Romanov impostors

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From left to right, Grand Duchesses Anastasia and Olga; Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarevich Alexei, Grand Duchesses Tatiana and Maria with Cossacks in 1916. Courtesy: Beinecke Library.

The members of the Russian royal family, the House of Romanov, were assassinated by Bolsheviks in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on July 17, 1918.

Afterwards, a number of people came forward claiming to have survived the assassination. All were impostors, as the skeletal remains of the royal family have since been recovered and identified through DNA testing. Until the present age, a number of people still falsely claim to be members of the Romanov family, often using false titles of nobility or royalty.

DNA testing[edit]

In 1991, human remains were found in the forest outside Yekaterinburg. They have been identified through DNA testing as belonging to the Romanovs and their servants. In 1998, the Romanovs were buried in St. Petersburg and have been declared passion bearers by the Russian Orthodox Church. However, two sets of remains were missing from the mass grave. Scientists identified the missing family members as Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich of Russia, who was a few weeks short of his fourteenth birthday at the time of the killing, and either Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia or Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna of Russia, who were seventeen and nineteen respectively at the time of the killings. The report of two missing bodies continued until the late 2000s to fuel speculation that one or more members of the family could have survived.

On August 23, 2007, a Russian archaeologist announced the discovery of two burned, partial skeletons at a bonfire site near Yekaterinburg that appeared to match the site described in Yurovsky's memoirs. The archaeologists said the bones are from a boy who was roughly between the ages of ten and thirteen years at the time of his death and of a young woman who was roughly between the ages of eighteen and twenty-three years old. Along with the remains of the two bodies, archaeologists found "shards of a container of sulfuric acid, nails, metal strips from a wooden box, and bullets of various caliber". The bones were found using metal detectors and metal rods as probes.[1]

On January 22, 2008, Russian forensic scientists announced that preliminary testing indicated a "high degree of probability" that the remains belong to the Tsarevich Alexei and to one of his sisters.[2] The Yekaterinburg region's chief forensic expert Nikolai Nevolin indicated the results will be compared against those obtained by foreign experts and a final report could be issued by April or May 2008.[3] On April 30, 2008, Russian forensic scientists announced that DNA testing proves that the remains belong to the Tsarevich Alexei and to one of his sisters.[4] With this result, all of the Tsar's family are accounted for, proving that none of them survived the execution.

Anastasia's survival stories have always been the most famous, inspiring dozens of books and films.[5]

Anastasia impostors[edit]

Some of the women who claimed or were believed to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia are:

  • Anna Anderson, real name Franziska Schanzkowska, was, by far, the most famous impostor. She appeared in 1920 in Berlin, Germany, and died in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 1984;
  • Eugenia Smith, aka Eugenia Drabek Smetisko, appeared in Chicago in 1963, had a book published titled Autobiography of HIH Anastasia Nicholaevna of Russia that year, and died in Rhode Island in 1997.
  • Eleonora Kruger (1901-1954), lived with George Zhudin and died in a Bulgarian village;
  • Natalya Bilikhodze, appeared in 1995 and went to Russia in 2000 to "claim the Romanov fortune."
  • Nadezhda Vasilyeva, appeared in the 1920s in Russia and died there in a Kazan psychiatric ward in 1971.[6]

Alexei impostors[edit]

Several men who claimed to be Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich of Russia.

Olga, Tatiana, and Maria impostors[edit]


DNA testing and skeletal reconstruction actually proved that Granny Alina was indeed Maria Romanov.[13]

Other impostors[edit]

  • Anatoly Ionov claims to be Anastasia's son.
  • Suzanna Catharina de Graaff was a Dutch woman who claimed to be the fifth daughter of Nicholas and Alexandra, born in 1903 when Alexandra was reported to have had a "hysterical pregnancy".[14] There are no official or private records of Alexandra giving birth to any child at this time.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Gutterman, Steve (2007). "Remains of czar heir may have been found". Associated Press. Retrieved August 24, 2007. [dead link]
  2. ^ Interfax (2008). "Suspected remains of tsar's children still being studied". Interfax. Retrieved January 23, 2008. 
  3. ^ RIA Novosti (2008). "Remains found in Urals likely belong to Tsar's children". RIA Novosti. Retrieved January 23, 2008. 
  4. ^ Eckel, Mike (2008). "DNA confirms IDs of czar's children". Associated Press. Archived from the original on May 1, 2008. Retrieved April 30, 2008. 
  5. ^ King, Greg. "Chapter Five: 1950-1959". The Romanovs in Film. 
  6. ^ Massie, Robert, The Romanovs: The Final Chapter, 1995, pp. 145-149
  7. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/p/petrov-alexei.html
  8. ^ "Arrested posing as Czarevich", New York Times, January 12, 1928, p 14.
  9. ^ Gray, Michael, Blood Relative, 1998, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, ISBN 0-575-06608-3
  10. ^ a b Massie (1995), pp. 145-149
  11. ^ "Maddes Aiort". Découvrez la vie des derniers Romanov.  (French)
  12. ^ "Michelle Anches". Découvrez la vie des derniers Romanov.  (French)
  13. ^ Michael Searle, Louis Duval, Albert Entranovich
  14. ^ Lovell, James Blair, Anastasia: The Lost Princess, Regnery Gateway, 1991