Then they repented of slandering the Tsar …

Historians and media sources continue to rehash revolutionary myths and slander about the Emperor Nicholas II. Meanwhile, many former revolutionaries and liberals who slandered the Tsar repented in the years which followed the 1917 Revolution.

With the exception of Fondaminsky, who died at Auschwitz in 1942, the men and women featured in this article – all of whom supported the overthrow of Nicholas II and the monarchy in Russia – died in exile.

Ivan Fedorovich Nazhvin (1874-1940)

Author of numerous novels in which he denounced the monarchical state system

“In the days of my youth, the role of a “conscious personality” and “struggle for the people” was demanded from every young man. At that time, not only representatives of the bourgeoisie, like me – we all know the names of the Ryabushinskys, Tretyakovs, Konovalovs, Savva Morozov, etc. – joined the ranks of these – alas! personalities, but also aristocrats, like Prince. P.A. Kropotkin, Count Leo Tolstoy, princes Shakhovsky, Khilkov, Chertkov, Chicherin, etc….

The red stupor grew by leaps and bounds; while the Russian man demanded for himself “the sky in diamonds”. I also suffered from this social disease. I also wanted the sky in republican and socialist diamonds. Entering public life as a writer, I did not hesitate, of course, that only the “leaders”, can steer Russia’s affairs, and everything that is alien to us is subject to anathema and must be thrown into the historical rubbish heap … The first revolution of 1905 cooled my revolutionary aspirations, and the second in 1917 completely extinguished them forever. But I was still possessed by the “old regime” and I looked upon its leaders with much dislike. To my great regret, Tsar Nicholas II was among them.

When I began to examine Russia’s past for my novels, I became more and more convinced that the Tsar was not at all “stupid or weak-willed”. He was “stupid” only because he did not share our delusions, and we imagined him to be “weak-willed” because he did not possess our main and serious vice – over self-confidence (“we know everything”), but on the contrary, he was infinitely modest. My frequent conversations with L.D. Korsakov, who observed the Tsar’s life at close hand, finally convinced me that we, “social activists”, were impassable mules and that we are responsible for the death of the unfortunate Imperial family, who had been persecuted by all of us.

I dedicated a whole volume to this terrible tragedy. But someday it will be published in our time of troubles! And death does not wait: I am already 65; and therefore, without postponing matters, I consider it my duty of conscience to repent of my gross and cruel social error now: it was not the Tsar who was to blame before us, but we before him, who suffered for us.

We suffered severely for our mistake, but still there is no suffering with which we could completely atone for our criminal frivolity and wash away the blood of our victims, the poor Emperor and his loved ones from our hands and souls.

I very much ask my readers, if they come across in my volumes harsh reviews about the deceased Tsar, Tsarina and their loved ones, to interpret these my sins in the light of this letter to “everyone”: I am guilty of this terrible mistake and am ready to atone for it again and again.”

25th April 1939

(Quoted from: “Sentinel”. 1951. No. 304; “Bulletin of the Temple-Monument”. 1981. No. 241)

Ilya Isidorovich Bunakov-Fondaminsky (1880-1942)

One of the leaders of the terrorist organization of the Socialist Revolutionaries

Moscow statehood rested not on strength and not on subjugation by the power of the people, but on the loyalty and love of the people for the bearer of power. Western republics rest on popular recognition. But no republic in the world has been so unconditionally recognized by its people as the autocratic monarchy. The left-wing parties portrayed tsarist power, as the Bolsheviks are now portrayed. They assured us that “despotism” led Russia to decline. I, an old militant terrorist, say now, after the lapse of time – it was a lie! No power can last for centuries based on fear. Autocracy is not violence, its basis is love for kings. After all, Russia is a state of the East. The monarchy was a theocracy. The Tsar is God’s Anointed One. And there were never any uprisings against the Tsar. Not during the Muscovy period, but also the imperial period – the Tsar was almost God.”

(From the speeches at the meetings of the newspaper “Days”, the society “Green Lamp” and the socialist immigrants in Paris in 1927-1929 – Quoted from: “The Two-Headed Eagle”. 1929. No. 25. S. 1186.)

***

Let us conclude this collection with the confessions of several prominent “Februaryists” for their anti-monarchist revolution. Their words refute the popular opinion of liberal democrats that the Bolsheviks “distorted the gains of progressive freedom-loving February.”

Sergei Petrovich Melgunov (1879-1956)

Member of the Organizing Committee of the People’s Socialist Party, appointed by the Provisional Government Commissioner for the survey of archives and the development of political affairs

“After everything that has now been published in recent years, the assessment of ​​Nicholas II has to be changed. Undoubtedly, the idea of ​​the completely exclusive political influence of the “Friend” [Rasputin] is also greatly exaggerated. The right-wing public menacingly instilled that tsarist power would be shaken and that Russia, torn apart by party strife, would perish. Alas! so far, this has largely turned out to be right, just as the Narodnoye resident [L.A. Tikhomirov] was right, after he wrote in his diary: “The monarchy is heading towards destruction, and without the monarchy an inevitable slaughter lasting 10 years will follow.”

