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Marina Amaral @marinamaral2
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Around midnight on 17 July, 100 years ago today, Yakov Yurovsky ordered the Romanovs' physician, Dr. Eugene Botkin, to awaken the sleeping family and ask them to put on their clothes.

A few minutes later, Nicholas, Alexandra, their 5 children and their servants would be dead.
On 22 March 1917, Nicholas, no longer a monarch and addressed with contempt by the sentries as "Nicholas Romanov", was reunited with his family at the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoe Selo.
He was placed under house arrest with his family by the Provisional Government, surrounded by guards and confined to their quarters.
In August 1917, Alexander Kerensky's provisional government evacuated the Romanovs to Tobolsk, allegedly to protect them from the rising tide of revolution. There they lived in the former governor's mansion in considerable comfort.
After the Bolsheviks came to power in October 1917, the conditions of their imprisonment grew stricter, and talk of putting Nicholas on trial grew more frequent. He was forbidden to wear epaulettes, and the sentries scrawled lewd drawings on the fence to offend his daughters.
On 1 March 1918, the family was placed on soldier's rations, which meant parting with 10 devoted servants and giving up butter and coffee.
(RT the photo so that more people can enjoy the thread as it develops!)
As the Bolsheviks gathered strength, the government in April moved Nicholas, Alexandra, and their daughter Maria to Yekaterinburg under the direction of Vasily Yakovlev.
Alexei, who had severe haemophilia, was too ill to accompany his parents and remained with his sisters Olga, Tatiana, and Anastasia, not leaving Tobolsk until May 1918.
The family was imprisoned with a few remaining retainers in Yekaterinburg's Ipatiev House, which was designated The House of Special Purpose.
The imperial family was kept in strict isolation at the Ipatiev House. They were strictly forbidden to speak any language other than Russian. They were not permitted access to their luggage, which was stored in an outhouse in the interior courtyard.
Their brownie cameras and photographic equipment were confiscated. The servants were ordered to address the Romanovs only by their names and patronymics. The family was subjected to regular searches of their belongings, confiscation of their money for "safekeeping
by the Ural Regional Soviet's treasurer", and attempts to remove Alexandra's and her daughters' gold bracelets from their wrists. The house was surrounded by a 4 metre (14 ft) high double palisade that obscured the streets from the house.
On 5 June a second palisade was erected, higher and longer than the first, which completely enclosed the property. One of the reasons was the discovery that onlookers outside could see Nicholas' legs over the palisade when he used the double swing in the garden.
The windows in all the family's rooms were sealed shut and covered with newspapers (later painted with whitewash on 15 May). The family's only source of ventilation was a fortochka in the grand duchesses' bedroom, but peeking out of it was strictly forbidden.
In May a sentry fired a shot at Anastasia when she peeked out.

After repeated requests, one of the two windows in the tsar and tsarina's corner bedroom was unsealed on 23 June 1918.
From this window, they could only see the spire of the Voznesensky Cathedral located across the road from the house (photo).

An iron grille was installed on 11 July after Alexandra ignored repeated warnings from Yurovsky not to stand too close to the open window.
The guard commandant and his senior aides had complete access at any time to all rooms occupied by the family. The prisoners were required to ring a bell every time they wished to leave their rooms to use the bathroom and lavatory on the landing.
However, strict rationing of the water supply was enforced on the prisoners after the guards complained that it regularly ran out. Recreation was only allowed twice daily in the garden for half an hour morning and afternoon.

(Photo 'colorized' by Anastasia)
The prisoners were under strict instructions not to engage in conversation with any of the guards. Rations were mostly tea and black bread for breakfast and cutlets or soup with meat for lunch.
They were informed that "they were no longer permitted to live like tsars".

