Museum of Emperor Nicholas II in Moscow

PHOTO: Museum of Emperor Nicholas II in Moscow

In the spring of 2008, art historian Alexander Vasilyevich Renzhin donated his collection dedicated to Emperor Nicholas II, as a gift to the Nikolo-Ugreshsky Monastery. It was during the 1990s that Renzhin began to collect bit by bit everything related to Emperor Nicholas II and his family. During that time, he managed to amass a collection of more than 3,000 items: postcards and photographs, books and portraits, personal belongings and household items – which reflect on the private lives of the Imperial Family and their tragic deaths in July 1918.

In 1913, Russia solemnly celebrated the 300th anniversary of the House of Romanov. Renjin’s collection features many unique items created for the anniversary. Among them is a carved decorative panel with portraits of Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich, Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, and their son Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaevich and the date 1613-1913. The scene of the election of Mikhail Feodorovich Romanov in 1613 is depicted on a woven woolen carpet made by the Zavidov carpet factory. Candy boxes produced for the anniversary by the Einem confectionery factory with portraits of the Romanovs have been preserved.

Of particular interest are coronation memorabilia: earthenware glasses and plates decorated with the coats of arms and monograms H II [Nicholas II] and AF [Alexandra Feodorovna], miraculously preserved fine crystal glasses with engravings and paintings, cups, plates and saucers from the service with the new coat of arms introduced in 1856.

VIDEO: click on the image above to watch a 3-minute video tour of the museum at the Nikolo-Ugreshsky Monastery, before it was closed in February 2021, and moved to its current location in central Moscow

This service, made at the Imperial Porcelain Factory in St. Petersburg in 1882 specifically for the coronation of Emperor Alexander III, consisted of 19 thousand pieces. For the coronation of Emperor Nicholas II, the service was repeated, consisting of 47 thousand pieces. According to tradition, the Imperial table for the coronation dinner was served with a gold service, bearing the coat of arms. The service was complemented by snow-white damask linen napkins with the personal coat of arms and monogram of Nicholas II. The most important part of Renzhin’s collection are icons of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker and St. Alexandra – the heavenly patrons of the Emperor and Empress – painted for the coronation in1896.

In 1896, some 300 icons were ordered from the famous workshop of Osip Chirikov, of which Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna presented to the most honoured guests at the coronation celebrations in the Kremlin.

Of particular value are historic documents bearing autographs collected by Renzhin: the petition of the Empress Maria Feodorovna addressed to the Minister of War V.A. Sukhomlinov dated March 10, 1914 on the transfer of the building of the Main Directorate of Military Educational Institutions to the Museum of Old Petersburg; a note from Empress Alexandra Feodorovna to Adjutant General F.V. Dubasov and a prayer memorandum signed by her to a soldier walking on the battlefield. Numerous photographs, postcards, prints, books testify to life in peacetime and during the First World War.

In February 2021, the Museum of Emperor Nicholas II was forced to close its doors, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and almost 9 million rubles (more than $13,000 USD) in arrears of rent.

A Russian businessman Konstantin Malofeev, and founder of the Tsargrad TV channel, came to the rescue by providing Renzhin’s rare collection with a new venue in which to display his collection. The Museum of Emperor Nicholas II re-opened in the Museum of Russian Art, the former manor house of Nikolai Eremeevich Struisky (1749-1796) – situated in Moscow’s historical district – on 10th February 2021.

The Museum of Emperor Nicholas II is open daily to visitors.

© Paul Gilbert. 1 March 2023

Lost architectural monuments of the Moscow Kremlin

During the Soviet years, numerous architectural monuments of the Moscow Kremlin were lost. Churches, monasteries, and palaces were destroyed because they reminded the Soviet regime under Stalin of Holy Russia and the glorious history of the Russian Empire.

The early 20th century postcard (above) reflects some of the greatest architectural losses in the Moscow Kremlin during the late 1920s to early 1930s – please refer to the numbers and the accompanying images below for additional information about each respective monument . .

1 – The Maly Nikolayevsky Palace or Small Nicholas Palace was a three-storey building located in the Kremlin on the corner of Ivanovskaya Square. Originally built in 1775, it served as the official Moscow residence of Imperial Family up until the construction of the Grand Kremlin Palace in 1838-1849. The palace was a favourite residence of Grand Duke Nicholas Pavlovich (future Emperor Nicholas I). On 29th (O.S. 17th) April 1818, his son, the future Alexander II, was born in the palace, who considered it the home of his childhood. Between 1891 and 1905, the palace became a residence of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich during his years as Governor-General of Moscow.

During the October armed uprising of 1917 in Moscow, the Small Nicholas Palace became the headquarters of the Junkers [a military rank in the Russian Guard and Army, until 1918] who were supporting the Committee of Public Security. As a result, the building served as a target for the Red Guards and suffered more than other Kremlin buildings.

