Last Romanovs: A Conundrum in Russian History

By Sivam Pathak
In the autumn of 1894 Tsar Alexander third died at the age of 49 leaving his 26 year old son Nicholas the second as the new emperor of Russia. Tsar Nicholas the second of Russia belonged to an age old imperial royal family of Russia, known as Romanov Dynasty. Romanov dynasty ruled Russia over 300 years with an iron fist, during which time Russia had become one of the largest economic and military powers in the world. In yore times Russians regarded their Tsars and the whole monarchy as divine and godlike, and Tsar Nicholas was no exception to this tradition.
Russians, especially peasants (which constitute a majority of Russian population) always kept Nicholas and his family in high regards. With the
passage of time the life of the ordinary peasant become miserable, but they hold back their voices in hope of good times. Steadily survival in Russia grew increasingly harder for the common people that somehow paved the way for a greater divide between them and the Tsar. But the real turning point came from what became known as Bloody Sunday. On Sunday, 22nd of January 1905, a crowd of over thousands of people from all genders and age marched on the Winter Palace (Tsar’s residence) in
St. Petersburg. The protest from the very beginning was predetermined as a peaceful protest to highlight the poor working conditions of Russia’s workforce. At palace, in order to disperse the crowd the Cossacks firstly fired warning shots over the heads of the crowd, but as the situation was deteriorated the Cossacks then fired into the crowds. In the event of Bloody Sunday hundreds of people died and wounded. But here is one thing that needs to be taken into consideration before making any decision on a larger scale. At the time when Russians marched on the Tsar’s residence, Tsar was not in St. Petersburg, and nor he ordered to open fire on the crowd.

But Russians, unknown to this fact, began to hate the Tsar. The event of Bloody Sunday gave rise to huge resentment against the monarchy of Russia. Under the rule of Tsar Nicholas Russia was undergoing a period of severe political, social and economic hardships, and to made matters worse Tsar took an action during world war one (1914-1918) as a result of which Kaiser Wilhelm second of Germany declared war on Russia. The cost of World war one on the Russian people was catastrophic. The losses of war brought Russia on the brink of economic and military collapse. In 1917 due to mounting pressure from the provincial govt. led by Alexander Kerensky, Tsar Nicholas was forced to abdicate. In the meantime when Nicholas was returning to home, his wife Alexandra Feodorovna and his five children- Grand Duchess Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia (some people believed that Grand Duchess Anastasia survived the execution by Bolsheviks), and Alexei had already been placed under house arrest in the Alexandra Palace. When Nicholas arrived at home, he too was put under house arrest along with his family. In order to protect the Tsar and his family, Kerensky sends them almost 2000 miles away from St. Petersburg to the town of Tobosk, Siberia. There the family was accommodated in the governor’s house for several
days. By November 1917 Bolshevik party had come into power by overthrowing Kerensky’s government. Soon after Bolshevik party came into power a fierce fighting broke out across Russia between the Bolshevik govt. and the anti-communist white army that wanted the Tsar reinstated. As fighting grew more intense Vladimir Lenin moved the Tsar’s family to Yekaterinburg in a former merchant’s house, known as the house of special purpose by Bolsheviks.

On 16th July 1918, it was in the house of special purpose in Yekaterinburg the whole Romanov family was shot dead at night in the basement of the house by Yurovsky and his subordinates. After executing the Tsar and his family, Yurovsky ordered his subordinates to take the bodies of the Romanov family away and buried in unmarked graves at his secret location. His subordinates done all as ordered by Yurovsky. Soon people of Russia began to question about the royal family of Russia. Under increasing pressure the Russian authorities admitted the killing of Tsar Nicholas, but would neither affirm nor deny what had happened to his family. To this day the death of the Romanovs remains one of the most controversial subjects in Russian history.

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