A Brief History
On August 23, 2007, the bodies of the remaining Romanov family members were found near Yekaterinburg, Russia, the remains being mere skeletons. Still, the discovery of the remains of Czarevich Alexei Nikolaevich Romanov and his sister, Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanov put an end to any realistic claims that either of these 2 children of the last Czar of Russia, Nicholas (Nikolai) II of the Romanov dynasty would be alive or have had children, thus producing possible heirs to the throne of Imperial Russia. For nearly a century people have claimed to be Alexei or Anastasia, or their descendants, or that the whereabouts of such people were being held secret from the public until the rightful heir to the throne could come forward.
Scientific analysis of the remains included DNA testing that conclusively proved the identity of the bodies. The bodies of the Czar and Czarina had been found at the same location in 1991 (or earlier, as the information was revealed to the public in 1991), but the remains of the 2 youngsters remained elusive, allowing the conspiracy theories about the miraculous survival of one or both of the children to persist. As the first born male, Alexei was heir to the throne of Russia (Czarevich) though he was only 13 when he died. The lad suffered from hemophilia, which made his long term survival problematic in any case, as medicine of the early 20th Century did not have conclusive answers to that malady. Anastasia was a girl of 17 when she and her siblings were executed by secret police operative Yakov Yurovsky of the Bolshevik government of revolutionary Russia, the pre-cursor to the Soviet Union. The Romanovs had been sent to Siberia in exile in 1917 and shot to death a year later. Czar Nicholas II and the Czarina, Alexandra Feodorovna (Alexandra was actually born a German in Germany and was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom) were shot before the children. The Bolsheviks were determined to avoid the scenario of a popular uprising to restore the monarchy in Russia which precipitated the elimination of the entire Royal Family. Thus, the children had to die as well as the parents! Young Alexei was reportedly terrified after the execution of his parents and remained in his chair, where he was shot with several bullets but did not die. The baffled executioners then attempted to bayonet the boy, but what they did not know was the Czarevich had a load of precious gems and valuables concealed in his shirt, preventing the bullets and bayonets from doing their grim work. Yurovsky himself then fired 2 shots into the unfortunate boys head, finally completing the murder. The Romanov girls, Olga, Tatiana and Maria were then killed along with young Anastasia.
Yurovsky had in his memoirs described the location of the murder and burial of the Romanov children, which coincided with the site where the remains were finally located. When the remains of the elder Romanovs were found in 1991 and confirmed as genuine, the remains of Alexei and Anastasia remained elusive until they were also found in 2007. Until the Romanov’s remains were found and identified, numerous people had claimed to be one or another of the “missing” Royal Family, or the offspring of 1 or more of the ill-fated clan. Among those pretenders to the throne were some that convinced large numbers of followers of their birthright, though none ever seriously threatened to be placed in charge of Russia. Probably the best known of these imposters was a woman named Anna Anderson, who died in 1984. After 1991, DNA tests proved Anna was not in fact Anastasia and had been either lying or deluded.
Question for students (and subscribers): Now that the conspiracy theory that 1 or more Romanovs or their progeny have survived to this day is no longer viable, what conspiracy theories do you find intriguing? (Not necessarily outright believe but find fascinating nonetheless.) Who do you think “really” killed JFK or MLK? Was Pearl Harbor or 9/11 a conspiracy? Is the Russia/Collusion investigation a “witch hunt?” You tell us!
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Hourly History. Tsar Nicholas II: A Life From Beginning to End. Amazon Digital, 2017.
Kurth, Peter. Anastasia: The Life of Anna Anderson. Endeavour Media, 2015.
Montefiore, Simon. The Romanovs: 1613-1918. Vintage, 2016.
The featured image in this article, a photograph by the Levitsky Studio, Livadiya of Nicholas II of Russia with the family (left to right: Olga, Maria, Nicholas II, Alexandra Fyodorovna, Anastasia, Alexei, and Tatiana) from 1913, is in the public domain in Russia according to article 1256 of Book IV of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation No. 230-FZ of December 18, 2006 (details). It was published on territory of the Russian Empire (Russian Republic) except for territories of the Grand Duchy of Finland and Congress Poland before 7 November 1917 and was not re-published for 30 days following initial publications on the territory of Soviet Russia or any other states. The Russian Federation (early RSFSR, Soviet Russia) is the historical heir but not legal successor of the Russian Empire. This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1924.