Icon of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II from Serbia arrives in St. Petersburg

PHOTO: the miraculous icon of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, painted in Serbia

Earlier this week, a large miraculous icon of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, painted in Serbia, was brought to the Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra in St. Petersburg. The icon will remain in the Lavra until 15th June.

The icon was written in 2018, however, the icon painter wished to remain anonymous. The icon of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II was consecrated in the ancient Church of the Holy Prophet Jeremiah in the eastern Serbian town of Vrbovec on 24th February 2019.

The icon was blessed by Father Dushan Popovich, co-served by four priests. There were many believers in the church, and they all knelt down in prayer. This was considered the first miracle from the icon.

For two years, the icon was used in many religious processions blessed by His Holiness Patriarch Irenaeus (1930-2020), in Serbia, Montenegro, Republika Srpska, Kosovo and Metohija. Many people prayed before the icon of the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, and bowed to his holy image. In monasteries and churches where the icon was located, the faithful often queued for hours in order to venerate the icon. Many miracles have since been attributed through prayers to the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II since.

A nun from the Vasily Ostrozhsky Monastery on Mount Rozhay was seriously ill with leukemia. Five years before arriving at the monastery of the Tsar’s Icon, she received a vision. The image of the Tsar was in the monastery church for three weeks. Every day following the liturgy, the nuns read the Akathist to the Holy Tsar. Then the icon was taken away to visit the holy places of Central Serbia. Two weeks later, the nun felt better and visited the doctor. Her analyzes turned out to be as if she had never been sick! The doctor was amazed. And now, thank God, she is healthy.

Nearly thirty churches and monasteries in Serbia have received the icon of the Sovereign, and with it two more royal icons, those of the Holy Tsar Lazar of Serbia and Tsar Ioann the Strong.

The icons where brought to the monastery of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos on Mount Rudnik for three months, where the faithful came to venerate them, including priests and monks from Central Serbia. Here and in other places, between divine services, the Akathist was incessantly read to Saint Tsar Nicholas II.

PHOTO: Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra in St. Petersburg

There were also icons of the Tsars in Belgrade, in the churches of St. Paraskeva and St. Nicholas. They were undertaken for the sake of strengthening the faith and saving the Serbian and Russian peoples. Many times a fragrance emanated from the icons.

The blessing for bringing icons to Russia was given by the confessors revered in Serbia – Elders John (Ielenko) and Seraphim (Milkovich). This mission was carried out by Mrs. Bilyana Rakovich, the spiritual daughter of Father Seraphim, who dearly loved Russia and the Russian people.

By the grace of God, another miracle took place at the airport in Belgrade. A male employee, who at first coldly declared himself an nonbeliever, was in charge of moving the crates containing the icons to the gangway. The icons were packed in very large cases, which created problems. As the man touched and moved the cases he completely changed, literally transformed. As the crates were being loaded onto the aircraft, the man carefully placing the icons on the conveyor belt with other employees, he stood at attention giving the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II and the other Tsar a military honour! Those who helped him did the same. His eyes were shining, his fellow airport employees cried, while one knelt down.

The icons arrived in Russia at the beginning of Holy Week this year. The image of Holy Tsar Lazar of Serbia is now in the Rostov region. The faithful come to receive help from above through him.

For a week, with the blessing of the rector Archpriest Konstantin Korolev and the honorary abbot Schema-Archimandrite Barsonofy (Kuzmin), the icon of the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II was first taken to the Church of All Saints Who Shone in St. Petersburg. Then, with the blessing of Archimandrite Nektariy (Golovkin), the icon was transferred to the Saints Peter and Fevronia Church in Peterhof for more than a week. Here the icon also emitted a fragrance within the church.

Them earlier this week, the Serbian icon of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II arrived at the Alexander Nevsky Lavra – the main monastery of St. Petersburg, where it will remain until 15th June. The icon arrived at the Lavra on the eve of the 800th anniversary of the birth of the Holy Blessed Prince Alexander Nevsky. The icon has also arrived just a few days before the birthday of the most Holy Tsar Nicholas Alexandrovich on 19th [O.S. 6th] May, and on the eve of the 300th anniversary of the proclamation of the State of the Russian Empire, which took place on the day of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God.

PHOTO: the miraculous icon of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, painted in Serbia

© Paul Gilbert. 14 May 2021

The Ural Mining Institute of Emperor Nicholas II in Ekaterinburg

PHOTO: This magnificent icon of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, greets both students and visitors as they enter the main building of the Ural State Mining University in Ekaterinburg

Founded on 16 [O.S. 3] July 1914, the Mining Institute in the Ural city of Ekaterinburg was the last educational institution in Russia, to be created by the decree of Emperor Nicholas II.