According to Metropolitan Nestor (1885-1962): “The Small Nicholas Palace… suffered greatly from gunfire. Huge holes in the building’s’ façade are visible from the outside. Inside, too, everything is destroyed, and when I walked around the rooms, I saw a picture of complete destruction. Huge mirrors and other furnishings were barbarously broken and destroyed. The cabinets are broken, books, files and papers are scattered throughout the rooms… The palace church was hit by a shell and destroyed. The iconostasis was broken, the royal gates were forced open by explosions, and the veil of the church was torn in two. Hence, many valuable icons were stolen.”

In 1929, the palace was demolished together with the adjacent Chudov and Ascension monasteries. In 1932-1934 the Kremlin Presidium (aka Building No. 14) was built on the site. It housed, first, the Supreme Soviet, i. e. the supreme legislative body of the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991, and, second, the offices of the Presidential Administration of Russia until 2011. The Kremlin Presidium was demolished in 2016.

PHOTO: Small Nicholas Palace after the shelling of the Kremlin, 1917

2 – The first Monument to Emperor Alexander II stood above the Kremlin’s Taynitsky Gardens facing the Moskva River. Work on the monuments was begun under Emperor Alexander III in 1893, and was completed five years later under Emperor Nicholas II in 1898.

The monument was the work of sculptor Alexander Opekushin (1838-1923), artist Peter Zhukovsky (1845-1912) and architect Nicholas V. Sultanov (1850-1908). The memorial consisted of a life-size bronze sculpture of Alexander II, set on a square pedestal with the words “To Emperor Alexander II by the love of the people” engraved on it. The sculpture was shaded by a canopy of polished dark red Karelian granite. The top of the canopy was made of specially fitted gilded bronze sheets with green enamel. On three sides, the monument was surrounded by a gallery with arches and openwork. Thirty-three mosaic portraits of Russia’s rulers from Prince Vladimir to Emperor Nicholas II based on sketches by artist Peter Zhukovsky were placed in the gallery’s vaults.

The solemn opening and consecration of the Monument to Emperor Alexander II took place on 16th August 1898. At eight in the morning, five cannon shots were fired from the Tainitskaya Tower. The opening ceremony began at two o’clock in the afternoon with a procession from the Chudov Monastery. After Metropolitan Vladimir of Moscow served a prayer service, the “Transfiguration March” was played and cannons were fired 360 times. The ceremony was closed by a parade of troops commanded by Emperor Nicholas II..

2a –  The decree of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic [supported by Lenin] dated 12th April 1918 called for all monuments of Russia’s monarchs to be demolished and replaced with statues honouring the leaders of the revolution. The monument of Alexander II was to be one of the first monuments destroyed in this campaign. Lenin planned to install a monument to the writer Leo Tolstoy on the site, however, his plan never came to fruition.

The monument to Alexander II was demolished by the Bolsheviks in the summer of 1918. In June 1918, Russian art historian Nikolai Okunev described this event in his diary: “I saw in the cinema a newsreel on the removal of the monument to Alexander II in the Kremlin. It was terrible to watch! It’s as if they were cutting a living person into pieces, and saying “Look, this is is how it’s done!” It’s not enough to show the shootings on the cinema screen.” The remaining columns and gallery were demolished in 1928.

PHOTO: the dismantled fragments of the monument to Alexander II in the Kremlin after its destruction in 1918. To the left of the Spassky Tower is the Church of St. Catherine of the Ascension Monastery, blown up in 1929

3 – The Voznesensky (Ascension) Convent known as the Starodevichy Convent or Old Maidens’ Convent until 1817, was an Orthodox nunnery in the Moscow Kremlin which contained the tombs of grand princesses, tsarinas, and other noble ladies from the Muscovite royal court. The convent was founded at the beginning of the 15th century near the Kremlin’s Spassky (Saviour’s) Gate.

The convent was also used as a residence for royal fiancée’s prior to their wedding. In 1721, the convent was renovated on behest of Peter the Great. In 1808, by order of Emperor Alexander I, the famous Italian architect Carlo Rossi (1775-1849) began construction of the Church of Saint Catherine, built in the Neo-Gothic design. During Napoleon’s invasion of Moscow in 1812, the French army looted the monastery and expelled the nuns. Most of the property was preserved thanks to Abbess Athanasia, who managed to take the wealth from the sacristy to Vologda. 

By 1907, the monastery had a mother superior, 62 nuns and 45 lay sisters. It was also in 1907, that the monastery celebrated the 500th anniversary of the death of the founder of the monastery St. Euphrosyne of Moscow (1353–1407). After the service, a procession took place, in which Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna participated, and placed a golden lamp and flower garlands on the founder’s tomb.

