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Apparantly, in one of his famous YouTube videos, psychology professor and modern alt-right guru Jordan B. Peterson urges people to try to understand the revolutions, genocides, world wars and totalitarian regimes of the 20th century not by trying to put themselves in the place of the victims, as is most often done in education, literature, movies, museums etc., but in the place of the perpetrators, like a gulag or concentration camp guard. Only when you reflect upon your own possible voluntary or involuntary involvement on the "bad side" will you begin to grasp the horror of it - that it actually happened!

Does anyone know in which particular video he talks about this?

I'm excited about the news about a Norwegian TV series about Crown Princess Märtha's exile in the US during WW2, including her close relationship with President Roosevelt!

Filming will start this autumn and the series will air on NRK in 2020. The production tema has spent six years researching whether Märtha had an affair with Roosevelt. She was anyways the person he spent the most time with / upon during the entire WW2!

The series is called "Alt for Norge" - All / everything for Norway (the mottos of her father-in-law, her husband and her son). I'm very much looking forward to a series featuring a relationship between a Norwegian royal and a patrician Knickerbocker!

Imperial Russian History / Were Lenin's Peasants Muslims?
« on: October 04, 2017, 11:58:29 AM »
I noticed from its Wikipedia article that the village connected with Lenin's (maternal) family estate, Lenino-Kokushkino (originally Kokushkino, in Tatar Apaqay), has a mosque, in addition to a church (a ruined old one and a new one, it seems). Quite logical, as it is located in Tatarstan, just outside of Kazan, with a majority of Tatar inhabitants. My question is thus: Were the peasants on Lenin's estate Muslims or is the mosque a recent addition because of demographic changes?

If this is the mosque it doesn't look that old:

(Lenin also briefly owned the estate Alakaevka in Samara Guberniya, bought for him by his mother, but it was later sold and was not in a Muslim area).

Having Fun! / Swole corps des pages - literally
« on: August 02, 2017, 07:18:42 AM »
Queen EII's grand-nephew and former page and train carrier Arthur Chatto has announced to the world via Instagram how he has beefed up and become buff. See
The best comment is:
Это ж сколько весит её шлейф, если паж в такой форме?!
How much does her train weigh, if her page is in such shape?!

(Note that the Russian word for "train" in this context is шлейф, directly from German Schleif.)

The father of Grand Duke Nikolay Konstantinovich's morganatic spouse, Nadezhda Alexandrovna Dreyer was Chief of Police in Orenburg Alexander Gustavovich (von) Dreyer and her mother was Sophia Ivanovna Opanovskaya, according to the Russian Wikipedia. From this database of foreigners in pre-Revolutionary Russia we see that her father was a Baltic German. This is her grandfather Gustav von Dreyer, apparantly an auditor and estate owner in the Narva area.

The name of the estate, Slepow Koniec / Slepov Konez / Slepov Konyets, seems elusive, though. It's probably not in Estonia, as it doesn't sound like (Germanized or Russified) Estonian at all. It's probably in the St. Petersburg Governate. In Russian Слепов конец means something like End of the Blind. One the Russian Wikipedia definitions of конец is:
устаревшая единица территориального деления населённого пункта, охватывающая одну или несколько улиц (ремесленный конец, рыбацкий конец). Как правило, такое деление возникало в небольших посёлках и городках и позже становилось тем или иным районом.
an old unit of territorial division of settlements, covering one or more streets (craftsmen's end, fishermen's end). As a rule, such a division arise in settlements and small towns, and later became this or that district.

So a division of a village or small town called "Blind End", meaning it was inhabited by blind people or was a dead end would seem possible. There are two villages in Leningradskaya Oblast called simply Конец today, both situated southeast and east of Lake Ladoga, but it doesnt look like it's any of them.

I just came across the interesting fact that the dubious Okhrana commander in Kishinev during the infamous pogrom in 1903 was a certain Baron Лаврентий Николаевич (фон) Левендаль - Lavrentiy Nikolayevich (von) Levendal / Løvendahl. A website about his son Baron George Levendal / Löwendal, a Romanian scene designer, makes it clear that they are descendants of the Danish Danneskjold-Løvendahl family, morganatic descendants of Ulrik Fredrik Gyldenløve, the morganatic bastard son of King Frederik III of Denmark. But based on online sources I can't find the missing between these last Løvendals and earlier Løvendals:

Fredrik III, King of Denmark
Count Ulrik Fredrik Gyldenløve
Baron Valdemar Ulrik von Løvendal
Count Ulrik Frederik Valdemar Løvendal / von Löwendal / de Lowendal, Marshall of France, Imperial Russian Governor of Reval / Estonia. Only surviving male descendants lived in France.

