In 2004 author Robert Alexander published a novel called “The Kitchen Boy“, which shortly became a bestseller. About 10 years later, a Hollywood movie with the same title went into production, to be released in late 2015.
But who was the real “kitchen boy” – Leonid Ivanovich Sednev – a boy who was just a year older than Tsarevich Alexei and the latter’s last friend and comrade. The boy who faithfully served the Romanov family at the Ipatiev House, their last household in Ekaterinburg, until just a day before their murder.
Leonid “Lyonka” Sednev became the only human survivor from the “House of Special Purpose”- the last residence of the Romanov family, where the family of the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, met all their deaths.
Lyonka, as he was known, became the subject of the last diary entry written by Tsaritsa Alexandra Feodorovna, when on July 16th, 1918, she recorded: “… Suddenly they sent for Lyonka Sednev, for him to go and visit his uncle, and he quickly ran away, we are guessing whether it is true, and whether we will ever see the boy again …”
The boy Sednev was in fact removed from the Ipatiev House and spared because of his age, the privilege that was not extended to his playmate Alexei. Having been escorted from the Ipatiev house, Lyonka was placed under guard at the Popov house, located opposite the “House of Special Purpose”.
From the notes of the investigator Sokolov, based on the testimony of a former Ipatiev House guard by the name of Yakimov: “On 15 July, Monday in our barracks at Popov house, appeared a boy who lived with the imperial family and used to wheel the Heir in his chair“.
Recollections of the murder participants confirm this fact, only disagreeing with each other as to whose initiative it was to take the kitchen boy away. Commandant Yurovsky claimed that he was instructed to release the boy by his own superior. They decided to use the boy’s uncle as a pretext, while Leonid’s uncle, I.D. Sednev – who also followed the Romanov family into exile – had already been shot by this time.
Information about the future fate of Leonid Sednev is somewhat contradictory. There is evidence of his death in 1941 during a World War II battle outside of Moscow. According to other sources, he was shot in 1929 in Yaroslavl on charges of involvement in the counter-revolutionary conspiracy.
But at the memorial site of the Ipatiev House is the following information:
Last Name: Sednev
First Name: Leonid
Date of birth / Age __.__. 1903
Birthplace: Yaroslavl Region., Uglich District, Sverchkova
Date and place of military recruitment: Uglich, Yaroslavl region., Uglich district
Last duty station: Bryansk
Military rank: Red Army soldier
Reason for disposal: convicted
Date of disposal: 07/17/1942