First volume of the ‘Crime of the Century. Investigation Materials’, published in Russia

Click HERE to read the first volume [in Russian only]

On 30th September, the first volume of the book Преступление века. Материалы следствия [Crime of the Century. Investigation Materials], about the investigation into the murder of Emperor Nicholas II and his family was published [in Russian] on the website of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation.

The murder of the Imperial Family on 17th July 1918, remains one of the most mysterious and controversial crimes of the 20th century. The events of more than a century ago are now presented for the first time in a three-volume Russian language edition based strictly on documentary evidence and reliable archival sources. In chronological order, episode by episode, the book describes the tragic events associated with the murder of the Imperial Family and the Bolshevik and Soviet attempts to conceal their remains.

The three volumes will explore the investigative work done in the years 1918 to 1924, the early 1990s, to the present day. The final volume explores the current results of the investigation in the criminal case, resumed by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation in 2015, which managed to recreate an objective picture of those distant days and fill in the previously existing gaps.

According to the Chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation A.I. Bastrykin: “modern 21st century science and expert research have allowed us to delve much deeper into the essence of the tragic events of 1917 in more detail, permitting us to draw impartial and well-grounded conclusions.”

“Scientific and technological progress has made it possible to conduct unique forensic examinations, including medico-forensic (anthropological). An important role was played by the work of cartographers, thanks to which 3D models of the murder room in the Ipatiev House. In addition, the schemes of the Koptyakovskaya road were recreated. Photos, archives, diaries, memoirs, audio recordings – all helped to form the basis of this unique publishing project”, he added.

This 3-volume book is the result of a joint effort of investigators of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, which includes scientists, researchers, and other experts. It remains the most complete and up-to-date study into the investigation of a century-old crime, which remains one of the darkest pages in the history of 20th century Russia.

The Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is scheduled to meet in Moscow from 15th to 18th November 2021, where they will review the findings of the Investigative Commission and deliver their verdict on the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg Remains.

© Paul Gilbert. 30 September 2021

“The current Romanovs have no right to occupy the Russian throne” – says Orthodox abbot

PHOTO: Prince George Mikhailovich and Princess Maria Vladimirovna

On 1st October, a descendant of the Romanov dynasty, Prince George Mikhailovich, will marry the daughter of an Italian diplomat Rebecca Bettarini in St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg. The couple’s upcoming nuptials have generated much attention by Russia’s media, one of which hailed the event as the “wedding of the century”, which of course is utter nonsense.

The announcement of the couple’s marriage in January of this year, once again reopened the century long debate about the Kirillovich branch of the Romanov family and their hotly disputed claim to the non-existent Russian throne, and restoration of the monarchy.

According to historian Alexander Chausov, “the practical implementation of the idea of ​​the revival of the Russian monarchy seems extremely doubtful. In modern times, the return of the monarchy to any country entails a change in the entire logic of the work of the institutions of power. Even if it is a constitutional monarchy. No matter how we relate to Russia, it is today a democratic republican state,” – says Alexander Chausov.

The historian believes that religion in any monarchy is an essential component. Monarchy is the legitimization of power through the sacred, that is, through religious attributes. How in Russia, where freedom of conscience and religion is declared at the constitutional level with the legally enshrined equality of confessions and religious movements, will they choose the religious denomination that should perform the rite of anointing this particular monarch? It is clear that Russia is a country with an strong Orthodox culture, and George Romanov himself is Orthodox. But if the ceremony is performed by the Russian Orthodox Church, not only will it cause dissatisfaction with other religious confessions, but also with political factions [the Communist Party in particular] of the country. “The tsar in the state is the bishop for earthly affairs, as the Byzantine emperors were called. When introducing a monarchy, one will have to forget that in Russia the church is separated from the state,” noted Chausov.

In addition, the historian is sure that for the revival of the monarchy in Russia, it will be necessary to return the class division of society. In order to establish a monarchy in Russia, it is necessary to hold a nationwide referendum. If the absolute majority votes in favor, it will be necessary to hold a certain Zemsky Sobor – by analogy with the one at which Mikhail Romanov was elected tsar in Russia in 1613 . Now the right of the descendants of the Kirillovich branch of the Romanov family to occupy any throne seems very doubtful. But the Zemsky Sobor is not a referendum; it presupposes, at least, the division of the estate of society and the official revival of the nobility. Modern society is simply not motivated by the processes of the revival of the monarchy, the historian is sure.

