Moscow thanks US for return of historic documents related to Russia’s last tsar

104a

US Ambassador to Russia John Huntsman (left) with deputy head of the Rosarchive Andrei Yurasov (right), review the sixteen stolen documents returned to Russia

During a ceremony held on 18th September at Spaso House, the residence of U.S. Ambassador in Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed its gratitude to the US Embassy in Russia and US law-enforcement agencies for the return of historic documents, dated from the reign of Tsar Nicholas II (1894-1917) and stolen from Russian archives in the 1990s.

“The documents include sixteen original decrees, signed by Tsar Nicholas II on bestowing the Russian Empire’s state imperial and royal awards of 1905, 1913 and 1914,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “We express our gratitude to US law enforcement agencies and the US Embassy in Moscow for their contribution in restoring the historical justice.”

The documents were stolen from the Russian State Historical Archive of St. Petersburg in 1994, and surfaced 10 years later at an auction in the United States. At auction, a single document can sell for $3,000 USD or more.

104b

Stolen decrees bearing the signature of Nicholas II, were returned to Russia on 18th September, during an official ceremony hosted at Spaso House, the residence of U.S. Ambassador in Moscow

In 2014, US Department of Homeland Security received information from the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation that documents of historical importance were being sold by a US auction house. After an investigation was held, the documents were found to be genuine.

This is the fifth stolen document transfer ceremony to take place in the past 13 years, thanks to the US Department of Homeland Security. “These documents are of great importance for studying the history of Russia, the award system of the Russian Empire, biographies of state, military, public figures of the beginning of the 20th century,” said the deputy head of the Rosarchive Andrei Yurasov.

The looting of cultural property is one of the oldest types of crime that has spread around the world, said Katie Bay, the regional attache of the US Department of Homeland Security Investigation Service, promising to continue cooperation with Russia in the search for documents and memorabilia of historic significance, declared as missing from Russian archives and museums, which resurface on the US antiquarian market.

Katie Bey stated during a news conference that the US authorities suspect the theft of documents by Vladimir Weinberg, who is currently allegedly hiding from justice in Israel.

He is professionally interested in art, said Katie Bey. – He was already arrested in the 1980s by Russian law enforcement agencies and spent some time in prison. But immediately after his release, he took up the old. I believe that he had accomplices who provided him access to the archives, where he stole thousands of various documents.

104c

This *ukase bearing the signature of Nicholas II was one of sixteen stolen in the 1990s.
*A ukase, or ukaz, in Imperial Russia, was a proclamation of the tsar that had the force of law

The director of the Department of Museums of the Ministry of Culture Vladislav Kononov also added, that during the past 10 years of cooperation with the United States, more than 100 stolen items had been returned to Russia. In particular, were documents with authentic autographs of the Russian Emperors.

“The joint meticulous work between the two states’ relevant government agencies to locate missing valuables and return them to Russia shall continue for many years, thus demonstrating a great positive potential of a constructive approach to bilateral ties,” the ministry added.

Prior to transferring them back to the archive, US Ambassador to Russia John Huntsman was told in detail which figures were awarded the last Russian emperor. For example, he awarded the Order of St. Anne, 3rd Class to the photographer of the Imperial family Alexander Yagelsky.

104d

Ukase bearing the signature of Nicholas II was one of sixteen stolen in the 1990s.

At present, our relationship is undergoing a crisis of confidence. And there is no better way to take it to a new level than to take such steps. This confirms that there are areas where the United States and Russia can cooperate and truly cooperate. And our goal as diplomats is to create such trust. Today we are taking a small step in a positive direction, and I would be glad if we could take such steps every day. In that case, in a year we would have advanced far,” the US ambassador to Russia smiled.

According to Andrei Yurasov, in the 1990s, thousands of documents were stolen from Russian archives, many of which have not been recovered so far. But today the level of theft has been reduced to zero thanks to improved security systems, the establishment of control over the use of scripts in reading rooms and the digitization of the most requested documents. 

And Andrei Yurasov assured him that now the archive, where 6.5 million files are stored, is equipped with the most modern security systems – thieves shall not pass!

© Paul Gilbert. 26 September 2019

 

Contemporary Orders Honouring Nicholas II

orders

The following article is just one of many, which reflect my personal interest in Nicholas II. Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia’s reassessment of his life and reign have shifted significantly. The establishment and distribution of orders and medals in his name is just one indication of the positive direction this reassessment is heading, while at the same acknowledging the enormous contribution he made during his 22+ year (1894-1917) reign.

I have known of two of the three orders for some years now, however, it has been an arduous task to find any documents about any of them. Information provided by a phaleristics group in Russia recently, has now allowed me to complete this article.

I would like to point out that I am not an expert on orders and awards, therefore, I am appealing to readers, who may be able to provide me with additional information. I would also appreciate any errors be brought to my attention at the following email:  royalrussia@yahoo.com – PG

*  *  *

After the canonization of the the Sovereign Emperor Nicholas II and his family by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) in 1981, two new orders were established simultaneously: “Order of Saint Nicholas II” and “Order of The Holy Passion-bearer Tsar Nicholas”. Both awards are awarded for merits in the revival and advancement of the finest Russian traditions which contribute to the prosperity of the state. Holders of the order include individuals, politicians, scientists, athletes, artists, among others.