In mid-June, nuns from the Novo-Tikhvinsky Monastery also brought the family food on a daily basis, most of which was siphoned off on arrival by the captors.
The family was not allowed visitors or to receive and send letters. Princess Helen of Serbia visited the house in June but was refused entry at gunpoint by the guards, while Dr Vladimir Derevenko's regular visits to treat Alexei were curtailed when Yurovsky became commandant.
No excursions to mass at the nearby church were permitted. In early June, the family no longer received their daily newspapers.
To maintain a sense of normality, the Bolsheviks assured the Romanovs that two of their loyal servants, Klementy Nagorny (Alexei's sailor nanny) and Ivan Sednev (OTMA's footman), "had been sent out of this government" (out of the jurisdiction of Ekaterinburg and Perm province).
However, both men were already dead: after the Bolsheviks had removed them from the Ipatiev House in May, they had been shot by the Cheka with a group of other hostages on 6 July, in reprisal for the death of a local Bolshevik hero killed by the Whites.
On 14 July, a priest and deacon conducted a liturgy for the Romanovs. The following morning, four housemaids were hired to wash the floors of the Popov House and Ipatiev House.

They were the last civilians to see the family alive.
The 16 men of the internal guard slept in the basement, hallway and commandant's office during shifts. The external guard led by Pavel Medvedev numbered 56 and were accommodated in the Popov House opposite.
The guards were allowed to bring in women for sex and drinking sessions in the Popov House and basement rooms of the Ipatiev House.
There were four machine gun emplacements: in the bell tower of the Voznesensky Cathedral aimed toward the house; in the basement window of the Ipatiev House facing the street; a third monitored the balcony overlooking the garden at the back of the house; and a fourth
in the attic overlooking the intersection, directly above the tsar and tsarina's bedroom.

There were ten guard posts in and around the Ipatiev House, and the exterior was patrolled twice hourly day and night.
In early May, the guards deprived the prisoners of the piano and moved it to the commandant's office located next door to the Romanovs' bedrooms. Here they took pleasure in humiliating them in the evenings by singing Russian revolutionary songs while drinking and smoking.
They also listened to the Romanovs' gramophone records on the confiscated phonograph. The lavatory on the landing was also used by the guards who scribbled political slogans and crude graffiti on the walls.
The number of Ipatiev House guards totaled 300 when the imperial family was killed.

When Yurovsky replaced Aleksandr Avdeev as commandant on 4 July, he moved the old internal guard members to the Popov House.
The senior aides were retained but were designated to guard the hallway area and no longer had access to the Romanov's rooms, a privilege granted only to Yurovsky's men.
Replacements were chosen by the local Cheka from the volunteer battalions of the Verkh-Isetsk factory at Yurovsky's request. He wanted dedicated Bolsheviks who could be relied on to do whatever was asked of them.
They were hired on the understanding that they would be prepared, if necessary, to kill the tsar, about which they were sworn to secrecy.

Nothing at that stage was said about killing the family or servants.
Nicholas noted in his diary on 8 July that "new Latvians are standing guard", describing them as Letts - a term commonly used in Russia to define someone of European, non-Russian origin. The leader of the new guards was led by Adolf Lepa, a Lithuanian.
"Today all morning and until 4:00 they checked and repaired the electric lighting. The door to the shed containing our baggage was sealed off. Oh, if that had only been done a month ago;

During the night there was a storm and it got a little cooler."
The Romanovs were being held by the Red Army in Yekaterinburg, since Bolsheviks initially wanted to put them on trial. As the civil war continued and the White Army was threatening to capture the city, the fear was that the Romanovs would fall into White hands.
This was unacceptable to the Bolsheviks for 2 reasons: first, the tsar or any of his family members could provide a beacon to rally support to the White cause; second, the tsar, or any of his family members if the tsar were dead, would be considered the legitimate ruler of Russia
by the other European nations. This would have meant the ability to negotiate for greater foreign intervention on behalf of the Whites.
We like this man less and less.

