honor of Saint Alexei of Moscow, whom she especially venerated.

There are no documents confirming the tonsure of the martyrs, but that is not the point, because the tonsure would be secret. Proof of this absence, Kulikova cites the following:

The materials of the investigation describe in detail all the clothes in which the Grand Duchess and sister Varvara wore at the time of their death. Everything! And nowhere is the obligatory part of the monastic vestment mentioned – the paraman, which is worn under the clothes mentioned. Neither on Elizabeth Feodorovna or Varvara Alekseevna.

Monks wear Paraman constantly as a sign of their accepted vows. The Alapaevsk prisoners lived in anticipation of death, so it is difficult to imagine that Elizabeth Feodorovna and Varvara Alekseevna, for some reason, removed them. Icons, crosses, a belt were found on the Alapaevsk martyrs, as well as small personal items, including documents and some money. But there was no paraman.

Of course, those who described the items removed from the murdered victims might not have known the correct term for this item – after all, the commission was secular, civil. But a description of some sort would have been noted in the documents anyway, along with the descriptions in which they note a cape (for Elizabeth Feodorovna ), and a hood (for Varvara Alekseevna) .

Based on this, it can be assumed that Elizabeth Feodorovna did not receive monastic tonsure. And it is wrong to call Varvara Alekseevna a *nun, she was a *sister. [*Nuns take solemn vows and are cloistered, that is, they reside, pray and work within the confines of a monastery. Sisters take simple vows and live a life governed by the particular mission, vision, and charism – PG.]

Kulikova notes that her book contains a rare photograph in which we see Varvara Alekseevna Yakovleva. This photograph is from the English archives, from the Collection of Princess Victoria. The photograph, taken in 1914, shows the Grand Duchess among the wounded soldiers in the hospital at the Martha-Mariinsky Convent. Next to her are two sisters, and one of whom is Varvara Alekseevna. Kulikova adds that she is completely different from the photos we have seen to date, which leads the author to suspect that perhaps we have been looking at photos of another person for the past century?

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The Holy Protection Cathedral on the grounds of the Marfo-Mariinski Convent in Moscow

Where did the Grand Duchess bequeath to be buried?

– Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna and sister Varvara were buried in the Church of Mary Magdalene at Gethsemane in Jerusalem. Many historians write that she bequeathed to be buried there. In fact, she mentioned this when in 1888 she visited Jerusalem with her husband and was at the consecration of the church, noting “how good it was here” and how she would “like to be buried here”. But let us not forget that she was then only 23 years old!

In her last spiritual will and testament, written in 1914, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna specifically expressed:

“I ask you to bury me in a crypt under the church I have now built in the name of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos in my possession on Bolshaya Ordynka in Moscow at my *convent of mercy. <…>

If I am tonsured, live in a skete and die there, then I will still be buried in my *convent in Moscow, at the place indicated above <…>. If I die abroad or outside Moscow, I ask you to put it in a coffin, close it completely, transport it to Moscow and bury (without opening the coffin) where I have indicated above.”

[The convent in Moscow which she is referring to in her last spiritual will and testament is of course the Marfo-Mariinsky (Martha and Mary) Convent, which has survived to this day – PG]

It is clear that in 1921, when the bodies of Elizabeth Feodorovna and Varvara Alekseevna were taken out of China, it was easier to transport them to the Holy Land than anywhere else: Jerusalem was under the British mandate, and Elizabeth Feodorovna ‘s sister , Princess Victoria, turned to the government with a request for assistance.

But even then Princess Victoria wrote to her brother Ernst: “I hope that I will find a crypt there under the church where they can stay until they can be taken to Moscow.”

This did not happen, but now times have changed. The Martha-Mariinsky Convent was revived, the tomb, which Elizabeth Feodorovna arranged for herself and painted by Pavel Korin, has been restored. We will pray that the testament of the Holy Martyr Elizabeth will be fulfilled and that she will finally return to her native home.

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Martyrs of Alapaevsk, painted in 2018 by contemporary Russian artist I. Tokarev

***

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About the author:

Lyudmila Kulikova is a member of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society, and laureate of the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna Prize. She specializes in research of the history of the Russian Orthodox Church, and materials for the glorification of her fellow countryman.

She is currently writing a book about the life of Valentina Sergeevna Gordeeva (1863-1931), who originally served as a maid of honour at the Russian Court. After the arrest of the Grand Duchess in 1917, she became the abbess of the Marfo-Mariinski Convent until its closure in the first half of the 20th century. She died in 1931 in exile in Turkestan (Kyrgyzstan).

***

Dear Reader: I am always pleased to present first English translations of new articles from Russian media sources on my Nicholas II blog and Facebook pages. It is these articles and topics which seldom (if ever) attract the attention of the Western media. I personally translate the articles, and complement them further with additional materials, photographs, videos and links.

