Author Topic: Execution details: who died how, in what order, etc. GRAPHIC  (Read 201811 times)

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Offline nena

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Re: The Last To Die on July 17, 1918
« Reply #225 on: March 10, 2009, 09:45:20 AM »


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JStorey

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Re: The Last To Die on July 17, 1918
« Reply #226 on: March 11, 2009, 03:17:06 PM »
Sorry guys I've been a bit lazy and have been writing things from memory...  So I went back and reread FOTR last night...  Many thoughts.

We've touched on a number of different topics:  Tatitana's role, the demonized Ermakov, possibility of survival beyond room, etc.  I'll address those most relevant to the original subject.

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Interesting that even being deliberately distanced from the IF, some of the Letts refused to execute the women and children on principle.

In rereading I understood both the order of the killings and the sequence of events much better.  I think the above principle protected the women and children far more so than the jewels sewn in the corsets.  I believe the "jewels in the corsets=bullet-proof vest" to be more myth than fact; at the most the corsets may have inhibited bayoneting after the initial rounds of shooting.

We know two of the Letts (Lepa, Verhas) were dismissed in the moments before the murder for unwillingness to shoot women and children.  Therefore (though it seems obvious) we have proven the principle was present, even among the "Letts".

We know from Yurovsky and other's testimony that despite orders the Emperor was the initial target of all eleven shooters.

King and Wilson imply that Botkin, Kharitonov, and Trupp were shot next because of where they were standing relative to the Emperor.  It seems to me they were shot next because they were all adult men.

The Empress, an object of intense hatred, was also shot in the initial volleys (by Ermakov, surprise, surprise).

At this point according both to testimony and logic, the shootings stopped due to mortal danger to the shooters themselves and heavy smoke.  (In fact, a few were indeed injured by ricochet.)  I would conclude that it is likely, in the initial volleys, that the Grand Duchesses, Alexei, and Miss Demidova - if injured at all - had been hit by stray bullets and were not the actual target of any shooter.  Precisely because of this hesitation to shoot women and children, not because of corset protection.

So Yurovsky, Kudrin, Nikulin, Ermakov, and Kabanov reenter the room to "finish the operation."

There is no need to go into detail here, except to say it was here the corsets seemed to play a more significant role, not earlier.

Enter Ermakov.  The language in which Ermakov is presented very much supports the idea that a horrific murder becomes more palatable to a morally-conscious audience when it is committed by a beast and not a human being.  The "drunken, powerful, wild-eyed" Ermakov shoots at the women, stabs the Tsarevich, etc.  while Yurovsky looks on in "horror"...  Ermakov:  "Drunk and crazed... slashing frenziedly... swinging out in delirium... stabbing viciously... continued to thrust repeatedly..." etc. etc. etc.  In a nutshell:  if it is really, really bad, Ermakov did it.

Meanwhile, the remaining original, "fraternizing" guards stationed outside look on in utter shock.  They are vomiting; when they enter they shout accusations of "Murderers!" "Butchers!"; they flee their posts in disgust, etc.

The point is that from a standpoint of psychology and storytelling, the FOTR account is very appealing to a sympathetic audience (us).  It allows us to hate Ermakov; to distance ourselves from him (he is not human), and at the same time to identify with the friendly, loyal guards outside, looking on in horror.  By casting a tacit moral judgment on the terrible events of that evening, those events become - in a sense - more palatable.  There can be no shade of gray; the characters that need to appeal to us are made more appealing, the ones we need to abhor are made more abhorrent. 

I believe that this inevitable element of "storytelling bias" must be considered when it comes to discerning the actual facts.  I think it is fair to say there were kernels of truth to Ermakov's behavior and state of mind (he didn't emerge from the ether, after all), but it is too convenient to pin it all on him, so to speak.  Yurovsky in particular deserves none of the moral leeway King and Wilson seem so eager to give him. 

Similarly, I think the sympathies of the guards outside are overstated.  Again, kernels of truth that have blossomed over time into a flowery myth.  It was certainly in their interest to decry the execution to a White army investigation, and their role as "us" - the sympathetic, horrified audience - is ultimately essential to the story.  While there may have been some pangs of regret, particularly in retrospect, let us not forget these were Bolshevik soldiers in the heart of the Red Urals.





 
« Last Edit: March 11, 2009, 03:32:18 PM by JStorey »

JStorey

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Re: The Last To Die on July 17, 1918
« Reply #227 on: March 11, 2009, 03:30:07 PM »
One last note for Sarushka:

Gibbes desc. of Tatiana: "A tall elegant girl you could hardly find anyone so thin...Tatiana was haughty and reserved, dutiful and pensive..."

