What exactly is “Giant Steps” the game that is so often mentioned in the Romanov diaries and letters? A number of swings with harnesses are secured to a pole by long ropes, and everyone swings around, taking giant strides.
Anastasia to Nicholas II: “31 May, 1916. Tsarskoe Selo… These days Maria and I swing on giant steps a lot. We are almost never nauseous, [although] we fell a bunch of times already, but so far have not hurt ourselves…”
Nicholas II to Maria: “Imperial Headquarters, 13 June, 1916… Alexei, Nagorny and Muravnukin are on the giant steps or we play a sort of hide-and-seek…”
The Romanov family even built a make-shift Giant Steps swing for Alexei in the backyard of Governor’s mansion in Tobolsk, obviously it was one of their favourite activities.
Apparently, “Giant Steps” is still relatively popular in modern Russia:
In Grigori Rasputin‘s native village of Pokrovskoe, in Tyumen region, lives a scruffy looking man with long white hair and beard, who practices the old Siberian tradition of healing by laying on of hands. His hometown and skills are not the only things Viktor Prolubschikov claims to have in common with the infamous starets, who was once referred to as “Our Friend” by the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II and Tsaritsa Alexandra Feodorovna. Rasputin, he claims, is none other than his grandfather, by a woman who once worked as the former’s housekeeper, possibly Akilina Loptinskaya.
It is known that Rasputin was not a model husband to Praskovia Dubrovina, his legal spouse, and was not beyond various dalliances on the side, any of which may have resulted in illegitimate offspring. Hence this claim is not completely unreasonable. Nevertheless, the final word belongs to science.
Which is why the popular Russian talk show, “Let Them Talk” decided to do just that. The show’s producers organised an in-person meeting between Laurance Solofioff, Rasputin’s acknowledged great-granddaughter through his daughter Matriona (Maria), and her alleged half-uncle, in their studio.
DNA samples were obtained from the two alleged relatives in advance, and the result was to be announced on the show.
But of course the result was not going to announced until the end of the show, so meanwhile, each participant is asked about their backgrounda.
Laurance shares her family tree and history. Her grandmother Matriona was one of Rasputin’s two daughters, who settled in France after the revolution, and had two daughters of her own: Tatiana and Maria. Laurance is one of Tatiana’s three children.
Laurance even demonstrated her gold locket with the image of a double headed eagle – the symbol of imperial Russia.
Viktor told stories of his life in Pokrovskoe and of Raspintin-esque healing abilities – he even demonstrated how he uses his hands to perform these rituals.
Later in the show, another acknowledged Rasputin descendant came into the studio. Her name is Valerie Eo-Theron, and she is a great-great-granddaughter of Rasputin, through her father, who is Laurance’s brother.
The DNA result was finally announced, but we still do not have our answer because it was… inclusive. It showed a 22% chance that Solofioff and Prolubschikov are related, and may share a common ancestor. According to the DNA expert, this result does not prove or refute the relation, and needs additional,, more thorough investigation. So stay tuned!
IN THE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS: Final Two Years of the Russian Imperial Family 1916-1918
IN THE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS: The Final Two Years of the Russian Imperial Family 1916-1918
This volume offers an accurate glimpse into the final two years of the last Imperial Family of Russia: exclusively through their own diary entries and personal correspondence, supplemented by contemporary eyewitness accounts, many of which are published here in English for the first time.
The reader will get to know on a deeper level the Grand Duchesses and the Empress, as they work at Tsarskoe Selo infirmaries; witness the imperial family’s grief for their murdered “Friend” Grigori Rasputin; experience their arrest after the outbreak of revolution, and follow them into captivity in Siberia – and ultimately the Red Ural – where they meet their tragic end in the cellar of “The House of Special Purpose”.
This already familiar unique piece of history is individually told by Nicholas, Alexandra and their five children: Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and Alexei. Their collective personal story is a portrayal of a united family bound together by love, hardship and tragedy, taking place during the twilight of an extraordinary bygone era.
27th February. Monday. Disorders started several days ago in Petrograd; unfortunately, even the troops have begun to take part in them. It is a sickening feeling to be so far away and to receive fragments of bad news. Did not spend much time listening to reports. During the day took a walk along the highway towards Orsha. The weather was sunny. After dinner I decided to quickly head to Tsarskoe Selo, and at 1 o’cl. in the morning boarded the train.
DIRECTOR OF ARCHIVES AUTHENTICATES PREGNANCY ENTRY IN KSCHESSINSKA’S DIARY
According to RIA News Director of the State Archives Of Russian Federation (GARF), Larisa Rogovaya, confirmed the authenticity of the entry in the typed version of the diary of ballerina Matilda Kschessinska, where she mentioned her pregnancy from future Tsar Nicholas II. The archive has the typed version of the diary, with Kschessinska’s inscription, which says “In the end I also flew out of the sleigh into snow and… got banged up. If it weren’t for this misfortune, I would have soon become a mother. Only later, when I was older, did I realize what I lost then. They later said that I had children from the Heir, but this was not true. I often regretted that I did not have any”.