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)


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.


Click HERE to read my article Nicholas II’s apartments in the Winter Palace – includes photos, video and plan – published on 30th August 2022

© Paul Gilbert. 22 April 2021

New documentary series defends the reign of Nicholas II

A new Russian language documentary is “important for historical parallels”, experts say, by dispelling the myth that Russia was a backward nation during the reign of Nicholas II – 1894 to 1917.

More than a hundred years have passed since the catastrophic events of the February 1917 Revolution in Petrograd, but their significance has not diminished during the last 100+ years.

The February Revolution left behind a lot of questions. With all the chronological clarity of those events, their interpretations to this day contradict each other. What was the Russian Empire like on the eve of the February Revolution? What was the position of the peasants and workers? What was the state of the economy and events of the First World War? For decades (especially during the Soviet period) it was believed that life in Russia at that time was characterized by poverty, backwardness, military devastation. oppression by the autocracy, etc. So, what is the truth?

In his new Russian language documentary series Гибель империи. Российский урок / Death of the Empire. Russian Lesson [18 episodes, each one a duration of 15 to 20 minutes] Metropolitan of Pskov and Porkhov Tikhon (Shevkunov), analyzes the economy of the Russian Empire, its domestic and foreign policy, the activities of the tsar, military, political elites, but most importantly, the state of Russian society during that period.

Metropolitan Tikhon clearly notes that during the First World War, the Russian Empire was neither economically nor militarily in any worse state than that of other countries. On the eve of the First World War, the Russian economy was developing rapidly, the standard of living rose significantly, the population during the reign of Nicholas II increased by 50 million people.

By 1917, Russia had increased the production of cast iron 4 times, copper 5 times, coal 5 times, and from 1911 to 1914 the machine-building industry increased 2 times. Before World War I, Russia produced 9.4% of world GDP and was ranked 4-5 in the world in terms of its volume. Most importantly, the land issue was not a decisive factor in the revolution. So, by 1916, in the European part of Russia, 90% of arable land was in the hands of the peasantry, and100% in the Asian part of the empire.

A key factor in the tragedy of 1917 was played out by Russia’s so-called “allies” – Great Britain and France, who directly indulged the conspirators. The British delegation led by Lord Alfred Milner (1854-1925) presented an ultimatum to the Emperor on the eve of the revolution, in which he demanded, a change in the state system in Russia with the introduction of the concept of “responsible” (before the Duma) government. An outrageous demand by a foreign power, especially during war with Germany. In the aftermath of the Tsar’s abdication in 1917, the “allies” abandoned the Russian Sovereign, who in the end, was the only true ally who honoured his commitment to the war.

PHOTO: Metropolitan of Pskov and Porkhov Tikhon (Shevkunov)

The betrayal of the elites was even more tragic. At the beginning of 1917, Russia was on the verge of winning the war – during the planned spring-summer offensive. The Russian Imperial Army would surely have broken through the German positions, which would have resulted in the enemy being forced to cede all the territories to Russia, promised under the Sykes-Picot Agreement and enormous reparations. The commander-in-chief of the German army General Erich Ludendorff (1865-1937), even admitted: “Our defeat seemed inevitable.” But then the February Revolution broke out in Russia.

One of the main problems of pre-revolutionary Russia was its “enlightened” society, who literally dreamed of a revolution. Many prominent writers, scientists and publicists supported the underground movements in one way or another, some even through financing and campaigning.

Russia’s “enlightened” society created, in fact, a parallel state. It had almost all the attributes of statehood – its own army (terrorist), its own mass media, its own informal budget, its own “courts” and governing bodies. As a result, by 1917, public opinion in Russia was prepared for a conspiracy and a change of power. however, in the end, many of those who were so thirsty for revolution then perished during the civil war and the subsequent Bolshevik repressions.

The key problem of the Russian people, according to the testimonies of eyewitnesses of the events cited by Father Tikhon, was the colossal impatience of the people and their pliability to the provocative speeches of revolutionary agitators. It is simply amazing how in 1917 a significant number of people fell so easily for the fables about “freedom, equality and brotherhood” – who in the end received any such promises.

Malicious gossip and revolutionary propaganda, helped to turn the people against their Tsar. Lies spread like wildfire during the war years. References were made to the “bloody tsarist regime”. Emperor Nicholas II was referred to as “an alcoholic”, and his wife as “a German spy”, as well as the “destructive influence of Grigory Rasputin”. References to the “bloody tsarist regime”, were published daily by the liberal press, often prompted by Western propaganda. German planes dropped leaflets with cynical cartoons of Nikolashka in the trenches of Russian soldiers.

“Russia was ruined by gossip,” Vladyka Tikhon quotes the outstanding Russian writer Ivan Lukyanovich Solonevich (1891-1953), a devout monarchist, who believed that “monarchy was the only viable and historically justified political system for Russia”.

