This Week in the News – The Romanovs and Imperial Russia


“A picture is worth a thousand words”

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This Week in the News includes a link and brief summary to full-length articles published in the past week from English language media and internet sources.

This initiative is a courtesy to those who do not have a Facebook account, or for some reason cannot view the Royal Russia Facebook page – now, with more than 150,000 followers from around the world!

Royal Russia is pleased to offer our dedicated followers with the following full-length articles, on a variety of topics covering the Romanov dynasty, their legacy, monarchy, and the history of Imperial and Holy Russia, for the week ending 18 August 2018:

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ARTICLES – click on the red headline text below to read the respective articles


#Romanovs100 ran for 100 days of summer 2018, marking the centenary of the Romanov family’s murder by the Bolsheviks. Now all of the project’s digital creations are consolidated into a new re-designed website.

6 People Who Claimed to Have Been Romanovs

Over the years, a number of people have come forward pretending to be exiled members of the Romanov family. Some merely wanted to be famous, while others were convinced that they truly had royal blood coursing through their veins. Today, all members of the immediate family have been identified through DNA evidence as having been killed.

The personal jewellery of the last Tsarina, Alexandra Feodorovna

The personal jewellery of the last Tsarina of Russia, Alexandra Feodorovna (1872-1918) provides a living, tangible timeline of her private life, quite apart from the glittering jewels which she would have worn as a Romanov bride.
Royal historian and writer Elizabeth Jane Timms writes in ‘Royal Central’

5 facts about the war that turned Russia into a great power

The Great Northern War with Sweden turned little-known Muscovy into a global superpower – the Russian Empire. It was during this conflict that Russia won its first naval victory and the Russian Guard was born.

House of Faberge: The story behind the world’s most luxurious eggs

For over a century, the name Faberge has evoked wealth, opulence and the world’s most extravagant Easter eggs. The small, intricately decorated objets d’art — which Russia’s royal House of Romanov commissioned from the jeweler and goldsmith Peter Carl Faberge — are, still today, some of the most exquisite decorative works ever created.

Faberge eggs from the heart of the Russian imperial court (12 PHOTOS)

Hillwood Museum, A Treasury of Russian and European Art of the 18th-19th Centuries in the United States + 16 PHOTOS

They say that the Hillwood Museum is “the Hermitage, the Peterhof, and the Diamond Fund all in a single location.” Apparently, one of the largest Russian art collections outside of Russia is located in the estate on the fringes of Washington.

Better a Kind Light Than Black Despondency (PHOTOS)

Professor William Brumfield on the photographs of Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky and on Russia

Goritsky Monastery: Baroque masterpiece in Pereslavl-Zalessky + 12 PHOTOS

Architectural historian and photographer William Brumfield writes in RBTH, about the picturesque complex, and it’s role in Russian history.

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On 12th August 2018, the gravestone of Peter Zakharovich Ermakov (1884-1952) was doused with a can of red paint – the paint symbolizing the blood he spilled.

This is the third time that local monarchists have vandalized the Bolshevik’s grave, situated in an Ekaterinburg cemetery.

Ermakov, is one several men responsible for the murders of Nicholas II and his family in the Ipatiev House on the night of 16/17 July 1918.

In 1951, at a reception, which gathered all the local Party elite in Sverdlovsk, Peter Ermakov approached Soviet Red Army General Georgy Zhukov and held out his hand. Frowning in disgust Zhukov looked Ermakov in the eye, and muttered, “I do not shake the hands of the murderers.” Click HERE to read the article.

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Disclaimer: the links published on this page are for information purposes only,
and may not reflect the opinions of Paul Gilbert and/or Royal Russia

Exhibition – Empress Maria Feodorovna: Artist and Collector


Some people may be unaware that the the Danish born wife of Emperor Alexander III was both a gifted artist and a collector of fine art. Both are the subject of the exhibition Empress Maria Feodorovna:  Artist and Collector which opened on 1st June 2018 in the Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Karelia. The museum is housed in an 18th century building, situated in the historic center of Petrozavodsk.

