Nicholas II visits the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, 1911

Duration: Duration: 5 minute, 11 seconds with musical background

On 29th August 1911, Emperor Nicholas II and his family, accompanied by Russian Prime Minister Pyotr Arkadyevich Stolypin (1862-1911), arrived in Kiev.

In the opening of this video we see the Imperial family and their entourage arriving at the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra on 30th August 1911, the feast day of St Alexander Nevsky.

At 0:45, the Emperor and his family visit the grave of the folk heroes Kochubey and Iskra, “who laid down their belly for the Faith, the Tsar and the Fatherland”.

At 2:15, the Imperial family follow behind Metropolitan Flavian of Kiev and Galicia, members of the clergy and the City Duma, during a Cross Procession to take part in the opening of a memorial to his grandfather, Emperor Alexander II (1818-1881).

Following behind is Russian Prime Minister Pyotr Arkadyevich Stolypin, who is seen at 2:21, wearing a white jacket. He was mortally shot the following day, on 1st September, during a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Tale of Tsar Saltan at the Kiev Opera House. In a letter to his mother, the Tsar told her that Stolypin had turned to him and made the sign of the cross in the air with his left hand. He was buried at the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra on 9th September 1911.

At 2:34, the tall, handsome figure of General Alexander Spiridovitch (1873-1952) passes directly in front of the camera. Spiridovitch served as the personal security chief for Nicholas II and his family from 1906-1916. He was also responsible for the security of the tsar’s residences.

In 1928, his memoirs Les Dernières années de la Cour de Tsarskoe Selo, were published in Paris. The first English translation Last Years of the Court at Tsarskoe Selo was published by Royal Russia in two volumes, in 2010 and 2017 respectfully: Volume I (1906-1910) and Volume II (1910-1914).

At 3:23, the Imperial family attend the opening and consecration of a memorial to his grandfather, Emperor Alexander II, where a moleben is performed.

At 4:05, the Imperial family depart in open horse-drawn carriages.

© Paul Gilbert. 7 January 2021

2nd International Nicholas II Conference CANCELLED!

NOTE: the cancellation of this event has nothing to do with my statement dated 3rd January 2020, announcing my retirement from publishing. My research and writing on the life and reign of Russia’s last emperor and tsar will most certainly continue, plus my plans to offer lectures, conferences and other events dedicated – PG

Due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, I regret to announce that the 2nd International Nicholas II Conference, scheduled to take place at the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York on Saturday, 15th May 2021 has been CANCELLED!

The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is the reason. It restricts making travel arrangements for those who wish to participate, including speakers. My number one concern, however, is the health and safety of every one attending.

While the event is still four months away, I am forced to make a decision now, simply because I would be spending a lot of money promoting the event, selling tickets, paying speakers, etc., and do not want to have to cancel the event at the last minute. Under the present circumstances, I am forced to make a final decision on the event at this time.

In addition, Canada’s border with the United States remains closed to all “non essential travel” and according to the Canadian Government will “remain in effect until necessary”. This means that both myself and any other Canadians wishing to attend this event would be unable to enter the United States or return to Canada without problems. While we are all pinning our hopes on the COVID vaccine, the process of distribution and inoculations has been very slow here in Canada.

Fr. Theophylact, my contact for the event at the Holy Trinity Monastery agrees with my decision to cancel the Conference. We are also in agreement, that once this pandemic is behind us, that the event can be rescheduled for a later date.

© Paul Gilbert. 6 January 2021

Nicholas II’s little known hunting dacha in Crimea

PHOTO: Beshuiskaya dacha, Nicholas II’s hunting lodge in Crimea

The beginning of His Majesty’s Own Hunt in the Crimean mountains was established by Emperor Alexander II (1818-1881) in the 1860s from the Nikitskaya dacha, situated in the Yuzhno-Berezhansky Forest, near Livadia. Subsequently, the Tsar’s Hunt in Crimea expanded, with two additional state forest dachas established in the Beshuisky and Ayan forest districts (Crown Lands).

From 14 to 18 October 1880, a hunt was organized for Tsesarevich Alexander Alexandrovich (future Emperor Alexander III) in the Beshuisky forest. It was this hunting trip which prompted the construction of the Beshuiskaya dacha, situated 60–70 yards from the Kosmo-Damianovsky Monastery. The hunting lodge was completed by September 1884. 

PHOTO: Nicholas II and Count Frederiks in front of Beshuiskaya dacha

The Beshuiskaya dacha was a one-story wooden building on a stone foundation, and consisted of 8 rooms: a living room with an office, a bedroom, two servants’ rooms, a pantry and a bathroom. Following the example of his grandfather and father, Nicholas II came here repeatedly for hunting and to visit the monastery.

The most professional and promising employees from the tsar’s hunting estates at Spala, and later from Białowieża, were transferred to Crimea. In the fall of 1913, Edmund Vladislavovich Wagner was appointed Head of His Majesty’s Own Hunt in the Crimea. In total, the staff of His Majesty’s Own Hunt in 1913-1917, including the gamekeepers, consisted of thirty people.

PHOTO: Nicholas II relaxing on the balcony of Beshuiskaya dacha

Nicholas II records one of his Crimean hunts on 17th September 1913:

“… I got up at 3 o’clock and went hunting, and killed one deer . . . The weather was excellent and the day was very warm. I returned to the house by 9 o’clock. Drank tea with my daughters, who had been at the early Mass. We sat on the porch until 12 o’clock when they brought my deer. We had breakfast and left at exactly one o’clock to Livadia, where we arrived at 3.20 … “

During his last visit to the southern coast of Crimea in the spring of 1914, the emperor made several trips to Beshuiskaya, but these were not for hunting, but entertaining and hiking with his family, relatives, officers and members of his retinue.

