By Eric Vandenbroeck 18 July 2018

Because today I will be leaving for on a lecture and seminar tour in China, I will not be able to post much on this website for a while. But considering that a recent two-part article detailing a plan to save the Tsar and his family plus the British Banking scheme to control Russia's economy and the Allied intervention, has drawn such a large readership, proceeding where I left off with the previous two I will add a third article with some less known information.

As expected, thousands of Russian religious pilgrims have walked in an overnight procession in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg to mark the 100th anniversary of the execution of Tsar Nicholas II and his family. Law enforcement agencies reported that over 100,000 pilgrims participated. Another 20,000 people joined the commemorations when the procession arrived at the monastery in Ganina Yama after covering the distance of 21 km.

The importance of the years 1917-18 is that it would not only drastically alter the course of Russian history but of the 20th century itself. First the triumph of Bolshevism ignited a vicious civil war and the rise of a one-party state that spied on its people. It also gave way to the rise of Joseph Stalin, whose grim rule is one of the factors that led to the cold war that involved a majority of countries in the world including the US and the USSR coming close to World War III.

This while the death of Nicholas II and the Romanov family remains a controversial moment in Russia’s history. Tsarism and Bolshevism are, for the most part, not presented as conflicting forces in a battle in which one order defeated another. Rather, tsars, Bolsheviks and later communists, are seen as a succession of “greats.” In Moscow, visitors can admire the glamour and grandeur of the tsars at the Historical Museum in the Red Square before lining up for the Lenin Mausoleum only a few steps away. 

One of the personal inadequacies of Nicholas and Alexandra that deserve mention, led them both to seek support and advice from Grigori Rasputin and became one of the factors that further isolated the couple from the government and people of Russia. An underresearched subject to date, it might be useful at this point to throw some light on how the abdication of the last Tsar develloped. Of course it cannot be denied that the German Emperor Wilhelm II (the tsar's nephew) spent huge sums to foment Revolution in Russia. And together with his chancellor Bethmann Hollweg (see Whitewashing the White Book in the following link) one could also have said tricked Nicholas II in what Germany then would use as an excuse to start its war with Russia.

Little-known Facts Of How The Abdication Of Nicholas II Developed And Its Consequences.

On 3 August, Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Sazonov confided to French Ambassador Paléologue: “The Emperor is the sovereign, but it is the Empress who governs under Rasputin’s guidance.” (1) Sazonov’s complaint clarifies why many wanted to be rid of the Siberian muzhik.

The crisis of World War I placed the fragile regime under intolerable stress. In February 1917, Nicholas II lost control of protests in St. Petersburg (which had been renamed Petrograd during the war to sound less German) and was soon forced to abdicate, replaced by a republic under a provisional government.

Following the disastrous events in the war, when Kovno (now Kaunus, Lithuania) was captured by the Germans, Russia was embarrassed by its continuous military losses. Paléologue noted in his diary (2) that the disaster was placed on Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich’s shoulders, as the Supreme Commander. In an attempt to lessen further military embarrassment, the emperor dismissed the grand duke and took over as Supreme Commander of the Imperial Forces.

Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna provided a personal insight regarding her son’s decision in her diary: 1915, 28 August. “Pavel Benkendorf visited me after a long absence. We were both in despair about the terrible communication from the front and other events, which are occurring and about which are now spoken. Before everything, it is, that the irate soul of Gr[ igorii] has returned, and also A. [Alexandra Fyodorovna] wants Niki to take the Supreme Command for himself instead of Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich; have to be mindless, to do that!” (3) [Yulia Kudrina, Maria Fyodorovna’s biographer, provided the following sentence that is missing in the recent Russian edition, which was sourced from a Danish source: “She must be psychiatrically insane, if she honestly believes this!” (4) which are spoken about in the city. Niki arrived with his 4 girls. He began to say himself that he will take over the command instead of Nikolasha, I was so horrified, that I nearly collapsed, and told him, that it was a huge mistake, [I] pleaded not to do it now, when everything is bad for us, and added that, if he does this, everyone will see, that this was Rasputin’s Prikaz. I believe that this impressed him, because he became significantly red. He simply does not understand, what danger and suffering this may bring us and to the entire nation.” (5)

Kerensky explained that after the February Revolution, the Provisional Government found out that the Germans had covertly gained Rasputin as one of their agents. (6) It is difficult to understand why Kerensky made such a spurious claim when the Commission he set up revealed that Rasputin did not influence Russian domestic affairs during the war.

