Geli Trofimovich Ryabov passed away today – October 16, 2015 – on the 84th year of life. Film director, screenwriter, acclaimed author whose work I often referenced for my own books.
Born in 1932 in an ordinary family, he graduated from Moscow Institute of Law in 1954, then worked as an investigator, and later as Assistant to Minister of Internal Affairs. But in his mind, his biggest achievement was taking part in the discovery of the remains of the Romanov family.
In the mid-1970s, while he was a writer in Sverdlovsk (former Ekaterinburg), Geli Trofimovich suddenly realized that here, in this earth, was where the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II and his family were buried. But where exactly? Ryabov began to search for archival documents, but they, as usual, proved to be “classified”. Then Geli Trofimovich turned to the Minister of Internal Affairs, for whom he used to work. By the order of the all-powerful minister, the needed papers were declassified.
In 1979 Geli Ryabov and a Sverdlovsk geologist Alexander Avdonin, studied the note of the regicide Yakov Yurovsky and old diagrams, and made a terrible discovery in a swamp near Sverdlovsk – the remains of the Romanov family and the servants who perished with them. These bones ended up staying in the ground for another few years – but in 1991 they would be once again unearthed and sent to Moscow for official examination.
And from that moment on nothing was more important in Geli Ryabov’s life than the royal tragedy of the Romanov family. He could not understand how such a terrible murder could take place – to shoot and dismember not only the Tsar and Tsarina, but also their completely innocent children and servants.
As of last month, after a long lull, the Romanov family tragedy is once again discussed in the media. It is now time to put an end to the endless disputes about the remains and put the last two sets of remains (of Tsarevich Alexei and most likely Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna, discovered in 2007) to rest in the family tomb. Sadly, Geli Trofimovich did not live to see that.