No element can justify those who, in a revolutionary storm, have undertaken to navigate the state ship. At first, they all, consciously or unconsciously, indulged the elements and fanned the flames of the great bloodless revolution. The disorganized coup, not organized victory.”

(Melgunov S. On the way to the palace coup. Paris. 1931. S. 61-63, 225).

Prince Georgy Yevgenyevich Lvov (1861-1925)

First Minister-Chairman of the Provisional Government

Until the very end he [Lvov] blamed himself for everything: “After all, it was I who made the revolution, I killed the tsar and everyone … all because of me” … he said in Paris to his childhood friend Ekaterina Mikhailovna Lopatina-Yeltsova. ”

(Quoted from: Stepun F. The Past and the Unfulfilled. New York. 1956. Vol. II. P. 32).

Pavel Nikolaevich Milyukov (1859-1943)¹

Leader of the Cadet Party, Minister of the First Provisional Government

After his removal from the Provisional Government in the spring of 1917, he said in an address to his associates:

“In response to your questions, how I look at the revolution we have accomplished, I want to say that what happened, we certainly did not want. We believed that power would be concentrated and remain in the hands of the first cabinet, that we would stop the enormous devastation in the army quickly, if not with our own hands, then with the hands of the allies, we would achieve victory over Germany, we would pay for the overthrow of the tsar with only some delay in this victory. We must confess that some, even from our own party, pointed out to us the possibility of what happened next. Of course, we must acknowledge that the moral responsibility lies with us.

You know that we made a firm decision to use the war to carry out a coup soon after the start of the war, you also know that our army had to go on the offensive, the results of which would fundamentally stop all hints of discontent and cause an explosion of patriotism in the country and jubilation. You understand now why I hesitated at the last minute to give my consent to the coup, you also understand what my inner state should be like at the present time. History will curse the leaders of the so-called proletarians, but it will also curse us, who caused the storm.

What to do now, you ask. I don’t know, that is, inside we all know that the salvation of Russia lies in the return of the monarchy, we know that all the events of the last two months clearly prove that the people were not able to accept freedom, that the mass of the population, not participating in rallies and congresses, were disposed to the monarchy, and that many, many who voted for a republic did so out of fear. All this is clear, but we cannot admit it. Recognition is the collapse of the whole business, our whole life, the collapse of the entire worldview, of which we are representatives.”

(Quoted from: PN Milyukov’s letter of repentance // Russian Resurrection. Paris. 1955. April 17, p. 3).

Fyodor Avgustovich Stepun (1884-1965)

After the February Revolution, he was the head of the Political Directorate of the War Ministry

In his later memoirs, he describes how he, along with other revolutionaries, was placed in the rooms of the Grand Palace: “My soul was vague and unwell: I was ashamed being in the royal chambers, as if I had robbed someone and did not know how to hide stolen goods in order to forget about the theft … ” Whose fault before Russia is harder – ours, the people of “February”, or the Bolshevik – a difficult question … “.

(Stepun F. The Past and the Unfulfilled. New York. 1956. T. II. S. 154, 7).

Ariadna Vladimirovna Tyrkova-Williams (1869-1962)

One of the organizers of the Cadet Party, participant in the February Revolution

“When the crown fell, many noticed with amazement that it ended, the central vault of Russian statehood was supported on it. The cadets were unable to fill the devastation.”

(Quoted from: “Grani”. 1980. No. 130. P. 118).

Click HERE to read my article The myth that Nicholas II’s death was met with indifference by the Russian people, published on 19th June 2020

© Paul Gilbert. 24 September 2020

¹ On 1st November 1 1916, liberal politician and the leader of the Constitutional Democratic Party (known as the Kadets) in the Russian Provisional Government, Pavel Nikolayevich Milyukov delivered the famous speech in the State Duma, which, according to many historians, launched the dramatic process of the revolutionary demolition of the government in force at that time.

Judicial reforms of Emperor Nicholas II

PHOTO: Portrait of Nicholas II hangs in the District Court Hall.
Tver province, Kashinsky district. 1909-1911

As noted by Russian historian Sergei Viktorovich Kulikov: “It fell to Nicholas II to complete, as in the case of the agrarian reform, the judicial reforms of Alexander II.”

Indeed, judicial reform was the most liberal of all the great reforms of Emperor Alexander II. However, its implementation stretched over 35 years, during which the judicial statutes were adapted to the existing state and political system of the Russian Empire. Siberia was one of the last regions to which the judicial statutes of 1864 were extended. In December 1895, noted in a report of the Minister of Justice Nikolai Valerianovich Muravyov (1850-1908) Nicholas II wrote: “God grant that Siberia in two years will receive much-needed justice, on a par with the rest of Russia.”

