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

‘Ten years in the Imperial Yacht Standart’ by Nikolai Sablin

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Since the fall of the Soviet Union nearly 30 years ago, there have been hundreds of new Russian language books published on the life, reign and era of Emperor Nicholas II.

Sadly, very few of these titles will ever be translated into English. The reasons are many, but most importantly are the cost of translations (which can cost thousands of dollars), and a limited English language market. These two factors alone make such publishing endeavours economically unfeasible.

One interesting fact about the Russian publishing, is that the number of copies printed is indicated in each book. For instance, only 3000 copies of the title listed below were published in Russian. This is also an indication of the limited market such books have even in Russia.

In the years leading up to the 400th anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty in 2013, and the 100th anniversary of the death of Nicholas II and his family, a plethora of new titles were published in English. Sadly, the number of new titles are becoming fewer and fewer, and it may be the specialty publishers such as my own publishing business – which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year – who will be left to carry on the tradition.

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Commander of the Imperial yacht ‘Standart’ Nikolai Pavlovich Sablin (1880-1937)

One of the many books which I would like to see an English edition is ‘Десять лет на императорской яхте Штандарт‘ (Trans. ‘Ten years in the imperial yacht Standart’) by Nikolai Sablin

These are the memoirs of Nikolai Pavlovich Sablin (1880-1937), who served as commander of the Imperial yacht ‘Standart’ of Emperor Nicholas II. The author describes events between 1906-1914, of which he was a direct witness and participant. His memoirs reflect the last decade, not yet overshadowed by the horrors of the First World War and revolutionary upheavals, which also became the last years of the prosperity of the Russian Empire.

The memoirs of N.V. Sablin acquaints the readers with details of the private life of the imperial family and their immediate environment, as well as little-known aspects of state affairs. The book contains interesting information about the official visits of Nicholas II while sailing on the ‘Standart,’ meetings with the heads of state and representatives of the reigning houses of Europe, gala receptions hosted on board the imperial yacht, and the important political decisions made during these voyages.

The episodes of yachting life, the mood of the officers of the fleet and society in general, subtly noticed by Sablin, convey a bygone era. His observations and humour make his personal memoirs a very interesting story, yet another page from the life and reign of Nicholas II, which has been sadly neglected by Western historians. The 382 pages of text is accompanied by more than 200 photographs, many of which were taken by Sablin himself and are published for the first time in this book.

© Paul Gilbert. 27 August 2019

‘The Russian Imperial Award System 1894-1917’ by Ulla Tillander-Godenhielm

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One of the perks of my job over the past 25 years, is that I receive a copy of each new book published on the Romanovs and Imperial Russia. This is just one reason why my personal library is as large as it is – over 2,000 volumes.

One of the gems of my collection is The Russian Imperial Award System 1894-1917 by Ulla Tillander-Godenhielm, published by the Finnish Antiquarian Society in Helsinki (2005)

It is a massive heavy book: it measures 8-1/2” x 11″ x 1-1/2” in diameter, weighs over 2 kg., 566 pages, more than 160 colour and black & white photos, with extensive notes and bibliography. Text is in ENGLISH!

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Ulla Tillander-Godenhielm

Ulla Tillander-Godenhielm, Ph.D., is the great-granddaughter of the St. Petersburg goldsmith Alexander Tillander, a leading supplier to the Imperial Russian Court of Nicholas II. She has been researching the oeuvre of Russian jewellers for many years. Her doctoral dissertation was on the labrinthe and intriguing award system of Imperial Russia. Her work takes her around the world: lecturing, consulting for art exhibitions and writing in exhibition catalogues and for art publications. She has published several books on her speciality, the art of the jewellers of Imperial St. Petersburg.

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Arja-Leena Paavola offers the following review of this book in the Spring 2006 issue of Universitas Helsingiensis the quarterly of the University of Helsinki:

The practice of rewarding citizens for good work and loyalty proved an efficient way of strengthening the bonds between subject and monarch. In many respects the system was defined by the service hierarchy created by Peter the Great known as the Table of Ranks. Ulla Tillander-Godenhielm, Ph.D., who defended her doctoral dissertation in the field of art history in October, examined the Russian imperial award system during the reign of Russia’s last tsar, Nicholas II.

