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 Post subject: Massacre of Tsar Nicholas II and family
 Post Posted: Sun Jun 25, 2006 12:47 am 
Ignominious climax of Russian Revolution
Massacre of Tsar Nicholas II and family

by Mihindukulasuriya SusanthaFernando
@ The Island

Shock waves reverberated across the civilized world in 1908, when the Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his whole family were brutally massacred by the death squads of the Bolsheviks, as Russia was drifting into anarchy at the height of the Russian Revolution. In this article, I bring you the gripping details of the last days and last moments of the Romanovs.


The reign of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia was a cataclysmic period in Russian history. Nicholas, the eldest son of Alexander III, the Tsar of Russia, and Marie Feodorovna, was born at Krasnoye Selo in May 1868. When he was twenty-three he narrowly escaped assassination in Japan. Nicholas succeeded to the throne on 20th October 1894, following the death of his father. Later that month he married the German princess, Alexandra Fyodorovna of Hesse-Darmstadt. Alexandra, the granddaughter of Queen Victoria, was a woman of steel and strongly believed in the autocratic power of Tsardom and urged him to resist demands for political reform.

Having lost her mother at an early age, the young Princess Alisa of Hesse was raised at court by her grandmother, the British Queen Victoria. At a very young age she attracted the attention of Crown Prince Nicholas, the heir to the Russian throne. As the empress of Russia, she alienated the people by her German origin (Russia was at war with Germany) and her scandalous association with Rasputin, a magus and miracle worker, who showed the ability of healing Alexis, the young heir, of an incurable disease, and calmed the mind and soul of the unhappy mother. Tragically Rasputin ruled the Romanov Imperial House. The widespread gossip of "Rasputinism" and "dark forces" in the court made even the most fantastic slander seem probable. It would be no exaggeration to say that the almost universal hatred of Alexandra Fyodorovna played a fateful role for the dynasty in those days preceding the February Revolution.

Failure to defeat the Japanese in 1904 reduced the prestige of the Tsar and his government. Nicholas II also faced mounting domestic problems due to his autocratic rule and refusal to show a more humane attitude towards industrial works and peasants. In 1904 the prices of all essential goods skyrocketed all over Russia, resulting in over 110,000 workers in St. Petersburg going on a strike. When the procession of workers reached the Winter Palace, the police and the Cossacks attacked it. Over 100 workers were killed and some 300 wounded. The incident, known as Bloody Sunday, gave rise to what came to be known as the 1905 Revolution. Strikes took place all over the country. The year 1905 saw more workers going on strike, paralyzing transport and various other sectors in the public service. Leon Trotsky and other revolutionaries began disputing with the Tsar, and demanded more and more concessions for workers. In 1906, the Tsar granted much needed land reforms, but suppressed the radicals. Over 3,000 suspects were convicted and executed by special courts between 1906-09.

Industrial unrest in Russia continued throughout this period and in 1912 hundreds of striking miners were massacred at the Lena goldfields. During the first six months of 1914, almost half of the total industrial workforce in Russia took part in strikes. In July 1914, Germany declared war against Russia, leading to Word War I. Nicholas II assumed supreme command of the Russian Army fighting the Germans on the Eastern Front. This linked him to the country’s military failures and during 1917 there was a strong decline in support for the Tsar in Russia. In 1917 there were mass demonstrations in Petrograd. Power in Petrograd was turned over to the interim committee of the State Dumas headed by Rodzyanko.

Lenin led the Bolsheviks in a successful attempt to grab the reigns of power in St. Petersburg. Anti-Bolshevik forces (the White Russians) immediately took up arms to oust the Communist regime and Russia was plunged into a brutal civil war. Finally, the mounting pressures of World War I, combined with years of injustice, toppled the rule of Tsar Nicholas II in March 1917. On the recommendation of the Russian Army High Command, Tsar Nicholas II abdicated power on March 2, 1917. The Communist regime signed a treaty with the Germans ending Russia’s participation in World War I. The Tsar and his immediate family were arrested, and negotiations began in order to find a place of overseas exile for them. Efforts to seek political asylum in Britain proved futile, because King George V feared that the presence of Nicholas would endanger his own throne.

