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06-06-1999, 04:41 PM
Before I even get to my question, let me state FTR, that I believe Princess Ananstasia died with her family, and not Anna Anderson or anyone else is the "real" Romanov princess.

I recently read an article about the bodies that were discovered in Russia a few years ago, examined by forensic pathologists, DNA matched to Prince Phillip of Britain, and finally determined to be the bodies of the Romanov family.

I am aware that two bodies were missing, probably Anastasia and Prince Alexei.

I am also aware that during Stalin's administration, an affidavit came to light, signed by someone (whose name eludes me, and I can't find the article) claiming to have been one of the people who removed the bodies from the room where they were shot, and disposed of them.

His story goes something like this: the bodies were loaded on a wagon, and were to be taken to a spot already chosen, covered in quicklime and buried. For some reason (I believe he thought he was being pursued), he stopped short of the site, unloaded, and burned the bodies. But they didn't burn as easily as he anticipated, so he reloaded them, and continued onto the original site. There, the bodies were hacked up, thrown in the pit, and covered with quicklime.

However, after the burning, two of the bodies were pretty effectively destroyed, and these two were left at the first site. The witness had said that the maid, who had been killed with the family, was one of the bodies left at the first site, and the other was Prince Alexei. However, the maid's body turned up at the second site. It seems pretty obvious that this means Anastasia was one of the bodies left at the first site.

The first site has not been found and excavated.

The forensic evidence backs up the affidavit to the letter, with the exception of the maid/Anastasia thing. The affidavit was unknown at the beginning of the forensic exam, because Stalin had suppressed it.

Here's my question: Why did Stalin suppress the affidavit? Rumors of Anastasia's survival had been around for a generation, and several claimants had attracted a lot of media attention. If Stalin had made the affidavit public, I would think he could have toned down a lot of the rumblings of restoration.

I can think of two reasons Stalin may have suppressed the affidavit: 1) he didn't want the burial site venerated (venerating bodies is a big part of Orthodox Christianity). 2) The author of the affidavit was someone who was active and important in the government. Stalin had always taken the line that the Romanovs were murdered by rogues who did not represent the mainline of the Soviet government.

Does anyone know anything else?


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--Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

06-07-1999, 01:06 AM
You're forgetting a third possibility; Stalin was a loon. After all, this was the same man who refused to admit Hitler was dead and had Darwinism made illegal. Stalin had his whims and perhaps refusing to acknowlege the murder of the Imperial family was one of them.

06-07-1999, 01:29 AM
>>You're forgetting a third possibility; Stalin was a loon. After all, this was the same man who refused to admit Hitler was dead and had Darwinism made illegal. Stalin had his whims and perhaps refusing to acknowlege the murder of the Imperial family was one of them.<<

Damn. I was hoping it was more interesting than that.

What was the government's official story of what had happened? The story during Stalin's time.



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--Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

06-10-1999, 06:29 PM
Robert Massie's book, "The Romanovs, the Final Chapter" is an excellent resource on this issue. A link for it is:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0345406400/theworldofroyalt/002-2599901-8307413

I think several of the experts who examined the exhumed bodies concluded that it was Marie, and not Anastasia, who was missing.

Thanks,



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SoxFan59
"Its fiction, but all the facts are true!"

06-10-1999, 06:59 PM
Pulling possibilities out of my . . . ear:

1. I think the theory of not wanting the site venerated is a good one.

2. Maybe he just thought the less said about the whole thing, the better -- just leave it alone rather than say "ya know, about the royal family that we killed a while back..."

3. If the affidavit contains the sorts of details you list (first we shot them, then we burned them, then we hacked them up...), Stalin might well feel it's disclosure would only horrify and inflame the public -- that they wouldn't respond "Huh! So that's what happened to them!" but "My God! Is that what happened to them?!"

The whole incident could only make the Communists look bad; better to let sleeping dogs lie, is my guess. It's not like the public were agitating to have Anna Anderson put on the throne -- not with his boot on their neck.

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"The fact that no one understands you doesn't mean that you're an artist."

06-10-1999, 07:16 PM
I suppose Stalin also had no desire to remind the Soviet people that they had once been able to remove a totalitarian regime by violent means.

