Consecration of monument to Alexander II in the presence of Emperor Nicholas II in Kiev 1911

VIDEO: The consecration of monument to Alexander II in the presence of Emperor Nicholas II, Kiev 30th August 1911. Duration: 11 minutes, 17 seconds. Music.

In 1911, a monument to Emperor Alexander II by the sculptor Ettore Ximenes and architect Hippolyte Nikolaev, was established in Kiev. The monument was established in connection with the 50th anniversary of the abolition of serfdom and was the largest monument to Alexander II in the Russian Empire.

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Photo: Emperor Nicholas II, Metropolitan of Kiev, members of the imperial family including Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and her five children, and Crown Prince Boris of Bulgaria

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Photo: Members of the Clergy, Emperor Nicholas II, Grand Duchesses Olga (left) and Tatiana (right), Minister of the Imperial Court Count V. B. Frederiks (second right), and Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich (far right)

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Photo: Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, Grand Duchesses, members of the Clergy at the tomb of Iskra and Kochubey, in the Kiev Pechersk Lavra

Description

The monument to Alexander II was located in the central part of Kiev, on Tsarskaya Square at the entrance to the Merchants Garden.

The monument consisted of three pedestals. On the central tower stood a bronze statue of the emperor. He was depicted in full height in a uniform and a mantle thrown over his shoulders, in his right hand he held the Manifesto on the abolition of serfdom, his other hand resting on the arm of his throne. Around the monument on the lower pedestal was a bas-relief depicting peasants – representatives of the peoples of the empire in national costumes, among which stood out the figure of a woman in traditional Russian costume symbolizing Russia.

The central pedestal was decorated with the emblem of the Russian Empire – a two-headed eagle – and the inscription: “The South-Western Territory is grateful to the Tsar-Liberator. 1911″. In front of the flank pedestals, sculptural compositions of Mercy and Justice were installed. All three pedestals were united by a wide pediment with bas-reliefs depicting individual moments of the emperor’s life and work. The pedestal was made of pink granite, the steps of grey granite. Imperial bronze crowns were installed on the side ledges of the steps

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Photo: Participants at the opening ceremony of the monument before the parade

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Photo: The mayor of Kiev brings the traditional bread and salt to Emperor Nicholas II

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Photo: A moleben is performed at the monument to Emperor Alexander II

Consecration

A visit to Kiev by Emperor Nicholas II with his family and members of the Imperial Court was scheduled for August 1911. The delegations prepared a special program of events during their stay in Kiev, including solemn prayers, theatre visits, troop reviews, a walk along the Dnieper to Chernigov among other events. The main event of the program and the main purpose of the tsar’s visit to Kiev was the opening of the monument to Alexander II on Tsarskaya Square.

The construction of the monument to Alexander II was completed. Triumphal arches were built. The streets and the facades of buildings were richly decorated with flags, wreaths and buntings. Troops of the Russian Imperial Army arrived in the city to participate in manoeuvres.

Nicholas II arrived to open the monument to his grandfather in late August 1911. The ceremony itself took place on 12th September (O.S. 30th August) 1911), the day of memory of the Holy Prince Alexander Nevsky, in whose honour his emperor grandfather Alexander Nikolaevich was named. The monument was opened in the presence of Emperor Nicholas II and members of his family, Prime Minister Pyotr Stolypin , Chief Prosecutor of the Holy Synod Vladimir Sabler , chief of the gendarmes Kurlov, Minister of Education Kasso, son and heir of Tsar Ferdinand I of Bulgaria, government and Court officials, representatives of the Austro-Swedish and Swiss consulates. During the festivities, citizens received postcards with photographic reproductions of the monument.

Sadly, the celebration on the occasion of the unveiling of the monument in Kiev was overshadowed by the assassination of Prime Minister Peter Stolypin, whom the terrorist Social Revolutionary Dmitry Bogrov shot dead on 14 (O.S 1 September 1911.

Work on the improvement of the monument continued after its opening. In particular, in July 1914, elegant bronze grates were installed, decorated with state emblems, and a parterre lawn was built around the monument. The monument was illuminated by four lamps.

