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Respected historian suggests 'lost' Russian princess Anastasia fled to America

By The Siberian Times reporter
27 February 2014

Tsar's daughter may, after all, have escaped the execution which wiped out the royal family, says new book.

Anna Anderson is known as 'the best of of several impostors who claimed to be Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia'. Picture: The Age, Australia  

DNA evidence seemed to have put an end to the the claims of American Anna Anderson and others to be the lost princess. Now a new book to be published in Yekaterinburg, scene of the slaying of the Russian royals, will challenge the view that all the Romanovs were shot in a dank cellar in July 1918. 

Anastasia - the youngest of the tsar's four daughters  - was 17 when she was supposedly killed in 1918. 

What makes the theory even more intriguing is that the author is leading Russian historian Veniamin Alekseyev, an academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences who was a member of the Russian government commission which investigated the authenticity of bones purporting to the those of the royals. He became convinced Nicholas II's remains had been found, but he is far less certain about Grand Duchess Anastasia's, whose bone remnants are - officially - interred in St Petersburg. 

'I do not assume presumptuously she was executed by the Bolsheviks, nor do I assume she remained alive', he said, reported Itar-Tass. 'This is for the reader to decide. On the basis of the archive documents discovered, and new Russian and foreign evidence I have seen since 1991 as a scientist, I have reasons to believe the royal family's fate is not as certain as it has been believed for almost 100 years'.

The mysterious Anna Anderson - also known at various times by the family names Tschaikovsky and Manahan - was for years during the Cold War seen as a possible Anastasia, though her claim was rejected by a number of relatives and servants of the royal family after they met her. Later DNA tests after her death in 1984 were seen to establish her real identity as Franziska Schanzkowska, a Polish factory worker with a history of mental illness.  A lock of her hair and medical samples showed no link to the Romanovs, according to scientists. 

Yet the author of the new book - 'Who are you, Ms Tchaikovskaya?' - is concerned that she has been labelled an imposter too easily. 

Respected historian suggests 'lost' Russian princess Anastasia fled to America

Respected historian suggests 'lost' Russian princess Anastasia fled to America

Veniamin Alekseyev, pictures: Ural Institute for the Humanities and Natalya Zhigareva, 'Uralskiy Rabochiy' newspaper 

Alekseyev has unearthed documentary evidence from the Russian State Archive and elsewhere to produce 'the first-ever publication of evidence of the imperial family's confidantes, opinions of Romanov House members and doctors, who treated the woman and came to the conclusion 'the patient's identification as the Grand Duchess is quite possible and even probable'.'

He argues against the sole reliance on DNA testing of remains discovered in the Porosyonkov log locality, near Yekaterinburg. Historians have ignored archive documents that cast considerable doubt over this version, he said.

'The interests of both the Bolsheviks and Kolchak (leader of the White Guard Movement which opposed Communism) under whose auspices the Yekaterinburg tragedy was investigated in 1918, uniquely coincided in this case. The former needed an image of an uncompromising new government determined to wipe out the old world without a trace, and the latter - a Great Russia without an emperor,' said Alekseyev.

Alekseyev admits he touches on a very delicate issue regarding whose remains were buried in the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St Petersburg. He hopes for new insights when documents pertaining to the royal family are released in 2018. These evidently concern secret diplomatic contacts between Germany and the Soviet Union over the German born tsarina Alexandra and her daughters, and a possible secret exchange in the First World War. 

Respected historian suggests 'lost' Russian princess Anastasia fled to America

Respected historian suggests 'lost' Russian princess Anastasia fled to America

Romanov family pictured in their exile in Tobolsk, September 1917-April 1918. Pictures: Zlatoust City Museum 

Leading French historian Marc Ferro has long argued that the wife of Nicholas II and the imperial couple's daughters were saved. Documents in Vatican archives are said to support this. 

'Why such mercy on the part of the Bolsheviks? After the leftist Social-Revolutionaries assassinated German Ambassador Mirbach, Wilhelm II could breach the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which would have ruined the Soviet regime. Therefore, they had to negotiate,' said Alekseyev. 'All over the world this issue has been degraded for decades by unpretentious stage productions, garbage literature and films. 

'We need scientific clarity over this complicated issue. Therefore, I am only publishing the documents. Where the truth lies, is up to the readers to decide.'

In 1995 Alekseyev discovered a document in the Siberian town of Tobolsk which convinced him the tsar's bones had been discovered. 

'Before I got my hands on these documents six months ago I had strong doubts that the remains were those of the Tsar. But today my doubts have vanished,' he said at the time.