During the October 1917 Revolution, the ancient buildings were damaged by artillery fire. In 1929, the convent complex – including the majestic 16th-century cathedral – was demolished by the Soviets in order to make room for the Red Commanders School, named after the All-Russian Central Executive Committee.

Some of the icons of Ascension Convent were transferred to the State Tretyakov Gallery and State museums of the Moscow Kremlin. The iconostasis of the Ascension Cathedral (see below) was moved into the Cathedral of Twelve Apostles (also in the Kremlin), while the tombs of the Muscovite royalty were transferred into an annex of the Archangel Cathedral, where they reside to this day.

PHOTO: in 1930 the iconostasis of the Ascension Cathedral was moved into the Cathedral of Twelve Apostles (also in the Kremlin), where it remains to this day

4 – The two chapels at the Spassky Gates (facing Red Square) were built in the “Russian style” in 1866. Both belonged to St Basil’s Cathedral. The left houses the sacred image of Our Lady of Smolensk as a reminder of the city’s return to the Russian lands in the 16th century. The right is renowned for its sacred image of Christ the Saviour, an exact replica of the icon over Spassky Gates. They were both demolished in 1929.

The 16th-century icon was bricked over during the 1930s, and restored to its original in 2010.

5 – The Church of Konstantin and Elena in the lower section of the Kremlin Garden was built in 1692 by Tsarina Natalia Naryshkina, mother of Peter I. It was demolished in 1928. It became the first church demolished on the territory of the Kremlin since the Bolsheviks came to power and the first in a large series of losses of architectural monuments of the Moscow Kremlin in 1928-1930. Today the site is home to government buildings and a helipad for Russian president Vladimir Putin.

In addition, were the Chudov Monastery and the Monument to Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich:

6 – The Chudov Monastery (more formally known as Alexius’ Archangel Michael Monastery) was founded in 1358 by Metropolitan Alexius of Moscow. The monastery was dedicated to the miracle of the Archangel Michael at Chonae on 19th September (O.S. 6th September). It was traditionally used for baptising the royal children, including future Tsars Feodor I, Aleksey I and Peter the Great.

The Chudov Monastery was demolished by the Bolsheviks in 1928, and the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet was built on the site. Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich’s body was buried in a crypt of the Chudov Monastery. The burial crypt was located underneath a courtyard of that building, which was later used as a parking lot during the Soviet years. In 1990, building workers in the Kremlin discovered the blocked up entrance of the burial vault. The coffin was examined and found to contain the Grand Duke’s remains, covered with the military greatcoat of the Kiev regiment, decorations, and an icon. He had left written instructions that he was to be buried in the Preobrazhensky Lifeguard regiment uniform, but as his body was so badly mutilated this proved impossible.

In 1995, the coffin was officially exhumed, and after a Panikhida in the Kremlin Cathedral of the Archangel, it was reburied in a vault of the Novospassky Monastery in Moscow on 17 September 1995.

7 – The Memorial Cross to Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich was consecrated on 2nd April 1908 on the spot where Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich was assassinated. The original bronze monument, set on a stepped pedestal of dark green labrador marble, was an example of ‘Church Art Nouveau’. After the October 1917 Revolution, the cross was destroyed on 1st May 1918 by Bolshevik thugs with the personal participation of Vladimir Lenin.

On 4th May 2017, the memorial cross was restored in a ceremony that was attended by President Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow.

8 – The Church of the Transfiguration of Christ the Saviour on Boru was located in the courtyard of the Grand Kremlin Palace [seen in behind the church in the photo above]. The name “on Boru” came from the coniferous forests which once surrounded the church, that once stood on Borovitsky Hill.

In 1767, when Catherine II began the reconstruction of the Kremlin, the church was revived in brick and required major repairs.

The Church of the Savior-on-Boru was demolished on 1st May 1933 by order of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU, despite the protests of prominent restorers. The church’s ancient bells were transferred to the funds of the Moscow Kremlin Museums. Upon demolition of the church, a 5-storey service building was built on the site of the cathedral. Plans to restore one of the oldest churches in Moscow have not yet been considered.

In 2014 President Vladimir Putin proposed the restoration of the former Chudov Monastery, Ascension Convent, and Small Nicholas Palace. Opposition from UNESCO ended any hope of reconstructing these architectural gems. The proposal, had it been approved, would have restored the historical vista of Ivanovskaya Square. Instead, it has become park space for tourists visiting the Kremlin museums and churches.

© Paul Gilbert. 12 January 2023

Filming the Coronation of Emperor Nicholas II in 1896

PHOTO: still from the Lumiere Bros. film documenting the 1896 Coronation.
Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorova and their retinue
are seen slowly descending the Red Staircase of the Moscow Kremlin

The Russian State Archive of Film and Photo Documents RGAKFD is the world’s largest and oldest public repository of audiovisual documents. In 2019, the archive celebrated its 100th anniversary.

