An unusual guest has visited Moscow. 101-year-old Natalia Petrovna Bilikhodze, possessor of 1-trillion-dollar fortune held a press conference in Moscow, at which she said she was the great princess Anastasia, the daughter of last Russian tsar Nikoai II, who survived the shooting of the tsar’s family. The story is not new. At the moment, the world knows about 30 great princesses Anastasia. To examine these tsar’s daughters, the Geneva bank created an identification service, though nobody of the former candidates could pass the exam. Some of them even could not speak Russian, while explaining this with a hard stress, as a result of which they had completely forgotten the mother language.
Though, not only living pseudo-Anastasias pretend on being heirs of Russian throne, but also descendants of the late pseudo-Anastasias. For example, some “patriotic forces” promote now crown prince Anatoly, the son of princess Anastasia as if shot in 1936. Stressing, that by participating in all state actions the crown prince must strengthen the power’s recognition, the “patriots” demand to officially acknowledge the son of the great princess. Of course, this story cannot do without political intrigues.
Crown prince Anatoly addressed to Vladimir Putin with a request about reburial of Anastasia Romanova and her daughter in tsar’s burial-vault, after exhumation and genetic analysis, though Putin left this request without answer. According to Anatoly, “The crown prince’s mother lies in cemetery of the town Axai, Rostov Region, under the inscription “Anastasia Yakovlevna Ionova.” While next to her, there is the grave of her daughter, Alexandra Vladimirovna Ionova, born in 1935. Their place in the tsar’s burial-vault is occupied by false “emperor in exile,” great prince Vladimir Kirillovich Romanov, placed there according to Yeltsin’s order. Therefore, Yeltsin had acknowledged the imposter to be Russian emperor with the right to hand over the throne to his grand-son Georgy.”
Why namely great princess Anastasia is so popular among people who would like to return to Russia as ruling family? The question is that the complicated story of the royal family annihilation holds back where the remains of the killed great princess and of crown prince Alexis are.
In the burial place officially acknowledged to be that one of the tsar’s family and later carried to the tsar’s burial-vault in St Petersburg, there were no remains of Alexis and of a great princesses, probably, of Maria. Though, the skeleton of great princess Anastasia turned out to belong to a 171-cm-tall person, while Anastasia was only 158 cm tall. Moreover, after the remains were reburied, the society and the scientists had different opinions. Many scientists are inclined to believe that the remains have been annihilated with sulphuric acid and fire.
Within all these years after the tsar’s family execution, the name of Anastasia was covered with some mystic haze. According to Natalia Bilikhodze, Anastasia was not shot. She has been living in Georgia under the name Natalia Bilikhodze. In Georgia, she got married. Only in 1995, she started to bustle about returning to her the true name. Now, Russian citizen Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova, spite her declining years, prepares herself for returning to Russia and for returning to Russia the great inheritance of her family.
According to the version of crown prince Anatoly, great princess Anastasia and her brother Alexis really survived after the shooting of the family in Yekaterinburg and were concealed by Ural monarchists. The fate of crown prince Alexis is not known. Probably, he did not live long and was buried somewhere in Northern Urals under a false name.
The saviours showed Anastasia to ataman Dutov, the firm monarchist, who had to join the republican, admiral Kolchak, though they did not show her to Sokolov, investigator of the Kolchak army’s prosecuting office, because they considered the White Guard to be betrayers of the Tsar and Motherland, who had allowed to Bolsheviks to kill the tsar’s family and its devoted servants.
While retreating to Siberia, ataman Dutov could not take Anastasia, because the great princess was physically weak. Moreover, her being among Kolchak’s soldiers was dangerous for her, for she could become the mother of a new crown prince.
Later, Anastasia was secretly handed over to the wife ofPeople’s Commissar Semen Budenny, Don Cossack woman and hereditary noble woman Ksenia Karetnikova, and sent to her parents as her sister Anastasia as if found after the civil war. Therefore, great princess brought up by Cossack nurse maids, became Cossack woman Anastasia Karetnikova, while remaining hereditary noble woman. The Soviet power did not disturb Anastasia till she gave birth to Anatoly, next crown prince. Today’s rulers, former communists, regard him as a crown prince and know everything about him. Though they prefer to keep silent, because otherwise they should legally acknowledge him as heir of Russian throne. To keep secret the crown prince’s birth, Anastasia was killed through an open window of her house in Axai settlement, August 1936, in presence of her child. Anatoly was not killed together with his mother, because in this case the death could be qualified as a suicide caused by mental disorder after the two children’s birth.
According to one more version, during the shooting in the Ipatyev house’ cellar, the great princess was wounded and lost consciousness. She came to her senses already in the yard, where the bodies were prepared for transporting to the forest. Thanks to the darkness, the girl managed to creep away. Some unknown well-wishers helped her to reach Romania.
In Bucharest, the great princess told her secret to workers of German embassy. Further events divided the society to supporters and opponents of the fascinating legend. To the first, Gleb Botkin, son of the killed together with the tsar’s family doctor, belonged. The meeting of the two former playfellows took place in Munich suburb, in 1926. The great princess, who was now Anna Anderson, shocked Botkin with her similarity of appearance to the Anastasia and with her knowing details from the royal family life. In the house of Botkin, Anna Anderson met her future biographer who spent 20 years and many thousand dollars for a work which resulted in the book Anastasia, Lost Princess. The book became a bestseller and reported to the whole world the striking story of the tsar’s daughter.
Though, there were many sceptics, too, whose position was shared by the head of Russian Imperial House, Vladimir Kirillovish. The suspicions grew, when the princess refused to meet with her grandmother, empress Maria Fedorovna, who was in Denmark at that time. Moreover, the princess kept refusing to speak Russian.
Later, Anna married an American millionaire and spent the rest of her life in Charlotsville, Virginia. The 83-year-old Mrs Anderson died in 1984. Her last will was to be cremated after her death. Though, some meticulous investigators found a medical preparation from the probable princess body, which was kept in the laboratory of the hospital, where Anna Anderson was operated in 1979. The examination was carried out in Aldermaston, the main forensic laboratory of British Home Office, where bones of the Romanovs found in Yekaterinburg were examined. According to the specialists’ conclusion, the woman was not great princess Anastasia, however the scientists could not be completely sure of it, as well as they could not be completely sure of the preparation really belonging to Anna Anderson.
Historians are sceptical about any member of the tsar’s family having survived. Though, this time, the problem is much more serious. Natalia is backed by people who are ready to speak about returning the great fortune to Russia. This is why, there will be most likely many supporters of the new great princess indentity. But great princess Anastasia was canonized in Russia, together with other members of the tsar’s family, as a martyr. If Natalia Bilikhodze is acknowledged being Anastasia, a split in the society will be inevitable, as well as serious shakes, both in religious and in secular life.
Since November 7, 1998, icon of Nikolai II, martyr tsar, started to produce chrism. Since that time, the icon has been travelling through Russia. One of these days, a group of believers brought the icon to the city of Tolyatti to make people confess to the regicide sin.
Yelena Kiseleva PRAVDA.RU Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/06/11/42514.html
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