5 NEW Romanov Titles for December 2021

I am pleased to offer 5 additional Romanov titles – published in December 2021 – available in HARDCOVER and PAPERBACK editions on AMAZON. Prices for hardcover editions start at $29.99, while paperback editions start at $12.99 USD. Each title offers a FREE “Look Inside” feature.

All of these titles are available from any *AMAZON site in the world and are priced in local currencies: Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Japan, India, Brazil, Mexico and Australia.

*NOTE: Hardcover editions are only available in certain countries!

NOTE: if you cannot locate a specific title in your preferred AMAZON site, please contact me by email [royalrussia@yahoo.com] and I will be happy to provide you with the respective link – PG

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

by Paul Gilbert





Large format 8-1/2″ x 11″ hard cover and paperback editions, with 178 pages + 200 Colour and black & white photographs


I am pleased to announce the publication of my latest book Nicholas II. Portraits, in both hard cover and paperback editions. This is first hard cover book and my first book featuring full colour photographs.

Originally published in 2019, with 140 pages with 175 black and white photos, this new expanded edition features more pages and more photographs: 180 pages + more than 200 photos, including 185 FULL COLOUR and 30 black & white!

Nicholas II. Portraits explores a century of portraits of Russia’s last emperor and tsar, through the eyes of pre-revolutionary and contemporary Russian, and foreign artists.

This unique title – the first book of its kind ever published on the subject – features an introduction, as well as a series of short articles, and richly illustrated, including many full-page, with detailed and informative captions.

The cover features a portrait of Tsesarevich and Grand Duke Nicholas Alexandrovich (1889), the future Emperor Nicholas II, by the artist Baron Ernst Friedrich von *Lipgart (1847-1932).

* Lipgart painted a whole gallery of portraits of Nicholas II, my book features 10 of them – all in COLOUR!

The Emperor is depicted in the uniform of the Prussian 8th Hussar Regiment, of which he was appointed an Honourary Chief in 1889, his cape is decorated with the Royal Prussian Order of the Black Eagle.

The painting hung from 1890 to 1995 in the former dining room of Neuhaus Castle, directly opposite the portrait of Elector Clemens August of Bavaria. The officers of the 8th Hussar Regiment established a club for their meetings here and in the adjacent premises. The Prussian regiment was stationed at Neuhaus and Paderborn castle from 1851 to 1919. Following the end of World War I, the regiment was disbanded.

From the Collection of the Museum of the House of Bavarian History in Regensburg, Bavaria.

The articles include: Serov’s Unfinished 1900 Portrait of Nicholas IIA Nun’s Gift to Russia’s New Tsar. The Fate of a PortraitGalkin’s Ceremonial Portrait of Nicholas II Discovered; among others!

Famous portraits and their respective artists are all represented, including Serov, Repin, Lipgart, Tuxen, Bakmanson, Becker, Bogdanov-Belsky, Kustodiev, and many others.

The last section of the book is dedicated to the works of contemporary Russian artists, who have painted outstanding portraits of Nicholas II since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Compiled and Edited by Paul Gilbert





Hard cover and paperback editions, with 456 pages + more than 200 black & white photographs

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 Alexander Spiridovitch


VOLUME I – 1906-1910. PAPERBACK EDITION @ $18.99 USD



Volume I – 1906-1910, with 458 pages + 59 black & white photographs

Volume II – 1910-1914, with 480 pages + 65 black & white photographs

This is the first English translation of the first volume of the memoirs of A. I. Spiridovitch (1873-1952).

Alexander Ivanovich Spiridovitch was handpicked by Emperor Nicholas II to serve as his personal security chief from 1906-1916. He was also responsible for the security of the tsar’s residences.

His memoirs offer a rare eye-witness glimpse into the private world of the last tsar and his family and their day to day life. Thanks to his eye for detail, he takes us through the imperial residences, the Imperial yacht Standart and his journeys with the Imperial family through the Finnish fjords and to Livadia in the Crimea.

Spiridovitch and his men were highly recognized for their counter-terrorist work. His memoirs reveal the numerous plots to assassinate Nicholas II and other members of the Imperial family by terrorist groups working within Russia.

Spiridovitch was a pillar of honesty and trust, articulate, and intelligent, loyal to his God, the Tsar and Mother Russia. He was truly a gentleman beyond reproach. His memoirs offer one of the most honest accounts of the character and personality of Tsar Nicholas II and life at the Russian Imperial Court in its twilight years.

Many of the photographs in this 2-volume set come from the private collection of the author himself who was an avid photographer.

In 1950 he moved to the United States, where he died in 1952 at the age of 78.

by Prince Felix Youssoupoff




Paperback edition, with 370 pages + 29 black & white photographs

An astonishing memoir brings you deep inside the world of majesty and intrigue at the end of the Romanov dynasty

Born to great riches, master of vast feudal estates and many palaces, Prince Felix Youssoupoff led the life of a grand lord in the days before the Russian Revolution. Married to a niece of Tsar Nicholas II, he could observe at close range the rampant corruption and intrigues of the imperial court, which culminated in the rise to power of the sinister monk Rasputin. Finally, impelled by patriotism and his love for the Romanov dynasty, which he felt was in danger of destroying itself and Russia, he killed Rasputin in 1916 with the help of the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich and others. More than any other single event, this deed helped to bring about the cataclysmic upheaval which ended in the advent of the Soviet regime.

The author describes the luxury and glamour of his upbringing, which to us seems like some tale from the Arabian Nights, fantastic episodes at night clubs and with the gypsies in St. Petersburg, grand tours of Europe, dabbling in spiritualism, occultism, and an occasional conscience-stricken attempt to alleviate the lot of the poor.

Here is an extraordinary personal history which has all the excitement of a thriller—and is also important in the history of one of the greatest events of modern times.

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

Click HERE to view 5 NEW Romanov titles published in October 2021

Click HERE to view 5 NEW Romanov titles published in September 2021

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

© Paul Gilbert. 30 December 2021

Nicholas II gifts bell to French parish in 1897

PHOTO: Bell gifted by Emperor Nicholas II to the town of Châtellerault, 1897

For the last 124 years, a tiny French parish has held a secret with a little known connection to Russia’s last emperor and tsar Nicholas II.

In 1891, Russia placed a large order for rifles from the Manufacture de Châtellerault in France. The Manufacture d’Armes de Châtellerault was recognized throughout France for the manufacture of Lebels rifles. From 1891 to 1894, a Russian mission stayed in Châteauneuf, to supervise the manufacture of 500,000 rifles ordered by Emperor Alexander III.