“A decree of 1898 defined twelve award categories, over half of which were decorations, titles, expression of the emperor’s favour, grants of money, and gifts made of precious materials. For over one hundred years, the system was also in use in the Grand Duchy of Finland, whose subjects were entitled to the same honours as any other individual in the service of the empire,” says Tillander-Godenhielm.

Subsequent generations have often created an image of a system of unsurpassed luxury and opulence that catered exclusively to the elite of the country. In reality, the value of an award could not exceed an individual’s yearly salary. In addition, there were many awards designed specifically for the lower echelons, including factory workers. Each of the twelve categories had an internal hierarchy. A young man who started his career at the lowest rung of the hierarchical ladder, through diligent service, could earn for himself the highest honours the empire had to offer.

Tillander-Godenhielm points out that the gift items bestowed were not merely symbolic tokens but were in fact a subtle means of remuneration. These gifts were luxurious and often quite elaborate. While they did speak of one’s importance and position within Russia’s service hierarchy – which consisted of fourteen classes, or ranks – they also were a means of augmenting an individual’s wages, which were frequently low. A general, for example, could not always support the lifestyle his position demanded on his official salary. If this was the case, he had the option of returning his gift to the Cabinet of His Imperial Majesty for its full value in cash. In fact, over sixty percent of gifts presented to ranks five and lower were sold back in this way. The widows or children of the original recipients could also return them; thus, they served as a kind of pension or life insurance.

“A fine silver or gold pocket watch was a typical gift. When travelling by sea to Finland, the Russian emperors would present watches to the pilot boat captains, and when travelling by train, every station manager along the way would receive one, as would the policemen responsible for the safety of the imperial family.”

Tillander-Godenhielm is herself a fourth generation member of a goldsmith family with Russian connections. Several Finnish goldsmiths were employed as suppliers by the Cabinet of His Imperial Majesty, and Tillander-Godenhielm’s grandfather was one of them. While working in the family business, she became interested in Russian gold and silver objects, many of which have remained in Finland, some still in the possession of the original recipient’s family.

Sometimes orders for multiples of the same gift item were placed. “Archival research has revealed account books showing requests for ten silver cigarette cases decorated with a double-headed eagle of a specific design, or twelve rings set with specific gemstones. This type of gift was destined for lower-ranking servitors. The more valuable gifts intended for higher ranking officials were all unique in design.”

Coveted investments

The Cabinet of His Imperial Majesty had inspectors to ensure that the gold and silver objects it received were of the highest quality. Many of these items were bestowed upon foreign dignitaries and thus served as a means of showcasing the skill of Russian craftsmen. During state visits, these valuable gifts were written about in papers and put on public display.

These award items – especially those with a known provenance – have increased steadily in value since the Revolution and nowadays can fetch astronomical sums. For example, a table portrait of Nicholas II presented to the French prime minister René Viviani in 1914 sold at Sotheby’s last year for £350,000. As a result, however, they have become the object of numerous forgeries.

A substantial number of the surviving objects made for the Russian imperial award system are today in museums or in the private collections of various European monarchs and American millionaires. In the 1930s, Stalin had many of these items sold in the West in order to obtain much needed foreign currency.

Ulla Tillander-Godenhielm has had the privilege of personally handling many of the items she discusses in her dissertation. “You cannot really study objects such as these without examining them up close.

A known provenance of course greatly in-creases the interest of an object. Those pieces really make my heart skip a beat. Fortunately, Russian archives have now been opened up to researchers and it has become possible to trace the origins of many of these items.”

The real story uncovered

In the 1930s, all kinds of stories were concocted in order to increase the value of these objects and boost sales. “The empress gave her obstetrician, Professor Ott, a monogrammed snuffbox for every child he helped deliver. Many of these have been sold in the United States as gifts from the emperor to the empress. “But who would seriously believe that a man would give a snuffbox to his wife for giving birth to their baby?” Tillander-Godenhielm chuckles. “I think true stories about the real officials and servitors of the time are much more interesting.”

