2nd Nicholas II Conference planned for US venue in 2020

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After the success of the Nicholas II Conference, held in Colchester, England last year, I am pleased to announce that I am now planning a second conference, to be held in the United States in the autumn of next year. The Conference is part of my mission to clear the name of Russia’s much slandered Tsar.

The theme of the 2nd International Nicholas II Conference is ‘The Triumphs and Tragedies of His Reign’

Speakers will present papers on a wide variety of topics which cover the triumphs and tragedies of the 22-year+ reign (1 November [O.S. 20 October] 1894 – 15 March [O.S. 2 March] 1917) of Russia’s last monarch. Topics including the Coronation (1896); the Khodynkha Tragedy (1894); the Birth of Alexei and His Hemophilia; Bloody Sunday (1905); Romanov Tercentenary (1913); among others will be discussed.

I am sure that you can appreciate the tremendous amount of work which goes into such an event, therefore, I am reaching out to friends and supporters in the United States for their assistance on the following:

1. I am open to ideas for a venue, preferably in New York state (although other states would be considered), one which could provide seating for 100-200 persons, and lunch

2. As with the Conference held in England, I am particularly keen to have the participation of the Russian Orthodox Church

3. I need speakers: historians, authors, and other experts who will present facts and information, based on new research, which challenges the popularly held negative assessment of Nicholas II. NOTE: speakers will be paid for their presentations

If you can propose a venue, a speaker, or have any ideas or suggestions, please contact me by e-mail at royalrussia@yahoo.com

NOTE: the idea for this Conference is in the very early stages of planning, so for those who are interested in attending this event, I ask for your patience.

The city, venue, date, times, list of speakers, ticket prices, etc., have all yet to be worked out. Further details will be announced as they become available.

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NOTE: please help support my research in clearing the name of Russia’s much slandered Tsar Nicholas II, by purchasing copies of my bi-annual journal Sovereign: The Life and Reign of Emperor Nicholas II

© Paul Gilbert. 28 May 2019

Multimedia Exhibition Dedicated to Nicholas II Opens in Novosibirsk

The inauguration of the multimedia exhibition Living Pictures: Nicholas II of Novo-Nikolaevsk to Novosibirsk, was held today – 16th April – in the Officers’ Club in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk.

Novo-Nikolaevsk was the only city in Imperial Russia, Soviet Russia, and the Soviet Union that for nearly 30 years bore the name of the last Russian emperor Nicholas II, before it was renamed Novosibirsk in 1926.

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Uniforms of Nicholas II on display in Novosibirsk

Earlier this week, the multimedia exhibition was previewed in a unique marketing campaign on the streets of Novosibirsk – see video above.

The first part of the exhibit focuses on the fate of the Imperial Family, while the second part focuses on the historic connection that the Romanov dynasty and Tsar Nicholas II has with pre-Revolutionary Novo-Nikolaevsk and modern-day Novosibirsk.

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Poster for the multimedia exhibition in Novosibirsk

The exhibition was organized by the Double-Headed Eagle Society, and runs from 17th April to 20th May 2019, in the Officers’ Club, Novosibirsk. Admission is Free.

The exhibit is timely, as it coincides with the first English translation of Novo-Nikolayevsk: Born of the People’s Ambition and the Tsar’s Beneficence, an article about Emperor Nicholas II and the City of Novosibirsk: Parallels Between Past and Present by the Russian historian E. Tsybizov, to be published in the Sovereign No. 10 Spring 2019 issue, available in May 2019.

© Paul Gilbert. 16 April 2019

Romania Hosts Nicholas II Exhibition

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Poster promoting the Bucharest exhibit held in January 2019

On 14th March 2019, a photo exhibition dedicated to Tsar Nicholas II and his family opened in the Museum of Icons in the Romanian city of Alba Iulia. The exhibition The Last Emperor – the Most Beautiful Memories of the Romanovs is timed to the centenary of the martyrdom of the Tsar’s family in 2018. 

