Episode 19: Mysterious Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia
Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia was born into the most elite segment of Russian society on June 18, 1901 as the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, the last sovereign of Imperial Russia, and his wife, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna. Anastasia was the younger sister of Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, and Maria, and was the elder sister of Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia.
During WWI, Anastasia–like her sisters–volunteered as a nurse right in the royal palace at Tsarskoye Selo. Many of its rooms had been turned into hospital wards. In 1917, the February Revolution in Russia forced Czar Nicholas II to abdicate the throne. After the Revolution of 1917 and Nicholas’s abdication, Nicholas and his family (including Anastasia) were taken as prisoners to Tobolsk, then to Yekaterinburg, where on June 18, 1918, Anastasia celebrated her last birthday.
Nicholas, his wife Alexandra, and their four girls and one son, were held at Czarskoye Selo palace and then taken to Ekaterinburg in the Urals after the Bolsheviks seized power in the October Revolution. Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra, and their five children—including 14-year-old Anastasia–were shot and bayoneted to death by Bolshevik revolutionaries under Yakov Yurovsky on the orders of the Ural Regional Soviet in Yekaterinburg on the night of July 16-17, 1918. Also murdered that night were members of the imperial entourage who had accompanied them: court physician Eugene Botkin; lady-in-waiting Anna Demidova; footman Alexei Trupp; and head cook Ivan Kharitonov.
The executioners then took the bodies to the Four Brothers mine [an abandoned mine shaft some 14 miles from Ekaterinburg, in the Koptyaki forest],
where they were stripped, buried, burned in a gasoline-fueled bonfire, and the bones doused with sulfuric acid to disguise the remains further and mutilated with grenades to prevent identification. Finally, what was left was thrown into the mine pit, which was covered with dirt. After 300 years of imperial rule, the Romanov empire ended in a chaos of gunfire and bayonets.
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Meet Carl Douglas, your host for Episode 19:
Mysterious Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia
My pseudonym as an author is Carl Douglass, adopted as a means of telling stories with gripping realism—the truth of which would not bring trouble to my door. My writing of gripping, realistic fiction began after I was obligated to retire from the private practice of neurosurgery due to sudden blindness in my left eye from a retinal detachment which caused loss of stereoscopic vision. I carried with me decades-long knowledge of doctors, hospitals, and institutions of higher learning, including some less than laudatory information. My military experience during the years of the recent unpleasantness in Viet Nam also gave me considerable insight. Both of those lengthy experiences provided true grist for the mill of my writing, but neither of them need to connect the stories to the lives of the real people and places where the stories took place. In that sense, I know too much and have no wish to incriminate or to bring harm or embarrassment to real individuals or institutions. My rich and varied life has provided even more fodder to feed my mind and contribute realism to my written work. In my time, I have had to work due to lacking a sugar daddy. I have been a grease monkey, a lumber mill and forest worker, a lifeguard, a slaughterhouse worker, a diener in a morgue, a lab rat, an academic writer, a medical officer in a mental hospital, a naval officer and surgeon, a brig doctor, and a deep diving officer. I have been the husband of one fine wife, the father of four children—one deceased—eleven grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. All of them have enriched the depth and breadth of my storytelling.