— Diary entry of Tsar Nicholas II, referring to the constant tightening of restrictions on his family by Yurovsky.
The Ural Regional Soviet agreed in a meeting on 29 June that the Romanov family should be executed. Filipp Goloshchyokin arrived in Moscow on 3 July with a message insisting on the Tsar's execution.
Only seven of the 23 members of the Central Executive Committee were in attendance, three of whom were Lenin, Sverdlov and Felix Dzerzhinsky.
It was agreed that the presidium of the Ural Regional Soviet should organize the practical details for the family's execution and decide the precise day on which it would take place when the military situation dictated it, contacting Moscow for final approval.
The killing of the Tsar's wife and children was also discussed but had to be kept a state secret to avoid any political repercussions; German ambassador Wilhelm von Mirbach made repeated inquiries to the Bolsheviks concerning the family's well-being;
British consul Thomas Preston, who lived near the Ipatiev House, was often pressured by Pierre Gilliard, Sydney Gibbes and Prince Vasily Dolgorukov to help the Romanovs, the latter smuggling notes from his prison cell before he too was murdered by Grigory Nikulin, Yurovsky's
assistant. However, Preston's requests to be granted access to the family were consistently rejected. As Trotsky would later explain, "The Tsar's family was a victim of the principle that form the very axis of monarchy: dynastic inheritance"
Goloshchyokin reported back to Ekaterinburg on 12 July with a summary of his discussion about the Romanovs with Moscow, along with instructions that nothing relating to their deaths should be directly communicated to Lenin.
On 14 July, Yurovsky was finalizing the disposal site and how to destroy as much evidence as possible at the same time. He was frequently in consultation with Peter Ermakov, who was in charge of the disposal squad and claimed to know the outlying countryside.
Yurovsky wanted to gather the family and servants in a closely confined space from which they could not escape. The basement room chosen for this purpose had a barred window which was nailed shut to muffle the sound of shooting and in case of any screaming.
Shooting and stabbing them at night while they slept or killing them in the forest and then dumping them into the Iset pond with lumps of metal weighted to their bodies were ruled out.
Yurovsky's plan was to perform an efficient execution of all 11 prisoners simultaneously, though he also took into account that he would have to prevent those involved from raping the women or searching the bodies for jewels.
On 16 July, Yurovsky was informed by the Ural Soviets that Red Army contingents were retreating in all directions and the executions could not be delayed any longer.
A coded telegram seeking final approval was sent by Goloshchyokin and Georgy Safarov at around 6:00pm to Lenin in Moscow. There is no documentary record of an answer, although Yurovsky insisted that an order from the CEC to go ahead had been passed on to him at around 7:00pm.
At 8:00pm, Yurovsky sent his chauffeur to acquire a truck for transporting the bodies, bringing with it rolls of canvas to wrap them in. The intention was to park it as close to the basement entrance as possible, with its engine running to mask the noise of gunshots.
Yurovsky and Pavel Medvedev collected 14 handguns to use that night, comprising two Browning pistols, two American Colts, two 7.65 Mausers, one Smith & Wesson and seven Belgian-made Nagants.
In the commandant's office, Yurovsky assigned victims to each killer before distributing the handguns. He took a Mauser and Colt while Ermakov armed himself with three Nagants, one Mauser and a bayonet; he was the only one assigned to kill two prisoners, Alexandra and Botkin.
He instructed his men to "shoot straight at the heart to avoid an excessive quantity of blood and get it over quickly."
At least two of the Letts, an Austro-Hungarian prisoner of war named Andras Verhas and Adolf Lepa, himself in charge of the Lett contingent, refused to shoot the women.

Yurovsky sent them to the Popov House for failing "at that important moment in their revolutionary duty".
Neither Yurovsky nor any of the killers went into the logistics of how to efficiently destroy eleven bodies. He was under pressure of ensuring that no remains would later be found by monarchists who would exploit them to rally anti-communist support.
Take a deep breath now.
While the Romanovs were having dinner on 16 July 1918, Yurovsky entered the sitting room and informed them that the kitchen boy Leonid Sednev was leaving to meet his uncle Ivan Sednev, who had returned to the city asking to see him.

Ivan had already been shot by the Cheka.
The family was very upset as Leonid was Alexei's only playmate and he was the fifth member of the imperial entourage to be taken from them, but they were assured by Yurovsky that he would be back soon.
Alexandra did not trust him, writing in her final diary entry just hours before her death, "whether its [sic] true & we shall see the boy back again!"
Leonid was in fact kept in the Popov House that night. Yurovsky saw no reason to kill him and wanted him removed before the execution took place.
Around midnight on 17 July, Yakov Yurovsky ordered the Romanovs' physician, Dr. Eugene Botkin, to awaken the sleeping family and ask them to put on their clothes, under the pretext that the family would be moved to a safe location due to impending chaos in Yekaterinburg.
The Romanovs were then ordered into a 6 m × 5 m (20 ft × 16 ft) semi-basement room.
Nicholas asked if Yurovsky could bring two chairs, on which Tsarevich Alexei and Alexandra sat.

