Moscow to host conference on Imperial Family’s murder

On 28th November 2021, the international scientific conference “Secrets of the Murder of the Royal Martyrs. New Materials of the Investigation and Independent Examinations,” will be held in the large congress hall of the Cosmos Hotel in Moscow.

The conference is a joint project of three Orthodox foundations in pursuance of the resolutions of the Councils of Bishops in 2016 and 2017, which provide for a broad public discussion of the materials of a comprehensive examination of the investigation, which were carried out between 2015 to 2021.

The conference will be attended by more than 15 scientists involved in the process of studying the Ekaterinburg Remains, currently interred in the Catherine Chapel, a side chapel of the SS Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg. Each speaker will be alloted 15-20 minutes.

The first cohort of specialists consists of “experts of modern investigation”: forensic physician, doctor of medical sciences, professor Vyachesl av Popov, forensic physician, doctor of medical sciences, professor Vladimir Trezubov, geneticist, doctor of biological sciences Yevgeny Rogaev, anthropologist, candidate of biological sciences Denis Pezhemsky , forensic doctors, Doctor of Medical Sciences Viktor Z vyagin and Sergey Nikitin, Doctor of Historical Sciences Lyudmila Lykova, Candidate of Historical Sciences, Associate Professor Evgeny Pchelov. The participation of the investigator V. Soloviev and M. Molodtsova is also expected.

The second cohort of conference participants includes “independent experts”: forensic expert, candidate of medical sciences Yuri Grigoriev, forensic medical expert-criminalist, candidate of medical sciences Konstantin Teplov, dentist-orthopedist of the highest category Emil Agadzhanyan, doctor of historical sciences , professor at the Sorbonne Andrey P Achinsk th (France), Candidate of Historical Sciences Peter Valentinovich Multatuli, historians Leonid Bolotin, Inn and Simon, Mark Knyazev, a lawyer, a doctor juridich Sgiach Science Mikhail l Kuznetsov, a lawyer, PhD in law, Ph.D. George Shayryan.

The organizers of the conference are President of the St. Basil the Great Russian Educational Foundation Vasily Boyko, Chairman of the Women’s Orthodox Patriotic Society of the Patriarch Hermogenes Foundation Galina Ananyina, Director of the International Foundation for Slavic Writing and Culture Aleksander Bochkarev.

NOTE: the conference will be telecast LIVE [in Russian] at 6:00 am EST on 28th November.
CLICK on the image below to set a REMINDER

© Paul Gilbert. 26 November 2021

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

On this day in 1919: Nikolai Sokolov launched his investigation into the deaths of the Imperial Family

PHOTO: Nikolai Alekseevich Sokolov (1882-1924)

On this day – 7th February 1919 – Nikolai Alekseevich Sokolov (1882-1924) launched his investigation into the deaths of Emperor Nicholas II and his family in Ekaterinburg.

Sokolov was a lawyer, and investigator for important cases of the Omsk District Court. It was the Supreme Ruler Admiral Alexander Kolchak (1874-1920), who appointed Sokolov with the task of investigating the murder of members of the Russian Imperial Family in Ekaterinburg and Alapaevsk.

Sokolov loved Russia and would not accept the changes brought about by the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. As a staunch Orthodox monarchist, he accepted his appointment with a deep sense of reverence and responsibility.

Between May and July of 1919, working without rest from morning until late at night, Sokolov managed to collect a vast amount of material evidence, conducted dozens of examinations and interviewed hundreds of witnesses, including several members of the Romanov entourage in February 1919, notably the Swiss tutor, Pierre Gilliard (1879-1962), his wife and nanny to Grand Duchess Anastasia, Alexandra Tegleva (1884-1955) and the English tutor to the Tsesarevich Alexei, Charles Sydney Gibbes (1876-1963).

Sokolov discovered a large number of the Imperial Family’s’ belongings and valuables that were overlooked by the chief executioner of the Imperial Family Yakov Yurovsky (1878-1938) and his men in and around the mineshaft where the bodies were initially disposed of in the Four Brothers Mine, at what is today known as Ganina Yama.

