Thursday, 8 September 2011

The End of the Romanovs

In Soviet times Yekateringburg was called Sverdlovsk after one of Lenin's senior party officials who hatched the plot to murder the last of the Romanovs in a basement of the town. They were kept prisoners in the house for 78 days while the Bolshevik's debated what to do with them. Lenin wanted to bring them to Moscow & hang them publically in Red Square after the fashion of the French Revolution. Others felt insecure & feared a public uprising against the fledgling new Communist State.

In the end Sverdlovsk's suggestion of just making them disappear was adopted as the best idea & on the 17th July 1918 Lenin officially ordered that:
'... your relatives in Germany continue to wage war against Russia & therefore you are condemned to death'.

It was a gory scene with 11 gunmen & 11 men, women & children to be shot. The gunmen ran out of bullets whilst the children were still running around the room bleeding & screaming so they were finished off with bayonets. When the bodies were stripped & thrown down a local mine shaft the children were found to have hundreds of diamonds and rubies sown into there underclothes & these had acted as bullet proof vests. The secrecy was blown when local villagers saw the bodies being dumped so the next day officials ordered them to be collected from the mine & burnt. Their remains have now been re-buried in St Petersburg.

Many Russians continued to remember the Romanovs with affection and people constantly brought flowers to the house where they were murdered. In 1979 Boris Yelstin, as local Communist Party leader, ordered the house to be torn down to stop it becoming a shrine. Now it is a massive shrine called the Church of the Blood & it draws more crowds than ever.

The Romanovs are now being talked about as Russian saints. They certainly were martyrs & became symbols of a time before the Stalinist tyranny began - but so were the other 30 million Russian's that Stalin is said to have had killed. The Romanovs did little to help their people or their country before the revolution and were robbing it of its wealth up until their grisly end.

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