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Having Fun! / Re: Just to put this out there...Romanov style!
« on: November 22, 2018, 05:35:36 PM »
From the Russo-French author Andreï Makine's reception speech in l'Académie française in 2016, about Peter the Great's visit to France and a sweet observation on adults speaking a second language encountering children speaking their first language:

Le tsar embrassa aussi le petit Louis XV, âgé de sept ans. Le géant russe tomba amoureux de l’enfant-roi, sans doute percevant en ce garçonnet un contraste douloureux avec son propre fils, Alekseï, indigne des espoirs paternels. Mais peut-être fut-il touché, comme nous le sommes tous, quand nous entendons un tout jeune enfant parler librement une langue, pour nous étrangère, et dont nous commençons à aimer les vocables. Oui, cette langue française qui allait devenir, bientôt, pour les Russes, la seconde langue nationale.

Research Russian Roots / Re: A little help please!
« on: November 22, 2018, 04:28:37 PM »
I am saddened to report that my father Oleg Nicolaevich Usov passed away earlier this year on 4/1/2018 after a illness lasting a year and a half.
The doctors thought at time of diagnosis(stomach cancer) he would only last 3 months.
Dad was a fighter and he struggled on being determined to live to August 2018. Unfortunately he didn't make it.

I found out only at his funeral that he had been a marine engineer in Russia and was part of a special team that designed the first torpedo submarine.

My condolences.
Your father sounded like an enigma! How old was he? If he was a cadet in Imperial Russia, as per earlier posts in this thread, he must have been about 120 years old!

Books about the Romanovs and Imperial Russia / Re: Upcoming Books 2018
« on: November 05, 2018, 07:31:38 AM »
Russia: Art, Royalty and the Romanovs

The histories of the British and Russian royal families have been entwined for centuries. In the first publication to examine the relationship between Britain and Russia using artworks drawn exclusively from the Royal Collection, Russia: Art, Royalty and the Romanovs interweaves the familial, political, diplomatic, and artistic stories of these two nations over more than four hundred years.

Pandering to the Russian oligarchs across the park in Kensington? I find it quite ironic that they don't start the story with two neighbouring German dynasties (Hannover and Holstein) each succeeding to the powerful thrones of Britain and Russia in the 18th century.

Their World and Culture / Re: Titles, Ranks and Forms of Address
« on: November 04, 2018, 11:15:20 AM »
Apparently there is a book called "Что непонятно у классиков, или Энциклопедия русского быта XIX века" (What you don’t understand in the classics, or Encyclopedia of Russian daily life in the 19th century), published in 1998 by Yuri Fedosyuk, which could in come in hand for anyone researching the Romanovs and their world. Here is an excerpt about forms of adress which is quite informative and translates well into English with Google Translate.

Having Fun! / Re: Russian Music
« on: November 04, 2018, 09:48:39 AM »
Russian version of the Perestroyka & Glasnost / German "Wende" / Fall of the Berlin Wall / End of the Cold War anthem "Wind of Change" by (the German band) The Scorpions, sung by Scorpions singer Klaus Meine in quite bad Russian:

(There is also a German version, by the operatic band Adoro:

Imperial Russian History / Re: Pre revolution spoken Russian
« on: November 04, 2018, 09:12:54 AM »
Yeah, this compressing and merging of words is getting dangerously close to Newspeak (Newspeak was the language spoken in George Orwell's novel 1984, for example, Ministry Of Truth was Minitrue).

Interestingly this happened already in Imperial Russia and led to a distinct ancien-régime linguistic phenomena:

The terms государь / государыня (lord / lady) were first shortened to сударь / сударыня, then су when used as terms of adress (to superiors). Then eventually only the first c (s) (сЪ in pre-Revolutionary spelling) sound of the word was kept, as a suffix showing respect, and added to words such as yes, no, please, verbs etc.  Much in the same way as "yes, sir / yessir" and "please, ma'am" in English.

They are no longer in active use in Russian. (Already in the decades before the Revolution the usage had become self-humiliatingly servile, über-polite or ironic.) But it can still pop up as relicts in Russian, usually for humourous effect or as an ancien-régime feature, as seen in this commercial for Bank Imperial from the 1990s:
The dialogue goes as follows:
Обед у императрицы Екатерины II в последний день Рождественского поста.
Едят все, кроме полководца Суворова.
— А что это у нас граф Суворов ничего не ест, а? — спрашивает императрица
— Так ведь пост, матушка. До первой звезды нельзя. Ждём-с, — отвечает Суворов.
Все прекращают есть, но Екатерина находит выход: «Звезду Суворову Александру Васильевичу!».
Dinner at the Empress Catherine II on the last day of the Nativity Fast.
Everybody is eating, except Commander Suvorov.
- And what about our Count Suvorov, he doesn't eat, huh? - asks the Empress
- After the fast, mother-dear. Untill the first star [is visible]. We are waiting, ma'am, Suvorov answers.
Everyone stops to eat, but Catherine finds a way out: "A star for Suvorov, Alexander Vasilyevich!"