If you found this article interesting, 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 GoFundMe, PayPal, credit card, personal check or money order. Thank you for your consideration – PG

© Paul Gilbert. 16 August 2020

Ekaterinburg residents asked to help in glorifying General Tatishchev

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General Ilya Leonidovich Tatishchev (1859-1918) was glorified by the Russian Church Abroad in 1981 as the holy warrior martyr Elijah. The sisters of the Novo-Tikhvin Convent in Ekaterinburg now hope that he will canonized by the Moscow Patriarchate.

Residents of Ekaterinburg are invited to pray for General Ilya Leonidovich Tatishchev. Requiems will be performed every Tuesday after Vespers in the Novo-Tikhvin Convent.

Remembered as “a man of touching kindness,” Tatishchev was a noble and deeply pious man – he knew the entire Gospel by heart! For many years he selflessly served Emperor Nicholas II, and in 1917 voluntarily followed him into exile to Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg.

It was in Ekaterinburg that he was separated from the Tsar and his family and placed under house arrest. On 10th June 1918, he accepted a martyr’s death at the hands of the Bolsheviks together with Prince Vasily Dolgorukov. He was buried in the cemetery of the Novo-Tikhvin Convent. His grave has not survived, since during the Soviet years the convent’s cemetery was razed to the ground. And now, when we pray for the repose of the soldier Elijah, he prays for us before the throne of the Lord.

In an appeal to the citizens of Ekaterinburg, the sisters of the Novo-Tikhvin Convent said:

“Dear ones, now a lot depends on you and me! If we turn with prayer to the soldier Elijah, receive help and testify about this, then we can find in the saints another intercessor for our loved ones, our city, for the entire Ural region! Therefore, we ask you very much: report cases of miraculous help through the prayers of the soldier Elijah! Any information can serve to glorify him!”

Memory Eternal! Вечная Память!

Click HERE to read Divine Liturgy for Tatishchev and Dolgorukov Performed in Ekaterinburg, published on 10th June 2020

© Paul Gilbert. 10 August 2020

Putin, the Church and the last Tsar

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Russian President Vladimir Putin

Since coming to power in 1999, Russian President Vladimir Putin has embraced the Russian Orthodox Church and the symbols of Imperial Russia

Today, the Romanovs are the subject of a rather unusual debate between two powers that have reconciled in Putin’s Russia: the Church and the State.

For more than two decades, the heads of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) – Patriarch Alexei II (1929-2008) and Patriarch Kirill (2009-present) – both refused to recognize the remains found in the vicinity of Ekaterinburg as those belonging to the Imperial family.

Even after successive DNA tests, the ROC prevented the bones of Tsesarevich Alexei and his sister Grand Duchess Maria from being buried with the rest of the their family in the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul in St. Petersburg.

The issue made headlines again in July, when the Russian Investigative Committee, the country’s top criminal investigation body, confirmed that, after 37 new forensic analyzes, it was possible to conclude – again – that the bones belonged to members of the Imperial family.

“Based on the numerous findings of the experts, the investigation came to the conclusion that the remains belong to Nicholas II, his family and their retainers,” said a committee spokesperson.

But why does Russia’s leading criminal investigation body continue to reconfirm facts related to a homicide that happened more than a century ago?

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President Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia

A long way

The whereabouts of the remains of the Imperial family were one of the best kept secrets during the Soviet period.

Only in 1979 did a geologist with an amateur detective streak, Alexander Avdonin, discover the first bones in the vicinity of Porosenkov Log, near Ekaterinburg.

Citing fear of reprisals from the regime, he reburied them where he found them and kept them there until 1991, after the Soviet Union disintegrated.

An extensive investigation and a series of DNA tests (for which even Prince Philip donated blood) proved that the bones belonged to Nicholas II, his wife, three of their five children and four retainers who were also murdered with the Imperial family.

One of the big questions Russia was asking at the time was where were the remains of the Imperial couple’s other two children. Anastasia’s whereabouts were also cause for speculation, but evidence has since proven that she died along with her family.

“In 1998, after a five-year investigation, the Russian government decided to bury the bones in the Romanovs family tomb in St. Peter and St. Paul’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg, as a political gesture of reconciliation and atonement for the crimes committed in the Soviet period”, says Marina Alexandrova, a professor at the University of Texas, in the United States.

The Holy Synod, the governing body of the Orthodox Church, however, opposed the decision and called for a more thorough investigation before the burial.

“Due to the political motivation of the event and the absence of consultation with the Russian Orthodox Church, the patriarch did not participate in the ceremony and rejected the test results,” says the professor.

The country’s president at the time, Boris Yeltsin, challenged the Church and gave the green light for the funeral. The act was the background of great friction that marked the Yeltsin government and the head of the Orthodox Church – at the time still weakened by decades of Soviet oppression.

