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The Romanov’s of Imperial Russia By: Amanda Ratliff

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The Romanov’s of Imperial Russia

By: Amanda Ratliff


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The Romanov family was the second and last imperial family of Russia. They ruled for five generations 1761-1917. The most well-known rulers were Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, and the last Tsar of Russia – the martyred Nicholas II. At the time of the Imperial Family’s downfall they were by far the wealthiest royals in the world.


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Tsar Nikolay Aleksandrovich Romanov

  • Emperor & Autocrat of All the Russia’s 1894-1917.

  • Traveled extensively as Tsarevich & survived an assassination attempt in Japan.

  • Nicholas was ill prepared to become Emperor when his father passed away in 1894.

  • Married for love – Princess Alix was not liked by the people.

  • His popularity wavered due to belief in absolute autocracy.

  • Refused to allow the people any power as he believed he had absolute power from God.

  • His government failed to produce supplies which led to riots and uprisings.

  • As a man – very religious, enjoyed the outdoors, smoking, military life, & was a proud father.

  • Forced to abdicate during the Russian Revolution and World War I.

  • Was originally to stand trial but eventually was executed with his family by the Bolsheviks in 1918.


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Tsaritsa Alexandra Fyodorovna

  • Born Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine, 1872-1918.

  • Alix was a favorite grand daughter of Queen Victoria of England.

  • Married on the heels of Alexander II funeral – bad omen to the people.

  • Was born a German princess – Germans were very unpopular among Russians.

  • Tried for many years to have an heir which resulted in very poor health.

  • Considered cold & rude among her peers. She spent all her time caring for her ill son and not socializing like an Empress was expected to.

  • Depended on Grigori Rasputin to heal her hemophilic son and refused to listen to gossip about his moral character.

  • Alicky was very protective of her children – especially Alexei.


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Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna

  • Eldest Grand Duchess, 1895-1918.

  • Part of “The Big Pair”

  • Loved to read, enjoyed school work, politics, and was independent yet very sheltered.

  • Nursed Russian Soldiers during WWI.

  • Was more aware of the hatred the people felt for her parents than were her siblings.

  • Suffered severe depression during her months of captivity.


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Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna

  • Part of “The Big Pair,” 1897-1918.

  • Described as most elegant and beautiful of the four sisters.

  • The sisters were raised simply, sleeping on camp beds and taking cold baths.

  • Practical & a leader she was nicknamed “The Governess” by her sisters.

  • The Tsarina’s favorite daughter.

  • Tanya was polite, flirtatious, and sometimes shy.


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Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna

  • Part of the “little pair,” 1899-1918.

  • Marie was described as pretty, flirtatious, broadly built, with light brown hair and large blue eyes- known in the family as "Marie's saucers.“

  • Was closest to her father the Tsar.

  • She was the most reserved of her sisters, often got teased by them, and nicknamed “fat little bow wow.”

  • Maria was fond of soldiers and little children and would have preferred being a homemaker to a Grand Duchess.

  • Was insecure and felt she was the least loved of the sisters.

  • When giving gifts or writing letters the four sisters signed “OTMA” to represent their names.


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Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna

  • The other half of “the little pair,” 1901-1918.

  • Always considered short and chubby compared to her elder sisters – she made up for it in great personal charm.

  • Nastya was a tomboy, loved to climb trees, play jokes, and had a stinging tongue. She was very intelligent but despised school work.

  • Nicknamed “imp.”

  • The most famous of the four Grand Duchesses, Anastasia was remembered in the Disney cartoon “Anastasia” –a fictitious tale of her survival.

  • Her legacy has survived nearly 100 years in part to an imposter – Anna Anderson.

  • Anastasia is often remembered as a child but in reality died just short of her 18th birthday.

  • Four Imperial children entered the basement to die and over the years 228 “surviving” children have been investigated.


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Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich

  • Heir to the Russian throne, 1904-1918.

  • Imperial couple tried for many years to have an heir – Alexei was diagnosed with deadly hemophilia at 6 weeks old.

  • His illness was kept secret from everyone which prevented the people from understanding the Empress’s absence and faith in Rasputin.

  • Alexei nearly died several times only to “seemingly” be saved by the family holy man, Grigori Rasputin. This relationship sealed the Romanov’s fate.

  • Alexei was spoiled, rambunctious, and very close to his sisters. He became the most sheltered of all and even had 2 men who went everywhere with him to prevent injury.

