The Russian Romanov dynasty came to an abrupt end on the night of July 17, 1918, when the imperial family was executed by the Bolsheviks. Or did it? Compelling new evidence reveals that Tsarevich Alexei, the fourteen year-old son of Nicholas II and heir to the Russian throne, may have escaped the bloodshed and been adopted by a local family in a nearby village.
Meticulously researched and documented, The Escape of Alexei details how Bolshevik soldiers bungled the execution, leading to confusion and chaos during the shooting. Young Alexei was merely wounded and unconscious when he was loaded onto the back of a truck with corpses of his murdered family and driven to the secret burial site. Falling out of the truck en route and left for dead, he was found by sympathetic soldiers who attended to the young hemophiliac's wounds and helped him escape, introducing him into a peasant family where he grew up under the name of Vasily Filatov.
The world of Russia's heir to the throne turned upside down. Vasily Filatov became an apprentice shoemaker, and eventually a high school geography and history teacher. He married, had children, and told his family the story of the Tsarevich's escape in the third person, as historical narrative. he never explained how, as a village teacher living under the oppressive silence and censorship of the Soviet Union, he was fluent in several foreign languages, had an in-depth knowledge of the private life of the Romanov family, and an uncanny grasp of the details surrounding the 1918 execution. With the advent of perestroika in the 1980's, the Soviet archives were finally opened to the public and, to his family's amazement, many of the incredible stories that Vasily Filatov had told his with and children were revealed to the world as historical fact.
In this startling volume, three well-respected scientists provide a convincing, thoroughly documented account of how such an extraordinary escape was possible, and how the executioners managed to cover up the fact that the body of the heir to the throne was missing. Drawing on official records and documents from Russian archive, the grisly personal accounts of soldiers who took part in the execution, and utilizing the latest scientific and forensic technology, the authors offer evidence that Alexei Romanov and Vasily Filatov were on and the same.
Filatov died in 1988. But his widow and children provide intimate reminiscences that bring this astonishing tale to life. And 101 black-and-white personal photographs reproduced throughout the text demonstrate the remarkable physical resemblances between members of the Romanov and Filatov families.
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You might argue that there's no point to this English-language edition of a Russian book, because only the most feverish Russian monarchist could take seriously, as a political issue, the question of whether the last Tsar's heir survived the Bolshevik massacre at Ekaterinburg. But this is a bit like saying that it doesn't matter how Amelia Earhart died: a mystery is a mystery, each with its own special claims on our attention. We know that Cheka thugs buried two fewer bodies than they fired at, and forensic evidence shows that if those two got away, they were almost certainly Nicholas's two youngest children, Anastasia and Alexei. There have been many Alexei pretenders in Russia, but none with so well-documented a claim as the one presented (a little breathlessly) here, on behalf of the schoolteacher Vasily Filatov, who died in 1984. Computerized facial matching says that he must be Alexei, and there is an enormous amount of other circumstantial evidence. Intriguing ... as, in a rubber-necking sort of way, is the forensically detailed reconstruction of what happened on the murderous night of July 16 to 17, 1918. But note that the relevant genetic information about Filatov has not been disclosed. Many experts, using just the methods emphasized here, were convinced beyond doubt that Anna Anderson must have been Alexei's sister Anastasia ... until DNA samples showed up. So caveat lector. What really drives this book is the series of grainy, haunting images of Filatov: was he just a peasant turned teacher, or did those deep, inscrutable eyes, which do look so very, very like the eyes of the young tsarevitch, hide for six decades a terrible story about crawling away from a pile of corpses? --Richard FarrLanguage Notes:
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Russian
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