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Tatiana Nicholaievna / Re: Tatiana's French bulldog, Ortino
« on: February 05, 2004, 09:52:40 AM »
Bob says that this question has come up before.  The definitive answer from his research is the dog's name was <Ortino>.

The mistake seems to have come up from some Russian translations, where the character in russian cursive for "p" is the same as the western cursive for "n".

Imperial Russian Antiques / Re: Forbes collection of Faberge
« on: February 04, 2004, 12:21:21 PM »
Read Nick Nicholson's original article on the Alexander Palace Main Page.

The Alexander Palace / Re: Life in the Alexander Palace
« on: February 04, 2004, 11:28:04 AM »
While alot of what you said is correct, it isn't necessarily "accurate" in your interpretations. Many people reading history forget to put what they read back into the context of the time.  Remember that Victorian women were usually educated only in  learning domestic and household activities. Queen Victoria advocated Anglo-German standards, and she raised and influenced all of her children and grandchildren in that same way: "Kitchen, Children and Church" were the most important education.  Given the limitation of those standards, the Imperial children were well educated, learning four languages simultaneously, art, music, literature and dance, not to mention Romanov family history, Russian history and world history.  Olga was an accomplished pianist who was said by some who had met her that she could play any song she heard once perfectly. Don't forget that each Grand Duchess would lead her own military Regiment, and Olga and Tatiana loved to learn the history and exploits and traditions of their Regiments.

To be fair, they could all be, to some extent, lazy students however. Remember that virtually from birth, each had a staff and appointment calendar and fully scheduled day. From getting up until going to bed they were watched, guarded, tended and supervised. There was no time in the day for unsupervised and unstructured play and interaction together so in the classroom they tended to be unruly. Outside the classroom, they would rather try to play or do nothing, instead study when they had the time.

To say that  "In all, a very isolated, insular life, which left them unprepared for what was to come" misses an important point: They were under constant threat of harm daily by the Revolutionary terrorists. We must remember the incredible stress that had to have created.  They knew about Uncle Serge being blown to bits as well as their Great Grandfather. They were all in the theater when Stolypin was murdered, and it was Tatiana who saw the shooting and slammed the door to the box to protect her father. Their travel schedule was often erraticly changed without notice by the Secret Police learning of threats and assassination attempts, and the children all knew full well of what was going on.  They were watched 24/7 by police guards when outside Palace walls.

The Family travelled extensively together, Finland, Livadia, England, Denmark, Moscow, and all over Russia and elsewhere.  The Children were attending many events and meeting many people.  However, they sometimes appeared to act immature and childish in public, which lead some people to assume they were less intelligent than they were.

Alexandra expected the girls to always stay busy with something productive, like sewing, needlwork, painting or reading.  In the evenings when together as a family they did play games, they loved the board games of the period, a game called "Lotto", played music and yes had jigsaw puzzles.  They loved photography and had cameras and albums full of their photos.  They had records and a gramophone, and watched the latest silent movies from Europe and the US.  They read books, magazines and newspapers from all over Europe and the US, and even had a subscription to National Geographic Magazine.

Nicholas took many of the official ceremonies quite seriously, but don't forget that any public official forced to attend some ceremony almost daily will not always be at full attention all the time.  As for Alexandra, she found many such events tiresome because she was often sick and they literally tired her out too much or she was staying behind to care for a sick child or two. Also, she had five pregnancies all with long and difficult recoveries, and so was out of public sight for long times and she insisted on nursing each child herself.  She was long faulted for not being social and public like Marie Feodrovna, but to her, her husband and family came before everything else, and she strove to create a warm, stable and secure environment for them to combat the stresses and strains of their life.

The Alexander Palace / Re: Visiting the Palace
« on: February 04, 2004, 09:46:14 AM »
It is interesting to note Galina, that Alexandra was indeed originally criticised for her very "modern" Art Nouveau designs, including hidden electric lighting which we take for granted today; but also remember that for twenty years, nothing was changed at all, and by 1914 she was again being criticised for having such "old fashioned" and out dated rooms! As always, Alexandra could never "win" in the court of public opinion!! From what we understand, given the fact that the Palace was preserved virtually intact until WWII, any restoration will almost certainly return it to the original state it was in the day the Imperial Family left.

The Alexander Palace / Re:  Alexander Palace Design
« on: February 04, 2004, 09:41:25 AM »
The Alexander Palace Time Machine site has photos of the personal rooms of the Imperial Family. What photos are you looking for which are not already up?

