Romanov Mystery Solved: Remains Of Anastasia And Alexei Identified

i-225a7289e0bc59a25a1661c89b5909b0-Romanov-Family.jpgI've been fascinated by the Romanovs for decades hoping that perhaps, just perhaps... Anastasia had somehow escaped. Unfortunately, new research published in PLoS ONE finally provides grim evidence of what happened to the family's youngest children in 1918:

One of the greatest mysteries for most of the twentieth century was the fate of the Romanov family, the last Russian monarchy. Following the abdication of Tsar NicholasII, he and his wife, Alexandra, and their five children were eventually exiled to the city of Yekaterinburg. The family, along with four loyal members of their staff, was held captive by members of the Ural Soviet. According to historical reports, in the early morning hours of July 17, 1918 the entire family along with four loyal members of their staff was executed by a firing squad. After a failed attempt to dispose of the remains in an abandoned mine shaft, the bodies were transported to an open field only a few kilometers from the mine shaft. Nine members of the group were buried in one mass grave while two of the children were buried in a separate grave. With the official discovery of the larger mass grave in 1991, and subsequent DNA testing to confirm the identities of the Tsar, the Tsarina, and three of their daughters - doubt persisted that these remains were in fact those of the Romanov family. In the summer of 2007, a group of amateur archeologists discovered a collection of remains from the second grave approximately 70 meters from the larger grave. We report forensic DNA testing on the remains discovered in 2007 using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), autosomal STR, and Y- STR testing. Combined with additional DNA testing of material from the 1991 grave, we have virtually irrefutable evidence that the two individuals recovered from the 2007 grave are the two missing children of the Romanov family: the Tsarevich Alexei and one of his sisters.

More like this

I first became acquainted with the Romanovs (as historical figures, not the actual Romanovs) reading in middle school about Russian History. Later, someone turned me on to Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra, which is quite a well known popular historical account of the last Czar of Russia and his…
I know, I know, I've been traveling so I've been remiss at highlighting the best new articles over the past few days. In the meantime, we published 25 new articles on Friday night, 29 new articles last night, and 30 new articles tonight in PLoS ONE. So, there is a whole lot of them to check out,…
Here's something for my fellow burial aficionados to ponder. The news item's headline is overstated ("Woman Grieved for Seven Years at Empty Grave"), but the actual occurrence is kind of interesting.A Gothenburg woman grieved for seven years at her mother's grave, but the urn with the mother's…
This week, I'm completely infatuated with the eclectic, macabre vision of young Irish designer Jonathan Anderson. From his fall/winter 07 collection: A contemporary look at Russian surrealism, J.W. Anderson's autumn/winter 2008 menswear and jewellery collection, The Rattle Bag, delves into the…

Mhm, the lost-found sovereign archetype, always appealing. I hear there's even a popular and occasionally obnoxious religion that's sort of based on it.

By Stacy L Mason (not verified) on 11 Mar 2009 #permalink

Thanks for sharing this - I too have been fascinated by the Romanov's story since I read Nicholas and Alexandra as a young girl.

The stabbing of the girls because of the inability to shoot through their diamond-studded coats is particularly grisly
I'm not familiar with the fact you describe, but I can say that, in terms of the physics, diamond is not as strong as iron. It's harder, not stronger; a hammer will smash a diamond quite easily (although I don't recommend you experiment with this!) A coat of chain mail would provide better protection against a bullet than a coat completely covered with diamonds.

By Erasmussimo (not verified) on 11 Mar 2009 #permalink

As I recall the history of the killings, the girls were certainly not wearing these jewels as armor but simply had quite a number of valuables (gold/diamond jewelry) sewn into their bodices as a means of storing some assets for their exile. The executioners were not aware of this and some bullets really did get deflected as these unfortunates were shot. That delayed death for only a moment, and probably got their bodies stripped as well.

A sad family that met a sad end, but the Tsar had been criminally incompetent in his conduct of a war that got millions of his subjects slaughtered. Of course, by that standard, the leaders of the Communist party should all have met the same fate, not just those that Stalin had liquidated within two decades.

By brian smith (not verified) on 11 Mar 2009 #permalink

This isn't news; it's merely DNA confirmation.

Anyone who read Robert K. Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra knew over 40 years ago that all of the Tsar's family had been massacred in 1918. That was Massie's conclusion based on reports of their murderers.

Most of the Romanov bodies were found nearly 90 years ago; the other two Romanov bodies were found at some point in the '90s. The only doubt was whether ALexandra or Marie was buried with Alexei.

Final proof of what the atheist swine Lenin ordered for the children of his enemies.

By Emanuel Goldstein (not verified) on 14 Mar 2009 #permalink