Author Topic: The End of the Romanovs by Victor Alexandrov  (Read 13206 times)

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Offline Namarolf

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The End of the Romanovs by Victor Alexandrov
« on: April 12, 2004, 09:34:45 AM »
Has anyone read a book by Victor Alexandrov, "The end of the Romanovs"?

Offline Greg_King

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Re: The End of the Romanovs by Victor Alexandrov
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2004, 01:27:33 AM »
It contains some interesting material and assertions, along with some really horrible mistakes and crude characterizations of N and A.  And unfortunately written at a time when footnoting sources was not done.

Among the material cut from "The Fate of the Romanovs" was a pretty lengthy bibliographic review of ALL books dealing with the last days of the Romanovs, from 1920 to the present day.  We DID include this in the special issue of "Atlantis" devoted to material cut from the book.  Perhaps Penny can post the relevant bits.

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Offline Penny_Wilson

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Re: The End of the Romanovs by Victor Alexandrov
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2004, 11:12:54 AM »
From Atlantis' Magazine's special Fate of the Romanovs issue:

"In 1966, author Victor Alexandrov published his book The End of the Romanovs. Although it contained some interesting new information, the book’s value was undermined by its numerous factual errors.  Alexandrov asserted that Rasputin’s real surname had been “Novikh,” and that he had been a German spy during the First World War. (Alexandrov, 106-08)  He apparently had little understanding of the Romanov Family, writing that Alexandra had been awarded a doctorate in philosophy from Heidelberg University before her marriage; (Alexandrov, 109) that “Alexandra Feodorovna’s brother the Duke [sic] of Hesse had died” from hemophilia; (Alexandrov, 148) that Lili Dehn was the Empress’s “Lady’s Maid;” (Alexandrov, 142) and that Empress Marie Alexandrovna had given her eldest son, Tsesarevich Nicholas, hemophilia, which resulted in his premature death. (Alexandrov, 148)  A simple reading of any of the available source material then published would easily have revealed Alexandrov’s errors.

"Then, too, Alexandrov engaged in some literary flights of fancy.  He spent several pages recounting an entire conversation between Nicholas and Alexandra in his Study in the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo, a meeting for which, according to the author, the pair was alone.  According to Alexandrov, he “recreated” this scene from, which appears on pages 124-125 of his book, from an alleged unpublished story told later by the Empress herself-to whom he does not say, and his book was published at a time when source notes were presumably deemed cumbersome.  Like much of what is contained within his book, it raises an instant note of caution.

"Yet for all of these problems, Alexandrov’s book is not easily dismissed.  Of Russian heritage himself, he moved through Parisian émigré circles and certainly interviewed many of those still alive who had in some manner been involved in the final months of the Romanovs’ captivity.  Then, too, his access to some obscure information and documents helped fill in some gaps in the existing record, particularly in reference to events within the Ural Regional Soviet during the crucial first two weeks of July 1918.  His biggest coup, however, rested on a previously unpublished source, the “Gutek File,” which was said to contain an eyewitness account of the murders and disposal of the bodies as related by Peter Voikov, the former Ural Regional Commissar of Supplies.  Alexandrov concluded, on the basis of this document, which largely echoed the information to be found in any number of previous accounts, that the entire Imperial Family had been murdered, though the “Gutek File” itself contained any number of potential problems."

And about the Gutek file:

"In 1930, Gregory Bessedovsky, a secretary at the Soviet Embassy in Warsaw who had served under former Ural Regional Soviet Commissar of Supplies Peter Voikov, published his memoirs, Im Dienste Der Sowjets, in Leipzig.  Bessedovsky devoted several pages to an account of the Ekaterinburg murders.  He related a peculiar tale.  According to Bessedovsky, one night in 1925, Voikov drank too much and drunkenly spilled out his story of the murder of the Romanovs.  This essentially followed the accepted White version, though Voikov included himself as a participant in the shooting. (Bessedovsky, 200-208)

