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What is the Legacy of the Last Romanov Family: Myth vs. Truth
Despite the captivating myths about the last Romanov family’s legacy, like the Grand Duchess Anastasia and Czarevitch Alexei’s escape, the rumors and intentions of Grigori Rasputin and the Romanov Massacre conspiracy, the facts may prove otherwise.
Multiple rumors have created a fantastical legacy pertaining to the last Romanov family. Although some parts may dabble in the truth, most of the stories have been distorted creating a false history.
One of the many famous Romanov myths was the escape of the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia and Grand Duke Alexei Nikolaevich, Czarevitch of Russia from their execution. Anastasia and Alexei (Alexis/Aleksey/Aleksei) were the children of Czar Nicholas Nikolay Alexandrovich II of Russia (1868-1918) and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna (Alix of Hesse) of Russia (1872-1918). After the October Revolution (1917) Anastasia and Alexei, their immediate family and their four servants were taken prisoner in the Ipatiev house in Yekaterinburg (Ekaterinburg). On July 17, 1917 the Bolsheviks (an organization of professional revolutionaries very similar to communists) took the family to the cellar where they were viciously gunned down. Since Alexei was wearing a diamond- studded vest and Anastasia had sewn diamonds and jewels into her and her siblings’ corsets, the jewels, acting as a bullet- proof vest, could have saved them from sudden death or even death altogether. Originally, there was some doubt as to which family members had died at Ekaterinburg. Therefore rumors had surfaced that the Grand Duchess and Czarvitch could have possibly survived. Anastasia and Alexei were thought to have faked their death and lay amongst the dead bodies of their family members. They then would have been able to make their escape with the help of a sympathetic guard, who may or may not have been a coconspirator. He may have in fact, rescued them from the corpses after noticing that they were still alive. They were reported to have been seen in Bulgaria, and therefore the survival of Anastasia and her younger brother Czarevitch Alexei seemed possible. In 1953, Peter Zamiatkin, who was a member of the guard of the Russian Imperial Family, had told a sixteen year old associate in a hospital that he had taken Anastasia and Alexei to his hometown near Odessa at the request of the Czar. After the assassination of the rest of the imperial family; Zamiatkin fled with the children via ship, sailing from Odessa to Alexandria. Anastasia and Alexei were believed to have lived the remainder of their lives in Gabarevo, a Bulgarian town, under false identities.
Another myth was about the strange Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin. Rumors spread far and wide across the different regions of Russia having to do with the intentions and manner of Rasputin. The rumors first occurred when Rasputin had come to the aid of Czarevitch Alexei. Not many knew that the only heir to the Romanov throne was a hemophilic, and due to the lack of medical science, not much could have been done. Rasputin was rumored to have the ability to heal through prayer and was able to give the Czarevitch some help and relief, even though the doctors were insisting that his fate would be an early death. Every time the Czarevitch had an injury which caused him any type of external (or internal) bleeding, the Empress called upon Rasputin, and the Czarevitch accordingly got better. This made it seem as though Rasputin had some sort of healing powers. Because of this the Empress and Czar started calling him “our friend” and a “holy man,” it was a sign of trust from the family. But Rasputin had a very strong personal bond and political influence on Alexandra. The family starting considered him a man of god and a religious prophet. Alexandra started to believe that God spoke to her through Rasputin. The people of Russia did not like the way he lived and acted and they especially did not like the fact the he was so close to the royal family and the peoples’ government, they thought he had too much power. Many rumors sprung up that he was having an affair with the Empress and not only seducing the Empress but also the four grand duchesses. Rumor had it he was a creature of the night, not mortal at all, but a satyr; some believe he wasn’t even a man of god, but instead a man of Satan. He was a very elusive person and because of Rasputin’s action the country of Russia and its people were losing trust in the royal family, which was a major reason for its downfall.
