17 July 2009 is the 91st anniversary of the murder of Nicholas II, Emperor of all the Russias, with his wife (who began life as Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine, a Lutheran) and children in 1918.
The brutality of these murders would in time to come be visited upon millions of Russians, as the regime which ordered and carried them out blossomed into a world power. While we hear much about the six million victims of one group specifically targeted by Nazi Germany, that was only roughly half of the total number of the victims of that regime. And if relatively little is said about the other half, even less is said about the even greater number murdered under our ally against Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia under Stalin.
By the most conservative estimates, this would be 4 million from direct repression and 6 million from the results of enforced economic theory, namely, collectivisation, for a total of 10 million, and roughly equal to total estimates of Nazi victims. However more recently available material generally indicates a total of around 20 million, nearly twice by our ally of what our enemy managed to attain in toto, and over three times the 6 million of their specifically targeted group.
The course of the Soviet regime itself passed into history on 26 December 1991. On 17 July 1998, the 80th anniversary of their murders, the bodies of Tsar Nicholas and Tsaritsa Alexandra and three of the children (not all were then found) were buried with state honours in the Cathedral of Sts Peter and Paul in St Petersburg -- a city founded 27 May 1703 by Tsar Peter the Great and named by him after his patron saint St Peter, the capitol of Russia until the Communist revolution, known as Leningrad under the Soviet regime, the name restored in 1991. All Russian Emperors since Peter the Great are now buried there.
The President of post Communist Russia, Boris Yeltsin at the time, attended along with members of the House of Romanov, the Russian royal family. The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia had declared them saints and martyrs in 1981, and on 14 August 2000 the Russian Orthodox Church itself declared them saints and what are called Passion Bearers, people who were killed but not specifically for their faith, and who met their deaths with Christian humility and dignity. This is not a judgement on his rule, rather universally regarded as weak and incompetent at best, but rather on the why and manner of his death. On 16 June 2003 Russian bishops consecrated the "Church on the Blood", built on the site of the house where the royal family was murdered.
There is still a Russian Orthodox Church, there is still a House of Romanov, and there is still a Russia -- The Russian Federation.
Nicholas' feast day, following ancient custom, is 17 July.
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