Netrebin desc. of Olga on night of execution: "arrogant as her mother and all skin and bones"

Were I a betting man I'd put money on Olga/Tatiana "eldest" confusion in guards memory & translations

Offline Sarushka

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Re: The Last To Die on July 17, 1918
« Reply #228 on: March 11, 2009, 04:34:57 PM »
Enter Ermakov.  The language in which Ermakov is presented very much supports the idea that a horrific murder becomes more palatable to a morally-conscious audience when it is committed by a beast and not a human being.  The "drunken, powerful, wild-eyed" Ermakov shoots at the women, stabs the Tsarevich, etc.  while Yurovsky looks on in "horror"...  Ermakov:  "Drunk and crazed... slashing frenziedly... swinging out in delirium... stabbing viciously... continued to thrust repeatedly..." etc. etc. etc.  In a nutshell:  if it is really, really bad, Ermakov did it.
[...]
The point is that from a standpoint of psychology and storytelling, the FOTR account is very appealing to a sympathetic audience (us).  It allows us to hate Ermakov; to distance ourselves from him (he is not human), and at the same time to identify with the friendly, loyal guards outside, looking on in horror.  By casting a tacit moral judgment on the terrible events of that evening, those events become - in a sense - more palatable.  There can be no shade of gray; the characters that need to appeal to us are made more appealing, the ones we need to abhor are made more abhorrent. 

I believe that this inevitable element of "storytelling bias" must be considered when it comes to discerning the actual facts.  I think it is fair to say there were kernels of truth to Ermakov's behavior and state of mind (he didn't emerge from the ether, after all), but it is too convenient to pin it all on him, so to speak.  Yurovsky in particular deserves none of the moral leeway King and Wilson seem so eager to give him. 

Interesting that in this light, Yurovsky's part in Aleksei's death almost becomes humane -- he finishes the boy off with shots to the head after Ermakov's savagery fails to do the job. Yurovsky's role is essentially to put the tsarevich out of his misery, like shooting a horse with a broken leg.


Quote
Similarly, I think the sympathies of the guards outside are overstated.  Again, kernels of truth that have blossomed over time into a flowery myth.  It was certainly in their interest to decry the execution to a White army investigation, and their role as "us" - the sympathetic, horrified audience - is ultimately essential to the story.  While there may have been some pangs of regret, particularly in retrospect, let us not forget these were Bolshevik soldiers in the heart of the Red Urals.

But many of the guards were not Bolsheviks, nor soldiers. They were factory workers eager for extra pay who didn't want to go to the front. According to King & Wilson, only about 15 of them are known Party members. Seven had no Party affiliation, and the politics of the rest are unknown. (Based on the information given in FOTR, I've compiled a database of the guards' names, birth and death dates, Party affiliation, dates of service at the Ipatiev house, and factory of origin. Anyone who would like the Excel file is welcome to it -- just PM me with your email address.)

Again, much of the testimony used by King & Wilson was not relayed directly to White investigators immediately following the fall of Yekaterinburg -- it was recorded in the Soviet era:

Nikulin: 1964
Medvedev (Kudrin): 1957, 1963, 1964
Kabanov: 1965
Yurovsky: 1922, 1934
Rodzinskiy: 1964
Strekotin: 1928, 1934
Efremov: 1955
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Offline Sarushka

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Re: The Last To Die on July 17, 1918
« Reply #229 on: March 11, 2009, 04:37:15 PM »
One last note for Sarushka:

Gibbes desc. of Tatiana: "A tall elegant girl you could hardly find anyone so thin...Tatiana was haughty and reserved, dutiful and pensive..."

Netrebin desc. of Olga on night of execution: "arrogant as her mother and all skin and bones"

Were I a betting man I'd put money on Olga/Tatiana "eldest" confusion in guards memory & translations

Just to compound the possibility for confusion -- Tatiana was also the tallest of her sisters. I think perhaps we're onto something.
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Offline nena

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Re: The Last To Die on July 17, 1918
« Reply #230 on: March 11, 2009, 05:01:10 PM »
I have Nikulin's 1964 record, from a documentary. His voice, also, his sentences can be read on a Russian web.

And, sorry, I don't thik any killing of man calling human. I know what you mean, Sarushka, perfectly, but for me, it can't be human. I think murderers made it lless painful in memories.

Aleksei was shot in throat, by Yurovsky in head, stabbed by Ermakov, and firstly shot by Nikulin. according to Mr. Meyer.   :(

Also, Yurovsky made 1920 and 1927 short conversation/memories about murders too.
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JStorey

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Re: The Last To Die on July 17, 1918
« Reply #231 on: March 11, 2009, 06:21:16 PM »
Quote
Interesting that in this light, Yurovsky's part in Aleksei's death almost becomes humane -- he finishes the boy off with shots to the head after Ermakov's savagery fails to do the job. Yurovsky's role is essentially to put the tsarevich out of his misery, like shooting a horse with a broken leg.

Similarly, when Yurovsky shoots Tatiana in the back of the head.

Quote
But many of the guards were not Bolsheviks, nor soldiers. They were factory workers eager for extra pay who didn't want to go to the front. According to King & Wilson, only about 15 of them are known Party members. Seven had no Party affiliation, and the politics of the rest are unknown. (Based on the information given in FOTR, I've compiled a database of the guards' names, birth and death dates, Party affiliation, dates of service at the Ipatiev house, and factory of origin. Anyone who would like the Excel file is welcome to it -- just PM me with your email address.)

