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The mystery of Anastacia Romanov


History has some very interesting stories to tell and one of them is the mystery of Anastacia Romanov. There are also a lot of mysteries – some with a sad backstory. Today we are bringing you the story of Anastacia Romanov and the tragedy that surrounded their family.

the Romanov family

RomanovThe House of Romanov (Russian: Рома́нов, IPA: [rɐˈmanəf]) was the second imperial dynasty to rule over Russia. In early 1917 the Romanov Dynasty had 65 members, 18 of which were killed by the Bolsheviks. The remaining 47 members were exiled abroad. In 1924, Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, the direct male-line patrilineal descendant of Alexander II of Russia, claimed the headship of the defunct Imperial House of Russia. His granddaughter, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia, is the current pretender, her only child George Mikhailovich is her heir apparent.

From left to right: Olga, Maria,Nicholas II, Alexandra, Anastasia, Alexei, andTatiana. Pictured at Livadia Palace in 1913

Romanov---01The name “Romanov” and “House of Romanov” were often used in official references to the Russian imperial house. The coat of arms of the Romanov boyars was included in legislation on the imperial dynasty, and in 1913 there was an official jubilee celebrating the “300th Anniversary of the Romanovs rule”.

After the February Revolution all members of the imperial family were given the surname “Romanov” by special decree of the Provisional Government of Russia. The only exception were the morganatic descendants of the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich who, in exile, took the surname Il’insky (source: wikipedia).

What happened to them?

The February Revolution of 1917 resulted in the abdication of Nicholas II in favor of his brother Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich. The latter declined to accept imperial authority save to delegate it to the Provisional Government pending a future democratic referendum. But that action effectively terminated the Romanov dynasty’s rule over Russia.

Romanov---02After the February Revolution, Nicholas II and his family were placed under house arrest in the Alexander Palace. While several members of the imperial family managed to stay on good terms with the Provisional Government, and were eventually able to leave Russia, Nicholas II and his family, were sent into exile in the Siberian town of Tobolsk by Alexander Kerensky in August 1917. The October Revolution of 1917, saw the ousting of the Provisional government by the Bolsheviks, and in April 1918, the Romanovs were moved to the Russian town of Yekaterinburg, in the Urals, where they were placed in the Ipatiev House.

On the night of July 17, 1918, Bolshevik authorities acting on Yakov Sverdlov’s orders in Moscow and led locally by Filip Goloschekin and Yakov Yurovsky, shot Nicholas II, his immediate family, and four servants in the Ipatiev House’s cellar.

Anastacia Romanov

The family was told that they were to be photographed to prove to the people that they were still alive. The family members were arranged appropriately and left alone for several minutes, the gunmen then walked in and started shooting. The girls did not die from the first shots, because bullets rebounded off diamonds that were sewn into their corsets. The gunmen tried to stab them with bayonets, which also failed because of the stones. The gunmen then allegedly shot each girl in the head at close range although no physical evidence of head wounds was found many decades later. The bodies of the Romanovs were then hidden and moved several times before being interred in an unmarked pit where they remained until the summer of 1991 when amateur enthusiasts disinterred them.

Romanov---04DNA evidence was used to make tentative identification and the bodies were later given a state funeral under the nascent democracy of post-Soviet Russia.

Anastacia – did she really survive?

Anna AndersonAnastasia’s supposed survival was one of the celebrated mysteries of the 20th century. A number of women claimed to be her, offering varying stories as to how she had survived the killings of the rest of the family. Anna Anderson, the best known Anastasia impostor, first surfaced publicly between 1920 and 1922. She contended that she had feigned death among the bodies of her family members and servants, and was able to make her escape with the help of a compassionate guard who rescued her from among the corpses after noticing that she was still alive. Her legal battle for recognition from 1938 to 1970 continued a lifelong controversy and was the longest running case ever heard by the German courts, where it was officially filed. The final decision of the court was that Anderson had not provided sufficient proof to claim the identity of the grand duchess.

CardAnderson died in 1984 and her body was cremated. DNA tests were conducted in 1994 on a tissue sample from Anderson located in a hospital and the blood of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, a great-nephew of Empress Alexandra. According to Dr Gill who conducted the tests, “If you accept that these samples came from Anna Anderson, then Anna Anderson could not be related to Tsar Nicholas or Tsarina Alexandra.”

Anna Anderson was one of at least ten women who claimed to be Anastasia. Some other lesser known claimants were Nadezhda Ivanovna Vasilyeva and Eugenia Smith. Two young women claiming to be Anastasia and her sister Maria were taken in by a priest in the Ural Mountains in 1919 where they lived as nuns until their deaths in 1964. They were buried under the names Anastasia and Maria Nikolaevna.

Animation based on Anastacia 

Anastasia_don_bluthAnastasia is a 1997 American animated musical film produced by Fox Animation Studios and distributed by 20th Century Fox. Directed by former Disney animation directors Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, the film is an adaptation of the legend of Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, which claims that she in fact escaped the execution of her family. It tells the story of an eighteen-year-old orphan named Anya who, in hopes of finding some trace of her family, sides with a pair of con men who wish to take advantage of her likeness to the Grand Duchess. The film features the voices of Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Christopher Lloyd, Hank Azaria, Bernadette Peters, Kirsten Dunst and Angela Lansbury.

This animation is an adaptation of Anastasia 1956; the most famous film version on the mystery of Anastasia’s alleged survival.

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