The Tsar and his family were initially kept as prisoners near St. Petersburg and then transported beyond the Ural Mountains, finally ending up in the town of Ekaterinburg in the spring of 1918. The seven members of the royal family and their small retinue were confined to the house of a successful local merchant, N. N. Ipatiev, which had been commandeered by the Bolshevik’s for this purpose. By mid-July a Czech contingent of the White Army was approaching Ekaterinburg and the royal prisoners and their Bolshevik captors could hear the sounds of gunfire in the distance. The arrival of their potential liberators sealed the fate of the Tsar and his family. During the early morning hours of July 17 the Tsar, his wife, children and servants were herded into the cellar of their prison house. Pavel Medvedev, who was a member of the squad of soldiers guarding the royal family, has recorded in grisly details the following account of the most barbaric event in the history of former Soviet Union:

"In the evening of 16 July, between seven and eight p.m., when the time or my duty had just begun; Commandant Yurovsky, [the head of the execution squad] ordered me to take all the Nagan revolvers from the guards and to bring them to him. I took twelve revolvers from the sentries as well as from some other of the guards and brought them to the commandant’s office. Yurovsky said to me, ‘We must shoot them all tonight; so notify the guards not to be alarmed if they hear shots’. I understood that Yurovsky had it in his mind to shoot the whole of the Tsar’s family, as well as the doctor and the servants who lived with them, but I did not ask him where or by whom the decision had been made...At about ten o’clock in the evening in accordance with Yurovsky’s order I informed the guards not to be alarmed if they should hear firing. About midnight Yurovsky woke up the Tsar’s family. I do not know if he told them the reason they had been awakened and where they were to be taken, but I positively affirm that it was Yurovsky who entered the room occupied by the Tsar’s family. In about an hour the whole of the family, the doctor, the maid and the waiters got up, washed and dressed themselves.

"Just before Yurovsky went to awaken the family, two members of the Extraordinary Commission [of the Ekaterinburg Soviet] arrived at Ipatiev’s house. Shortly after one o’clock a.m., the Tsar, the Tsaritsa, their four daughters, the maid, the doctor, the cook and the waiters left their rooms. The Tsar carried the heir in his arms. The Emperor and the heir were dressed in gimnasterkas [soldiers’ shirts] and wore caps.

The Empress, her daughters and the others followed him. Yurovsky, his assistant and the two above-mentioned members of the Extraordinary Commission accompanied them. I was also present.

"During my presence none of the Tsar’s family asked any questions. They did not weep or cry. Having descended the stairs to the first floor, we went out into the court, and from there to the second door [counting from the gate] we entered the ground floor of the house. When the room [which adjoins the store room with a sealed door] was reached, Yurovsky ordered chairs to be brought, and his assistant brought three chairs. One chair was given to the Emperor, one to the Empress, and the third to the heir.

"The Empress sat by the wall by the window, near the black pillar of the arch. Behind her stood three of her daughters [I knew their faces very well, because I had seen them every day when they walked in the garden, but I didn’t know their names]. The heir and the Emperor sat side by side almost in the middle of the room. Doctor Botkin stood behind the heir. The maid, a very tall woman, stood at the left of the door leading to the store room; by her side stood one of the Tsar’s daughters [the fourth]. Two servants stood against the wall on the left from the entrance of the room.

"The maid carried a pillow. The Tsar’s daughters also brought small pillows with them. One pillow was put on the Empress’ chair, another on the heir’s chair. It seemed as all of them guessed their fate, but not one of them uttered a single word. At this moment eleven men entered the room: Yurovsky, his assistant, two members of the Extraordinary Commission, and seven Letts [operatives of the infamous Cheka or secret police]... Yuovsky ordered me to leave, saying, ‘Go on to the street, see if there is anybody there, and wait to see whether the shots have been heard.’ I went out to the court, which was enclosed by a fence, but before I got to the street I heard the firing. I returned to the house immediately [only two or three minutes having elapsed] and upon entering the room where the execution had taken place, I saw that all the members of the Tsar’s family were lying on the floor with many wounds in their bodies. The blood was running in streams. The doctor, the maid and two waiters had also been shot. When I entered, the heir was still alive and moaned a little. Yurovsky went up and fired two or three more times at him. Then the heir was still."

Today the Russian Orthodox Christians pay respect to Tsar Nicholas II, his family and his friends as martyrs. They say that Lenin did not believe in God, and he ordered millions of killings of the faithful Russian Orthodox Christians and non-Orthodox Christians. Bishops (including Patriarch Tikhon) were martyred, priest were martyred, monks were martyred, nuns were martyred, men, women and children martyred... concentration camps grew until there seemed to have more concentration camps than churches, which, too were blown up and destroyed. The secret murders were committed without a trial on the orders of the Soviet Government.

Postscript: BBC News release, dated 25 may, 2002 reported: "Human remains have been found at the site where the last Tsar of Russia and his family were murdered in 1918. It is thought that the bones - two skulls and a leg bone - could be those of Tsarevich Aleksei and Tsarevna Maria, two of Tsar Nicholas II’s children, Russia’s Ren TV reports. Their bodies were not among those buried in the mass grave where the Bolsheviks had massacred and dumped the Romano family, following the Russian Revolution the previous year. Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra and three of his five children, Tatiana, Olga and Anastasia, were reburied in the imperial tomb in St Petersburg’s St Peter and Paul Cathedral in 1998, along with their doctor and three of their servants. But the bodies of the two other children have never been found, until the startling discovery."

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