© Paul Gilbert. 21 April 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

Railway station the Imperial Family went into exile from to be a cultural heritage site

PHOTO: Early 20th century view of the Aleksandrovskaya Railway Station in Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin)

A proposal has been made to designate the Alexandrovskaya Railway Station in Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin) as a cultural heritage site. It was from this station, that the Imperial Family went into exile on 14th (O.S. 1st) August 1917.

The idea, however, is already under attack by the Committee for State Control, Use and Protection of Historical and Cultural Monuments (KGIOP), who refuse to recognize the historic Aleksandrovskaya Railway Station in Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin) as a cultural heritage site.

Residents of both the village of Aleksandrovskaya and the city of St. Petersburg wasted little time in launching a petition addressed to the Committee chairman Sergei Makarov, as well as the Governor of Saint Petersburg Alexander Beglov, as well as to the local branch of the United Russia Party.

The petition notes that Aleksandrovskaya is located in the Pushkin district of St. Petersburg and has existed since the time of Emperor Nicholas I (1796-1855). The station was built in the 1860s – on the St. Petersburg – Luga line – according to a standard design developed by the architect Pyotr Onufrievich Salmonovich (1833-1898).

The author of the appeal believes that the decision of the KGIOP does not correspond with the interests of the citizens of Alexandrovskaya in preserving the cultural heritage, historical appearance and aesthetics in and around St. Petersburg. The signatories demand to overrule the decision of the KGIOP and include the Aleksandrovskaya Railway Station in the list of cultural heritage sites. The petition has already received 26 thousand signatures!

PHOTO: Early 20th century view of memorial chapel to Alexander II,
Demolished by the Bolsheviks in 1949

Local historians recall that in 1867 Emperor Alexander II, was solemnly greeted here, after surviving an assassination attempt in France,. On 25th May 1868, in the presence of the Emperor and members of the Imperial Family, a stone chapel was consecrated “In memory of the miraculous salvation of the life of Emperor Alexander II by the Grace of God. The fanatic A. Berezovsky committed an attempt on his life.” The chapel was based on the design of the architect Alexander Fomich Vidov (1829-1896). In 1923, the chapel was closed, the building was converted into a storage room. On 10th January 1949, the chapel was demolished by the Bolsheviks.

It was also from this station, that Emperor Nicholas II and his family went into exile in the summer of 1917 – it would be their final rail journey.

PHOTO: In 2011, this cross memorial was installed on the preserved plinth of the demolished stone chapel


The point of no return for Nicholas II and his family, 1917

On the morning of 14 August (O.S. 1), 1917, the former Tsar and his family left the Alexander Palace for the last time. They exited from the Semicircular Hall of the palace, and travelled by car to the Alexandrovskaya Station – the most remote of the three railway stations in Tsarskoye Selo.

Two special trains – which were provided by the leader of the Provisional Government Alexander Kerensky – awaited the Imperial Family and their retinue at the station. The train was a luxurious and comfortable wagons-lits of the International Sleeping Car Company – not the sort of train one would expect to transport “prisoners”.

The train featured a restaurant car stocked with wines from the Imperial cellar, and baggage compartments filled with trunks and suitcases, favourite rugs, pictures and knickknacks collected from the Imperial Family’s private apartments in the Alexander Palace .

In their portable jewel chests, the Empress and her daughters brought personal gems worth at least a million rubles ($500,000 USD).

In addition to the ladies and gentlemen of their suite, the Imperial Family was accompanied by two valets, six chambermaids, ten footmen, three cooks, four assistant cooks, a butler, a wine steward, a nurse, a clerk, a barber, and two pet spaniels.

All were under the watchful eye of Colonel Eugene Kobylinsky (1875-1927) and his guards, who also rode in the same train as the Imperial Family. Most of Kobylinsky’s 330 soldiers and 6 officers followed in a second train.

Source: Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie (1967)

The trains departed the Alexandrovsky Station at 5:50 am, on the morning of 14 August (O.S. 1), 1917, bound for the town of Tobolsk in Siberia. Less than a year later, Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra and their five children would accept their martyrdom in Ekaterinburg.

PHOTO: In 2018, a memorial plaque in memory of the Imperial family’s
departure into exile was unveiled at the Alexandrovskaya Railway Station

The Alexandrovskaya Station has survived to the present day. It is situated 5.7 km from the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin). It offers a couple of sites which will be of interest to any one who shares an interest in the life and reign of Russia’s last tsar and his family.

On 11th August 2011, a memorial in the form of a cross was installed bearing the image of Emperor Nicholas II, on the preserved plinth of the stone chapel which had been dismantled by the Bolsheviks in 1949. The inscription in Russian reads “Emperor Nicholas II. Grateful Russia”. On 14th April 2021, the parish of the Church of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God in the village of Aleksandrovskaya, made a formal request to the Committee for Property Relations of St. Petersburg, to hand over the foundation of the chapel. The parish has plans to reconstruct the memorial chapel.