Situated in the west-central part of Romania, Alba Iulia is best known to monarchists for the Orthodox Unification Cathedral (built between 1921-1923). It was here that the first monarchs of the Unified Romania, King Ferdinand I (1865-1927) and Queen Marie (1875-1938) were crowned on 15 October 1922.  In commemoration of the event, busts of the king and queen were placed on the grounds in 2008.

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View of the Alba Iulia exhibit

The exposition presents more than 100 photographs of the Royal Passion-Bearers, which reflect their lives, family relationships, charitable activities, and the diplomatic activities of Nicholas II

The exhibition was prepared on the initiative of the Romanian Association “Tradition” with the support of the Moscow Sretensky Monastery.

A similar photo-exhibition opened on 19th January 2019,  in the library of the Romanian Academy of Sciences in Bucharest – see video above.

The event was organized by the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Bucharest, the Sretensky Monastery (Moscow) and the parish of the Church of St. Nicholas Tabaka. 

The exhibition was opened by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Romania V.I. Kuzmin. “The historical ties between the Russian and Romanian dynasties share very interesting relations between the two countries,” the Russian ambassador noted. “The culmination of these ties was the visit of the Imperial family to Constanza on the eve of the First World War. It was during this visit that the Russian and Romanian royal families discussed the possible engagement between Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna (1895-1918) and Crown Prince Carol (1893-1953), who later became King Carol II.” The ambassador also noted that Nicholas II was a martyr who kept the faith, despite the sufferings he was subjected to by his captors.

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View of the Bucharest exhibit

Hieromonk Ignatius (Shestakov) spoke about the history of the exhibition and its spiritual and moral importance. In this exhibition, which has already been held in more than a hundred locations in both Russia and abroad, it focuses on three main topics – family life, service to the Fatherland and mercy. The family of Nicholas II, according to the priest, is an example of a true Christian family, which is very important today, when the whole world is experiencing a crisis of family values.

© Paul Gilbert. 24 March 2019

TSAR’S DAYS. EKATERINBURG 2019

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This year’s Tsar’s Days in Ekaterinburg will be held from 16-19 July 2019. The events mark the 101st anniversary of the the deaths and martyrdom of Emperor Nicholas II and his family, all of whom were brutally murdered on the night of 16/17 July 1918 in the Ipatiev House in the Ural city of Ekaterinburg. 

Memorial events will include liturgies and prayers, historical conferences, sacred music concerts and exhibitions. Tens of thousands of people from across Russia, and abroad, will once again gather in Ekaterinburg for this annual event.

The main event of the Tsar’s Days is the Divine Liturgy held at the Church on the Blood (built on the site of the Ipatiev House) on the night of 16th July, followed by a religious procession in the early morning hours of 17th July, from the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama (21 km). 

The first procession in memory of the Royal Passion-bearers, headed by the ruling bishop, took place in 2002, in which more than 2 thousand pilgrims and about 100 clerics participated. In 2012, for the first time since the construction of the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg, an all-night vigil and night Divine Liturgy were performed in the open air. In 2018, more than 100,000 pilgrims from across Russia and around the world took part in the Patriarchal Liturgy and procession of the cross from the Church on the Blood to the Ganina Yama.

Please note that updates on the 2019 Tsar’s Days events in Ekaterinburg will be posted as further details become available.

Click HERE for information on the 2018 Tsar’s Days marking the 100th anniversary of the deaths and martyrdom of Emperor Nicholas II and his family, and HERE for information on the 2017 Tsar’s Days in Ekaterinburg + colour photos and video.

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I was fortunate to attend the 2018 Tsar’s Days in Ekaterinburg, and have dedicated a special issue of SOVEREIGN dedicated to the centenary – featuring 144 pages, 7 full-length articles, and richly illustrated with 150 black and white photos. Click HERE to order your copy!