Mikhail Rodzianko who became one of the key politicians during the Russian February Revolution claimed that it was the Germans who had spread the rumor that Rasputin was being told military secrets by the “debauched German tsarina.” The German disinformation was supposed to demoralize the Russian army into defeat. (7)

Around October 1916, British Ambassador to Russia Buchanan was concerned about the rapid turnover of ministers, especially Sazonov’s departure, who had commanded the trust of the Allies and “because he was seen as a force for modernization in domestic politics.” He blamed those objectionable changes on the “dark forces at Tsarskoe Selo.” (8) Buchanan supposed that a large section of the governing clique was Britain’s enemy. (9)

Given these facts, the meaning behind Samuel Hoare’s (10) admission that safeguarding the Entente drove the British to destroy the ‘dark forces.’ Secretary of War Lloyd George did not sanction the operation to murder Rasputin (11) because there was no need to approve an operation that involved willing Russian citizens to carry out the murder on their own territory. The British were only interested in the outcome. Hoare only needed to assure to his superior that the matter would end favorably.

Stephan Dorril revealed that MI6 preferred the use of third parties. (The SIS emerged as MI6 after WWI.) For that reason, Secret Intelligent Service (SIS) agent Oswald Rayner’s role on the night of 16/ 17 December was to act as an observer, ensuring the liquidation of a common enemy would be carried out on the designated night. His second duty would have been to confirm the result to his superior, who would have notified Buchanan.

Buchanan’s audience with Nikolai II on Friday 30 December 1916 at 11 in the morning (12) was significant in that the emperor knew the British were involved. Buchanan told the emperor that it would be ideal to “break down the barriers that separate you from your people and to regain their confidence.” He then added that the Germans were “pulling the strings and were using as their unconscious tools those who were in the habit of advising His Majesty as to the choice of his ministers.” (13) Nikolai II interrupted the flow of words and explained that he chose the ministers.

Bruce Lockhart (Consul-General in Moscow) recognized Buchanan’s mission this way: “… future generations will recognize how great was the work accomplished by Sir George Buchanan in helping to keep Russia in the war.”

On 28 February 1917 it was announced in the Duma, in front of a crowd composed mostly of workers and soldiers, that a provisional Duma Committee had been created. It was declared that the Duma Committee held exclusive authority and that it was vital that everyone submitted to it “and no other authority” and that this committee was headed by Mikhail Rodzianko with Alexander Kerensky acting as its deputy. Mikhail Rodzianko signed a Declaration that there was a change in power. (14) This notice came days before Nikolai II was pressured into abdicating.

On 1 March Grand Duke Kirill (wearing a red band) brought his regiment to the Duma and declared their allegiance. (15)(16) Ambassador Buchanan noted that Kirill was the first Romanov “to recognize the revolution and to hoist the red flag.” (17) Countess Kleinmichel said that it was believed that Kirill had acted on Buchanan’s advice. (18)

A second matter that same day concerned the appearance of a joint Declaration, signed by Ambassadors Buchanan and Paléologue. They informed Rodzianko that “the governments of France and Britain are entering into official relations with the Temporary Executive Committee of the State Duma, as the expression of the true will of the people and the sole lawful government of Russia.” (19)

On 2 Mai Alexander Spiridovich (20) and Vasily Maklakov (21) thought that had the emperor refused to abdicate, he would have been killed. The Russian statesman Aleksandr Ivanovich Guchkov found military officers willing to accomplish that deed. (22)

Nikolai II responded to the usurpers’ demand with his own improper response. Signed in pencil and not addressing anyone, it was a piece of paper, which had no legal force. Having in hand what they wanted, not one lawyer cared to question it.