When the Russian garrison came to take possession of the arms, they received a warm welcome by the town and especially, the parish priest of Saint-Jean-l’Évangéliste Church on rue Clément Jannequin in Châteauneuf, who opened the doors of his Catholic church so that a priest could perform an Orthodox Liturgy for their Russian guests.

PHOTO: The brass bell weighed 2600 kg and was covered with a layer of silver

Following Alexander III’s death in 1894, a memorial service was organized in the square in front of the church on 8th November 1894. In gratitude, for their kindness to the memory of his beloved father, Emperor Nicholas II gifted a beautifully ornate bell to the parish of Châteauneuf, a town situated on the Vienne River, located in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of France.

The bronze bell was cast at the V.M. Orlov bell factory in Saint Petersburg, with a diameter of 1.75m, weighing more than 2600 kg and is covered with a layer of silver. It was decorated with four medallions representing two Russian Tsars, Alexander III and Nicholas II, and two French presidents, Sadi Carnot and Félix Faure, in honour of the Franco-Russian Alliance. The inscription in both French and Russian reads: “Ring for the peace and fraternity of all people”.

In 2012, the bell was listed as an historic monument, and thus eligible for funding for its restoration. The bell had been silent for several years, however, in 2017 a decision was made to make repairs. The work was carried out at the Bodet company, located in Maine-et-Loire at a cost of 15,000 euros. One specialist in clocks and bells remarked in admiration: “It is one of the most beautiful bells that I have seen”.

PHOTO: Saint-Jean-l’Évangéliste Church in Châteauneuf,

For 10 days, the workers assembled a wooden easel and installed an electronic system to ring the bell again. But unlike before, it was no longer used solely to indicate the time, it now rings during services: masses, weddings and baptisms. The rare Russian bell rang once again on 11th May 2017, and continues to ring to this day.

© Paul Gilbert. 24 December 2021

Alexander Palace Curator answers questions about the Imperial residence

Maria Filiptseva. Photo © Ruslan Shamukov

The curator of the Alexander Palace exposition, Maria Filiptseva, answers questions about the Imperial Residence at Tsarskoye Selo.

Tatiana Grinchuk: Will the children’s rooms be restored?

Maria Filiptseva: Unfortunately, the reconstruction of the interiors of the Children’s wing[1] is not planned, this is due to the lack of historical sources to carry out such works.

Katya Meshalkina: What is it that you like most about your work? Are there any items in the exposition that you are your personal favourite?

Maria Filiptseva: I really like the opportunity to work creatively, especially in the Alexander Palace, where we talk about the everyday life of Nicholas II and his family. I really love to conduct historical research, because an exhibit should not just simply stand on a shelf, you need to study its origin, the history of existence. Among my favourite items, are the works of the Danish Royal Porcelain Factory. Be sure to pay attention to the porcelain figurines of animals and birds that are exhibited in many of the palace’s interiors.

Irina Zrazhevskaya: Why is the hidden safe in the bedroom of Nicholas and Alexandra not available for viewing? Has it survived?

Maria Filiptseva: The safe was lost either during the war, or during the restoration work carried out in the 1950s.

Irina Zrazhevskaya: What happened to Kuchumov’s album, into which fabric samples were pasted, etc. the Imperial chambers?

Maria Filiptseva: The albums created by Anatoly Mikhailovich Kuchumov[2] are in the collection of the Pavlovsk Museum.

Irina Zrazhevskaya: Why are there no descriptions of the exhibits in the apartments?

Maria Filiptseva: We have tried to recreate the interiors as close as possible to their historic original as they looked more than a hundred years ago, and present them as a home. An audio guide will be available soon in the museum, making it possible to obtain descriptions and information on the most significant items of each interior.

Irina Zrazhevskaya: What is the progress of the restoration of the other interiors?

Maria Filiptseva: The Mountain [Mountain] Hall with a recreated slide and the State Halls are still in the process of being recreated. There are also plans to recreate the Raspberry Drawing Room.

Irina Zrazhevskaya: Please tell us about the keys to the Alexander Palace, which are now displayed in the main corridor which separate the Imperial apartment. Were they previously kept in the Museum of the History of Modern Russia?

Maria Filiptseva: The keys were provided for temporary storage by the State Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia (GCMSIR), they have now been returned to the palace. The keys to the apartments were preserved by the family of the assistant to the commandant of the Alexander Palace V.M.Dommazyants, who was appointed to this position in June 1917. After his death, his relatives handed over the keys for storage to the Museum of the Revolution (now the State Center for Contemporary Art).


PHOTO: the second floor of the eastern wing of the Alexander Palace, where the former rooms of the August children were located. The original interiors have been lost.

[1] The children’s rooms were located on the second floor of the eastern wing of the Alexander Palace. The original interiors have been lost. In 2011, they were refitted for temporary exhibitions, and open to visitors for the first time in more than 80 years. The first exhibition “Alexander Palace. Visiting the Children’s Rooms” ran from 2nd June to 11th September 2011. Framed portraits of OTMAA decorated the walls leading to their rooms. A small catalogue [in Russian] was published.

[2] Anatoly Mikhailovich Kuchumov (1912-1993), was a museum worker, art historian, honoured culture worker of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (1975), honorary citizen of the town of Pavlovsk (1992).

In 1932, he worked as a cataloguer of the Pavlovsk Palace Museum; from 1937, he headed the Alexander Palace Museum in Pushkin. In 1941, Kochumov took charge of Pushkin museum collections evacuation to Gorky, then to Novosibirsk. In 1944, he returned to Leningrad, and took part in setting up the Central Depository of Museum Collections, becoming its first director.

Kuchumov was a member of the Investigation Commission for Valuables Looted by the Nazis (with Kuchumov’s assistance, over 12,000 exhibits were found and returned to museums).

In 1956, he was appointed chief curator of Pavlovsk Palace Museum, and became one of the authors of the project of restoration of its interiors. A specialist in the 18th -19th centuries Russian material culture history, Kuchumov provided consulting support to the Hermitage, the State Museum of History, Tretyakov Gallery and other museums.

© Paul Gilbert. 21 December 2021

Kirillovichi commit sacrilege against Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II

In the autumn of 2016, the then Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev and the Governor of the Moscow Region Vorobyov, presented the New Jerusalem Museum and Exhibition Complex with a framed picture (above) in honour of the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty (1613-2013).