Yurovsky's assistant Grigory Nikulin remarked to him that the "heir wanted to die in a chair. Very well then, let him have one."
The prisoners were told to wait in the cellar room while the truck that would transport them was being brought to the House. A few minutes later, an execution squad of secret police was brought in and Yurovsky read aloud the order given to him by the Ural Executive Committee:
"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"
Nicholas, facing his family, turned and said "What? What?"

Yurovsky quickly repeated the order and the weapons were raised.

The Empress and Grand Duchess Olga, according to a guard's reminiscence, had tried to bless themselves, but failed amid the shooting.
Yurovsky reportedly raised his Colt gun at Nicholas's torso and fired; Nicholas was the target of all of the assembled shooters, and he quickly fell dead, pierced by many bullets.
The intoxicated Peter Ermakov, the military commissar for Verkh-Isetsk, shot and killed Alexandra with a bullet wound to the head.
He then shot at Maria, who ran for the double doors, hitting her in the thigh. The executioners shot chaotically and over each other's shoulders until the room was so filled with smoke and dust that no one could see anything in the darkness nor hear any commands amid the noise.
Yurovsky was forced to stop the shooting because of the caustic smoke of burned gunpowder, dust from the plaster ceiling caused by the reverberation of bullets, and the deafening gunshots.

When they stopped, the doors were then opened to scatter the smoke.
While waiting for the smoke to abate, the killers could hear moans and whimpers inside the room. As it cleared, it became evident that although several of the family's retainers had been killed, all of the Imperial children were alive and furthermore, only Maria was even injured.
The executioners were ordered to proceed with their bayonets, a technique which proved ineffective and meant that the children had to be dispatched by still more gunshots, this time aimed more precisely at their heads.
The Tsarevich was the first of the children to be executed.

Yurovsky watched in disbelief as Nikulin spent an entire magazine from his Browning gun on Alexei, who was still seated transfixed in his chair; he also had jewels sewn into his undergarment and forage cap.
Ermakov shot and stabbed him, and when he failed, Yurovsky shoved him aside and killed the boy with a gunshot to the head.
The last to die were Tatiana, Anastasia, and Maria, who were carrying a few pounds (over 1.3 kilograms) of diamonds sewn into their clothing, which had given them a degree of protection from the firing.
However, they were speared with bayonets as well. Olga sustained a gunshot wound to the head. Maria and Anastasia were said to have crouched up against a wall covering their heads in terror until they were shot down. Yurovsky killed Tatiana and Alexei.
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 which she had carried that was filled with precious gems and jewels.
While the bodies were being placed on stretchers, one of the girls cried out and covered her face with her arm. Ermakov grabbed Alexander Strekotin's rifle and bayoneted her in the chest, but when it failed to penetrate he pulled out his revolver and shot her in the head.
While Yurovsky was checking the victims for pulses, Ermakov went back and forth in the room, flailing the bodies with his bayonet.

The execution lasted about 20 minutes.
Future investigations calculated that a possible 70 bullets were fired, roughly seven bullets per shooter, of which 57 were found in the basement and at all three subsequent gravesites.

(You'll be able to see this photo in color in The Colour of Time)
Only Alexei's spaniel, Joy, survived to be rescued by a British officer of the Allied Intervention Force, living out his final days in Windsor, Berkshire.
The burial site was discovered in 1979 by an amateur sleuth, but the existence of the remains was not made public until 1989. The identity of the remains was confirmed by forensic and DNA investigation.
The final resting places of the Romanov family and their servants in St. Catherine's Chapel in the Peter and Paul Cathedral.
Nicholas, Alexandra, Maria, Olga, Tatiana, Anastasia and Alexei - the last ruling Romanovs.

I love sharing long and detailed threads. If that's something you'd like me to do more often, please let me know.
The bodies of the Romanovs and their servants were loaded onto a Fiat truck equipped with a 60 HP engine, with a cargo area 6 × 10 feet in size. Heavily laden, the vehicle struggled for nine miles on boggy road to reach the Koptyaki forest.
Yurovsky was furious when he discovered that the drunken Ermakov had brought only one shovel for the burial. About half a mile further on, 25 men working for Ermakov were waiting with horses and light carts.
These men were all intoxicated and they were outraged that the prisoners were not brought to them alive. They expected to be part of the lynch mob and were hoping to abuse the women before killing them.
Yurovsky maintained control of the situation with great difficulty. A few of Ermakov's men pawed the female bodies for diamonds hidden in their undergarments, two of whom lifted up Alexandra's skirt and fingered her genitals.
Yurovsky ordered them at gunpoint to back off, dismissing the two who had groped the tsarina's corpse and any others he had caught looting.

