The Kitchen Boy - Russia
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Tsar Nicholas II and the Russian Imperial Family Shot in Ekaterinburg, 16 July 1918

World History in Context
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In the article, "Tsar Nicholas II and the Russian Imperial Family Shot in Ekaterinburg, 16 July 1918," Pavel Medvedev gives a primary source account of the night of the execution of the Tsar and his family. He describes the preparations that were taken by commandant Yurovsky. The kitchen boy was sent away to the guardhouse before the executions took place. Yurovsky woke up the royal family at midnight. At one in the morning, the royal family, their doctor, and three of their servants were led outside to the cellar. The family was dressed up and the maid and the daughters were carrying small pillows. Yurovsky sent Medvedev outside to stand guard. When he left, he heard shots fired. After the shooting was done, Medvedev returned to see all the family, the doctor and their three servants dead. The heir moved slightly and Yurovsky shot him three more times and he stopped moving.

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The Kitchen Boy - by Robert Alexander

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In The Kitchen Boy, a dying Russian American widower, Misha, records his story to pass on to his granddaughter. In his story, he describes his time as Leonka, the kitchen boy for Tsar Nicholas and the Romanov family during the last months of their lives while imprisoned by the Bolsheviks in the House of Special Purpose. He documents day to day events as well as a series of secret letters that he smuggled out of the house to Tsarist sympathizers in the village outside as the Romanovs prepare to escape. He also gives his own thoughts and opinions about the character of the Tsar and his family and the reasons for their downfall. (SPOILERS AHEAD) However, after one of the secret letters that he was supposed to deliver goes missing, Leonka is sent away from the house and fears the worst for the Romanov family. He then describes how he sneaks back to the House and watched as the Romanov family was executed. He then followed the truck that was carrying the bodies away and sees two bodies fall out of the truck. One of them is that Aleksei, the heir to the Tsar. He is dead. However, the second is the Grand Duchess Maria and she is still hanging on to life. He enlists the help of a nun and her novice Marina to try to heal her, but they are unsuccessful and they bury her deep in the woods where her body was never found. With her last breaths, Maria tells Leonka and Marina to get married and to remove the hidden jewels and treasures of the Romanov family, that are to be returned to Russia when communism is gone. Misha describes his story as "telling a thousand truths just so he could get away with one singular, gross lie"(Alexander 207) before he kills himself with cyanide and asks God to "not forgive my sins" (Alexander 208). His daughter Kate then travels to Russia to makes appearances as the treasures that Misha rescued are returned and exhibited in Russia. She avoids the attention and visits an old woman who it is revealed is the real Novice Marina. Novice Marina then reveals that although the story was almost all true, Misha wasn't the kitchen boy, but one of the guards who not only created false escape letters for the Romanovs to create an excuse for their execution, but was also the guard in charge of shooting the Grand Duchess Maria, which he does but is greatly distressed following the execution. As he followed the truck as the bodies fell out, he discovers that Maria survived the shooting. With the help of the nun and Novice Marina, Maria makes a miraculous recovery and flees to America with Misha and marries him. Although Maria forgave Misha, he could never forgive himself and killed himself after her death from old age.

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The Execution of Tsar Nicholas II and his Family at Ekaterinburg, 17 July 1918

The Execution of Tsar Nicholas II and his Family at Ekaterinburg, 17 July 1918 | The Kitchen Boy - Russia | Scoop.it
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On the night of July 17, 1918, Tsar Nicholas II, his family, and four of their closest friends were shot by the Ural Soviet near Ekaterinburg, Russia. The execution took place in a shed behind the Ipatiev House where the family had been imprisoned for seventy eight days. in the center of the painting, the former Tsar, Nicholas II, is seen holding his son and former heir to the throne, Alexei, who was unable to walk due to hemophilia. To the right are the Tsar's  daughters, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia.

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Tsar Nicholas II: Did the Decision of Tsar Nicholas II to Take Personal Command at the Front Accelerate the Fall of the Russian Empire

World History in Context
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In the article, "Tsar Nicholas II: Did the Decision of Tsar Nicholas II to Take Personal Command at the Front Accelerate the Fall of the Russian Empire?", Paul Du Quenoy and David L. Ruffley present their opposing views on whether Tsar Nicholas II's decision to personally command troops at the front during World War I contribute to his downfall. Paul Du Quenoy argues that Tsar Nicholas II's lack of military leadership skills led to even more military defeats and his decision to leave the capital at St. Petersburg added to the political instability at the time. When the Tsar left, he gave command to the German born Empress Alexandra, who was greatly influenced by the monk Rasputin. Alexandra's nation of birth and Rasputin's influence led to many rumors about Alexandra sabotaging the war against Germany and having an affair with Rasputin. These rumors greatly damaged public opinion of the Tsar and his family and Quenoy argues that these gave the Bolsheviks the opportunity to seize power. David L. Ruffley argues that the Russian military was already technologically lacking and divided by fighting among commanding officers over class issues.

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