PHOTO: Former Russian prime minister Medvedev and Patriarch Kirill examine the framed picture presented to New Jerusalem Museum and Exhibition Complex in October 2016

The picture depicts many of the former tsars, emperors and empresses, including Russia’s last tsar Nicholas II, who is depicted as a saint in the center. What is so disturbing about this picture, are the images of the Kirillovich branch of the Imperial Family, who are depicted disrespectfully above that of the Tsar-Martyr.

PHOTO: portraits of the Kirillovich depicted disrespectfully above the image of the Holy Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II

Each of their portraits bears a small white marker noting their false titles [Государь]: “Kirill I Emperor in Exile”, “Sovereign Vladimir Kirillovich”, and “Sovereign Maria Vladimirovna”.

Recall that it was Kirill – not only a coward, but the grand duke who lacked a moral compass – one who committed treason against his cousin Emperor Nicholas II in 1917. Vladimir and his daughter Maria are prince and princess, neither had any legal status as “head” of the Russian Imperial House or claimant to the non-existent Russian throne.

PHOTO: the marker reads “Kirill I Emperor in Exile” 1924-1938

PHOTO: the marker reads “Sovereign Vladimir Kirillovich” 1938-1992

PHOTO: the marker reads “Sovereign Maria Vladimirovna” 1992 –

The framed picture is clearly the work of the current “pretenders” and their supporters. One Romanov blogger in Russia, referred to the picture as “sacrilege,” and rightly so!

© Paul Gilbert. 19 December 2021

How British intelligence tried to get Nicholas II out of Russia

PHOTO: King George V and Emperor Nicholas II

In 1917, British intelligence officers developed several options for evacuating Tsar Nicholas II from Russia without delay, but the British government and King George V did not have enough resolve to carry out this operation. An article published by the BBC News русская служба [Russian Service], by Russian journalist Olga Ivshina, revealed some interesting new details from recently declassified secret service documents and the Royal Archives,

Discussions on the possible evacuation of Nicholas II from Russia began almost immediately after the Tsar’s abdication from the throne on 2nd March 1917. Already on 19th March, British General Sir John Hanbury-Williams met with Nicholas II’s mother, Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna.

Britain’s concerns for the Romanov family is explained by the fact that King George V was a cousin of both Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra. The two monarchs were close and often corresponded, calling each other ‘old Nicky’ and ‘dear Georgie’. In addition, Britain and Russia were allies in the First World War.

The British general and the dowager empress agreed that the abdicated tsar should leave Russia as soon as possible. Maria Feodorovna – born in Copenhagen and holding the title of Danish princess before marriage – advocated that her son be evacuated to Denmark. She expressed concern that in the event of a longer sea voyage, that the ship carrying her son could be sunk by a German submarine. The British general assured Maria Feodorovna that he could ensure the safety of the Tsar. He even offered to personally accompany the Imperial Family out of Russia to England. Maria Fedorovna agreed. The British Ambassador to Russia Sir George Buchanan began negotiations with representatives of the Russian interim government on possible evacuation routes.

Several obstacles remained. First, it was necessary to convince Nicholas II of the need to leave, who, judging by his diary entries, still wanted to stay and dreamed of spending the rest of his days in Crimea with some kind of special honourary status. Secondly, it was necessary to obtain the final confirmation of the operation from London. And thirdly, it was necessary to figure out how to get the Romanovs out of Russia by passing the armed detachments of the Bolsheviks.

The fact is that at that moment the Provisional Government did not fully control the volatile situation in the country. It was strongly opposed by the influential Petrograd Soviet of Workers ‘and Soldiers’ Deputies, which were against the departure of Nicholas II and demanded that he be tried.

PHOTO: Oliver Locker-Lampson (1880-1954)
© Imperial War Museum

Plan one – creative

While the politicians were negotiating, intelligence scouts got to work. Some of the documents shedding light on the events of those days remain classified. Researchers Richard Aldrich, Rory Cormac and Andrew Cook managed to piece together the details of several plans.

One of them was proposed by Oliver Locker-Lampson (1880-1954), an officer of the Royal Navy. He was simultaneously the commander of a division of machine-gun armoured vehicles and a member of the British Parliament.

In 1916, the Locker-Lampson[1] division was transferred to Russia, where he immediately took action. According to his memoirs, in 1917 he was instructed to develop a plan for the rescue of Nicholas II.

By this time, Locker-Lampson managed to recruit one of the servants who worked in the Alexander Palace – it was there that the Imperial Family were being held under arrest after the Tsar’s abdication. According to the intelligence plan, on the designated day, the servant was supposed to come, shave off Nicholas II’s beard, change clothes with him and attach himself a false beard, similar to that of the emperor.

Nicholas II then had to calmly leave the palace and walk to the place where British intelligence officers would be waiting for him in a motorcar. Then the Tsar would be transferred to an armoured vehicle, then taken to Arkhangelsk under the protection of the British military and sent to London.

At first glance, the plan looked naive. But, as subsequent events showed, Locker-Lampson had previous experience of evacuation operations. In 1933, he helped Albert Einstein escape from Nazi persecution, and in 1936 he transported Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia to England so that he would not fall into the hands of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. During World War II, Locker-Lampson evacuated dozens of Jewish families from Germany.

The officer’s plan had one weak point – it meant the salvation of only Nicholas II himself. A devout husband and father, the forsaken Emperor had made it very clear, that he would not leave Russia without his beloved wife and children.

There was still one other obstacle to Lampson’s plan: it was necessary to get the approval of London and send a warship to Russia to evacuate the Romanovs. Time was quickly running out for both the Imperial Family and the scouts. General Hanbury-Williams sent an urgent telegram after telegram to Britain, but there was still no answer.

PHOTO: Prime Minister David Lloyd George

Wasteful and bloody

The General’s telegrams reached Downing Street, but the government was in no hurry to make a decision. So, in a note from the King’s secretary, Lord Stamfordham, for example, it is mentioned that Prime Minister David Lloyd George was very interested in the question of how much money Nicholas II would need to live in England. The First World War drained Britain’s budget and the prime minister did not seem to be pleased with the prospect of any additional burden on the treasury.

“Can you find out what private savings the emperor has?” – the prime minister asked the British ambassador to Russia, George Buchanan.

At that time, there were legends in London about the extravagant wealth of the Russian Imperial Family in British and other foreign banks. The British negative perception of the Romanovs was influenced by stories about the adventures of their “friend” Grigory Rasputin.