Princess Dagmar, later the Russian Empress Maria Feodorovna, received her first lessons as a child from her mother Queen Louise of Denmark. In Russia, Maria Feodorovna took lessons from the famous Russian landscape artist Alexey Petrovich Bogolyubov (1824-1896).

Maria Feodorovna’s painting skills helped develop her artistic taste, which eventually led to the idea of ​​creating a national museum of Russian art in St. Petersburg, based on the personal collections of the Imperial family. These collections were later added to the collection of the Russian Museum of His Imperial Majesty Alexander III (now – the State Russian Museum), established in St. Petersburg on April 13, 1895, upon enthronement of Emperor Nicholas II to commemorate his father, who had died 1 November [O.S.20 October] 1894).


The exhibition features three works by Empress Maria Feodorovna and items from her collection of paintings dating from the second half of the 19th century. The exhibition is complemented by a unique collection of Western European ceramics, from the Imperial collection of the Anitchkov Palace in St. Petersburg. Of particular interest are faience and majolica of the 16th-17th centuries. These exhibits are a historical rarity. 

The paintings presented at the exhibition were sent to the Museum of Fine Arts of Karelia in 1960 from the Karelian Museum of Local History, where they were sent from the State Museum Fund disbanded in 1928, which united earlier nationalized collections of Russian and Western European paintings and objet d’art.

The exhibition Empress Maria Feodorovna:  Artist and Collector runs until 9th September 2018 in the Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Karelia, Petrozavodsk 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 17 August 2018

Monument to Emperor Alexander III Planned for Gatchina


Back in May of this year, the Russian Historical Society together with the Russian Military Historical Society announced an international competition for the implementation of a monument to Emperor Alexander III. 

Participants are required to create a monument based on the original sketches of a monument to Emperor Alexander III created by the famous sculptor Paolo Petrovich Troubetzkoy (1866-1938).

Troubetzkoy created two monuments to Alexander III, but only one was completed: the famous equestrian statue of Alexander III, originally established on Znamenskaya Square (now – Ploshchad Vosstaniya) in St. Petersburg (1909). Today the monument stands in the courtyard of the Marble Palace. 


Troubetzkoy’s equestrian monument of Alexander III, in the courtyard of the Marble Palace

The basis for the new monument is to complete Troubetzkoy’s unfinished second project where the emperor is depicted in an armchair (see photo at top of page), originally created in 1900.

The new Alexander III monument will be installed in the courtyard of the Arsenal Square of the Grand Palace at Gatchina. “The favourite residence of Alexander III was Gatchina, and I consider it historical justice to establish a monument to him there,” said the Chairman of the Russian Historical Society Sergei Naryshkin. 

The results of the competition will be announced at the end of September 2018.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 17 August 2018




A 3rd event has been scheduled to take place in London during the week in which the Nicholas II Conference will be held in Colchester (an hour by train from London).

Romanov historian and author Coryne Hall will present her new book To Free the Romanovs: Royal Kinship and Betrayal in Europe 1917-1919 at Pushkin House in London, on Wednesday 24th October. London will now host 3 Romanov events this autumn, all of which time in nicely with the Conference.

On a personal note, I will be in London on Wednesday 24th October to attend the exhibition The Last Tsar: Blood and Revolution, and Coryne Hall’s book presentation at Pushkin House – PG


Join author Coryne Hall for a presentation of her latest book, ‘To Free The Romanovs: Royal Kinship and Betrayals in Europe 1917 – 1919’. Did the Kaiser do enough? Did George V? When the Tsar’s cousins King Haakon of Norway and King Christian of Denmark heard of Nicholas’s abdication, what did they do? Unpublished diaries of the Tsar’s cousin Grand Duke Dmitri give a new insight to the Romanovs’ feelings about George V’s involvement.

King George V’s role in the withdrawal of an asylum offer was covered up. Britain refused to allow any Grand Dukes to come to England, a fact that is rarely explored.

