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Topics - JStorey

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The Final Chapter / Orders from Moscow or Ekaterinburg Revisited
« on: May 07, 2009, 02:58:18 PM »
A central tenet of King and Wilson's "Fate of the Romanovs" concerns a theory that the Ural Regional Soviet acted alone (chapter "Murderous Intentions" pp. 282-295) .  At the time of the book's publication, this idea contradicted the well-established notion among historians that the execution of the family "was all decided in Moscow" - a notion King and Wilson argued to be a "simplistic reading of history".

Rappaport's recent book, "Last Days of the Romanovs", makes a very compelling case connecting the murders directly to Lenin, thus returning us full circle. 
Her analysis of the Goloshchekin-Sverdlov-Lenin connection adds a great deal of clarity to the relationship between Moscow and Ekaterinburg.  Suffice it to say she convinced me - her arguments punctuated, in my mind, by the fact that Goloshchekin was "...rewarded for his loyalty to the centre in the liquidation of the Romanovs with a seat on the Central Committee of the Communist Party in 1924" (p.215.)  Hardly something you would do to someone who had willfully disobeyed directions from Moscow in the heat of revolution.

Before discussing, I should like to say that much of how we now understand the relationship between Ekaterinburg and Moscow can and should be credited to King and Wilson: I think they were the first to examine the matter in any depth:  the first to demonstrate the presence of tension, to identify difficulties in telegraph communication, etc., and therefore the first to pose a legitimate question:  did the Ural Regional Soviet act alone and contrary to orders form Moscow? 

Having said this, I believe the answer to be no. 

Has anyone else read both books?  Where do you stand on the question, and why?   

I did a few cursory searches, so apologies if I missed a thread on this. 

I am looking for an accurate list of the toys (tin soldiers, etc.) Alexei had in Ekaterinburg.  Would be interested if the younger grand duchesses had any either.  I recall reading a bit about his toys in the Kitchen Boy, so there must be a list or inventory somewhere. 

Any help would be much appreciated; again, it must be accurate
- JT Storey

When describing the Ipatiev House, the word "courtyard" turns out to be as misleading to the Romanov story as "corset"

To often, when envisioning the house, we fail to do so taking BOTH wooden palisades into account, along with their corresponding gates.  We imagine the Fiat lorry to have backed into the "courtyard" located within the walls of the Ipatiev property, when - I hope to prove - that was either quite impossible or enormously difficult, particularly under the circumstances.  When rereading the text and thinking of what was really meant by "courtyard", much becomes clear - so much, I believe, that the evidence linking one of the alleged shooters - Rudolf Lacher - is cast into serious doubt.

First, let us examine each item:


Article 1: the Fiat lorry - incredibly important to the crime - and yet so rarely examined in any great detail.  "a one-and-a-half ton Fiat, with a flat, open bed of wood slats measuring just 6 by 10 feet and enclosed by wooden side rails." (FOTR, p.300)  Think also about this:  no rear view mirrors, very crude gear and clutch mechanisms, no power steering, poor turning radius (just have a look at the wheels!), low HP


Article 2:  The gate to the house, built in 1897, was never intended for motorcars, but rather carriages; as you can see, it was quite narrow with two sizable stone pillars on each side.


Article 3:  This is VERY IMPORTANT:  "Voznesensky Prospect, some FIVE FEET HIGHER than the Ipatiev house, was seperated by a steep bank and a narrow, secondary roadway marked by a small, ornate shrine dedicated to St. Nocholas.

One COULD NOT exit or enter Voznesensky Prospect from the Ipatiev Gate (as is so often described).  One could only turn onto the narrow lane.  Here is another view; you can see, to some extent, the embankment and line of trees separating the smaller road with the broad prospect:


Article 4:  There are many photos, 3D models, etc. of the Ipatiev House; inexplicably none include a crucial part of the landscape:  the external wooden palisade.  Remember there were two fences at the time of the murder, an internal and external.  This created a DRIVEWAY or COURTYARD between the Ipatiev House and Outer Wooden Palisade.


Article 5:  The outer palisade lined the steep five foot bank and enclosed the narrow lane; the trees were included within the fence.  Now - this is also very important - there were TWO palisade gates, one to ENTER and one to EXIT the PALISADE:

"The second fence had two gates - one facing the Vosnesensky Lane, the second right opposite them, in the opposite side of the fence, close to the gate of the house...  ...The [second gate] was built when we were there, AS IT WAS FOUND THAT AUTOMOBILES HAD MUCH DIFFICULTY LEAVING THROUGH THE FIRST ENTRANCE ON ACCOUNT OF A STEEP HILL.  That was the reason why the gates facing the Vosnesensky Lane were constructed.  The motor cars entered through both gates, but they left only through the gate facing the Vosnesensky Lane." (Last Days, p.168)

Why was it important?  Because to go the effort of building a second gate meant there was clearly trouble with the first one - and not with trucks, with automobiles.  Notice that the main house gate isn't even mentioned here; it was never used for motorcars.