06-10-1999, 07:55 PM
I'm sorry, the title of this thread is giving me a "Josie and the Pussycats" kick...

Stalin and... the Romanovs!

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Cave Diem! Carpe Canem!

06-10-1999, 08:02 PM
>>I'm sorry, the title of this thread is giving me a "Josie and the Pussycats" kick...

Stalin and... the Romanovs!<< Olentzero

Maybe you should start a band....

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--Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

06-10-1999, 09:02 PM
Romanovs or RomanOFFS?

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06-10-1999, 09:52 PM
Also fragte daniel pbostaph : "Romanovs or RomanOFFS?"

I'm pretty sure that in all accepted (read: scholarly) English forms of transliteration, it's "ov" rather than "off." Of course, it's actually pronounced more like 'off.'

06-10-1999, 10:31 PM
>>Romanovs or RomanOFFS?<<

In the Cyrillic alphabet, there's a letter called a "veh." This is the last letter of the word "Romanov." In the conventions of Russian pronounciation, vehs at the beginning or in the middle of a word are pronounced like a "V," but at the end of a word, like an "F."

The tsar "Romanoff"; the tsarina was "Romanova."


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--Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

06-10-1999, 10:56 PM
I think Rowan was trying to say that in Russian pronunciation, devoiced consonants are pronounced voiced if they precede a vowel or devoiced consonant and voiced consonants are pronounced devoiced if they come at the end of a word.

Because the spelling of the individual affected letters does not change wrt the pronunciation (unlike, frinstance, in Serbo-Croatian), the proper transliteration
will also spell both the same way.

06-10-1999, 11:06 PM
Umm, yeah. If I thought people knew what "voiced" and "devoiced" mean.

My mother has a Ph.D in Linguistics. Gimme a break.


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--Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

06-10-1999, 11:30 PM
Oi, I think more people know than you might give credit for.

And we won't get into a 'yo momma' thang. Fer chrissakes, my momma has a doctorate in medicine. And I am working on mine in Slavic Languages and Literature (which means, with all due respect, that I probably know more about the Russian language than you do, although I don't necessarily know more about Gynecology.)

I'll admit wholeheartedly that, as I wrote this, I considered acknowledging how petty it was. But you must understand that there are *so few* instances in which Slavic graduate students have an opportunity to assert their authority, that I just had to take this pithy little one when it came knockin'.

06-10-1999, 11:47 PM
>>And we won't get into a 'yo momma' thang. Fer chrissakes, my momma has a doctorate in medicine. And I am working on mine in
Slavic Languages and Literature (which means, with all due respect, that I probably know more about the Russian language than
you do, although I don't necessarily know more about Gynecology.)

I'll admit wholeheartedly that, as I wrote this, I considered acknowledging how petty it was. But you must understand that there are
*so few* instances in which Slavic graduate students have an opportunity to assert their authority, that I just had to take this pithy
little one when it came knockin'.<<

I think I said exactly what you said I "meant." I just didn't use esoteric terms.

And I lived in Moscow when I was a kid. I've spoken Russian since I was nine. My father spoke it, and my mother speaks it fluently.

I also know French, Latin, Yiddish, Hebrew, and American Sign Language.


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--Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

06-11-1999, 12:23 AM
I thought my remorse might shine through my natural sarcastic tone, but you wanna play 'I got you last' (Disregard this if you're not familiar with Plus and Minus from 'Pinwheel')
So here goes: no, you did not say exactly what I said you meant you said. Not that this matters at all for the casual reader, being as my point was to clear up Mr. bostaph's misconception as to the (quote) proper Latin spelling (unquote) of the name 'Romanov.'

Further: congratulations on knowing so many languages. (Except the French, lemon-sucking nasal nonsense) Assuming that you are American, that makes you a rare jewel and a credit to our society. And if you have been speaking Russian since the age of nine, as opposed to I since the age of 13, one (as a linguist) would certainly presume that you know Russian better than. Note that I presume only to know more ABOUT the russian language than you. This presumption has a decent basis in reality, judging from the number of native Russian speakers studying Russian in our department, learning to avoid goofy mistakes like ' "Я еду другом" Not to say that you make such mistakes, just to say that it's a complicated language and even natives require years of instruction in order to learn to speak and write properly. Which is why state universities require it.

06-11-1999, 10:29 AM
Tzi redst di yidish, Rowan? Talk to me!! I need the practice.

Melatonin - from what I remember of my Russian phonetics classes, a voiceless consonant will only be voiced if it precedes a voiced consonant - thus сдать would be pronounced "zdat'". Conversely, a voiced consonant becomes voiceless when preceding a voiceless consonant - e.g. включение 'fkliuchenie'.*

Rowan's right about the 'v' in Romanov being silent at the end of a word such as "Romanov", but the practice of spelling it as it sounds (Romanoff) died out a while ago in favor of letter-to-letter transliteration (Romanov). I've generally only seen the "-off" ending in books from the 30s and earlier.

Nice to see a bunch of Russian speakers around here, by the way! I figure if I stay around here long enough I'll find people who speak all the languages I've studied and then I can start getting some real practice in :) (Hey, if I can find a Yiddish speaker in here, nothing's impossible!)

*My apologies to those who don't have Cyrillic capability on their browser. It's probably really annoying to see garbage on the screen but a Russophile's gotta do what a Russophile's gotta do.

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Cave Diem! Carpe Canem!

06-11-1999, 10:55 AM
And the 1999 Jenkin's Ear award for silliest topic for a flame war goes to: Russian phonetics.

06-11-1999, 12:02 PM
Going back to the original question, my understanding, admittedly not scholarly (remember, I'm a farm girl in a cow town), is that the bulk of the Russian populace was so used to revering their Czar and his family that they would have revolted against Stalin had they known their fate. This comes partly from family lore, since I always heard that no Russians could be found willing to execute the Romanovs, Stalin was forced to import mercenaries to do it. Magyar mercenaries. My great grand uncles, etc. (This was sort of an object lesson as a kid: see, we were so far outside normal morality that we could even be counted on to commit atrocities like this...)

If anyone here has had much contact with Japanese born before WWII, especially women, you know that it's hard to learn new habits of thought about royalty. It's not that people literally believe that the emperor is a god on earth, just that the habit of belief makes it difficult to think of him as truly human. Same concept with the Romanovs. The people may have said, "hey, let's revolt", but they would still have been sneaking peeks toward the Czar to see how he was taking it. To hear that he and his family had died in such a horrific fashion would have been shocking in the extreme. Much safer that they not know it. Their habits of loyalty to the Czar would have been harder to break emotionally than politically.

That's a really convoluted way to try to explain. Still, it's what I've always thought. Just haven't thought it enough to express it in words, I guess.

Great question, Rowan. Thanks for asking it.

And I wanna hear that new record by Stalin and the Romanovs...

06-11-1999, 07:54 PM
>>Going back to the original question, my understanding, admittedly not scholarly (remember, I'm a farm girl in a cow town), is that
the bulk of the Russian populace was so used to revering their Czar and his family that they would have revolted against Stalin had
they known their fate. This comes partly from family lore, since I always heard that no Russians could be found willing to execute
the Romanovs, Stalin was forced to import mercenaries to do it. Magyar mercenaries. My great grand uncles, etc. (This was sort of
an object lesson as a kid: see, we were so far outside normal morality that we could even be counted on to commit atrocities like
this...) <<

I would agree, except that it's my understanding that the public pretty much knew about the assassinations, government denials notwithdtanding. My question wasn't simply "Why did Stalin suppress the document?" but "Why did he suppress it, when it would have gone such a long way to debunking the whole Anastasia (whose name means ressurrection, BTW) thing?"


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--Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

06-12-1999, 12:36 AM
The other part of the question which interests me is "What was the Official Explanation given about the Romanovs during Stalin's time?" That's one that I'd really like to read...

(Off topic, but this reminds me of the question of what stories were told at the time to explain the Princes in the Tower.)

06-13-1999, 10:34 PM
>>Tzi redst di yidish, Rowan? Talk to me!! I need the practice.<<

Do you know I had to read that out loud to get it?

Actually, I SPEAK Yiddiah only haltingly, but I understand it to listen to.

My favorite aunt has Yiddiah as a first language-- she spoke it to her kids, and I spent a lot of time at their house when I was growing up (I by far preferred my aunt and uncle to my own parents), and to her parents and brothers and sisters when they visited.

