A gruesome discovery... In 1976, a shallow grave, containing the bodies of seven people was discovered in a pit in rural Russia.
A gruesome discovery... It soon became clear to investigators that these bodies were the victims of a terrible murder.
A gruesome discovery... Today, their remains are venerated in a church in Moscow. Millions of people visit Russia to pay their respects.
Who were they? Why were they murdered? For the answers we look to an event in Russian history that plays on our imaginations even today.
In the spring of 1917, Russia changed from a monarchy (a government with a king) to the world’s first Communist government. The causes were many and varied, and the end result was a terror beyond a nightmare.
The Romanovs The Romanovs were Russia’s last royal family. They were the heirs to a dynasty that was almost 400 years old. They were also a close-knit family that loved each other very much.
The Romanovs Shown here are: Czar Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra, his daughters Olga, Maria, Anastasia, Tatiana, and the only son, and heir to the throne, Alexi.
The Romanovs The Czar Nicholas and his wife Alexandra are one of history’s true love stories.
Causes of the Russian Revolution By the time Nicholas II came to the throne, Russia was in bad shape. The population had outgrown its food supply, and many people starved. Peasants, working on the farms, demanded their freedom. And to make things worse, Russia was losing miserably in World War I.
Causes of the Russian Revolution Also, people working in factories were not being paid enough; working conditions were very poor. Many people felt that Czar Nicholas II had failed his country. Many people demanded change.
Causes of the Revolution Vladamir Lenin.One of Nicholas’ strongest critics was a criminal named Vladamir Lenin. Lenin believed that Communism was the best way to solve the countries problems.
Causes of the Revolution Lenin believed strongly in the teaching of a German philosopher named Karl Marx. In 1848, Marx wrote a book called the Communist Manifesto.
Causes of the Revolution Lenin promised the starving people of Russia, “peace, land, and bread!” Many people believed in Lenin. Many thought that Communism would help Russia. He gathered a large following called the Bolsheviks.
Causes of the Revolution Meanwhile, things were not going well for Nicholas and his family. His wife, Alexandra, had become obsessed with a man who she thought was a a true prophet of God. His name was Gregory Rasputin.
Rasputin, the Mad Monk Although Alexandra adored Rasputin, most people called him “the mad monk.” He was a filthy peasant. He rarely bathed, and he was practically illiterate.
Rasputin, the Mad Monk Somehow, Rasputin had a strange power. On several occasions, he seemed to save the life of Alexi, who suffered from hemophilia.
Rasputin Although Rasputin was not a real monk, Alexandra hung on his every word. Many Russians believed that Rasputin was controlling the kingdom - this did not make Nicholas and his family look good.
Rasputin Eventually, Rasputin was finally murdered by friends of the Czar. It took a poisoned wine, 5 bullets, a knife, a club on the head, a savage beating, and finally drowning to do him in.
The Revolution Begins While the family was wasting time with Rasputin, things in Russia got only worse. When an group of peasants marched on the Czar’s palace, a group of soldiers killed them. This was known as Bloody Sunday. Czar Nicholas looked terrible to his people.
The Revolution Begins In 1917, Vladamir Lenin, who had been sent into exile by Nicholas II, was brought back into the country by his followers.
The Revolution Begins Lenin raised an army that called themselves the Bolsheviks because of their devotion to Communism.
The Revolution Begins Lenin and the Bolsheviks raided the Czar’s palace in the fall of 1917. It became known as the October Revolution.
The Revolution Begins The Czar and his family were arrested and sent to live away from the city.
The Revolution Begins One night the family was told they were to have their picture taken. They were marched into a room in their prison and posed.
The End of the Romanovs In this room, the Romanov family was murdered by Bolshevik assassins. You can still see the bullet marks on the wall.
A New Nation With the Romanovs dead, and Lenin in power, a new Russia was born under the Communist flag.
A New Nation The country’s new name became the U.S.S.R. for Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
A New Nation Eventually, Lenin died in 1924. He had succeeded in establishing the first Communist government in the world.
A New Nation Lenin’s economic system was called the New Economic Policy. Like in China years later, people were forced to live and work in communes, and share all responsibility.
Lenin’s Legacy Because Communist countries frown on religion, Lenin became the substitute for God.
Lenin’s Legacy The people of Lenin’s Soviet Union had little freedom. They could not own property, believe in God, or say and publish their own ideas.
The End of the Soviet Union The Soviet Union continued as Communist state until it collapsed in 1991. The history of Russia’s royal past and its last royal family was nearly forgotten.
The Discovery But when Communism collapsed in Russia, people began to search for their past.
The Discovery In 1976, teams of researchers uncovered the bones of the Romanov family. DNA evidence confirmed their identity.
The Discovery Every family member was found and identified. They were given a Christian burial shortly after.
Anastasia was rumored to have escaped execution. Many romantic tales surrounded the possibility of the secrete existence of a Russian princess. However, recent DNA testing has made the identification of Anastasia remains possible. The youngest Russian princess died with the rest of her family.