The impending return of Bolshevik forces on 15th July 1919, forced Sokolov to abandon his investigation, thus failing to find the concealed second burial site on the Koptyaki Road. He evacuated Ekaterinburg, bringing with him the box containing the relics he recovered. Today, the box is stored in the Russian Orthodox Church of Saint Job in Uccle, Brussels.

PHOTO: French edition of Sokolov’s investigation, published in 1924

Sokolov fled from Russia to Harbin, China, where in 1920, with the help of the head of the Commander of the Czechoslovak Legion, the French General Maurice Janin (1862-1946), Sokolov left Harbin for France, taking with him the material evidence and documents, which consisted of eight volumes of photographic and eyewitness accounts. Sokolov continued his work on interviewing witnesses and examining materials in exile, until his death.

The French edition of his investigation Enquête judiciaire sur l’assassinat de la famille impériale russe [Judicial investigation into the assassination of the Russian imperial family], was published by Payot (Paris) in 1924, and reissued in 1926 and 1929. It was published in Russian in 1998. No full English translation of Sokolov’s investigation has yet been published.

Sadly, Nikolai Sokolov did not live to bring his investigation to an end – he was found dead in the garden of his house on 23 November 1924, having suffered a heart attack at the age of 42. He died leaving a widow aged 23 and two young children, a daughter Nathalie (1920-2002) and a son Alexis (1923-1980). He is buried in the cemetery of Salbris, France.

PHOTO: Sokolov’s grave in the cemetery of Salbris, France

To this day, the Russian Orthodox Church still officially adheres to Sokolov’s theory that the bodies of the Imperial Family were completely destroyed at the Four Brothers Mine. A century later, we now know that this was not so.

Sokolov was a man who made an enormous contribution in gathering evidence about the last days of the Imperial Family in Ekaterinburg, and no one should belittle the significance of his works for history.

PHOTO: memorial plaque to Nikolai Sokolov in Mokshan, 2018

On 25th December 2018, a memorial plaque honouring Nikolai Sokolov was unveiled in Mokshan, the town where he was born on 21st May 1882.

The plaque was mounted on the wall of the Mokshan Administration Building. It was here – from 1908 to 1910 – that Sokolov worked as an investigator at the Mokshan District Court.

© Paul Gilbert. 7 February 2021

Archival documents regarding the murder of the Imperial family in Ekaterinburg

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The State Archive of the Russian Federation have disclosed documents on the history of the murder of the Imperial family, from its funds, as well as the funds of the Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History (RGASP), the Russian State Archive of Modern History (RGANI), the Archive of the President of the Russian Federation, and the State Archive of the Sverdlovsk Region. 

A total of 281 documents were published on their web site [по-русски / in Russian only], revealing the circumstances of the Tsar’s arrest, his transfer to Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg, the deaths of the Imperial family, including the materials of the investigation by Nikolai Alekseevich Sokolov (1882-1924).

Among the documents is the Act of the Abdication of Emperor Nicholas II, signed by the tsar with a simple pencil. Telegrams on the movements of Nicholas II and his family; as well as telegrams with a request to report the accuracy of the rumors spread in Moscow about the murder of Nicholas II; a telegram to Lenin and the chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee Yakov Sverdlov, that the former tsar had been shot on the night of 16th July 1918, and the family evacuated; and the Ural Regional Commissar of Supply Pyotr Voikov orders three jugs and five pounds of sulfuric acid from the
warehouse. According to investigator Sokolov, the acid was delivered to the mine on 17th and 18th of July, to help the murderers destroy the bodies of the Imperial family.

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(1) Photo: State Archive of the Russian Federation

(1) The Act of Abdication of the Emperor Nicholas II. Script. Typescript. Nicholas II has signed the document with a pencil, and countersigned by the Minister of the Imperial Court, Count Vladimir B. Fredericks (1838-1927).

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(2) Photo: State Archive of the Russian Federation

(2) Telegram of the Kolomna district organization of Bolsheviks to the Council of People’s Commissars (Sovnarkom) demanding the immediate execution of “the entire family and relatives of the former tsar.”

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(3) Photo: State Archive of the Russian Federation

(3) From the protocol number 3 of the meeting of the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee, paragraph 11 – “Message on the protection of the former tsar.” Decided: to ask the special purpose detachment to remain at their post until reinforcements arrive, to strengthen the supervision of those under arrest, to supply the detachment with money, machine guns and grenades.