The social and political fabric of the nation now was transformed. Property became a commodity for the taking. (23) The Committee’s Order, dated 2 March, declared that those guilty of harboring “supporters of the old regime would be court-martialed.” (24)

At Tsarskoe Selo, under General Kornilov’s orders, the Okhrana that guarded the perimeter of the Alexandrovskii Palace was replaced. At the 5 March Provisional Government meeting, the second item on the agenda confirmed that the Winter Palace had become nationalized property. (25) On 7 March, the Provisional Government decided the former emperor and his wife would be deprived of their liberty.

Kerensky recognized that as the former head of state, Nikolai II “could not remain at liberty” a position that was endorsed by the worker’s Soviet. 1543 They issued a ‘Protocol’ stipulating that “Nikolai Romanov should not be permitted to depart for England” and ought to be sent to the Trubetskoi Bastion prison. (26)

One could argue that had the field commanders remained loyal to the emperor and to their Oath of Allegiance and focused solely on military matters, the Duma would not have succeeded in its quest for change.

As I further pointed out in my earlier article the British only became concerned when the Bolsheviks, now gaining a foothold in Siberia, would seize control of the Tsar and his family at Tobolskand and potentially use them as political pawns in a game of power play with the Germans over a separate peace deal hence a plan was hatched to move the Tsar.

The imperial family’s presence in Tsarskoe Selo became politically awkward, therefore Kerensky decided they must leave. (27) Buchanan’s telegram to Arthur Balfour (the British Foreign Secretary) on 12/ 25 July 1917, revealed why the relocation was necessary. It was “the fear of counter-revolution among the socialists.” (28) The relocation had nothing to do with safeguarding the imperial family. Kerensky selected Tobolsk, a city where he had spent his formative years. The city’s remoteness, where Decembrists from the failed 1825 uprising and recent revolutionaries were sent, reinforced its “special geographic circumstance.” (29) Once the imperial family had re-settled, Kerensky was no longer answerable for their welfare. Upon reflection, he accused Rasputin for directing “the tormented path … of the imperial family” (30) but then argued, once the Bolsheviks took control, they were culpable for the family’s fate.

Another two controversies are that on 27 November, 2017 that Russia’s equivalent of the FBI, announced that it would look into the claim that the execution of Tsar Nicholas II and his family was a Jewish “ritual killing” followed by a recent announcement that the Russian Orthodox Church had not yet taken a position on the continued analysis of the Romanov family's remains. In particular, the church has refused to recognize the bodies of two Romanov children. The family and experts had hoped that the matter would be resolved by the time of the 100th anniversary of their deaths this week. Yet it has now been postponed until at least 2020.

The Blood Libel As Jewish “ritual killing”

Originating in England with the 1144 case of William Norwich, the accusation – that Jews allegedly murder Christian children for ritual purposes, enjoyed popular appeal for hundreds of years. The most publicized case was that of Mendel Beilis (31), who was accused of ritually murdering the thirteen-year-old boy Andrei Iuschchinskii on March 20, 1911. The Beilis trial was widely reported in newspapers worldwide and became an international cause célèbre.

Russia has had a long history of promoting ritual murder accusations. The blood libel survived on Russian soil since the end of the eighteenth century, when the Russian government acquired the largest Jewish population in the world as a consequence of the partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In the first half of the nineteenth century, almost all of the documented cases occurred in present-day Lithuania and Belarus. Here, an unusually high proportion of the inhabitants – from the common folk to the well-educated members, believed that Jews were capable of committing the crime.

In 1816, several Jews in Grodno were blamed for the death of a peasant girl whose arm had been cut off at the shoulder blade and whose body had several puncture wounds. Similar accusations surfaced from time to time. In 1821, rumors circulated that Jews were responsible for another grisly death after the body of a young woman was found in the Western Dvina.

The most sensational case took place in Velizh, a small town located on the northeastern edge of the Pale of Settlement. Now erased from historical memory, the Velizh affair was the longest ritual murder case in the modern world, and most likely in world history.(32) The case lasted approximately twelve years, from 1823 to 1835, and resulted in charges of ritual murder against forty-three Jews. Unlike the Beilis trial, the Velizh case was conducted in strict secrecy, according to the guidelines established by the inquisitorial procedure code. Imprisonment took a physical and an emotional toll on the prisoners. Standing in front of the commission, many Jews found it difficult to cope with the trauma of the oral interrogations. Some individuals had a hard time getting their point across in a language only a handful of people knew reasonably well. Others succumbed to depression from which they never fully recovered.

