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Westminster History Professor Elevated to Russian Imperial Order of St. Anna, Second Class

Posted on Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dr. Russell Martin, Westminster College professor of history, was elevated to the Russian Imperial Order of St. Anna, second class, on Dec. 23 by Her Imperial Highness, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna.

The Grand Duchess is head of all Russian Imperial Orders of Knighthood and heiress to the currently vacant Russian Imperial Throne. Martin was awarded the order in the third class in 2008.

For the past two decades Martin has done various work and assistance for the Russian Imperial House. For the past five years he has been the lead translator (from Russian to English) of Her Imperial Highness's official webpage (, and has completed other translating work as assigned. 

"I recently translated a document for use during the grand duchess's recent visit to Rome to meet with Pope Benedict XVI," Martin said.  "During that meeting, the grand duchess presented to His Holiness a painting by the noted artists Igor Mashkov depicting a scene when one of her relatives, Grand Duke Sergei Aleksandrovich, met with Pope Leo XIII in 1902.  Accompanying the painting was a text describing the composition in the painting and other facts about the scene and the artist, which had originally been composed in Russian, and which I translated into English, a language the Pope reads and speaks fluently.  It was a great thrill to know that my work was useful to the grand duchess during this important visit, and that Pope and his advisors read a text that I had prepared. 

"Although I'm enormously grateful and deeply honored by this award, working for the grand duchess has always been reward enough for me.  The thought that I provide useful assistance to the woman who is the rightful monarch of Russia is pretty exciting and very humbling." 

Martin is writing a new book on the Romanov laws of succession and hopes to complete it by 2013, in time for the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the ascension of the House of Romanov on the Russian throne.

Martin, who has been with Westminster since 1996, earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a master's and Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Martin appeared on A&E Biography in a broadcast on Ivan the Terrible as an expert on the controversial ruler. He is the co-founder of the Muscovite Biographical Database, a Russian-American computerized register based in Moscow of early modern Russian notables. The Neville Island, Pa., native is not only fluent in Russian, but also reads Old Church Slavonic/Russian, French, German, Latin, and Polish.

Contact Martin at (724) 946-6254 or e-mail for additional information.

Dr. Russell Martin
Order of St. Anna medal
Meeting with Pople Benedict XVI