On 14th August 2018, a memorial plaque in memory of Emperor Nicholas II and his family was unveiled on the outside wall of railway station building in the village of Alexandrovskaya. The English translation of the plaque reads:

14 August 1917
at 5:50 am
Sovereign Nikolai Alexandrovich
his family, and retinue
were sent into exile by the Provisional Government
From the Alexandrovskaya Station to Tobolsk

The Alexandrovskaya Station can be reached by commuter train from the Baltic Railway Station in St. Petersburg. If you are visiting Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin), it can be reached by bus from the main station or by taxi.

© Paul Gilbert. 19 April 2021

The fate of the obelisk to Nicholas II in Kaluga

PHOTO: The obelisk erected in memory of the visit of Emperor Nicholas II to Kaluga
in 1904, was erected in 1908, and demolished by the Bolsheviks in the 1920s.

By the late spring of 1904, the Russo-Japanese War was already in full swing. In an effort to boost morale, Emperor Nicholas II personally went to Kaluga to inspect the garrison.

The Emperor arrived on the Imperial Train in Kaluga on 20th (O.S. 7) May 1904, accompanied by his brother Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich, and their uncle Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich.

Upon arrival, the Emperor stepped off the Imperial Train and mounted a horse given to him by the Kaluga military. Accompanied by the Grand Dukes and his retinue, they proceeded to the town’s military field, where the Kaluga garrison had assembled for inspection, before being sent to defend Russia during the Russo-Japanese War. The garrison included the 9th Ingermanland Infantry Regiment, the 10th Newlingermanland Infantry Regiment and the 31st Cavlary Artillery Brigade.

PHOTO: Emperor Nicholas II arrives on the Imperial Train
in Kaluga on 20th (O.S. 7) May 1904

Nicholas II headed for the line of troops who awaited him. The commander of the division presented the Emperor with his combat report, the troops stood at attention, music played, and the military slowly lowered their banners in front of their Sovereign. Nicholas followed the front line with his retinue and greeted each military unit separately. The orchestra played the Imperial anthem God, Save the Tsar!, which prompted enthusiastic shouts of “Hurrah!” from the regiments.

The Emperor then stood in front of the pavilion, at which point the troops marched past in front of him in a ceremonial march. Then the officers were gathered, the Sovereign questioned those who had already participated in the war. After that he granted each with an icon of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker and made a parting speech to the troops.

The tsar wrote in his diary that night: “We arrived at a field near Kaluga, where the 9th Ingermanland Infantry Regiments, the 10th Newermanland Regiments, the 31st Cavlary Artillery Brigade. and two flying artillery regiments were lined up. Due of the rains over the past few days, the field had turned into a swamp. Despite this, it did not deter the troops.”

PHOTOS: Emperor Nicholas II, Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich, and Grand Duke
Sergei Alexandrovich, leave the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kaluga

In 1907, Kaluga Governor Alexander Alexandrovich Ofrosimov proposed to erect a monument- an obelisk in honour of this event. The laying took place on 29th June 1907, the unveiling and consecration was held three days later on 30th July 1908. The monument to Nicholas II was the first monument to appear in the Kaluga region.

The fourteen-meter obelisk was made of granite blocks, and crowned with a bronze double-headed eagle made of bronze by S.A. Pozhiltsov). The pedestal featured a commemorative plaque, which included the names of the Kaluga officers who participated in the Russo-Japanese War. Many of these men died during the war, therefore, the monument became a memorial to those Kaluga officers and soldiers who perished in 1904-1905. The composition was complemented by two cast-iron cannons at the base.

The obelisk was demolished by the Bolsheviks in the 1920s, who regarded the monument as a reminder of Tsarism.

The idea of restoring the obelisk for the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty in 2013 was considered, but it was not implemented. Instead, a bust of Nicholas II was installed in the Central Park of Culture and Leisure in Kaluga on July 31, 2016.

© Paul Gilbert. 17 April 2021

Nicholas II historic figurines

Collecting historical figures, miniatures and toy soldiers is a hobby which dates back hundreds of years.

Faberge in particular were famous for their miniature figures. The figures were typically only 25–75 mm long or wide, with some larger and more rare figurines reaching 140–200 mm tall, and were collected throughout the world; the British Royal family has over 250 items in the Royal Collection.

In 2013, a Faberge Cossack guard figurine sold for $5.2 million US dollars.

Toy soldiers in particular have probably been around as long as real soldiers. But mass-produced toy soldiers only date to the 1890s, when new manufacturing techniques made them inexpensive to produce and collect.

It was very common for male members of the Russian Imperial Family to have entire collections of miniature soldiers, including Nicholas II’s son Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaevich.

