Russia. No. 1 (1919). - 7. Mr. Alston to Mr. Balfour.


Mr. Alston to Mr. Balfour.―(Received September 18.)

(Telegraphic.) Vladivostock, September 16, 1918.

HIS Majesty's consul at Ekaterinburg, Mr. Preston, who left that place on the 1st September, has just arrived here, and has given following information as to fate of Russian Imperial family :―

Ex-Emperor of Russia and Grand Duchess Tatiana were brought from Tobolsk to Ekaterinburg by Bolsheviks on the 1st May, 1918, Emperor was given suitable quarters near British consulate. Rest of Imperial family, including ex - Empress, other three daughters, and Czarevitch arrived a few days later. Members of suite, including Prince Dolgorouki, as well as British and French tutors who came with Imperial family from Tobolsk, were not allowed to remain with Emperor at Ekaterinburg, and returned to Tobolsk. Prince Dolgorouki was kept in prison, where he either eventually died or was killed.

Prince Dolgorouki frequently asked me, as doyen of Consular Corps, at least to try and obtain better conditions of living for Imperial family. It was impossible for me, however, to do anything, and when I interceded for the Princess, whom I said I was protecting as a Serbian ally, I was threatened with arrest. When the Czech advance on Cheliabinsk commenced, the Ekaterinburg Bolshevik Government, who already had considerable friction with Central Bolshevik Government on money matters, began to use threats against the Imperial family as a means of extorting funds from Central Government. When Bolsheviks knew they would have to evacuate Ekaterinburg owing to the approach of the Czechs, they asked the people's commissaries at Moscow what they should do with the Emperor. The reply they received was: "Do whatever you think fit." At a meeting of the Ural Soldiers’ and Workmen's delegates held on 16th July, a decision was come to that the Emperor should be shot, and this decision was communicated to him, and sentence carried out by Lettish soldiers same night. However, no trace has ever been found of the body. The rest of members of Imperial family were taken away to an unknown destination immediately after this. It is said that they were burnt alive, as various articles of jewellery have been identified as belonging to them by their old servants, and their charred remains are said to have been found in a house burnt to the ground. It is still thought possible that the Bolsheviks took them north when they retreated to Verhotoury. The following grand dukes were in captivity near Ekaterinburg, at Alapaevsk, besides the ex-Emperor, George Constantinovitch, Ivan Constantinovitch, and Serge Michailovitch. Princess Helene of Serbia, the wife of the Grand Duke Ivan Constantinovitch, was frequently at the British consulate, where everything possible was done for her, but in spite of my energetic protests, the Bolsheviks took the Princess with them when they evacuated the town.

With the help of local White Guards, the three above-mentioned grand dukes managed to escape from their captivity, but it is not known where they are at present.