The Alexander Palace / Re: The Imperial Garage
« on: February 03, 2004, 04:58:00 PM »
There is a good overview of the Imperial Garages on the Alexander Palace site:

In all of the photos we have seen of the Imperial cars, we have never seen the Imperial Crest on them, although there may have been a small one painted on a door. There are a few photos showing Imperial Flags flying on the cars on several occassions.  As far as we have been able to determine, all of the Imperial cars vanished during the Revolution and Civil War years.  If anyone has any information about the Imperial Cars during or after the Revolution we would love for you to share it with us.

Nicholas II never owned a Rolls-Royce according to the archives we have seen.  He did own several Mercedes (although this was a decade before Mercedes merged with Benz).  You can see a full inventory of the Imperial cars as of 1912 on the link above.

There was one manufacturer (that we know of here) of automobiles in Russia before the Revolution, the "Baltic" company. The Imperial Garage had 2 of them for use of the Palace and suite.

The Yussupovs / Re: Princess Zenaida Yusupova - discussion and pictures
« on: February 02, 2004, 10:19:58 AM »
In "The Lost Fortune of the Tsars" William Clark writes that Nicholas II had repatriated his own money back to Russia at the outbreak of the War and expected all Russians to do the same. Prince Felix told an interviewer (Dr. Idris Taylor jun.) that his family had done as the Tsar wished, and had only an estate on Lake Geneva and an apartment in London which they had yet been unable to sell, the jewelry and valuables they carried and the two Rembrandts, after they left. (see pg 219-220)

The Yussupovs / Re: Princess Zenaida Yusupova - discussion and pictures
« on: February 02, 2004, 09:50:53 AM »
Felix took two Rembrandt paintings with him, which are now in the National Gallery in Washington DC, as well as his mother's jewelry. He had inherited a small estate in France before the Revolution which he still owned, and was awarded a sizeable libel judgement in the early 1930s from MGM, as he found his portrayel in the movie "Rasputin and the Empress" objectionable.  They lived comfortably, but no where near what they had before leaving Russia.

Art Beeche wrote a wonderful biography for us about Dowager Empress Marie Feodrovna.

Perhaps Art will be good enough to join us here and write more about her.
As an interesting note, the Dowager Empress always signed herself "Marie" when writing in any language other than Russian, although both Marie and Maria are acceptable spellings for her name.  She and her sister Queen Alexandra of England retired together to the family estate at Hvidore in Denmark and lived rather quietly there on a small stipend from the King of Denmark for the last years of their lives.

The Myth and Legends of Survivors / Re: Anna Anderson and Anastasia
« on: February 02, 2004, 09:21:12 AM »
Let us not forget the most critical point in this whole discussion, which is that the mtDNA testing has shown that without doubt (at least without a statistically significant doubt anyway: something like a 99.999% accuracy) that Anna Anderson was in no way related to Empress Alexandra.  A recent discussion on the subject with a molecular biologist from the University of Texas indicates that the testing performed in 1994 was completely reliable then, and remains so today.  The only significant change in the analytical process in the last ten years is that the testing is now performed by machine but the underlying science remains exactly the same.

First, in order to accurately understand the events, one must put them into the context of the time. The Ural Soviet decided that the continued existence of the Imperial Family gave the White Army and its supporters and allies too much hope and support and so they decided to murder them all, but to cover it up. It was a bit of disinformation really, because they were also scared that if the murders were public knowledge that the Whites would then seem them as martyrs and seek revenge. So, the idea was for them to totally disappear so that no one would really know what had happened to them (this worked).

OK, lets look at what we know: No question 12 people went into a small room.  More armed men chosen especially for their hatred of the Imperial Family took turns shooting them. No question here either. We know several survived initally, and were finished off, at least to the satisfaction of the executioners. Again no question so far. Yurovsky testified that he personally shot each survivor in the head at least twice. We may choose not to believe this.  I see no reason not to believe him however as there is no motivation for him to lie about this point. Valuables were found, bodies were searched and handled. Again, no question.

An important point to remember is that everyone involved in the murder at this point, every eyewitness, was convinced they were all dead.