Order of Saint Nicholas II / Святой Николай II

078b

The highest international public award was established in 1988 by the descendants of the Romanov dynasty and the noble family of Dmitrievs, the founders of the Imperial Society of Russia (IOR) charity foundation. The order was was established to mark the 70th anniversary of the murders of the Imperial family in Ekaterinburg. The order is issued on the means and donations of the Board of Trustees. Nominees are approved by the Expert Council of the IOR. Presentation of the laureates is carried out both by state authorities of different levels and by public or business associations. The Order of Saint Nicholas II is presented in a solemn atmosphere, with the involvement of the media and the general public. A number of orders have been issued posthumously. The unique insignia remains in the possession of the recipient for life and can be inherited.

078d

Description

The Order has three degrees, for which the insignia are:

Ist Class: gold, diamonds, white enamel on the rays of the cross, red enamel framing

2nd Class: silver, sapphires or aquamarines, blue enamel on the rays of the cross, red framing

3rd Class: Alloy of non-ferrous metals with gilding, rubies or tourmalines, red enamel on the rays of the cross, blue framing

The founder of the Imperial Society of Russia (IOR), hereditary nobleman Valery Dmitriev, the developer and manufacturer of the Heroldmeister Kiev non-state enterprise designed the order. All three Classes represent the so-called Templar Cross, each ray of which is made in the form of three symmetrical folds. The central is covered with enamel, the side ones are made of base metal and decorated with a relief pattern. Between the rays are large imperial crowns inlaid with precious stones. The whole composition is framed with an enamelled ribbon, the color of which depends on the degree of the award.

In the center – a medallion, also trimmed with precious stones along the rim. Inside on an enamel background is a profile portrait of the last Russian tsar and the inscription in a circle: “Saint Nicholas II.” The reverse contains the date of establishment – 1988, the lower beam of the cross is stamped with the serial number of the mark. The pad is a bas-relief image of the imperial crown. The Order is attached to it with the aid of the ear and ring. The size of the cross at the extreme points is 45 mm, the total height of the product is 75 mm.

Order of The Holy Passion-bearer Tsar Nicholas
Святой страстотерпец царь Николай

078c

On 19th May 2008, at the initiative of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCOR), another order was established, similar to Saint Nicholas II. It received the status of an international religious public award and is awarded to both civilians and the military. The direct founders: the organization Orthodox Mission for the Revival of the Spiritual Values ​​of the Russian People; Orthodox Troop Mission; and the International Award Committee of “Glory to Russia”. The statute of the award states that nominees may be persons whose activities “are aimed at strengthening Russia, the spiritual development of the people, and the protection and preservation of Orthodox values.” Candidates can be nominated to members of the Award Committee, representatives of monarchical organizations in Russia, clergymen of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and holders of the Order.

078f

Description

The Order is an eight-pointed silver-plated star, on which is laid a cross, covered with red enamel. On its upper beam is depicted the imperial crown, on the lower is Heaven’s rose, one of the symbols of the Virgin Mary. The right and left sides are decorated with heraldic crosses. In the central part there is an oval medallion trimmed with enamel, inside it there is an image of the Emperor’s canonized face. The inscription on the blue enamel bezel: “Holy Martyr Tsar Nicholas.” The reverse contains the number of the award and the year of establishment “2008”. Medal mount – screw with clip. Holders wear the order on the right side of the chest, below the state awards of the Russian Federation, or around the neck on a ribbon.

Recipients of the Order of The Holy Passion-bearer Tsar Nicholas include:

Chairman of the Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna Charitable Foundation Mrs. Olga Kulikovsky (top)

Russian historian and author Alexander Bokhanov, 1944-2019 (bottom left);

Russian historian and author Pyotr Multatuli (bottom right)

Bokhanov and Multatuli are recognized as Russia’s leading experts on the life and reign of the Sovereign Emperor Nicholas II.

All three recipients have devoted years of research, writing and public speaking to help clear the name of Russia’s much slandered tsar.

 

Holy Royal Passion-bearer Nicholas / Святой страстотерпец царь Николай078a

In addition to public awards, there is also a badge honouring the Sovereign Emperor Nicholas II. It is carried out in the form of the St. George Cross, either in form identical to the prototype, or against the background of a four-pointed star. In the center there is a medallion with bearing the tsar’s profile and a circular inscription: “EMPEROR NIKOLAI II RUSSIA”.

078e

The mark is made of brass, the rays of the cross are covered with black enamel. It can be attached to the pentagonal strap with St. George ribbon. In the version with a star, the imperial crown is depicted on the upper beam of the cross, on the lower one – the personal monogram of Nicholas II. In addition to brass, nickel silver alloy is also used.

The order badge was issued twice in a limited edition by order of the St. Petersburg public organization Cossack Convoy in Memory of the Emperor Nicholas II: in 2017 to the 100th anniversary of the death of the Russian Empire; in 2018, to the 100th anniversary of the murder of the Imperial family and at the same time the 150th anniversary of the birth of Nicholas II. A total of 1,200 copies of the jubilee mark were made. In catalogs it is sometimes called an order, but even the price of 400 rubles indicates that this is a mistake.

© Paul Gilbert. 13 July 2019