It is likely that few of those who contributed to the outbreak of the First World War would have imagined its consequences or predicted which nations would prevail, which would fall in defeat and which would all but cease to exist. Very few would have foreseen the fall of so many of the royal houses of Europe and yet this came to pass; most prominent among them were the Romanovs of Russia. It was almost inconceivable that the Tsar, who ruled over a vast territory and many millions of subjects, would be murdered (or executed, according to one’s sensibility) with all of his immediate family such a short time from when the power and influence of the Romanovs had seemed immutable. But this was an age of global warfare on an industrial scale, and of revolution and political change that would affect the nature of war and peace for a century to come. This highly regarded book considers in detail the downfall of the Russian Imperial family, and the authors have drawn upon eyewitness testimony of those who were close to these historic events. The narrative follows the Romanovs to their deaths, ordered by Lenin, in a Yekaterinburg cellar, so preventing the Tsar becoming a figure for the White Russians to rally around. An essential and recommended work for any student of the fall of monarchy, Russian involvement in the Great War and the rise of Bolshevism.
Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket.
As I said before, from the time that the Letts entered and joined the guards, they lived in the lower floor of the Ipatieff house, and we, work-men, were all transferred to the house opposite, belonging to Popoff (or Obouhoff). In this house we occupied all the rooms of the upper floor; the lower floor was taken up by tenants.<br>
The Zlokasoff workmen were placed in the same rooms with us.<br>
The last time I saw the imperial family, except the emperor, was a few days before they were murdered. On that day they all went for a walk in the garden—all of them walked— -except the empress. There were the emperor, his son, his daughters: Olga, Maria, Tatiana and Anastasia; there were also the doctor, the waiter, cook, maid, and the boy. I observed distinctly that the heir was dressed in a shirt and had a black leather belt, with a small metal buckle, around his waist. I saw that very distinctly because the Grand Duchess Olga carried him close past me. The heir was ill and the boy pushed his roller-chair. I could not tell you exactly the date when I saw them walking in the garden. But it was not long before their death.<br>
The murder took place the night between Tuesday and Wednesday. I do not remember the date. I remember that we received our wages on Monday. So it must have been the 15th of the month of July, reckoning by the New Style. The day after we received the wages, at ten o’clock in the morning of July 16th, I was standing on duty by the sentry-box near to the Vosnesensky Prospect and Vosnesensky Lane. Egor Stoloff, with whom I lived in the same room, was at the same time on duty in the lower rooms of the house. After we finished our shift of duty, together with Stoloff we went to get some drinks in the house number eighty-five of the Vodotchnaia street.<br>
We returned at dusk, as we had to resume our duties at five o’clock. Medvedeff noticed that we were drunk and put us under arrest in the bath-house, which was situated in the yard of Popoff’s house. We fell asleep and slept till three a. m. At three o’clock in the night we were awakened by Medvedeff who said: “Get up and follow me.” We asked him where and he answered: “They call you, so you must go.” I am quite sure that it was three o’clock because Stoloff had a watch with him, and when I looked at this watch it was exactly three o’clock. We got up and followed Medvedeff . He brought us to the lower room of the Ipatieff house. All the workmen guards were there, except those on duty. There was a cloud of powder smoke in the room and it smelt of powder. In the rear room that had a barred window, which is situated close to the store-room, the walls and floor were pierced by bullets.<br>
In one wall there were an especially large number of bullet holes, but there were also bullet marks in the others. There were no marks of bayonet strokes on the walls. In the places where the walls and floor showed bullet holes, there was blood around them; there were splashes and spots of blood on the wall and small pools on the floor. There were drops and spots of blood in other rooms that had to be passed on the way from the room that had the bullet marks, to the court yard. There were also traces of blood on the pavement of the courtyard on the way to the gate. It was obvious that quite recently before our arrival a large number of people had been shot in the room with the barred window. After I witnessed all that I began to question Medvedeff and Strekotin about what happened. They told me that just a few moments before, the whole imperial family and the people attached to them had been shot, except the boy.<br>
Medvedeff ordered us to clean up the rooms. We began to wash the floor; several mops were brought in to remove the traces of the bloodstains. I cannot tell who brought them. Medvedeff ordered that some sawdust be brought. We washed the floor with cold water and sawdust, removing the bloodstains. The bloodstains on the wall we washed off with a wet rag. All the workmen participated in the cleaning except those that were on duty. A number of men did the cleaning in the room where the imperial family was killed. Amongst others I saw there Medvedeff and two Letts. I also helped to clean this room. In the same manner, using water, we washed the blood from the pavement of the courtyard. I did not find any bullets. If any bullets were found by other people or not I don’t know.<br>
When Stoloff and myself came down to the lower room we did not find anybody there except a few Letts. Medvedeff and our workmen were absent. Nikoulin at that time, as it was said by, Medvedeff, was in the upper room, the door of which leading to the lower rooms was locked from inside.<br>
I saw no gold or any other valuable articles taken from the bodies of the murdered people in the lower rooms. I now remember that on Tuesday morning, when I was on sentry duty, I personally saw Iourovsky cane to the house at eight o’clock in the morning. Sometime after his arrival Beloborodoff entered the house. I left my post at ten o’clock in the morning; but Medvedeff told me that afterwards Iourovsky and Beloborodoff went for a ride in an automobile. At this time Nikoulin remained in the house. They returned before evening. During the evening Iourovsky told Medvedeff that in the night time the imperial family would be shot, and ordered him to notify the workmen and to take the revolvers from the sentries.