A truck was stationed at the front door of the house. We have the requisition record.  Guards were posted in the street to make sure no one came by. We have the posting records and their testimony. Strekotin and Yakimov among others. We also have the driver of the truck sitting in or standing next to it. A six passenger car, an Overland, was delivered to the front door as well, we have the records, and its driver was sent away and told not to come back.
Now. Every single eyewitness testimony says the same thing: Each corpse was removed and placed onto the truck. Again, each person handling each corpse and putting them onto a stretecher and carrying them to the truck is still convinced they are all dead. No one says they actually counted them at this point, BUT, we also know that another detachment of guards who were not present in the house at the time of the murders was sent in immediately afterward to physically clean up the basement of the blood and other remains of the murders. We have their assignment posting logs and their testimony.
So: If there are guards and a truck driven outside in the street to make sure no one comes along, everyone admits that every corpse was put on the truck, and there was no one left in the basement when the guards went down to clean up. WHERE could  any of the bodies have gone? There was no time when they were unattended between the shootings and the truck leaving. So, everyone must be and is still accounted for and on that truck.

Now, testimony at the mine says that the bodies were indeed counted. We can disregard this if you wish, but bear one important thing in mind. In the Russian Orthodox religion, an "uncorrupted body" is required for that person to be a saint.  We know from testimony that it was agreed that each body was to be stripped of their remaining clothing and be disfigured so that they could not recieve Sainthood rites in the Church and they were making sure that each "candidate" was accounted for. We have an eyewitness who says specifically he saw Alexei at this point.  Also, who would remove a body from the truck at this point and how could they have carried it off unnoticed prior to the disfigurements and stripping off the remaining clothes from the bodies (to burn the clothes and hide the evidence), and where would they have taken it? Where would they have hidden it? How could they have tended medically and physically to them? How could this be kept secret? Remember, this is in a boggy wet desolate forest miles out of town.  We know though that physically speaking, this is the only point in what is known of the chain of events where anyone "might" have survived and escaped. What happened later really almost doesn't matter.

Now, we must also be remembered that the Bolsheviks were not convinced that they might win. So, they were also motivated out of fear that IF anyone survived or any evidence of their murdering the Imperial Family was found later, they could be tried and convicted for their actions. This is an important point.

How much more physical evidence can we hope to have?

Yes, everyone has an opinion, but some are more informed than others.  How much research have you done to support your contention that more evidence is required? Please let us know your sources.

To be precise, which I was not earlier, for which I apologize:
Prince G.E. Lvov was first Prime Minister of the Provisional Govt. from March 2, 1917 until he resigned in favor of Kerensky on July 7.

The reason the bodies had been stripped was because all of the girls and Alexandra had gold and diamonds hidden in their clothes.  During imprisonment in the Alexander Palace they took diamonds out of Alexandra's jewelery and sewed them into little packets between two thin chemises which they were always wearing secretly.  For those who don't know, at that time, all the Grand Duchesses wore corsets (as did all "ladies of breeding" in Victorian times) and the chemise was a thin undershirt worn under the corset.  During the murders several of the Grand Duchesses were not killed by the bullets, because the diamonds acted like a bullet proof vest, as the executioners began to stab them, the diamonds started spilling out. Therefore, they stripped all of the bodies to shred the clothes looking for valuables. Each corpse was carefully searched while still in the basement.  This is, at least to me, more compelling evidence that all of them were quite dead, because the bodies were clearly handled quite a lot that night and someone would surely have noticed someone still alive.  Alexei was wearing just his favorite sailor's shirt from the Standardt crew and they could see he did not have any valuables on him so they just left the shirt.  All of the bodies were then taken to the forest and they tried to burn them...again more evidence that none of them were still alive. This much is without is after this point that things become murky.

As for the demanding of concrete physical evidence, it is not always necessary. Compare that notion to this obvious possibility:
Clearly it is possible that perhaps one hundred people who were supposed to be in the WTC September 11 decided to use the tragedy as an excuse to disappear and start new lives and identities from scratch.....The New York Times reports that over 350 people are missing still from the Sept. 11 tragedy with no DNA or physical evidence ever found....should we still be convinced that they are alive and well somewhere until this proof is found one way or the other??
To me, demanding some physical evidence of the two bodies to prove their deaths is just as ludicrous....

Alexander Kerensky was the leader of the first Provisional Government before the Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917.

The Alexander Palace / Re:  Alexander Palace Design
« on: January 29, 2004, 09:22:53 AM »
According to the plan drawn up for the World Monuments Fund survey of the Alexander Palace the dimensions are:

the width of the Imperial Residence aisle is 80' (the 'internal' width is indeed 74')
the External or Park facade length of the aisle is 205'
the Internal or Courtyard length of the aisle is 72'
the inside/courtyard width between aisles is 245'
thus the total length across the Palace is 405' (80'x2+245')

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