romanovs today

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December 30th 1916: Rasputin killed

On this day in 1916, by the new style calendar, Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin was killed in St. Petersburg, aged 47. Born to a peasant family around 1869, Rasputin received little formal education, and joined a monastery before leaving to travel around Europe and the Middle East. He eventually arrived in St. Petersburg, where he cultivated a reputation as a mystic and a faith healer, and found a place in the Russian court of Tsar Nicholas II. Rasputin acted as an adviser to the tsar’s wife Alexandra, who sought help for her son Alexei’s hemophilia, which the mystic appeared to help alleviate; he thus secured a place as Alexandra’s personal adviser. As the credibility and popularity of the tsar’s rule began to wane, his critics used the position of the peasant ‘mad monk’ in the court to call for reform. While Rasputin’s influence over the Romanovs was limited, Alexandra’s defiant defence of him gave rise to rumours of impropriety and even an alleged affair between the tsarina and the mystic. On the evening of December 29th 1916, a group of conspirators invited Rasputin to the palace of Prince Felix Yusupov, who had cultivated a friendship with Rasputin, intending to kill him to save the monarchy. They fed him poison, which had no effect, then shot him, which he initially survived, and finally shot him in the head and threw his body into a river in the early hours of the morning. Rasputin’s body was found a few days later, with his hands frozen in a raised position, giving rise to rumours that he was still alive while underwater and had tried to untie the rope on his hands, only to finally die by drowning. A few months later, in March 1917, the tsar’s government was toppled by Bolshevik revolutionaries, and, the next year, Nicholas, Alexandra, and all their children were executed. The remarkable story of Rasputin’s murder is the final chapter in a peasant monk’s rise to becoming one of the most influential and notorious figures of Russian history.

100 years ago

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Tatiana Nikolaevna of Russia (10th June 1897 - 17th July 1918)

Second daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, Grand Duchess Tatiana was one of the five tragic Romanov children who today stand for the innocence lost on the part of aristocracy in the turbulent times of the Russian revolution and civil war. In her life Tatiana was said to be introverted and reserved, dutiful, humble and with great need to look after others. From the earliest age she was her mother´s confidant and often managed her younger siblings, for which she was teasingly nicknamed “The Governess”. 

Her most glorious moments, however, came during the Great War. She was only 17 years old, but pleaded to be allowed to train as a Sister of Mercy, and subsequently went on to become a capable nurse in one of the palace hospitals, never avoiding any task from changing bed linen, dressing open wounds to cleaning the operation room. Level-headed, hard-working and deeply devout, Tatiana Nikolaevna seemed to have found her calling in the care of the wounded and sick.

On her birthday, let us spare a thought for Tatiana Nikolaevna - the young woman who was always ready to serve and help others.

To honor her birthday today, I went ahead and made this little aesthetic tribute to one of my personal favorite historical figures, the youngest of the last four Grand Duchesses of Russia, Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanov. The quote is from one of the last letters Anastasia ever wrote, sent to a friend not long after her arrival in Yekaterinburg in December 1917. (Keep in mind, while reading all the typos, that this letter was originally written in English by a sixteen-year-old girl whose first language was Russian.)

My dear Friend. I will describe to you who (sic: how) we travelled (sic). We started in the morning and when we got in to the train I went to sleap (sic), so did all of us. We were very tierd (sic) because we did not sleap (sic) the whole night. The first day was hot and very dusty. At the stations we had to shut out (sic: our) window curtanse (sic) than (sic: then) nobody should (sic: could) see us. Once in the evening I was looking out we stopped near a little house, but there was no staition (sic) so we could look out. A little boy came to my window and asked: “Uncle, please give me, if you have got, a newspaper.” I said: “I am not an uncle but an anty (sic) and I have no newspaper.” At the first moment I could not understand why did he call me “Uncle” but then I remembered that my hear (sic: hair) is cut and I and the soldiers laught (sic: laughed) very much. On the way many funy (sic) things hapend (sic), and if I shall have time I shall write to you our travell (sic) father (sic: farther) on. Good by. (sic) Don’t forget me. Many kisses from us all to you my darling.