The idea of restoring monarchy in post-Soviet Russia is not popular with most Russians. In the summer of 2019, a poll conducted by REGNUM of some 35,000 Russian citizens showed that only 28% supported the idea of restoring the monarchy, more than half (52%) of which would NOT support placing a “Romanov” on the throne!

PHOTO: Father Afanasy Selichev

Has no right to the throne

According to the abbot of the Archangel Michael Monastery of the Alexander Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, Father Afanasy Selichev, there were cases of morganatic marriages in the history of the Kirillovichs [among other male members of the Imperial Family during the reign of Nicholas II], and this deprived George Romanov of the right to occupy any throne.

George’s great-grandfather, the Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich (1876-1938), lost his right to succession to the throne when he entered into an incestuous marriage [forbidden by the Russian Orthodox Church] with his first cousin Princess Victoria-Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1876-1936), the daughter of the Duke of Edinburgh (1844-1900) and Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna (1853-1920). According to the Russian Orthodox Church, his marriage deprived him and his descendants of any rights to the Russian throne. During the February 1917 Revolution, Kirill Vladimirovich, commanding a guards naval crew in Petrograd, recognized the Provisional Government and walked around with a red bow. “His record says something,” – said Father Afanasy.

In addition, Kirill’s son Vladimir (1917-1992) in 1948 secretly entered into a morganatic marriage with the divorced Mrs. Kirby, nee Princess Leonida Georgievna Bagration-Mukhranskaya (1914-2010). This marriage, according to the laws of the Russian Empire, denied any rights to the throne to his offspring.

“At best, they are the lordly princes. Moreover, the last Romanov is not Romanov at all: he is Hohenzollern. He was given a Russian passport by President Boris Yeltsin, added the priest.

Georg Hohenzollern or George Romanov?

George is the son of the Prussian Prince Franz Wilhelm of Hohenzollern and legitimately a German prince. But George, albeit very conditional, is still Romanov on the female side, it is absolutely unrealistic to imagine that Russia, would accept him.

George Romanov is the great-grandson of Emperor Wilhelm II, and has much more rights to the German throne than that of Russia. Thanks to the efforts of his mother Maria Vladimirovna, he is currently part of her public relations blitz to make her son more familiar and likeable to the Russian people.

According to Alexander Chausov, George has repeatedly stated that he never wanted to become a Russian tsar, they say, this is all my mother’s idea.

According to historian Mikhail Diunov, the wedding of George to Rebecca Bettarini may affect his right to take any throne. Bettarini is not of a ruling house, which is the basic condition for marriage under the 1797 succession law, she is not even a noblewoman.

“Earlier this year, Maria Vladimirovna made a cunning move,” says Mikhail Diunov – “Rebecca’s father, diplomat Roberto Bettarini, was “awarded” the Order of St. Anne of the First Degree and thanks to this formally became a nobleman of the Russian Empire. But everyone understands that this is nothing more than a farce.”

It is very important to note, that Maria Vladimirovna never had or has any authority to hand out titles or awards as she is not and never has been a ruling monarch. Despite this, 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”!

According to Diunov, having chosen Rebecca Bettarini as his wife, George eliminated his offspring from among those who may be eligible to the succession to the throne in the event of a theoretical revival of the monarchy in Russia.

© Paul Gilbert. 29 September 2021

Will the Bishops Council’s decision on the Ekaterinburg Remains cause a schism within the ROC?

PHOTO: Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev),

We are now just weeks away before the Russian Orthodox Church delivers its verdict on the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg Remains.

The Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is scheduled to meet in Moscow from 15th to 18th November [now delayed until 26th to 29th May 2022], where they will review the findings of the multitude of examinations – requested by the ROC’s Investigative Committee – and carried out in different laboratories around the world. These included various examinations (molecular-genetic, physical-chemical, trace evidence, ballistic, handwriting, historical-archival, soil science, forensic, anthropological studies, and more).

Some members of the Moscow Patriarchate have expressed optimism, such as Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), the head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations, who believes that the “Ekaterinburg remains will be recognized as genuine”.

PHOTO: Image of Tsar Martyr Nicholas II in the Hall of Church Cathedrals of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. It is here that the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church will meet in November, to (hopefully) confirm the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg remains.

“The examinations that have been carried out prove that the remains found near Ekaterinburg are indeed the remains of the Tsar and his family. But for the Church to recognize such, it is necessary that all bishops familiarize themselves with the results of the examinations,” he said.