During the last 30 years, more and more figures of Russia’s emperors and empresses has become increasingly popular. There are a growing number of figures of Nicholas II, which vary in likeness, size and price.

I have assembled a small collection of photographs of some of the more higher quality figures. Few are sold in shops, but through dealers and artists – all of whom live in Russia – who hand paint each figure ordered. I will add additional photos as they become available.

Disclaimer: please note that this post is for information purposes only. I am not promoting or endorsing any particular figure or its respective artist – PG

The figures of Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and Metropolitan Palladium of St. Petersburg (seen in the photo below) are mounted on a wooden box. The composition was made in memory of their Coronation, held on Tuesday, 14th May 1896 in the Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin.

This work of art by a contemporary Russian artist embodies this historic event in great detail. The figurines of Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna have been recreated and painted from the historic painting by Danish artist Laurits Tuxen (1853-1927). Made of tin and beech wood, size: 22 x 23 x 20 cm.

© Paul Gilbert. 17 April 2021

Historic chandeliers installed in the Alexander Palace

PHOTO: Chandelier for the Reception Room of Nicholas II

According to a press release from the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum, workers have now completed the restoration and recreation of the historic interiors of the private apartments of Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna, situated in the eastern wing of the Alexander Palace.

Objects for the decoration of the interiors are now being moved into the palace. One of the first items of decoration to take their place are the lighting fixtures. Many of the graceful chandeliers and lanterns created in the St. Petersburg workshops during the 18th to 19th centuries have been preserved in the historical collection of the museum for more than a century.

PHOTO © Tsarskoe Selo State Museum-Reserve

Among the lamps characteristic of the era of Catherine II’s reign, one can distinguish chandeliers of the late 18th century by their crystal headgear and coloured glass; their main feature is a multitude of faceted pendants of various shapes, connected in garlands, crystal obelisks and a “fountain” crowning the chandelier, reminiscent of a column of water … Such chandeliers adorn the Empress’s Mauve (Lilac) Boudoir, Alexandra Feodorovna’s Corner Reception Room and the Large Library.

PHOTO © Tsarskoe Selo State Museum-Reserve

Among the unique lighting fixtures s is a chandelier from the Reception Room of Nicholas II. This interior was designed by the architect Roman Melzer in 1895-1896: walls and ceiling are finished with oak panels and furniture ordered from the F. Melzer & Co. factory. An electric chandelier was installed, with twelve bulbs in the form of a hanging openwork rim on six chains with hemispherical shades decorated with a fringe of yellow beads. The chandelier was not evacuated during the war years and remained in its place for almost a hundred years: it was removed in 1997. In 2015, specialists of the Yuzhakova Studio workshop in St. Petersburg carried out a restoration of the chandelier, which involved cleaning the metal surface, replaced the lost beads and installed new electrical wiring.

PHOTO © Tsarskoe Selo State Museum-Reserve

The pride of the collection are three chandeliers for a hundred candles each – from the State Halls of the Alexander Palace, which have been preserved in the museum’s funds. In 1796, an order for the production of eight identical chandeliers according to the design of the architect Giacomo Quarenghi was received by the St. Petersburg bronze-maker Johann Zech. They were intended for the St. George Hall of the Winter Palace. The master managed to make only three chandeliers, which adorned one of the halls of the Mikhailovsky Castle; subsequently they were transferred to the Alexander Palace. An interesting fact is that the “Karengiev” chandeliers were made for 50 candles each, but in 1829 the number of horns was increased to one hundred for better lighting of the halls. These large two-tiered chandeliers with ruby ​​glass balusters will take their historical place after the completion of the restoration of the central building of the palace.

Click HERE to read my article Restoration of Lighting Fixtures for the Alexander Palace, published on 16th December 2020

© Paul Gilbert. 14 April 2021


Fifteen interiors situated in the eastern wing of the palace, are now scheduled to open to visitors in the Spring of 2021. Among the recreated interiors are the New Study of Nicholas II, Moorish Bathroom of Nicholas II, Working Study of Nicholas II, Reception Room of Nicholas II, Pallisander (Rosewood) Living Room, Mauve (Lilac) Boudoir, Maple Drawing Room, Alexandra’s Corner Reception Room, the Imperial Bedroom, among others.

In the future, the Alexander Palace will become a memorial museum of the Romanov family – from Catherine the Great to Nicholas II, showcasing the private, domestic life of the Russian monarchs who used the palace as an official residence. The eastern wing of the palace will be known as the Museum of the Russian Imperial Family. The multi-museum complex, which includes the Western wing is scheduled for completion no earlier than 2024.


Dear Reader: If you enjoy my articles on the history and restoration of the Alexander Palace, 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. The net proceeds help fund my work, including research, translations, etc. Thank you for your consideration – PG