By the middle of 1899, the Tsar’s wish was fulfilled: Judicial regulations were introduced in the Arkhangelsk and Vologda provinces, in the Steppe and Trans-Caspian regions, in Siberia and Turkestan. Thus, by the beginning of the 20th century. The judicial reforms were firmly established throughout the Empire. On 1st July, 1899, in a rescript addressed to Muravyov, the Sovereign pointed out: “Upon my accession to the throne, I paid special attention to the need to expand the scope of the Judicial Charters of Emperor Alexander II, so that in all, even the most remote areas of Russia, there would be speedy and impartial justice for all people. Today, within the Russian Empire there is no longer a locality which does not enjoy the benefits of the eternal principles of truth, mercy and equality of all before the law inherent in these Statutes.”

Nicholas II also contributed to the gradual humanization of the penitentiary system. In 1895 he transferred the Main Prison Administration from the Ministry of Internal Affairs to the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice. The Emperor especially thanked the Head of the Main Prison Administration Alexander Petrovich Salomon (1855-1908) “for the humane treatment” to students who participated in student riots in St. Petersburg and subsequently arrested. On 10th June, 1900, the Tsar abolished exile to Siberia, and between 1903-04, he abolished corporal punishment.

On 22nd March, 1903, the Tsar approved a new Criminal Code, which was considered one of the most advanced in the world. The new Criminal Code had been spearheaded by the outstanding Russian lawyer, criminologist and statesman Nikolai Stepanovich Tagantsev (1843-1923), who had been appointed a member of the Commission for the development of a new Criminal Code under the Ministry of Justice.

The Code provided a definition of a criminal act, a classification of the severity of a crime; for the first time in Russian legislation, the concept of age-related insanity, necessary defence, and attempt to commit a crime was introduced. The death penalty could not be applied to persons under 21 years of age or over 70 years of age. Also, the legislator introduced a ban on holding public office for persons sentenced to hard labour, exile or imprisonment in a correctional house. Juvenile convicts, from 14 to 17 years old, were held in general prisons, but separately from adults. Criminal punishment was introduced not only for a woman who had an abortion, but also for the doctor who performed it. Crimes against the Faith and the Church (blasphemy, sacrilege, being in dangerous heretical sects, etc.) were especially distinguished.

The implementation of the Criminal Code was put into effect gradually, and was interrupted for a year during the revolution of 1905-1907. In the personalized Supreme Decree of 22nd March, 1903, it stated the following: “We are firmly convinced that this law, delimiting the area of ​​what is forbidden and what is permitted and counteracting criminal encroachments, will serve to maintain civil order and to strengthen the sense of legality among the people, which should be the permanent leader of everyone both in the circle of his personal activities, and in the aggregate composition of estates and societies.”

© Paul Gilbert. 22 September 2020

‘The Romanovs: An Imperial Family’ a film by Gleb Panfilov

“A legacy that defied Bolshevik and Soviet attempts of erasure”

More than a century has passed since the murder of Emperor Nicholas II and his family was carried out by the Bolsheviks who seized power over Imperial Russia following the abdication of the Emperor on 16th March (O.S. 3rd March) 1917. The Soviet Union is no more. But the grandeur of pre-Soviet, Tsarist Russia continues to occupy the imagination of people across the world and the last Russian Imperial family has entered the annals of cinema in many a memorable work of moving images.

Among the cinematic works created around the Romanov family who were brutally murdered by the Ural Soviet on 17th July 1918, is the historical drama film ‘The Romanovs: An Imperial Family’. The Russian made which was released in 2000 having premiered at the 22nd Moscow Film Festival. This film is a must watch not only for ‘Romanovophiles’ but also for history buffs and movie lovers who enjoy the historical drama genre. Directed by internationally acclaimed Russian film director Gleb Anatolyevich Panfilov, it is a Russian language movie with Russian actor Aleksandr Galibin as Emperor Nicholas II and British actress Lynda Bellingham as Empress Alexandra Feodorovna.

The directorial craft of the movie brings to life the perceptions and perspectives of Nicholas II and his family during the last stage of their lives and shows how the imperial family perceived and responded to news of the turmoil in the country that was creating a tide of antipathy towards the monarchy. The narrative shows the humaneness of the Tsar and his family bringing to life their humanity which makes this an endearing film.

Contrary to what Soviet propaganda sought to perpetuate during the reign of communism in Russia, that the Imperial family were cold and uncaring towards the masses, Panfilov’s vision shows how the Romanovs were caring people with admirable humane qualities and talents which even their captors could not help but secretly appreciate.

