Russia: Imperial Family “Ritual Murder” Claim Raises Anti-Semitism Fears

From TASS, a couple of days ago:

After the investigation into the Russian Tsarist family’s murder was resumed, more than 30 forensic tests have been commissioned, Colonel of Justice Marina Molodtsova said addressing a conference in Moscow’s Sretensky Monastery, dubbed The Tsarist Family’s Murder Case: New Examinations and Files. A Debate.

…In order to receive answers to these questions, a number of molecular-genetic tests have been commissioned, which are still underway. Besides, “since the investigation was resumed, more than 20 witnesses have been questioned, and the places where the remains were found have been examined. In addition, a psychological and historical test will be conducted to find out if it could have been a ritual killing,” Molodtsove added.

The phrase “ritual killing” here has an obvious particular resonance, as explained by Interfax in an interview with Boruch Gorin of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia:

“Myths about the existence of ritual murder have connections to very different cults and religions,” but when the matter concerns Russia’s history, the history of the imperial family’s last days, and the “Beilis case,” which was tried several years before, this looks like “an absolutely Judaeophobic myth, which was used as part of anti-Semitic propaganda for several decades,” and this is precisely why Jews treat it with great concern, he said.

…When someone said that the killing of the imperial family was a ritual murder, “honest people making such accusations did not hide what they meant: Yurovsky, a Jew, acting on instructions from another Jew, Sverdlov, performed a Kabbalistic rite in the presence of eight other people, because this takes ten people,” he said.

The case of Menahem Mendel Beilis, who was the target of a blood libel in Kiev in 1911, is outlined here.

Gorin previously spoke against claims that the Tsar and his family had been killed in a “ritual murder” earlier this month, after an arson attack on a Jewish community centre in Moscow. In particular, he referred to comments made by Natalia Poklonskaya in March; as noted by the Times of Israel:

“They murdered the entire royal family, they killed the children in front of their father, they killed the mother in front of the children. This is a crime, a frightening ritual murder,” declared a deputy of the Russian State Duma (Russia’s lower legislative house) Natalia Poklonskaya on television this year. “Many people are afraid to talk about it — but everyone understands that it happened. It is evil.”

Poklonskaya does not here say anything about Jews, but this idea of people being “afraid” brings to mind a 1990s composition by the orthodox priest Alexander Shargunov, which I noted some time ago:

Even if many will become silent out of fear of the Jews about the murder of the Royal passion-bearers, the rocks will cry out.

News that a “ritual murder” explanation for the royal deaths is being taken seriously in Russia has now gone global, via the Associated Press. In particular, the AP report notes comments from Bishop Tikhon Shevkunov, who heads the Sretensky Monastery and who is known to be close to Putin (according to  long Financial Times profile in January 2013, Tikhon is rumoured to have “ushered the former KGB colonel into the Orthodox faith and became his dukhovnik, or godfather”):

The bishop elaborated on his statement Tuesday, telling the state RIA Novosti news agency that the “Bolsheviks and their allies engaged in the most unexpected and diverse ritual symbolism.” He claimed that “quite a few people involved in the execution — in Moscow or Yekaterinburg — saw the killing of the deposed Russian emperor as a special ritual of revenge” and added that Yakov Yurovsky, the organizer of the execution who was Jewish, later boasted about his “sacral historic mission.”

Further, as noted in Mail Online:

He put forward as evidence the claim that a bullet was assigned to each royal but the majority of the bullets hit the tsar because ‘everybody wanted to be part of the regicide’ and ‘it was a special ritual for many’.

Yurovsky’s own account can be read in English translation here. He states that “each man had one person to shoot”, but that after he had shot and killed the Tsar, the shooting that followed was “disorganized”. It is difficult to see how the men failing to follow their orders properly could be described as a “ritual” – indeed, it indicates the exact opposite. The source for the “sacral historic mission” quote is not apparent so far as I can see, but if it is genuine it is obvious that the word “sacral” is being used loosely and metaphorically.

The massacre, as is well-known, was a botch, with the Tsar’s family and servants surviving the initial shooting spree and then being dispatched by bullets to the head or by bayonet. It seems that the guards did indeed all want “to be part of the regicide” (of killing the children, less so), but how does the idea of “ritual symbolism” make that easier to understand? Like most conspiracy theories, it solves no problem and answers no question about the events it purports to explain. It is superfluous.

2 Responses

  1. When you add the fact that the royal family were only killed when it seemed that that Czech Legion was about to capture the town and possibly liberate them, the charge of “ritual murder” becomes that much more specious. The thing was done in extreme haste. Nothing ritual about it.

  2. There is a slightly different and far more detailed first-hand account written by Pavel Medvedev, a soldier involved in the shooting. It appears in ‘How it Happened’, a valuable omnibus of original writings on historic happenings. I append it in full hereunder.

    “Book of How It Happened: (Jon. E. Lewis Ed.) 1998.


