NIKOLAI DEMENKOV TO GRAND DUCHESS MARIA NIKOLAEVNA (LAST LETTER)
Linear ship “Empress Maria”. 18 July, 1916. Sevastopol.
Your Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna!
Loyally I dare to report a significant day in the life of our ship: on the 9th July we took first military shots at the cruiser “The Breslau”, into which we ran at sea. We shot from 12 cannons, but unfortunately we were not able to sink it, because having had speed privilege, it changing course at far distance from us and releasing white smoke screen, which merged with the clouds on the horizon, – it escaped. It shot a few explosives at us, which fell without reaching [their target].
Testimony of Father [Protoirei] Ioann Storozhev (as given to investigator Nikolai Sokolov)
Around 8 o’clock in the morning on 14 July, a soldier came to see me, and requested I serve obednitza at the Ipatiev house. At 10 o’clock, I was already at the Ipatiev house with deacon Buimirov. Inside, behind the fence, at the bottom of stairs and inside the house, there were lots of armed young men, standing on guard. When we entered the commandant’s room, we saw disorder, dust and mess. Yurovsky was sitting at the table, drinking tea and eating bread with butter. Another man was sleeping on the bed, fully dressed. Having entered the room, I said to Yurovsky: “The clergy was invited here, so here we are. What do we need to do?” Yurovsky directly stared at me without a greeting, and said “Wait here, then you will serve obednitza” I asked “Obednya or obednitza?” “He wrote obednitza”, said Yurovsky.Read more THE ROMANOV FAMILY: LAST PRAYER SERVICE AT THE HOUSE OF SPECIAL PURPOSE.
EMPRESS ALEXANDRA FEODOROVNA AND OTMA: MATCHING BRACELETS
Yakov Yurovsky: “Alexandra Feodorovna loudly expressed her displeasure when I wanted to remove from her wrist a gold bracelet that was tightly fastened there and which was impossible to remove without the help of some tool. She announced that she has been wearing this bracelet on her wrist for 20 years, and now there is an attempt to forcibly remove it. Taking into account that all the daughters were wearing the same bracelets, and that these bracelets did not seem to have any special value, I left it alone.”
MARIA ROMANOV: STRANGE EPISODE OF BREAKING WINDOWS (THE CAPRICE)
In a 1915 letter from Grand Duchess Maria to her father, she described a very strange episode of the grand duchesses breaking glass panels with their parasols on the Caprice overpass in Alexander Park.
“15 September… We walked to the Caprice and walked up the stairs. You know [a diagram drawing]. And then, when we got up there, Olga took her parasol and attacked one of the windows viciously, and broke 3 glass panels, then gave me the parasol, and I broke a window too and Anastasia [did] too. “”
For a long time, I was very confused by these lines, and could not figure out what happened, or why the girls would engage in an act that was nothing short of vandalism. So when I got back to Tsarskoe Selo last December, I decided to take a careful look at that area to see if I could find any clues.