Baron Nikolay-Gustav von Løvendal / Левендаль, Mayor of Kovrov in the Vladimir Guberniya, according to a Russian source a nephew of Marshall Løvendal.
5 sons who all joined the Imperial Russian Navy and reached high ranks: Alexander, Fyodor, Karl, Roman and Lavrentiy Nikolayevich von Løvendal / Левендаль.

Baron Lavrentiy Nikolayevich von Løvendal / Левендаль, captain / rotmistr, Okhrana commander, born 1878, too young (by two generations) to be the same Lavrentiy Nikolayevich as above, and born in Vladivostok instead of by the Baltic, but possibly a grandson?
Baron George Lavrentyevich Löwendal, Romanian scene designer.

I would be grateful if anyone can fill out the gaps!

The Norwegian movie "Kongens nei" = The King's No, recently premiered and I've just watched it. It's about the events of the 9th, 10th and 11th April 1940, the German invasion of Norway, the flight of monarch, government and parliament under German bombardment and the negociations about whether to offer futile resistance, leading to Norwegians being killed or settle for a good deal with the Germans. Haakon VII is faced with an Ibsenesque choice between tragic, principled heroïsm or sensible, placid mediocracy and the movie tells the story extremely well, with all the details as correct as possible, including 1/3 of the movie's dialogues being in German and King Haakon VII himself played by a Danish-speaking actor. Thanks to the movie using royal biographer Tor Bomann-Larsen as an advisor. The differences both in the Norwegian and German camps are fully showcased, making it a balanced, yet gripping tale of heroism, far removed from the insipid revisionism of for example "The King' Speech". Let's hope it also gets an internation release. In the meantime - here is the international trailer:

Research Russian Roots / The Origins of the Comital? de Witt Family
« on: August 01, 2016, 08:31:33 AM »
On another, Francophone forum I frequent we discussed the genealogy of Count Serge de Witt, husband of Princess Marie Clotilde Bonaparte in 1938. He was born in Moscow the 30 December 1891 and served as a Lieutenant in the 12th Regiment of Lancers (Belgorodskiy - Белгородский 12-й уланский полк?), became a Captain in the Cavalry in 1918 and was an aide-de-camp of Marshall Mannerheim after the Revolution. His parents were Oscar de Witt, with the chin rank Imperial Russian Councillor of State, and Lydia de (von) Fidler (Fiedler?).

As you can see from the comments in this thread about the recent marriage of one of his descendants, there are many conflicting claims about the origin of these Russian de Witts with an obviously Dutch surname and their comital title. See Does anyone happen to know for sure if they hailed from the Netherlands, Belgium or France (and were related to the Guizots?). NB they were not related to Count Witte, whose name and background (Baltic Germans) were different. There seems to have been an Austrian Von Fiedler a family, maybe it's the same as his mother's? And was his comital title real (granted by which monarch?) or just assumed?

I have already written to the Musée Napoléon de la Pommerie in the Dordogne, owned by his de Witt descendants, and asked the same.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Having Fun! / Игра в слова - Word Game
« on: August 31, 2015, 04:41:38 AM »
What about a word game where one person writes a not too obscure Russian word and a respondent who recognizes the word translates it into English and comes up with a new word.

News Links / Tsarist Submarine Makes Waves in Sweden
« on: July 28, 2015, 09:14:21 AM »
Swedish divers wreck hunting thought they had discovered a shipwrecked Russian spying submarine in the Stockholm Archipelago, "with a name in Cyrillic letters", possibly with its crew still alive and trapped inside. But research revealed it was the submarine Сомъ (= Catfish) of the Imperial Russian Navy (though originally US-built), which had sunk 99 years ago after a collision with a Swedish steamer.

The dead giveaway that it was pre-revolutionary: The name on the side was spelled Сомъ (with the hard sign, ъ, which was mandatory at the end of every word ending in a hard consonant untill the Bolshevikhs abolished the rule. And funnily enough, without the ъ it wouldn't necessarily have been obvious to the divers that Сом(ъ) was a Russian name in Cyrillic letters.) See

Russian media can once again laugh at the Swedes, who get caught up in a panic and shout "Russian submarine - Putin's coming for us!" every time they see something unfamiliar on or in the Baltic. Last time it turned out it was a "party submarine" rented out by an event firm..... And this time it turned out to be Nicholas II - coming to get the Germans!

Having Fun! / Drunk lika Russian
« on: June 19, 2015, 08:03:23 PM »
Im drunk like a good Russian, end of school year, found my way home all by muself, warm and fuzzy nighy, all good, God its good to be drunk and happy in y own bed! Cheers!