I think this is overstated too - because when King & Wilson say they were not Bolsheviks, what they mean is they weren't members of the Bolshevik party.  This seems irrelevant to me (as far as "fraternization" and sympathy is concerned) because the sentiment at the time - particularly in the "Red Urals", and particularly among factory workers - was extremely anti-Romanov, be you Bolshevik or otherwise.  Everyone was babbling pseudo-marxist jargon even if they didn't really understand it; it was the language and spirit of the time.

That is not to say the original guards weren't very distinct from Yurovsky, his cronies, and the Letts.  It is just to show that their reaction to murders and relationship to IF has been distorted, to some extent, into a sort of warm and fuzzy caricature - in order to serve a moral storytelling function. 

The opposite end of the spectrum is someone like Prince Lvov, who distorted guard's testimonies just as absurdly in the direction of abuse, neglect, harassment, and so forth.

The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle.   

Quote
Again, much of the testimony used by King & Wilson was not relayed directly to White investigators immediately following the fall of Yekaterinburg -- it was recorded in the Soviet era

Most of what I'm referring to (regarding guards behavior outside and in after murders) was from Yakimov, Medvedev, given 1919 or earlier.  I understand that with the later testimonies the need to appease the Whites can be removed, but the need to reconcile one's role in a murder - whatever it may have been - must then be added, aided by the the sometimes halcyon quality of memory.

Offline Sarushka

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Re: The Last To Die on July 17, 1918
« Reply #232 on: March 11, 2009, 08:00:20 PM »
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But many of the guards were not Bolsheviks, nor soldiers. They were factory workers eager for extra pay who didn't want to go to the front. According to King & Wilson, only about 15 of them are known Party members. Seven had no Party affiliation, and the politics of the rest are unknown. (Based on the information given in FOTR, I've compiled a database of the guards' names, birth and death dates, Party affiliation, dates of service at the Ipatiev house, and factory of origin. Anyone who would like the Excel file is welcome to it -- just PM me with your email address.)

I think this is overstated too - because when King & Wilson say they were not Bolsheviks, what they mean is they weren't members of the Bolshevik party.  This seems irrelevant to me (as far as "fraternization" and sympathy is concerned) because the sentiment at the time - particularly in the "Red Urals", and particularly among factory workers - was extremely anti-Romanov, be you Bolshevik or otherwise.  Everyone was babbling pseudo-marxist jargon even if they didn't really understand it; it was the language and spirit of the time.

In contrast with the population of Tobolsk, which was overwhelmingly loyal, and seemed rather pleased to be "hosting" the imperial family.

I think what you've said about party affiliation and the marxist spirit of the times is probably true. King & Wilson make a distinction between no party affiliation and unknown political views, and the vast majority of the Special Detachment falls into the "unknown" category. Nevertheless, I suspect those men who were not formally on record as Bolsheviks likely had more malleable opinions of Nicholas II and his family than official Party members.
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ninagudowna

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Re: Execution details: who died how, in what order, etc. GRAPHIC
« Reply #233 on: March 19, 2009, 10:57:32 AM »
Sorry if this was posted before, I'm new here:-) I'd like to ask you about the execution. Who was shot first and last? Who lived after the first bullets? What do they do (cross singn etc.) Do you know anything in exactly?

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Offline Sarushka

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Re: Execution details: who died how, in what order, etc. GRAPHIC
« Reply #234 on: March 19, 2009, 04:07:43 PM »
If you browse through the threads in this section, you'll find all the answers to your questions. There have been many discussions about the execution. There is also a detailed account of the execution in chapter 23 of Fate of the Romanovs, by Greg King and Penny Wilson.
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Offline nena

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Re: Execution details: who died how, in what order, etc. GRAPHIC
« Reply #235 on: March 19, 2009, 04:32:33 PM »
Sarushka is correct. If I may add, Nicholas was first to shot, but last one...There is whole thread of it here. Look around.
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ninagudowna

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Re: Execution details: who died how, in what order, etc. GRAPHIC
« Reply #236 on: March 20, 2009, 06:02:53 AM »
One version of who stand where...very well done I think.

http://www.romanov-memorial.com/Drama.htm

RomanovsFan4Ever

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Re: Execution details: who died how, in what order, etc. GRAPHIC
« Reply #237 on: March 20, 2009, 08:35:02 AM »
Excellent web site, I remember that I have read for the first time the detailed story of the execution on this site.
Horrible tragedy!  :o
« Last Edit: March 20, 2009, 08:38:13 AM by RomanovsFan4Ever »

ninagudowna

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Re: Execution details: who died how, in what order, etc. GRAPHIC
« Reply #238 on: March 20, 2009, 11:53:35 AM »
I find this video quite depressing but I think it's a good version of the execution for imagine. Maybe you have already seen it...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3rUcRyQ32I&feature=related

RomanovsFan4Ever

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Re: Execution details: who died how, in what order, etc. GRAPHIC
« Reply #239 on: March 20, 2009, 12:01:27 PM »
Yes, is from the Russian movie "Romanovy - Ventsenosnaya semya"...this is a very beautiful movie, maybe the best movie about the Romanovs of all the time, but the murder scene is very depressing.