The movie is quite compelling with a cast of good actors and a plot structure that drives forward the drama of events and action principally through the somewhat insular characters of the Imperial family. Galibin delivers a superb performance as His Imperial Majesty Tsar Nicholas. The character that is brought to life in Panfilov’s directorial vision is one who is much a human with his principal weakness being perhaps that he was torn between how to focus and devote himself and his efforts on being a good father while also being a good monarch and to win the love and respect of all.

The Tsar and Tsarina are shown as two loving humans who are solid in their spousal and parental love. The Imperial children are portrayed as children who feel emotions of sadness, fear, anger and love just like any other, and how they are made hapless victims of a political agenda that overawes all forms of governance and power that formed the old order of imperial Russia.

The revolution is not shown in prominence through extensive scenes of armed conflicts but as more a series of events brought to the knowledge of the Tsar and his family at various stages from February 1917 to the fated day of their massacre in Ekaterinburg on 17th July 1918. Their grasp of matters that near their unseen doom, as a gradual and coldly unnerving series of changes in their household brings to life the ‘psychological environment’ the Imperial family inhabited in their last days. The Tsar and his family are meant to endure suffering that is much more psychological than physical and thus the slow torment and torture of the Romanovs at the hands of the communist red army captors are brought to life.

The Ipatiev House, In what is called the ‘House of Special Purpose’ by the Bolsheviks, a residence located in Ekaterinburg in Western Siberia, the Imperial family is kept under guard, after the Tsar’s abdication and monarchical rule ends and the family finds themselves being political prisoners. However, the ‘House of Special Purpose’ becomes the slaughter house where the massacre of the imperial family and their remaining staff takes place past midnight on 17th July 1918. The murder carried out by the Bolsheviks brings the narrative of the Romanovs to an end. The scene which follows as the end of the film is documentary footage of the scene of canonization of the Romanov family in Russiain 2000.

The final scene is a strong message that one sees at the end of the film when reading it in context of post-Soviet Russia. The statues of Lenin who founded the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) have been brought down with the end of the Soviet Union and his legacy now enjoys no glory among Russians. The Romanovs, however, have once again been reborn in their nation’s collective heart and soul, to remain adored in the Russian people’s memory.

The Romanovs: An Imperial Family’ is presented in this post in 13 x 10 minute videos, with ENGLISH subtitles.

This film presents the most historically accurate version of events available to an English audience to date. Unlike Massie’s ‘Nicholas and Alexandra’ (1971), Panfilov filmed entirely in Russia, with many scenes filmed inside the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo. Furniture was specially created for this film, which can be seen on display in the palace to this day. The recreation of the private apartments of the Imperial family in the Alexander Palace and the Tsar’s Imperial Train are truly remarkable.Overall, the film is visually stunning!

I invite you to make yourself a cup of tea or pour a glass of your favourite wine, sit back, relax and enjoy ‘The Romanovs: An Imperial Family’ – PG

© Dilshan Boange / Paul Gilbert. 20 September 2020

Coming Soon! 2 NEW issues of ‘SOVEREIGN’

I am pleased to announce and if all goes according to schedule, I will publish 2 NEW issues of ‘SOVEREIGN‘ before Christmas of this year.

The publication of the No, 12 and No, 13 issues will bring my popular semi-annual journal dedicated to the life and reign of Nicholas II up to date.

Each issue will feature NEW articles by independent researcher Paul Gilbert, plus First English translations of works by Russian historians and experts based on research, more than 100+ pages and richly illustrated throughout. Each issue also features SOVEREIGN NEWS, compiled from Russian media sources by Paul Gilbert

Below is a list of just some of the articles featured in each respective issue:

^No. 12 – Spring 2020. ISBN: 978-1-927604-42-7

MIKHAIL RODZIANKO
Grave Digger of the Russian Empire
by Andrei Ivanov

THE IMPERIAL RAILWAY PAVILION AT TSARSKOYE SELO
by Paul Gilbert

CHEKA IN THE URALS
What did Nicholas II and Lenin’s cousin have in common?
by Sergei Konstantinov

RUSSIAN MUSEUMS IN MEMORY OF EMPEROR NICHOLAS II
by Paul Gilbert

“THEY WERE THE LAST TO HELP THE TSAR’S FAMILY”
by Report Abbess Domniki at the conference “Church. Theology. Story”

LOYAL TO THEIR SOVEREIGN
Generals who did not betray Nicholas II
by Paul Gilbert

FAMILY DISLOYALTY
Nicholas II and the Vladimirovichi
by Paul Gilbert

IMAGES OF A BYGONE ERA
Autochromes of the Alexander Palace
by Paul Gilbert

*No. 13 – Autumn 2020 – ISBN: 978-1-927604-51-9

MARIA FEODOROVNA
Mother of the Last Russian Tsar
by Yulia Kudrina and Paul Gilbert