It is not, after all, that long ago. While in St Petersburg, Tillander-Godenhielm discovered that a hospital built by Dr. Ott was still in operation. “When visiting the hospital, I was asked if I would like to meet the great-granddaughter of the good doctor, who as chance would have it works as an obstetrician there. I met this young woman who told me a great deal about her great-grandfather. The family no longer possessed any of the awards he had been given, so she was delighted when I showed her pictures of two of the thirteen snuffboxes Dr. Ott had received for his services.”

Tillander-Godenhielm’s study has raised interest all over the world, and for once, a dissertation has proved to be a “best seller”, but only 1,200 copies of her book were published.

“A great deal has been written about the Russian nobility and Russian orders and decorations in isolation. My study examines these subjects within the context of the larger system of which they were but one part.”

© Arja-Leena Paavola & Paul Gilbert. 24 August 2019

 

NICHOLAS II 2020 CALENDAR

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LIMITED PRINTING OF ONLY 200 COPIES!

I am pleased to offer copies of my 2020 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.

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. 21 August 2019

Miniatures of Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna

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Photo: Miniatures of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna
Artist: Alexander Wegner

The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Reserve recently acquired a collection of five miniatures that once adorned the brooches and pendants of the Empress Maria Feodorovna, wife of Emperor Alexander III, and mother of Emperor Nicholas II.

These unique items, had been kept in a private London collection shortly after the 1917 Revolution. The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Reserve recently acquired them, the acquisition of which was made possible thanks to the help of patrons.

Among the portraits are miniatures of Emperor Nicholas II (in childhood, adolescence and adulthood) and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna.

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Photos: Miniature of Tsesarevich Alexandrovich in adolescence
Artist: Alexander Wegner

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Photo: Miniature of Tsesarevich Alexandrovich in childhood
Artist: Alexander Wegner

After the revolution, in 1919, Maria Feodorovna managed to take some of her jewellery, including these miniatures, with her when she left Russia into exile.

Later, her daughter, Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna, inherited her mother’s jewellery. She sold part of them to the English company RG Hennel & Sons, as evidenced by an inventory dated 29th May 1929.

The miniatures were made by the Academician of the Imperial Academy of Arts Alexander Wegner. The smallest of them has a size of only 8 × 6 mm.

The miniatures are currently on display in the Evening Hall Pavilion, which is located in the Catherine Park at Tsarskoye Selo.

© Paul Gilbert. 21 August 2019

Controversy over portrait of Empress Alexandra Fedorovna in Pavlovsk

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Portrait of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. Artist: A. Muller-Norden. Canvas, oil. 1896

This lovely portrait of the Empress Alexandra Fedorovna is among my favourites. It reflects the Empress’s youth and beauty, years before the burdens of Court life and her son’s illness took their toll on her health.

Before the 1917 Revolution, the portrait hung in the Tsar’s Reception Room in the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo. It is currently in the collection of the Pavlovsk State Museum.

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Muller-Norden originally hung in the tsar’s Reception Room in the Alexander Palace

Given that neither Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna lived at Pavlovsk, how did this portrait end up the palace-museum collection?

‘In 1951 a government decision handed the Alexander Palace to the Ministry of Defense. The Naval Department used the building as a top-secret, submarine tracking research institute of the Baltic Fleet. As a result, the former palace would be strictly off-limits to visitors for the next 45 years.

‘The palace’s stocks that were among the evacuated items in the Central Repository of Museum Stocks from the Suburban Palace-Museums passed to the Pavlovsk Palace Museum. A total of 5,615 items were moved from the palace to Pavlovsk. Of these, nearly 200 pieces were originally from the Alexander Palaces’ three ceremonial halls: the Portrait, Semi-Circular and Marble Halls. These include 39 pieces of porcelain, 41 paintings, 73 decorative bronze pieces, and 28 pieces of furniture.’

Source: ‘My Russia. The Rebirth of the Alexander Palace’ by Paul Gilbert. Published in ‘Royal Russia No. 3 (2013), pgs. 1-11

Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, and in particular since the restoration of the Alexander Palace, the return of these objects has been a bone of contention between the two palace-museums. During a visit to Pavlovsk several years ago, I raised the subject with one of the Directors at Pavlovsk. “If we return these exhibits to the Alexander Palace, then we [Pavlovsk] will have nothing,” he declared.