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Photo: Emperor Nicholas II and members of the City Duma at the monument to Emperor Alexander II

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Photo: Priests and Emperor Nicholas II at the monument to Emperor Alexander II

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Photo: Emperor Nicholas II greets Crown Prince Boris Of Bulgaria at the monument to Emperor Alexander II

Destruction by the Soviets

The monument as part of the city’s history was a short one, ending nine years after its consecration. In April 1919, the Bolshevik city newspaper raised the question of liquidating the monument to Alexander II by 14 (O.S. 1 May), but the plan failed, and the monument was covered with a large black drape. The tsar’s figure was removed from the pedestal in November 1920, while all the metal parts were dismantled and sent to the Arsenal smelting plant.

The preserved pedestal of the monument has long been used by the Bolsheviks as a propaganda tool. In particular, in place of the tsar, an eight-meter figure of a Red Army soldier made of plywood in a Budenovka coat, overcoat and a rifle in his hands was installed. This work was called the “Monument to the Red Army – Defender of the Masses.” There were plans to replace the Monument to the Red Army, and replace it with a monument to the October Revolution on this site, however, the project never came to fruition.

In 1932, the city authorities decided to dismantle the pedestal, which had previously been designed as a decoration for the entrance of the Proletarian Garden. At the end of the 1930s, a cascade of fountains was built here and a statue of Joseph Stalin was installed. After the liberation of Kiev from Nazi troops, the statue of Joseph Stalin was restored; while the square itself was renamed in honour of Stalin (on the eve of his 65th birthday in December 1944). But this lasted only until the decisions of the XX Congress of the CPSU in 1956. Since that time, no monuments stood in the park. Now where the monument to Alexander II stood, the entrance to Khreshchaty Park is located, there are pedestrian sidewalks, a small amount of green space, an entrance to the underpass, advertising signs.

© Paul Gilbert. 29 August 2019

The Conspiracy Against Nicholas II, an interview with Paul Gilbert

CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE TO WATCH MY INTERVIEW

One year ago today – 7th August 2018 – my interview The Conspiracy Against Nicholas II, aired on YouTube, which to date has been viewed by nearly 20,000 people.

My seven-minute interview was one of a special six-part video series commemorating the Romanovs Martyrdom Centennial in 2018, prepared by the Monastery of St John the Forerunner Mesa Potamos in Cyprus.

During my interview I speak about the Tsar’s abdication in 1917, and the only two generals who remained faithful to their Sovereign. I go on to discuss the main plots which aimed to overthrow Nicholas II from his throne, and the betrayal by his ministers, generals, and even members of his own family.

Among the members of the Imperial family who were plotting against Nicholas II, were the Grand Dukes Nicholas Nicholaevich (1856-1929) and Nicholas Mikhailovich (1859-1919), and the Vladimirovich branch of the family, led by the power hungry Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna (1854-1920), the widow of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich.

I also talk about some of the myths and lies regarding Nicholas’ II, such as his alleged weakness as a ruler, and the popular myth that his death at the hands of the Bolsheviks was met by indifference by the Russian people.

The video features beautiful colourized pictures of the Romanovs and other historical figures, by acclaimed Russian colourist Olga Shirnina, from the forthcoming book The Romanov Royal Martyrs, due to be published in September 2019.

© Paul Gilbert. 7 August 2019

Zhanna Bichevskaya marks her 75th birthday

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Cover of Zhanna Bichevskaya;s CD Царь Николай (Tsar Nikolai)

A very happy 75th birthday to Russian folk singer Zhanna Vladimirovna Bichevskaya, who was born in Moscow on 17th June 1944.

Известной певице Жанне Владимiровне Бичевской исполнилось 75 лет!!! Мы сердечно поздравляем её с Днём рождения!!!

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Zhanna graduated as a classical guitarist from a Moscow music school. She was a teacher of music in Zagorsk (Sergiev Posad). In the 1970s, Zhanna started to perform Russian folk songs and romances.

Zhanna refers to her bard-style singing as “Russian country-folk”. Her repertoire includes several hundred works – songs of spiritual and social content, Russian folk songs, romances, as well as songs based on poems of Russian poets of the Silver Age. Her records have sold millions of copies in more than 40 countries around the world. She has performed to sell out crowds at the prestigious Olympia Hall in Paris, on eight occasions. 

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Zhanna Bichevskaya’s songs began to have more political, nationalist and spiritual themes, she is a staunch defender of the Sovereign Emperor Nicholas II and his family.

