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A Tale of Two Julys

A Tale of Two Julys

One of Greenans most popular items is our 1913 Romanov Tercentenary urn. The Romanov tercentenary was celebrated to mark 300 years of the Romanov dynasty and used as a public relations vehicle to validate autocratic rule under Nicholas II.

The urn is a grand two feet in height emblazoned with the Romanov seal. It is interesting to consider the market for such a contentious object. Some might view it as romantic, others as a symbol of liberation from despotic cruelty. We have only to juxtapose two Julys during the Russian Revolution to examine the audience perspective. 


July 1917

One man with a gun can control 100 without one. - Vladimir Lenin

In mid-July 1917, the Bolsheviks or “Reds” saw opportunity in harnessing the power of the peaceful mass demonstrations of disgruntled workers and soldiers in Petrograd. However, the Bolsheviks lacked committee consensus in exciting the 500,000 marchers to riotous tipping point.

The Bolshevik’s window lost, the provisional government solidified their position by gaining control of the local garrisons. The July Days failure culminated in the arrest of Trotsky and other Bolshevik committee members. Meanwhile, Vladimir Lenin escaped to Finland accused of conspiring with Germany to overthrow the provisional government. The Bolsheviks would have to wait till October to gain power.

July 1918

There is no justice among men. - Nicholas II of Russia

A year later, at midnight, July 17, 1918, the Bolsheviks murdered the Romanov family in the basement of Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg. The family was shot, bayoneted and clubbed to death.

In 2000, the Russian Orthodox Church canonized the family.