Tuesday, July 17, marks one hundred years from the date of the execution of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II and four of their confidants. He wrote the king, his wife in his diaries, said the first investigator on the murder case in his book, how Russia reported on the shooting – heroes and anti-heroes of stories about the death of the Royal family that occurred in the Ipatiev house in Yekaterinburg in summer 1918.
Nicholas II with daughters in exile
- Rare photos of the Royal family
- Patriarch Kirill: the Memory of the tragic death of the Royal family will contribute to the rethinking of history
- The Council of bishops on the question of the authenticity of the “Royal remains” going in two years
- SK confirmed the authenticity of the remains of the Royal family: why is it important
- The execution of the Royal family was not a mistake or “break”
The last days of the Romanov family
The last Emperor of Russia Nicholas II abdicated on 15 March (new style), 1917 in Pskov. His wife Alexandra, son and heir Alexei, and four daughters – Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia – were at that time in Tsarskoe Selo. The family reunited in a week – March 22. A day earlier, the Interim government announced that Nicholas and his family are under arrest. Thus began almost a year and a half imprisonment of the Romanovs. In August, the government of Alexander Kerensky decided to send the Imperial family into the country – in Tobolsk. Early in the spring of 1918 the city came under the control of the Bolsheviks, and in late April, the new government moved Nicholas, his wife and daughter Maria to Yekaterinburg, where they were given a so-called “House of special purpose”, a former engineer Nicholas Ipatiev. The rest of the Romanovs and Dr. Eugene Botkin remained with the sick Tsarevich Alexei. They joined his parents only a month later. By mid-summer of 1918 to Yekaterinburg came of the Czechoslovak corps and the whites. To prevent the release of the Royal family, the Soviet authorities decided to shoot all the prisoners of Ipatiev house. The sentence was executed in the night from 16 to 17 July 1918.
From the diary of Nicholas II, April 30 (April 17 old style), 1918:
– At 8.40 arrived in Ekaterinburg. Three hours standing at one station. There were strong fermentation between here and our commissioners. In the end, defeated the first, and the train moved on to another freight station. After an hour and a half standing out of the train. Yakovlev gave us the local to the regional Commissioner, with whom the three of us boarded the engine and drove the deserted streets prepared for us house Ipatiev. The house is nice, clean. We were given four large rooms: a bedroom corner, a bathroom next to a dining room with Windows to the garden and overlooking the low-lying part of the city, and finally, a spacious hall with an archway without a door. Could not put his things, as Commissioner, the commandant and a guard officer, all had not time to begin the inspection of the chests. And examination then had similar customs, such a strict, down to the last bottle travel kit Alyx (Alexandra Feodorovna Romanova, “Pravmir”). It blew me up, and I strongly expressed my opinion to the Commissioner.
From the diary of Nicholas II, 23 may (10 may, old style), 1918:
– In the morning within one hour consistently declared that children a few hours from the city, then, they arrived at the station, and finally they arrived at the house, while their train stood here since 2am! What a joy it was to see them again and hug after four months of separation and uncertainty. Mutual inquiries and answers. Very few letters came to them and from them. A lot of them, poor, endured mental suffering in Tobolsk and during the three-day journey.
From the diary of Alexandra Fyodorovna Romanova, the last entry of July 16, 1918:
Tuesday. …Every morning, the Commandant comes into our rooms. Finally after weeks again brought eggs for Baby (Tsarevich Alexei – “Pravmir”). …Suddenly sent for Lenka Sednev (friend of the Tsarevich Alexei – “Pravmir”), so he went and got opravilova his uncle, and he hastily ran, wondering if they’re true and will we ever see the boy again…
The message of the Presidium of the regional Council of workers, peasants and red army deputies of the Urals:
– Due to the fact that the Czechoslovak gangs are threatening the red capital of the Urals, Ekaterinburg; in view of the fact that the crowned executioner may escape the judgment of the people (just discovered the conspiracy of the whites, which had the aim of kidnapping the whole of the Romanov family), the Presidium of the regional Committee pursuant to the will of the people, decided to shoot the former Tsar Nicholas Romanov, guilty before the people of innumerable bloody crimes. The decree of the Presidium of the regional Council carried out in the night from 16 to 17 July. The family Romanov has been transferred from Ekaterinburg to another and better place.
“A historical phenomenon”
The troops of the Siberian White army and the Czechoslovak corps came to Ekaterinburg in just a week after the shooting on July 25. Already on 30 July began the first investigation into the murder of the Royal family, from February 1919, he led the investigator for particularly important cases of the Omsk regional court Nikolay Sokolov. He was guided by the rules of criminal procedure of the Russian Empire, and the results of their research, published in exile in 1924 as a separate book. The red army recaptured Ekaterinburg July 15, 1919, but work on the materials of the case, including interviewing witnesses, Sokolov continued until his death in 1924. His book became the source of much of the information about the execution of Nicholas II and his family.
