Eugene Botkin

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Dr. Eugene Botkin
Dr. Eugene Botkin
Yevgeny Sergeyevich Botkin

(1865-03-27)27 March 1865
Died17 July 1918(1918-07-17) (aged 53)
Cause of deathExecution by firing squad
Spouse(s)Olga Botkina (divorced 1910)
ChildrenGleb Botkin
Tatiana Botkina
Dimitri Botkin
Yuri Botkin
Parent(s)Sergey Botkin
Anastasia Kryloff
RelativesAleksandra Khokhlova (niece)
Mikhail Botkin (uncle)
Vasily Botkin (uncle)

Yevgeny Sergeyevich Botkin (Russian: Евге́ний Серге́евич Бо́ткин; 27 March 1865 – 17 July 1918), commonly known as Eugene Botkin, was the court physician for Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra. While in exile with the family after the February Revolution in 1917, he sometimes treated the Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich of Russia for haemophilia-related complications.

Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Botkin went into exile with the Romanov family, accompanying them to Tobolsk, Siberia and Ekaterinburg. He was murdered with the family by guards at Ekaterinburg on 17 July 1918.

Dr. Botkin’s family contributed to the nation: his elder son, Dimitri who died in World War I. His son Yuri, who was grievously injured during the war.

Like the Romanov Imperial Family, Botkin was canonised in 1981 as a New Martyr by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

In 2000, the Russian Orthodox Church canonised the Romanov family as passion bearers. On 3 February 2016, the Bishop's Council of the Russian Orthodox Church canonised Botkin as Righteous Passion-Bearer Yevgeny the Physician.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Botkin was born in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire, the son of Anastasia Alexandrovna (Krylova) and Sergey Botkin, who had been a court physician under Tsars Alexander II and Alexander III. Botkin followed his father in studying medicine, getting his degree at the University of St. Petersburg and doing additional studies at the universities of Berlin and Heidelberg.[2] He was later appointed as chief physician at St. Georgievsky Hospital in St. Petersburg. He served with distinction aboard the St. Georgievsky Hospital Train during the Russo-Japanese War.[2]

Botkin was appointed as court physician in 1908. Botkin married and had four children, Dimitri, Yuri, Gleb and Tatiana. His marriage broke up under the strain caused by Botkin's dedication to the Romanovs and his long hours at court. His wife, Olga, started an affair with the children's German tutor. She asked for, and was granted, a divorce.[2]

Botkin was later devastated when his oldest sons, Dimitri and Yuri, were killed in action during the First World War.[2] Botkin became increasingly religious and "developed an increasing abhorrence for the flesh," according to his son Gleb.[2]

"From a very tender age, his beautiful and noble nature was complete," his brother Peter recalled later. "He was never like other children. Always sensitive, of a delicate, inner sweetness of extraordinary soul, he had a horror of any kind of struggle or fight. We other boys would fight with a fury. He would not take part in our combats, but when our pugilism took on a dangerous character he would stop the combatants at risk of injuring himself. He was very studious and conscientious in his studies. For a profession he chose medicine: to help, to succour, to soothe, to heal without end."[2]

Exile and death[edit]

Botkin felt it was his duty to accompany the Romanovs into exile, not only because of his responsibility to his patients, the Romanov family, but also to his country.[2] Botkin was considered a friend by Tsar Nicholas II. The doctor also often spoke with Tsarina Alexandra in her native German and acted as a translator for her when she received a Russian delegation.[3]

After Botkin and the family were executed, White Russian Army investigators found this unfinished letter by him in 1919. It was written in his quarters on the night of 16 July 1918:

I am making a last attempt at writing a real letter -- at least from here -- although that qualification, I believe, is utterly superfluous. I do not think that I was fated at any time to write to anyone from anywhere. My voluntary confinement here is restricted less by time than by my earthly existence. In essence I am dead -- dead for my children -- dead for my work ... I am dead but not yet buried, or buried alive -- whichever, the consequences are nearly identical ... The day before yesterday, as I was calmly reading ... I saw a reduced vision of my son Yuri's face, but dead, in a horizontal position, his eyes closed. Yesterday, at the same reading, I suddenly heard a word that sounded like Papulya. I nearly burst into sobs. Again -- this is not a hallucination because the word was pronounced, the voice was similar, and I did not doubt for an instant that my daughter, who was supposed to be in Tobolsk, was talking to me ... I will probably never hear that voice so dear or feel that touch so dear with which my little children so spoiled me ... If faith without works is dead, then deeds can live without faith; and if some of us have deeds and faith together, that is only by the special grace of God. I became one of these lucky ones through a heavy burden-the loss of my first born, six-month old Serzhi... This vindicates my last decision ... when I unhesitatingly orphaned my own children in order to carry out my physician's duty to the end, as Abraham did not hesitate at God's demand to sacrifice his only son.[4]

The letter was interrupted when Commander Yakov Yurovsky, the head of the command at the Ipatiev House, knocked on Botkin's door. He ordered the entire Romanov party to dress and come downstairs, on the premise that there was gunfire in the town, and they were to be evacuated. But the entire family and their servants (including Botkin) were murdered a short time later.[4]

In the early 1990s, after the unmarked gravesite had been discovered and Botkin's remains were examined, he was found to have had bullet wounds on his legs, pelvis, vertebrae, and forehead.

Honours and awards[edit]

Representation in other media[edit]

Dr. Botkin features as a character in D. Logan's play, Ekaterinburg (2013). It explores the time in captivity of the Romanovs and their retainers in the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg.

Dr. Botkin was featured in the 1971 film Nicholas and Alexandra, portrayed by Timothy West; as well as the 1996 television movie Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny where he was portrayed by David Warner. [6]

See also[edit]


  • King, Greg; Wilson, Penny (2003). The Fate of the Romanovs. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 0-471-20768-3.
  • Kurth, Peter; Christopher, Peter; Radzinsky, Edvard (1995). Tsar: The Lost World of Nicholas and Alexandra. Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 0-316-50787-3.
  • Wegner, Armin T. (1930). Fünf Finger über dir. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart. Berlin und Leipzig.


  1. ^ "Определение Освященного Архиерейского Собора Русской Православной Церкви об общецерковном прославлении ряда местночтимых святых".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g King; Wilson (2003), p. 61
  3. ^ King; Wilson (2003), p. 62
  4. ^ a b Kurth; Christopher; Radzinsky (1995), p. 194
  5. ^ Acović, Dragomir (2012). Slava i čast: Odlikovanja među Srbima, Srbi među odlikovanjima. Belgrade: Službeni Glasnik. p. 634.
  6. ^ Logan, D., Ekaterinburg (2013) ISBN 978-0-9873296-9-1