To date, it holds more than 45,000 titles of film documents, more than one and a half million original photographic documents from 1850 to the present: these include daguerreotypes, ferrotypes, and albums, including those belonging to the Imperial Family, and negatives on glass and film, and modern digital photographic images.

The existing collection of film documents of pre-revolutionary Russia, stored in the RGAKFD, was formed from newsreel-documentary materials requisitioned by the Soviet authorities during the nationalization of the film industry from the warehouses of film factories and film companies.

In total, the archive currently contains about 960 pre-revolutionary newsreels, including the first full-length documentary-film made in Russia – the Coronation of Emperor Nicholas II in 1896.

PHOTO: Lumiere Brothers: Auguste (1862-1954) and Louis (1864-1948)

In May 1896, French cameramen from the Lumiere Brothers (Paris) company arrived in Moscow, to film the coronation ceremony of Emperor Nicholas II. On 5th May 1896, the Moscow newspaper Новости дня [News of the Day] wrote: “among the correspondents who have arrived in the city is Camille Cerf for the coronation of Nicholas II. Sent to Moscow on behalf of Louis Lumière, he is armed with a very interesting device – a cinematograph … He will film the entire solemn procession of the route on a special moving belt, on which the pictures will, however, be so microscopic that only after enlarging them can they can be seen. But, in any case, all parts of the tuple and all of its moments will be reproduced in this way with documentary accuracy.” The coronation celebrations in the Kremlin were captured in great detail.

PHOTO: cinematographers Charles Moisson and Francis Dublier

The “Lumiere Brothers Cinematography” catalogue, released in France for the 100th anniversary of cinema, names four cameramen who filmed “The Coronation of Emperor Nicholas II” – Francis Dubliet, Camille Cerf, Charles Moisson and Alexandre Promio.

PHOTO: Belgian cinematographer Camille Cerf (1862-1936)

A copy of the film of the coronation celebrations was presented by Lumiere to Emperor Nicholas II and, apparently, met with his approval. In any case, it laid the foundation for a special kind of pre-revolutionary Russian newsreel, the so-called “Tsarist Chronicle”, which was filmed in Russia systematically from 1896 to 1917, mainly by Russian cameramen, for distribution to the growing commercial cinema network across the Russian Empire.

The Lumiere Bros. film The Coronation of Emperor Nicholas II was filmed in 35 mm, duration 1 hour 33 min. The video below shows only 1 minute and 40 seconds of it. More than a decade ago, a Ukrainian historian announced plans to restore the entire film. Sadly, he was unable to acquire funding for this important historical project.

The following is a list of the highlights of the video:

1. NDP 1.4m “Coronation of Sovereign Emperor Nicholas II Alexandrovich” May 14, 1896

2. Common. 10.1 m On the streets of Moscow, ceremonial gilded carriages, accompanied by their retinue, pass. In the first carriage sits Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, (removed from the building of the Historical Museum). Cinematographer Francis DOUBLIER . CL No. 1329.

3. Common. 4.8m Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, accompanied by the courtiers, walk up the stairs of the Red Porch, down to Ivanovskaya Square to the Assumption Cathedral, (filmed from the side of the Annunciation Cathedral from the height of the roof of the temporary stands).
Operator Charles MOISSON . CL No. 1330.

4. Common. 7.8 m Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna leave the Archangel Cathedral, join the solemn procession and under a canopy, accompanied by the courtiers, walk towards the porch of the Annunciation Cathedral. Cinematographer Francis DOUBLIER . CL No. 1331.

5. Wed 9.2 m The solemn procession goes towards the Annunciation Cathedral.
Cinematographer Francis DOUBLIER . CL No. 1331.

6. Common. 6.6m Representatives of various nationalities are passing by.
Operator Charles MOISSON . CL No. 1328.

7. Common. 5.1 m A carriage drives up to the porch of the house, dignitaries sit in it.
Operator Charles MOISSON . CL No. 1325.

8. Common. 2.9m The dignitaries sit in the carriage.
Operator Charles MOISSON . CL No. 1326.


PHOTO: Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse (seated center) with members
of the Hessian delegation, who attended Nicholas II’s Coronation in May 1896

The Empress’s brother, Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse (1868-1937), who was present at the coronation ceremony, provides a vivid description of the event:

“The coronation in Moscow on May 26, 1896 was the most splendid ceremony I have ever seen. It was almost eastern in style and lasted 10 days. In Moscow, the cathedral was full of images of saints on a gold background, and all the priests were wore golden vestments, decorated with embroidery and precious stones. In all the ceremonies, there was a deep mystical meaning and Byzantine traditions. The Anointed Emperor and Empress became God’s Anointed ones. The emperor, like a priest, receives communion at the altar. After that, in front of the throne, he takes off the crown from his head, kneels down and prays aloud with a wonderful prayer for his people. Then they say a prayer for the emperor, and he rises, and at that moment he is the only non-kneeling person in the entire Russian Empire. The procession of people entering and leaving the cathedral passes along the elevation, which is at the level of the heads, standing around, so you can see everyone who takes part in the ceremony. The procession seems to consist only of people in full dress, everything glitters in gold and silver, the emperor and empress in gold and ermine robes stand under a huge canopy, all the grand duchesses are strewn with jewels. Everything happens as in a magical dream, because everything is illuminated by the bright radiance of the sun.”

