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Topics - RichC

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31
News Links / Roses planted at Peterhof
« on: July 13, 2005, 10:58:35 AM »
Roses Planted at Peterhof

By Galina Stolyarova
STAFF WRITER

German Baroness Clotilde von Rintelen, great greatgranddaughter of Russia's national poet Alexander Pushkin, on Monday brought 300 rose bushes to be planted at Peterhof.
Her donation was a reference to events in 1852, when Tsarina Alexandra Fyodorovna bought 1,000 rose bushes for Peterhof to mark the completion of the Dvortsovy hospital at Peterhof.

Von Rintelen, a psychiatrist, who once worked at a mental rehabilitation clinic in German resort Wiesbaden, is in town to inspect the hospital, which is now called Nikolayevsky. She has been patronizing it for the past 10 years.

Born Clotilde von Merenberg, she is also the greatgranddaughter of tsar Alexander II, husband of Alexandra Fyodorovna.

Von Rintelen chose roses of beautiful, ancient types with melodic and romantic names - Madame de la Charme, Triumphe de Beville, Hero de Bataille and Louis Bonaparte - for Peterhof. The donation was supported by von Rintelen's charitable foundation and Rotary International.

"By planting these roses, we are restoring both the historical truth and the beauty of nature," she said.

In the mid-1990s, when working in Wiesbaden, von Rintelen met and befriended Russian psychiatrist Yury Linets, chief doctor of the Nikolayevsky hospital.

In 1995, she established a charitable foundation to help the then cash-strapped hospital, which had been struggling to stay afloat. The foundation has since accumulated and donated financial aid and equipment to several local clinics, including children's hospitals.

Von Rintelen travels to St. Petersburg at least twice a year, often around the time of Pushkin's birthday on June 6

Rintelen, 64, hasn't inherited much of her ancestors' wealth but cherishes a family relic, a manuscript in which Pushkin's
daughter Natalya describes her romance with Count Orlov.


http://www.sptimes.ru/archive/times/1084/news/n_16196.htm


32
News Links / New Monument to Alexander II
« on: June 09, 2005, 05:53:36 PM »
Here's an article I copied from the internet.  I think the inscription, as well as the list of official speakers, is quite interesting and says much about Russia's current government.  



Moscow, 7 June: A monument to Tsar Aleksandr II was unveiled today at the foot of Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.

The five-metre bronze statue, the work of sculptor Aleksandr Rukavishnikov, rests on a three-metre marble plinth, encircled by a stylized colonnade.

The inscription on the monument reads: "Emperor Aleksandr II abolished serfdom in Russia in 1861 and liberated millions of peasants from centuries-long slavery, undertook military and legal reforms, introduced a system of self government, town dumas and zemstvo [elective district council] rule, ended the perennial Caucasian war and freed the Slavonic people from the Islamic yoke. He died on 1 March 1881 as a result of a terrorist act."

The monument was opened in a ceremony by Moscow mayor Yuriy Luzhkov, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Aleksiy II and Russian Minister of Culture and Mass Communications Aleksandr Sokolov.

"In our country today, very much is revived from what was lost, which is important for remembrance, history and the perception of the future," Luzhkov said, speaking at the ceremony.

He remarked that Aleksandr II was a tsar-reformer, "not afraid of carrying out bold reforms in Russia".

The mayor stressed that Aleksandr II took part in laying the foundations of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow, and its creation. "And today, the tsar looks upon the work of his hands and upon the property of the Russian state," Luzhkov said.

Minister of Culture and Mass Communications Aleksandr Sokolov called the opening of the monument to Aleksandr II "a testament to the rebirth" of Russia. He recalled that before the revolution Aleksandr II's memory was immortalized in monuments in many corners of Russia and now the process of resurrecting these monuments has begun.

The minister said the emperor made a spiritual victory and nowadays it is necessary to return to spiritual ideals, to morals and family values.

The minister also said "the clouds themselves are taking part in the dedication of this monument", commenting on the rain which started just before the unveiling.

Patriarch Aleksiy II blessed the monument and read a devotional prayer to the Tsar Liberator.

"Today we devote this gift to the memory of a man who built up and strengthened our country, and took care of our people... [ellipsis as received] Aleksandr II's contribution was great," the patriarch said.

