Anna Vyrubova

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Anna Alexandrovna Vyrubova
Vyrubova.jpg
Anna Alexandrovna Vyrubova.
Born (1884-07-16)16 July 1884
Oranienbaum, Russian Empire
Died 20 July 1964(1964-07-20) (aged 80)
Helsinki, Finland

Anna Alexandrovna Vyrubova, née Taneyeva (Russian: А́нна Алекса́ндровна Вы́рубова (Тане́ева)) (16 July 1884 – 20 July 1964), was a lady-in-waiting, the best friend and confidante of Tsaritsa Alexandra Fyodorovna. Vyrubova was the longest surviving "actor" in the story around Rasputin and the Imperial couple.

Early life[edit]

Vyrubova was born in Moscow, the daughter of Aleksandr Taneyev, Chief Steward to His Majesty's Chancellery and a noted composer. Her mother, Nadezhda née Tolstoy, was descended from Field Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov. Due to these connections she was attached to the imperial court at an early age. She had two younger siblings, Sergei, and Alexandra.

She was a childhood playmate of Felix Yussupov, the man who spearheaded the murder of Grigori Rasputin. The gay Yussupov found her unattractive:

Anna the eldest Taneev girl, was tall and stout with a puffy, shiny face, and no charm whatsoever. Although she was not at all intelligent, she was extremely crafty and rather sly. It was quite a problem to find partners for her. No one could have foreseen that this unattractive girl would one day become the intimate friend and evil genius of the Tsarina. It was largely due to her that Rasputin owed his amazing rise to favour.[1]

Life at court[edit]

Anna Vyrubova wading at the beach with Grand Duchesses Tatiana, left, and Olga Nikolaevna of Russia. Courtesy: Beinecke Library.

The Tsarina valued Anna's devotion to her and befriended her, ignoring women of more distinction at the court. Alexandra refused to give her a position at court.[2] Anna married Alexander Vasilievich Vyrubov, a naval officer. A few days before she was warned by Rasputin that the marriage would be an unhappy one.[3] The couple divorced within a few months. It is told her husband was upset after he found out she had contacted Rasputin.[citation needed] Lili Dehn has another view.[4] Her mother reportedly told interrogators following the February Revolution that her husband "proved to be completely impotent, with an extremely perverse sexual psychology that manifested itself in various sadistic episodes in which he inflicted moral suffering on her and evoked a feeling of utter disgust."[5] Vyrubova became one of his adherents and on order of the Tsarina she went on a trip to his home village Pokrovskoye to investigate the rumours on Rasputin.[6] She visited some monasteries in the area.[4] Vyrubova importance grew at the court, as the friendship with Milica of Montenegro and her sister Stana deteriorated.[7]

In 1909 she received to hieromonk Iliodor in her house for a meeting with the Tsar.[8]

Around Easter 1912 Vyrubova stashed Rasputin on a train to Yalta, so he could visit the Imperial family in the Livadia Palace on the Crimea.[9]

Rasputin[edit]

In early October 1912, during a particularly grave crisis in Spała, in Russian Poland, the Tsarevich Alexei received the last sacrament. The desperate Tsarina turned to Vyrubova[10] to secure the help of the peasant healer, who at that time was out of favor. (The basis for the denunciation of Rasputin as a Khlyst was mixed bathing, a perfectly usual custom among the peasants of many parts of Siberia.)[11][12]

For a long time she served as a go-between for the Tsarina and Rasputin. In the Summer of 1914 Vyrubova received a cable from Rasputin, recovering from the attack by Khioniya Guseva in a Tyumen hospital. She had to show it directly to the Tsar Nicholas II. Rasputin feared the consequences of the Great War. Nicholas had been furious, but Anna arranged a reunion.[13]

While seldom meeting with Alexandra personally after the debate in the Imperial Duma, Rasputin had become her personal adviser after the Tsar took supreme command of the Russian armies on 23 August 1915 (O.S.), hoping this would lift morale. All the contact went through her; every morning at ten she phoned Rasputin and he came to visit her lemon-yellow house in Tsarskoye Selo to meet Alexandra. The Tsar's biggest concern Alexandra might share information with others.[14]

Anna Vyrubova in bed. Picture from the Beinecke Library

During World War I she trained as a Red Cross nurse and nursed soldiers along with the Tsarina and the Tsarina's two older daughters, The Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana. Vyrubova was severely injured in a train accident between the capital and Tsarskoye Selo in January 1915; the convalescent Vyrubova found herself a paraplegic, but credited Rasputin with saving her life with his prayers.[15]

Vyrubova had planned to build a church dedicated to Seraphim of Sarov on her property. (Rasputin would be buried on the spot.[16]) On Friday evening 16 December 1916 Rasputin told Vyrubova, who presented him a small icon, signed and dated at the back by the Tsarina and her daughters,[17] of a proposed midnight visit to Prince Yusupov in his Moika Palace to meet his wife.[18] The next morning Rasputin's disappearance was reported by his daughter to Vyrubova.[19] When Vyrubova spoke of it to the Empress, Alexandra pointed out that Irina Aleksandrovna Romanova was absent from Petrograd. An investigation followed and Prince Yusupov and Grand Duke Dmitri were placed under house arrest in the Sergei Palace. The Tsarina had refused to meet the two, but told by Anna they could explain what had happened in a letter.[20] Two days later Rasputin's body was found near Bolshoy Petrovsky Bridge. His body was taken to the Chesme Almshouse for autopsy. In the middle of the night Vyrubova and the Tsarina brought some clothes to the almshouse.[21] On 21 December Rasputin's body was taken in a zinc coffin from the Chesme Church[22] to be buried on a secret location in a corner on the property of Vyrubova adjacent to the palace.[23] The burial was attended by the Imperial couple with their daughters, Vyrubova, her maid, and a few of Rasputin's friends, as Lili Dehn.