THE IMPERIAL TRAIN
The Fate of Nicholas II’s Palace on Rails
by Paul Gilbert

DENTISTS OF NICHOLAS II
by Igor Viktorovich Zimin

FROZEN IN TIME
Photographic Memories of Russia’s Last Emperor and Tsar
Album in memory of the stay of Emperor Nicholas II with the August Family in Yalta. 1911

THE SECRET FORCES OF THE EKATERINBURG ATROCITY
by Pyotr Multatuli

NICHOLAS II IN ITALY
by Paul Gilbert

*NOTE: the articles listed for each respective issue are subject to change without notice

© Paul Gilbert. 17 September 2020

The History and Restoration of Nicholas II’s Moorish Bathroom in the Alexander Palace

The Moorish Bathroom of Nicholas II as it looked in the 1930s

The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Reserve have announced that the restoration of the Moorish Bathroom – one of the most unique interiors in the private apartments of Nicholas II in the Alexander Palace – is nearing completion.

The Moorish (also called the Emperor’s Toilet, Basseinaya) acquired its original appearance in 1896-1897 when the interior was redesigned by the Russian architect Count Nikolai Ivanovich de Rochefort (1846-1905). The most famous project of Count Rochefort is the Bialowieza Palace, an imperial hunting residence, built in Poland between 1889-1894. His innovative interior included a bathroom with a small bathing pool, which served as a model for designing the Moorish Bathroom for Nicholas II in the Alexander Palace.

The interior harmoniously combined bright oriental-style tiles that adorned the fireplace and walls around the pool, metlakh tiles, which were used for the floor in front of the pool, a coffered ceiling, an openwork maple partition and a Japanese reed mat on the walls. The floor was covered with a colourful carpet. Masters of the Meltzer Trading House made the furniture for the bathroom, which included a sofa upholstered in leather, with pillows and bolsters, two types of Oriental style stools, a table with a trellis, a washbasin on the underframe, a horizontal bar for gymnastic exercises, and stands for walking sticks and hunting rifles.

The main part of the Moorish Bathroom was a bathing pool that could hold 7 thousand buckets of water, and lined with white tiles, which gave the second name to the interior – Basseinaya. Its design in the Alexander Palace featured Charcot shower jets for massage.

For the functioning of the pool, the architect created a complex engineering system, it consisted of water and waste pipes, a water-heating boiler with accessories, three water tanks located in a special room on the ground floor of the palace, located directly under the Basseinaya.

There was also a toilet located outside the door at the edge of the corridor wall.

The Moorish Bathroom’s interior decoration was lost during the Great Patriotic War (1941-45). In the summer of 1997, a permanent exhibition was opened in the eastern wing of the palace dedicated to the imperial family. The former bathroom was used as an exhibition space with parquet floors, painted walls and a white ceiling. Therefore, the restoration of the Moorish Bathroom began practically from scratch.

Photo © Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Reserve

In 2017, when dismantling the room, craftsmen discovered the Tsar’s bathing pool under the floor, and in it – a significant number of fragments of ceramic wall tiles, Metlakh tiles, belonging not only to the decoration of the Moorish, but also to other interiors of the residential half of the palace. The fragments provided restorers with the colour schemes of the interior decoration, which were reconstructed from black and white photographs taken in the 1930s. Thanks to this remarkable discovery, the restorers were able to recreate the wall cladding of the with the utmost precision.

Several fragments of the original tiles have been incorporated in the reconstructed Moorish Bathroom’s decoration; while the bathing pool and the steps leading into it have retained some of their historic tiling.

Also found during the restoration, several small fragments of the original frieze were revealed, which made it possible to clarify the colour scheme of the decorative painting, the drawing of which was determined from the black and white pre-war photographs.

In 2018–2019, the architectural elements of the interior decoration were recreated: wooden wall panels and ceiling cladding, wall tiles, a Moorish-style fireplace with decorative niches (they originally contained Faberge lamps, which were transferred to the Russian Museum in 1956), and a carved partition. The decoration of the toilet room has also been recreated. Curtains and a large carpet were made according to the historical documents and photos.

Thanks to the assistance of the Japanese Consulate General in St. Petersburg, an original mat similar to the one that adorned the walls of the Moorish Bathroom will soon be purchased in Japan.

At the moment, on the basis of existing museum inventory descriptions of 1938-1940, the design of non-preserved pieces of furniture and plumbing equipment (taps and mechanisms for introducing water into the pool) is currently underway.

Photo © Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Reserve


Photo © Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Reserve


Photo © Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Reserve


Photo © Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Reserve

Click HERE to read my article Reconstruction of Nicholas II’s bathroom in the Alexander Palace + 13 PHOTOS, published on 16th June 2019

* * *

The Moorish Bathroom of Nicholas II is one of eight interiors to open in the eastern wing of the palace, scheduled to open in December 2020. The other interiors include: the Reception of Nicholas II, Working Study of Nicholas II, Pallisander (Rosewood) Living Room, Mauve (Lilac) Boudoir, Imperial Bedroom, Alexandra’s Corner Reception Room, and the New Study of Nicholas II.