He said Aleksandr II is particularly revered in Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia. "After the victory near Pleven in Bulgaria [1877 siege against Turks], Aleksandr II became revered as a liberator and for more than 100 years already has been remembered in Bulgarian churches," the patriarch said.

He stressed that a people which does not remember its past does not have a future. "Praise be to God that the times have passed when they tried to deprive us of even our great history, when many names remained unknown and history was presented as an endless series of revolts and revolutions," Aleksiy II said.

The patriarch particularly thanked the sculptor, the architect, the donors, the mayor of Moscow and all those who took part in creating the monument.

Source: RIA news agency, Moscow, in Russian 1202 gmt 7 Jun 05

BBC Mon FS1 FsuPol lb/alk


Copyright 2005 BBC Monitoring Service distributed by United Press International

33
News Links / Russia's Flag: A Tri-color Icon
« on: June 01, 2005, 03:24:01 PM »
Here is the link:

http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20050531/40448941.html

Here is the article:

MOSCOW, (RIA Novosti commentator Anatoly Korolyov) - For the first 500 years of its existence, Russia did not have a coat of arms, or a national flag or anthem.

In the middle ages, instead of a flag, the prince's troops carried a miraculous icon, and before embarking on a campaign or going into battle, the men would usually pray in front of the holy image. When St. Sergi Radonezhsky blessed Prince Dmitry Donsky before the decisive battle with the Tatars, he entrusted the Russian victory to the Virgin Mary.

Holy figures were also depicted on pennants and banners. An image of Christ featured most often. The banner served as a mythical protector or amulet and was called upon to protect the troops with the blessing of the divine power.

Orthodox crosses were sewn on to the banners carried by archers. Mythological creatures, such as griffons, centaurs and unicorns, were depicted on the banners carried by Peter the Great's first foreign regiments. Each regiment had its own mythical beast.

Uncertainty surrounds the origin of the national Russian flag, but the first traditional flag is generally dated to the reign of Peter the Great's father, Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich. The Tsar introduced a tricolor flag, the white, blue and red flag that we know today. The flag was designed for use by the Russian Caspian Fleet. It allowed Russian ships to be distinguished from the Arab and Turkish ships that also sailed in the Caspian Sea. A flag with three stripes was chosen because it was identifiable from long distances. At this time, the tricolor was essentially a signal flag and its colors did not hold particular significance.

Peter the Great adopted this flag in memory of his father. The new tsar wanted to be able to distinguish Russian ships from those of other nations at times of war, and it was with this aim that the flag began to signify statehood. When a ship flew a flag on its mast it signaled that the European norms of civilized war were to be observed: it indicated that the ship belonged to a sovereign state and that the ship itself was to be considered part of the territory of that state.

The Russian word for "flag" is the same as the English word, and derives from the Dutch name for the worsted pure wool fabric "Flagtukh" which due to its durability was used to make naval flags.

In his efforts to turn Russia into a civilized part of Europe, Peter the Great quickly approved several flags for the Russian navy and army. During his reign, a great many flags appeared. Almost every Life Guard Regiment had its own flags. For example, in 1700, the Preobrazhensky Regiment carried 16 standards. However, the symbolic meaning of these military flags was limited.

The tsar was concerned that there was still no national flag. In 1699, out of hundreds of different flags, Peter selected the white, blue and red flag that was usually flown by merchant ships. In so doing, he chose a flag that symbolized goodwill, neighborliness and peace. He correctly judged that it would have been highly inappropriate to choose a military standard as the national flag of Russia.

By now, the colors of the flag had definite symbolic meaning. The Russian national flag was a rectangular flag with three horizontal colored bands: white, blue and red. White represents nobility and duty and is the color of purity. Blue represented loyalty and chastity and was the color of love. Red represented courage and magnanimity and was the color of strength.

Experts in symbolism and mystical interpretation see a deeper meaning in the colors. They see white as symbolizing the rapid passing of time, blue as representing truth, and red as being the color of resurrection. Taken together, the colors signify rule over the Earthly Kingdom in the name of divine truth. The Russian national flag is the symbol of a messianic state, which considers the pursuit of good and truth its national calling. Russian history supports this interpretation of the symbolism of the colors of the flag.

Nicholas I changed the colors of the tricolor introduced by Peter the Great to black, yellow and red. He wanted the flag to share the colors of the Russian coat of arms. The new imperial flag depicted a black double-headed eagle against the golden background of the French shield. On the breast of the heraldic bird was the red coat of arms of Moscow. However, Alexander III restored the previous flag and the white, blue and red tricolor served as the Russian national flag right up until the 1917 revolution.