By the fall of 1828, the Velizh inquisitorial commission amassed an impressive dossier: a forensic report, an assortment of confessions, one blood-stained cloth, two knives, a piece of foreskin, and reference works that clearly established the theological origins and historicity of ritual murder.

The Velizh case reached the Senate and the State Council, the highest judicial bodies in the Russian Empire. Eventually, the charges against the Jews were dropped. Convicting Jews of blood sacrifice required empirical evidence of the highest order. Yet however powerful the evidence may have been in the Jews’ favor, Tsar Nicholas I was wary of dismissing the ritual murder charge outright. “I do not have and indeed cannot have the inner conviction,” he stated, “that the murder has not been committed by Jews.” Numerous examples from different times and places around the world, he believed, revealed that “among Jews there probably exist fanatics or sectarians who consider Christian blood necessary for their rites.”

Leaving open the possibility of ritual intent, Nicholas I’s opinion in 1835 cast a lingering shadow over all future blood accusations. As the recent events suggest surrounding the Russian Orthodox Church’s probe into the 1918 execution of the Romanovs, for many Russians, it’s entirely within the realm of perceived wisdom that Jews could commit the crime at any time and place. Even a recent mall fire sparked blood libels accusations against Jews.

Controversies And Mysteries

Initially following the First World War little information was available as to what really happened on 16-17 July 1918.  Or as the often quoted member of the Ural Soviet commissar Voikov (who later became Soviet Ambassador to Poland) stated: The world will never know what we did with them.

It would be another seventy years before it came known what had happened, this while rumor and counter-rumor flourished and pretenders came forward one by one purporting to be one of the children, there was no trace of the family and no bodies were found.

In the west, interest in Russia’s last imperial family withered on the vine with the rise of Soviet Russia, except for the occasional flurry of interest, such as that over the false Anastasia claimant, Anna Anderson, who in the 1920s became notorious after persisting for many years with her claim to be the tsar’s youngest daughter and thus sole survivor of the 1918 massacre. She was brought to fame by cult followers of the famous occultist Rudolf Steiner. Initially general secretary of the German branch of Madame Blavatsky's Theosophy in 1913 he started his own occult group naming it Anthroposophy. Active in the Steiner movement the first to make "Anne Anderson" (in reality of Polish origin) famous was Harriet von Rathlef-Keilmann when she published a book about her friend: Anastasia: A Woman's Fate as a Mirror of the World Catastrophe. (For more on Steiner sie also Rudolf Steiner’s "mystery plays")

This soon reached Prince Sigismund of Prussia who had been close to Rudolf Steiner and earlier had received Steiner as a guest at his Liebenberg estate. It was Prince Sigismund who then in 1927 asked another follower of Rudolf Steiner his brother in law Prince Friedrich (whose older brother Georg Moritz was also an Anthroposophist) to go and see how one could help what was possible his niece Anastasia. In 1946, Prince Friedrich helped "Anne Anderson" across the border to Bad Liebenzell in the French occupation zone. And in 1949 Prince Friedrich in 1949 spent the last of his Deutschmarks on what was to become Anna Anderson's first permanent home in Unterlengehardt.

Though the villagers knew nothing, initially, of Anna's Romanov claims, she seemed to establish herself swiftly as a sort of resident of honor, referred to as Hohe Frau: She was no doubt bemused to find herself treated to a reverential moving-in ceremony, with children lining the road carrying bouquets. One of the anthroposophists, Adele von Heydebrandt, became Anna's carer and the pair lived together in the fourteen by eighteen-foot barack type cabin. They would later be joined by a friend of the wife of Rudolf Steiner, Marie Steiner, Monica von Miltitz.

Ian Lilburn, a member of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and the grandson Sir Hugh Reid Bart, drove tirelessly around Europe collecting witnesses. Today he retains his unshakeable conviction that Anna was the Grand Duchess. Lilburn who visited Anna at Unterlengenhardt commented that the Anthroposophists were friendly but overly analytical: If you were to say "good morning", they'd be wondering what you meant.

