Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


SOMETIMES I encounter fascinating things even before they occur. Precognition? Or just stumbling into the right place at an earlier time? Recently here at SimanaitisSays I’ve mentioned the fall of Tsar Nicholas II, Saint Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre and the separation of church and state.

This time around, my tale includes the Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich, the ballerina Matilda Kshesinskaya, a Russian movie scheduled for release in October 2017, and complications already accompanying it. The story, fake news and all, is complex enough to warrant two days’ recounting at SimanaitisSays.

Aleksei Y. Uchitel is the director of Matilda, a movie about ballerina Kshesinskaya’s love affair with the man who would become Nicholas II. Image by Max Avdeed from The New York Times, June 4, 2017.

The movie, Matilda, already has two trailers out there, one with a fleeting glimpse of a female breast, the other without this searing exhibition of Russian sexuality.

Truth is, either trailer makes it look like a pretty good flick.

The hubbub in Russian kulturna pits Putin and his apparently born-again Russian Orthodox values against an artistic community that recalls Soviet control. The more this is examined, the more entertaining it becomes.

One of the movie’s principal opponents is Natalia Poklonskaya, a member of the Russian State Duma and quite a dish. Indeed, her Internet popularity in Japan and China went viral in 2014, even to anime portraitures of her in her Prosecutor General uniform. Her images continue to rate high in Ukraine and Russian web searches (and now mine).

Natalia Vladimirovna Poklonskaya, Crimea-born 1980, Deputy of the State Duma of Russia, former Prosecutor General of the Republic of Crimea. Image from

Ms. Poklonskaya, deeply religious, headed up a four-person panel reviewing the film Matilda. The New York Times cites that the panel’s 40-page report “proclaimed that Matilda denigrated Nicholas’s image, not least because Kshesinskaya was judged far too ‘ugly’ to have attracted his attention.” The report continues, “You can see in photographs her crooked teeth and the form of her face that makes her look like a rat.”

Mathilda-Marie Feliksovna Kshesinskya, 1872–1971, Russian ballerina, mistress of Tsarevich Nicholas, later wife of his cousin Grand Duke Andrei Vladimirovich.

Whereas Kshesinskaya may not rate with Poklonskaya’s dishiness, I’d hardly call her ratlike.

For completeness, here are a couple of Ms. Poklonskaya’s anime portraits. Images from

The New York Times continues “Although the affair is well documented in personal letters from both protagonists in the state archives, the report called their liaison a ‘myth.’ ”

Ms. Poklonskaya has also gone on record saying a Crimean bust of Nicholas II oozed fragrant myrrh this year on the 100th anniversary of his overthrow.

“This is a miracle that neither scientists nor anybody else can explain,” she said in a TV interview. “Our sovereigns are helping us. They died for us so that we can make Russia flourish and great.”

Make Russia … great. There’s the making of a good slogan there.

In seeking to have Matilda banned, Ms. Poklonskaya said further, “What does this film bring? Does it teach patriotism, our family values, fidelity?”

Golly, what a perfect trifecta for a president.

Tomorrow, I’ll continue my Matilda film review. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2017

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