The Metropolitan urged believers not to rush and not to anticipate events. “Bishops should have complete freedom to review to the information they receive,” emphasized. Hilarion. According to him, at the moment the members of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church have familiarized themselves with the results of the examinations, it is then that a final decision on the recognition of their authenticity of the remains rests with the Bishops’ Council of the church as the supreme governing body.

Whatever decision the Bishops’ Council makes, it is sure to cause a schism among Believers who are divided on the authenticity of the remains. Many still adhere to Nikolai Alekseevich Sokolov’s (1882-1924) theory that the bodies of the Imperial Family were completely destroyed with fire and acid at the Four Brothers Mine.

© Paul Gilbert. 20 September 2021

Russia’s second largest monument to Nicholas II erected in the Vladimir region

VIDEO: in Russian. DURATION: 2 minutes, 11 seconds

On 14th September, a new monument to Emperor Nicholas II was opened in the Russian village of Sanino, situated in the Petushinsky District of the Vladimir Region. The new monument is the first in the Vladimir region, and the country’s second largest monument to Russia’s last Tsar.

The bronze monument was made by the Moscow sculptor Rovshan Rzayev. It was installed on the grounds of the Church of the Chernigov Icon of the Mother of God in the village of Sanino. The opening of the monument was timed to coincide with the patronal feast day. A Divine Liturgy was led by Metropolitan Ambrose of Tver and Kashin. About 500 people took part in the service, procession, unveiling and consecration of the monument.

PHOTO: Metropolitan Ambrose of Tver and Kashin performs the act of consecration

PHOTO: more than 500 people attended the unveiling and consecration ceremony

The height of the monument [with pedestal] is 3 meters [nearly 10 ft.]. The Tsar is depicted in uniform, wearing his coronation mantle, a sword on his left side. He is holding an orb in his left hand, while the fingers of his right hand are poised to make the sign of the cross. The figure stands on a massive pedestal with the inscription “Nicholas II Tsar and Passion-Bearer.”

PHOTO: “Nicholas II. Tsar and Passion-Bearer.”

PHOTOS: front and rear views of Russia’s second largest monument to Nicholas II

During the Soviet years, Nicholas II was vilified and forgotten. Not a single memorial of any kind existed in the Soviet Union, however, during the last 30 years more than 100 monuments, busts and memorials in honour of Nicholas II have been erected in more than 30 regions of the country.

© Paul Gilbert. 16 September 2021

5 NEW Romanov Titles

I am pleased to offer 5 additional Romanov titles on AMAZON in both PAPERBACK and EBOOK editions. The bulk of these titles are books which I published in paperback editions about 20 years ago, and have been out of print for some time. I decided to repackage each with new covers, and updated with prefaces and introductions. In addition, are also new titles.

Please note that some of these titles are available in both paperback and eBook editions, while others are available in either just paperback or eBook editions at the present time.

Prices for eBooks start at $9.99 USD, paperback editions start at $12.99 USD. Each title offers a FREE Look Inside feature.

All of these books are available from any AMAZON site in the world and are priced in local currencies [CLICK on any of the following links]: Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Japan, India, Brazil, Mexico and Australia

Please refer to the links provided below to view this month’s selection – PG

Compiled and Edited by Paul Gilbert

AMAZON’S #1 New Release in Historical Russia Biographies


Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich (1878-1918) was the youngest son of Emperor Alexander III and Empress Maria Feodorovna, and the younger brother of Russia’s last emperor Nicholas II.

This book explores the milestones in the life of Grand Duke Michael in a series of essays by four distinct authors, and complemented with 50 black and white photographs.

Among them are the memories of Princess Olga Pavlovna Putyatina, who in February 1917, offered refuge to the grand duke at her flat on Millionnaya Street in Petrograd.

Independent researcher Paul Gilbert offers two fascinating essays: the first reviews an album of some 200 photographs taken by Grand Duke Michael, during his stay at Knebworth House in Hertfordshire. England, 1913-1914 . The album sold at auction for more than 2 million rubles ($34,000 USD).

The final essay examines the myth that Michael was the last Tsar of Russia, he was not. Nicholas II remained Emperor and Tsar of Russia until the day of his death and martyrdom on 17th July 1918.

Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich and his Secretary Nikolai Nikolaevich Johnson, were both murdered by the Bolsheviks near Perm on 13 June 1918. Their remains have never been found.

by Dr. Thomas E. Berry


The history of the Corps des Pages in Russia dates back to the days of Peter the Great. Each of his successors made changes or improvements up until the end of the monarchy in 1917.

The Corps des Pages was both a military and a Court institution which prepared young men to serve the Tsar and his family at Court. Many would also go on to serve in the military or enter into the diplomatic or civil service of the Russian Empire. The chief among the Pages of the Chamber was ipso facto the Page of the Chamber of the Tsar. The Tsarina and each member of the Imperial Household had a Page of the Chamber assigned to them, as did all the Grand Dukes and Grand Duchesses. As a rule, Pages of the Chamber and Pages were invited to participate in many Imperial Court events.

These memoirs provide eyewitness accounts of their education and training at the Vorontsov Palace in St. Petersburg. From here, these young men went on to serve the Russian Imperial family. Their recollections of the elegance of the Russian Court as well as many, new intimate details of Emperor Nicholas II, provide us with a rare glimpse into his private world.

The memoirs also tell of the sadness and heartache felt as the First World War swept them, their country and monarchy into history. Some lived to tell of the destruction brought on by war and the revolution and reflect on a world lost forever.

by Paul Gilbert


Six eyewitness accounts of the crowning of Russia’s last tsar with more than 200 rare vintage photographs & illustrations

The pomp and pageantry surrounding the Coronation of Nicholas II is told through the eye-witness accounts of six people who attended this historic event at Moscow, held over a three week period from 6th (O.S.) to 26th (O.S.) May 1896.

The authors came from all walks of life and different nations: Francis W. Grenfell and Mandell Creighton, Bishop of Peterborough (Great Britain); John A. Logan, Jr., Kate Koon Bovey and Richard Harding Davis (United States); and Boris Alexandrovich Engelgardt (Russia).

Historians have left us only brief descriptions of this historic event, but it is thanks to the authors of this unique book that we are grateful. They recorded their observations in diaries and letters, leaving to posterity a first-hand record that allows modern-day readers to relive the crowning of Russia’s last tsar and the splendour and opulence of a world that is gone forever.

These exceptional memoirs offer a wealth of information that include the preparations and events leading up to and during the coronation festivities, the tsar’s entry into Moscow, the procession to the cathedral, the crowning of the tsar and the celebrations that followed. No two memoirs are alike; each of the authors guides the reader through this historic event through his or her own eyes.

Paul Gilbert is an independent researcher specializing in the study of the life and reign of Emperor Nicholas II. He has committed his research to clearing the name of Russia’s much slandered Tsar.

by Anna Taneeva-Vytrubova


Due to her privileged position at the Court of the last Russian Tsar and her close association to the Imperial Family, Anna Vyrubova’s memoirs are highly regarded by those who share a special interest in Nicholas II and his family.

From the summer of 1905 on, Anna Vyrubova centered her life on the Empress Alexandra and became a part of the Tsar’s family. In order to be closer to the family, Anna moved into a summer home at Tsarskoye Selo, just two hundred yards from the Alexander Palace, and her telephone was connected directly to the palace switchboard.

Her memories provide a rare peek into the private world of the Imperial Family, sharing many intimate details and personal impressions. She sailed with them on the Imperial Yacht ‘Standart’ to the Finnish islands and Livadia in Crimea.

In 1920 Anna escaped to Finland and lived quietly at Vyborg. There she wrote these remarkable memoirs which offer a unique eyewitness testimony of the life and character of Empress Alexandra, Emperor Nicholas II and their five children. Vyrubova describes a diverse array of incidents in the life of the Imperial family which collectively attest to the sincere and loving nature of the often misunderstood Empress.

Anna took vows as a Russian Orthodox nun but was permitted to live in a private home because of her physical disabilities. She died in 1964 at the age of 80, in Helsinki, where her grave is located in the Orthodox section of Hietaniemi cemetery. This book was first published in 1923.

by Princess Olga Paley


Every victim of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 had a story to tell. One of the most tragic was that of Princess Olga Valerianovna Paley (1865-1929) the morganatic second wife of Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich (1860-1919).

Born in 1865, she married an officer of the Imperial Guard of Russia, Erich Augustinovitch von Pistohlkors, the couple had four children.

Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich, a long-time friend of Pistohlkors, often spent his evenings with the Pistohlkors couple in Tsarskoye Selo; where he became smitten with Olga’s beauty, elegance, and her worldly and lively spirit. Their affair resulted in the birth of a son, Vladimir

Their affair created a scandal at Court and the Emperor forbid his uncle to marry Olga. Following her divorce from Pistolkors, Olga and Paul defied Nicholas II, resulting in their expulsion from Russia. They married in Livorno, Italy, and settled in an elegant mansion built in Boulogne-sur-Seine, France for several years. It was here that Olga gave birth to two more daughters,

In 1904, Prince-Regent Leopold of Bavaria titled Olga Countess of Hohenfelsen, and upon their return to Russia, the Tsar created the title of Princess Paley for her and their children.

During the revolution, her husband the Grand Duke and their son Vladimir were captured and murdered by the Bolsheviks. Olga and her daughters escaped to Finland and then returned to Paris, where she died in 1929.

Princess Olga Paleys memories are a poignant, often harrowing account of the ‘last happy days’ before the disintegration of the empire, and the Tsar’s abdication. She records in stark detail the actions of the revolutionary officials, the increasing humiliation and cruelty that she and her husband, who was already in poor health, suffered under the new order, the ‘reign of blackguardism’ as they gradually requisitioned or destroyed her property and that of the other Romanovs, and how they responded to each gesture of brutality with dignity during ‘the dreadful calvary of 1918’. It is a moving document by one who survived, while so many of those closest to her did not.

Click HERE to view 4 NEW Romanov titles published in August 2021

© Paul Gilbert. 16 September 2021

Autumn Views of the Alexander Palace and Park

PHOTO: the Alexander Palace set against the backdrop of autumn colours

The first day of autumn officially arrives in Russia on 1st September. It seems only fitting that we celebrate one of the loveliest seasons of the year with these beautiful photos of the Alexander Palace and Park at Tsarskoye Selo.

Autumn is my favourite time of year to visit Russia. During a visit to St. Petersburg in October 2007, I decided to spend an entire week in Pushkin [Tsarskoye Selo].

Staying in Tsarskoye Selo was a refreshing change from the hustle and bustle of St. Petersburg. I stayed at the Hotel Natali which is situated in the city’s historical district, with nice rooms, and a hearty breakfast included. The main reason I chose this hotel was that the Alexander Palace is literally at the top of the street!

The hotel’s location was ideal for visiting the Alexander and Catherine Palaces, but also the Alexander Park daily on foot at my own leisure. One day, I actually walked to Pavlovsk Palace, a distance of 7.3 km. [4.5 miles]!

The Alexander Park offers pathways leading to the parks numerous pavilions, as well as ponds and canals, which were often used during the summer months by Nicholas II and his children for boating.

Over the course of the past decade, numerous pavilions have been beautifully restored, including the Sovereign’s Martial Chamber, the Arsenal, the Chapelle, and the White Tower. The next restoration project in the Alexander Park will that of the Chinese Theatre.

The paths throughout the Alexander Park are now blanketed in beautiful red, yellow, gold
leaves that crunch under your footsteps. Cool autumn breeze blow through the trees spiriting loose leaves from their branches, allowing each one to dance in the air before falling gently to the ground, adding yet another element to the sprawling carpet of autumn colours. The setting is truly magical.

In addition, I had a wonderful opportunity to explore the town itself. While much of Pushkin was destroyed by the Nazis during the Great Patriotic War (1941-45), it still retains some beautiful architectural gems from the Tsarist period, including a number of palaces and churches – the Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral is a must!

Numerous restaurants and cafes are within walking distance of the hotel, as well as a burgeoning souvenir market, where you can buy beautiful hand painted lacquer boxes, lace, and other items made by locals.

For any one planning a future visit to St. Petersburg, I highly recommend Tsarskoye Selo as an alternative place to stay. My autumn 2007 visit remains one of my most memorable visits to Russia, and it was the the season itself which enhanced the beauty of the Alexander Palace and the surrounding park.

NOTE: the first 15 interiors of the private apartments of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, situated in the eastern wing of the Alexander Palace, opened to the public on 14th August 2021. Since that date, nearly 17,000 people have visited the palace.