In her book, Anastasia Retrouvée (1985), Tatiana Botkina-Melnik describes her visit to Unterlengenhardt. "Through a small window nearly blocked by vegetation, the dull day barely illuminated a veritable Aladdin's Cave. Picture frames, knick-knacks, postcards, photographs were piled up everywhere, a bizarre quantity of objects among which I recognized official portraits of the Emperor and Empress, old epaulets, a Cossack officer's belt decorated with tarnished silver ornaments and everywhere unopened letters. Envelopes invaded everything and stamps in all colors bore witness to the most exotic parts of the world ... And then, when my eyes had finished taking in this baffling spectacle, I perceived at the end of. the room a large wooden bed, with covers, piled one on top of the other, concealing a human form. I approach. Anastasia is there."

"Anna Anderson" died on 12 February 1984 followed by Prince Friedrich's own death on January 23, 1985. But Anna never quite went away. In 1986, a TV mini-series, Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna, was broadcast; this particularly unlikely version of the story depicted Anna naked in bed with a character obviously based on Prince Friedrich. It is not known whether the principal actresses were aware of the liberties taken with the truth, but both said there were moments when they believed Anna's claim.

Then in April 1989, the Moscow News reported the grave's discovery. That same month President Mikhail Gorbachev was received in London by the queen.

In 1991 after the breakup of the Soviet Union by orders of Boris Yeltsin the grave was officially excavated. When the grave was opened, the remains of only nine bodies were found. Two bodies were missing. They turned out to be those of Alexei and one of his sisters. The news caused a media sensation and reignited stories of the escape of one of the tsar's daughters.

In a ceremony in 1998 attended by Russian president Boris Yeltsin and 50 or so Romanov relatives, the remains were reburied in the family crypt in St. Petersburg. When the partial remains of two skeletons believed to be the remaining Romanov children, Alexei and Maria, were found in 2007 and similarly tested, most people assumed they would be reburied there as well.

Instead, events took a strange turn. Even though both sets of remains were identified by teams of top international scientists, who compared recovered DNA to samples from living Romanov relatives, members of the Russian Orthodox Church questioned the validity of the findings. More research was needed, they claimed.

Last fall the official state investigation of the tsar's murder was reopened, and Nicholas and Alexandra were exhumed, as was Nicholas's father, Alexander III. Since then there have been conflicting reports from government and church officials on when, or if, the entire Romanov family will be reburied and reunited, even if only in death. Yet the powerful Russian Orthodox Church to date has refused to recognize the bodies of the two Romanov children and now announced that they want to postpone a decision until at least 2020.

The Church has said the remains must be tested further, but it also appears to fear offending clergy, including a bishop close to Vladimir Putin, who believe the relics were destroyed in a Jewish conspiracy. Clerics also fear alienating numerous people who believe in multiple legends including that one or more of the children (and according to the following suggestion by a Russian historian again Anna Anderson) may have survived. To date, Anthroposophists and Steiner followers still do believe this to be the case. So also does Thomas Meyer the co-author of a book publishing (the "postmortem" letters Steiner penned down with the alleged message from the deceased" Head of the German General Staff General from Moltke to his wife) who wrote in his publication "The European" (Der Europäer) dated 18 July 2018 that Anastasia (in the form of Anna Anderson) "survived the assassination of the tsar's family"; Anastasia überlebte die Ermordung der Zarenfamilie im Juli 1919."

 

1. Paléologue, M. Diary excerpt, Thursday 3 August 1916 (N. S.), An Ambassador’s Memoirs, [Volume II], p 31

2. Paléologue, M., Diary excerpt, Wednesday 18 August 1915, (N. S.), An Ambassador’s Memoirs, [Volume II], p 53

3. Maria Fyodorovna, Diary excerpt, Saturday 8 August 1915, Dnevniki Imperatritsi Marii Fyodorovni, p 88-89

4. Kudrina, Yu., Imperatritsa Maria Fyodorovna Romanova, p 149

5. Maria Fyodorovna, Diary excerpt, Wednesday 12 August 1915, Dnevniki Imperatritsi Marii Fyodorovni, p 89

6. Kerensky, A., Tragediya Dinastii Romanovikh, p 43

7. Radzinsky, E., The Rasputin File, p 355

8. Pokazaniya P. N. Milyukov, 7 August 1917, in: Padeniye Tsarskogo Regima, [Volume VI], (1926), p 350

9. Alexandra Fyodorovna, Letter to Nikolai II, 4 November 1916, reproduced in: Platonov, O. (III), Nikolai Vtoroi v Sekretnoi Perepiske, p 652

