“The File on the Tsar,” by Anthony Summers & Tom Mangold

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Was the DNA evidence ostensibly procured from the body parts recovered from the burial site in the Russian marsh near Ekaterinburg faked? Did the Romanovs fake their deaths and go into hiding? This is the question that still needs to be answered.

Dateline Archangel, August 25, 1918, a Polish officer just back from the area reported the Empress and her children alive at Verkotouri. Another report emerged from a British agent in “Peking” alleging that the Russian Royal Family was located at monastery between Ekaterinburg and Perm. The rumor was pooh-poohed by the British press: “Rumours like this kind are certain to get about from time to time.” This statement smacks of an obvious attempt to debunk. From Vladivostok a statement came from Sir Thomas Prescott now safely arrived from Ekaterinburg: “There is still the possibility of their having been taken north by the Bolsheviks to a retreat at Verkotouri. By Christmas 1918, an American Ambassador was to send a strange cable to Washington. Nelson Page, Ambassador to Rome sent a dispatch directly to the Secretary of State, “For your confidential information, I learned that in the highest quarters here it is believed that the Tsar and his family are all alive.”

Sir Charles Elliot, British High Commissioner in Siberia, sent correspondence to Britain, as the only visit made by a British diplomat to the scene of the alleged murder. He stated: “It will be seen that the statement by the Bolsheviks is the only evidence for the death of the Tsar…and it must be admitted that, since the Empress and her children, who are believed to be still alive, have totally disappeared; there’s nothing unreasonable in supposing the Tsar to be in the same case.” Sir Charles Elliot also made a statement to further substantiate this claim, “On July 17, a train with the blinds down left Ekaterinburg for an unknown destination, and it is believed that members of the Imperial Family were in it. It is the general opinion that the Empress, her son and four daughters were not murdered, but were dispatched on July 17 to the north or west. It seems probably that the Imperial Family were disguised before their removal.”

A military judge was the first investigator to visit the site. He was sacked for ignoring the murder room at the Ipatief House completely. He did however visit a place in the pine woods some 14 miles from the Ipatief House, following up on reports that the Imperial bodies had been disposed of there. Another investigator, a civilian visited the murder room in Ipatief House and did find bullet holes in the walls and blood stains. His boss, a General, wrote a scathing report about him, “If the first investigator was distinguished for laziness and apathy, the second demonstrated a complete absence of the more modest investigative talents and an absolute understanding of the investigator’s profession.” This was followed by the Generals own army men of the military investigative division, who were eventually dismissed for being, “intolerant, arrogant and inefficient.”

Nicholas Sokoloff became the third and last investigator selected as the new strong man who would get results. He was a dedicated anti-Bolshevik, who disguised himself as a tramp to gain entry into White Russian-held territory. He issued the Sokoloff Report and is today the standard text for accepting the assassination of the Imperial Family. He followed up on leads that led to the infamous mine. His report agrees with the statements made by the Bolsheviks regarding the fate of the Russian Royal Family. He believed that the bodies had been transported along the main road to a mine shaft, where the bodies were hacked to pieces, burned and then subjected to sulfuric acid to prevent identification. Sokoloff produced evidence like that of the finger found in the mine shaft, belonging to the Empress as he saw it. He found corsets matching in number the female members of the Royal Family. He also found bone fragments, but it was not proven at the time that they were those of the Royal Family. There was a piece of jewelry displaying the Maltese Cross, that was identified as belonging to the Tsarina and given to her as a present from her mother-in-law. A diamond was also found from a necklace belonging to the Tsarina. Sokoloff also found the carcass of a King Charles Spaniel said to belong to the Grand Duchess Anastasia.

He also inspected the murder room thoroughly and found bullets imbedded in the walls. The ballistics revealed they had come from a Mauser, a Browning and a Russian Nagon revolvers. He found a message written on the wall, which was a quote, “On that very night, Balthasar was murdered by his slaves.”

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