© Paul Gilbert. 20 March 2019

Repin’s ‘Ceremonial Meeting Of The State Council 1901’ to be Displayed in Moscow

The staff of the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, have began packing up 78 paintings by Ilya Repin (1844-1930) to participate in an upcoming Ilya Repin exhibition at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.

The most prominent of the paintings in the exhibition is one of the most significant and largest paintings from the collection of the State Russian Museum: the large-format canvas “Ceremonial Meeting Of The State Council 7 May 1901 …,” measuring 4 by 8 meters.

“The Ceremonial Meeting Of The State Council 7 May 1901” – a collective portrait with 81 figures, was painted one hundred and sixteen years ago (1903), in which Repin was paid a large fee. The customer of the canvas, Emperor Nicholas II, was pleased with the result.

The century-old frame of the picture will be left in St. Petersburg – it was decided not to expose it to the dangers of transportation. Only the canvas itself will be carefully packed and transported to Moscow in a special temperature and humidity controlled truck. Then, after careful preparation of the exhibition hall, the painting will be set in a new frame for the exhibit.

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The Ceremonial Meeting Of The State Council 7 May 1901. Artist: Ilya Repin, 1903

Founded by Tsar Alexander I (1801-1825), the State Council celebrated its centenary with a ceremonial sitting in the Round Room of the Mariinsky Palace in St. Petersburg on 7 May 1901. All the members of the State Council and the State Chancellery attended in full-dress uniform. Tsar Nicholas II (1894-1917) and senior members of the Imperial family are flanked by their ministers. Repin painted the scene from behind the chairs on the right (next to the columns).

He rapidly sketched the original modello on a canvas on which the perspective of the hall had already been marked out, working from a previously selected point. The artist later turned this study into a large picture with the help of two students from the Imperial Academy of Arts Boris Kustodiev (1878-1927) and Ivan Kulikov (1875-1941). Every member of the State Council is depicted in natural and diverse poses, with strong physical resemblances.

The Ilya Repin exhibition will include works from 26 museums in Russia and abroad, as well as from a number of private collections. The exhibit opens in the New Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow on 16 March, and runs till 18 August 2019.

© Paul Gilbert. 12 February 2019

An Imperial Movement: A Society of Tsar Nicholas II

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During his second talk at the Nicholas II Conference held on 27 October 2018, at St. John’s Orthodox Church in Colchester, England, Archpriest Father Andrew proposed the idea of forming an Imperial Movement or Society in honour of Tsar Nicholas II in the United Kingdom.

The purpose of such a movement or society would firstly be to defend the honour of the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II and the Imperial Martyrs from the injustices, prejudices and misunderstandings which still surround them.

As a Society based in England, we could have a role to play in the English-speaking world in spreading the Truth about the Imperial Family. A century after the death of Russia’s last emperor and tsar, a society such as this is both timely and important for the sake of historical accuracy and truth.

I myself, am committed to being a part of such a Society, and despite the fact that the Atlantic Ocean separates England from Canada, I am prepared to travel to England to offer my assistance in helping such a Society to fruition. A first meeting of supporters could prepare a mission statement, select members for a Committee, discuss and organize events, and numerous other projects. 

Please note that the full text of Father Andrew’s talk An Imperial Movement: A Society of Tsar Nicholas II can be found in Sovereign No. 9 Nicholas II Conference Proceedings 2018, available from the Royal Russia Bookshop, Booksellers van Hoogstraten (The Hague, Netherlands), Librairie Galignani (Paris, France), and Amazon (USA)

© Paul Gilbert. 9 February 2019

 

The emperor’s wallet. How much did Nicholas II spend on charity?

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Poster for the international scientific conference “The Righteous Live Forever …”

On 24-25 January 2019, an international scientific conference “The Righteous Live Forever …” was held in the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg.

The conference, which was organized by the Elisavetinsko-Sergievsky Educational Society Foundation, was the conclusion of events marking the 100th anniversary of the murders of members of the Russian Imperial Family in 1918 and 1919 by the Bolsheviks.