Click HERE to read my article Alexander Palace reopens for first time since 2015 + 30 colour photos and 2 videos, published on 13th August, 2021; and HERE to read my article First stage of Alexander Palace restoration cost $30 million published on 23rd August 2021 – PG

PHOTO: the Alexander Palace as it looked before the 2015-2021 restoration

PHOTO: view of the western wing of the Alexander Palace

PHOTO: one of the many paths in the Alexander Park carpeted with autumn leaves

PHOTO: memorial to the Russian Imperial Family, erected in the Alexander Park in 2007

PHOTO: the Children’s Island and House situated in the park near the Alexander Palace

PHOTO: the Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral is a short walk through the Alexander Park

PHOTO: Russia’s first monument to Nicholas II was established in 1993, on the grounds of the Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral

Click HERE to read my article Winter Views of the Alexander Palace and Park + 11 colour photos, published on 1st February 2021; Click HERE to read my article Summer Views of the Alexander Palace and Park + 10 colour photos, published on 29th July 2021

© Paul Gilbert. 14 September 2021

Napolnaya School Museum dedicated to the Alapaevsk Martyrs

On 17th July 2018, the day marking the 100th anniversary of the death and martyrdom of Emperor Nicholas II and his family, a new permanent exhibition opened in the Napolnaya school in the Ural city of Alapaevsk. The one-storey red brick schoolhouse was built in 1913-1915, on the outskirts of the city.

It was on 20th May 1918, that members of the Russian Imperial Family and their retainers were brought to Alapaevsk: 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.

The prisoners were imprisoned in the hastily vacated schoolhouse. They were given three rooms with iron beds, modest tables and chairs. Two smaller rooms were set aside for the kitchen and servants’ quarters.

On the night of 18th July 1918, they were taken out along the factory road towards Verkhnyaya Sinyachikha. It was here that their Bolshevik captors threw the prisoners into a deep abandoned mine, where they subsequently died.

Throughout the Soviet years to the present day, the building has retained its original appearance and interior layout of the premises. Up until November 2017, it housed an elementary school.

Today, it houses a museum consisting of five rooms, with a permanent exhibition dedicated to the Alapaevsk. Here you can see historical photographs, documents and materials of the investigation into their murders, some of their personal belongings, household items, weapons, and awards of the era.

Click HERE to read my article “There are still many conjectures surrounding the death of Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna”, published on 16th August 2020

PHOTOS: contemporary views of the museum dedicated to the Alapaevsk Martyrs

© Paul Gilbert. 12 September 2021

Nicholas II Calendar 2022


I am pleased to offer copies of my 2022 calendar, dedicated to Emperor, Tsar and Saint Nicholas II, with a limited printing of only 200 copies!

Each month features a full-page black and white photograph of Russia’s last monarch, printed on quality glossy stock.

Nearly 70 major holidays in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia and Russia are featured, with room to write in your own special dates and events.

Also featured, are the birth dates of members of Nicholas II, Alexandra Feodorovna, and their five children, as well as important dates in the reign of Russia’s last tsar.

The entire net sales from this calendar assist me with my research, but also with translation costs, the maintenance costs of my web site and news blog, as well as the organization and promotion of events.

The price of each calendar is $10 + postage (rates are noted on the order page, link below). I can ship to any country by Canada Post

NOTE: the postage rates quoted are for SINGLE copies ONLY! If you want to order more than one calendar, then please contact me by email at

Payment can be made securely online with a credit card or PayPal or by personal check, money order or cash – click HERE to download and print a mail order form

Thank you for your support of my research and dedication to clearing the name of Russia’s much slandered tsar

© Paul Gilbert. 4 September 2021

State Hermitage Museum restores rare portrait of Nicholas II

PHOTO: “as if in a misty haze, one could discern the face of Emperor Nicholas II”

In 2018, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg in cooperation with the Russian-American Cultural and Educational Society ‘Rodina’, embarked on a joint project headed by Candidate of Cultural Studies Viktor Faibisovich, on the restoration of a little-known portrait of Russia’s last tsar.

In 2004, a Moscow collector brought the portrait from the United States to the State Hermitage Museum, after discovering it in the Russian-American Cultural and Educational Society Museum.

The Rodina Society was founded in 1954 by Russian émigrés in Lakewood, New York. The head of Rodina, O.M. Krumins, noted that the portrait was brought from Paris in the late 1950s among other rarities of the Life Guards of the Semyonovsky, Izmailovsky and Pavlovsky regiments, the Nikolaevsky cavalry and the Konstantinovsky artillery schools.

The portrait was in a terrible state, nearly destroyed after years of neglect. Within the remnants of the layer of paint, covered with numerous craquelures [a network of fine cracks in the paint or varnish of a painting], as if in a misty haze, one could discern the face of Emperor Nicholas II, distorted by a deep vertical fracture. But the portrait was in such a terrible state as the canvas had remained rolled up for almost half a century.