Following the Bolshevik revolution, the imperial flag and coat of arms were abolished, but the idea of the messianic state persevered. The red flag of the Soviet Union drew on the symbolism of the French revolution, when red signified the blood shed for the ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity. In the USSR the red color took on an additional meaning: it symbolized the rising sun.

On August 22, 1991, (following the attempted coup by the State Committee for the State of Emergency) a Supreme Soviet resolution on the national flag of the RSFSR (Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic) restored the imperial tricolor. A presidential decree confirmed this decision and declared 22 August Russian National Flag Day.

The symbolic meaning of the tricolor has changed slightly. White is seen to be the color of moral purity, the Christian faith and eternity. Blue is the color of truth and the Mother of God, the protector of Russia, the Virgin. Red is the color of strength and life. Taken together, the flag represents the eternal Virgin and the Giver of Life.

And so it could be said that the Russian flag is a kind of abstract icon that depicts, through the symbolism of color, the Mother of God holding the infant Christ.

The Russian flag is one of the flags of the world that declare the supremacy of faith over the state. Other such flags include those of Islamic states, where the color green and the crescent moon represent faith in Allah and his prophet Mohamed. The primary meaning of the star and stripes of the American flag is the unity of all the American states, the creation of a union for the sake of the common ideal of freedom.

Those who are well versed in the symbolism of flags see the row of flags outside the UN headquarters as representing the eternal competition and struggle between nations, ideals and national ambitions. Every country's national flag says something about the beliefs and desires of its people.

Under a special article of the Russian Criminal Code, it is a crime to deliberately damage, or even worse, destroy the flag.

For important state occasions attended by leading politicians, the Russian flag is normally raised to the accompaniment of the national anthem. This ceremony signifies the greatness of the state and speaks of its history.


34
News Links / Russian Textbooks Gloss Over the Bad Stuff
« on: May 30, 2005, 11:59:20 AM »
Here is the link:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/chitribts/20050529/ts_chicagotrib/omittingthepastsdarkerchapters

Full Text is below:



By Alex Rodriguez Tribune foreign correspondent Sun May 29, 9:40 AM ET

Russians remember the Siege of Leningrad--a brutal, 872-day blockade of Russia's second-largest city by Nazi troops that killed 1.7 million people--as a dark, crucial moment in their history. Yet one of the most popular history textbooks in Russian classrooms casually distills the event into a mere four words.


"German troops blockaded Leningrad."

Glaring omissions abound in Nikita Zagladin's textbook, "History of Russia and the World in the 20th Century." The Holocaust is never mentioned. The book barely acknowledges the Gulag labor camps.

And it flits past Russia's 10-year conflict with separatists in
Chechnya, reducing a pivotal episode in modern Russian history to seven paragraphs.

For some Russian academics, Zagladin's penchant for smoothing over the bumps in Russian history is precisely the reason his textbooks have become mainstays in Russian classrooms.

In recent years, authorities have increasingly sought to whip up patriotic fervor among Russians, often at the expense of illuminating Russian history's darker chapters.

Josef Stalin oversaw a murderous regime that killed millions of Russians. But with the country's celebration of the 60th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany, the Georgian-born ruler has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity. The Siberian city of Mirny erected a statue of Stalin earlier this month, calling him "a great son of Russia who gave the people everything he had." The city of Orel recently asked the federal government for permission to change street names to honor Stalin.

It is in Russian classrooms, however, where authorities particularly want a renewed sense of national pride to take root.

When President
Vladimir Putin met with historians at the Russian State Library in late 2003, he stressed that history textbooks should "cultivate in young people a feeling of pride for one's history and one's country."

A month later, Putin asked the Russian Academy of Sciences to scrutinize the country's history textbooks "at the earliest possible date."

At the time, one of the most widely used history texts was Igor Dolutsky's "National History: 20th Century." For years, the book had been favored by teachers for its upfront discussion of sensitive topics, including Stalin's purges, Chechnya and anti-Semitism in Russia.

Dolutsky's textbook also did not shy away from talking about Putin, challenging students to discuss whether the former KGB colonel should be considered an authoritarian leader.