Often acting anonymously

One of the central themes of the conference was the enormous charitable activities carried out by the Imperial family. According to historians, the Bolsheviks did much to shape a negative image of the Imperial family. They created myths that Nicholas II spent enormous funds for his own needs, although in fact he and his family lived quite modestly. In addition, each member of the Imperial family had their own personal “charity programs,” making sizable donations from their own pockets, for the maintenance of hospitals, educational institutions, and other charitable organizations. 

Nicholas II had enormous funds at his disposal, however, an annual budget of the Imperial Court was strictly adhered to, which included the personal expenses of the family. There were strict calculations, in which even the purchase of new clothes was regulated, says historian Professor Igor Zimin, one of Russia’s foremost experts and author of numerous books on the last tsar and his family. 

The Russian State Historical Archive has in its collection, an accounting book of Nicholas II. In fact, the ‘Emperor’s Personal Wallet’, record donations he made to a number of charities. These include expenses on pensions, the maintenance of boarders and the upbringing of children, donations, allowances, gifts and cash awards. Plus extraordinary expenses that went in favor of educational or charitable institutions, including churches. The accounting book records various sums of donations – 16,400 rubles, 44 thousand rubles, 11 thousand, 500 rubles, etc.

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Delegates attending the conference held on 24-25 January in St. Petersburg

The sovereign received a large amount of correspondence with requests to help or participate in charity events. It is recorded that in 1898, Nicholas II gave 5 thousand rubles for the completion of an Orthodox church in a remote region of Russia. And to help someone’s widow he gave out 350 rubles annually from his own funds. The first St. Petersburg State Medical University emerged largely due to the participation of the emperor. Often the sovereign acted anonymously. In 1901 he ordered the transfer of 50 rubles to the editorial office of a magazine for Russian disabled persons – as an anonymous donation.

Help and aid

According to Professor Zimin, all members of the Imperial family considered it their direct duty to help and give to those less fortunate. The expenses of the Romanovs grew precisely because donations increased every year.

The Emperor’s wife, Alexandra Feodorovna, initiated the annual Christmas trees for children from poor families. She contributed to the founding of numerous educational institutions, shelters, and hospitals. She worked as a Red Cross Nurse when the war between Germany and Russia began in 1914. It is impossible to imagine the spouse of a member of the Politburo working as a nurse in a soldiers’ hospital during Soviet times. During the war, her children asked that in lieu of gifts, that the money be given to help orphans and soldiers. 

“Once the sovereign with his family stopped at one of the railway stations. A local official turned to him telling the tsar that his small salary was not enough for his large family. Nicholas II promised that he would receive 30 rubles a month, and his son and heir Tsesarevich Alexei said that he would add another 40 rubles a month,” notes Chief Specialist of the State Archive of the Russian Federation Vladimir Khrustalev.

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Information boards told the story of the Imperial family’s philanthropy

“The Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana headed committees which provided direct assistance to those who suffered in hostilities as well as their families,” says the head of the history department of Kaliningrad State Technical University, Professor Alexei Khitrov.

Their respective committees created more than a dozen forms of assistance and 30 projects to collect donations. All those in need received money, clothes, and work. They had the support of local governors, representatives of the diocese, zemstvo, city public administration, leaders of the nobility, and representatives of charitable organizations. 

In cooperation with the central government and the patronage of the Imperial Court, this created a system of democratic centralism, working effectively through the years of the First World War. In 1914, thousands of refugees from the Polish and Baltic provinces flooded into Russia. But thanks to the work of the committees, they were all fed, clothed and sheltered. 

The Olginsky and Tatiana Committees distributed 68 million rubles in aid. There were no allegations of corruption, dishonesty, or wasting money.  By the beginning of 1917, the committees set up work on registering and assisting refugees. The Olginsky and Tatiana committees were recognized as the most viable of all the institutions of that time. They worked effectively until the spring of 1918, after the Russian Empire crumbled under the Bolshevik order.

© Paul Gilbert. 31 January 2019