The restoration was entrusted to the masters of the Russian Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in St. Petersburg . It was established that Nicholas II was depicted in the ceremonial uniform of the Semenovsky Life Guards Regiment. The emperor was appointed chief of this regiment in 1894. Scrupulous attribution made it possible to establish that the portrait was made no earlier than 1896.

But how did it end up in Paris in the middle of the 20th century?

The photos show the various stages of restoration of the portrait

Semenovsky order

The portrait was commissioned by the officers of the Semyonovsky Life Guards Regiment, and hung in the dining room of the officers’ Assembly Hall. A certificate to confirm this was left by an officer of the regiment Yu.V. Makarov: “This dining room, the largest room in the Assembly, was so large that it could accommodate 130-150 diners. On the wall opposite from the entrance, right in the middle, hung a large half-length portrait of the sovereign founder of the regiment, Emperor Peter the Great, in dark oak In a quadrangular frame, the emperor was depicted in a green caftan, with a blue Semyonov collar. Two smaller portraits of Emperor Nicholas II in our uniform and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna in oval gold frames were positioned on either side of Peter’s portrait.”

The officers’ Assembly Hall was the center of regimental life. It was from here that in August 1914 the Semyonovsky Life Guards Regiment set out for battle. During the First World War, the regiment lost 48 officer. Then, in March 1917, the regiment lost its sovereign chief Nicholas II. In April, Colonel Alexander Vladimirovich Popov (1880-1963) was appointed the last Commander of the Semenovsky Life Guards Regiment.

It is to him that we owe the preservation of the portrait of Nicholas II.

PHOTO: Colonel Alexander Vladimirovich Popov (1880-1963)
Last Commander of the Semenovsky Life Guards Regiment

In December 1917, the Semyonovsky Life Guards regiment was disbanded. All military ranks, in accordance with the Decree of the Soviets of Workers ‘and Soldiers’ Deputies on the destruction of estates and civilian ranks, were ordered to remove their shoulder straps and hold elections for commanding officers in the new Semyonovsky Guards Regiment. Popov refused to participate in the elections, and transferred the interim duties of commander to Colonel N.K. von Essen (1885-1945). On 10th December 1917 left for Petrograd, taking with him the portrait of Emperor Nicholas II.

The photos show the various stages of restoration of the portrait

Preserved memory

Popov was one of the initiators of the formation of guards units in the White movement. The revived Semyonovsky Life Guards Regiment fought in the South of Russia. Alexander Vladimirovich carried the portrait of the last sovereign chief through the entire Civil War.

In 1919 he emigrated to France and lived in Paris, where he headed the Association of the Semyonovsky Life Guards Regiment in France, was a member of the Union of Zealots in memory of Emperor Nicholas II, the Society of Lovers of Russian Military Antiquity, the Union of Russian Cadet Corps, and an honorary member of the Union of Transfiguration. Popov also served as director of the regimental museum, in which he sacredly kept the portrait of Nicholas II. In the late 1950s, when it became more and more difficult to preserve museum exhibits, they were transferred to the United States.

A few years later, 82-year-old Colonel Popov passed away. In the magazine Sentinel under the heading “Unforgotten graves” was placed a modest mention: “On March 28, 1963, the chairman of the Association of the Semenovsky Life Guards Regiment, the last commander of the regiment, Colonel Alexander Vladimirovich Popov, died in Paris.”

He was buried in the Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois Cemetery in Paris.

PHOTO: the portrait of Nicholas II, after restoration

After the death of the collector who brought the portrait of Nicholas II to Moscow, the portrait was donated to the Museum of the Russian Guard in the General Staff Building [across from the State Hermitage Museum] in St. Petersburg.

PHOTO: the restored portrait of Nicholas II displayed in the Winter Palace in 2018

On 17th July 2018, the day marking the 100th anniversary of the death and martyrdom of Russia’s last emperor and tsar, a Divine Liturgy was performed in the Church of the Savior Not Made by Hands [the home church of the Imperial Family] in the Winter Palace, led by the rector of the Prince Vladimir Cathedral, Archpriest Vladimir Sorokin. The restored portrait of Nicholas II by an unknown artist of the late 19th-early 20th centuries was displayed in the cathedral. Popov would have been pleased.

© Paul Gilbert. 1 September 2021


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