Seven months later, she, her family, and her family’s servants would all be dead. The firing squad that took their lives was thorough – the soldiers fired their guns over seventy times, and afterwards, while one officer checked each body for a pulse, the other repeatedly stabbed the surrounding corpses with his bayonet.

Regardless of one’s opinion of Nicholas II or Alexandra as political figures, I truly do think that the Romanov children did not deserve their fate by any stretch of the imagination. The rationale of protecting the new, imperfect Republic from the threat of royalist sympathies will always linger like an unpleasant smoke cloud over any discussion of this, of course, but everything I have ever read about these four girls makes it very clear to me that they were unbelievably sheltered from Russia’s woes and its politics and yet that they nonetheless were enamored with the common man. They constantly made friends with commoners and brushed aside foreign royal contacts. Once when the oldest sister Olga was courted by a foreign prince, the four sisters purposefully conspired to get sunburns so as to look as unattractive as possible and not get picked to leave their homeland; and yet there are accounts of at least two of the sisters becoming smitten with soldiers instead of princes or counts. The third sister Maria even got a crush on one of the soldiers in charge of guarding their family in Yekaterinberg – a Bolshevik – and he seemed to reciprocate her interest! In any other life, I have no doubt these girls would’ve married simple Russian men, had families, and lived simple, unassuming lives. Alas, their heritage condemned them to never know any of those pleasures.

Happy birthday, Nastya. Many kisses from me, my darling.

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May 11th 1891: Ōtsu Incident

On this day in 1891, a Japanese policeman called Tsuda Sanzō attempted to assassinate Tsesarevitch Nicholas of Russia, who went on to become Tsar Nicholas II. Nicholas was in Japan on an official visit on his way to ceremonies in the far east of Russia celebrating the start of construction on the Trans-Siberian Railroad. On May 11th, returning to Kyoto from a trip to Ōtsu, Sanzō - a member of Nicholas’s police escort - attacked the prince with a sword. Nicholas was cut on the forehead, but his life was saved by his cousin, who parried the sword with his cane. Sanzō was quickly apprehended. Emperor Meiji, concerned at the prospect of Russian retaliation for the attack, made a personal visit to Nicholas, and well-wishes flooded in from Japanese citizens. Sanzō was sentenced to life imprisonment and both the Home Minister and Foreign Minister resigned over the incident. Nicholas became Tsar of Russia in 1894, aged 24, and was on the throne when Russia went to war with Japan in 1904. He ruled Russia until his abdication on March 2nd 1917, following the Bolshevik Revolution which removed him from power. The Tsar and his family were then imprisoned, and eventually executed by a Bolshevik firing squad in 1918.

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18 May 1878 - Birth of Tsar Nicholas II

On may 18 1868 Tsesarevitch Alexander Alexandrovitch (Alexander III) wrote in his diary, underlining the heading for emphasis : “The birth of our son Nikolai

… The pangs were stronger and stronger, and Minnie suffered a lot. Papa… helped me to hold my darling all the time. At last, at half past two, came the last minute and all the suffering stopped at once. God sent us a son whom we gave the name of Nikolai. What a joy it was, it is not to be described. I rushed to embrace my darling wife who cheered up at once and was terrifically happy. I was crying like a baby… We embraced with Papa and Mama wholeheartedly… We drank tea and talked with Minnie till 11, and I went several times to admire our little angel, and they took him to Minnie, too.

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March 13th 1881: Alexander II assassinated

