Sunday, October 5, 2008

Romanovs Rehabilitated by Russian Supreme Court

Russia gave the literate world creative and human tales of woe that are art and parcel of the classics. The angst embedded in some of the heart shredding tales of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina or War and Peace, Federov Dostoevsky . Three centuries of the royal house of Romanov ruling Russia until the final R's did them in, Rasuptin & revolution. Now, history is being rewritten showing the family of Tsar Nicholas II did not get shot full of bullet holes and their remains placed in vats of acid for merely political showmanship on eradicating Russia of ruinous royalty. They were a royal family with vassals and serfs that received approbation under the new Russian historical standards removing any Russian Who's Who listing them as state criminals.

Bolsheviks lead the execution of the family with jewels of renown the world over. Coronations were lavish affairs. For ninety years Russia denied it was a Bolshevik operation at Impatiev House as just a few minions were involved. The 2008 Russian Supreme Court validated evidence of innocence of the crimes the family was accused of because while under house arrest, their benevolent servants left their posts with the family stashed in the basement on July 17, 1918, allowing the slaughter to take place. The children did not die at first because of the density and plentifulness of the jewels sewn into their garb. During his lifetime Nicholas II gave exquisite bejeweled Fabergé eggs to his wife and the family coffers contained a fair cache of other mint condition precious stones. The jewels allowed the kids to first withstand bullets then knives making some of the assassins get the heebie jeebies as it occurred to them some sort of Divine intervention was happening. After all, the family was directly descended from Ivan the Terrible who went rampaging bonkers when the Tsarina of his dreams died under suspicious circumstances making him suspect them of her poisoning.

The move does not presage any attempt by the Romanov family to reclaim their palaces or regain a foothold in the constitutional order of Russia. But they were delighted nonetheless.

“The protracted rehabilitation process has come to a successful conclusion,” German Lukyanov, the Romanov family lawyer, told the Interfax news agency. “Justice has triumphed.” The case has been fought largely by Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, a senior member of the royal house.

The ruling may not change the lives of the family, but it does represent a milestone: it is the closest that any post-Soviet government has come to accepting the criminal nature of Bolshevik rule.

Westerners may see that as a truism. But present-day Russia is still in the thrall of the iconography of Lenin. His image is emblazoned on schools and underground stations; his embalmed body is still visited in Red Square, even if not by the thousands of Socialist pilgrims who turned up in the Soviet days.

The conspiracy theories surrounding this family are legendary. Church of the Blood is the structure built upon the killing place where the assassinations took place. For years, two bodies were missing leading to many claims they were the long lost prince or princess or their descendants. Another grave was found leading to DNA results aligning with the rest of the now St. Petersburg interred family. Current descendants wanted the stain on the family's reputation removed and the Court obliged. Little Prince Alexei was the great grandson of Queen Victoria reemphasizing the blood ties from all the crown heads of Europe due to all the intermarrying. The books on the Romanovs are fascinating and where Lenin plays in all of this will keep the playwrights, novelists and historians at it for centuries. To have died in a basement after living in the magnificence of the Winter Palace as serfs died in more menial conditions are what fills Russian literature with irony and angst of the human spirit.

To keep up with all the plot twists and their layers of intricacies, including the healing through prayer and mysticism of Alexei by Rasputin who later had horrible incantations against the Romanovs as other royal nobles attempted to murder him, takes a worthwhile book that covers the indelicacies. Author Lindsey Hughes does that quite well in the biographical The Romanovs: Ruling Russia 1613 - 1917.

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