One of the men sniggered that he could "die in peace", having touched the "royal cunt".
Yurovsky and five other men laid out the bodies on the grass and undressed them, the clothes piled up and burned while Yurovsky took inventory of their jewellery.
Once the bodies were "completely naked" they were dumped into a mineshaft and sprinkled with sulphuric acid to disfigure them beyond recognition. Only then did Yurovsky discover that the pit was less than 3 metres deep and the muddy water below did not fully submerge the corpses.
He unsuccessfully tried to collapse the mine with hand grenades, after which his men covered it with loose earth and branches. Yurovsky left three men to guard the site while he returned to Ekaterinburg with a bag filled with 18lb of looted diamonds.
Sergey Chutskaev of the local Soviet told Yurovsky of some deeper copper mines west of Ekaterinburg, the area remote and swampy and a grave there less likely to be discovered. He inspected the site on the evening of 17 July.
He ordered additional trucks to be sent out to Koptyaki whilst assigning Pyotr Voykov to obtain barrels of petrol, kerosene and sulphuric acid, and plenty of dry firewood. Yurovsky also seized several horse-drawn carts to be used in the removal of the bodies to the new site.
Yurovsky and Goloshchyokin, along with several Cheka agents, returned to the mineshaft at about 4:00am on the morning of 18 July. The sodden corpses were hauled out one by one using ropes tied to their limbs and laid under a tarpaulin.
Yurovsky, worried that he might not have enough time to take the bodies to the deeper mine, ordered his men to dig another burial pit then and there, but the ground was too hard. He returned to the Amerikanskaya Hotel to confer with the Cheka.
He seized a truck which he had loaded with blocks of concrete for attaching to the bodies before submerging them in the new mineshaft.
A second truck carried a detachment of Cheka agents to help move the bodies. Yurovsky returned to the forest at 10:00pm on 18 July. The bodies were again loaded onto the Fiat truck, which by then had been extricated from the mud.
They dug a grave that was 6 × 8 ft in size and barely 60 centimeters deep. Alexei Trupp's body was tossed in first, followed by the Tsar's and then the rest. Sulphuric acid was again used to dissolve the bodies, their faces smashed with rifle butts and covered with quicklime.
Railroad ties were placed over the grave to disguise it, with the Fiat truck being driven back and forth over the ties to press them into the earth. The burial was completed at 6:00am on 19 July.
Yurovsky separated the Tsarevich Alexei and one of his sisters to be buried about 15 metres (50 ft) away, in an attempt to confuse anyone who might discover the mass grave with only nine bodies.
Alexei and his sister were burned and their remaining charred bones were thoroughly smashed with spades and tossed into a smaller pit.

Only 44 partial bone fragments from both corpses remained, which were not found until August 2007.
Railroad ties on the Koptyaki Road in 1919. Investigator Nikolai Sokolov took this photograph as evidence of where the Fiat truck had got stuck at 4:30am on 19 July, unaware that it was in fact the second burial site.
The failure of the Tsarist regime to end the war and the subsequent brutal assassination of the family resulted in the collapse of the Romanov Dynasty, which had been ruling over Russia since 1613.
And that's how I want to finish.

The Tsar's regime was far, far, far from perfect, and many brutalities took place under his command. Still, we must remember that not only was he killed, but his whole family was too, including his 13-year-old son.
Through #Romanovs100, I created an even deeper connection with the children. 100 years later, it was up to me to finish the 'colorization' of the photos that Anastasia had started but could not finish. That was more powerful to me than it might seem.
Anastasia, like her brother and sisters, was just a girl full of dreams and ambitions that had her life brutally taken from her.

I decided to do something today because I wanted to honor the lives and memories of the 5 children, the servants and Alexandra.
And to a certain extent, Nicholas's too. As a father and a human being, not as a very questionable political leader.

(Of course, I forgot to say: Anastasia did not survive. THANK YOU)
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