No Place for the Innocent – Saint Petersburg, 1917

by Sita Writer Sometimes it is important to remember. This article commemorates the 100th year of the execution of Tsar Nicholas II and his family including his son and four […]

The Innocents – Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia

by Sita Writer

OTMA – from left – sitting Tatiana, standing Marie, Anastasia and Olga, 1914

Sometimes it is important to remember. This article commemorates the 100th year of the execution of Tsar Nicholas II and his family including his son and four young daughters (ages 16-22) by the Bolsheviks on July 17, 1918. They lived in a palace just outside Saint Petersburg before they were imprisoned. In SL, there used to be a place to celebrate the culture and heritage of pre-revolutionary Saint Petersburg. Alas, the sim closed as this article was being written. We offer some alternatives for visiting this period of Russian history and perhaps, when you visit them, you will take a moment to remember these four innocents: Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia.

The Saint Petersburg Sim (hoping it will be rebuilt) in SL was well done it had wide lanes and a horse and carriage ride that took you around the area. The opulent mansions were reminiscent of those that would have lined the Nevsky Prospect.

Sanssouci Park

A sim that is open is Sanssouci Park, Brandenburg (128, 21, 2002),  the summer palace of Frederick the Great, that was greatly admired by the Tsarina will give you the idea of how the Romanov’s lived in their palace called Alexander Palace just outside of St. Petersburg. Sanssouci Park,  is an intimate Rococo styled palace and its luxurious gardens are reminiscent of the splendor that the four royal Grand Duchesses lived in.

When entering their palace, you entered world of sweeping staircases and gilded molding, rooms with forests of chandeliers and beautiful ballrooms, along with cozy rooms for tea, music, and quite conversation. There are beautiful gardens here to explore, with interesting historical notes. And, for those that wish to live here, residences are also available.

Fountains with Sanssouci Park in the distance

Another sim called Russian Moscow, Moscow Island (236, 173, 22),  has a beautiful build of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square. Here you are surrounded by beautiful buildings that gives a glimpse of what this area looks like, there are even balloon rides to take and a mall to shop in. Moscow was the place Tsar Nicholas II and Alexandra held their coronation in 1896 and where the family journeyed, in 1913 to celebrate 300 years of Romanov rule, a last extravagant display of pageantry.

The Grand Duchesses worked in and sponsored hospitals and administered charities during WWI, they were kind, loving, totally innocent girls, cut short in life, through no fault of their own. They had personality and a great sisterly love for one another. The girls actually signed many letters and gifts as OTMA, to signify the initials of their names, Olga, Tatiana, Marie and, Anastasia…they lived in, loved and when imprisoned they longed for Saint Petersburg and for their friends and family.

Imperial Family – from left, seated Alexis, center Alexandra and Tsar Nicholas, to left of Alexandra standing Marie, Tatiana, Olga, seated next to Nicholas II, Anastasia

March 1917, on the eve of the Russian Revolution there was no room for innocents. Forced to abdicate as a toll of WWI and the storm clouds of revolution, the House of Romanov was toppled and the entire family was detained.

Their final imprisonment that lead to their execution was in the Ipatiev House (House of Special Purpose). On a still, hot summer night, July 17, 1918, deep in the Ural Mountains of Siberia, the family paid the ultimate price along with their retainers — Eugine Botkin, their physician, Anna Demidova, maid to the Tsarina, Alexi Trupp, footman in the household of the Tsar, and Ivan Kharitibivm the their beloved cook.

All of a sudden, they were asked to dress quickly and go down to the cellar where they were arranged for a photograph to illustrate their “wellbeing.” Suddenly, a dozen armed men came into the room, as planned; the death sentence was read to the Tsar, condemning him to death by Bolshevik leader, Yakov Sverdlov. Gunfire opened on the entire family and when the smoke cleared, those left alive, (including the four Grand Duchesses because of the diamonds they sewed into their corsets) were bayoneted and clubbed to death. After being shot in the dank, dirty cellar in Yekaterinburg, July 17, 1918, their bodies were stripped and mutilated. After several botched tries, they were finally disposed of in a field called Porosenkov Log in the Koptyaki Forest on the outskirts of Yekaterinburg. The remains of the family were discovered in 1979 and after DNA tests all but two undiscovered bodies were reburied in the Saint Petersburg in 1998. The remains of the last two bodies (thought to be Marie and Alexis) have been found and hopefully will be reunited with their family in this anniversary year.

This brutal execution wiped out Russia’s last royal ruler and his entire family. As you wander in Saint Petersburg… listen… and think…here are real life quotes from newly translated diaries that were made available…

Olga, 22 years old, Nov. 3, 1917 – “We live as though on a ship at sea, the days all resemble one another.”

Tatiana, 21 years old, “One has to struggle much because the return for good is evil, and evil reigns.”

Maria, 18 years old, 1917 – “Time flies by with a horrible quickness. Soon it will be a year since we saw our friends. Well, it’s nothing, God will grant us all to meet again.”

Anastasia, 16 years old, 1917 – “ We do not have enough space for everybody, so one of us is writing on the sofa and holding the paper in her lap. It is pretty chilly in the room, so our hands do not write properly.” (It was 32 F)

Empress Alexandra, “All the past is a dream. One keeps only tears and grateful memories. One by one all earthly things slip away, houses and possessions ruined, friends vanished. One lives day to day. God is in all and nature never changes. I can see all around me, lovely world long to go to them.”

Sita Writer
Writer/Photographer

Written and SL images by Sita Writer

Note – All of the historical photographs are from mediawiki.org and are not under copyright.