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Offline Penny_Wilson

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Re: The End of the Romanovs by Victor Alexandrov
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2004, 11:13:10 AM »
"Authors Anthony Summers and Tom Mangold found this highly suspicious, and learned that Bessedovsky had, in fact, written a number of books, including at least one said to be the memoirs of Stalin’s non-existent nephew.  They quote Bessedovsky as saying: “I write books for idiots.  Do you imagine that anyone in the West would read my books if I tried to reproduce the sense and shape of my subjects' statements?” To Summers and Mangold, this was enough to indict the Voikov story as a fabrication. (See Summers/Mangold, 182)

"There is, though, something unconvincing about this argument.  The statement attributed to Bessedovsky above makes no claim to complete fabrication, but rather to a reinterpretation of the original sense related by his subjects.  It is a technical point, and certainly one which sounds a note of caution, but not one which should automatically dismiss Bessedovsky’s purported revelations.  There is, in fact, some degree of confirmation for Bessedovsky’s claims of Voikov’s confession, although this, too, is somewhat troubled.  The story is told by author Victor Alexandrov, who discovered an original record of the official Polish inquiry from the Warsaw Court of the Assizes into Voikov’s assassination.  This was apparently found after World War II in the former home house of a man named Gutek, who had served as Secretary to the Investigating Magistrate in 1927.  Among the papers was a record of a drunken conversation in which Voikov re-told the story of the Ekaterinburg massacre. (Alexandrov, 228)

"The lack of provenance in this case indicates a degree of caution, and no one seems to have seen the file in question since Alexandrov examined it in the 1960s.  Alexandrov himself was convinced of its authenticity.  He noted the account’s distinct similarities with Bessedovsky’s tale of the same incident, which had been published in 1930. (Alexandrov, 228-29)  It is possible, of course, that the entire tale was some elaborate fabrication, though if this were the case one would expect that the so-called “Gutek” file would not have languished in obscurity until the 1960s, particularly when the basic information it contained coincided to a large degree with Bessedovsky’s own account.

"The truth of the matter may never be resolved.  We are simply forced to accept or reject Voikov’s tale on the preponderance of the available evidence.  On the surface, there are sound reasons for questioning its authenticity, not the least of which is the question of content.  Voikov’s account is unique in claiming for himself an actual role in the shooting-a fact not mentioned by any other known participant, and now known to be untrue; it also simply repeated the story that the bodies had been cut apart and burned-something that the actual Voikov knew to be untrue.  And yet, even with these difficulties, it is perhaps possible to regard the tale with some degree of cautious acceptance.  That it appeared in two different forms, from two different sources, who apparently heard it at the same time from Voikov himself, does serve to indicate that there might be truth to the assertion that the former Ural Regional Soviet Commissar for Supplies did indeed drunkenly spill out a tale of his experiences one night.  That it contains variations from what we know to have taken place does not necessarily cast its overall authenticity into doubt; nearly every account of the Romanov murders available to us contains multiple contradictions.  It must also be recalled that Voikov was said to have been drunk, in which state some variation-and, indeed, deliberate elaboration-might be expected.  In short, the “Gutek” and Bessedovsky stories, without firm evidence, cannot be dismissed out of hand, nor can they be considered unquestionably reliable."
"Don't do anything by half. If you love someone, love them with all your soul. When you go to work, work your ass off. When you hate someone, hate them until it hurts."  -- A Piece of Good Advice

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Offline Namarolf

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Re: The End of the Romanovs by Victor Alexandrov
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2004, 11:25:56 AM »
Thanks a lot Greg and Penny!!

Offline Namarolf

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Re: The End of the Romanovs by Victor Alexandrov
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2004, 11:23:00 PM »
Thanks again Greg and Penny- Just finished reading "The end of the Romanovs", and I agree 100% with all you said. I simply feel the author is deeply resentful toward the Romanovs, mainly N & A, and thinks somehow they got what they deserved and asked for.
However, the book has some interesting information -I just wished the author would have said where did he got it from. Some sources he do mentions are quite unreliable, like Anna Aleksandrovna Virubova's alleged secret diary, which now is known to be a Bolshevik fabrication.
By the way, I found another mistake in the book -not an important one, but it may interest you: Alexandrov says Mrs. Virubova lived once in the Ipatiev house, because Grand Duchess Maria wrote her, "we are living in the same house where you once lived". However, checking other data on A. A. V., I found out that during a trip to Siberia she had actually stayed in the Governor's House in Tobolsk -so the letter from the Grand Duchess was simply sent from Tobolsk, not Ekaterinburg, where A. A. never lived.

