Romanov Family Murder

Following the February revolution and the crumbling of the Russian tsar, the Romanov family was ordered into captivity and were forced to live in the governor's mansion under constant supervision and restrictions. They were not allowed luxurious possessions, were forced to turn over most of their jewelry, and were living off of small rations of food. They had hope that their country was working on a way to free them from their horrors, but much to their dismay, it didn't happen soon enough...

Around midnight Yakov Yurovsky, the superintendent of The House of Special Purpose, ordered the Romanovs' physician, Dr. Eugene Botkin, to awaken the sleeping family and ask them to put on their clothes. The Romanovs were then ordered into a 6x5 meter semi-basement room. Nicholas asked if he could use two chairs for himself and his wife. A firing squad appeared next and Yurovsky announced:

"Nikolai Aleksandrovich, your relatives have tried to save you, but they had not to. And we are forced to shoot you by ourselves..."

external image nicholas2.jpg
Yurovsky then began to read the decision of the Ural Executive Committee (a guard's reminiscence, had tried to cross themselves, but failed amid the shooting. Yurovsky reportedly raised his gun at Nicholas and fired; Nicholas fell dead instantly. The other executioners then began shooting until all the intended victims had fallen. Several more shots were fired and the doors opened to scatter the smoke. There were some survivors, so P.Z. Yermakov stabbed them with bayonets because the shouts could be heard outside.The last to die were Anastasia, Tatiana, Olga, and Maria, who were carrying several pounds (over 1.3 kilograms) of diamonds within their clothing, thus protecting them to an extent. However they were speared with bayonets as well. Olga sustained a gun shot wound to the head. Anastasia and Maria were said to have crouched up against a wall covering their heads in terror until Maria was shot down, and Anastasia was finished off with the bayonets. Yurovsky himself killed Tatiana and Alexei. Tatiana died from a single bullet through the back of her head. Alexei received two bullets to the head, right behind the ear. Anna Demidova, Alexandra's maid, survived the initial onslaught but was quickly stabbed to death against the back wall while trying to defend herself with a small pillow she had carried that was filled with precious gems and jewels. Military commissar Peter Ermakov, in a drunken haze, stabbed at the dead bodies of the former Czar and Czarina, shattering both their rib cages in a pool of blood.

When the vehicle carrying the bodies broke down on the way to the next chosen site, Yurovsky made new arrangements, and buried most of the bodies in a sealed and concealed pit on Koptyaki Road, a cart track (now abandoned) 12 miles (19 km) north of Yekaterinburg. The remains of all the family and their retainers with the exception of two of the children (who were eventually identified in 2008) were later found in 1991 and reburied by the Russian government following a state funeral.

Recent News: (2008)
Preliminary results from a U.S. military laboratory show that remains exhumed outside the Russian city of Yekaterinburg in 2007 belong to two children of Russia's last czar, Nicholas II, a spokeswoman for Yekaterinburg regional governor Eduard Rossel said Wednesday.

The results suggest the remains belong to Nicholas' children, Alexei -- who was the heir to the throne -- and Maria, who have been missing since the royal Romanov family was executed in 1918 by Bolsheviks in the basement of a Yekaterinburg home. Several of their staff and servants also were killed.

Nicholas' reign had ended when he abdicated the throne in 1917 at the time of the Russian Revolution.
Natalia Ponomaryova, the regional governor spokeswoman, told CNN that Rossel made the announcement about the identification of the remains of Alexei and Maria at a news conference, where he said, "Now we have found the entire family."

She said the governor learned the information about two weeks ago from an investigator for the General Prosecutor's Office, Vladimir Solovyov. Solovyov, who probed the case for months, shuttled between Moscow to Yekaterinburg to collect information. Yekaterinburg is about 900 miles east of Moscow.

The preliminary results are from the fourth and last set of DNA tests of the czar's family remains. The final results are to be released in late May, the governor's office said.

An archaeologist said last year that clues left by one of the family's assassins led investigators to the makeshift grave where the remains of Alexei, 13, and his sister, about 19, were found.

The remains of the rest of the family were discovered in 1991, during the last days of the Soviet Union. In 1998, those remains -- of Nicholas, his wife, Alexandra, and three daughters -- were interred in a cathedral in St. Petersburg that contains the crypts of other Russian royalty.

The drama surrounding the Romanovs has been the subject of many books, movies and documentaries. Several women have claimed they were Anastasia, Nicholas' youngest daughter, contending they escaped the execution, but none was proved to be the grand duchess.

The body of one imposter, Anna Anderson, was cremated when she died in 1984. DNA tests showed she was no relation to the Romanov family