BBC Radio 4 Discusses the Last of the Romanovs


Radio presenter Ernie Rea hosts Beyond Belief on BBC Radio 4

On Monday 20th August, the Romanovs were the topic of BBC Radio 4 programme Beyond Belief, hosted by Ernie Rea.

Early one morning in July 1918, the Russian Imperial Family was led into a basement and murdered. Nicholas the Second was only 26 when he became Tsar of All the Russians. Many of his enemies and detractors believe that Nicholas was ill equipped for the job and faced challenges which would have tested a more gifted man. But Nicolas was deeply religious and had a profound sense of his duty to God to uphold autocracy and defend the Church.

Joining Ernie Rea to discuss Russia’s last emperor and tsar is *Andrew Phillips, Archpriest of the Russian Orthodox Church; author Helen Rappaport, historian Janet Ashton, and  radio/television presenter Martin Sixsmith.

*Please note the Archpriest Andrew Phillips who will speak at the Nicholas II Conference in Colchester, England on Saturday 27th October 2018.

The panel discuss such topics as the faith of the Imperial family, Empress Alexandra, the Coronation in Moscow in 1896, Alexei’s hemophilia, Rasputin, canonization, why is the memory of Nicholas II revered in the 21st century, and much more!

My only criticism of the guests would be Martin Sixsmith – whom I have to admit, I have never heard of before – who, sadly holds on to the negative stereotype of Nicholas II and his reign. “He was a very weak man” says Sixsmith – “there is no doubt about it, you only have to read his correspondence”.

Sixsmith falls into the same group of the last tsar’s detractors who base their assessment of Nicholas II by his diaries and letters. This in itself is an example of a bad researcher. It is important to note that Nicholas II wrote in his diary at 11:00 nearly every night. To it he confided family events, people who visited him, and items of interest in his personal life – his letters to his wife were similar. Nicholas has been unfairly criticized by many for saying little of importance in the diary. But his entries were meant to be read by no one outside the family. Important events would, of course, be recorded in official court journals, of which Nicholas would retain a copy. 

Sixsmith joined the BBC in 1980, and for 5 years lived and worked in Russia as a foreign correspondent, most notably reporting from Moscow during the presidencies of Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin and the collapse of the Soviet Union. 

Click HERE to listen the 30-minute interview. NOTE: you may have to create an account to listen to the interview – it takes 2 seconds! 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 20 August 2018