Offline Joanna

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Re: The End of the Romanovs by Victor Alexandrov
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2004, 09:49:59 PM »
When I first saw this thread I was curious and requested it immediately from the library. I then read Greg's and Penny's posts and was disinclined to read it but as it was on order I picked it up today. I was surprised at the number of photographs. Some I have never seen especially of the icons and medals and of Alexandra's umbrella and bottle of verbena. The author has misidentified some of the photographs such as #33 which is in the AP garden and #34 I believe is of Alexis at the Stavka but I could be wrong. Photo #42 he quotes as the last bedroom of the Grand Duchesses but I remember seeing a different one with the cots and chairs with clothes of the GDs. It is startling to see the diary of Alexis of July 31, 1917.

Joanna

Offline Greg_King

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Re: The End of the Romanovs by Victor Alexandrov
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2004, 12:39:25 AM »
Quote
When I first saw this thread I was curious and requested it immediately from the library. I then read Greg's and Penny's posts and was disinclined to read it but as it was on order I picked it up today. I was surprised at the number of photographs. Some I have never seen especially of the icons and medals and of Alexandra's umbrella and bottle of verbena. The author has misidentified some of the photographs such as #33 which is in the AP garden and #34 I believe is of Alexis at the Stavka but I could be wrong. Photo #42 he quotes as the last bedroom of the Grand Duchesses but I remember seeing a different one with the cots and chairs with clothes of the GDs. It is startling to see the diary of Alexis of July 31, 1917.

Joanna


Alexandrov's photo 42 is actually from Sokolov's Dossier-it is the room in Perm where Hendrikova, Schneider, and Volkov were kept.

Greg King

Offline Rachael89

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Re: The End of the Romanovs by Victor Alexandrov
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2006, 03:50:14 AM »
Hi everyone

Just got back from holiday to Scotland for my birthday! I was really pleased because I found a copy of the book mentioned in the title, albeit for £4.49 (that is extremely high for a charity shop in my book!)

I haven't been able to read it all the way through, but what I have read is fascinating! All the photos are wonderful, I have only seen several of them reproduced else where, so this is like a gold mine for me! Even if OTMA are constantly mislabelled.

It is made up of photos the author found in two boxes containing photographic plates, boxes gathered by Sokolov himself! There are also two eyewitness reports of the murder, that I have never seen elsewhere, so they are endlessly fascinating. As you can guess, I was reading the book on the plane back from Scotland  ;D!

Does anyone know anything about this book, is it rare etc.? Also post your own reviews and opinions of the book!

Best

Rachael

P.S. There are some photos I am confused about, so I will post them later to ask of you what you think they are.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Rachael89 »
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Offline Sarushka

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Re: The End of the Romanovs by Victor Alexandrov
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2006, 08:06:19 AM »
A review of End of the Romanovs from Atlantis magazine:

In 1966, author Victor Alexandrov published his book The End of the Romanovs. Although it contained some interesting new information, the book’s value was undermined by its numerous factual errors.  Alexandrov asserted that Rasputin’s real surname had been “Novikh,” and that he had been a German spy during the First World War. (Alexandrov, 106-08)  He apparently had little understanding of the Romanov Family, writing that Alexandra had been awarded a doctorate in philosophy from Heidelberg University before her marriage; (Alexandrov, 109) that “Alexandra Feodorovna’s brother the Duke [sic] of Hesse had died” from hemophilia; (Alexandrov, 148) that Lili Dehn was the Empress’s “Lady’s Maid;” (Alexandrov, 142) and that Empress Marie Alexandrovna had given her eldest son, Tsesarevich Nicholas, hemophilia, which resulted in his premature death. (Alexandrov, 148)  A simple reading of any of the available source material then published would easily have revealed Alexandrov’s errors.

Then, too, Alexandrov engaged in some literary flights of fancy.  He spent several pages recounting an entire conversation between Nicholas and Alexandra in his Study in the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo, a meeting for which, according to the author, the pair was alone.  According to Alexandrov, he “recreated” this scene from, which appears on pages 124-125 of his book, from an alleged unpublished story told later by the Empress herself-to whom he does not say, and his book was published at a time when source notes were presumably deemed cumbersome.  Like much of what is contained within his book, it raises an instant note of caution.