In the future, the Alexander Palace will become a memorial museum of the Romanov family – from Catherine the Great to Nicholas II, showcasing the private, domestic life of the Russian monarchs who used the palace as an official residence. The eastern wing of the palace will be known as the Museum of the Russian Imperial Family. The multi-museum complex is scheduled for completion no earlier than 2022.

© 16 September 2020. Paul Gilbert

Nicholas II and the Boer War

PHOTO: Postcard depicting Transvaal President Paul Kruger and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia

I am wholly preoccupied with the war between England and the Transvaal,” Nicholas II wrote to his sister Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna at the outbreak of the Boer War. “Every day I read the news in the British newspapers from the first to the last line . . . I cannot conceal my joy at . . . yesterday’s news that during General White’s sally two full British battalions and a mountain battery were captured by the Boers!”

Britain’s hold on South Africa was significant for the Russians partly because the route to India lay via the Cape, and as Governors of the Cape were only too aware, Russia had its own designs on India. In 1896, President Paul Kruger (1825-1904), sent the Russian émigré financier Benzion Aaron to represent the Transvaal at Nicholas’s coronation in Moscow, which led Russia to establishing diplomatic relations with the Transvaal.

Nicholas was, in fact, quite carried away. ‘You know, my dear,’ he told his sister Xenia Alexandrovna, ‘that I am not arrogant, but it is pleasant for me to know that I and I only possess the ultimate means of deciding the course of the war in South Africa. It is very simple – just a telegraphic order to all the troops in Turkestan to mobilize and advance towards the [Indian] frontier. Not even the strongest fleet in the world can keep us from striking England at this her most vulnerable point.’ Such was Nicholas’s ‘dearest dream’ but it came to nothing.

For their part the British made some effort to accommodate Russia. On 31st August 1899 London agreed to accept a Russian consul in Bombay, thus for the first time permitting official access to India which the British had preserved so carefully from Russian influence.

Xenia replied from Ai-Todor [Crimea] on 11th October 1899: “We are terribly interested in the war in the Transvaal, and are right behind the Boers and wish them every success in the war. I think there can be no one (except the English!) who isn’t on their side!.”

The Boer War found Nicholas and his mother the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna taking different sides.

In a letter written to her son from Bernstorff Palace [Denmark] on 7th November, 1899, Maria writes: “We are following the news of the war in the Transvaal with great interest here. It does seem more than surprising that the English had so little information about the Boers being so well prepared for war: for a long time ago, four years, they ordered 150,000 rifles of the best pattern from Krupps, and many guns as well. The losses of the English are terrible, and the position they’re in is most depressing. What a terrible deathroll! How awful it all is! I am sure there is not one family in England which has not lost one or several of its members. What a sad place it must be now! And what sorrow for poor Queen Granny at the end of her days!”

Nicholas replied from the Alexander Palace [Tsarskoye Selo] on 9th November, 1899: “The Anglo-Boer War interests me terribly; I wish all possible success to those poor people in this unequal and unjust war. Almost unbelievable sympathy is shown all over Europe to the Boers, even ordinary folk take the greatest interest in their fate.”

The enthusiasm of the Russian public for the Boer cause knew no constraints. Books, articles, poems, plays and pamphlets about the Boers poured out, orchestras played ‘Transvaal, Transvaal, My Country’ over and over again, money was collected and sent, prayers were offered up in church for a speedy victory against the British and pictures of the Boers were everywhere.

Russian conservatives were pro-Boer not only for the usual nationalist, anti-British reasons but because they thought the Boers were like the best sort of Russians – conservative, rural, Christian folk resisting the invasion of their land by foreign (especially Jewish) capitalists. ‘The deep historical meaning of this war,’ wrote one conservative Moscow paper, ‘is that faith, patriotism . . . the patriarchal family, primordial tribal unity, iron discipline and the complete lack of so-called modern civilization have . . . become such an invincible force that even the seemingly invincible British have begun to tremble.’ 

PHOTO: Russian Boer general Lt Col Yevgeny Maximov
on his return from the Anglo-Boer War

Several hundred Russians – including some Russian aristocrats and two medical units – came out to fight for the Boers. One of the most famous was ‘the Russian Boer General’, Lt-Col. Yevgeny Maximov (1849-1904), who seems to have had such extraordinary influence with Kruger and his generals that he is thought to have arrived in South Africa on a secret mission from the Russian Government. And even after Kruger was exiled to Holland after the war, he remained in touch with Maximov, thanking him for his bravery. Maximov was the real thing: a professional soldier, a wonderful horseman, an almost miraculously good shot (on one occasion he shot a springbok at 800 metres from a moving train) – the sort of man who fought on despite his wounds when most of his unit had been wiped out. (He returned from that engagement a hero and was personally thanked by Smuts.) Like most of the Russians, he left via Mozambique once it became clear that the Boer cause was lost.