The solemn act which took place on board the Imperial Yacht Standart, where Nicholas II signed the law on the establishment of the Mining Institute. It was considered an event of great historical significance in the cultural life of not only the Urals, but also the Russian Empire.

Following the consecration held on 30 [O.S. 17] July 1916, the foundation stone was laid. A special copper plate was made on which the date was engraved. On the same day, a telegram was sent to Nicholas II, who was at that time at the Stavka in Mogilev, the headquarters of the Russian Imperial Army, where he was serving as Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces:

“To His Imperial Majesty. Gathered for the solemn laying of the building of the Ekaterinburg Mining Institute, after the liturgy performed by His Grace Seraphim, ardent prayers to the Lord God for the precious health of Your Imperial Majesty and the granting of complete victory over the enemy were given. We lay at your feet, All-Merciful Sovereign, loyal for the monarch’s mercy granted to the Urals by the fulfillment of the long-standing aspirations of the Ekaterinburg city public administration and the Perm zemstvo. The Mining School, approved by Your Imperial Majesty at the time of the nationwide struggle against German oppression, gives new strength to the flourishing of the young Russian industry for the glory of Yours, Beloved Sovereign, and our dear Motherland.”

PHOTO: A close-up view of the Icon of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II reveals its rich detail, made of Ural precious stones: rubies, garnets, sapphires, emeralds, amethysts and other precious gems

The following day the Tsar sent his reply: “I instruct you to convey to His Grace Seraphim and all those who gathered for the ceremony of laying the foundation stone of the building of the Ekaterinburg Mining Institute my heartfelt gratitude for the prayers and the feelings that brought them to life. I hope that this new institute for the study of mining will provide the Motherland with useful workers in this important branch of industry.” Nicholas II.

It was difficult for the institute to take its first steps; it needed reliable help and support. The first director of the institute Pyotr Petrovich von Weymarn (1879-1935), believed that it was best to enlist support from the first person in the state, the Tsar himself. Weymarn believed that it was quite enough if the institute should bear the name of the Sovereign. And so they did. On 6th November 1916, the Construction Commission wrote to Nicholas II with a request to accept the institute under “His Imperial Majesty’s Patronage and to grant it the name “Ural Mining Institute of Emperor Nicholas II”.

The document read: “Your Imperial Majesty! For many years, the vast Urals lacked an institute of higher learning for the study of mining. Only during the reign of Your Imperial Majesty … The Urals are now enriched by two higher leaning schools: the University in Perm and, which is especially important for the mining progress of the Urals, and the Mining Institute in the city of Ekaterinburg. Thus, the higher learning education in the Ural region is now forever historically associated with your Sovereign name. With deep conviction, the Construction Commission … took the courage to loyally ask you, Sovereign, to accept the Mining Institute, which is being built in the city of Ekaterinburg, under its highest patronage and most mercifully command to deign to name it henceforth the Ural Mining Institute of Emperor Nicholas II.”

The Tsar replied on 5th January 1917, granting the institute the right to be named after him.

PHOTO: Olga Nikolaevna Kulikovsky-Romanov (1926-2020) admires the icon of the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, situated in the lobby of the main building of the Ural State Mining University. Her proximity to the icon provides us with an idea of just how large this magnificent icon actually is.

Sadly, events in the country forced the Urals from taking advantage of the monarch’s favour. As a result of the February 1917 Revolution, Nicholas II, abdicated on 15 [O.S. 2] March. But the story did not end there. Fate wanted Nicholas II to visit the city, the institute of which he bestowed his name on. On that “warm, wonderful day” of 17th April 1918, the Emperor was brought from Tobolsk to Ekaterinburg where he was held under house arrest. It was here that he and his family spent the last three months of their life until the tragic end.

Following the death of Nicholas II, the institute underwent a number of name changes: Ural Mining Institute (1918); Sverdlovsk Mining Institute (1934); Sverdlovsk Mining Institute named after V.V. Vakhrushev (1947); Ural State Mining and Geological Academy (1993); and the Ural State Mining University (2004) today, a leading university in the Urals, with about 9000 students.

The original building of the Ural State Mining University has survived to the present day, and its administration has not forgotten the historic connection between it and Russia’s last emperor and tsar.

PHOTO: The main building of the Ural State Mining University

Celebrations were held at the Ural State Mining University on 19th May 2008, the day marking the 140th anniversary of the birth of Emperor Nicholas II. A magnificent memorial icon dedicated to Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II was opened in the lobby of the main building of the Ural Mining University.