When Russia erupted into revolution, almost overnight the pampered lifestyle of the Imperial family vanished. Within months many of them were under arrest and they became ‘enemies of the Revolution and the Russian people’. All showed great fortitude and courage during adversity. None of them wanted to leave Russia; they expected to be back on their estates soon and to live as before. When it became obvious that this was not going to happen a few managed to flee but others became dependent on their foreign relatives for help.

For those who failed to escape, the questions remain. Why did they fail? What did their relatives do to help them? Were lives sacrificed to save other European thrones? After thirty-five years researching and writing about the Romanovs, Coryne Hall considers the end of the 300-year-old dynasty ‒ and the guilt of the royal families in Europe over the Romanovs’ bloody end.

Tickets are £10.00 per person, seating is limited! Click HERE to purchase tickets to this event



Coryne Hall is an historian, broadcaster and consultant specialising in the Romanovs and British and European royalty. She was born in Ealing, West London and developed a fascination for Imperial Russia in childhood when she learnt that her great-grandmother was born in St Petersburg, an almost exact contemporary of Nicholas II. The author of many books, she is a regular contributor to Majesty magazine, The European Royal History Journal, Royal Russia, Sovereign and Royalty Digest Quarterly. She acted as consultant on the Danish television documentaries “A Royal Family” and “The Royal Jewels.”

Coryne has lectured at royalty conferences in England, Denmark, Russia and America. Her media appearances include Woman’s Hour, BBC South Today, the documentaries “Russia’s Lost Princesses” and “13 Moments of Fate”, live coverage of Charles and Camilla’s wedding for Canadian television and co-hosting live coverage of Prince William’s wedding alongside John Moore for Newstalk 1010, Canada. She was also the last person to have a private audience with Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. She lives in Hampshire. 


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Coryne Hall’s book presentation at Pushkin House on Wednesday 24th October will coincide with two Romanov exhibitions The Last Tsar: Blood and Revolution and Russia: Royalty and the Romanovs and the Nicholas II Conference, to be held on 27 October 2018, at St John’s Orthodox Church, in Colchester, England.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 15 August 2018

Memorial plaque established at the station where Nicholas II and his family went into exile in 1917


On 14th August,  a memorial plaque in memory of Emperor Nicholas II and his family was unveiled in the railway station of the village of Alexandrovskaya. It was exactly 101 years ago, on 14th August 1917, that Russia’s last imperial family were sent into exile to Tobolsk from the Aleksandrovskaya Station near Tsarskoye Selo.

Nicholas II and his family were sent into exile to Tobolsk in Siberia, by the decision of the Provisional Government, which feared for their lives. On 14 August 1917, early in the morning, the imperial family and their enormous retinue under the sign “Japanese Red Cross Mission” departed from Tsarskoye Selo.

It took two trains to accommodate the travelers, their baggage, government representatives, the jailers and soldiers. Forty-six court attendants voluntarily accompanied the family into exile, making, in all, a party of fifty-three persons, which according to Robert K. Massie included “ladies and gentlemen of Nicholas and Alexandra’s suite, two valets, six chambermaids, ten footmen, three cooks, four assistant cooks, a butler, a wine steward, a nurse, a clerk, a barber, and two pet spaniels.”

Colonel Eugene Kobylinsky (1875-1927) rode in the Tsar’s train, while most of his 330 soldiers followed on the second train. On 14 March [O.S. 1 March], Kobylinsky had been appointed commandant of the Alexander Palace. He served as the commander of the special detachment at Tsarskoye Selo and later in Tobolsk in 1917-18, where he oversaw the imprisonment of Emperor Nicholas II. 

The unveiling of the memorial plaque included a liturgy, performed by Archpriest Boris Leonidovich Kupriyanov, from the Church of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, on the former site of the Chapel of the Ascension, in the village of Alexandrovsky. The attendees laid flowers at the place where the chapel once stood. The chapel was demolished by the Soviet in 1949, however, a memorial to Nicholas II and his family was erected on the site in 2011.

The memorial plaque is the result of joint efforts of the members of the Public Council of Alexandrovskaya and the administration of the Pushkin Oblast of St. Petersburg. 


© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 16 August 2018

Cypriot Monastery Completes Video Tribute to Russian Royal Martyrs

The Monastery of St. John the Forerunner in Mesa Potamos, Cyprus has published a series of high-quality video interviews with top Romanov historians in honor of the 100th anniversary of the martyrdom of the last Royal Family of Russia.

The tribute is entitled The Romanov Royal Martyrs: Centennial Tribute. The series consists of six episodes, which have been received very well, and which the monastery has now finished. The videos also include stunning unpublished Romanov colored pictures by acclaimed Russian colorist Olga Shirnina.

The series is as follows:

1. Tsar-Martyr Nicholas Through His Last Diary, with Helen Azar
An interview with Helen Azar about Tsar Nicholas’ II conduct during after his abdication, as seen in his last diary.

2. Tsarina Alexandra Through Her Letters, with Helen Azar
An interview with Helen Azar about the real Tsarina Alexandra as she is seen through her diaries and letters.

3. The Imperial Children Through Their Writings, with Helen Azar
An interview with Helen Azar about the personalities of all the Romanov children, according to their diaries’ entries and their letters. Helen also speaks about her involvement in the project “The Romanov Royal Martyrs: What Silence Could Not Conceal”.

4. Nicholas II: His Reign – His Faith – His Family, with Nicholas B.A. Nicholson
An interview with Nick Nicholson. Nicholas speaks about Nicholas’ II reign, faith, and family. He also speaks about his involvement in the project “The Romanov Royal Martyrs”.

5. The Conspiracy Against Nicholas’ II, with Paul Gilbert
An interview with Paul Gilbert. Paul speaks about the main plots which aimed to overthrow Nicholas II from his throne. He also refers to the myths regarding Nicholas’ II alleged weakness as a ruler.

6. Romanov Family – Faith in God to the End, with Helen Rappaport
An interview with Helen Rappaport about the spirituality of the Romanov family and the last stage of their imprisonment in Ekaterinburg.

Click HERE to visit the special Romanov Royal Martyrs web site, created by the Monastery of St. John the Forerunner Mesa Potamos


The English edition of The Romanov Royal Martyrs will be available in early 2019

What is the truth about the last Romanovs? Why, for more than a hundred years, have there been methodical efforts to distort the facts of their life, while the Orthodox Church has glorified them as saints?

The Monastery of St John the Forerunner in Mesa Potamos, Cyprus, having made use of the primary sources, presents for the first time the biography of the Royal Martyrs through an Orthodox prism bringing to light what silence could not conceal.

The Monastery of St. John the Forerunner is also the publisher of the first complete Greek-language biography of the Royal Martyrs, which was released in January of this year. The English language edition of The Romanov Royal Martyrs will be published by  St Vladimir’s Seminary Press in early 2019. 

© Mesa Potamos Monastery. 15 August 2018

Royal Russia Achieves New Milestone on Facebook – 150,000 Followers!


IT’S OFFICIAL . . . Royal Russia reached a major new milestone today, with more than 150,000 followers from all over the world.

I have dedicated the last 25 years of my life to the research and writing about the Romanov dynasty, and the history of Imperial and Holy Russia. The Romanov legacy endures!

What a great honour it is for me to share my passion for these subjects with so many others on a daily basis.

THANK YOU to each and every one of you who continue to follow and support my work.

иди с Богом 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 14 August 2018

Russian Orthodox Church in Dispute Over Porosenkov Log


Royal Russia Founder at Porosenkov Log, during his visit to Ekaterinburg, July 2018

Back in March 2016, I reported that Metropolitan Kirill of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye had made a request to the Sverdlovsk regional government to transfer the land in and around Porosenkov Log (3.7 hectares) to the Ekaterinburg Diocese. The territory is simultaneously claimed by the Sverdlovsk Regional Museum of Local History in Ekaterinburg. My report was followed up by a second article on the dispute in July 2017 (see links below for both articles – PG). 

Since the events marking the 100th anniversary of the death and martyrdom of Emperor Nicholas II and his family last month, the subject is again making headlines in the Urals media.