    The words of Pavel Medvedev

    In the evening of 16 July, between seven and eight p.m., when the time for my duty had just begun, Commandant Yurovsky [the head of the guard] ordered me to take all the Nagan revolvers from the guards and to bring them to him. I took twelve revolvers from the sentries as well as from some other of the guards, and brought them to the commandant’s office.

    Yurovsky said to me, ‘We must shoot them all tonight, so notify the guards not to be alarmed if they hear shots.’ I understood, therefore, that Yurovsky had it in his mind to shoot the whole of the Tsar’s family, as well as the doctor and the servants who lived with them, but I did not ask him where or by whom the decision had been made. I must tell you that in accordance with Yurovsky’s order the boy who assisted the cook was transferred in the morning to the guardroom (in the Popov house). The lower floor of Ipatiev’s house was occupied by the Letts from the Letts Commune, who had taken up their quarters there after Yurovsky was made commandant. They were ten in number.

    At about ten o’clock in the evening, in accordance with Yurovsky’s order, I informed the guards not to be alarmed if they should hear firing. About midnight Yurovsky woke up the Tsar’s family. I do not know if he told them the reason they had been awakened and where they were to be taken, but I positively aflirm that it was Yurovsky who entered the rooms occupied by the Tsar’s family. Yurovsky had not ordered me or Dobrynin to awaken the family. In about an hour the whole of the family, the doctor, the maid and the waiters got up, washed and dressed themselves. just before Yurovsky went to awaken the family, two members of the Extraordinary Commission [of the Ekaterinburg Soviet] arrived at Ipatiev’s house.

    Shortly after one o’clock a.m., the Tsar, the Tsaritsa, their four daughters, the maid, the doctor, the cook and the waiters left their rooms. The Tsar carried the heir in his arms. The Emperor and the heir were dressed in gimnasterkat [soldiers’ shirts] and wore caps. The Empress and her daughters were dressed but their heads were uncovered. The Emperor, carrying the heir, preceded them. The Empress, her daughters and the others followed him. Yurovsky, his assistant and the two above-mentioned members of the Extraordinary Commission accompanied them. I was also present. During my presence none of the Tsar’s family asked any questions. They did not weep or cry.

    Having descended the stairs to the first floor, we went out into the court, and from there by the second door (counting from the gate) we entered the ground floor of the house. When the room (which adjoins the store room with a sealed door) was reached, Yurovsky ordered chairs to be brought, and his assistant brought three chairs. One chair was given to the Emperor, one to the Empress, and the third to the heir. The Empress sat by the wall by the window, near the black pillar of the arch. Behind her stood three of her daughters (I knew their faces very well, because I had seen them every day when they walked in the garden, but I didn’t know their names). The heir and the Emperor sat side by side almost in the middle of the room. Doctor Botkin stood behind the heir. The maid, a very tall woman, stood at the left of the door leading to the store room; by her side stood one of the Tsar’s daughters (the fourth). Two servants stood against the wall on the left from the entrance of the room.

    The maid carried a pillow. The Tsar’s daughters also brought small pillows with them. One pillow was put on the Empress’s chair; another on the heir’s chair. It seemed as if all of them guessed their fate, but not one of them uttered a single sound. At this moment eleven men entered the room: Yurovsky, his assistant, two members of the Extraordinary Commission, and seven Letts. Yurovsky ordered me to leave, saying, ‘Go on to the street, see if there is anybody there, and wait to see whether the shots have been heard.’ I went out to the court, which was enclosed by a fence, but before I got to the street I heard the firing. I returned to the house immediately (only two or three minutes having elapsed) and upon entering the room where the execution had taken place, I saw that all the members of the Tsar’s family were lying on the floor with many wounds in their bodies. The blood was running in streams. The doctor, the maid and two waiters had also been shot. When I entered the heir was still alive and moaned a little. Yurovsky went up and fired two or three more times at him. Then the heir was still. ”

    As you can see from this corroborative statements the despicable wiping out of the Tzar’s line was just an irreversible political strategy by apparatchiks of the new rulers and had nothing to do with Jews or rituals of any kind.

    However the anti-semitic New World Order myth, which has recently gained much currency following the pushing back of credibility about conspiracies since the 1990 Satanic Ritual Abuse scare, is also behind the latest ritual-killing accusations.

    Ironically this anti-Zionist propaganda was actually started and promoted by the Tzar’s own secret service through the publication of the forgery known as ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ which purported to uncover a secret Jewish group of Zionists who intended to control the world in their own image. The Tzar hoped this would alert the Christian world to the danger of Zionism and justify pogroms against Jewish citizens/activists. The involvement of Marx and Engels in promoting the ideology of Communism was ‘evidence’ of this and even though no leaders of communism were ever by definition Zionists it has become a convenient euphemism for Jew-baiters and fascists ever since. The SAFF outlined all this in great detail including the history of the PEZ and it would behove any person who has not yet understood the infamy of the PEZ and how it has been regurgitated via the Palestinian movement to split support in universities for Israel, to read it.

    Same old Same old.

    John Freedom.

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