Russian Tragedy of July 17th 1918: Romanov Execution

Russian Tragedy of July 17th 1918: Romanov Execution
17 July 2014

Today is an important, if tragic, date in Russian history – Romanov Execution. On 17 July 1918, precisely 96 years ago, the shooting of the Romanov family occurred, bringing to an abrupt end the Russian imperial dynasty. No member of imperial family was spared from the execution, which included the Tsar Nicholas II, his wife, the Tsaritsa Alexandra, and their five children (OlgaTatianaMariaAnastasia, and Alexei) plus the family doctor and three servants.

“Nikolai Alexandrovich, in view of the fact that your relatives are continuing their attack on Soviet Russia, the Ural Executive Committee has decided to execute you..” – The execution order read aloud to the Romanovs right before the shooting.

The execution took place in Yekaterinburg, where the Romanovs had  been held prisoner by the Bolshevik government, whilst the war with the White army was being waged. It has been claimed that it was the fear that the anti-communist forces might gain control of the city and of the imperial family that convinced the captors of the need to proceed with the execution.


If the Tsar or any of his relatives fell into White hands they could serve as beacon to gain support to the Whites, or they could possibly negotiate a greater foreign intervention in their favour, since they were considered the legitimate rulers of Russia by the European nations.

The accounts of the execution state that it was carried out rapidly, although not smoothly. The daughters of the Tsar, Tatiana, Anastasia and Maria were wearing more than a kilogram of diamonds sewn in their clothing which prevented some of the bullets from killing them immediately.

Afterwards, the bodies were hidden to avoid any sort of pilgrimage and they were not found until 1991. They now lay in the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul in Saint Petersburg.

The tragic ending of the Romanov has stricken the imagination of the people, and until recent years several people have stepped forward claiming to be one of the Romanov’s children. DNA tests have however proven that their stories can take no more credit that the story of the 1997 Disney’s cartoon Anastasia.


This post was brought to you by Alessio, currently studying Russian at Liden and Denz

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