I got to the point where I could understand it just fine (otherwise I didn't get the jokes!!), but I never really spoke until I was a teenager and I asked my aunt to start teaching it to me.

I barely read it, and don't write it.

Unfortunately, my Russian is getting just as weak. I saw a Russian movie just a couple of months ago, and understood it fine (the subtitles were white, and didn't show up well), but sometimes I try to think of the Russian word for something, and I can't for the life of me remember it. I did speak it fluently once, but that was twenty years ago.

So much for true confessions. Actually, you're motivating me to see if there's a class or something I can take....

Anyway, I don't know that I'm such good practice. But there's a couple of great Yiddish websites. One has weekly Torah lessons in Yiddish.


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--Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

06-13-1999, 10:35 PM
>>Tzi redst di yidish, Rowan? Talk to me!! I need the practice.<<

Do you know I had to read that out loud to get it?

Actually, I SPEAK Yiddish only haltingly, but I understand it to listen to.

My favorite aunt has Yiddiah as a first language-- she spoke it to her kids, and I spent a lot of time at their house when I was growing up (I by far preferred my aunt and uncle to my own parents), and to her parents and brothers and sisters when they visited.

I got to the point where I could understand it just fine (otherwise I didn't get the jokes!!), but I never really spoke until I was a teenager and I asked my aunt to start teaching it to me.

I barely read it, and don't write it.

Unfortunately, my Russian is getting just as weak. I saw a Russian movie just a couple of months ago, and understood it fine (the subtitles were white, and didn't show up well), but sometimes I try to think of the Russian word for something, and I can't for the life of me remember it. I did speak it fluently once, but that was twenty years ago.

So much for true confessions. Actually, you're motivating me to see if there's a class or something I can take....

Anyway, I don't know that I'm such good practice. But there's a couple of great Yiddish websites. One has weekly Torah lessons in Yiddish.


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--Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

06-14-1999, 11:01 AM
>>Tzi redst di yidish, Rowan? Talk to me!! I need the practice.<<

Taka, Ich sproyk'n a bissl Yiddish; Ich ken nisht leyn'n oider shrayb'n af Yiddish. Mein Doda Chana hot Yiddish fir a loshen irshten, un zi sproyk'n af Yiddish mit di mishpacha, un Ich farsht'n gut, a nisht gedul sproyk'n.

Maybe I should take a class.

A gutn.


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--Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

06-14-1999, 11:08 AM
Sorry people; only meant to e-mail that second one.



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--Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

06-14-1999, 11:11 AM
I, on the other hand, don't speak even a bit of Yiddish. I can't read or write it, either. But if what Rowan is writing is Yiddish, it is awfully similar to Swabian German.... (I didn't get "loshen irshten" or "mishpacha", but most of the rest was transparent).

06-14-1999, 05:01 PM
I'm of the opinion that Yiddish is a creole - given that it's been spoken for something like a thousand years in Central Europe. The existence of Ladino (was there an Italian version too?) seems to back me up on this one.

Here's the scenario - groups of Jews start wandering Europe and settling down in various places. They speak whatever it is they speak at the time (Hebrew? Aramaic?) but they need to start interacting with the local yokels as well. So then we get a pidgin tongue - just enough to get by with daily business, then this pidgin grows and takes on its own life and becomes a creole.

Still, though, Yiddish kicks ass. I remember the first time I was able to read a couple sentences in script - a bigger thrill than reading Russian.

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Cave Diem! Carpe Canem!

06-14-1999, 05:17 PM
Perhaps part of the reason for Stalin et al keeping the lid on the Romanovs is the habit of secrecy and internal politics of the Party. I mean, we're dealing with people who almost regularly not only rewrote their personal history, but had old comrades who had fallen from favour removed from photographs!

This mindset, which did so much to inspire Orwell's "1984", continued on well into modern times. For example, the "House of Special Purpose" in Ekaterinburg (or whatever it's called) was demolished fairly recently (?c1980?) on orders from Moscow. The local functionary who carred out the orders was a young go-getter named Boris Yeltsin.



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"A friend will help you move house. A best friend will help you move a body."--Alexi Sayle