Lloyd George also expressed concerns about the presence of the Romanovs in Britain. At that time, the socialist movement was gaining popularity in Britain. After the dispersal of the procession of St. Petersburg workers in 1905, left-wing politicians spoke of Nicholas II only in a negative way, often referring to him as “Nikolai the Bloody”. Lloyd George – among others – feared that the arrival of the Tsar would provoke an increase in revolutionary sentiments in Britain itself.

The Provisional Government in Petrograd repeatedly asked London to provide the Tsar and his family with asylum, at least for the duration of the war. Lloyd George paused for a long time, but Petrograd continued to be Britain’s ally in the First World War. As a result, the government still officially invited Nicholas II and his family to London.

By now, King George V was against any plan to bring his cousin to Britain. The monarch’s secretary in his papers notes that when he heard about the government’s decision, the king “fell into a panic.” The fact is that George began to receive more and more information from his personal secretary and acquaintances that the possible evacuation of the Romanov family to Britain is being widely discussed by workers, Labour MPs, and even members of the British nobility in a negative way.

Not only were people worried about Nicholas II, but also by his wife Alexandra Feodorovna, a German by birth. Having married Nicholas, the German princess converted to Orthodoxy and, as far as can be judged, imbued with love and respect for her adopted Russia. However, rumours continued to circulate in society that she secretly sympathized with Germany, her detractors often claiming that she was a Germn spy.

PHOTO: Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin

The second plan was ambitious

In parallel with the development of plans for the evacuation of the Romanov family, British intelligence officers also worked to undermine or overthrow the new Bolshevik order.

“A large scale invasion is the only thing that can save the situation and Russia,” the cavalier of military orders, the captain of the Royal Navy, Francis Cromie, telegraphed to London.

Together with the legendary British intelligence officer Sidney Reilly, they drew up plans for the landing of the Entente military formations in Russia. The head of the British diplomatic mission under the Soviet government, Robert Bruce Lockhart, at first was against such a plan, but later, realizing the inevitability of intervention, agreed.

In parallel, British intelligence officers tried to help the Socialist-Revolutionaries and monarchists organize an uprising against the Bolsheviks in Arkhangelsk [2]. There is one version which claims that the British were secretly organizing the assassination of Lenin, however, despite years of research, any evidence of such a plot has never been found.

Soviet historians write that diplomat Lockhart called the assassination of Lenin “the primary and most important task.” To this they added that the ambassadors of France and the United States were also involved in the conspiracy. However, Lockhart’s own reports say nothing of the kind, only about the arrest, but not the murder of the Bolshevik leader.

PHOTO: polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930)

The third plan was desperate

By August 1917, any opportunity to rescue the Imperial Family was looking more and more dismal. The provisional government, trying to somehow ensure the safety of the Tsar and his family, sent them away from radical revolutionaries in Petrograd into exile to Tobolsk in Siberia. This significantly complicated the task for British military and intelligence officers. Now they not only had to devise a plan to take Nicholas out from under the noses of the Bolsheviks, but to also overcome thousands of kilometres with him along the vast expanse of the Russian land. However, the officers did not give up.

The head of the Secret Service, Mansfield Cumming, began developing a new plan to rescue the Romanovs. This time the stake was made on Norwegian businessmen and travelers.

It is known that the British turned to the Norwegian polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930) for help. This scientist attracted the attention of British intelligence because he knew well not only the main Siberian roads, but the waterways along the Yenisei, which could be very useful in the evacuation of the Tsar. The British also brought in the merchant Jonas Leed to develop the new plan. He often traveled to Siberia, representing the interests of Norwegian companies in the wood and coal mining industries.

Very little is known about the details of the plan involving Leed and Nansen. All that is known for certain is that Leed dined several times with representatives of the Secret Service, as well as with the head of intelligence of the British Navy.

Captain Stefan Ellie may also have been one of the participants in this new plan to save the Tsar. He spoke Russian fluently, since his family had lived in Russia since the 1870s. Ellie is one of the few British people who stayed to work in Russia even after the evacuation of the British embassy in late 1917.

Many details of Ellie’s mission remain unknown. But in 2006, his relatives found a notebook among his belongings. One of the spreads showed a hand-drawn map of the area in and around the Ipatiev house in Ekaterinburg, where Nicholas II was transferred in April of 1918, and a description of the house.

According to declassified data, on 24th May 1918, Ellie reported to London about his readiness to carry out an operation, during which “seven important persons” would be taken to Murmansk[3]. In the report, he listed the names of six people who were supposed to take part in the operation. Ellie noted that they were all fluent in Russian and could impersonate local residents. The scout also asked for £1,000[4] “due to increased operating costs.”

Researchers agree that this plan could not have been worked out without the prior approval of the British government and King George V.

PHOTO: Captain Stefan Ellie’s notebook helped learn details of MI6’s latest plan to rescue the Imperial Family

From recently declassified documents, it becomes clear that British intelligence had evidence that Germany was also preparing a plan to take the Imperial Family out of Russia. Technically, the Germans had a chance to do this, since a significant number of their military and equipment were already in Russian territories due to their participation in the First World War.

European royal historian and researcher Karina Urbach, who has access to German archives, confirms that there was a plan to “kidnap Nikolai Romanov” from the German special services. Information about this plan was gradually leaked to British intelligence officers.

Despite the fact that Kaiser Wilhelm II was at war with Russia, but was also the godfather of Tsesarevich Alexei and sincerely wanted to save him. Urbach notes that after the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia, it was Germany that objectively had the best opportunity to rescue the Tsar and his family.

Berlin could have done this with the help of its own spies or, with much more success, through diplomatic negotiations. Researchers believe that Germany could have raised the issue of the “extradition” of the Romanovs as one of the conditions for signing a peace treaty with the Bolsheviks.

Judging by the declassified correspondence of the British Foreign Office, on 28th May 1918, diplomats discussed for the last time whether they should raise the issue of evacuating Nicholas II’s five children during negotiations with Leon Trotsky, who at that time was chairman of the Supreme Military Council. During the discussion, they came to the conclusion that even if Trotsky agrees, the Romanovs will need to be guarded on the way to Murmansk. However, the Bolshevik guard was unreliable, and it was feared that the presence of a British guard could provoke attacks on the Imperial Family along the way. As a result, the British found themselves in a vicious circle – their intervention would only further harm those whom they were trying to save.