Another myth is of Rasputin and Empress Alexandra and their supposed affair and plot to help Germany take over Russia. Rasputin wasn’t well liked or looked upon highly, but since he was helping Czarevitch Alexei with his hemophilia Alexandra trusted him and thought of him as a dear friend. The Russian people could not understand why the Empress of all Imperial Russia could befriend such a man, so rumors started about the Empress having an affair with Rasputin. Also, the Empress was of German origin, and at the time Russia and Germany had their “disagreements”, so people started to link the country going downhill with the Empress. They blamed her and suspected she was some sort of German agent working together with Rasputin to tear down Imperial Russia.
The last of the myths was about the Romanov Massacre. Within the Romanov Massacre Conspiracy there are many other sub-conspiracies. The murder of the Romanovs was a very scandalous and vulgar situation. One of the popular myths told to foreigners was the murder of the Romanovs at the Alexander Palace. Czar Nicholas II was throwing a Grand ball celebrating three hundred years of Romanov rule over Russia. Rasputin told the Empress Alexandra that a revolution shall break out that same night and the family will be murdered, after Rasputin himself was murdered. As Rasputin had said the Russian Revolution had broken out and the Bolsheviks broke into the royal palace. Czar Nicholas II was the first one to die, he was shot in the head and chest protecting Empress Alexandra who was gunned down next. The servants, cooks, and various other people within the palace were gunned down. Then, Grand Duchess Olga was shot in the chest once, the jewels sewn into her gown kept her from dying immediately but she didn’t survive the next wave of gunfire. Grand Duchesses Maria and Tatiana were chased down a hall into a corner where they were viciously stabbed to death with bayonets. Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna (Empress Consort of Russia) managed to take Grand Duchess Anastasia and Czarevitch Alexei out of a servants’ door and escape the palace. They managed to escape to a local railway, and took a train to Paris where they could be out of harm’s way
These rumors created by the people have floated about for many generations becoming twisted stories and fantasies pertaining to the Romanov family. Nevertheless, all stories have some truth to them, and the truth must be exposed.
The following facts will reveal what had really happened all those years ago during the reign of the last Imperial family of Russia, and will prove all of these stories to be nothing but fabrication.
There were many imposters claiming to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia and Czarevitch Alexei but there was always science and reason to prove their stories otherwise. The most famous was Anna Anderson, who impersonated the Grand Duchess Anastasia. Anna Anderson wasn’t actually her real name; it was Franziska Schanzkowska. She was a Polish girl who lived in Berlin and worked in a local factory and, ironically, could only speak German and knew no Russian languages. Franziska was working in a factory in Berlin when she attempted suicide, but failed. She was brought to a mental hospital where she would not admit who she was till finally giving the false name Anna Anderson and claiming to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia. She told many people that she had escaped her “family’s” murder and fled to Berlin to live out her life in secrecy. She managed to convince some of the Czar’s remaining family members and friends that she was in fact the Grand Duchess; some were convinced, others were not. She had a stub toe problem just like Anastasia, a similar ear and a triangle foot which could be explained as being caused by a bayonet stab during her escape from execution. Franziska had many similarities to Anastasia which was a key reason people believed her story. Franziska carried this story to her grave, it was only made clear after the Russian government conducted a DNA test on her hair to DNA of the other Grand Duchess’ that she was not Anastasia Romanov. It was concluded that Franziska’s main purpose in this impersonation was to gain access to the Romanov fortune held in the Swiss Bank. Only a Romanov heir could obtain the fortune and she was not of any royal descent.