Yeltsin would resign shortly afterwards, on the night of December 31, 1999, leaving the post in the hands of his then prime minister, a former KGB agent who had become his discreet shadow: Vladimir Putin.

A new stage in the relationship between State and Church then began.

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Emperor Nicholas II and Russian President Vladimir Putin

Putin, the Church and the last tsar

As Pablo de Orellana, professor at King’s College London, UK, explains, the beginning of Putin’s government marked a new phase, of “rescuing” the Romanov dynasty, which went beyond the golden double-headed eagles and other symbols of Imperial Russia.

“In his administration, some traditions of Tsarist Russia were re-instituted,”  he points out, “But I believe that one of the most important elements in this regard is the rebirth of the Orthodox Church, which has returned to being as powerful as before and is now recognized as the country’s official religion.”

In a referendum held in June to determine whether Putin would remain in power until 2035, Russians also voted Orthodoxy the country’s official religion, which was seen as a consolidation of relations between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Kremlin.

And it is in this new context that the Romanovs become key figures for the powers. “The Russian Imperial family is vital for the current regime and for the nationalist narrative that drives it, because it is the connection between Russia’s past and present, between the before and after of the Soviet regime,” says De Orellana.

“For the Church, the Romanovs’ theme is central, because the Russian Orthodox Church is part of the Imperial family and the Imperial family is part of the Church.”

Since Putin’s rise to power, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church has proclaimed the last tsar, his wife and children, as saints, which was viewed with fear in a country where the Imperial family are still victims of a century of myths and lies, much of which are based on Bolshevik propaganda.

In addition to canonization, the Church also decided to build a grand church on the spot where the family was murdered in Ekaterinburg.

But one theme remained an obstacle: the authenticity of the remains of the last tsar.

“The Russian Church has been reluctant to recognize the bones as belonging to the Romanov family since they were officially exhumed in 1991 near Ekaterinburg,” says Alexandrova.

“And although multiple DNA tests and forensic analyzes in Russia and other countries have shown that they do indeed belong to the Imperial family, their doctor and three faithful servants, the issue remains controversial to this day.”

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Alexei and Maria

The remains of the tsar’s two other children who were not found with the family were not discovered until many years later, in 2007.

“DNA tests carried out both inside and outside Russia have confirmed that they are the remains of Alexei and Maria,” says the professor at the University of Texas.

“The Russian Orthodox Church, however, again refused to acknowledge the discovery and denied the burial in the family tomb.”

In the years that followed, the boxes containing 44 bone fragments remained on dusty shelves in the Russian State Archives. In December 2015, their remains were transferred to the Novospassky Monastery in Moscow, where they remain to this day.

“Their remains have not yet been buried, which, ironically, runs counter to orthodox tradition in general.”

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Members of the Imperial family were exhumed so that new DNA tests could be performed

New investigations

In 2008, the Russian Supreme Court officially rehabilitated the Imperial family and recognized that Nicholas II and his family were victims of political repression.

Two years later, another Russian court ordered the investigation into the murder to be reopened, which was in charge of the country’s top criminal investigation body.

In 2015, as determined by instances of the Orthodox Church, the remains of the Imperial family were once again exhumed and subjected to DNA tests, which confirmed again that it was the Tsar and his family – including Alexei and Maria.

The funeral of the last Romanovs was scheduled to take place in October of this year, but the Church asked to postpone the ceremony again to conduct an investigation of its own. “To date, no results have been announced,” says Alexandrova.

On the eve of the centenary of the massacre in 2018, the Russian government announced that the new investigation had once again confirmed that the bones belonged to the Romanovs. This year, again on a date close to the anniversary, they again released the findings.

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The reasons for the debate

According to De Orellana, the dispute over the authenticity of the remains found in Ekaterinburg shows how, during the Putin government, the Church once again became a “legitimizing institution” – and that, therefore, “also legitimizes what one wants to tell about history. “.

“We see this in how the Church on several occasions had the final say, as in the question of where the bodies will be”, he points out.

In this sense, the expert believes that the position of the church in the case of the Romanovs generates a delicate political conflict.

“The Putin government needs to end the story, it needs the bodies to be ‘found’ also symbolically, ‘to bring them home’ and to have a place where they can be celebrated.”

“All this reconstruction is important, because Putin reinvented Russian nationalism based on the same nationalist theories as the tsars. In other words, it is not just an obsession to demonstrate that the bones actually belong to the last Tsar and his family, but an effort to establish continuity between the past and today’s Russia”, he adds.

Roman Lunkin, director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society, a state organization, assesses that both the government and the Church are involved in a mutual process of revisionism of the history of Tsarism for “their own benefit”.