Historian Andrew Cook believes that telegrams with details of the evacuation plan for Nicholas II, sent by Major Ellie to London, could have been intercepted by the Bolsheviks. Perhaps this was the reason for the increased security of the Ipatiev House and the Imperial Family in the summer of 1918.

On 17th July 1918, Nicholas II with his wife, their five children and four faithful servants were all brutally murdered in Ekaterinburg—there were no survivors.

Less than a year later, the British battleship Marlborough rescued Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, along with other Romanovs with their families to the British naval base in Malta.


[1] Locker-Lampson became somewhat entangled in Russian politics at this time. He said later that he had been asked to participate in the 1916 assassination of Rasputin. It is also alleged that in September 1917 he was involved in Kornilov’s attempted coup against the provisional government of Alexander Kerensky.

[2] The city resisted Bolshevik rule from 1918 to 1920 and was a stronghold of the anti-Bolshevik White Army supported by the military intervention of British-led Entente forces.

[3] Murmansk, Russia’s first ice free port was founded in 1916 by Nicholas II and named Romanov-on-Murman.

[4] In terms of today’s money, this is approximately 50 thousand British pounds (66 thousand US dollars or 4.9 million rubles).

© Paul Gilbert. 18 December 2021

Visiting Tobolsk just got easier!

PHOTO: aerial view of the Tobolsk Kremlin

If you have a desire to visit the Museum of the Family of Emperor Nicholas II in Tobolsk, and are planning a future journey to Russia, please note that Tobolsk is now easier to reach, than ever before!

On 24th September 2021, Rеmezov Airport in Tobolsk, received its first passenger flight. The new airport, located about 10 km south of Tobolsk, will now make it so much easier for foreigners to visit this beautiful city, one which has a strong connection with the final days of Russia’s last Imperial Family.

Between August 1917 and April 1918, it was here, that Emperor Nicholas II and his family were held here under house arrest in the former governor’s mansion [renamed “House of Freedom” by the Bolsheviks]. From Tobolsk, they were sent to Ekaterinburg and subsequently murdered on 17th July 1918.

PHOTO: Museum of the Family of Emperor Nicholas II in Tobolsk

Today, the former Governor’s House is home to the Museum of the Family of Emperor Nicholas II, opened on 26th April 2018. This museum is the main draw for those who have an interest in the Imperial Family.

Tobolsk is expected to become a key tourist hotspot in Siberia. Aside from Romanov museum, the city is rich in history, including the Tobolsk Kremlin, Sophia-Uspensky Cathedral (1686) – the first stone church built in Siberia, the Tobolsk Prison Castle as well as well as Tsarist architecture dating from the late 19th to early 20th centuries. In addition, are restaurants offering original Siberian cuisine.

For years, visitors to Russia have often been put off by the accessibility of Tobolsk. The new airport, now allows travellers wishing to visit ‘Siberia’s original capital’ will be able to reach the city directly, rather than having to fly to Tyumen and take a four-hour road or railway journey to Tobolsk, as they did in the past. In addition, visitors from Europe and the United States, will no longer be forced to take a train from Ekaterinburg – a full day or overnight journey!

PHOTO: Rеmezov Airport is 10 minutes from the center of Tobolsk

Regular scheduled flights will offer direct flights to/from Moscow by Pobeda airline (part of Aeroflot Group) with plans to operate *four flights per week, on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The flights will originate at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport.

In addition, the airport will offer *two flights per week to Ekaterinburg by Red Wings airline. Additional planned routes include *twice-weekly flights to Novosibirsk by S7 airlines, and *four flights per week to Saint Petersburg by Aeroflot.

*Frequency of flights is subject to change

Rеmezov Airport is capable of receiving and servicing SSJ-100, Boeing-737 and Airbus A320/321 jets.

© Paul Gilbert. 16 December 2021

The Soviet Navy’s use of the Imperial Yacht “Standart” during WWII

PHOTO: the former Imperial Yacht Standart, refitted for wartime use during the Soviet years

It seems that royal yachts are today a thing of the past. In the Russian Empire, the last was the Imperial Yacht Standart of Emperor Nicholas II. A magnificent ship that survived its owner by more than 40 years and left it’s mark on Russia’s nautical history. Why was it renamed several times? Why was the luxury yacht converted into a warship? What combat missions did she perform during the Great Patriotic War? And why did Stalin dislike this ship?

PHOTO: Emperor Wilhelm II and Emperor Alexander III

Competition between two emperors

The history of the Imperial Yacht Standart began in Denmark at the Burmeister and Vine shipyard. On 29th August 1893, Alexander III, together with Empress Maria Fedorovna and Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich [future Emperor Nicholas II], arrived on the Imperial Yacht Polar Star in Copenhagen, where the Emperor ordered the construction of the ship.

“There was an unspoken competition between Emperor Alexander III and Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany. When Wilhelm built himself the ocean yacht Hohenzollern, Alexander III decided to outdo him with an even more splendid vessel,” claims the Russian marine writer Vladimir Shigin.

On 1st November [O.S. 20 October] 1894, Alexander III died. The sovereign never stepped on board the new yacht, however, he did manage to give her a name in honour of the first ship of the Russian fleet, and the beloved frigate[1] of his ancestor Peter the Great. Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich had no idea that he would inherit not only this ship, but the entire Russian Empire the following year. The new Emperor Nicholas II travelled to Copenhagen for the launching ceremony of the Imperial Yacht Standart on 21st March 1895.

In August 1907, Nicholas wrote to his mother, that ” . . . he [Wilhelm II] so much liked the Standart that he said he would have been happy to get it as a present and that after such a yacht he was ashamed to show the Hohenzollern.”

The Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna replied: “I am sure the beautiful lines of the Standart would be an eyesore to Wilhelm. Still, his joke about how happy he would be if the yacht were given him as a present was in very doubtful taste. “

“I hope he will not have the cheek to order himself one here, this would really be the limit, though just like him, with the tact that distinguishes him!”[2]

PHOTO: views of the elegant and state of the art Imperial Yacht Standart

Floating palace

On 8th September 1896, the Standart made its first trip [without sea trials] to England. The British called the yacht a “floating palace”. Black lacquered body, furniture made of fine wood, and embossed leather [instead of wallpaper], were used for its construction and interior decoration.

The state of the art Imperial Yacht had 3 masts, a displacement of 5480 tons, a length of 128 m, a width of 15.8 m, a draft of 6.6 m, a design speed of 22 knots, 24 boilers and 2 propellers. Armament – eight 47-mm guns. The sharp clipper-head bow of the Standart was decorated with a gilded double-headed eagle. The crew numbered 373 officers and sailors, for whom the Emperor knew each one by name.

