Sunday, July 17, 2011

July 17, 1918

Fearing that a rescue was imminent, the Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, and his family are executed by the Bolsheviks while under house arrest in Ekaterinburg. Thus beginning a trend of nearly a century of Soviet rule marked by violence and death.

Contrary to popular mythos, Grigory Rasputin was not involved, as he was already dead. And the daughter Anastasia was among the dead.

The telegram giving the order to liquidate the prisoners on behalf of the Supreme Soviet in Moscow was signed by Yakov Sverdlov. Around midnight Yakov Yurovsky, the superintendent of The House of Special Purpose, ordered the Romanovs' physician, Dr. Eugene Botkin, to awaken the sleeping family and ask them to put on their clothes.[1] The Romanovs were then ordered into a 6x5 meter semi-basement room.[1] Nicholas asked if he could bring two chairs for himself and his wife. A firing squad appeared next and Yurovsky announced:

Nikolai Aleksandrovich, in view of the fact that your relatives are continuing their attack on Soviet Russia, the Ural Executive Committee has decided to execute you...[1]

Yurovsky then began to read the decision of the Ural Executive Committee (Uralispolkom), and Nicholas said "What?"[1] As weapons were raised, the Empress and the Grand Duchess Olga, according to a guard's reminiscence, had tried to cross themselves, but failed amid the shooting. Yurovsky reportedly raised his gun at Nicholas and fired; Nicholas fell dead instantly. The other executioners then began shooting until all the intended victims had fallen. Several more shots were fired and the doors opened to scatter the smoke.[1] There were some survivors, so P.Z. Yermakov stabbed them with bayonets because the shouts could be heard outside.[1] The last to die were Anastasia, Tatiana, Olga, and Maria, who were carrying several pounds (over 1.3 kilograms) of diamonds within their clothing, thus protecting them to an extent.[11] However they were speared with bayonets as well. Olga sustained a gun shot wound to the head. Anastasia and Maria were said to have crouched up against a wall covering their heads in terror until Maria was shot down, and Anastasia was finished off with the bayonets. Yurovsky himself killed Tatiana and Alexei. Tatiana died from a single bullet through the back of her head.[12] Alexei received two bullets to the head, right behind the ear.[13] Anna Demidova, Alexandra's maid, survived the initial onslaught but was quickly stabbed to death against the back wall while trying to defend herself with a small pillow she had carried that was filled with precious gems and jewels.[14] Military commissar Peter Ermakov, in a drunken haze, stabbed at the dead bodies of the former Czar and Czarina, shattering both their rib cages in a pool of blood

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