Anniversary Of The Romanov Family Murder
On July 16th, 1918, Tsar Nicholas II and his family were murdered by Russian revolutionaries. Despite the Tsar’s abdication from the throne a year prior, Bolshevik forces held Nicholas and his family hostage before gunning them down. Eliminating the Romanov line ensured the end of the monarchy in Russia, and gave birth to the Soviet Union. But the question remains, was the slaughter of the Tsar’s entire family necessary? Or was this a cold-blooded murder spree?
Nicholas ascended the throne in 1894 following the death of his father, Alexander III. The new Tsar was described as indecisive and ill-equipped to rule Russia. National Geographic says, “A joke making the rounds in St. Petersburg said that the two most powerful people in Russia were the Tsar and whoever had spoken to him last.” This no doubt led the Russian people to believe that their leader was useless. So, how did such a “hapless” Tsar threaten the rebels and cause them to kill without mercy?
One answer is the development of the Okhrana, the secret Russian military police. Tsar Nicholas created the Okhrana to combat the rise of left-wing revolutionaries and political terrorists. Another major issue contributing to the Tsar’s death was the first Russian revolution in 1905. During this uprising, a march in St. Petersburg turned deadly. Now known as “Bloody Sunday,” unarmed protestors were fired upon by the Imperial Guard. The total number killed is still unknown to this day, yet some claim as many as a thousand people were killed and hundreds injured. Although the Tsar was not at the Winter Palace and did not give the order for the troops to fire, he was widely blamed for the callousness with which the crisis had been handled.
These events led to the Russian Revolution of 1917, which unlike the revolution in 1905, succeeded in its destruction of the monarchy. Turbulence raged in Russia throughout the country and city alike. Laborers and rebels turned to the Bolsheviks, a socialist group hellbent on change. In addition to the problems in Russia, World War I was raging on, creating tension all over the world. Rioting and demonstrations littered Russia until Liberal and monarchist forces organized into the White Army. They immediately went to war against the Bolsheviks’ Red Army, in a series of battles that would become known as the Russian Civil War.
After all the chaos, the Bolsheviks decided it was time to end the Romanov line. Nicholas, his wife, and their five children were all shot to death. Two of the children’s bodies were burned and buried separate from their family members to create confusion. Then it was announced to the world that the Tsar was dead. “Nicholas Romanov was essentially a pitiful figure,” Pravda, the official party newspaper, declared after the murders. The editorial called the Tsar “the personification of the barbarian landowner, of this ignoramus, dimwit, and bloodthirsty savage.” The people of Russia had no use for monarchy anymore; it continued. “Russian workers and peasants have only one desire: to drive a good aspen-wood stake into this grave cursed by the people.”
Russia needed positive changes in its economy. However, I believe that the Romanov family did not deserve to die. Following the Tsar’s abdication from the throne, the family should have been released and given a chance to lead normal lives. The Bolsheviks had already won, and socialism was on the rise, prior to the murders. They denied the children a future, despite total innocence in the matters at hand. The story of the Romanov family is tragic and serves as a reminder of what can happen when political agendas suppress humanity.