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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')

This was a member of the Cheka, G.I. Sukhorukov, who was assigned to go help dispose of the corpses of the Royal Family the next morning. On April 3, 1928 his memoir:... "It was necessary to begin digging up the corpses (after the attempt to burn them the previous night)...the first thing we came across was the leg of the last Nicholas.  He was removed successfully, and then all the others. To be precise, it can be said that everybody was naked, except for the heir, who had on a sailor shirt but no trousers."

Palaces in the Crimea / Re: Livadia, Palace of Nicholas II
« on: January 28, 2004, 10:50:50 AM »
Nicholas and Alexandra built Livadia out of money from their own personal sources and worked very closely with the architect on its design.  They took alot of "flak" from the Courtiers that it was not "grand" enough for the Tsar, but Nicholas and Alexandra basically said 'we're paying for it ourselves so we can have it exactly the way we want it!'

The Family loved Livadia more than any other place and felt truly at home there. It was the one place that belonged truly and totally to "them".

They had planned to go there in summer 1911, but were forced to wait thru the summer until mid September in Sebastapol until Livadia was ready. The paint was not even dry when they moved in. Alexandra personally took charge of every detail of moving in and setting up household and would not hear a word of criticism from anyone.  They played tennis almost daily and took long walks and had picnics.  They would go shopping in Yalta.  Olga's "coming of age" ball was held there.  Alexandra also organised several charity bazaars while at Livadia, every season she was there.  There were excursions to places in the area and balls at other Palaces in the Crimea owned by other Romanovs. They left Livadia to be back at Tsarskoe Selo just before Christmas 1911.

The same pattern of life went on in Livadia every time they were there.  1912 was mid March thru Mid May, 1913 was August thru early December, 1914 was April thru June.  The sad tragedy is that these four seasons were the only times they were at the one place which they loved more than any other because it was truly theirs and where they could just always be themselves.

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
« on: January 28, 2004, 10:13:07 AM »
Absolutely without question 100% NO.

As I stated in another thread, the reality is that Rasputin and the Empress were never ever once alone together.  There was no way for this as the Empress was never without her body guards outside of the Palace, and we know from Palace records that they were never alone together on those few occassions when Rasputin had an audience at Court.  There is no single shred of genuine fact to support this silly rumor.

These were just ridiculous rumors from the time, which sadly became believed as true because so many people repeated them, and then by totally made up books written in the 1920's by people cashing in on the interest at the time.

Nicholas II / Re: Nicholas II - Head of the Romanovs and Family Man
« on: January 28, 2004, 10:07:24 AM »
An interesting question, which has been discussed for years. After a lot of research into the subject, we have come to this conclusion:

Regardless of everything else, Rasputin had a healing effect on Alexei when the best doctors available had prepared the Family for his death, at Spala. The Court had gone so far as to prepare an Imperial Bulletin, not released, to this effect. Rasputin sent a telegram, and quite miraculously, Alexei recovered.  This healing effect was repeated several more times, so the Family believed it to be real and sent to them by God.

Nicholas and Alexandra had received three official reports about Rasputin, the last one from Stolypin himself.  Unfortunately,  they mostly contained more false information than true.  People in the Imperial administration were trying to make Rasputin look even worse than he was, or were repeating the worst of the rumors without confirmation of them, in order to enrage the Tsar, but the strategy backfired when it was confirmed to Nicholas that most of the stories were just made up.

Without going into too much detail, due to space limitations here, the end result was that after the Tsar had the charges against Rasputin investigated three times, and found them to be mostly made up, he ordered that he never again be presented with these "stories" because he had become convinced that people were just making them up out of jealousy for Rasputin's closeness to the Court.

The other part of the equation is simply this: Rasputin had less actual influence over the Tsar than is generally believed. He only appeared at Court seven times, and the longest audience was 20 minutes. While he had tea with them, he never even dined with the Family, and was never once alone with The Empress.  

To sum it up, Nicholas simply felt that while Rasputin had some definite character flaws, they weren't really worse than most of the men around him, who also drank and fooled around with women, Nicholas believed Rasputin was also a truly holy man of God, and that the rest of what he heard was just "sour grapes " from people jealous of his position, and Nicholas really did not feel that Rasputin had ANY impact on his decision making, so he ignored it all.

There is no truth whatsoever in any fantasy story that Alexei escaped. Period.

As I said earlier, as Inheritor to the Throne of Russia, the Bolsheviks would have made very certain that Alexei was dead. Also, given the known fact of his hemophilia, he could not have survived any injuries from the executioners for any length of time.  Lastly, an eyewitness, who was not part of the execution squad testified that he had seen Alexei's corpse and described it in great detail.

Alexei's supposed "survival and escape" is frankly even more a fairy-tale fantasy than that of Anastasia. Even those who still believe in Anna Anderson mostly concede that Alexei did not survive.

The Alexander Palace / Re: Food, Wine and Meals
« on: January 27, 2004, 11:33:39 AM »
Go to the Alexander Palace mainpage, in the section on Imperial Dining, the links to "Alexandra's Names Day" and "Tatiana's Birthday" are where the menus and recipes are located.

The best account of the captivity in Ekaterinburg and the murders is probably in "The Fall of the Romanovs" by Mark Steinbert and Vladimir Khurstalev.

For the real GD Anastasia, read our online books "The Real Tsaritsa" by Lily Dehn and "The Life and Tragedy of Alexandra Feodrovna" by Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden.

For a good account of the 'fake' Anastasias and the investigations, read "The Romanovs: The Final Chapter" by Robert Massie

The Myth and Legends of Survivors / Re: Did any of the Romanovs survive?
« on: January 24, 2004, 09:53:14 AM »
I moved this question to its own board because it tends to generate a lot of discussion.

There are 2 basic schools of thought. The one held in academic and scientific circles and by most who study the subject is that no one survived, based on the overwhelming preponderance of evidence of the murders.  We have eyewitness testimony that everyone was killed.  Subsequent investigations concluded the same.  The sheer logic of the situation is clear that even "if" anyone survived the initial shootings, beatings and stabbings, they would have soon died from lack of proper medical care, exposure, and lack of facilities to care for them...Notwithstanding there is the virtual impossibility at the time of hiding an Imperial Grand Duchess needing medical care, food and shelter, for any length of time without discovery.

We know for certain that Tsarevitch Alexei was one of the missing bodies.  Given his hemophilia, everyone concedes that he could not have survived long.  A fall at Bieloviezhe and later events at Spala nearly killed him...What would bullets and beatings and stabbings do? Besides there is the fact that as heir to the throne, the Bolsheviks would have certainly made quite certain he was dead.  There is also an historical account and testimony from a man who saw Alexei's body and described it in great detail.

The other thought says that since 2 bodies are missing the book cannot be "closed" on the possibility of survival.  They tend to rely on complicated conspiracy theories and fantasy stretches of reality for support, but find the "possibility" just too compelling to let it go.

We have talked to Dr. Terry Melton who performed some of the original mtDNA analysis comparing Anna Anderson's DNA with the DNA from Alexandra's direct family line and are convinced beyond doubt that her work was accurate, reliable and conclusive that Anna Anderson was in no way related to Empress Alexandra Feodrovna.

The Russian forensic scientists who have examined the remains are themselves clearly convinced that they have the remains of Anastasia and the missing body is in fact Marie Nicholaievna.

There are those, who will probably reply here, with their own preferred version of history.

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