Blood reappeared in the Ipatiev House for years after the regicide, claimed eyewitnesses

PHOTO: view of the murder room in the basement of the Ipatiev House, following the massacre of Emperor Nicholas II, his family, and four faithful retainers. The bullet holes can clearly be seen on the walls

On 17th July 1918, Emperor Nicholas II and his family were brutally murdered by a Bolshevik firing squad in the basement of the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg. In the spring of 1924, Professor Valentin Nikolaevich Speransky (1877-1957) visited the Ipatiev House, and later published his book La maison à destination speciale la tragedie d’ekaterinenbourg in French (1929) followed by Spanish and Italian editions.

Prof. Speransky was not permitted to enter the living quarters of the Ipatiev House, but thanks to one of the council employees he saw the scene of the terrible massacre – a room of the basement floor, where the regicide was carried out.

“It resembles a cellar, not more than 50 cubic meters in volume,” he wrote. “In the damp semi-darkness the room seemed very narrow… Even after six years there were still bloodstains on the floor. There were traces of bullets on the walls … On the wallpaper one could see traces of bloody hands.”

These protruding traces of the blood of the Holy Royal Martyrs on the walls were later confirmed by numerous testimonials:

“We had a girl from Sverdlovsk [Ekaterinburg]. Her mother told us that the wall of the house where the execution of the Imperial Family had been carried out had been stained with blood for many years. The authorities believed it was the antics of hooligans, put sentries to guard the room around the clock, painted over the wall with paint, and illuminated it with floodlights. But every day, fresh drops of blood would appear on the wall before the eyes of astonished eye-witnesses.

“In the 1950s,” recalls L.N. Kasyanova from Feodosia, “I studied in Sverdlovsk in the Urals, at the Pedagogical Institute. In Sverdlovsk, we went on excursions to the Ipatiev House, leading us into the basement where the Holy Royal Martyrs were shot. They say from time to time that blood appeared on the walls, and no matter how much it was washed off, it reappeared.”

“From my childhood”, Z.S. Grebenshchikova recalls, “my mother used to show us this house. When I met the watchman Bukharkin Fyodor Ivanovich, a great admirer of the Imperial Family, in St. John’s Church in Ekaterinburg, I began to learn more about it. To the watchman one boy – Tikhomirov Alexander Dmitrievich, born in 1956 was very attached. His father was a general and his mother worked as a general practitioner. His grandmother Olga took him to church when he was three years old and he already knew the prayers.

PHOTO: Valentin Nikolaevich Speransky (1877-1957), author of the book ‘La maison à destination speciale la tragedie d’ekaterinenbourg’, published in 1929

“All three of us – Fyodor Ivanovich, Sasha and I – started going to the house to pray: we also came at night before the holidays – in winter, in spring, at Easter, and on the night of 16th July [the night of the anniversary marking the death and martyrdom of the Imperial Family] and others. We took faithful old ladies with us. We took candles, placed them on the side porch, and sang ‘God rest the saints,’ ‘Eternal Memory,’ and say the names of the Holy Royal Martyrs.

“Sasha said that the wall against which the Imperial Family were shot had been whitewashed – but the blood still runs through the whitewash. They decided to paint it blue, a soft blue colour, like the sky, and again it comes out, the blood, through the holes that the bullets penetrated. . .”

Sasha’s grandmother Olga had a friend who worked as a janitor in the Ipatiev house, and she said that on the eve of holidays – before Easter and Pentecost, when she was on night duty – the sound of some angelic, very gentle singing could be heard from the basement.

One day Sasha brought a piece of plaster from that wall in his grandmother’s locket with a lid, filled with hot wax. Such a small piece in the shape of a trapezoid, and there, like a bouquet of flowers, was sprinkled – large, medium, smaller, maroon, orange, light orange droplets. Just like a bunch of flowers. I prayed and touched the shrine. I had the honour…”.

Over the years, local authorities were getting concerned that the Ipatiev House was becoming a shrine for Orthodox Christians and monarchists, who came in growing numbers, to light candles, pray and sing hymns. As a result, a decision was made to demolish the Ipatiev House, and in so doing, wipe any memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs from the Russian landscape.

The destruction of the Ipatiev House began on 22nd September 1977, that is, more than two years after a joint decision of the chairman of the State Security Committee, Yuri Andropov (1914-1984) and the Politburo.

Today on this spot stands the Church on the Blood of the Holy Royal Martyrs. Construction began in 2000, and on 16th June  2003, 85 years after the death and martyrdom of Emperor Nicholas II and his family, the five-domed main church with a height of 60 meters, a building area of ​​966 m² and a total area of ​​3152 m², with an estimated capacity of 1910 people was consecrated.

© Paul Gilbert. 4 November 2021

Prominent Orthodox Bishop discusses the Bishops Council and the Ekaterinburg Remains

PHOTO: His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan Tikhon

The founder of the Russian online media outlet Daily Storm, Anastasia Kashevarova, recently interviewed Metropolitan of Pskov and Porkhov Tikhon (Shevkunov), who was asked about upcoming Bishops Council in May 2022 and the Ekaterinburg Remains.

Metropolitan Tikhon is a Bishop of the Moscow Patriarchate, and has been closely involved with the investigation into the deaths of Nicholas II and his family, which was initiated by the Russian Orthodox Church in 2015.

Tikhon is now the second prominent Bishop [known to this author] to hint that the Ekaterinburg Remains, are indeed those of Emperor Nicholas II and his family. See my article Metropolitan Hilarion hopeful ROC will recognize authenticity of Ekaterinburg remains, published on 20th June 2021.