On this day in 1881, the Russian Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in St. Petersburg aged 62. He had ascended to the Russian throne in 1855 after the death of his father Tsar Nicholas I during the Crimean War.  Decades before the Bolshevik communist revolution would successfully overthrow the Russian monarchy under Alexander’s grandson Nicholas II, there was already a significant anti-tsarist movement in Russia. While Alexander had initiated some liberal and modernising reforms - including the abolition of serfdom in 1861 and the expansion of the nation’s railroads - he had brutally repressed political dissidents. In 1879, a group called the People’s Will was organised and began their attempts to violently overthrow the Tsar. After waging a prolonged campaign in which they assassinated government officials and made attempts on the Tsar’s life, the movement was finally successful in killing Alexander in 1881. The Tsar was killed in St. Petersburg after two bombs were thrown at his carriage by Nikolai Rysakov and Ignacy Hryniewiecki, who were members of the People’s Will. He was succeeded by his son Tsar Alexander III, who punished the people and group behind his father’s assassination. The new Tsar also repudiated his father’s last act as Russian leader, a proclamation which would have reformed the nation’s legislative system. In 1883, work began on the Church of the Savior on Blood , which was built on the spot of Alexander’s assassination and dedicated to his memory.

“Amid the smoke and snowy fog, I heard His Majesty’s weak voice cry, ‘Help!’ Gathering what strength I had, I jumped up and rushed to the emperor. His Majesty was half-lying, half-sitting, leaning on his right arm. Thinking he was merely wounded heavily, I tried to lift him but the czar’s legs were shattered, and the blood poured out of them“
- Police chief Dvorzhitsky’s account of the assassination

mylifeasfar  asked:

I have been interested in the Romanovs since I was a kid and I have to know does the Romanov family still exist like relatives of Nicholas the 2nd like family who escaped after 1918 or were they all killed?

Yes, the Romanov family still exists today. Not all Romanovs were killed in the massacre between June 1918 and January 1919. Many members of the family managed to escape from the clutches of the Bolsheviki. 53 Romanovs were living in Russia when Tsar Nicholas II abdicated in 1917. 18 were murdered; 14 of those Romanovs were killed between June 13, 1918 and July 18, 1918.

35 escaped.

Today, the descendants of the survivors are living all over the world and the numbers are continually growing. There’s even a descendant living in Russia. He turned 31 last month and his name is Rostislav Romanov (he’s a great-grandson of Grand Duchess Xenia, Nicholas II’s sister). Many of the well-known Romanovs today are descended from Nicholas I and Alexander II (naturally, all of them are related to Nicholas II in a way).

Here’s a good article on who survived the Revolution and who sadly did not.

Also…here’s some pictures of the surviving descendants, some very closely resembling the last imperial family. You can learn more about them here.

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May 18th 1868: Tsar Nicholas II born

On this day in 1868, the future Tsar of Russia, Nicholas Romanov, was born in Alexander Palace. He became Tsar in 1894 upon the death of his father Tsar Alexander III. Nicholas’s reign was mired by Russia’s poor performance in the Russo-Japanese and First World War, and the wars’ devastating impact on the Russian people. Opposition to the Tsar also rose due to his repression of dissenters and that he left the government in the hands of his wife Tsarina Alexandra and their adviser Rasputin. The unrest culminated in the February Revolution (it was February by the old Russian calendar, but March in the modern Gregorian Calendar), which forced the Tsar out of power. Nicholas, facing pressure from his people and his ministers, decided to abdicate the throne in favour of his brother, Grand Duke Michael. However, Michael refused to take the crown and therefore Nicholas became the last Tsar of Russia, and the reign of the Romanov family came to an end after over 300 years on the throne. A Provisional Government replaced the Tsar, however this too was overthrown in October 1917 and replaced with a Bolshevik dictatorship under Vladimir Lenin, thus beginning Communist rule in Russia which would last until 1991. Nicholas and his wife and children were brutally murdered by the Bolshevik secret police - the Cheka - in July 1918.

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I believe these four people deserve more recognition for their loyalty and bravery than they would normally have. Who are they, you may ask? They were the four faithful servants of the famous Romanov family. In spite of the perilous dangers already facing them, they preferred to stay with the family until the very end. Eighty years after the murders, they were finally buried along with their humble employers in the St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral. Laying to rest in such place is considered as the highest honor bestowed to servants of a high-ranking royal family.

Clockwise from top left: Dr. Eugene Botkin, Footman Alexei Trupp, Cook Ivan Kharitonov, and Maid Anna Demidova. All four servants perished on the night of 16-17 July 1918, along with their employers, Nicholas, Alexandra, and children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei.