Jane turns 9 and the Romanovs

Jane turned 9 today! She talked about her upcoming birthday since we left Utah. She was very concerned that it wouldn’t be a good day. She drove everyone nuts talking about what she wanted and didn’t want on her birthday. We were all nervous that no matter what we did on her birthday, her expectations wouldn’t be met, but it turned out she had a great day. The highlight was getting some money to shop for her own gift. She spent hours perusing the mall nearby and ended up buying some slime, a stress ball, squishy, a stuffed animal and some fake hair. She spent the rest of the day wearing the fake ponytail and thought it looked amazing. We didn’t have the heart to tell her otherwise.

After the mall, Jane got her nails painted and we had some friends over for an American dinner and cake. 

On Thursday, the day before Jane’s birthday, we visited the site where the Romanov family and some of their staff were executed by the Bolshevik party. A cathedral has been built on the spot in remembrance of the Royal family. On the night of July 16th 1918 Emperor Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra, their five children and some of their staff were killed in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

In 2000 the Russian Orthodox Church canonized Tsar Nicholas II and made him a saint. 

On Friday, Jess’s friend, Kolya, took us to the spot where the bodies of the Romanov family were placed after they were executed. The remains have since been moved to St. Petersburg. A monastery with multiple chapels now stands in the place where the bodies were found.

I didn’t know much about the Romanov family before we came to Russia. In fact, my knowledge all came from the movie Anastasia. But since we have been here, I have learned quite a bit and I have found it fascinating. Here is the short version of what happened.

In 1917 a Revolution happened in Russia. At the end of the revolution, Tsar Nicholas abdicated the thrown. The royal family were then imprisoned in one of their homes. Under Lenin’s direction the royal family was moved to Yekaterinburg, where they were executed.  The Soviet leadership maintained a systematic web of disinformation as to the fate of the family, from claiming in September 1919 that they were murdered by left-wing revolutionaries to denying outright that they were dead.  The Soviet cover-up of the murders fueled rumors of survivors, leading to the emergence of Romanov impostors that drew media attention away from Soviet Russia.

The burial site for most of the family was not even discovered until 1979 and the existence of the remains was not made public until the late 1980’s. An additional site was later found in 2007 that contained the remains of two of the other Romanov children.

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