CONCLUSION:  THE LORRY NEVER PARKED INSIDE THE "COURTYARD" NEXT TO THE HOUSE.  It couldn't: the lane and fence made the confined space TOO NARROW for the turning radius of a long Fiat truck into the narrow house gate.

Why does this matter?  Because, as I hope to show, it helps create a reasonable doubt for the involvement of one of the alleged shooters, Rudolf Lacher (it also helps us better understand the timing, movement of bodies, etc.). 

In the next post I will explore the actual testimony regarding the location of the Fiat lorry.

The Final Chapter / Piano in the Ipatiev House - Song Lyrics
« on: August 15, 2007, 02:47:14 PM »
I encountered an interesting tidbit in Last Days of the Romanovs that struck me enough to share.  On page 148, the young Proskouriakoff comments on the offensive behavior of Yurovsky and Nikoulin:

They both used to drink in the commandant's room and while intoxicated they sang.  Nikoulin played the piano (that was in the commandant's room).  Sometimes as Nikoulin was plyaing and Yurovsky's eyes were bleared with drink they both started yelling out songs, as:  "Let us forget the old world; Let us shake its dust from our feet.  We do not need a golden idol.  We abhor the czar's palace."

I have two questions:

1.  Does anyone know the full text of this revolutionary song?  It seems to me a remarkable, ironic commentary and I would be interested to read.

2.  I assume that was the only piano in the Ipatiev House.  Were the Grand Duchasses allowed to play it?  Perhaps unlikely, given its location in the room of the Commandant.  And yet, I also read (elsewhere) that Olga "played the piano more often than her sisters, and when she would play a piece, she would choose something sad and plaintive.”  Perhaps a piano would be cathartic to all in such a situation, even the guards, and they may have allowed them to play...  In any case I hope they were, and that it gave them some brief solace.
Any insight to either of these questions would be wonderful - much thanks
- Jeff

Tsarskoe Selo Town / Alexander Gate
« on: August 17, 2005, 01:00:12 PM »
Hello -

Does anyone have a photo/description/information on what the Alexander Gate might have looked like between 1910-17, located on the Northwest corner of Alexander Park on Stolbovaya Road?  Is the gate still there?  Was the Alexander Gate as magnificent or at all comparable as the Egyptian Gates?  

I believe the gate is identified on this map:

And described here:

"... brings one to the Stolbovaya Road, where it leaves the park through the Alexander Gate, brought here in 1846 from the Llama House.  On the other side of the gate, lies Alexandrovka Village, a favorite summer retreat of the inhabitants of St. Petersburg. At this spot the Stolbovaya Road splits into two with the left part going to the Alexandrovskaya Railway Station on the Warsaw Line and the right part leading through the Riedkoe Kuzmino Village to Pulkovo and the Nicholaevsky Chief Physical Observatory, ending at Warsaw Road."

Am also generally interested in the security gates/guardhouses surrounding the parks and palaces.  Were they all white pallisades, as listed below?  Can anyone describe them to me?

"These guard houses stand symmetrically at the sides of an iron gate, which forms one of the many entrances into that part of the Alexander Park, which is cut off from the rest by a white iron palisade. The guard houses serve as quarters for two of the park rangers. That part of the Alexander Park, which is surrounded by the palisade, is open to visitors only during the absence of the Imperial Court from Tsarskoe Selo."

I'm terribly grateful to any help or information.

The Alexander Palace / Elephant House
« on: August 12, 2005, 03:31:16 PM »
May be an odd question, but would be very grateful to anyone who could provide the following detail:

Does anyone know the NAME of the elephant living at the Elephant House around 1912?  Did the Romanov children call it by a specific name?

"Finally a young elephant, brought by His Imperial Majesty from his travels round the world, arrived at Tsarskoe Selo in 1891 and in 1896 another elephant, which was sent as a present to His Majesty from Abyssinia, was also brought here. One of these elephants (the Siamese) died in 1902, but the other is still alive and is looked after by a Tartar, who is very willing to show it to visitors. This elephant is remarkable for its good temper and its obedience to its keeper; in summer it has its freedom and bathes daily in the nearest pond of the Alexander Park."

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