Author Topic: Yurovsky questions  (Read 3323 times)

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Offline Andrei Beanov

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Yurovsky questions
« on: March 24, 2013, 06:39:36 AM »
I have a few questions about Yurovsky.

1. Some books mention that on the final night he told Botkin that they were going to take a photo of the family when they went downstairs and for the family to prepare etc. Other accounts make no mention of this.
The middle of the night seems a strange time for photos ??? Is this just a myth ?

2. If Yurovsky didn't take any photos at all , how was he to prove to his bosses Lenin / Sverdlov that the "deed was done" ? I think he sent them a telegram yes ? Did they just trust him enough to assume he told them the truth ?
Wouldn't they want more concrete proof ?

3. Does anyone think there were photos taken at Yetkaturinburg which have not surfaced publically , but are kept secretly in Kremlin archives. I would think that if they exist , it would probably be embarrassing for past or present russian
governments to release them ?

Regards

Neeosine

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Re: Yurovsky questions
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2013, 08:30:29 AM »
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1. Some books mention that on the final night he told Botkin that they were going to take a photo of the family when they went downstairs and for the family to prepare etc. Other accounts make no mention of this.
The middle of the night seems a strange time for photos  Is this just a myth ?

From what I saw from Yurovsky's account:

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Botkin slept in the room nearest to the entrance. He came out and asked me what the matter was. I told him to wake everybody, because there was unrest in the town and it was dangerous for them to remain on the top floor.

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I think he sent them a telegram yes ?

Yes, a coded telegram was sent. Sorry for the poor quality, my scanner is demented right now.

It says "Tell Sverdlov that entire family suffered same fate as head, officially family will perish in evacuation."

Offline Sarushka

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Re: Yurovsky questions
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2013, 07:05:26 PM »
1. Some books mention that on the final night he told Botkin that they were going to take a photo of the family when they went downstairs and for the family to prepare etc. Other accounts make no mention of this.
The middle of the night seems a strange time for photos ??? Is this just a myth ?

To the best of my knowledge Edvard Radzinsky first posited this theory in the 1990's, based solely on the fact that Yurovsky had once been a photographer. I can't say it's an impossible scenario, but I've never found any proof to support Radzinsky's conjecture.
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Offline edubs31

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Re: Yurovsky questions
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2013, 11:09:33 PM »
1. Some books mention that on the final night he told Botkin that they were going to take a photo of the family when they went downstairs and for the family to prepare etc. Other accounts make no mention of this.
The middle of the night seems a strange time for photos ??? Is this just a myth ?

To the best of my knowledge Edvard Radzinsky first posited this theory in the 1990's, based solely on the fact that Yurovsky had once been a photographer. I can't say it's an impossible scenario, but I've never found any proof to support Radzinsky's conjecture.

Interesting. That seems pretty irresponsible for someone as well respected as Radzinsky to make a rather wild speculation. For what it's worth the film "Assassin of the Tsar", which I just watched recently, makes no mention of it either. I find this notable because they do make a point of showing Yurovsky's (Malcolm McDowell) part time work as a photographer, but don't work it into the murder sequence at all. The film (1991) also came out two years before Radzinsky's book. Something else to keep in mind.

At the risk of sounding too critical it sounds like Radzinsky decided to recreate the sequence based on what was "logical" instead of what really took place. It does seem sensible that a man with a photography background might have thought up the excuse of a group photograph as a way to eliminate any suspicion of their impending fate. After all, showing the imperial family alive with a picture to prove it could have been a useful tool for the Soviet.

But then again, once he got all eleven into the room, do it really matter whether they were suspicious or not? Would it really have been worth prepping them for a photo that was never to be taken? Sadly by this point there was no way anyone was leaving that house alive...

Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline Sarushka

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Re: Yurovsky questions
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2013, 07:59:19 AM »
Interesting. That seems pretty irresponsible for someone as well respected as Radzinsky to make a rather wild speculation.

Radzinsky makes a number of speculations throughout The Last Tsar that are based more on his instincts than his research. I personally think many of his instincts are rather good; I only wish he'd indicate in the text whether he's going primarily on fact or on his gut.


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At the risk of sounding too critical it sounds like Radzinsky decided to recreate the sequence based on what was "logical" instead of what really took place. It does seem sensible that a man with a photography background might have thought up the excuse of a group photograph as a way to eliminate any suspicion of their impending fate. After all, showing the imperial family alive with a picture to prove it could have been a useful tool for the Soviet.

Radzinsky's experience as a dramatist sometimes gets the better of him, IMO. That said, the photography ruse would have been a very clever ploy by Yurovsky to make sure the group didn't clump up and ensure that each assassin had clear access to his assigned target. (This is exactly how it's played out by Yurovsky in Romanovy: Ventsenosnaya Semya, which debuted over a decade after The Last Tsar.)


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For what it's worth the film "Assassin of the Tsar", which I just watched recently, makes no mention of it either. I find this notable because they do make a point of showing Yurovsky's (Malcolm McDowell) part time work as a photographer, but don't work it into the murder sequence at all. The film (1991) also came out two years before Radzinsky's book. Something else to keep in mind.

That's interesting. In Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny, which came out after Radzinsky's book, Yurovsky informs the family once they've reached the basement that they're to be photographed due to rumors in Moscow that they're all dead. But in that scene, it's the tsar himself who arranges his family and servants for the "photo."
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Offline edubs31

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Re: Yurovsky questions
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2013, 10:12:36 AM »
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Radzinsky makes a number of speculations throughout The Last Tsar that are based more on his instincts than his research. I personally think many of his instincts are rather good; I only wish he'd indicate in the text whether he's going primarily on fact or on his gut.

It would be nice if he did that. I can see where some writers get so lost in their subjects that they start believing the myths they create/perpetuate. "This should have happened, therefore it did"

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That said, the photography ruse would have been a very clever ploy by Yurovsky to make sure the group didn't clump up and ensure that each assassin had clear access to his assigned target. (This is exactly how it's played out by Yurovsky in Romanovy: Ventsenosnaya Semya, which debuted over a decade after The Last Tsar.)

Good point Sarushka. Guess I never really thought of it that way. Interesting to think that the same person (Yurovsky) who, at least theoretically, was intelligent enough to where he could have lined up his victims in such a way to help make easier their assassination (and do so without alerting them to the fact), was also the same person that apparently didn't take in account so many other things; the lack of ventilation in the basement, bullets/fragments ricocheting off the walls, the 'Gang who couldn't shoot straight', the shallow pit to bury the bodies, etc.

Yurovsky would have made a better armchair revolutionary and should have stuck with photography. He was better at pointing and clicking, then aiming and firing.

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That's interesting. In Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny, which came out after Radzinsky's book, Yurovsky informs the family once they've reached the basement that they're to be photographed due to rumors in Moscow that they're all dead. But in that scene, it's the tsar himself who arranges his family and servants for the "photo."

I thought so too as I was watching, and I do remember the portrayal in 'Rasputin' also.

Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...