© Paul Gilbert. 16 March 2021


Dear Reader

If you enjoy my articles, news stories and translations, then please help support my research by making a donation in US or Canadian dollars to my project The Truth About Nicholas II – please note that donations can be made by GoFundMePayPal, credit cardpersonal check or money order. Thank you for your consideration – PG


Museum of Emperor Nicholas II re-opens in Moscow

PHOTO: Konstantin Malofeev views the exhibits in the Museum of Emperor Nicholas II

On 16th February, I reported on my Facebook page, that the Museum of Emperor Nicholas II, situated in the center of Moscow, was closing. The little known was forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and almost 9 million rubles (more than $13,000 USD) in arrears of rent.

The museum – which was established in April 2018 – showcases the private collection of Alexander Vasilyevich Renzhin, who has amassed more than 3,000 authentic and memorial exhibits over the past 35 years, all of which belonged to Emperor Nicholas II and his family. It is indeed a unique and rate collection!

The Museum of Emperor Nicholas II was forced to close its doors permanently at the end of February.

PHOTO: multi-collared saucers and cups presented during the Coronation of Nicholas II

PHOTO: sailor’s suit worn by Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaevich

PHOTO: album with watercolours painted by Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna

Konstantin Malofeev, the founder of the Tsargrad TV channel, came to the rescue by providing Renzhin’s rare collection with a new venue in which to display his collection. The Museum of Emperor Nicholas II re-opened in the Museum of Russian Art, the former manor house of Nikolai Eremeevich Struisky (1749-1796) – situated in Moscow’s historical district – on 10th February 2021.

The museum showcases more than 3,000 rare exhibits, including a pearl tablecloth from the table of Nicholas II, multi-collared saucers and cups that were presented on the Khodynkha Field during the Coronation of Emperor Nicholas II in May 1896, a sailor’s suit worn by Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaevich, an album with watercolour drawings, painted by Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna. Other items include a scarf embroidered by the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna herself, desk writing instruments belonging to Tsesarevich Alexei , and numerous personal belongings of Emperor Nicholas II – to name just a few!

“All items belonging to the Tsar’s family were carefully preserved by people” – said Konstantin Malofeev – “this shows the true popular reverence and love for the Tsar, even when he was under the absolute prohibition of godless power.”

© Paul Gilbert. 10 March 2021

New museum in Moscow to showcase Nicholas II’s automobiles


PHOTO: Nicholas II travelling in his French Delaunay-Belleville

Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of the Special Purpose Garage in Moscow. For its centenary, a multifunctional complex – the Special Purpose Garage Museum – will open in two pavilions at the All-Russian Exhibition Center (VDNKh) in Moscow.

Simulators and interactive exhibits are now being installed in Pavilion No. 54, where visitors can learn about the technical characteristics of automobiles and road safety. The main highlight of the new permanent museum will be in Pavilion No. 53, which will showcase historical automobiles of Soviet leaders, and more importantly those of Russia’s last emperor Nicholas II, who was a keen collector of fine automobiles.

Note: it is not known at this time, how many of Nicholas II’s autos will be on display, nor which automobiles will be on display. I will update this article when I have more details – PG.

The Special Purpose Garage Museum is scheduled to open in early 2021.

PHOTO: His Imperial Majesty’s Own Garage, Tsarskoye Selo

Facts about His Imperial Majesty’s Own Garage

* The “founding fathers” of His Imperial Majesty’s Own Garage were the Minister of the Imperial Court, Count Vladimir Fredericks (1838-1927), and the Adjutant Wing Prince Vladimir Orlov (1868-1927). The first automobile appeared in Tsarskoye Selo at the beginning of 1906: the French Delaunay-Belleville with a triple phaeton body, and soon complemented with four Mercedes.

* In mid-1906, the Imperial Driver School was opened at the garage. In fact, it was the first driving school in Russia. Empress Alexandra Feodorovna herself attached great importance to the uniforms worn by drivers and mechanics. She created sketches with her own hand, designing uniforms based on a footman’s livery adorned with gold cords.