One of Alekseyev's documents belonged to a dentist, Maria Rendel, who examined Nicholas from late 1917 until mid-1918. Rendel wrote that the Tsar had 'a mouthful of rotten teeth'. Decades later a medical expert studying what was thought to be the Tsar's skull said it showed signs of the dental disease paradontosis.

The historian has long argued that evidence hidden in Russian archives, and those of European royal families, can hold clues as to the fate of the Russian royals. Following Anderson's appearance, the Soviet Foreign Minister Georgi Chicherin said: 'The fate of the young daughters of the czar is at present unknown to me. I have read in the press that they are now in America'.

Ferro pointed to testimony from Gleb Botkin, who identified the tormented Anderson as the grand duchess.

'Being the son of Dr. Botkin, the tsar's physician who was murdered with him at Yekaterinburg, (Gleb) knew the sisters well and was their playmate for several years, right down to their incarceration at Yekaterinburg. He recognised her at once as Anastasia,' said Ferro.

Anderson appeared in Berlin in 1920. Originally she was labelled Fraulein Unbekannt - Miss Unknown - after refusing to give her identity. Later she used the name Tschaikovsky. An investigation by the tsarina's brother concluded she was Franziska Schanzkowska, though she remained a focus of media attention. 

She emigrated to the United States in 1968, marrying Virginia history professor Jack Manahan. 

The Russian Orthodox Church has long expressed reservations over the authenticity of the bones.  DNA tests conducted in several Western countries were said to match the bones to a number of royal relatives, including Philip, the husband of the British Queen, Elizabeth II.

Comments (39)

Sad as it may sound, the mitocondrial material inherited from mother lines is conclusive. IF the pathology and hair samples analyzed were really Anna Anderson, they proved she is NOT genetically related to the Tzar and Tzaritza. This is a conclusive test! It will stay that way, unless somebody else reveals that those tissues were manipulated. In a chain of custody document/process this is unlikely to happen. This lady must have been very close to a "surviving" Anastasia and as a mythmaniac person assumed her identity.
Geo Trevius, Orlando, FL
17/03/2016 10:29
There is no doubt that Anna Anderson was not Anastasia, but be born rich or poor some people are born wishing to be a royal like Anastasia even though their family line took a different direction in life, but in spirit she was one..

Recently I heard a lady in British Columbia Canada speaking on radio whose children were named Alexis and Alexandra. The wish is there but the same ancestry is not., but the dream still lives on

Thanks to Anna Anderson she may not have been a princess but she had stirred the emotions of those who support royalty and the dream within.
Regal. Bloodline.Decent.2, Canada
11/03/2016 03:08
Two pieces of evidence prove that Anna Anderson was not Anastasia. First, she does not have the maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA that other grandchildren born to daughters of Queen Victoria had. Second, Anna Anderson had the same mitochondrial DNA that her maternal first cousin ( her mother's sisters son) had. This mitochondrial DNA was unique. Finally, I am a geneticist who has spent the last 30 years studying facial characteristics to make diagnoses. There is no question in my mind that the pictures of Anna Anderson show features that are very different from Anastasia. Any good geneticist can see the difference.
Pamela M, Minnesota, USA
26/02/2016 12:22
Please check my DNA and see if i am of relation.
Alexandra osteyee-hoffman, Connelly springs, nc
16/02/2016 14:24
This lady was the tsar's second daughter.
Elizabeth CASTEL, PARIS (France)
07/11/2015 23:51
This writer has expressed his opinion on the subject of Anna Anderson not been Anastasia not on the basis of what her DNA tests showed that she was a pretender.

I have added my opinion she was not who she claimed to be based on photo facts of certain born royals inheriting a rare visible DNA marker in three royal families then and now.

This visible royal marker share the same anciant ancestor for this writer I am not of any royal lineage but I too inhereited the same DNA markers and have been advised such is passed down from their ancestor been correct or not they were or presently are still descending in such linage spoken about..I have been advised what they and I have inherited is called a complex family line inheritance.

Thanks to those who wrote to Frederic, at nelson .manor , I will continue to provide photo fact of the inherited visible DNA markers when requested .
Frederic von Ebert, Vancouver Canada
17/09/2015 11:07
I am not one to call somebody wrong but as to Anna Anderson been the lost Anastasia that proven wrong by DNA tests , if I may I would like to make my opinion known.

Right or wrong I have photo evidence Anna Anderson was not the missing Anastasia. Anastasia inherited a a visible royal gene at birth, same as her brother Alexi and their father Czar Nicholas 11 so inherited. The visible gene marker continues to appear in some related royals today.