Personally, I believe that Pavlovsk have a moral responsibility to return all of the items transferred there in 1951. Their history belongs to the Alexander Palace. It seems that the Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation Vladimir Medinsky will have the final say. Let us hope that he does the right thing, and order the return of these items to the Alexander Palace, where they can be put on display in the rooms from which they originated.

© Paul Gilbert. 20 August 2019

Emperor Nicholas II tests new uniforms for the soldiers of his army in 1909

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Emperor Nicholas II tests new uniforms for the soldiers of his army. Livadia 1909

In 1909, Vladimir Aleksandrovich Sukhomlinov (1848-1926) the Minister of War was at work on an important reform, the determination of the type of clothing and equipment to be worn and carried in future by every Russian infantryman. When considering the modifications proposed by the Minister, the following provides a convincing proof of the extreme conscientiousness and sense of duty which inspired Nicholas II, as head of the army. The Tsar wanted full knowledge of the facts, and decided to test the proposed new equipment personally.

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Emperor Nicholas II tests new uniforms for the soldiers of his army. Livadia 1909

He told only the Alexander Alexandrovich Mossolov (1854-1939), who served as Minister of the Court and the Commander of the Palace of his intention. They had the full equipment, new model, of a soldier in a regiment camping near Livadia brought to the palace. There was no falang, no making to exact measure for the Tsar; he was in the precise position of any recruit who is put into the shirt, pants, and uniform chosen for him, and given his rifle, pouch, and cartridges. The Tsar was careful also to take the regulation supply of bread and water. Thus equipped, he went off alone, covered twenty kilometres out and back on a route chosen at random, and returned to the palace. Forty kilometres — twenty-five miles — is the full length of a forced march; rarely are troops required to do more in a single day.

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Emperor Nicholas II tests new uniforms for the soldiers of his army. Livadia 1909

The Tsar returned at dusk, after eight or nine hours of marching, rest-time included. A thorough examination showed, beyond any possibility of challenge, that there was not a blister or abrasion of any sort on his body. The boots had not hurt his feet. Next day the reform received the Sovereign’s approval.

The Tsar regarded himself as a soldier — the first professional soldier in his Empire. In this respect he would make no compromise: his duty was to do what every soldier had to do.

Source: At the Court of the Last Tsar by A.A. Mossolov. English edition published in 1935

© Paul Gilbert. 9 August 2019

2nd International Nicholas II Conference – UPDATE!

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Today, I have received the blessing of His Grace Bishop Luke of Syracuse, Abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery, to host the 2nd International Nicholas II Conference at the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York in the Spring of 2021.

A number of historians and writers have already expressed interest in speaking at the Conference. I hope to confirm the actual date within the next few weeks.

The Holy Trinity Monastery is home to the Foundation of Russian History Museum, located in the Seminary. The conference, the museum and the beautiful Holy Trinity Cathedral combined will make a memorable visit for all who attend.

Truly, my prayers have been answered. I am so pleased that we can now honour Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II at the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville.

While the event is still more than a year away, I wanted to share this wonderful news with all of you! I will continue to keep you posted of any new developments.

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«Прости нас, Государь»  «Forgive us, Sovereign»

Click HERE to read the summary + PHOTOS about the 1st International Nicholas II Conference, held on Saturday, 27th October 2018, in Colchester, England.

© Paul Gilbert. 8 August 2019

The Alexander Palace as a Museum 1918-1951

During the Soviet years, the Alexander Palace was established as a museum. This video shows a group walking through the former rooms of Nicholas II and his family. The year of 1918 is noted in the video, however, this is incorrect – PG

In 1918 the former residence of Tsar Nicholas II and his family was established as a museum and open to the public. The exhibit included the historical interiors
in the central part of the building and the private apartments of the last tsar and his family located in the east wing of the palace.

In 1919, the west wing was turned into a rest home for staff of the People’s commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD), while on the second floor of the east wing the former rooms of Nicholas II’s children became an orphanage named after the “Young Communards”.

