Tuesday, April 16, 2013

[With thanks to History.com for the following news release]

Dec 30, 1916:

Rasputin murdered

Grigory Rasputin, a self-fashioned Russian holy man, is murdered by Russian nobles eager to end his sway over the royal family.
Rasputin won the favor of Czar Nicholas II and Czarina Alexandra through his ability to stop the bleeding of their hemophiliac son, Alexei. Although the Siberian-born peasant was widely criticized for his lechery and drunkenness, he exerted a powerful influence on the ruling family of Russia. He particularly influenced the czarina, and when Nicholas departed to lead Russian forces in World War I, Rasputin effectively ruled Russia through her.
In the early hours of December 30, 1916, a group of nobles lured Rasputin to Yusupovsky Palace, where they attempted to poison him. Seemingly unaffected by the large doses of poison placed in his wine and food, he was finally shot at close range and collapsed. A minute later he rose, beat one of his assailants, and attempted to escape from the palace grounds, where he was shot again. Rasputin, still alive, was then bound and tossed into a freezing river. A few months later, the imperial regime was overthrown by the Russian Revolution.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Excerpts from some of Anastasia's letters. Thanks go to Alexander Palace Time Machine at alexanderpalace.org for their use.

Aug. 16, 1916
"...In the evenings Olga and Maria and I sometimes ride our bicycles about the rooms at full speed. Olga tries to catch me up or vice versa. We fall down some- times but are still alive. The lessons are over and I am going to have breakfast with Mother and sisters though I don't know if they have come back."
Oct. 31, 1916
"...Yesterday we were at the concert in the Grand Palace. They celebrated the second anniversary of their hospital. It was rather nice there. Your friend Lersky was there. Mother saw him for the first time and liked him... Olga's cat is running about here now. I think she has grown up and looks rather nice..."
Nov. 9, 1916
"...I am writing to you between the classes as usual. Olga's cat is running about here all the time but now she can be heard as she is wearing a little bell on her neck with a blue ribbon..."
"...I am sitting in a semi-dark room now with Olga and Tatiana (they are ill with measles)... We have breakfast upstairs in our classroom. Only Mother, Maria and me. Very nice..."

Monday, April 1, 2013

Jul 16, 1918:

Romanov family executed

Thank you to This Day in History...www.history.com...for the following excerpt.

In Yekaterinburg, Russia, Czar Nicholas II and his family are executed by the Bolsheviks, bringing an end to the three-century-old Romanov dynasty.
Crowned in 1896, Nicholas was neither trained nor inclined to rule, which did not help the autocracy he sought to preserve among a people desperate for change. The disastrous outcome of the Russo-Japanese War led to the Russian Revolution of 1905, which ended only after Nicholas approved a representative assembly--the Duma--and promised constitutional reforms. The czar soon retracted these concessions and repeatedly dissolved the Duma when it opposed him, contributing to the growing public support for the Bolsheviks and other revolutionary groups. In 1914, Nicholas led his country into another costly war--World War I--that Russia was ill-prepared to win. Discontent grew as food became scarce, soldiers became war weary and devastating defeats at the hands of Germany demonstrated the ineffectiveness of Russia under Nicholas.
In March 1917, revolution broke out on the streets of Petrograd (now St. Petersburg) and Nicholas was forced to abdicate his throne later that month. That November, the radical socialist Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, seized power in Russia from the provisional government, sued for peace with the Central Powers and set about establishing the world's first communist state. Civil war broke out in Russia in June 1918, and in July the anti-Bolshevik "White" Russian forces advanced on Yekaterinburg, where Nicholas and his family were located, during a campaign against the Bolshevik forces. Local authorities were ordered to prevent a rescue of the Romanovs, and after a secret meeting of the Yekaterinburg Soviet, a death sentence was passed on the imperial family.
Late on the night of July 16, Nicholas, Alexandra, their five children and four servants were ordered to dress quickly and go down to the cellar of the house in which they were being held. There, the family and servants were arranged in two rows for a photograph they were told was being taken to quell rumors that they had escaped. Suddenly, a dozen armed men burst into the room and gunned down the imperial family in a hail of gunfire. Those who were still breathing when the smoked cleared were stabbed to death