On 22nd May 1901, Nicholas wrote to King Edward VII of Great Britain: “Pray forgive me for writing to you upon a very delicate subject, which I have been thinking over for months, but my conscience obliges me at last to speak openly. It is about the South African war and what I say is only said as by your loving nephew.

“You remember of course at the time when war broke out what a strong feeling of animosity against England arose throughout the world. In Russia the indignation of the people was similar to that of the other countries. I received addresses, letters, telegrams, etc. in masses begging me to interfere, even by adopting strong measures. But my principle is not to meddle in other people’s affairs: especially as it did not concern my country.

“Nevertheless all this weighed morally upon me. I often wanted to write to dear Grandmama [Queen Victoria] to ask her quite privately whether there was any possibility of stopping the war in South Africa. Yet I never wrote to her fearing to hurt her and always hoping that it would soon cease.

“When Misha [Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich] went to England this winter I thought of giving him a letter to you upon the same subject: but I found it better to wait and not to trouble you in those days of great sorrow [death of Queen Victoria on 22nd January 1901]. In a few months it will be two years that fighting continues in South Africa—and with what results?

“A small people are defending their country, a part of their land is devastated, their families flocked together in camps, their farms burnt. Of course in war such things have always happened and will happen, but in this case, forgive the expression, it looks more like a war of extermination. So sad to think that it is Christians fighting against each other!

“How many thousands of gallant young Englishmen have already perished out there! Does not your kind heart yearn to put an end to this bloodshed? Such an act would be universally hailed with joy.”

On 26th November 2019, a plaque (above) commemorating the sacrifice of more than 270 Russians who fought with the Boers in the Anglo-Boer War against the British was unveiled at the Green Point Common Memorial at Fort Wynyard [Cape Town, South Africa]. The event was attended by Russian Ambassador to South Africa Ilya Rogachev and members of the Russian Navy who were participating in military exercises in the region.

Rogachev, along with members of the Cape’s Russian community and military veterans, laid wreaths at the plaque in memory of the Russian lives lost in the war that stretched from 1899 to 1902.

© Paul Gilbert. 16 September 2020

Nicholas II and the Vladimirovichi’s

PHOTO: Nicholas II with Aunt Miechen (Maria Pavlovna)

One hundred years ago today – 6th September 1920 – Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna died in exile.

Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna the Elder (née Duchess Marie Alexandrine Elisabeth Eleonore of Mecklenburg-Schwerin;), was born in Ludwigslust Palace on 14 May 1854,

On 29 August (O.S. 16 August) 1874 Duchess Marie married the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich in St. Petersburg. The couple had 5 children: Grand Duke Alexander (1875-1877), Grand Duke Kirill (1876-1938), Grand Duke Boris (1877-1943), Grand Duke Andrei (1879-1956), Grand Duchess Elena, Princess of Greece and Denmark (1882-1957).

Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna escaped Russia in late February 1920, she died at Contrexeville, France in September of the same year. She was the last Romanov to leave Russia and the first Romanov to die in exile.

Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna the Elder is the great-grandmother of Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, I note the following from the official web site of the current Russian Imperial House:

“She was critical of some aspects of the official political course, but she always retained her loyalty and loyal love for Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. She was subjected to slanderous persecution by the court intriguers, who sought to sow discord in the Imperial Family.”

What utter nonsense!!

Following her marriage to Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich in 1874, Maria Pavlovna became a prominent hostess in St Petersburg, she was known as the “grandest of the grand duchesses.” Socially ambitious, the German born Maria Pavlovna saw herself as the “Second Empress” holding her own “Court” at the sumptuous Vladimir Palace, situated on the Palace Embankment on the Neva River in Sr. Petersburg. 

Known as “Miechen” or “Maria Pavlovna the Elder,” she was well known for her acid tongue and spiteful demeanour, responsible for spreading much malicious gossip about both Emperor Nicholas and his wife Empress Alexandra Feodorovna.

She was also very crafty, she remained Lutheran throughout most of her marriage, but adopted Holy Orthodoxy in April 1908, believing it would give her son Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich a better chance at the throne.

The power hungry Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna had an open rivalry with both her sister-in-law the Empress Maria Feodorovna (wife of Emperor Alexander III) and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna (wife of Emperor Nicholas II), the latter of which Maria Pavlovna was notorious for plotting against and spreading malicious gossip at her “powerful Court” which tended to influence all of St. Petersburg’s high society.

The treachery and deceit which emanated from the Vladimir Palace was not restricted to the senior grand ducal couple, but also to their eldest son Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich and his wife Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna. Maria Pavlovna along with her sons were even plotting to overthrow Nicholas II, and have Alexandra sent to a convent.

It is widely speculated that along with her sons, Maria Pavlovna contemplated a coup against the Emperor in the winter of 1916–17, that would force the Tsar’s abdication and replacement by his son Tsesarevich Alexei, with her son, Grand Duke Kirill or Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich, as regent.

During the February Revolution of 1917, Kirill marched to the Tauride Palace at the head of the Garde Equipage (Marine Guard) to swear allegiance to the Russian Provisional Government, wearing a red band on his uniform. He then authorized the flying of a red flag over his palace on Glinka Street in Petrograd. It is probable that he had hoped that by ingratiating himself with the Provisional Government he would be declared regent or tsar after Nicholas II was forced to abdicate.

“All around me I see treason, cowardice and deceit”

Please take a few moments to listen to my interview ‘The Conspiracy Against Nicholas II,’ on YouTube, in which I talk about the members of the Imperial family who were plotting against Nicholas II, including the Grand Dukes Nicholas Nikolaevich and Nicholas Mikhailovich, and the Vladimirovich branch of the family, led by the power hungry Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna.

Watch for my forthcoming article ‘Family Disloyalty: Nicholas II and the Vladimirovichi’ in which I discuss the often hostile relationship between Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich, his wife Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, Grand Duke Kirill and his wife Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna towards Emperor Nicholas II, to be published in the No. 12 issue of ’Sovereign’ later this year.

© Paul Gilbert. 6 September 2020

Bust of Nicholas II established in Kalach

0305a

Bust monument to Emperor Nicholas II by local sculptor Viktor Grishchenko

On Saturday, 29th August, 2020, a new bust monument to Emperor Nicholas II was unveiled and consecrated on the grounds of the Church of the Ascension of the Lord in the town of Kalach, Voronezh region. According to local historian Pavel Popov, this is the only monument to the emperor in the region.

In addition to the monument made by local sculptor Viktor Grishchenko, a granite icon depicting the Holy Royal Martyrs was also consecrated, to be mounted on the monument at a later date.

0305b

Archpriest Evgeniy Bey consecrates the bust monument to Emperor Nicholas II

0305c

Granite icon depicting the Holy Royal Martyrs 

© Paul Gilbert. 2 September 2020

Nicholas II Calendar 2021

0304

LIMITED PRINTING OF ONLY 200 COPIES!

I am pleased to offer copies of my 2021 calendar, dedicated to Emperor, Tsar and Saint Nicholas II, with a limited printing of only 200 copies!

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

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

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

ALL net proceeds from the sale of each calendar will go into my research, including the cost of translating articles and news from Russian archival and media sources.

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

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

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

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

© Paul Gilbert. 1 September 2020

Audio recording of the voice of Nicholas II

0303

This is a recording of a solemn speech made by Nicholas II in French, delivered in honour of the arrival of French President Emile Loubet in St. Petersburg on 8th May, 1902.

The year of 1901 noted in the video is incorrect. Also, the watercolours shown in the video document the visit of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna to France in 1901.

NOTE: Nicholas II was fluent in 4 languages: Russian, English, French, and German

The text of Nicholas II’s speech was published in the ‘Полном собрании речей императора 1894-1906 / Complete Collection of the Emperor’s Speeches 1894-1906’. The speech was also published in the Russian newspaper ‘Vestnik’ in 1902.

French text:

“Monsieur le Prèsident, Mes troupes dont Vous venez de voir le dèfilè sont heureuses d’avoir pu rendre les honneurs au Chef hautement estime de l’Etat ami et alliè. Les vives sympathies qui animent l’armèe russe a l’ègard de la belle armèe française Vous sont connues. Elles constituent une rèelle fraternitè d’armes que Nous pouvons constater avec d’autant plus de satisfaction que cette force imposante n ‘ est point destinèe à appuyer des visèes agressives, mais bien au contraire à affermir le maintien de la paix gènèrale et à sauvegarder le respect des principes èlevès qui assurent le bien-ètre et favorisent le progrès des nations. Je lève Mon verre à prospèritè et à la gloire de la brave armès française.”

English translation:

“Mr. President, My troops paraded before you, happy to have the opportunity to pay tribute to the highly respected Head of a friendly and allied state. You know the sincere disposition towards the excellent French army that reigns in the Russian army. Our armies are a true brothers in arms, which we can celebrate with all the more satisfaction, that this imposing force is in no way intended to support aggressive aspirations, but, on the contrary, to strengthen the maintenance of universal peace and preserve those lofty principles which promote progress and ensure the prosperity of nations. I raise My glass to the glory and prosperity of the brave French army.”

NOTE: This speech is in two parts. The first speech is the voice of Nicholas II. The second part most likely belongs to the French President, who turns to the Tsar and wishes power and prosperity of the great Russian army.

© Paul Gilbert. 25 August 2020