Authors: Edvard Radzinsky
Grateful acknowledgment is made for use of photographs compiled by Tatiana Makarova and supplied by Novosti Publishers working in cooperation with and with permission from the Central State Archives of Cinematographic and Photo Documents, the October Revolution Central State Archives, the Central Revolution Museum Archives, and the Archives of Novosti Russian Information Agency.
The editor would like to acknowledge the assistance of the staff of the Slavic and Baltic Division, The New York Public Library in the preparation of this publication. The following staff members deserve particular mention: Edward Kasinec, Chief, for his review and commentary regarding both the original, and translated versions of the manuscript, and for his advice on the selection and description of the illustrations; Robert H. Davis, Librarian, for his annotations and editing of the plate captions; and Benjamin E. Goldsmith, Technical Assistant, for his work on the verification of bibliographic citations.
Grateful acknowledgment is made for use of photographs supplied by The Wernher Collection of The Luton Hoo Foundation.
Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and thou set thy nest among the stars, thence I will bring thee down, saith the Lord
“Lord, save Russia and bring her peace.”
October 17, 1905
THE DATES USED IN THIS BOOK FOLLOW THE OLD-STYLE JULIAN CALENDAR IN USE IN RUSSIA UNTIL FEBRUARY 1918. IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY THAT CALENDAR LAGGED TWELVE DAYS BEHIND THE GREGORIAN CALENDAR USED IN THE WEST; IN THE TWENTIETH, IT LAGGED THIRTEEN DAYS BEHIND. NICHOLAS AND ALIX USED A DOUBLE-DATING SYSTEM IN THEIR DIARIES AND LETTERS BEGINNING IN FEBRUARY 1918, BUT NICHOLAS SOON RETURNED TO THE OLD-STYLE DATING
s now, the century then was living out its last years. And as now, old people felt a sadness that what was coming, which promised mankind the flowering of science and serene well-being, had nothing to do with them. Young people, though, were living with a presentiment of what was to be.
The two happiest of young people, Nicky and Alix, in love, joined in marriage, and rulers of one-sixth of the world, were also living this happy future. The day of their coronation, set for 1896, promised to be the prologue to the even happier life that awaited them in the new century.
May 14, 1896. Moscow, the Kremlin. In ancient Assumption Cathedral, the sacred coronation rite was in progress. Candles burned … cherubic singing a cappella…. He took the large crown from the metropolitan’s hands and placed it on his own head. She went down on her knees before him…. A small diamond crown already sparkled on her golden hair.
July 17, 1918. Ekaterinburg. “The bodies were put in the hole and the faces and all the bodies generally doused with sulfuric acid, both so they couldn’t be recognized and to prevent any stink from them
rotting [it was not a deep hole]. We scattered it with dirt and lime, put boards on top, and rode over it several times—no trace of the hole remained; The secret was kept” (from the Note of Yakov Yurovsky, who directed the execution of the last tsar and his family).
“Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord.”
The last tsaritsa from the house of Romanov read these words from the prophet Obadiah (1:4) to her daughter in the Ipatiev house. On the family’s last day of life.