Faithful to the End: Aleksei Andreyevich Volkov (1859-1929)

On this day – 27th February 1929 – Aleksei Andreyevich Volkov died in exile

Born in 1859, Volkov served as valet at the court of Emperor Nicholas II. He escaped a death march at Perm in September 1918 and survived.

As a young adult, Volkov entered the Russian Imperial Army and rose through the ranks. He was on guard and witnessed the assassination of Emperor Alexander II (1818-1881) in 1881. He later served as a military instructor to the future Emperor Nicholas II.
From 1886, he was in the service Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich (1860-1919). In 1910, he became a valet at the court of Nicholas II. He served as the Empress Alexandra’s personal servant and often pushed her wheelchair.

In 1917, Volkov followed Nicholas II and his family into internal exile to Tobolsk, but was separated from them at Ekaterinburg and imprisoned at Perm. It was in Perm, that he learned that the Tsar had been murdered by the Bolsheviks, though he was unaware that the Tsarina and their children had also been shot.

On 4th September 1918, Volkov was taken from his prison cell in the middle of the night and led to the prison office, where he saw lady-in-waiting Anastasia Hendrikova (1887-1918) and the elderly tutor Catherine Schneider (1856-1918).

The group were walked all the way to the edge of town, when Volkov realized they were being taken into the woods to be shot. He broke from the group and ran for his life at the first opportunity. A bullet whizzed past his ear. Behind him he heard gunshots as the other prisoners in the group were shot and killed, including Henrikova and Schneider.

Volkov eventually joined other refugees at the White Army headquarters in Omsk and made his escape from Russia through Vladivostok and the Far East. In 1922, he settled in Estonia. He later lived in Denmark, where he was highly respected in the Russian émigré community because of his lifelong loyalty to the Imperial Family.

During his years in exile, he wrote his memoirs about his time at court and his escape. Volkov also discusses his eye-witness account of the Khodynka Tragedy in May 1896.

Alexey Andreevich Volkov died in Estonia on 27th February 1929, in Yuriev (Tartu). He was buried at the Assumption Cemetery.

Memory Eternal! Вечная Память!

© Paul Gilbert. 27 February 2023