Months after the Russian Revolution had triumphed and Vladimir Ulich, better known as Lenin, had occupied power, the imperial family was killed. The murder of the Romanovs took place in Yekaterinburg on 17 July 1918. Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Tsarina Alexandra and their five children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and Alexei were shot alongside some faithful servants and courtiers, like Eugene Botkin, Anna Demidova, Alekséi Trupp and Ivan Jaritónov, who had decided to accompany them in their exile. One of the most widespread legends about the end of the tsars was that Anastasia, the fourth daughter of Nicholas II and Alexandra, had survived the execution. In fact throughout the 20th century several women in various countries even claimed to be the princess. But Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of the biography Los Romanov, considers it impossible. The imperial family had been on a treacherous journey ever since they were out of power. On March 22, 1917, Nicholas II, already dethroned as emperor (as much as his sentinels addressed him as Nicholas Romanov), was transferred to the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoye Selo, where the new authorities were gathering the former imperial family. The Russian Provisional Government confined him and his family under house arrest. In August 1917, the President of the Russian Provisional Government, Aleksandr Kérenski, evacuated the Romanovs to Tobolsk, allegedly to protect them from the growing revolutionary wave. There they settled in the former mansion of the governor where they enjoyed the comforts to which they were accustomed. After the rise to power of the Bolsheviks in October 1917, the conditions of his arrest hardened and the discussions about a hypothetical trial to Nicholas became more and more habitual. He was forbidden to wear epaulettes and the sentries scribbled lewd drawings on the fence to offend their daughters. On March 1, 1918, the family was subjected to the same rationing as the soldiers, and they had to dispense with ten servants and give up butter and coffee. Finally, in April 1918, the Government transferred Nicholas, Alejandra and her daughter Maria to Yekaterinburg under the leadership of Vasili Yákovlev. Alekséi was too ill to accompany his parents and stayed with his sisters Olga, Tatiana and Anastasia in Tobolsk until May 1918.Finally, the whole family was taken into custody with the remaining servants at Ipátiev House, the residence of a merchant from Yekaterinburg, in the Urals.
On 17 July 1918 a group of Bolsheviks led by Yakov Yurovsky broke into the mansion and shot them. What happened, according to Montefiore, is that when all the Romanovs were already dead, Anastasia still moved . The shots did not quite reach her, because she wore a bodice with sewn diamonds so they would not be stolen. Piotr Yermakov, one of the authors of the execution, tried to kill her with bayonets, “but he missed his blows.” As “the girl screamed and fought,” Yermakov “pulled out a pistol and shot him in the head.” The big question remains who ordered the death of the royal family. Although the body that actually executed the firing of the Tsar was the Regional Soviet of the Urals, it is still disputed whether the order came from Lenin and his then top collaborator Yakov Sverdlov . Supposedly, the top Soviet leaders wanted to prevent the Tsar’s family from being rescued by the Czechoslovak Legion, a faction operating within the White Army and now approaching the Urals in their struggle against the Bolsheviks in the course of the civil war that lashed the country. This information was based on a passage from Leon Trotsky’s diary. If so, communist leaders were careful not to order the murder in writing and to keep out of correspondence. Neither Sverdlov nor Lenin appears in any document related to the death of Nicholas II and his family. But the truth is that “even during the Russian civil war (1917-1923), Lenin would reveal himself as a control maniac who attempted to delegate as few affairs as possible to the local comrades, so it is quite unlikely that he would make such a decision transcendental in the hands of some provincials, “Montefiore concludes.