On the main deck (above the engine room) were the imperial cabins. Each block of cabins for the Emperor, Empress and Empress Dowager consisted of a living room, bedroom and bathroom. The same deck housed the dining room, the saloon, the cabins of the grand dukes and princesses, the yacht officers and the ship’s wardroom. On the lower deck there were cabins for children of the imperial family, rooms for servants, crew quarters and showers. The same deck housed a radio room, dynamo enclosures, workshops and some storerooms. Below this deck, in the bow of the yacht, there was a cargo hold and a powder magazine, and in the stern – refrigerators for perishable provisions. For the crew, much better living conditions have been created than on previous Imperial yachts.

PHOTO: Pavel Dybenko and his common-law wife Alexandra Kollontai 

What happened to Standart after the revolution?

In 1917, those very sailors, personally selected by Nicholas II, took part first in the February and then in the October Revolution. The central revolutionary organ of the Baltic sailors, Tsentrobalt[3], set up their headquarters in the former Emperor’s study. Not only did they loot the ship’s expensive wood and silk, they even took the Romanovs’ family silver. “The chairman of Tsentrobalt Pavel Dybenko and his common-law wife Alexandra Kollontai slept in Nicholas II’s bedroom. That is, they enjoyed all the benefits of the Imperial Yacht’s previous owners, the very same ones the Bolsheviks condemned and accused of living better than the common Russian people”, – writes Vladimir Shigin.

In the spring of 1918, the Standart took part in the Ice Campaign[4], following an order issued by Vladimir Lenin to save the Baltic Fleet from anti-Bolshevik forces.

In 1918, having lost its guards status and renamed March 18 (in memory of the first day of the Paris Commune), the yacht was mothballed and laid up for many years in the Military Harbour of Kronstadt.

Between 1933-36, the former imperial yacht was converted into a minelayer in Leningrad. By order of the commander of the Naval Forces of the Baltic Sea Lev Mikhailovich Haller (1883-1950) of 22nd January 1934, renamed Marty, after the French communist and secretary of the Comintern[5] – André Marty (1886-1956).

On 25th December 1936, Marty officially became part of the KBF[6]. The ship was equipped with the latest devices for laying 320 mines, powerful artillery weapons (four 130-mm main guns, seven 76.2-mm universal guns, three 45-mm anti-aircraft guns and two coaxial machine guns). New steam engines were installed, providing a speed of over 14 knots and a cruising range of up to 2,300 miles.

In 1938, the ship became the flagship of the Baltic Fleet’s barrage and trawling formation. In 1939, the ship laid mines off the coast of Finland, for which she received a commendation from the Military Council of the Baltic Fleet. In the summer of 1941, Marty’s crew won the Red Banner Challenge of the People’s Commissariat of the Navy .

PHOTO: the Standart was renamed after the French communist Andre Marty

Naval battles with the participation of Marty during the Second World War

The Marty entered combat duty on 23rd June 1941. On 25th June, while performing a combat mission, Marty sank an enemy submarine. In September of the same year, it repulsed a German air raid. The ship withstood bombardment of ten enemy bombers.

In early November 1941, the Marty took part in the evacuation of the defenders of the Hanko Peninsula. Despite the damage sustained by a mine explosion, Marty took on board and transported to Kronstadt 2,029 soldiers, 60 guns, 11 mortars, shells and food, and about 800 tons of cargo.

On 3rd April 1942, Marty was one of the first in the fleet to receive the honorary title of Guards Units[7]. The Marty was awarded the honour again in 1948.

In 1948, the very same French communist Andre Marty, whose name the ship bore, criticised both Stalin and the CPSU[8], in an article, published in the newspaper L’Humanité[9]. This was enough for the name of the Frenchman to be removed from all factories and ships, and a new name was chosen for the hero ship.

Traditionally, all mine layers in the Russian fleet, have been named after large Russian rivers or lakes. Thus Marty was renamed Oka, and was converted to a floating barracks. Under it’s new name, the former Imperial Yacht served in the Soviet fleet until the end of the 1950s,

PHOTO: A still from the Soviet film “Мичман Панин” [Warrant Officer Panin]. 1960

The film “Warrant Officer Panin

The Oka embarked on its last voyage in the summer of 1960, when it was used as the auxiliary cruiser Elizabeth for the Soviet film Мичман Панин [Warrant Officer Panin] [10]. The film sounded the Imperial hymn God Save the Tsar one can only imagine the parallels? Thanks to the creators of the film, the ship can be seen in detail, including the engine room and the partially preserved interior decoration of the ship.

After filming, the ship was sent to its home harbor at Libau [today, Liepāja in Latvia] in the Baltic, where during exercises it served as a target for the testing of anti-ship missiles. In the mid-1960s, the former grand and luxurious Imperial Yacht was dismantled for scrap. Thus, one of the most famous Russian ships sunk into history.


[1] The frigate Standart was the first ship of Russia’s Baltic fleet. Her keel was laid on 24th April 1703 at the Olonetsky shipyard near Olonets. She was the first flagship of the Imperial Russian Navy and was in service until 1727.

[2] Excerpted from Dearest Mama . . . Darling Nicky: Letters Between Emperor Nicholas II and His Mother Empress Maria Feodorovna 1879-1917, published privately in 2021.

[3] The Central Committee of the Baltic Fleet (Tsentrobalt) was a high-level elective revolutionary democratic body of naval enlisted men for coordination of the activities of sailors’ committees of the Russian Baltic Fleet.

[4] The Ice Campaign was an operation which transferred the ships of the Baltic Fleet of the Imperial Russian Navy from their bases at Reval [Tallinn], and Helsinfors [Helsinki] to Kronstadt in 1918.

The Campaign was carried out in difficult ice conditions in February-May 1918. As a result of the operation, 236 ships and vessels were rescued from capture by German and Finnish troops and redeployed, including 6 battleships, 5 cruisers, 59 destroyers, 12 submarines.

[5] The Communist International (Comintern), was an international organization founded in 1919 that advocated world communism, controlled by the Soviet Union. The Comintern resolved to “struggle by all available means, including armed force, for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie and the creation of an international Soviet republic as a transition stage to the complete abolition of the state”

[6] The Red Banner Baltic Fleet ( KBF ) was an operational-strategic formation of the Navy in the armed forces of the USSR during the Great Patriotic War (1941-45).