AK: At the Bishops’ Council, which has now been postponed to the spring of 2022, will the issue of recognizing the remains of the Imperial Family be resolved?

MT: During the past five years, together with the Investigative Committee, we have collected all the documents and materials. In 2015, there was a new investigation, it was very interesting. We do not prejudge the outcome, of course, of the Council of Bishops, but we have provided them with all the documents that have been worked out by the investigation, the historical commission and our church commission. At the request of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, we carried out genetic research. The remains of Nicholas II’s father, Alexander III were exhumed, genetic samples were taken and compared with the Ekaterinburg Remains. Everything coincided there. His Holiness Patriarch Kirill spoke about this, however, it will be the Council of Bishops who will make the final judgement.

AK: But do you have all the expertise?

MT: We have all the expertise. They quite satisfy me, because I observed them all very closely. However, the controversy continues.

AK: If the Council of Bishops makes a positive decision and recognizes that these are the remains of the Imperial Family, do they then become Holy Relics?

MT: Yes, we will then recognize them as the relics of saints. Some people will agree, some will not – I do not know how it will be, although for me it is quite obvious, I am not even going to be a hypocrite here. We have just published all three volumes of the case, and they are posted on the website of the Investigative Committee; anyone can read these documents in their entirety. Not only were there genetic examinations, there were about fifty different examinations carried out. Anyone can read them with an open mind. I did not trust the investigation that was conducted in the 1990s. There were many reasons for this, including procedural reasons – that is, they took samples from the remains of Nicholas II’s brother Grand Duke George Alexandrovich, compared them with the remains found near Ekaterinburg, but procedurally this was not properly formalized; and aroused mistrust. [Alexander Ivanovich] Bastrykin spoke about this in his report, even before being appointed head of the Investigative Committee.

AK: What has changed since the 1990s investigation?

MT: Yes, there were difficulties. All these bugs have now been fixed; procedurally everything is perfect; research carried out at the highest level. Professor Popov, one of Russia’s leading forensic experts, who, as a specialist, did not recognize these remains, based on these errors. As the heir, Nicholas Alexandrovich was in Japan, where an assassination attempt was carried out on his life: a Japanese policeman struck him on the head with a saber and seriously wounded him. In the1990s, tomography failed to show this injury. Thanks to modern-day tomography, however, Professor Popov, after analyzing this skull [skull No. 4, which, presumably, belonged to Nicholas II], found traces of an injury that coincide with the hat worn by Nicholas II during the incident and is now kept in the Hermitage. The blood-stained shirt of the last Russian tsar was also compared to the blood of his grandfather Alexander II, who was killed in 1881 by terrorists. The latter’s blood-stained shirt has also been preserved. The blood-stained shirts of Alexander II and Nicholas II are also kept in the Hermitage. We have provided every opportunity for every literate person to study the expertise. When we became experts, we signed a document stating that in the event of a knowingly false examination, we are subject to criminal liability with a sentence of up to five years.

AK: And if in the future the answer of the Council is positive, where will the relics be kept?

MT: This will be a joint decision made by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and the Council of Bishops. Possibly in the Peter and Paul Fortress – in the same place where almost all members of the Romanov family are buried.

© Paul Gilbert. 3 November 2021

The Alexander Palace fed starving children in 1922

PHOTO: view of the Western Wing of the Alexander Palace (1922), which had been converted into an ARA kitchen, feeding more than 2000 local children a day

During the Russian Civil War (1917-1922), a terrible famine began in Bolshevik Russia. In an effort to stop it spreading throughout the former Russian Empire, the new Soviet government, led by Vladimir Lenin, invited the American Relief Administration (ARA), the brainchild of Herbert Hoover, to save communist Russia from ruin.

In 1921, to ease famine in Russia, the director of the American Relief Administration (ARA) in Europe, Walter Lyman Brown, began negotiating with the Soviet People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Maxim Litvinov, in Riga, Latvia. An agreement was reached on 21st August 1921, and an additional implementation agreement was signed by Brown and People’s Commisar for Foreign Trade Leonid Krasin on 30th December 1921. The U.S. Congress appropriated $20,000,000 for relief under the Russian Famine Relief Act of late 1921.

It was the largest humanitarian operation in history, preventing countless deaths, riots and, quite possibly, the collapse of the communist state. Indeed, while the ARA’s efforts were admirable, it is one of those historical ironies that the United States not only helped fund the new Bolshevik order, but also helped save it from collapsing.

The Western Wing of the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoye Selo, the former residence of Emperor Nicholas II and his family, was turned into an ARA kitchen, which fed more than two thousand local children a day. The kitchen was run by one of the former tsarist chefs, who cooked boiled rice, beans and cocoa, assisted by several servants of the last Tsar.

American Relief Administration operations in Russia in 1922

At its peak, the ARA employed 300 Americans, more than 120,000 Russians and fed 10.5 million people daily. Its Russian operations were headed by Col. William N. Haskell. The Medical Division of the ARA functioned from November 1921 to June 1923 and helped overcome the typhus epidemic then ravaging Russia. The ARA’s famine relief operations ran in parallel with much smaller Mennonite, Jewish and Quaker famine relief operations in Russia. The ARA’s operations in Russia were shut down on 15th June 1923, after it was discovered that Russia renewed the export of grain

A hundred years later, few people remember these events. The Soviet government quickly erased the memory of American aid.

© Paul Gilbert. 1 November 2021