The Holy Royal Icon was painted by the sisters of the Novo-Tikhvin Monastery in Ekaterinburg. According to the new project, all the plastic elements of the decoration of the original icon were replaced with a mosaic of Ural precious stones: rubies, garnets, sapphires, emeralds, amethysts and other precious gems. Local miners timed its reconstruction to coincide with the date marking Nicholas II’s birth.

The royal crown is made of chased patterned silver with gilding, figured silver lace adorns the icon frame. For the icon case, white and red Pashtun marble was used, the design of which looks as if blood is oozing from the stone, recalling the martyrdom of the Imperial Family.

© Paul Gilbert. 9 May 2021

Historic link between Nicholas II and St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York

PHOTO: St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral was built in the Moscow Baroque style in 1902

This month marks the 120th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone for St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral, located in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York City. The cathedral serves as the administrative center of the Russian Orthodox Church in North America, and houses the representation of the Moscow Patriarchate in the United States.

On 25th August 1899, a plot of land of about 700 m² was purchased on 97th Street, between Madison and 5th Avenue, on which it was planned to build a cathedral that could accommodate 900 worshipers, as well as premises for a Sunday school, festive meetings and an apartment for clergy.

The cathedral was constructed in the Moscow Baroque style by the architect Ivan Viktorovich Bergezen. In 1900, permission to raise funds for the construction of the church was issued by Emperor Nicholas II, who on his own behalf donated 7,500 gold rubles to the project.

PHOTO: the iconostasis of St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral

The foundation stone of the church was laid by Bishop Tikhon, the head of the Russian Church in the Aleutian Islands and North America – the future Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Tikhon (1865-1925) on 22nd May 1901.

On 23rd November 1902, a consecration service, the first to be held in the completed church, was led by Bishop Tikhon. Bishop Charles Chapman Grafton, representing the Episcopal Church, participated in the service. The Russian Holy Synod elevated St. Nicholas Church to Cathedral status in December 1903, and the Diocesan Seat of North America was transferred from San Francisco to New York in 1905. Restoration work was carried out on the Cathedral between 1954 and 1960.

Today St. Nicholas Cathedral continues to serve the needs of the Russian Orthodox Church in this country as it has since its founding.

© Paul Gilbert. 4 May 2021

Memories of Nicholas and Alexandra’s love that have transcended time

PHOTO: aerial view of Schloss Wolfsgarten, near Darmstadt

Hidden away from the eyes of most visitors to Wolfgarten in Germany and the State Hermitage Museum in Russia, are two haunting mementoes etched into simple window panes of each of the two former royal residences. Despite revolution, two world wars and palace renovations, these glass windows with inscriptions written by Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna have miraculously survived to this day.

Wolfsgarten, Germany

Schloss Wolfsgarten is a former hunting seat of the ruling family of Hesse-Darmstadt, located in the German state of Hessen, situated 15 kilometers south of Frankfurt. The hunting lodge was established between 1722 and 1724 by Landgrave Ernst Ludwig of Hesse-Darmstadt. In 1768, Wolfsgarten was abandoned until the 1830s when the grand ducal family began to restore and expand the property. From 1879, Wolfsgarten became a favourite country retreat for Grand Dukes Ludwig IV and his son Ernst Ludwig, brother of Princess Alix, the future Empress Alexandra Feodorovna.

PHOTO: the years marking visits by Nicholas and Alexandra are etched in a window at Schloss Wolfsgarten

In November 1903 Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna visited the *divorced and not yet remarried Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig. It was on this occasion, that the couple updated the record of their visits to Wolfsgarten, by carving the year on a glass window, as they had done on prior visits in 1896 and 1899 respectively. The Imperial couple returned to Wolfsgarten in 1910.

*On 19th April 1894 Ernst Ludwig married his cousin Victoria Melita von Edinburgh, among the European royals and nobility in Coburg. Ernst and Victoria divorced on 21st November 1901. Victoria married Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich on 8th October 1905.

On 9th October 1937, Ernest Louis died after a long illness at Schloß Wolfsgarten. He received what amounted to a state funeral on 16 November 1937 and was buried next to his daughter, Elisabeth, in a new open air burial ground next to the New Mausoleum he had built in the Rosenhöhe park in Darmstadt.

PHOTO: contemporary view of the Winter Palace (State Hermitage Museum)

Winter Palace, St. Petersburg

From December 1895, Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, resided for periods during the winter in the Winter Palace. They extended and redesigned the rooms which had been prepared for Nicholas, as Tsesarevich two years earlier. The architect Alexander Krasovsky was commissioned to redecorate a suite of rooms in the northwest corner of the palace.