10. Hoare, S., The Fourth Seal, p 159

11. Cook, A., To Kill Rasputin, p 230

12. Nikolai II, Diary excerpt, Friday 30 December 1916, Dnevnik, p 373

13. Buchanan, G., Mission to Russia, [Volume II], pp 43-46

14. Izvestiya Petrogradskogo Soveta, February 28, 1917, No. 1, p 2, reproduced as Document No. 13, in: Skorbnii Put’ Romanovikh (1917-18), Arkhiv Noveishei Rossii, [Volume III], p 36

15. “Protocol Sobitii Fevralskoi Revolutsii”, Document 80, 27 February – 4 March 1917, reproduced in: Tretyakova, V., Otrecheniye Nikolaya II, p 311

16. Izvestiya Revoliutsionnoi Nedeli, No. 4, 1 March 1917, p 1, reproduced as: Document No. 42, in Browder, R. and Kerensky, A., The Russian Provisional Government 1917 Documents, [Volume 1], p 64

17. Buchanan, G., Mission to Russia, [Volume II], p 101

18. Kleinmichel, M, Memoirs of a Shipwrecked World, Brentano’s Press, New York, 1923, p 232

19. “Official Recognition of the Provisional Government by England and France”, reproduced in: Golder, F., Documents of Russian History 1914-1917, The Century Co., 1927, p 284

20. Spiridovich, A., Velikaya Voina i Fevralskaya Revolutsiya, p 387

21. Maklakov, A., “Padeniye Russkoi Monarkhii: Pro i Contra”, Istoriya i Istoriki Journal, Moskva, 2001, p 312

22. Spiridovich, A., Velikaya Voina i Fevralskaya Revolutsiya, p 477

23. Kerensky, A., Rossiya v Povorotnii Moment Istorii, p 215

24. Izvestiya Revoliutsionnoi Nedeli, No. 5, 2 March 1917, p 1, Order to the City of Petrograd, Reproduced as: Document No. 46, in: Browder, R. and Kerensky, A., [Volume 1], p 66

25. Provisional Government Sitting No. 5, 5 March 1917, Item No. 4b, reproduced in: Zhurnali Zasedanii Vremennogo Pravitelstva, Arkhiv Noveishei Istorii Rossii, [Volume VII], p 34

26. Kerensky, A., Tragediya Dinastii Romanovikh, p 114

27. Ispolkom Protocols, 9 March 1917, reproduced as Document No. 40, in: Skorbnii Put’ Romanovikh, Arkhiv Noveishei Istorii Rossii, [Volume III], p 63

28. Kerensky, A., Tragediya Dinastii Romanovikh, p 126

29. Telegram from Ambassador G. Buchanan to Arthur Balfour, 12 (25) March 1917, reproduced as Document No. 59, in: Skorbnii Put’ Romanovih, Arkhiv Noveishei Istorii Rossii, [Volume III], p 81

30. Pokazaniya A. Kerensky, 14-20 August 1920, reproduced in: Alexandrov, A., Rassledovaniye Tsareubiistva- rassekrechenniye dokument

30. Kerensky, A., Tragediya Dinastii Romanovikh, p 51

31. For the context of the Beilis case see Edmund Levin, A Child of Christian Blood: Murder and Conspiracy in Tsarist Russia: The Beilis Blood Libel, 2014.

32. See Eugene M. Avrutin "The Velizh Affair: Blood Libel in a Russian Town" (Oxford University Press, 2018), Avrutin is also the co-editor of "Ritual Murder in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Beyond: New Histories of an Old Accusation" (Indiana University Press, 2017).

 

 

 

Home