Empress  Alexandra Feodorovna, hoping for a miracle, chose a healing spring at the Kosmo-Damianovsky Monastery, for the treatment of Tsesarevich Alexei, who suffered with hemophilia. However, the journey from Livadia to the monastery was rather long and burdensome.

By 1910, the Imperial Garage in Livadia was completed, the roads used by the Tsar had to be made suitable for his motorcars. That same year, construction began of the Romanov Highway, a mountain route which connected Upper Massandra with the Tsar’s hunting lodge and the nearby monastery. The road was completed in the fall of 1913, making it suitable for motor traffic.

PHOTO: Count Alexander Grabbe, Emperor Nicholas II, Prince Vladimir Orlov,
unknown officer, and palace commandant Vladimir Voeikov

The advantages of the new highway reduced the distance between the Imperial residences by more than twenty kilometers. Thanks to this, the travel time was reduced: judging by the diary entries of Nicholas II, He usually got from Livadia to the Hunting Lodge in about three hours.

The date of 6th May 1914, turned out to be the last time that Emperor Nicholas II and his Family would drive along the scenic Romanov Road from Livadia to visit Beshuiskaya dacha, their hunting dacha in Crimea. Within a few short months, the outbreak of the First World War, their joyful happy days would forever remain in the past.

PHOTO: another view of Beshuiskaya dacha, Nicholas II’s hunting lodge in Crimea

© Paul Gilbert. 6 January 2021

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Dear Reader

If you find my articles, news stories and translations 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 Retires from Publishing

PHOTO: Paul Gilbert, Independent Publisher and Bookseller since 1994

All good things must come to an end. After more than 26 years as an independent publisher I have decided to retire. My publishing business officially closed on 31st December 2020. My decision was not an easy one, but one which I have been considering for some time now. While I had hoped to continue publishing for a few more years, circumstances beyond my control have forced me to do otherwise.

In anticipation of my retirement and plans to move back to England, I began downsizing my business back in 2016, when I turned 60. I stopped selling other publishers books, I ceased publishing books by new authors, I stopped importing books in bulk from Russia, then I closed down my Royal Russia web site, and focused on publications on the life and reign of Emperor Nicholas II. 

These measures, saw my annual sales slowly decrease, however, shrinking book sales during the last few years have resulted in my business operating in the red. Amazon had a huge impact on my sales (their discounting book prices and free shipping have helped put many independent booksellers out of business). Annual parcel rate increases by Canada Post (the most expensive in the world) to the United States and overseas have had a huge detrimental impact on book sales. The final nail, however, was the COVID-19 pandemic which further affected declining sales.

I regret to announce that the books and periodicals which I had planned to publish this year have been cancelled. This includes ALL future issues of ROYAL RUSSIA (No. 15 was the last issue published) or SOVEREIGN (No. 11 was the last issue published). The articles planned for publication in SOVEREIGN will instead be published on my blog NICHOLAS II. EMPEROR. TSAR. SAINT.

My ONLINE BOOKSHOP will remain open until all remaining stock has been sold. It is at this time that my bookshop will close permanently. 

I will dedicate my retirement to researching and writing articles for my Nicholas II blog, of which the number of views increased by nearly 100 percent over the previous year: 137,235 in 2020 compared to 70,429 in 2019. It is my blog that I will now devote my time and resources, because it is through this particular venue that I can reach a wider and growing readership. 

I will also continue to update my FACEBOOK page daily with news, photos and videos about Nicholas II, and the history of the Romanov dynasty and Imperial Russia. I have plans to offer lectures, conferences and other events dedicated to the life and reign of Russia’s last emperor and tsar.

I am very proud of what I accomplished over the last 26+ years. I published more than 100 titles, including new books; first English translations; reprints of Russian Royal classics in both hard cover and paperback editions, periodicals and calendars.

A heartfelt THANK YOU to each and every one of you who bought my books over the years, your patronage has been very much appreciated..

I believe that I am making the right decision and look forward to sharing my research with all of you for many more years to come. I pray that God will grant me many more years.

© Paul Gilbert. 3 January 2021

Nicholas II: TOP 10 articles of 2020

 

In 2020, the number of views on my blog Nicholas II. Emperor. Tsar. Saint increased by nearly 100 percent over the previous year: 137,235 in 2020 compared to 70,429 in 2019.

People from 178 countries around the world visited my Nicholas II blog in 2020, including places such as Bhutan, Iceland, Vatican City, Cuba and Mongolia.

My Nicholas II blog was most popular with people in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Russia, Brazil, Germany and Netherlands.

Below, is a list of the 10 most widely read articles and news stories of 2020:

[1] Audio recording of the voice of Nicholas II – posted 25th August 2020

[2] Obituary: Olga Nikolaevna Kulikovsky-Romanov (1926-2020) – posted 2nd May 2020

[3] Romanov Book of the Year for 2019: ‘The Romanov Royal Martyrs – posted 18th November 2019

[4] Russian media provide a first look at the progress of the recreation of the historic interiors in the Alexander Palace – posted 26th November 2019

[5]The Bolshevik sale of the Romanov jewels – posted 9th October 2020

[6] Nicholas II: the Tsar with the dragon tattoo – posted 16th March 2019

[7] “There are still many conjectures surrounding the death of Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna” – posted 16th August 2020

[8] Why was Russia’s senior investigator and forensic expert dismissed from the Ekaterinburg remains case? – posted 14th March 2020

[9] Nicholas II’s Diaries 1894-1918 – posted 23rd January 2020

[10] The myth that Nicholas II’s death was met with indifference by the Russian people – posted 19th June 2020

© Paul Gilbert. 1st January 2021

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Dear Reader

If you find my articles, news stories and translations 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