* Drivers, mechanics and “soapmen” (car washers) did not appreciate being treated like lackeys and servants, but were forced to wear their uniforms. Their struggle continued, and in the end, the drivers won. In 1910, their new uniform – approved by the Emperor – resembled the uniforms of military officials: khaki colours, lace-up leather boots, leggings.

* Court chauffeurs in fur hats could easily be mistaken for senior officers and they were paid well. The senior driver received 2,600 rubles a year (for comparison: the annual salary of a university professor was 3,000 rubles), a third-class driver – 780 rubles a year.

* On March 2, 1917, Emperor Nicholas II signed his abdication. This ended the story of His Imperial Majesty’s Own Garage. All property of the imperial family passed into the disposal of the Provisional Government, including the garage. In addition to a change in management, the garage managed to avoid significant personnel changes.

* As a result of the October Revolution of 1917, the Autobase of the Provisional Government was nationalized and transferred to the disposal of the Bolsheviks. Lenin himself wasted little time in taking first pick from the Tsar’s collection of fine automobiles. His first trip in a Turcat-Méry automobile took place on 27th October 1917. Many employees of the Imperial Garage and the Autobase of the Provisional Government continued to work for the Bolsheviks.


Dear Reader

If you found this article interesting, then please help support my research by making a donation in US or Canadian dollars to my project The Truth About Nicholas II – please note that donations can be made by GoFundMe, PayPal, credit card, personal check or money order. Thank you for your consideration – PG

© Paul Gilbert. 22 December 2020

COLOUR photos of the Coronation of Nicholas II


On this day – 27 May (O.S. 14 May) 1896, Russia’s last emperor and tsar Nicholas II was crowned in Moscow

The following text is a short introduction of the preparations and ceremony, to prepare readers for the wonderful colour photographs of the Coronation of Russia’s last emperor which follow – PG


On 13 January (O.S., 1 January) 1896, the manifesto “On the upcoming Holy Coronation of Their Imperial Majesties” was published, according to which the coronation ceremony was to be held in May, and inviting the Government Senate in Moscow, and other representatives of the Russian Empire, to attend. Responsibility for organizing the ceremony was assigned to the Ministry of the Imperial Court, on the basis of which the Coronation Commission and the Coronation Office were organized.

From 6 May to 26 May 1896 was the official coronation period, with 25 May being the birthday of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. On 26 May, a manifesto was published that expressed the gratitude of the monarch to the inhabitants of Moscow.

It was proposed that all persons participating in the 9 May ceremonial entrance of the imperial couple to Moscow arrive in Moscow no later than 5 May. The ceremonial entry was to be from the Petrovsky Palace on Petersburg Highway and further along Tverskaya-Yamskaya and Tverskaya streets.

Preparations for the celebrations were the responsibility of the Minister of the Imperial Court Count I. I. Vorontsov-Dashkov. The High Marshal was Count K. I. Palen; the supreme master of ceremonies was Prince A. S. Dolgorukov. The duties of the herald were performed by E. K. Pribylsky, an official of the Senate. A coronation unit was formed from 82 battalions, 36 squadrons, 9 hundreds, and 28 batteries, under the command of the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich, under whom was a special headquarters with the rights of the General Staff led by Lieutenant General N.I. Bobrikov. Vladimir Alexandrovich arrived in Moscow and took command on 3 May 1896.

Coronation ceremony

The coronation of Emperor Nicholas II and his wife, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna was the last coronation during the Russian Empire. It took place on 26 May (O.S. 14 May) 1896, in the Assumption Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin.

On 26/14 May, the day of the Coronation, the liturgy was read and prayers of thanksgiving recited in all the churches in St. Petersburg. The metropolitan cathedrals could not accommodate all the worshippers, in view of which prayers were also recited in the squares near a number of cathedrals and some churches, as well as in the Horse Guards.

The coronation ceremony began at 10 am, with the emperor, his mother, and his wife seated on thrones on a special raised platform installed in the middle of the cathedral. The emperor sat on the throne of Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich, Empress Maria Feodorovna on the throne of Tsar Alexy Mikhailovich Tishayshy, and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna on the throne of Grand Prince Ivan III.

The ceremony was presided over by Metropolitan Palladium, of St. Petersburg, the pre-eminent member of the most Holy Synod (the Synod at the time of the coronation having been transferred to Moscow). During the liturgy, the metropolitan con-celebrated with the metropolitans of Kiev, Ioanikiy (Rudnev), and of Moscow, Sergius (Lyapidevsky). At the end of the liturgy the emperor and empress were anointed and then took communion of the Holy Mysteries at the altar. In the ministry of the liturgy, among others, John of Kronstadt also took part.


