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(4) Photo: State Archive of the Russian Federation

(4) An excerpt from the diary of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna: “April 12 (25). Thursday. Tobolsk. Baby had a better night, 36 °. […] After lunch, Commissioner Yakovlev came, because I wanted to organize a visit to the church during Holy Week. Instead, he announced the order of his government (the Bolsheviks) that he should take us away (where?). Seeing that Baby was very sick, he wanted to take Nicky alone (if not willing, then obliged to use force).

I had to decide whether to stay with  ill Baby or accompany him [Nicky]. Settled to accompany him, as can be of more need and too risky not to know where and for what (we imagined Moscow). Horrible suffering. Maria comes with us. Olga will look after Baby, Tatiana – the household, and Anastasia will cheer all up. We take Valya [Dolgorukova], Nyut [Demidov], and Evgeny Sergeyevich Botkin offered to go with us […]

Took meals with Baby, put few things together, quite small luggage. Took leave of all our people after evening with all. Sat all night with the children. Baby slept, and at 3 o’clock I went to him before our departure. We went at 4 o’clock in the morning. Horrid to leave precious children. […] “

(5) Telegram No. 6707 (above) from Ekaterinburg, Chairman of the Ural Regional Council A.G. Beloborodov to Moscow, Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars Vladimir Lenin and the chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee Yakov Sverdlov, about the acceptance from Commissioner Yakovlev of the “former tsar” Nicholas II, the “former tsarina” Alexandra Feodorovna and their daughter Maria Nikolaevna, and about moving everyone into the mansion [Ipatiev House] under guard.

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(6) Photo: State Archive of the Russian Federation

(6) Telegram of A. G. Beloborodov, Chairman of the Ural Regional Council, from Ekaterinburg to Moscow, to the Chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee Yakov Sverdlov on the delivery of Olga, Tatiana, Anastasia and Alexey by Commissioner Khokhryakov from Tobolsk to Ekaterinburg.

(7) Telegram No. 2729 (above) of Vladimir Bonch-Bruyevich, who managed the affairs of the Council of People’s Commissars in Ekaterinburg, to the chairman of the Ural Regional Council with a request to report on the accuracy of the rumors spread in Moscow about the murder of Nicholas II; on the back is the answer, recorded by Secretary Korobovkin, that the rumors “are another provocative lie.”

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(8) Photo: State Archive of the Russian Federation

(8) From the diary of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna: “Ekaterinburg. 3 (16). July. Grey morning, later lovely sunshine. Baby has a slight cold. All went out for a walk in the morning for ½ hour. Olga and I arranged our medicines. Tatiana read Spiritual reading. They went out. Tatiana stayed with me, and we read Book of prophet Amos and prophet Audios. Tatted. Every morning the Kommandent comes to our rooms, at last after a week brought eggs for Baby again.

Suddenly, Lenka Sednev was fetched to visit her uncle, and he flew off – wonder whether it is true and we shall see the boy back again! […] “

(9) Telegram (above) of the Presidium of the Ekaterinburg Council to the Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars V. I. Lenin and the Chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee Yakov Sverdlov about the shooting of the former tsar on the night of 16 July and the evacuation of the family.

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(10) Photo: State Archive of the Russian Federation

(10) Encrypted telegram of A. G. Beloborodov, Chairman of the Ural Regional Council, to Secretary of the Council of People’s Commissars N. P. Gorbunov with the message: “Tell Sverdlov that the whole family has suffered the same fate as the head. Officially, the family will die during the evacuation.”

(11) The orders (above) of the Ural Regional Commissar of Supply Pyotr Voikov and a note on the issuance of three jugs and five pounds of sulfuric acid from the warehouse.

The declassification of the Russian archives was carried out between 1992-1998. It was during this period that thousands of documents of Chekists, participants in the murder of the Imperial family, including the leader of the firing squad, Yakov Yurovsky, surfaced for the first time. 

Click HERE to review all the archival documents on the history of the murder of the Imperial family [по-русски / in Russian only]

© Paul Gilbert. 15 March 2019