According to a document signed by the head of the regional forestry department Oleg Sandakov, as early as 2016, Metropolitan Kirill of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye made a request to the regional government to transfer Porosenkov Log to the diocese “for gratuitous urgent use for religious activities.” Scans of the relevant documents (see below) were published last week on the Memorial of the Romanovs Facebook page.


In June 2014, a request was made to recognize Porosenkov Log as a cultural heritage site. Then, the regional ministry of culture planned to transfer the Romanov Memorial site to the Sverdlovsk Museum of Local History. The official opening of the memorial was planned to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the deaths and martyrdom of the Holy Royal Martyrs in July 2018.

In 2016, however, the Ekaterinburg Diocese began to interfere with the plans. In February of the same year, Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturye sent an appeal to the Governor of the Sverdlovsk Region Evgeny Kuyvashev, in which he asked to declare invalid the document on the transfer of the site to the museum. The governor granted the Metropolitan’s appeal, with the regional ministry of culture subsequently putting the project on hold. 

“Due to the historical and spiritual significance of the territory, and in order to avoid any disagreements between secular and religious parties, an official note was sent to the governor of the Sverdlovsk region on the expediency of organizing a discussion on the development of the territory as a cultural heritage site with all interested parties,” said the head of the regional department of forestry Oleg Sandakov.

On the eve of the Tsar’s Days held in Ekaterinburg last month, the Russian Investigative Committee confirmed that genetic examinations on the remains found at Porosenkov Log belong to the murdered Imperial family. It was hoped that Patriarch Kirill would officially recognize the remains during his visit to Ekaterinburg, however, this did not happen. An estimated 100,000 people took part in the pilgrimage from the Church on the Blood to the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama, where once again the final prayer service was held, which is still considered by the ROC to be the final burial place of the bodies of the royal martyrs. Porosenkov Log was not included in the pilgrimage.

Despite the fact that the authenticity of the “royal remains” has not been recognized by the ROC, the Ekaterinburg Diocese is unlikely to back away from its plans. It can not be ruled out that the dispute over the site will be put on hold until the time when the church changes its position.

It is believed that not “if” but “when” the Moscow Patriarchate officially recognize the “Ekaterinburg remains”, that a new monastery in honour of the Holy Royal Martyrs, similar to the one situated 3.8 km down the road at Ganina Yama, will be constructed at Porosenkov Log.


Paul Gilbert at the second grave where the remains of Alexei and Maria where discovered in 2007

Click HERE to read my article ROC Seeks Claim to Site of Royal Remains Grave Near Ekaterinburg (3 March 2016); and HERE to read my article Ekaterinburg Eparchy and Local Museum Argue Over Future of Porosenkov Log (24 July 2017)

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 13 August 2018

On This Day: Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaevich was Born


Grand Duke and Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaevich was born on 12 August 1904 [O.S. 30 July 1904] . He was the youngest child and only son of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. He was the last heir apparent to the throne of the Russian Empire.
He was born in the Lower Dacha at Peterhof. Alexei inherited hemophilia from his mother, a condition that could be traced back to her maternal grandmother Queen Victoria.
After the February Revolution of 1917, he and his family were sent into internal exile in Tobolsk, Siberia. He was murdered alongside his parents, four sisters, and four retainers on 17 July 1918 by order of the Bolshevik government.
The family was formally interred on 17 July 1998—the 80th anniversary of their murders. The family was canonized as holy martyrs by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad in 1981, and canonized as passion bearers by the Moscow Patriarchate in 2000.
His remains were discovered at Porosyonkov Log, near Ekaterinburg in 2007. They are currently being held at the Novospassky Monastery in Moscow.
Click HERE to view a collection of 110 photos of Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaevich; click HERE to review 12 news stories (with photos and videos) about Alexei 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 12 August 2018

Romanov Book of the Year: The Race to Save the Romanovs by Helen Rappaport


My personal choice for Romanov Book of the Year! – Paul Gilbert

In July 2018, I travelled to Ekaterinburg to take part in the events marking the 100th anniversary of the deaths and martyrdom of Emperor Nicholas II and his family. I packed with me, a copy of Helen Rappaport’s latest book The Race to Save the Romanovs. It is interesting to note that this was the second of three visits to the Ural capital in which one of the popular Romanov historian’s books has accompanied me – I read Ekaterinburg: The Last Days of the Romanovs during my 2012 visit.