Nikolai Sokolov, the investigator for particularly important cases of the Omsk district court (from the book “the Murder of the Royal family”)
– The mournful page is about the suffering of the King talking about the suffering of Russia. And, having decided to break my vow of professional silence, I took the brunt of responsibility in the consciousness that serving the law is the Ministry of welfare of the people. I know that in this study, many questions will not find answers inquisitive human mind: it is of necessity limited, because its subject matter – murder. But the victim of the crime – the media authority of the Supreme, who ruled for many years one of the most powerful Nations.
Like any fact, it happened in space and time and, in particular, in terms of the greatest people’s struggle for their own destiny. Both of these factors: the identity of the victim and the reality in which occurred the crime – give it a special character of historical phenomena.
“Endless civil war”
In Soviet times, the official story of the shooting of the Royal family no one did. However, for the first time, the remains, presumably belonging to the last Russian Emperor, was discovered in the late 70-ies. They found the Ural geologist Alexander Avdonin and screenwriter Gely Ryabov, co-author of the police series “Born by revolution”. Informal initiating searches made patronizing Ryabov, Minister of internal Affairs of the USSR Nikolay Shchelokov. According to his daughter Irina, her father wanted to bury the remains of the Royal, but in the end Ryabov and Avdonin found in returned log Porosencova the bones in the excavation. Publicly about his discovery of Helium Ryabov announced only in 1989.
Gely Ryabov, writer, screenwriter and Director who discovered the remains of the Royal family (interview in the newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets, October 2015):
– In 1976, directing me to a business trip to Sverdlovsk – was required to show the local police officers a new series of “Born revolution” and to know their opinion about the film – Liquor (Nikolai Shchelokov, Minister of internal Affairs of the USSR in the years 1966-1982 – “Pravmir”) admonished me with the following phrase: “When I held meetings there, the first thing I asked him to take me to the Ipatiev house. “I want to – say – to stand on the spot where fell the Romanovs…” These words shocked me to the core. Not fit in the head: member of the Central Committee and suddenly said such words. Arrived in Sverdlovsk, I also asked him to take me to the Ipatiev house. And I realized that I will never leave you. From that trip, actually, all also has begun.
When I decided to publish our discovery, I naively thought that it will contribute to reconciliation, will draw a line under our past, under the civil war. But I did not realize that this war is permanent and infinite.
At some point I came to the conclusion that if I knew what all this portends, it probably would not have to disclose the burial place of the Royal family. Because it is not in any way contributed to the consolidation of our society, on the contrary – caused a fierce division.
The second consequence
The official excavations near Yekaterinburg in the summer of 1991, immediately joined the Prosecutor’s office of the Sverdlovsk region, and two years later – when the new Russian government, in 1993, the Russian Prosecutor General’s office opened a criminal case on the murder of Nicholas II, his wife, children and close friends. The investigation was led by the criminologist Vladimir Soloviev. He participated in all of the latest investigations of the circumstances of the shooting in the Ipatiev house, oversaw the work of experts, met with Patriarch Alexy II, but to convince the hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church, he failed. The ROC insisted that the evidence is insufficient and demanded to exclude any doubts about the authenticity found near Yekaterinburg remains. Also, outstanding was the finding of the bodies of Tsarevich Alexei and his sister Maria – they were discovered only in 2007.
Vladimir Soloviev, senior investigator-the criminalist of Investigatory Committee of Russia, head of the investigation into the murder of the Royal family (interview in the newspaper “Moskovsky Komsomolets. Saint Petersburg, October 2015):
— After opening the burial [in 1991] the remains of bodies taken to the forensic medical examination of Sverdlovsk region, where studied. First, forensic experts and anthropologists were trying to put fragments of bone together. During the year, the smallest fragments were glued with wax. In the end, they got 9 skeletons. Among the first was conducted by dental examination of the remnants of the teeth. And it turned out that the shape of the teeth and their structure of a skeleton, presumed to Alexandra and Queen, unusual for residents of the Urals. But very close to what is observed in Western Europe, native which was the Empress. In 1992 he carried out a genetic examination. Then the bone samples all nine people were taken to the laboratory of the Ministry of internal Affairs of great Britain. Their blood samples gave a relative of Nicholas II — the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip and the relatives of the Royal family line of the English and Danish Royal families. It turned out that the man, whose remains were discovered near Yekaterinburg, is the closest relative of the Danish Royal house (Nicholas II, as you know, the son of a Danish Princess), and the woman — the closest relative of the English Royal house (Alexandra was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria). Three girls are their children.
“We want to atone for the sins of their ancestors”
Exactly 80 years after the execution of the Royal family – 17 July 1998 the remains of Nicholas II, Alexandra Fedorovna and three of their daughters were buried in the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg. The first President of Russia Boris Yeltsin, said in their memory a solemn speech. However, Patriarch Alexy II abstained from participation in the ceremony. And the head of state and head of the Church, urged the Russian society to reconciliation and harmony, but their evaluation of the work of the investigators and the governmental Commission studying the story of the murder of the Romanovs, went. This contradiction is still preserved.
