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

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27 February 2014


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 (76)

A female teacher in Sullivan Indiana was a decendent. She found documents after
Their parents death. She has the arm had defect passes down. She contacted museums and historians in Russia. They confirmed that she was probably a decendent. She visited Russia and was then met with aggression due to the value of the artwork etc. Ahe was fearful and left the country afraid. She had talked with attorneys and no one would help her. They were afrqid. She lives in Terre Haute, IN. My mother worked with her for years while this was going on.
Kathy Camp, Sullivan Indiana
22/05/2023 00:36
The Tsarina wouldn't allow doctors to examine her while she was pregnant with "Nastya". The Tsarina had false pregnancies before and was influenced/hypnotized by Rasputin No one except the Tsar & Tsarina were around when Anastasia was born at 11 pounds. The Tsar did have a mistress, she got pregnant, so the Tsar had the baby brought to the palace at the opportune time. "Nastya" was Nick's daughter but not Alexandra's! If this was the case, the MtDNA would not match Alexandra's. MtDNA, found in the egg/ovum, so from the mother only, can remain virtually unchanged for 1,000s of years (only a few mutations here and there) and MtDNA alone can NOT prove who a child's mother is (a + MtDNA match can come not just from the mother, but from an: Sister, Aunt, Grandmother, Great Aunt, etc. going back 10 generations, including those matches' descendants going forward!)
Marushka, Texas/USA
20/07/2021 22:59
My GGAunt Theresa Rissling was said to work for the Tzars family. Originally we were told she was a tutor to the Tzars children and later an interpreter for the Russian Army as she was of German heritage living in Odessa Now Ukraine. We also have heard she may have been the Tzars mistress. We have a picture of Aunt Theresa and a young girl and we have been told it is Anastasia. Some have said it cannot be Anastasia as they would not have allowed a picture of a royal with a servant or commoner. However what if she was her child and the Tzars? We don’t know the answer to this question but something that we have considered for many years. My DNA is in Ancestry, if possible and if it could prove or disprove this theory I would authorize testing.

Pam Thompson, Penrose, NC/ USA
20/07/2021 19:13
How can one buy the book?
James F Johnson, United States
14/04/2020 20:02
One of them came to Alaska and stayed in hiding
Mnj, Bethel alaska
27/07/2019 13:30
My great-grandmother and family immigrated to USA via Ellis Island in early 1910s. She spoke Russian, German, English, and Swedish. Her parents had a very shadowy background, which we never learned very well. I do remember her very well, though. She could have been Anastasia....
Alexi, PA, USA
04/06/2019 06:48
there is not enough room to put everything into one comment (only so many characters allowed) so i have added another comment. Why would the Bolsheviks trouble to bury 2 separate bodies (found nearby) as they seemed intent on disposing of the others down a mine shaft in haste. It doesn't add up. They obviously disbelieved the claim of Anna Anderson or they would have gone after her. they didn't want any possibility of the Romanovs coming back.either that, or there was a deal done to let some of them (if not all) go. The survivors would have lived very obscurely i would think not wanting any repercussions
Mary-ann white, brighton -united kingdom
14/04/2019 20:00
firstly i think the russians wanted to finish with this, and move on. DNA was rather sketchy in its early stages. If the bodies were doused with acid then burned, how would you get 9 complete skeletons ? also it was nearly a century ago, so DNA would not necessarily be reliable. Its possible to end the war,the Bolsheviks did a deal, Anna Anderson was too regal to be a Polish factory worker, and knew too much. And to keep up her claim for 60 years....hmm , a lot of ifs and buts
Mary-ann white, brighton -united kingdom
14/04/2019 19:52
JOHN PACURARU, australia
19/07/2018 15:12
The number Dec16 Ana Anderson as comparable to great swindle as great finnancial genius says she must be a great imposter to get power as she allowed for power over ride being psychic and spiritualist tempted to be an imposter as she would not be satisfied at this spiritual point but cross the limit soon or later bring about their own undoing.She might have been a great imposter.

Fit to act as Anderson: Anna Anderson (16 December 1896 – 12 February 1984) was the best known of several impostors who claimed to be Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia.[2] Anastasia, the youngest daughter of the last Tsar and Tsarina of Russia, Nicholas II and Alexandra, was killed along with her parents and siblings on 17 July 1918 by communist revolutionaries in Yekaterinburg, Russia; but the location of her body was unknown until 2007
Sankaravelayudhan Nandakumar, Nagercoil/Tamilnadu/India
10/07/2018 15:49
Uncle Moe: still pillaging that HUGE portfolio buried in the State of Alaska coffers? How's that lodge doing?
How's ol Alexei? Is he still in New York or did he run away like the little girl he has always been? Hmmm?
No Name,
19/05/2018 23:27
I know someone in Alaska who had her DNA tested. Then they upchucked graves in 2015. I am guessing that there is a reason for the terrorism that those descendants have endured. What a fun time the aggressors must have had. I am guessing that no one told them paybacks a hitch and legal. International law says monarchs cannot be charged.

Well now. Don't tell the descendants that. They might go bitch hunting. It's too bad Russia plays their people's all the while pillaging the family fortune to outside investment opportunities. Blood diamonds anyone?
No Name,
19/05/2018 23:24
Skeptics claim Anna Anderson was actually Franziska Schankowska. Does anyone know what became of the Schanzkowska family, especially the people who were supposed to be Franziska's siblings? Did they survive WWII, and did they have offsprings? If so, could DNA tests be done on them to either confirm or rule out the connection to Anna Anderson, assuming her DNA records still exist?
Ginjek , USA
20/04/2018 01:23
What I want to know is why her remains was found in another place?
Jan Taljaard , South Africa
18/04/2018 22:07
We are looking to find you as we have never seen anyone survive a war atrosoty in that way
30/01/2018 04:56

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