Day 71 of Colourisation Project – July 17
Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.
On this day July 17, in 1918 the Russian Imperial Romanov family; Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Tsarina Alexandra and their five children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei and four family servants were executed in Yekaterinburg, Russia bringing to an end the three hundred year old Romanov dynasty.
The murder of the Tsar was carried out by the Ural Soviet which was led by Yakov Yurovsky. Historians, generally agree that the murder had been ordered in Moscow by Vladimir Lenin and Yakov Sverdlov to prevent the rescue of the Imperial Family by approaching White forces during the ongoing Russian Civil War.
Earlier in March 1917, revolution had broken out on the streets of Petrograd (now St. Petersburg) and Nicholas II was forced to abdicate his throne. The following November, Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, seized power in Russia from the provisional government and set about establishing the world’s first communist state. By June 1918 civil war had erupted in Russia and in July the “White” anti-Bolshevik Russian forces advanced on Yekaterinburg, where Nicholas II and his family were staying.
On the night of July 16, Nicholas II, Alexandra, their five children and four servants were ordered to dress quickly and go down to the cellar of the house in which they were being held. One version of events has it that the family and servants were arranged in two rows for a photograph in order to quell rumors that they had escaped. Suddenly, a dozen armed men burst into the room and gunned down the imperial family in a hail of chaotic gunfire. Those who were still breathing when the smoked cleared were speared with bayonets .
What transpired in the hours, days and years following this brutal murder is the subject of much conjecture and rumour-mongering suffice to say that the remains of the Romanovs were secretly discovered in 1976 with the exception of Alexei and Maria and finally dug up in 1991 after the collapse of communism. DNA samples confirmed their identity – with Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who is related to the Russian royal family, giving a sample. The remains of the two missing children were found in 2007 and confirmed by further DNA testing.
And the rest is for the forensic historians…One can hardly imagine the horror that took place in that cellar on the night of 16th July 1918.