[7] Guards units were elite units and formations in the armed forces of the former Soviet Union. These units were awarded Guards status after distinguishing themselves in service, and are considered to have elite status. The Guards designation originated during the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45, its name coming from the Russian Imperial Guard, which was disbanded in 1917 following the Russian Revolution.

[8] The Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

[9] L’Humanité is a French daily newspaper. It was previously an organ of the French Communist Party.

[10] Click HERE to watch the film on YouTube [in Russian].

© Paul Gilbert. 14 December 2021

Why didn’t the “right” defend the monarchy in 1917?

PHOTO: Demonstration of the Black Hundreds in Odessa shortly after the announcement of the Manifesto on 17th October 1905[1]

The crisis of the Russian monarchy lasted more than a dozen years. It began during the Revolution of 1905-1907, which forced Nicholas II to make concessions, and ended in 1917, when he was forced to abdicate.

The February 1917 Revolution did not meet any organized resistance at all, neither from the Black Hundreds[2], nor from the military elite, nor from officials or the “moderate right”. Few of Russia’s military elite stood by Nicholas II, including Count Fyodor Arturovich Keller[3] (1857-1918); Alexander Pavlovich Kutepov[4] (1882-1930) and Commander of the Guard Cavalry Corps Huseyn Khan Nakhchivanski[5] (1863-1919) defended both their Emperor and the monarchy. In 1917, the conservative forces in Russia either left the political scene or were forced to “play by new rules.”

It is clear that by 1917 the Black Hundreds had greatly thinned out, were split and even in the Duma itself no longer had any particularly influence in the state of affairs. It is clear that the military could not leave the front and storm the insurgent Petrograd. It is clear that representatives of the military elite, industrialists, “moderate rightists”, even some monarchists like Vasily Vitalyevich Shulgin[6] (1878-1976) took an active part in the revolution itself.

Nevertheless, a number of features of “February” made the resistance of the pro-monarchist elements complicated and senseless. How so?

Circumstances led to a situation in which the Russian monarchists had to become “greater royalists than the Tsar himself.”

It was their belief, that as Nicholas II himself had abdicated the throne, it meant that he freed the rest of his supporters from any obligations to the monarch. Researcher A.A. Ivanov notes an important difference between the Revolution of 1917 and the Revolution of 1905:

“Taking into account past mistakes, the leaders of the liberal opposition managed to play the patriotic card, depriving the right of their main trump card – the monopoly on patriotism. Patriotic rhetoric allowed the liberal opposition (in contrast to the times of the first Russian revolution) to establish close contact with the highest ranks of the army and attract them to their side … thus, leading to the rapid defeat of the right in 1917.”

PHOTO: Meeting of the Local Council of the Orthodox Church in the Moscow Diocesan House, which existed from August 1917 to September 1918 (!). The Patriarch was elected in November 1917, already de facto under the Bolsheviks.

Following the example of the liberal opposition, the Bolsheviks also began using patriotic rhetoric to further their cause. Lenin would scream out slogans, such as “The Socialist Fatherland is in danger”, etc. Patriotism is a powerful tool, especially when used correctly and the right words are chosen.

Many future White generals in their memoirs write about the mistakes of the Provisional Government. And they themselves sometimes answer the question of why they didn’t intervene: they would have intervened, “had it not been for the war against the Germans, it’s impossible to turn it into a Civil War, and the Tsar had abdicated”.

Patriotic rhetoric and the formal “voluntary” abdication of the Emperor turned the hypothetical attempts of the right to change the situation into a rebellion against the will of the monarch, in a situation of war with an external enemy.

“The weakness and fragmentation of the monarchist forces, the self-elimination of the government, the “voluntary” abdication of the Tsar and the national character of the revolution, which met with the widest support in all strata of Russian society, deprived the political struggle for the restoration of autocracy … ” added A. A. Ivanov.

A few words must be said here about the Church[7]. After all, de facto, these are the main “pillars” of any monarchy – military power and religion. Russia has never been an exception in this regard. In 1917, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church promptly changed the texts of oaths (ordination to the clergy) and prayers (“now we pray for the Provisional Government”), their actions thus recognizing the new shift in power. Those who disagreed were dismissed (as in the army). They even recommended that monarchical literature be removed from the parishes.

There is also a point of view according to which the church was interested in February, since the fall of the monarchy allowed it to free itself from the “excessive tutelage of the state” (which will also later play against them, as in the case of the liberal opposition).

In any case, in 1917, both the military and civilian “right”, simply had nothing to rely on. Foreign policy, the balance of power, brute force, ideology – everything now worked against them …


[1] The Manifesto was issued by Nicholas II, under the influence of Sergei Witte (1849–1915), on 30 October [O.S. 17 October] 1905 as a response to the Russian Revolution of 1905. Nicholas strenuously resisted these ideas, but gave in after his first choice to head a military dictatorship, his first cousin once removed Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich (1856-1929), threatened to shoot himself in the head if the Tsar did not accept Witte’s suggestion. Nicholas reluctantly agreed, and issued what became known as the October Manifesto, promising basic civil rights and an elected parliament called the Duma, without whose approval no laws were to be enacted in Russia in the future.

[2] The Black Hundreds, was a reactionary, monarchist and ultra-nationalist movement in Russia in the early 20th century. It was a staunch supporter of the House of Romanov and opposed any retreat from the autocracy of the reigning monarch.

The Black Hundreds were founded on a devotion to Tsar, church and motherland, and lived by the motto: “Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality”. Despite certain program differences, all of the Black Hundreds organizations had one goal in common, namely their struggle against the revolutionary movement.

[3] Keller was military leader of the Russian Imperial Army and cavalry general. He was one of the leaders of the White movement in the South of Russia in 1918, a monarchist. He remained loyal to Nicholas II until the end of his life.

On 6th March 1917, Keller sent a telegram addressed to Nicholas II, in which he expressed indignation on behalf of the corps and himself against the troops that had joined the rebels, and also asked the Tsar not to leave the Throne.

The intercepted telegram came to the attention of General Mannerheim, who made an attempt to persuade Keller to submit to the Provisional Government, or, at least, to persuade him to refuse to influence his subordinates in this regard. However, the count did not make concessions, refused to swear allegiance to the Provisional Government, saying:

I’m a Christian and I think it’s a sin to change my oath.”

[4] Kutepov was a Russian military leader, general from infantry (1920), pioneer, active participant in the White movement, and a devout monarchist. Between 1928-1930, he served as Chairman of the Russian General Military Union (ROVS).