The Kremlin leader's comments were heeded by Education Ministry officials, who suddenly pulled Dolutsky's book from classrooms after having given it their endorsement for seven straight years.

"They said my book was `blackening' Russian history," Dolutsky said during a recent interview. "It was the first prohibition of a textbook in schools in 25 years."

The offending portions

Later, Dolutsky's publisher told him which historical references in the book irked authorities: Stalin's non-aggression pact with Hitler in 1939; Soviet occupation of the Baltic states; the execution of thousands of Polish officers by Russian intelligence agents at Katyn in 1940; Stalin's deportation of legions of Chechens to Kazakhstan in 1944.

"Basically, they were dissatisfied with chapters devoted to Stalin's regime and Putin's leadership," said Dolutsky, 51. "Sections that dealt with [Nikita] Khrushchev and [Mikhail] Gorbachev, they ignored."

Dmitry Ermoltsev, a Moscow teacher who has used Dolutsky's book, said he believes Kremlin attempts to polish the history taught in classrooms simply reflect a national reluctance to examine and learn from low points in Russian history.

"Russians don't like sharp criticism of their country's history--it makes them feel humiliated," Ermoltsev said. "Revising history and history books helps them overcome this discomfort. And Putin reacts to these signals from society."

Dolutsky, who teaches at a private school in Moscow, says his students have little appetite for lectures on human-rights abuses or Stalin's repressions. Recently, when he tried to rouse students into a discussion about the human toll that World War II took on the Soviet Union--26 million Soviet citizens died in the war--they appeared bored.

"Their reaction was, `Let it be 100 million--we don't care about that,'" Dolutsky said. When he explained the war's impact in terms of the number of tanks and fighter planes destroyed, his students sat up in their seats.

"That's what really impressed them," Dolutsky said. "They didn't care about human life, but they cared about equipment."

Should textbooks shame?

Author Zagladin's view of history in the classroom differs radically from Dolutsky's. He agrees with Putin--a history textbook should make a pupil feel proud about Russia. It shouldn't depress, and it shouldn't shame.

"If a young person finishes school and feels everything that happened in this country was bad, he'll get ready to emigrate," Zagladin said during a recent phone interview. "A textbook should provide a patriotic education.

"It's necessary to show Russian youths," Zagladin continued, "that industrial development during the Stalin era was successful, and that the repressions and terror during that era did not touch all of the population."

Zagladin acknowledged making mistakes in "The History of Russia and the World in the 20th Century."

He said he barely mentioned the Siege of Leningrad because he believed he didn't have enough space. In hindsight, he said, "that's my mistake."

He added he should have included material about the Holocaust: "I decided to delete it because, if I mentioned it, I would have had to mention other repressions, also in detail," Zagladin said. "And I didn't have enough space in this book."

Despite such omissions, Zagladin's book has fans. Irina Safanova, a teacher at School 818 in Moscow, called the textbook "a very calm book, which tries to avoid shocking or extreme remarks. It's a strong point of the book.

"History books should not condemn," Safanova said. "It's important to avoid provoking feelings of shame in students."

Zagladin's critics say Russian students do not need to be shamed, merely enlightened about history's darker chapters, especially in a country where the truth has been lacquered over for so many years.

"According to polls, the majority of the population still considers Stalin to have played a positive role in Russian history," said Yuri Samodurov, director of the Andrei Sakharov Museum. "And the problem here is, our schools don't do anything to change this attitude."

35
Imperial Russian History / Witte
« on: March 21, 2005, 02:26:30 PM »
I'm currently reading Witte's memoirs and they are very interesting and entertaining.  But are his memoirs honest?  

He takes a lot of credit for almost everything good that happened and none of the blame for anything bad that happened.  

What do you think of Witte?


36
Imperial Claimants Post Here / DNA from Scrapbook
« on: March 18, 2005, 08:53:23 PM »
 Here's the link:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-1524619,00.html

The article says that a women was trying to buy a few strands of Queen Victoria's hair contained in a scrapbook so she could prove she was a Romanov.  Does anyone know who this woman is and who she claims to be descended from?

37
News Links / Baroness' Scrapbook sought by would-be Romanov
« on: March 18, 2005, 01:33:44 PM »
Here's the link:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-1524619,00.html

The article says that a women was trying to buy a few strands of Queen Victoria's hair contained in a scrapbook so she could prove she was a Romanov.  Does anyone know who this woman is and who she claims to be descended from?

