DIARY OF OLGA ROMANOV: HER “SECRET CODE”
All of the original diaries of Olga Romanov are currently held at GARF (State Archives of Russian Federation) in Fond # 673, op. 1, 271 ed. Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna kept her diaries from the age of nine, writing in Russian. There are 12 diary books in total. From 1905 until 1912 – they are custom made memorial gift books (9×13), a different color for each year, in silk bindings, with the dates on the cover. From 1913 until 1916 – they are contained in large notebooks with dark leather bindings, which fit the entire year plus a few months of the next.
It was in the 1911 diary that Olga Romanov began using her own special codes. When a Crimean researcher Maria Zemlyanichenko read Olga’s diaries she was the first to take notice of the abbreviation “S.”, which referred to the name of the Grand Duchess’s love interest. Upon closer inspection this seemed to be a letter referring to a person’s nickname rather than their given name. Knowing that the imperial family liked to use affectionate nicknames for each other, like “Sunny” or “Sunshine”, we can speculate that this is what this letter may have stood for. Her beloved was her “Sunshine” who brought light into her somewhat monotonous world. Different codes referred to some other love interests.
In her diary we can follow how Olga Romanov’s crushes became real psychological attachments: she longs to see “him” all the time, be near “him”, misses “him”. And she is always full of happiness when she does see her “dear one”, “charming one”, “golden one”…
When the Grand Duchess’s diaries are compared to other journals, it is possible to figure out some of the names of the mysterious love interests and other secret codes.