© Paul Gilbert. 26 May 2020

Exhibition: Imperial Yacht Standart and the Family of the Last Russian Emperor


NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 15 February 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

The following exhibition ran from 26 January to 4 April 2018

The exhibition Imperial Yacht Standart and the Family of the Last Russian Emperor, opened on 26 January at the Central House of Artists in Moscow. The exhibition is based on memories and original photographs from the personal archive of Captain 2nd Rank Nikolai Pavlovich Sablin (1880-1937), who served on the Imperial yacht Standart from 1906 to 1914.

A significant part of these historic images were photographed by the co-owner of the photographic studio “K. E. von Gan and Co., the famous Russian photographer AK Yagelsky, who had the title of Court photographer of His Imperial Majesty. Yagelsky also owned the right to conduct filming of the imperial family. The exposition includes photographs of the photographic studio K. E. Von Gan and Co., as well as unique newsreel footage taken on board the imperial yacht. In addition to the photographs, original letters of Emperor Nicholas II written on board the ship, watercolours and a collection of postcards dedicated to the Imperial yacht, a yacht logbook and a number of other unique documents will be on display.

The photos taken on board the yacht Standart are not widely known to the general public and are associated with the inner life of the royal family, moments not intended for an outsider’s eye and therefore very sincere and direct.


The exhibition was first shown at the State Museum and Exhibition Center ROSPHOTO in St. Petersburg, from 2 August to 24 September 2017 and in Smolensk from 18 October to 15 December 2017. Click on the VIDEO above to view highlights from the St. Petersburg venue.

The exhibition Imperial Yacht Standart and the Family of the Last Russian Emperor, runs until 4th April 2018, at the Central House of Artists in Moscow.

Click HERE to visit the ROSPHOTO site for more information and photographs of the Imperial Yacht Standart – in Russian only.


© Paul Gilbert. 15 December 2019

Multi-media Exhibition Dedicated to Nicholas II in Moscow

NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 17 March 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG


An exhibition dedicated to Russia’s last emperor and tsar has opened Kvadrats Gallery, situated in Sokolniki Park in Moscow.

Sokolniki Park is situated not far from the center of the city, near Sokolnicheskaya Gate. The park gained its name from the Sokolnichya Quarter, the 17th-century home of the tsar’s falconers (sokol is the Russian word for falcon). It was created by Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich (father of Peter the Great), a keen hunter who loved to go falconing in the area.



The multi-media exposition is timed to the tragic date in Russia’s history – the 100th anniversary of the death of Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra Feodorovna and their five children in Ekaterinburg on the night of 16/17 July 1918.

After their murders, Bolshevik and Soviet authorities did everything in their power to blacken the name of Nicholas II and forever erase the memory of his life, his reign and his service to Russia. During the past century, historians and biographers have shamefully been content to carry this negative image of Nicholas II in their books and documentaries. This is why the period of Nicholas II’s 22-year reign remains enveloped in all sorts of lies and myths, despite the release of new documents in Russian archives which challenge their often biased assessments of him.



The organizers of the multi-media exhibition project share facts about the life of Russia’s last emperor and tsar, with the hope of restoring the historical truth, and reminding the public that during the reign of Nicholas II the Russian Empire was one of the strongest, most powerful and prosperous countries in the world.

The exhibition includes a collection of “revived” paintings created by famous Russian masters of fine art from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These are complimented with contemporary works, which include paintings by Orthodox artist Pavel Ryzhenko (1970-2014).


© Paul Gilbert. 13 December 2019

The Emperor’s Family: The Museum of Holy Royal Passion-Bearers in Moscow

NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 14 April 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

On 10th April 2018, the Museum of Holy Royal Martyrs opened in the Museum of Russian Art in Moscow. The permanent exhibit Family of the Emperor includes personal items, historical relics, photographs and other exhibits which reflect the life of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II and his family. Many exhibits are presented to visitors for the very first time.

“There are a lot of personal items here of the Emperor Nicholas II and his family, including an icon, a napkin, photographs, and more. Not only are they historical artifacts, they have a cardinal value for Orthodox people, like any object of a loved one who has left us” – said Konstantin Kapkov.


Konstantin Kapkov. Photo: TV channel “Tsargrad”

The exposition features items from the private collection of the famous Moscow artist-restorer Alexander Vasilyevich Renzhin, who over the past few decades has reverently collected everything connected with the memory of Nicholas II, his family and his ancestors. Renzhin is a collector, artist, icon painter, art historian, researcher, restorer, and an expert of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation in the field of paintings and church art. He is the Founder and head of the icon painting workshops Kupina (1987) and Kanon (since 1995).


Vladimir Lavrov. Photo: TV channel “Tsargrad”

Doctor of Historical Sciences, and member of the Council of the Double-Headed Eagle Society Vladimir Lavrov notes:

“The year marking the 100th anniversary of the murder of the last Tsar and his family should be a year of historical memory. We must live it with honour, and it is very important that a center, a museum of spiritual and moral education, centered on the fate and reign of Nicholas II, be created. It is of great importance that the museum be Russian, Orthodox, and in Moscow … “

As a convinced monarchist, the creator of the exposition is convinced that this year will be the beginning of the revival of the historical form of government in Russia. Just as it happened in 1613 after the feat of the national hero Ivan Susanin. The feat, glorified in Mikhail Glinka’s opera Life for the Tsar, which sounded, including, at the last coronation in 1896.