I'm not quite sure if it's historically correct to have a courtier adress the Empress as матушка / mother-dear / little mother, but the s-ending in "ждём-c" or "ждёмc" corresponds perfectly to English "[we are] waiting, ma'am". I interpret the joke as the Empress conferring an order on Suvorov just to have him join in the feast.

More about the phenomena in the Russian Wikipedia: Словоерс

Imperial Russian History / Re: Pre revolution spoken Russian
« on: November 03, 2018, 10:07:05 PM »
He speaks fluent Russian but like a person whose first language is different - French and/or German. His advanced - to say the least - age is also well perceived in his speech.

What do you think gives off the foreign vibe? Melody / stress / intonation or level of palatalisation of consonants? Does his accent have any traits of the ancien-régime Petersburgian accent?

What is your opinion of the accent in this alleged voice recording of Alexander III?

Imperial Russian History / Re: Pre revolution spoken Russian
« on: November 02, 2018, 04:52:03 PM »
Thank you all three, for your answers. Seems like the hunt for sound proof (in both senses of the word) of that elusive pre-Revolutionary accent of the FA's Tante Lilly and others continues, à la Proust and his evocations of the ancien-régime French of the family cook Françoise and the Duchesse de Guermantes.

Here are interviews in Russian with a 106 year old aristocrat who learned to speak in Imperial Russia (and even allegedly was spoken to by Nicholay II as a toddler), Baron Eduard Alexandrovich von Falz-Fein:

His accent does sound a bit different to my ears, more clear compared to modern Russian. Can anyone elaborate?

He has a very interesting biography:

Russian Noble Families / Re: Tables of Russian Nobility
« on: October 31, 2018, 08:27:22 PM »
I asume that I mean that 6 sections of nobility. This as in Almanach de Gotha 2012 is mentioned in Volume I on page 336 that "According to the Tables of Russian Nobility (Part V), both Maria Vladimirovna and Nicholas Romanovitch ... are the issue of mothers of equal rank and previously by dynasts of equal rank".

That doesn't quite make sense. This stuff concerns the nobility, not members of the imperial family. There were no regulations about equal rank in marriage for nobles, like the Pauline / Fundamental Laws had for the imperial family. Maybe the Almanach de Gotha meant that the mothers of these two pretenders belonged to category V of the Russian nobility. But if they did, and not to foreign, mediatized sovereign houses (as was claimed with regard to Maria Vladimirovna's mother), then they would not be considered of equal rank, according to the Pauline / Fundamental Laws.

Imperial Succession and the Throne / Re: Prince Andrew Romanov
« on: October 31, 2018, 03:09:23 PM »
He sure has an interesting war service going for him and which would make him sympathetic in the eyes of Russians, which I didn't know about. From Wikipedia:

In 1942, at the height of World War II, he entered the British Navy. He refused to accept an officer's post, preferring to be a simple sailor. He served on the light cruiser HMS Sheffield under the command of Admiral Sir Cecil Harcourt. He took part in the Arctic convoys and often sailed to Murmansk, where he performed the duties of an interpreter. Prince Andrew Andreevich became the first of the Romanovs to visit Russia after the revolution and the overthrow of their dynasty.

Russian Noble Families / Re: Tables of Russian Nobility
« on: October 31, 2018, 02:52:43 PM »
What are the Tables of Russian Nobility? I am especially interested in Part V.

Not quite sure what you mean by "Tables of Russian nobility".

According to this Russian Wikipedia page on the noble genealogical books I wrote about in the post above, they had six sections:
1. Families ennobled by imperial decree.
2. Families ennobled by military service. (Table of ranks.)
3. Families ennobled by civil service. (Table of ranks.)
4. Naturalized foreign noble families.
5. Titled noble families.
6. Ancient noble families whose origins predate the Petrine reforms.

or the Table of Ranks? See

Russian Noble Families / Re: von Nybeck
« on: October 25, 2018, 03:16:23 PM »
It is not in the "Annualaire" or Annual Book of the Nobility of the Russian Empire for 1889.

Not a surprise, if you mean "Annuaire de la noblesse de Russie, contenant les princes de l'empire, augmenté d'un grand nombre de notices sur les familles alliées" by Roman Ivanovich Ermerin. The untitled nobility was huge, compared to the few families showing up in such a mondain work of reference.

The Windsors / Re: Princess Eugenie of York
« on: October 18, 2018, 04:53:07 PM »
Russians noticed her similarity to the painting "Царевна-Лебедь" - the Swan Princess by Mikhail Vrubel on her wedding day:

Having Fun! / Re: Just to put this out there...Romanov style!
« on: October 13, 2018, 01:38:55 PM »
I just read a description of the flamboyant German designer (and royalty fan) Harald Glööckler as "teleshopping king and fashion czar" and suddenly I imagined that his style and behaviour probably is quite similar to Tsar Ferdinand of Bulgaria's!
Judge for yourself: YouTube:Zu Besuch bei Harald Glööckler | Krause kommt

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