Museum Object Provides Evidence in Investigation into Remains of Nicholas II’s Family and Attendants

2020-08-05T13:11:44-04:00July 17th, 2020|Partnerships, Research|

On Friday the 17th of July, the 102nd anniversary of the murder of Tsar Nicholas II, his family, and those who died with them, Russian newspaper Izvestiia published an interview with Marina Molodtsova, the Senior Investigator of the Russian Federation’s Investigatory Committee concerning the murder of the Imperial Family. The committee has been conducting a criminal investigation on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church since 2015.

In the article, Molodtsova notes that the committee believes that the “Ekaterinburg remains” are certainly those of Nicholas II and his family, and that those of the retainers who followed them into exile and were killed by the Bolsheviks in 1918. Molodtsova notes that the investigation remains open and continues in order to eliminate every possible avenue of doubt or disagreement with the committee’s findings.

One of the pieces of evidence cited in the article is an object in the collection of the Russian History Museum. After the Ekaterinburg murders, the ensuing investigation, headed by Nikolai Sokolov, recovered a large number of objects belonging to the former Imperial Family. Among the objects were jewelry and personal effects, as well as forensic evidence from the Ipatiev House, the environs of Ganina Yama where the bodies of the Imperial Family and their attendants were mutilated, and the Pig’s Meadow outside Ekaterinburg where the remains were buried under railroad ties.

One of those objects was the set of dentures made for Dr. Evgeny Sergeevich Botkin, the physician to the Tsesarevich Alexei and the Imperial Family who followed them into exile and was killed with the family in 1918. The dentures were donated to the Russian History Museum along with other objects found in the Ipatiev House and its environs by Archbishop Kyrill (Dmitrieff) of San Francisco in 2010. They were first exhibited in the Russian History Museum’s exhibition “Last Days of the Last Tsar” in 2018. At the request of the Marian Molodtsova, the dentures were three-dimensionally scanned and a 3-D copy of the dentures was sent to Moscow for the committee to assess. The 3-D copy was made thanks to the efforts of Captain Peter Sarandinaki, President and founder of the S.E.A.R.C.H. Foundation, and Dr. Lowell J. Levine, director of the New York State Police’s Medicolegal Investigations Unit.

Dr. Evgeny Sergeevich Botkin’s dentures, found in the Ipatiev House during the 1918-1919 investigation of the Imperial Family’s murder. On the right is an envelope with the inscription “Dentures. No 423.” The number matches the inventory of material evidence recovered during the investigation compiled by lead investigator N. A. Sokolov.

Molodtsova commented on the committee’s findings in the Izvestiia interview: “Recently, we received a 3D model of dentures, the original of which is kept in the Museum of Russian History at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville. They were discovered in 1918 while examining the Ipatiev house after the execution. A study carried out within the framework of a forensic (anthropological) examination does not exclude that this removable prosthesis belonged to a person whose remains were identified as those of the physician Evgeny Sergeevich Botkin.”

The museum remains dedicated to working with scholars and individuals who seek access to information and objects in our collections regarding the Imperial Family, the Revolution, and he history of the Russian Diaspora.