38
Has anyone seen this 1924 Murnau film?

Here's a review from Time Out:

The 1994 restoration confirms that this is indeed a farce by FW Murnau, featuring such uncharacteristic ingredients as a madcap Russian princess, a happy go lucky duke, stolen letters, disguises and the like; and featuring Max Schreck, Nosferatu himself, as a comic revolutionary. Murnau takes it all at a fast clip, combining extensive location shooting with a couple of elaborate studio sets, and bringing off two or three shots which, independent of context, are as haunting as any in the canon. Agreeable yet quite forgettable, except for collectors of directorial anomalies, and Murnau-ites on the hunt for correspondences, gay subtexts, etc. BBa

39
The Imperial Family / The Non-Hetero Royals
« on: January 19, 2005, 12:55:20 AM »
Ok, I'm interested in finding out which members of the IF (and their extended family) may have had non-hetero "relationships" (i.e. affairs) and what their contemporaries thought about it.  (I'm trying to phrase this in such a way so as not to offend anyone.)  Felix was done on another thread, but what about KR, Serge, Ernie, the Kaiser, Dmitri, George, George of Greece, Peter of Oldenburg?  (Did I leave anybody out?) And what about the women?  Ella?  If I was a princess who preferred women and knew I'd have to marry, I might pick someone like Serge...

I'd love to hear about any extant contemporary correspondence on the topic.  I've read KR's diary entires in Passion so there was definitely some kind of nascent subculture going on in St. Petersburg then.  As a gay man, I'd like to find out more about it.

40
Nicholas II / DNA from the Tsar's scarf
« on: December 12, 2004, 02:50:41 AM »
FYI

Posted on AFP Worldwide News Service:


MOSCOW (AFP) - The Romanov family dismissed a Japanese scientist's claim that remains found in a grave in the central city of Yekaterinburg and later enterred in Saint Petersburg were as claimed those of Russia's last tsar, Nicholas II, and his family.


AFP/File Photo

     

"The family itself is not bothered by the opinions of Japanese researchers," Ivan Artsishevsky, a spokesman for the Association of Romanov Family Members in Russia, said on Russia's Echo Moskvi radio station.

"We feel that scientific disputes should be worked out in the scientific arena," he said.

Many questions surrounding identification of the remains were studied in depth by experts on a special state committee before Russia officially accepted the conclusion that they were the remains of Nicholas II and his family while "here we have one researcher saying that he has his own results."

"The family doesn't agree with this," Artsishevsky told the radio station.

His comments came after the Russian Orthodox Church reported Thursday the conclusions of the Japanese research team led by Tatsuo Nagai, the director of the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Kitodzato in Japan.

Nagai's research was based on an analysis of DNA contained in blood and sweat stains on a scarf that the young Tsar Nicholas II was wearing when he was attacked while travelling in Japan around the turn of the last century and preserved in Japan ever since.

Comparison of that DNA with the DNA in the remains showed that they were not those of the late tsar, his wife, and three of the couple's four daughters, all of whom were executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918 a year after their revolution.

After extensive analysis conducted in Russia and abroad, notably in Britain, the remains were officially accepted as authentic by the Russian government in 1998 and were enterred in a ceremony in Saint Petersburg alongside those of other members of the once-ruling Romanov family.

Forensic experts in Britain asserted at the time that the probability that the remains were indeed those of the tsar and his family stood at 99 percent.

The Russian Orthodox Church however has skirted the issue and the head of the church, Patriarch Alexei II, declined to attend the Saint Petersburg ceremony.

41
Has anyone ever seen the film Rasputin and the Empress, which starred the Barrymores?  Any good??

It's the film that Yussopov sued and won a lot of money over.  Does anyone know if it's available on DVD?  Amazon has it on VHS but I'm looking for the DVD version.

Many thanks in advance!

42
News Links / NYT Editorial 10/15/04
« on: October 15, 2004, 04:43:17 PM »
Today's edition of the New York Times has run an editorial about the cannonization of Karl I of Austria by the Catholic church.  The editorial mentions the cannonization of Nicholas II and his family by the Orthodox church.  It says the church bowed to strong popular pressure in cannonizing the Tsar and his family.  I know the Tsar and his family were cannonized but was it done so "under pressure" as the editorial says?


Here is the link to the editorial:

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/15/opinion/15fri3.html


Thanks.

RC

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