  • Nicholas II abdicated in 1917 in favor of his son only to sign papers later that abdicated for Alexei as well in favor of his brother, Grand Duke Mikhail in order to keep his son with the family. Technically, Alexei was Tsar for a few hours.


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Grigori Rasputin – Holy Man

  • Rasputin – often called “the mad monk” was not a monk but a Russian peasant and wandering Holy Man.

  • Brought to the Romanov’s in the hope of saving young Alexei’s life.

  • Repeatedly “seemed” to intervene and bring Alexei back from death.

  • Greatly influenced the Tsar and Tsarina in the late days – helped Alexandra run the government in 1915 when Nicholas was away.

  • In reality, was a very crude man who participated in activities such as drinking and rape.

  • Because the Tsarevich’s illness was kept secret no one understood his presence.

  • Rasputin was murdered in 1916 by Nicholas’s nephew.

  • Said to have told the Tsar that his death would bring about the end of the Romanov Dynasty. This legend has lived on and Rasputin remains the villain of this tragic tale.


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Abdication & Exile

  • With Russia involved in World War I, lack of supplies, millions of troops dying, and a backlog of years of distrust the people rioted.

  • Following the February Revolution in Petrograd, Nicholas was forced to abdicate – first to Alexei but after realizing his son would be taken away – in favor of his brother, Grand Duke Mikhail – who turned it down.

  • The family was placed under house arrest in March 1917 at the family homestead Tsarskoe Selo. In August they were evacuated to Tobolsk.

  • Bolsheviks came to power in October and they were moved to the Impatiev House in Yekatrinburg with four retainers.

  • They remained here until July 1918.

  • Yekatrinburg soldiers were cruel and lewd to the family. Anytime a soldier seemed to get friendly they were replaced. The family diaries remain from this time and indicate that as a unit they were still very close.


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Execution

  • The family was awakened early on July 17th and taken to the basement.

  • Initially told they were being taken for protection from gunshots being fired in the city – they were read an execution order.

  • All eleven people were shot. Jewels hidden in their clothing protected the Grand Duchesses from bullets and they were also bayoneted.

  • Accounts recently surfacing following the end of the Cold War indicate very a very brutal massacre.

  • The bodies were taken by truck to the forest where they were first hidden in a mine shaft.

  • Deciding this wouldn’t work they were exhumed the next day and buried in another grave that was not found until 1991.

  • When located – 2 bodies were missing which supported that the leader, Yurovsky had burned two. Complete obliteration by fire is impossible so the location of the other two bodies remains unknown.


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Anna Anderson

Anastasia

Anna

  • In 1920 a “Jane Doe” attempted suicide and was sent to an asylum. It was there that a media circus began claiming she was the Grand Duchess Anastasia.

  • She claimed to have fainted during the shooting and been shielded from bullets by her sister, Tatiana’s body. Afterward, a soldier named Tchaikovsky noticed her alive among the corpses and spirited her away.

  • Anna put up a convincing argument that divided both the Romanov’s and fanatics; however, DNA tests after her death in 1984 proved she was a Polish factory worker named Franziska Schankowska who had been presumed dead in 1920.

  • Despite many imposters, Anna became the most famous and Anastasia became the most recognized Grand Duchess world wide. Nearly 100 years later most people have heard of the “missing” Grand Duchess Anastasia who disappeared the night of her families massacre and was spirited away – never to be heard from again.


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Memorial

  • The location of the Romanov bodies was known to a few select people but it wasn’t until after the cold war ended in the 1990’s that they were finally exhumed.

  • 9 of the 11 victims were recovered in Pigs Meadow outside Ekaterinburg.

  • Alexei & either Anastasia or Maria is missing – fueling speculation of survivors.

  • DNA tests compared to England’s Prince Philip confirmed the identity of the Romanov’s and 4 servants in the grave.

  • On July 18, 1998 – the 80th anniversary of the execution – the Romanov’s minus their son and daughter were laid to rest in the Romanov family crypt in the Peter and Paul Cathedral.

  • The Russian Orthodox Church canonised the family as Saints in 2000


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PresentersNote

I’ve always been a huge history buff and find the history of the Russian Imperial Family to be fascinating. I thought it would be fun to give a brief outline of who the main players in this tragedy really were as opposed to who the general public “thinks” they were. I hope you enjoy.

-Amanda


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For More Information Go To:

  • The Alexander Time Machine:http://www.alexanderpalace.org/palace/

  • Livadia.org:

    http://www.livadia.org/

  • The Romanov Memorial:

    http://www.romanov-memorial.com/

  • Wikipedia

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_II_of_Russia


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