Boris Yeltsin, President of Russia (at the ceremony of the burial of the remains of the Royal family in the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg on 17 July 1998):
Eighty years have passed since the murder of the last Russian Emperor and members of his family. For many years we were silent about this monstrous crime, but we must tell the truth: the massacre in Yekaterinburg became one of the most shameful pages in our history. Betraying the earth with the remains of innocent victims we want to expiate the sins of their ancestors. Guilty are those who committed this crime and those who for decades justified. We are all guilty. You cannot lie to yourself, explaining the senseless cruelty of political goals. The execution of the Romanov family – the result of an irreconcilable split in Russian society into friends and foes. Its impact is felt to this day. The burial of the remains of victims of the Yekaterinburg tragedy is primarily an act of human justice. In it a symbol of unity of the people, the redemption of common guilt. The historical memory of the people the answer all of us, and so today I couldn’t not come here. As a man and as a President I have to be here. I bow my head before the victims of ruthless slaughter.
Alexy II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia (television appeal on July 14 1998):
– A judgment on the issue of membership of the “Yekaterinburg remains” among the Church and secular society was divided and acquired obviously painful, confrontational. In this situation, the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church, having as its duty the care of the unity of the Church and to promote civic peace and accord, refrains from supporting a particular point of view, and hence from such participation in the ceremony of the burial of the “Yekaterinburg remains”, which could be interpreted as recognition of their belonging to the Royal Family.
I am well aware that this position is some Churches is not accepted. These people would like to specifically clarify that any seemingly convincing scientific argument can not put the point in the case of the “Ekaterinburg remains” as long as there are equally strong scientific objection. The duty of the Church to know the will of God, and it is revealed in the conciliar consent of the episcopate, clergy and the people of God, that is, the Fullness of the Church. And in this regard a special responsibility on us imposes that the forthcoming local Council of our Church will consider the possibility of canonizing the Royal Family. If the Emperor and his family will be canonized martyrs, their remains will be venerated as Holy relics, and absolutely inconceivable that in the Church there was disagreement about their authenticity.
“The whole process need to be repeated again”
In 2000, the Council of bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church decided to glorify the family of the last Russian Emperor as the Royal martyrs. Since then, the issue of authenticity of the remains of the Royal family acquired a distinct religious nature: the Church was to be confident in finding genuine relics of the martyrs. The murder of the Royal family has been renewed twice, in 2007 after the discovery near Yekaterinburg alleged remains of Alexei and Maria Romanov, and in 2015 – at the urging of Patriarch Kirill, calling to conduct an investigation, in close contact with the Church.
Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia (speech at the opening of the conference “the murder of the Royal family: new examination and archival materials. Discussion” November 27, 2017):
– For many years the Church has rejected all offers to accept the results of those examinations which were conducted in 90-e years. This position has been criticized, including the public. But the only thing that stopped us from being able to recognize the results of examinations, is the opacity of the research process and a complete unwillingness to engage in this process the Church. That is, we were asked to simply believe the results of these studies, of course, the Church is not satisfied. Over time the situation has changed, and I, discussing this topic with the President of our country Vladimir Putin, has formulated the conditions under which the Church could seriously consider the results of the examination. Our position was: the whole process need to be repeated again, and from the beginning to the end the Church should not watch from the sidelines — it should be included in this process. First I have a question was raised about the need for the exhumation of the body of the Emperor Alexander III, father of Emperor Nicholas II, in order to re-conduct appropriate genetic testing.
The message of Investigatory Committee of Russia on 16 July 2018:
– To clarify all the circumstances of the death and burial of members of the Royal family, the resolution of disputes arising in connection with the identification of the remains of a group of individuals discovered near Yekaterinburg, the investigation re-investigated all the circumstances relevant to the case, the complex of investigative actions and expert studies.
Currently, the conclusions of comprehensive commissions of molecular-genetic examinations confirmed the identity of detected remains of the former Emperor Nicholas II, his family and persons from their environment.
“No evil will conquer evil, but only love”
Immediately after the announcement of the results of recent genetic examination July 16, 2018 the Chairman of the Synodal Department for Church and society and the media Vladimir Legoyda thanked the Investigative Committee for openness and understanding and said that the results of work of experts will be transferred to the Russian Orthodox Church for further consideration. But the most important thing in the history of the family of the last Russian Emperor’s recognition of the authenticity of the “Yekaterinburg remains”. An important example for the believers piety and following the commandments of the gospel, which the Royal martyrs filed during the imprisonment and death.
Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, speech at the opening of the XXVI International Christmas educational readings “the Moral values and the future of humanity”:
Like a reward for the love that reigned in this family, they were inseparable, and in death. Christian moral ideals were for them above the Royal crown. Not belonging to a Royal or noble family they are considered a sign of nobility, but the purity of thought and purity of soul.
Come to mind heartfelt and very touching lines from a letter of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna: “Father asked me to convey to all those who remained loyal to him, and those whom they may have influence, not to avenge him, as he forgave all, and for them to pray, and not to avenge himself, and to remember that the evil which is now in the world, will be even stronger, but not evil conquer evil, but only love…”.
Sometimes ask for that canonized the Royal family. That’s what! Enough to put yourself in the shoes of people sentenced to death — which was on the top, and then was not only deprived of all rights, but also became the subject of bullying. But in this state of extreme humiliation they forgave their enemies and prayed for them, and therefore showed the true morality, which was most pronounced in the feat of strastoterptsev.