Following the events of Bloody Sunday in 1905, Nicholas II and his family abandoned the Winter Palace in favour of the more private Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo. From this date until the fall of the monarchy, the Winter Palace was used only for formal state occasions.

PHOTO: Alexandra records a memory from March 1902 on a window in her Study

On 25th October 1917, following the Provisional Government’s arrest in the Small Dining Room of the Winter Palace, an eyewitness account records a systematic destruction of the Imperial apartments by the Bolsheviks. The only original interior to have survived to the present is Nicholas II’s Gothic Library. The remainder of the Imperial couple’s private apartments including the bulk of their contents have been lost.

One tiny memento, however, has survived. Hidden from view by a lace curtain in the former Study of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, a memory was recorded by Alexandra. On 7th March 1902, taking her diamond ring, she etched the following in one of the windows: “Nicky 1902 looking at the Hussars. 7 March”.

In 1926 the former living quarters of the Imperial couple were handed over to the State Hermitage Museum for use as exhibition halls. The same year the décor of the Study was destroyed: the yellow damask wall covering was removed and the vault painting with flowers and garlands was painted over (it has since been restored). The viewing platform in the corner was dismantled, from which the Imperial couple liked to look at the Neva River at different times of the year from “Alix’s window” as Nicholas II used to call it in his diary.

Today, Room 185 houses the exhibition dedicated to the work of the famous St Petersburg furniture maker Heinrich Gambs. On view here are pieces of furniture and objects of decorative and applied art executed in the Classicism style.

CLICK on the VIDEO below, which shows not only the former Study of Alexandra Feodorovna, but also the view from the window, which will give you a better perspective of where the engraved window is exactly:

© Paul Gilbert. 4 May 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

Plots against Nicholas II by members of the Imperial Family

PHOTO: detail from a painting of Nicholas II by Pavel Ryzhenko (1970-2014)

Historian and author Brian Moynahan (1941-2018) writes about the plots hatched against Nicholas and Alexandra by members of the Imperial Family, following the murder of Grigory Rasputin, :

“At the weekend, over cards and liqueurs in the Imperial Yacht Club, the grand dukes aired plans to remove Alexandra to a nunnery. Sometimes Nicholas was to go too, to be replaced by one of themselves. [Grand Duke] Mikhail [Alexandrovich], his kindly and weak-willed brother, was one candidate. He had left Russia before the war after a clandestine marriage to the ex-wife of a captain in his own regiment. He had come back with the war, but his command of a Cossack brigade had been disastrous and he had been shuffled off to an obscure inspectorship. [Grand Duke] Nikolai Mikhailovich, the tsar’s cousin, had a more realistic claim, for his relative liberalism had won him the nickname “Nicholas Egalité.” Cynical, disparaging, and jealous by temperament, he was a historian who “worked only with words,” and was “too fond of scandal” to act decisively.

“No secrecy was observed in these intrigues. On Sunday, Petrograd rang with details of a coming coup. One theory was that a famous fighter pilot, Captain Kostenko, intended to crash his aircraft onto the imperial limousine. Another had several grand dukes plotting to use four regiments for a night march on the palace at Tsarskoye Selo to force the emperor to abdicate in favour of his son and a regent. Prince Gabriel Constantinovich gave a supper party for his mistress, a former actress, on Monday, December 26. The guests included Grand Duke Boris [Vladimirovich], the industrialist Alexei Putilov, a dozen officers, and a squad of elegant courtesans. They talked nonstop about the conspiracy and the details of which the regiments were to be seduced. All this was done with “the servants moving about, harlots looking on and listening, gypsies singing.”

“Tongues loosened by streams of Brut Imperial [a French sparkling wine] were heard by Okhrana agents. Nicholas and Alexandra were informed. They sent the grand dukes no Christmas presents that year and soon moved them and Rasputin’s murderers out of Petrograd. Grand Duke Dmitri [Pavlovich] was ordered to join the army staff in Persia, Yusupov was exiled to his family estates in the south. Vladimir Purishkevich had already gone to the front, where the military police were keeping an eye on him. The other grand dukes were sent to their estates or away on urgent naval business. The press was forbidden to mention Rasputin’s name.”

Source: Comrades. 1917 Russia in Revolution (1992) by Brian Moynahan (1941-2018)


The Tsar’s poignant diary entry of March 2nd 1918 bore much truth to the betrayal by his ministers, generals, soldiers, and even members of his extended family who turned their back on their sovereign breaking their oath of allegiance and thus committing treason in the process. Even his distant relations, members of the various royal families of Europe, turned their back on the Emperor. Treachery was indeed everywhere.

