Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Popularity of the Romanovs

Today. To quote the New York Times:
A replica of Russia’s grand imperial crown, made of nearly 11,500 diamonds, will be on display in Moscow until early January at the State Historical Museum near Red Square, the latest of dozens of exhibitions across Russia devoted to the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Romanov dynasty.

The exhibitions are on a wide range of subjects related to the dynasty, which came to power with the election of Mikhail Romanov in 1613, and ended with the execution of Czar Nicholas II and his family in 1918.  On Saturday an exhibition called “Sports and the Romanov Family” opens in Sochi, the Black Sea resort city that will be hosting the Winter Olympics in February.  The overriding theme, however, has been the glory of the Russian state under the Romanovs, and its links to Russia today.

In November, a high-tech exhibition at the Manege hall near the Kremlin wall was attended by President Vladimir V. Putin and drew more than 300,000 visitors during its three-week run. It highlighted the Romanovs’ achievements, and underscored the dangers of revolt.

References to Mr. Putin scattered through the exhibition drew fire from critics who said the show was intended to give historical credence to what some see as his czar-like tendencies.  The exhibition ended with a banner displaying a quote from a much-cited speech in September.  “Too often in our nation’s history, instead of opposition to the government we have been faced with opponents of Russia itself,” Mr. Putin said.  “And we know how it ended, with the demolition of the state as such.”

The Manege exhibition was organized by Archimandrite Tikhon Shevkunov, the abbot of Moscow’s Sretensky Monastery, who has a reputation for being close to Mr. Putin. It is scheduled to travel to several Russian cities. Vladimir Medinsky, Russia’s culture minister, has said that it might eventually become a permanent exhibition in Moscow.  Nicholas II, his wife and five children were canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in 2000 as “passion bearers” for their “humbleness, patience and meekness” during their imprisonment and execution by the Bolsheviks. (Read more.)

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