Alexander Renzhin. Photo: TV channel “Tsargrad”

Alexander Renzhin shared with his aspirations about Russia’s future with Russian television network Tsargrad:

“We placed Glinka’s score with in our exposition, and in front of it sits a double-lamp, which was specially made for the coronation of the Emperor Nicholas II and the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, held in Moscow in May 1896. But now the lamp lies unlit. But it is my hope, that in Russian patriotic circles, we will find opportunities to revive not only Orthodoxy in it’s highest form during the era of Nicholas II, but we will revive autocracy and relight this lamp!”

The permanent exhibition Family of the Emperor is open daily, except Monday, in the Museum of Russian Art in Moscow.

© Paul Gilbert. 12 December 2019

Round-Table Forum on Nicholas II Held in Moscow


Konstantin Malofeev (second from left), chairman of the Double-headed Eagle Society

NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 17 April 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

“The context of the important dates of the country’s history, related to the last Russian Sovereign Nicholas II, can not but influence the development of the country.”

That is why a fair interpretation of the events connected with the downfall of the Russian Empire and its last sovereign contributes to a more intensive spiritual and political development of the country.

In 2018, Russia marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Russia’s last emperor and tsar Nicholas II, and the 100th anniversary of the massacre of members of the Imperial family.

The act of villainous execution, of course, requires additional comprehension and discussion by historians, politicians, journalists and public figures.

This was guided by the Double-Headed Eagle Society and the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, who held a joint round table forum in Moscow on 11th April 2018: “Nicholas II: to the 150th Anniversary of his Birth and the 100th Anniversary of the Massacre.”

The event, organized by the Double-Headed Eagle Society, with the assistance of the Public Chamber, included representatives from Moscow, Tula, Nizhny Novgorod, and Stavropol.

The Terek Cossack Host was represented at the forum, as well as the Union of Cossacks of the Warriors of Russia and Abroad (SKVRZ). The round table was moderated by Konstantin Malofeev, chairman of the Double-Headed Eagle Society.


Public Chamber of the Russian Federation in Moscow

The round table was opened by the welcoming speech of Alexander Tkachenko, Chairman of the Commission on Philanthropy, Civic Education and Social Responsibility of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation.

This was followed by the welcome speech of the member of the Commission on charity, civic education and social responsibility of the Society S. Rudov.

The first report “Emperor Nicholas II and his influence on the historical and political processes in the world” was made by the chairman of the Double-Headed Eagle Society Konstantin Malofeev.

This was followed by “Preserving the historical memory of the Imperial family: the experience of cooperation of state, church and social organizations”, presented by Anna Gromova, candidate of historical sciences, the chairman of the supervisory board of the Elisavetinsky-Sergievsky Educational Society.

Then the floor was given to Alexander Zakatov, the director of the office of the Head of the Russian Imperial House. He made a presentation on the topic “Orthodox veneration of St. Emperor Nicholas II and his family and the legal protection of their memory in modern conditions.”

Deputy editor-in-chief of the Tsargrad television channel, Mikhail Smolin, Ph.D. in History, gave a detailed account of the influence of monarchical consciousness on Russian statehood. In his report, attention was focused on the advantages of a monarchic system of government.

Doctor of Historical Sciences, Chief Researcher of the Institute of Russian History of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Lavrov made a presentation on “The reign of Nicholas II and the present: what remains relevant?”


Delegates at the round-table forum on Nicholas II held on 11th April in Moscow

And the next Russian historian and writer Konstantin Kapkov spoke about the spiritual world of Emperor Nicholas II and his family, while candidate of historical sciences, presenter of the television channel “Tsargrad” Pyotr Multatuli spoke on “Emperor Nicholas II. Tragedy of the Unaccounted Autocrat.”

The final report at the round table was made by Alexander Muzafarov, director of information and analytical programs of the Fund for Historical Perspective. He drew the attention of the forum participants to the nature of the last emperor and spoke about the need to further study the personality of Nicholas II .

The free discussion was attended by Evgeny Tsybizov , the head of the Novosibirsk regional branch of the Double-headed Eagle Society, Filip Mosvitin, Honored Artist of Russia , the co-chairman of the International Ilyinsky Committee, the writer A. Sharipov and several other participants.

In the near future, the Double-Headed Eagle Society will present the public with a resolution of the round table forum, for the preparation of which a special editorial group will be created.

© Paul Gilbert. 12 December 2019