Yet for all of these problems, Alexandrov’s book is not easily dismissed.  Of Russian heritage himself, he moved through Parisian émigré circles and certainly interviewed many of those still alive who had in some manner been involved in the final months of the Romanovs’ captivity.  Then, too, his access to some obscure information and documents helped fill in some gaps in the existing record, particularly in reference to events within the Ural Regional Soviet during the crucial first two weeks of July 1918.  His biggest coup, however, rested on a previously unpublished source, the “Gutek File,” which was said to contain an eyewitness account of the murders and disposal of the bodies as related by Peter Voikov, the former Ural Regional Commissar of Supplies.  Alexandrov concluded, on the basis of this document, which largely echoed the information to be found in any number of previous accounts, that the entire Imperial Family had been murdered, though the “Gutek File” itself contained any number of potential problems.

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Offline Belochka

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Re: The End of the Romanovs by Victor Alexandrov
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2006, 02:02:14 AM »
[size=10]Despite the obvious flaws this publication contains, it is worth having a copy if only to provide a contrast to scholary publications.

This book is certainly not rare Rachael, however it is advisable to view the contents with caution.

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[/size]
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Offline Rachael89

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Re: The End of the Romanovs by Victor Alexandrov
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2006, 12:11:06 PM »
Hi everyone

Thankyou for your input guys, the historical accuracy dosen't worry me, because by now I trust myself to know the facts from a vareity of sources - I have 15 books on the Romanovs now!

As for it's rarity, I'm not sure about the U.S.A, but I've never seen a copy for sale in England before, in shops, on e-bay etc. etc. and it's nice to have a book that's no longer in print.

Here are the two photos I was confused about:



This photo is labelled as being the last photo of Anastasia taking a few weeks before her death. I beleive this must be wrong, because I read somewhere they had their camera's confiscated soon after arrival at Ekateinburg. Anastasia's hair is down, so I'm guessing it's before she was 16, but she also looks quite old and grown up, so I'm guessing anytime between Summer of 1916 and Summer of 1917, is this correct?



This photo is labelled as being taken by the Tsar on the last day at Tolbosk, this seems about right to me, because Alexeilooks too old for it to be any other time. I was just wondering what illness was Alexei suffering from at this time? And does anyone have any idea what the bizarre thing on his head is?

I look forward to your responses!

Rachael
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Offline Sarushka

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Re: The End of the Romanovs by Victor Alexandrov
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2006, 03:42:12 PM »
The photo of Aleksei was taken at Stavka in 1915 or 1916. He's in his camp bed, with the mattress rolled up around him, and a pillow or towel on his head. It looks to me like he was "playing war" -- if you look carefully, you can see that he's pointing a toy rifle at the camera. I have another photo taken at the same time, which I can post when I get home from work.

I think you're right about the picture of Anastasia. It was definitely not taken in Tobolsk or Ekaterinburg. It looks to me as if she's standing in front of the imperial train. Again, when I get home, I will look through my collection and see if I have any other pictures of Anastasia from that day, because her dress & hat look quite familiar to me.

I know Lanie once made a posting about the innaccuracies in Alexandrov's captions. It's probably in the old threads, though, because I've done a search and haven't been able to locate it...
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Offline Sarushka

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Re: The End of the Romanovs by Victor Alexandrov
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2006, 08:41:37 PM »
Ok, in my collection, the photo Racheal posted of Anastasia is labeled as 1916. Here's another of her, taken by Count Alexander Grabbe in 1916. I believe this was the same day as the one listed in Alexandrov's book as being taken in Siberia:



Here's the mate to the photo of Aleksei:

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by sarahelizabethii »
THE LOST CROWN: A Novel of Romanov Russia -- now in paperback!
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Offline s.v.markov

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Re: The End of the Romanovs by Victor Alexandrov
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2006, 04:33:07 AM »
That was a good buy, Rachael! There are several copies listed on 'abebooks.co.uk' but they range from £6.00 - £18.00! It is an interesting book (as these pictures and posts show), andl worth a place in a discerning Romanov student's library, despite flaws and errors. Keep searching!