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Enfilade of ceremonial halls of the Alexander Palace. 1920s

The Soviet regime were hostile towards the ‘Romanov Museum,’ and made constant threats throughout the 1930s to close the museum and sell off its treasures. Luckily, the museum staff managed to dissuade the government from this step and the museum operated up until the beginning of the Second World War.

In the first months after the Nazi invasion chandeliers, carpets, some items of furniture, eighteenth-century marble and porcelain articles were evacuated from the Alexander Palace. Most of the palace furnishings remained in the halls.

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Aa cemetery for members of the SS was established in front of the Alexander Palace 

During the occupation of Pushkin the palace housed the German army staff and the Gestapo. The cellars became a prison and the square in front of the palace a cemetery for members of the SS.

The palace survived World War II with minor damage, according to military records—unlike the Catherine Palace, the Palace of Pavlovsk and the Grand Palace of Peterhof, which were almost completely destroyed during the German occupation. Although the exterior was damaged, the majority of the interiors were reported as unharmed, with the exception of some rooms which received moderate to serious shell damage.

The palace had been looted by the retreating Nazi’s which resulted in many of the palaces works of art, furniture and other items being stolen. According to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs of the Russian Federation, registered inventory for the Alexander Palace had—30,382 items, of which 22,628 items were recorded as lost or stolen at the end of World War II.

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Representatives of the State Emergency Commission and museum workers examine the destruction of the large central hall of the Alexander Palace. Photo by S. G. Gasilov. May 1944.

At the end of the war the Alexander Palace was mothballed. Conservation work was carried out in the palace and in 1946 it was handed over to the USSR Academy of Sciences for the storage of the collections of its Institute of Russian Literature and to house a display of the All-Union Pushkin Museum. As a consequence in 1947-51 refurbishment began in the palace, in the course of which it was intended to restore the surviving Quarenghi interiors and extant fragments of décor and also to recreate the interiors from the time of Nicholas I and Nicholas II. However, during the work many elements in the décor of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna’s Maple and Palisander Drawing-Rooms, as well as Nicholas II’s (Moresque) Dressing-Room were actually destroyed. These rooms of the palace were recreated to a project by the architect L.M. Bezverkhny (1908–1963) “in accordance with the architectural norms of the time of Quarenghi and Pushkin”.

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Opening day of the All-Union Museum of A. S. Pushkin (Alexander Palace), on
10th June 1949

In 1951 a government decision handed the Alexander Palace to the Ministry of Defense. The Naval Department used the building as a top-secret, submarine tracking research institute of the Baltic Fleet. As a result, the former palace would be strictly off-limits to visitors for the next 45 years.

The palace’s stocks that were among the evacuated items in the Central Repository of Museum Stocks from the Suburban Palace-Museums passed to the Pavlovsk Palace Museum. A total of 5,615 items were moved from the palace to Pavlovsk. Of these, nearly 200 pieces were originally from the Alexander Palaces’ three ceremonial halls: the Portrait, Semi-Circular and Marble Halls. These include 39 pieces of porcelain, 41 paintings, 73 decorative bronze pieces, and 28 pieces of furniture.

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Pavlovsk’s collection today includes Imperial gowns originally from the Alexander Palace

It is also interesting to note that the Pavlovsk Palace Museum also have a large number of elegant evening gowns, dresses, shoes, hats, umbrellas, gloves, handbags, fans among other personal items of the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna and the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, neither of whom ever resided in Pavlovsk. They are from the Alexander Palace, however, they are now on permanent display in the Museum of the Emperor’s Dress, which is located on the ground floor, of the northern semicircular wing of Pavlovsk Palace, the ground floor.

NOTE: this text has been excerpted from ’My Russia. The Rebirth of the Alexander Palace,’ published in Royal Russia No. 3 (2013), pgs. 1-11.

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The Museum of the Russian Imperial Family in the Alexander Palace is expected to reopen at the end of 2019, or early 2020. Under restoration since August 2015, the new multi-museum complex will feature a number of reconstructed historic interiors of Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna. Click HERE to read more articles about the history and restoration of the Alexander Palace

© Paul Gilbert. 8 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