© Paul Gilbert. 26 April 2021

Gothic Library of Nicholas II in the Winter Palace

PHOTO: The Gothic Library of Emperor Nicholas II in the Winter Palace, as it looks today

The Gothic Library of Emperor Nicholas II in the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, remains one of the most beautiful interiors to have survived to the present day. In addition, the library is the only interior of the Emperor’s private apartments in the Winter Palace to have retained its historical appearance without undergoing any changes.

This library was created in 1894-95 by the Russian architect Alexander Fedorovich Krasovsky (1848 – 1918). Krasovsky embodied the restrained spirit of old English castles: an abundance of wood trim, a ceiling with caissons and openwork chandeliers, bookcases placed along the walls as well as a massive fireplace. For it’s decoration, the architect made extensive use of the English Gothic style.

This interior with its decorative panels of tooled and gilded leather, monumental fireplace and tall windows with tracery carry visitors back to the Middle Ages, thus creating an incredible historical ambiance. It also features a coffered walnut ceiling embellished by quatrefoils. On the desk is a porcelain sculpture portrait of Nicholas II, an identical copy of the original the biscuit porcelain bust of the Emperor completed in 1896 by the Russian sculptor Léopold Bernstamm.

The library was located in a separate wing of the private apartments of Nicholas II. To accommodate the vast library, an upper balustrade and staircase were added. The walls above the bookcases were decorated with panels of embossed gilded leather.

An important element of the interior was the Gothic fireplace decorated with images of griffins and lions – heraldic figures of the family coats of arms of the House of Romanovs and the House of Hesse-Darmstadt, to which the empress belonged.

PHOTO: Furniture for the Gothic Library of Nicholas II, designed by N. V. Nabokov, made by N. F. Svirsky

The furniture which decorates the room was designed by the architect Nikolay Vasilyevich Nabokov (1838 – after 1907), and made by Nikolai Fedorovich Svirsky, at his workshop located at 45/47 Borovaya Street in St. Petersburg. The Russian State Historical Archive [RGIA] has preserved Svirsky’s furniture design drawings to the present day. Some of his creations for the Gothic Library were displayed in a temporary exhibition held in the State Hermitage Museum in 2018.

In 1905, Nicholas II and his family moved to Tsarskoye Selo, where they took up permanent residence in the Alexander Palace. Following his abdication in February 1917, the Imperial Residences were all nationalized under the new Provisional Government. It’s leader Alexander Kerensky (1881-1970) wasted little time in acquisitioning the Gothic Library for his own personal use.

PHOTO: Kerensky seated in Nicholas II’s Gothic Library in the Winter Palace, 1917

In March 1917, a decree was issued declaring the contents of the Winter Palace as state property. Only a portion of the library’s original book collection have been *preserved. Today’s caretakers in the State Hermitage mUSEUM confirm that the Emperor read all the books that were kept, often leaving his notes in them.

*In the 1930s and early 1940s, 10,915 titles, 15,720 volumes from Nicholas II’s library in the Winter Palace, were sold to various libraries in the United States, including Harvard, NYPL, and Stanford. In addition, about 2,800 volumes were acquired by the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

I am pleased to share a link to a beautiful three-dimensional panorama of the Gothic library of Nicholas II in the Winter Palace, courtesy of the State Hermitage Museum – Click HERE to view.

© Paul Gilbert. 22 April 2021

New documentary series defends the reign of Nicholas II

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PHOTO: Metropolitan of Pskov and Porkhov Tikhon (Shevkunov)

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Paul Gilbert. 21 April 2021


Dear Reader

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

The fate of the obelisk to Nicholas II in Kaluga

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Paul Gilbert. 17 April 2021

Nicholas II historic figurines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Paul Gilbert. 17 April 2021

What if Nicholas II had lived …

I found this image on a Russian site earlier this week. I am not ascribing to any conspiracy theory that Nicholas II survived the regicide in Ekaterinburg in 1918.

I was so impressed by this age enhanced photograph of the Emperor, that I wanted to share it on my blog. Personally, I think it a very good likeness!

An unknown person created it, used FaceApp and Photoshop to create this colour image of what Nicholas II might have looked in 1936, at the age of 68.

It is sad to think what could have been. A handsome and urbane gentleman with a truly pure heart. Now glorified in Heaven, our Blessed Holy Tsar-Martyr

© Paul Gilbert. 13 April 2021