Having Fun! / Pytanie do Polaków - Question for Poles
« on: October 20, 2014, 02:55:53 PM »
Do you know any good Polish-language royalty blogs? (Preferably not just focusing on the Romanovs, but reigning royal families.)

Dziękuję bardzo!

Interesting German genealogical site about her home hamlet:

The site says the following about Borreck / Borek (including Borrowilaß / Borowy Las and Wilhelmshöhe / Wydmuchowo) in 1905:
Unter der slawischen Bevölkerung hatte sich der kassubische Kleinadel weitgehend erhalten. Augenscheinlich hatte er sich bei fortgesetzten Erbteilungen sehr vermehrt. Davon zeugen die unzähligen Ausbauten, die sich über die gesamte Feldflur von Borreck erstreckten. Es scheint so, als wenn beim Anteil C von 1773 der Besitz immer in derselben Familie geblieben ist. Ein Besitzer von Dombrowski wohnte noch in einem Abbau nördlich von Borreck, direkt an der Gowidlinoer Grenze, und betrieb eine gutgehende Landwirtschaft. Andere Vertreter des Kleinadels, die in Borreck wohnten: von Pichowski, von Dullak, von Daleki, von Mach, von Domaros, von Jerzewski, von Czenstkowski, von Chrzanowski, von Gruchalla, von Wyszecki, von Lublewski;

Compared to other countries, Poland had a very high percentage of nobles among its population. In the immense Russian Empire half of the registered nobility were Polish szlachcice, often quite impoverished ones.

According to the clan-based Polish heraldry, Czenstkowscy can claim the Pobóg* arms:
(* The meaning of the armorial clan name kind of reminds me of the typical Anglo-Norman noble surname Bigod!)

In contrast the local lords of the manor of Wilhelmshöhe (today: Borek Kamienny / Kamiany Bórk), perhaps Franciszka Czenstkowska's first glimpse into the world of the real, affluent gentry, were bourgeois Germans called Müller, Putzig and Strehlow.

Having Fun! / Loooong Russian words and names you have trouble remembering
« on: February 14, 2014, 09:52:04 AM »
Some Russian words and names (Romanov-related and others) are really difficult to remember, because they are so long. Do you have any examples and good tricks to remember them?

I always have trouble remembering these ones:
The name of the late Tsarist eminence grise, the Procurator of the Holy Synod: Победоносцев / Pobyedonostsyev. It became easier when I found out that it is derived from победa, victory.
The same with the Romanov film: Венценосная семья / Ventsenosnaya sem'ya. I always remember the beginning of the word because I know that венок is wreath, diadem, but the adjectival ending is hard. And if I remember it correctly I usually misspell it, because I can't seem to get used to "ts" being one letter: ц! (The same with "ya" / я BTW.)
And Aнглийская набережная / Angliyskaya naberezhnaya / English Embankment was also hard untill I discovered that берег is shore, then it makes more sense! OMG, as I write this I see that it's probably a cognate to bridge, Brücke, bryggja! Thank Wothan for Indo-European cognates!

I am also trying to remember the correct full form of CCCR: Союз Социалистических Советских Республик. I am improving, but get some little detail wrong every time!
The same with KGB: Комитет Государственной Безопасности. Bezopasnosti.....hard!

Do you have entertaining and informative examples?

I was wondering if anyone knows of any marriages between (titled) exiled descendants of the old aristocracy and rich Russian oligarchs or their families? Is there too much mutual disdain and contempt between these two groups or could for example a Russian oligarch be interested in marrying his daughter to a baron, count or prince? After all, both money and titles become more glamourous and fashionable when they are combined......

I started wondering along these lines when thinking about Grand Duke Georgiy Mikhailovich working for Norilsk Nickel and thus hobnobbing with the oligarchs. I think it's just as likely that he marries an oligarch's daughter and restores the Romanovs' social position in Russia than an equal marriage to a European aristocrat of far more moderate means with the sole purpose of keeping the Vladimirovichi's dubious pretension legitimate.

As far as I can see British celebrity (Countess) Alexandra Tolstoy has a liaison and several children with the oligarch Sergey Pugachev, but of course no titles will be transferred this way.
Imagine if Kseniya Sobchak, daughter of the St. Petersburg mayor who welcomed Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich back to Russia in 1991, and described as a Russian Paris Hilton in appearance, but with a political career in the opposition, would marry a baron, count, prince or even GD Georgiy!

One obstacle I can see hindering this is that several oligarchs are Jewish.

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