Another reason why these imposters could not have been the Grand Duchess Anastasia and Czarevitch Alexei, is because they were murdered on July 17, 1918 in the cellar of the Ipatiev house along, with the rest of their family. It was impossible for Anastasia and her brother to survive because in the very early morning (just past midnight) of July 17, 1918 the Romanov family was lined up in a cellar with 4 other servants and cruelly gunned down. But because of the diamond corset Anastasia was wearing she survived the gun shots and woke up screaming in fear and pain as the Bolsheviks were clearing the room of Romanov bodies. One of the Bolsheviks grabbed a rifle and beat her face in until she bleed to death. Then they took the bodies and attempted to dispose of them. When they could not properly dispose of Anastasia’s and Alexei’s bodies, they disfigured and burned them for three hours. When this also did not work, they ended up pouring acid all over their bodies and burying them. These numerous heinous acts are one of the main reasons why it would be difficult for the bodies of the imposters to be considered to be those of Anastasia and Alexei. Recent DNA tests confirmed the bodies were those of Grand Duchess Anastasia and Czarevitch Alexei’s, disproving any imposter claims.
The next are the facts on Grigori Rasputin. He has been accused and suspected of many things such as being a satyr or sorcerer. They did not believe he was a pure man of God, because of his unusual behaviors compared to other religious men. Believe it or not, Rasputin was a holy man and a medicator, which is the main reason Empress Alexandra hired him to take care of her hemophilic son. When Rasputin realized the amount of power he had, he became somewhat “power-hungry”. Rasputin became a very controversial figure, becoming involved in politics: associating with monarchist, anti-monarchist, revolutionaries, and many other political forces. He influenced countless decisions that the czar made; most of them were in fact benefiting the country. At the same time he was also an unusual personality, he enjoyed getting drunk often and participating in sexual activities which the Russian people did not approve of. He was no demon and in fact was an exotic man of God. He was slammed with rumors and blamed for crimes he did not commit. Grigori Rasputin was a man that served a purpose and so to speak helped Imperial Russia in ways it may not understand.
The final fact that needed clarification is regarding the the Romanov Murder Conspiracy, which is a very long and complex piece of history, and because of its complications, rumors have mixed with history to create a much fabricated truth. The question is what happened to the Romanov family and how did the reign end? There are many reasons why the last Romanov family lost the support of their people. There were many rumors circulating about the royal family, as mentioned earlier. The number of peasant villagers and the poor were growing rapidly; the working class had long work hours, low salary, and poor conditions, Russia soon consisted of mainly poor working peasants, and the elite class. Czar Nicholas’s mentality about the ideal Romanov monarchy, and his narrow mindedness got in the way of real life and managing the state. He was blinded with all the political and religious power and he attached his fate and the fate of his dynasty to the notion of a ruler being a father to his people. Yet he also believed a ruler had a granted divine right, and his people would be devoted and have unquestionable loyalty. The people being dissatisfied with Russian autocracy culminated into a national upheaval, which lead to the Bloody Sunday Massacre (January 1905). After the Revolution of 1905 , according to the Czar’s decree, civil rights and democratic representation were limited in order to keep the crown as the ultimate authority of the nation. The Czar established a “democratically elected parliament” or the State Duma. Yet, a year later he dismissed the first two Dumas when they became “uncooperative”. His judgment got clouded and all he cared about was his family and the perfect country idea, which lead to his downfall. He had lost the Russo-Japanese war and instead of restoring Russia’s political and military standing, World War I led to a horrifying slaughter of the Russian army. This undermined both the monarchy and society in general leading to Russia’s collapse. At the end of the February Revolutions of 1917 (March 15) Nicholas II chose to abdicate. First, he abdicated in favor of the Czarevitch, but after consulting his doctors he realized his only son would not live long away from the family care, since he was a hemophilic. Nicholas II decided to renounce his and his families’ thrones, bringing over 300 years of Romanov rule to an end.
Nicholas desperately wanted to go into exile, in August 1917, the Kerensky government moved the Romanovs to Tobolsk in the Urals (allegedly to protect them from the revolution). In October 1917, the Bolsheviks seized power from Kerensky’s (Provisional) Government. On April 30, 1918 the Romanov family was transferred to what would be their final destination, a town called Yekaterinburg. They were imprisoned in the Ipatiev House also referred to at the time as the “house of special purpose”. Nicholas and his family (no longer having any sort of titles) were placed under “house arrest” by the Provisional Government (the Bolsheviks). Fearing the Czech army and White Russian forces (anti-revolutionary forces) were coming for the royal family Yakov Sverdlov (Bolshevik party leader and an official of the Russian Soviet Republic, head of the house of special purpose operation) sent a message to headquarters. On the night of July 16, 1918, a reply telegram was sent to Yakov Sverdlov giving the order to eliminate the prisoners (House of Romanov) on behalf of the Supreme Soviet in Moscow. Just past midnight on July 17, 1918 the Romanov family was woken up and told to get dressed and go down to the cellar because there were some disturbances in the streets, and it was unsafe upstairs. Guards who were fond of the family were removed and replaced. Then a firing squad entered the cellar along with Yakov Yurovsky (the chief executioner of Russia's last tsar, Nicholas II, and his family). Yurovsky announced that they were being condemned to death by the Ural Soviets of Workers’ Deputies, Yurosky then read the letter of exaction to the family. The Bolsheviks took multiple shots of vodka and lined the Romanov family in the room and the executioners drew their revolvers and the shooting began. Since they had become rather tipsy they didn’t have proper aim, making the murder a bloody and wretched scene. Nicholas and Alexandra were the first to die, being shot multiple times in the chest, followed by the servants. Alexei wore a diamond studded vest so he survived the first round of shots, but died instantly after the second. Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia also survived the first hail of bullets (the sisters had sewn over 1.3 kilograms of diamonds and gems into their corsets, acting as a bullet proof vest), but Olga and Tatiana were stabbed to death with a bayonet and then shot at close range in the head. Anastasia and Maria still did not die; Maria was unconscious and was shot in the head subsequently. Anastasia woke up much later screaming, and was beaten in the face with a rifle until she died.
As the smoke cleared the Reds cleaned up all the dead bodies, wrapped them in sheets of tarp and loaded them on to a truck. They drove 12 miles away into the Koptyaki forest where they found an abandoned mining shaft and threw the bodies in there. Just for safe measure, they threw a few grenades in the shaft to collapse the walls. On the way back to Yekaterinburg, the Reds decided to get drunk and take shots of vodka. As soon as they stopped over in Yekaterinburg, they began to brag to the locals how they murdered the last imperial family of Russian and where they hid the bodies. The next morning realizing what they have said, they drove back at night and looked for a new site to put them. It began to rain and the muddy roads turned to glue so they decided to get off the road and just dispose of the bodies there. They ended up desperately experimenting on Anastasia’s and Alexei’s bodies in an attempt to get rid of them. They burned the remains and after that attempt was unsuccessful they poured acid on their bodies and buried the two. Feeling the Czech army and White Russian forces close and could catch them red handed. The Reds decided to pour acid on the remainder of the family and throw them in a deep grave filled with soil, tar, and planks.
Yet the immediate family of Nicholas II wasn’t the only Romanovs to die during the Russian Revolution. The Bolsheviks wanted to finish off and get rid of the rest of the living Romanov family. Fifty three Romanovs were living in Russia at the time when Czar Nicholas II was abdicated (March 15, 1917). Yet only thirty five of them managed to escaped and survive, a few of them include: Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna, and Grand Duke Kyril Vladimirovich. There are still living decedents of the Romanov family, many of whom are not well known.
Many lavish stories have been heard about Imperial Russia, the Grand Dukes and Duchesses and their exotic lifestyles. What are the truths behind the escape of Grand Duchess Anastasia and her brother Alexei, the Romanov massacre conspiracy, and the intentions of Grigori Rasputin? Who was the surviving Imperial Family of Russia? What is the real legacy of the last Romanov Family? Not all of the copious stories about the Romanov Family are true, and neither are a lot of myths regarding their death. Many have wondered where the line is between truth and fact, and now we know.