During the February Revolution, Colonel Kutepov, who was on a short vacation in Petrograd , was the only senior officer who tried to organize effective resistance to the insurgents.

On 26th January 1930, Kutepov was kidnapped in Paris by Soviet intelligence agents. Documents about the circumstances, place and time of his death are still secret and inaccessible to historians.

[5] A Muslim by religion, Khan Nakhchivanski remained loyal to the Russian Orthodox emperor and refused to swear allegiance to the Provisional Government.

When in the winter of 1917 the February Revolution began in Petrograd, he sent a telegram to the headquarters of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief to offer Nicholas II the use of his corps for suppression of the revolt, but Nicholas II never received this telegram.

It is presumed by a number of historians that Khan Nakhchivanski was executed in February 1919 together with four Romanov Grand Dukes in the Peter and Paul Fortress. However the exact circumstances of Khan Nakhchivanski’s death and his burial place still remain unknown.

[6] Shulgin was a Russian conservative monarchist, politician and member of the White movement. Shulgin opposed the revolution, but he was opposed to the idea of an absolute monarchy in Russia. Together with Alexander Guchkov (1862-1936) he persuaded Nicholas II to abdicate the throne since he believed that a constitutional monarchy with Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich (1878-1918) being the monarch was possible, and that this or even a republic, if a strong government was established, would be a remedy for Russia. For the same reason he supported the Provisional Government and Kornilov’s coup. When all hope was lost he moved to Kiev where he participated in the White movement.

[7] Click HERE to read my article How the Orthodox Church supported the overthrow of the monarchy, published on 8th March 2020

© Paul Gilbert. 14 December 2021

Bust of Nicholas II planned for Achinsk

On 15-16 [O.S. 2-3] July 1891, Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich [the future Emperor Nicholas II], visited Achinsk on his journey across Siberia to St. Petersburg.

Achinsk is a city in Krasnoyarsk Krai, located on the right bank of the Chulym River near its intersection with the Trans-Siberian Railway, 184 kilometers (114 mi) west of Krasnoyarsk.

On 10th December, a planning committee met to discuss plans to install a bust-memorial of Nicholas Alexandrovich to mark his historic visit to the city 130 years ago.

“Nicholas II was not only a political leader, under which our country became one of the three most advanced countries in industrial production, but also became one of the spiritual centers of the world,” says Viktor Barykin, an Achinsk ethnographer, one of the members of the initiative group. “The bust should become a symbol of our spiritual unity and the reconciliation of all forces in the name of the future of Russia,” he added.

Having considered various options, the participants in the initiative group agreed that the bust must be made of bronze, and the pedestal must be granite. As Achinsk lacks the technical ability to fulfill such an order, specialists from Moscow will be consulted.

According to preliminary calculations, together with the pedestal, the work will cost about 900 thousand rubles [$12,300 USD]. It is unlikely that the city’s budget will be able to allocate that kind of money, therefore bringing the project to fruition will depend on the financial support of patrons and private donations. If every resident of Achinsk contributes at least 10 rubles, this will be enough. In the near future, a special account will be registered to which a person can make a donation for this good cause. The option of participation in the city program, which provides for the financing of initiative projects, is also being considered, but the application cannot be submitted until March of next year.

If all goes according to plan, the bust can be opened for the 340th anniversary of Achinsk, which will be celebrated in 2023. The bust is planned to be installed in Trinity Park, next to the Poklonny Cross on the site of the Holy Trinity Cathedral, where the future Emperor went to pray, and later destroyed by the the Communists in the 1930s.

A preliminary sketch of the proposed bust-monument has already been made: Nicholas II is depicted as a young man – that year when he visited Achinsk, he was only 23 years old.

“It should not be a monument for the sake of a monument,” – said the artist and Honorary Citizen of Achinsk Pavel Batanov, who was unanimously elected as the chairman of the initiative group. “First of all, the bust-monument should combine royalty, humanity, and holiness. The main thing is that it should be created at a high professional level.”

© Paul Gilbert. 13 December 2021

Eccentric sculpture of Nicholas II and his family unveiled in Yalta

PHOTO: Imperial Family monument in Yalta, by the sculptor Yuri Mayorov

On 1st October 2021, a new and yet eccentric sculpture to Emperor Nicholas II and his family was installed in Yalta, one which has raised the eyebrows of local residents and a wave of criticism and ridicule.

The monument by sculptor Yuri Mayorov, depicts the Imperial Family enveloped by the wings of an angel, was unveiled on the grounds of the former “Livadia” sanatorium, which is situated near the famous Imperial palace.

Yalta residents took to social media to share their negative opinions of the sculpture, describing the wings as a “strange toothy shell” and to associate it with a “plant-predator”, or the “armour of an armadillo”, or various vulgarities of the “Freudian” sense.

For some locals, the sculpture resembles a “cocoon” and reminiscent of the “xenomorph egg” from the movie “Alien”. Other critics, noted that the faces of the members of the Imperial Family look “dead and sketchy”, while others criticized the holes in the “angel’s” wings, because they resembled bullet holes,

PHOTO: detail of Grand Duchess Olga and Emperor Nicholas II

The sculptural composition was installed five meters from the monument to the participants of the Yalta Conference – Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt. The installation of the monument depicting the murdered members of the Imperial Family near that of a monument to Stalin seemed unethical to many.

The unusual sculpture was installed on the grounds of Kurort Livadia LLC, which owns the former Livadia sanatorium. The project and its installation is that of the White Eagle Monarchist Society.

The sculpture was paid for by businessman Konstantin Malofeev, a devout monarchist, who openly supports the restoration of monarchy in Russia. Unfortunately, he openly supports the claim of Princess Maria Vladimirovna and her son Prince George Romanov-Hohenzollern. Malofeev is the owner of the Tsargrad TV channel, and the Tsargrad LLC – the founder of the Livadia Resort company.


Earlier today, the controversial sculpture of the Imperial Family was dismantled and taken away from its location on the former “Livadia” sanatorium, situated near the famous Imperial palace.

“There was a wave of negativity in relation to our monument. People began to write that they would come and destroy it. To spare the monument from vandalism, we decided to move it to a safe place. It will be stored in a closed area, I don’t want to tell its location,” said Andrei Krupin, director of the educational center where the sculpture was installed.

The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Crimea noted that the sculpture caused controversy due to the poor quality of execution. At the same time, the Ministry of Culture said that it has nothing to do with the Livadia Palace.

© Paul Gilbert. 10 December 2021