In 1999, Zhanna also became the host of her own show on Voice of Russia radio station. She was awarded People’s Artist of the RSFSR

CLICK on the links below to listen to two of her most haunting melodies:

[1] Царь Николай / Tsar Nikolai [Duration: 9 mins], which features vintage film footage of Russia’s last tsar:

[2] Святым Царственным мученикам / To the Holy Royal Martyrs [Duration: 7 mins., 34 sec.], which is much more a prayer than a song:

Click HERE to visit Zhanna Bichevskaya’s Official Website (in Russian / по-русски)

© Paul Gilbert. 17 June 2019

Multimedia Exhibition Dedicated to Nicholas II Opens in Novosibirsk

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

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

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Uniforms of Nicholas II on display in Novosibirsk

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

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

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Poster for the multimedia exhibition in Novosibirsk

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

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

© Paul Gilbert. 16 April 2019

Romania Hosts Nicholas II Exhibition

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Poster promoting the Bucharest exhibit held in January 2019

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

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

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View of the Alba Iulia exhibit

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

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

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

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

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

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View of the Bucharest exhibit

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

© Paul Gilbert. 24 March 2019

Nicholas II’s Image Depicted on Soviet Submarine

Russia marks the ‘Day of the Submariner’ on 19th March. The date was not chosen by chance – it was on this day in 1906 that the submarines in the Imperial Russian Navy were ordered by the Secretary of the Navy – under orders from Emperor Nicholas II – to be allocated as a separate class of warships.

Today, the Double-Headed Eagle Society have honoured the memory of the founder of Russia’s first submarine fleet Emperor Nicholas II by depicting his image on the Soviet submarine K-21.

Launched in 1939, the Soviet submarine K-21 was a K-class submarine of the Soviet Navy during World War II. In the spring of 1981, she was moved to the city of Polyarny, Murmansk Oblast to be converted into a museum ship. After renovations, she was eventually moved to Severomorsk, Russia. The museum was opened in 1983. In the late 1990s, the boat underwent some general repairs. From 2008 to 2009, the museum was further renovated.

During the reign of Emperor Nicholas II the Imperial Russian Navy continued to expand in the later part of the century, regaining its position as the third largest fleet in the world after Britain and France.  It had a revival in the latter part of the century, but lost most of its Pacific Fleet along with the Baltic Fleet, both of which were sent to the Far East and subsequently destroyed in the disastrous Russo-Japanese of 1904. The second phase of Nicholas II’s military life was marked by his participation in the reorganization of the navy after the catastrophic Russo-Japanese War. 

Today, a century after his death, post-Soviet Russia recognizes the contribution of the last Russian Emperor to the development of the country’s underwater fleet.   

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Nicholas II, the founder of the Russian submarine fleet

On 19 March 1906, by decree of Emperor Nicholas II, the Maritime General Staff was organized with the Main Naval Staff, which assumed the functions of the operational body of the Imperial Navy. At first, attention was directed to the creation of mine-laying and a submarine fleet.  

Unfortunately, the name of the last emperor in this area of Russia’s military history is unjustly forgotten, thanks to Soviet dogma. From 1903 to 1917, Nicholas II ordered the construction of a total of 78 submarines – including the purchase of 11 foreign made submarines.

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Submarine and battleship of the Imperial Russian Navy

Click HERE to read my article The Imperial Russian Navy Under Nicholas II 1894-1917, which includes 2 videos + photographs

© Paul Gilbert. 19 March 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Paul Gilbert. 12 February 2019

Nicholas II Last Russian Emperor (Episode 59) – Orthodox Christian Podcast

Take a few minutes to listen to Fr. Artemy, an English-speaking Russian Orthodox priest from the Moscow Theological Academy, who presents this beautifully written podcast about the life and martyrdom of Russia’s last emperor and tsar, as well as the miracles of the Tsar Martyr. This Orthodox Christian Podcast series produced by Voice of Russia Radio Network, is currently owned by Sputnik News.

Intro – “Beloved brothers and sisters! This time we will tell you the story of the Holy Martyr, last Russian Emperor Nicholas II. It is quite significant that long before Nicholas II’s ascension to the throne a monk at the Glinsk monastery in Russia, Iliador, chanced to have an enigmatic vision at end of the 19th century.”

Duration: 26 minutes (ENGLISH). The beautiful Russian sacred background music is from the Anthology of Russian Sacred Music album (2009), produced by Melodia.

Click on the CC button located at the bottom of the video to initiate the closed captioning option.

© Voice of Russia Radio Network. 22 January 2019