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This Happened

This Happened — July 17: Execution Of The Romanov Family

Czar Nicholas II, along with his wife Alexandra and their five children, was executed on this day in 1918. The execution took place in the basement of the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

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Why were Czar Nicholas II and his family executed?

The execution of the Russian royal family was carried out during the Russian Revolution and the subsequent rise of the Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, viewed the czar and his family as a symbol of the old regime and a potential rallying point for counter-revolutionary forces. Their execution was seen as a way to eliminate any potential threats to the new Soviet government.

How were Czar Nicholas II and his family executed?

The execution was carried out by a firing squad of Bolshevik guards. The family, along with a few loyal servants who were with them, were awakened in the early hours of the morning and led to the basement of the Ipatiev House. They were told they were being moved for protection. They were lined up and executed at point-blank range.

Were the remains of Czar Nicholas II and his family identified after the execution?

After the execution, the bodies of the czar and his family were hastily buried in a mass grave in a nearby area called Ganina Yama. However, their remains were not immediately discovered, fuelling rumors of potential survivors. It was only in 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, that the remains were found and later identified through extensive forensic analysis.

How did the execution of Czar Nicholas II and his family impact Russian history?

The execution of the czar and his family had significant historical implications. It marked the end of the Romanov dynasty, which had ruled Russia for over 300 years. The event further fueled the Russian Civil War and intensified the conflict between the Bolsheviks and anti-Bolshevik forces. The execution also solidified the Bolsheviks' grip on power and had a profound impact on the subsequent development of the Soviet Union.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

How Russia's Future History Teachers Are Battling Kremlin Propaganda

Russia has introduced new history textbooks criticized for replacing facts with propaganda. Students preparing to teach history are torn between "patriotic" and "liberal" narratives, even as they refuse to accept the state's version without debate.

image of students and a teacher taking a class

A lesson on key aspects of life in modern Russia, at a Moscow secondary school.

Veronika Gredinskaya

Since the start of the new academic year in Russia, high-school students have been learning history from new textbooks that include a chapter on the invasion of Ukraine. The revised text has been criticized for its substitution of historical facts with propaganda – a live example of how the authorities are rewriting the country's history.

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Russian independent news site Vazhnye Istorii spoke with a few students of history at Russian universities who intend to become history teachers when they graduate (their names have been changed for security reasons).

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