“The Russian Church does not want to recognize that the remains belong to the Imperial family, because there is a risk of internal division as a consequence of this,” he ponders.

According to Alexandrova, according to orthodox beliefs, it is a serious sin to pray before “false images”. The church, for its part, is reluctant to accept the result of the investigations carried out until today on the grounds that it was not invited to participate in the process.

There are still some people who believe that members of the Imperial family had managed to escape and live in secrecy in Europe and the United States.

“They think that what happened in 1918 was a ritual murder by Bolsheviks of Jewish origin. There is also a movement that sees Nicholas II as a Christlike figure who died for the sins of the Russians.”

Even if these movements are not really popular, he says, they would be strong enough to cause repercussions in the media, something that the head of the Church would certainly like to avoid.

“For the Church, the murder of the Imperial family is a symbol of all the evil of the Soviet period, of Satanism and of Marxist ideology. For the State, however, the Soviet period is also a period of victories – and the last tsar is not an example of a strong leader, “says Lunkin.

“So it is evident that the glorification of the Imperial family means different things for both the state and the church.”

© Paul Gilbert. 10 August 2020

Fundraising for equestrian monument to Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II

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The installation of Russia’s second equestrian monument to Nicholas II has been delayed due to lack of funds.

The amount of 2.3 million rubles ($31,000 USD) has already been collected, however, a further 2.7 million rubles ($37,000 USD) is still needed. The equestrian monument to Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II has already been cast and is located at the plant in Zhukovsky.

The following video shows Russian sculptor Irina Makarova making final preparations on her equestrian monument of Nicholas II – 15th July 2020

The monument was planned to have been installed on 17th July on the grounds of the Church of the Holy Martyr Michael (Gusev), in Kulebaki, Nizhny Novgorod Region.after 1917.

Click on the following links to read Nicholas II Equestrian Monument Planned for the Russian city of Kulebaki and UPDATE: Nicholas II Equestrian Monument in Kulebaki

© Paul Gilbert. 9 August 2020

What is Nicholas II’s correct date of birth?

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Russian historian Peter Valentinovich Multatuli

In recent years there has been much confusion by non-Orthodox Christians and Westerners with regard to the correct dates of important events (births, deaths, marriages, etc.) among members of the Russian Imperial Family, according to the New Style calendar.

For instance, the anniversary of the birth of Nicholas II has been widely marked on the 18th of May in the Gregorian (New Style) calendar. This, however, is incorrect, it is in fact the 19th of May, an error which many historians (myself included) are guilty.

With the passage of every leap day that is on the Julian (Old Style) Calendar but not on the Gregorian Calendar, the difference between the two calendars grows another day. Currently, the Gregorian Calendar is thirteen days ahead of the Julian Calendar. Beginning on 14th March 2100 (29th February 2100 Julian), the difference will be fourteen days.

The Gregorian calendar was implemented in Russia on the 14th of February 1918 pursuant to a decree signed on 24th January 1918 (Julian) by Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin. Despite this, the Russian Orthodox Church continues to use the Julian Calendar.

Russia’s highly respected and prominent authority on the life and reign of Russia’s last emperor and tsar, Peter Valentinovich Multatuli reminds us of the true dates of the history of Russia and its Tsars!

“The birthday of Sovereign Emperor Nicholas Alexandrovich should be celebrated on 19th May,” says Multatuli, “not the 18th as many English language books and websites note.” Further, he adds: “and the day of Nicholas II’s accession to the throne is on 2nd November. If the correct dates in the New Style are not followed, then these and other historical events are distorted.”

“Everyone knows that Emperor Nicholas II was born on St. Job of the Long Suffering. The church celebrates this day on 6th May, according to the Julian calendar. In the Gregorian calendar in the 19th century. this number corresponded to 18th May, but in the 20th and 21st centuries. this date falls on 19th May. Celebrating the birthday of the Emperor on 18th May, is not the day we celebrate the birth of St. Job! This is a sin!”

“The same is true with the death of Alexander III and accession to the throne of Nicholas II. This happened on the day of Saint Artemius the Great Martyr and the righteous youth Artemiy, on 20th October (2nd November). And if this day is celebrated on 1st November or 3, then we are not commemorating the memory of these saints. Do not reply on any dates on Wikipedia which often provide the incorrect dates of the Gregorian calendar for the 19th century.”

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Peter Valentinovich Multatuli was born in Leningrad on 17 November 1969. He is a Russian journalist, historian and biographer. Multatuli is the author of numerous books and articles about the reign of Emperor Nicholas II.

He is the great-grandson of Ivan Kharitonov (1872-1918), who served as the Head Cook of the Imperial family. He followed the tsar and his family into exile, and was murdered along with them in the Ipatiev House on 17th July 1918.

© Paul Gilbert. 7 August, 2020