After the Russian revolution[edit]

Anna Vyrubova with Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna in 1916. Courtesy: Beinecke Library.

Following the Russian Revolution, Anna Vyrubova underwent five months of prison in the Peter and Paul Fortress, that included a medical examination to prove her virginity. She feigned a childish innocence.[24] The investigator concluded that she was too naive and unintelligent to have had any influence over the Tsarina.[25]

In Anna's own memoirs, she describes her perils in prison and her narrow escape from execution when, miraculously, she met several old friends of her father on a St. Petersburg street who helped her escape. She endured much hardship avoiding the Bolsheviks, and was only able to escape to Finland in December 1920.[26] Before leaving the Soviet Union, she became friends with the revolutionary writer Maxim Gorky who urged her to write her memoirs and she followed his advice. She met with Zinaida Gippius, Alexander Blok and Valery Bryusov.[24] Her memories of life at court provided rare descriptions of the home life of the Tsar and his family. No one understood Rasputin and Alexandra better than Anna.[27] She tells a good story, but does not seem to tell the truth.[28]

Vyrubova spent the rest of her life first in Viipuri and later in Helsinki. She took vows as a Russian Orthodox nun, but was permitted to live in a private home due to her physical disabilities. She died, aged 80, in Helsinki, where her grave is located in the Orthodox section of Hietaniemi cemetery.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Maylunas, Andrei, and Mironenko, Sergei, eds.; Galy, Darya, translator, A Lifelong Passion: Nicholas and Alexandra: Their Own Story, Doubleday, 1997 ISBN 0-385-48673-1, p. 418
  2. ^ J.T. Fuhrmann, p. 47.
  3. ^ Radzinsky, Edvard, The Rasputin File, Doubleday, 2000, ISBN 0-385-48909-9, p. 81
  4. ^ a b http://www.alexanderpalace.org/realtsaritsa/1chap5.html
  5. ^ Radzinsky, p. 91
  6. ^ J.T. Fuhrmann, p. 60.
  7. ^ J.T. Fuhrmann, p. 61.
  8. ^ J.T. Fuhrmann, p. 69.
  9. ^ J.T. Fuhrmann (2013), p. 95.
  10. ^ A. Vyrubova (1923), Memories of the Russian Court, p. 94; R.C. Moe, p. 156; J.T. Fuhrmann, p. 101.
  11. ^ M. Rasputin (1934), p. 117.
  12. ^ A. Vyrubova (1923), Memories of the Russian Court, p. 388.
  13. ^ J.T. Fuhrmann, p. 132.
  14. ^ J.T. Fuhrmann, p. 151.
  15. ^ Vyrubova, Anna. "Memories of the Russian Court". alexanderpalace.org. Retrieved February 11, 2007. 
  16. ^ The Rasputin File by Edvard Radzinsky
  17. ^ M. Nelipa (2010), p. 99, 399.
  18. ^ J.T. Fuhrmann, p. 208.
  19. ^ J.T. Fuhrmann, p. 215.
  20. ^ J.T. Fuhrmann, p. 216.
  21. ^ Samuel Hoare, p. 155-156. [1]
  22. ^ Alexanderpalace
  23. ^ Places connected with the murder
  24. ^ a b J.T. Fuhrmann, p. 237.
  25. ^ Radzinsky, Edvard, The Rasputin File, Doubleday, 2000, ISBN 0-385-48909-9, p. 88
  26. ^ Vyrubova, Anna, Memories of the Russian Court
  27. ^ J.T. Fuhrmann, p. 48.
  28. ^ J.T. Fuhrmann, p. 150.

Sources[edit]

  • Fuhrmann, Joseph T. (2013). Rasputin, the untold story (illustrated ed.). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. p. 314. ISBN 978-1-118-17276-6. 
  • Maylunas, Andrei, and Mironenko, Sergei, eds.; Galy, Darya, translator, A Lifelong Passion: Nicholas and Alexandra: Their Own Story, Doubleday, 1997 ISBN 0-385-48673-1
  • Margarita Nelipa (2010) The Murder of Grigorii Rasputin. A Conspiracy That Brought Down the Russian Empire, Gilbert's Books. ISBN 978-0-9865310-1-9.
  • Radzinsky, Edvard, The Rasputin File, Doubleday, 2000, ISBN 0-385-48909-9
  • Memories of the Russian Court by Anna Vyrubova
  • Virubova, Anna Taneleff & Irmeli Viherjuuri, Anna Virubova: Keisarinnan Hovineiti. Otava, 1987. ISBN 951-1-09357-6.

External links[edit]