Aside from the publicity hype and favourable book reviews for The Race to Save the Romanovs, I was particularly anxious to read Helen Rappaport’s new book for a couple of reasons. First, the author’s attempt to uncover the many international plots to save Nicholas II and his family, why they failed, and who was responsible. Second, the author’s refutation that the fault to rescue the tsar lay entirely with King George V.

My position on the latter has always been very clear, as I have always supported the traditional claim which has endured for the last century. Over the past 25 years, the opinions which I have held on the life and reign of Nicholas II are my own, formed by the information which has been made available to me. When new information surfaces, I am prepared to review it and alter my opinion when necessary. Having said that, I am not too proud to admit when I am wrong, and with the case of placing the blame entirely on King George V’s failure to come to the aid of his Russian cousin – I was wrong, thanks to this book!

With regard to the idea that the failure to save the Russian Imperial family was all down to King George V, Helen Rappaport aptly notes: “Many people failed them. He was not alone in losing his nerve and worrying about the political consequences. It was a very difficult situation and it is time that there was an acknowledgement of a collective failure to do enough to help them.”

Much of Race to Save the Romanovs focuses on the action — and inaction — of King George V. Rappaport chronicles the well-known story of how the British government offered the Romanovs asylum. In the end, George V feared that the presence of “Bloody Nicholas” on British soil would compromise his position and subsequently bring down the monarchy. 

Rappaport further explores the futile efforts to save the Romanovs by their royal relatives, other governments, and Russian monarchists. She has ferreted out new and never-before-seen sources – including recently declassified documents – from a number of archives in the United States, Russia, Spain, and the United Kingdom. They shed new light on efforts of the royal families of Britain, Denmark, Sweden, even Germany, all of whom placed their own country’s interests above the well-being of their blood relatives. Even Russia’s staunch ally France was “actively hostile” to allowing the Romanovs a safe haven. Rappaport notes that it was only King Alfonso of Spain, who continuously made inquiries about the well-being of the Romanovs. 

“It is obvious,” Rappaport writes, “that Nicholas and Alexandra were a political hot potato that nobody wished to handle.” They were, despite the ties of blood, “personae non gratae across Europe.” The question of asylum for the Imperial family was much more complicated than packing their bags and putting them on a ship to a more welcoming nation. It was an extremely complicated issue which presented enormous political, logistical, and geographical challenges at a time when Europe was still at war.

Sadly, in the end Rappaport concludes that there was no realistic and viable escape or evacuation plan for the Romanovs once the Petrograd Soviet “tightened the net around them” about a week after Nicholas abdicated.

I have to admit that I found it hard to put this book down! It reveals a series of events, which adds even more sadness and despair to an already tragic story. Without giving any thing away from the book, one thing and one thing alone is clear: that history cannot hold George V entirely accountable for not saving Nicholas II and his family. Thanks to Rappaport’s research, we can firmly acknowledge that ALL of the royal houses of Europe, and Russia’s WWI allies must share the blame. 

For those who still maintain that King George V was solely responsible for failing to rescue the Russian royals, I strongly urge you to put your opinions aside, and read Helen Rappaport’s new book without prejudice.

Helen Rappaport is the author of four back-to-back Romanov titles. I have read all of them, but I have not always agreed with some of her comments on Nicholas II. Having said that, however, I have the utmost respect for her as a researcher and a writer. I also have to give credit where credit is due, and there is no question that she has delivered the goods with her latest book. Well done, Helen!

2018 has been a bumper crop year for new Romanov titles, and I have read them all! As a result of her excellent research and writing, I do not hesitate but select The Race to Save the Romanovs as the Romanov Book of the Year! 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 12 August 2018