Frederic von Ebert
Frederic von Ebert, Vancouver BC Canada
28/08/2015 05:11
i have three of the letters that the Tsarina Alexandra Fyodorovna had written to her husband it was with a few rings with a two headed eagle and some pearls i have had them for years.i wish i could post the pictures on here to show you all the love she felt for him and the sadness of having to be apart from her children. my father was born in Alaska my mother was born in Texas i had one letter that was written a year and a half after the death of the rest of her family i know she lived
Kolu issumatavik-arnark, usa
15/08/2015 09:46
I assure you all that Anna Anderson was indeed an imposter; but one must also understand that James Blair Lovell is an opportunist who seeks only financial gain by spreading the false propaganda that was first hatched in NAZI Germany. Anna Anderson herself however unwittingly tell the reader that fact almost from the minute she begins talking to the author. She was "saved from drowning in a river or moat by some German soldiers; but doesn't remember how she got into the water." She later describes how the Fuhrer Adolph Hitler himself rescued her and singled her out." That is also a true and telling fact as to how Anna Anderson became an imposter. It is called the Chinese Water Torture Test a/k/a "water boarding" She was the victim of Hitler.
Rachael Dawn Lewis, Hometown, USA
09/08/2015 01:06

Filipino’s grandmama could be Russia’s Anastasia
Jai, Philippines
20/07/2015 15:33
Who's to say someone didn't tamper with the DNA test? One excellent book to read is the one by James Blair Lovell. I have it checked out of a local library.

Seems the reason certain relatives and servants denounced Anastasia was because of--drumroll, please--money.

Think about it: Anna Anderson had the same scars and defects as Anastasia (scars on her forehead and finger, and the foot deformity). What are the odds of that? The handwriting matched up. The ears matched up (the PIK test done, I think it was in Germany).

Peter Kurth has had pictures of a young Anastasia, as well as the old Anastasia, on his site. You can tell it's the same person.

There's no way Anna Anderson was *not* Anastasia, from where I sit.
Alexandra, Ohio
13/07/2015 00:19
When did Anastasia escape? If it was prior to the killing of the other members of the royal family, then she would probably been un-injured and capable of making a long journey, eventually arriving in America. But all accounts report that she was in the basement at Ipatiev House. Therefore she would have been injured. Very few knew of the order to execute the family and there would have been no time for a rescue to be organised. Her rescuers were either staff or guards already present and probably acted spontaneously, taking advantage of the confusion which existed immediately after the killings.
To discuss where Anastasia went, first you have to identify her prime rescuer. Its not that difficult.
Then you have to read reports, plot a route, determine where along that route he could safely leave Anastasia. Somewhere secluded, with people he knew, outside of bolshevik influence.
And the young girl would integrate into a new family, take a new identity, have children, but forever live in fear 'that the Bolsheviks were coming'.
RAY, East Sussex, UK
09/06/2015 17:48
What if there was a woman, older than a man, who had a child in 1922, and that child had recessive genes, giving birth to a "blue blood" with white hair and azure eyes. What if there was no record of these people, and the people who might seem to be associated with them are no more than ghosts and perhaps least of all, fictional. And the boy with the white hair and the azure eyes, had 4 children that lived... It's a nice story right ? :)
Hmmmm, USA
10/05/2015 06:35
Anna Anderson most definitely could speak Russian well with a court accent.Recently uncovered documents prove that at least five highly trained Russian speaking professional persons (including one who knew the Romanov family well) acknowledged her ability to speak Russian.
Alexi, Virginia
07/05/2015 09:35
La cuna,el linage,la casta " NO SE HACE,SE NACE".. Que pasa con los lectores del mundo?,porque ser tan ingenuos?. Ver en Anna Anderson una trabajadora de una lo mas ilogico que se puede llegar a decir. Usemos la logica ...en aquellos años no habia tanta informacion de la vida privada de los zares.Realmente creen que una trabajadora humilde podia tener acceso a informacion de la familia real?. Solo siwndo la gran duquesa Anastasia podia conocer la vuda interna de la familua imperial. Repito una Princesa NACE NO SE HACE,Y,SU RAICES COMO princesa, NO SE PIERDEN CON EL PASO DEL TIEMPO,NO SE OLVIDAN,NI SE PUEDEN IMITAR PIRQUE SE LLEVA EN LA SANGRE DESDE QUE NACE HASTA SU MUERTE. El amor a DON DINERO HACE POSIBLE FALSIFICAR A TODO AQUELLO QUE PONE EN RIESGO ESE AFAN DE PODER Y DINERO. MEDITEMOS CON LOGICA.
lidia, España
06/05/2015 07:26

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