On November 27 a conference dedicated to “new expertise and evidence” on the last Russian tsar’s Nicholas II murder took place in the Sretensky Monastery in Moscow. Patriarch Kirill led a delegation from the Russian Orthodox Church at the conference.
At the conference Bishop Tikhon Shevkunov, widely seen as Putin’s personal confessor, spiritual adviser and also the head of the church commission investigating tsar’s murder, reported that the Russian Orthodox Church asked Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee to investigate whether murder of the Nikolas II was a “ritual killing”
Nicholas II, the last emperor of Russia, was put under arrest after abdicating the throne in 1917. He, six members of his family and four servants were executed by a Bolshevik firing squad on July 17, 1918, in a basement room of a merchant’s house where they were held in the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg.
The Russian Orthodox Church made the last Russian tsar a saint in 2000.
Bishop Shevkunov, speaking at the November 27 conference in the Sretensky Monastery, stated:
“We are treating the ritual killing theory with the utmost seriousness. Moreover, a significant part of the church commission has no doubts that this is precisely what happened.”
Senior investigator of Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee Marina Molodtsova also informed that the Committee will investigate the theory. She said her agency will appoint “psychological-historical forensic experts.”
This anouncement made a real sensation in Russian media.
One of the most prominent liberal Russian websites Meduza.io wrote:
“What does the term “ritual killing” mean when talking about the murder of the tsar and his family? (…) When talking about the “ritual killing” of the tsar and his family, the term has clear anti-Semitic overtones. Supporters of this theory allege that the Bolsheviks who committed the murder also performed some kind of Jewish blood ritual, as part of a supposed “worldwide Jewish conspiracy.”
Meduza.io gives information on the history of the subject:
“Russian investigators have twice rejected conspiracy theories about the murder of the Romanov family, reopening the case in 1993 and again in 2007. In 1991, seven skeletons were discovered outside Yekaterinburg that were very likely the remains of the tsar’s entire family …
“During the examination of the bones, the Russian Orthodox Church was permitted to raise specific questions, and investigators even expanded their analysis to address the church’s concerns… Experts found no evidence of a ‘ritual killing’ (…) According to lead investigator Solovyov, the murder was carried out by local atheist security officials, almost none of whom were Jewish. The killers’ efforts to ‘conceal and dispose of the bodies,’ Solovyov concluded, were ‘improvised and hurried.’ Vladimir Solovyov dismissed the ritual killing theory as ‘absolutely sensationalist, obscene information.’”
In an interview with the television network Dozhd, Sergey Mironenko (a history professor and State Archives academic advisor who took part in the 1990s investigation) said, “It’s impossible to raise [the question of ritual killing in the Romanovs’ case] either scientifically or morally. It was proven long ago that Jews never committed ritual killings. Why investigate this all over again? Mironenko refused to discuss the matter with Meduza. “Ritual killing is such nonsensical garbage that it’s embarrassing just talking about it,” he explained.
The new investigation was strongly condemned by the Russian Jewish community and many commentators in the media and social networks.
Here is a typical post in FaceBook:
“Population Census in the USSR / Russia:
1970 – 2,166,026 Jews
1979 – 1,830,317
1989 – 1.479.732
2000 – 460,000
2010 – 157,763
2017 – I do not know how many, but I strongly advise you to pack your bags.”
Trying to dismiss the protests Bishop Shevkunov stated that he meant not “Jewish” but “Bolshevik” rituals. Not many believed him.
The prominent historian and TV journalist Nikolai Svanidze said to radio Echo of Moscow:
“This is a very strange, when people who talk about the ritual murder of the tsar are offended because they are accused of anti-Semitism. What did they expect? Are we living on the island of Haiti, where the cult of voodoo is flourishing and, accordingly, the rituals can be attributed to the worship of this cult?
“The atheist Bolsheviks had no rituals. Yes, they killed the tsar, his family, small children, servants … terribly killed – all this is widely known. But what about rituals? In our history, in our political mythology, ‘ritual murders’ is the expression tied exclusively to the Jewish theme. And our well-educated holy fathers, including the bishop, a very educated man Tikhon Shevkunov, know this very well.”
Alexander Boroda, president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, said the accusations – tantamount to a conspiracy theory – were plainly aimed at Jews, and were meant to stir up hatred.
“Accusing Jews of a ritual murder is one of the most ancient anti-Semitist slanders. It repeatedly caused persecutions resulting in deaths of hundreds and thousands of people. But each time when those accusations were examined by the people free of anti-Semitic prejudices, it emerged that this slander was false. It’s regrettable that it is being advanced again, presenting libelous slander as a theory worthy of an inquiry”.
Borukh Gorin, a speaker for the Federation, told Interfax agency that the claims of a ritual murder were “absolutely savage.” He called the allegation “absurd,” as the Bolsheviks were avowed atheists and not guided by Jewish beliefs.
“It is absolutely terrifying 100 years later to hear the phrase ritual killing from the mouth of an investigator of the Investigative Committee and then from a high placed hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church.”
A prominent journalist, one of the most known anti-Putin activists Alexander Podrabinek wrote in his blog:
“Will the Jews be assigned to the role of enemies?
“In our time, accusations of ‘blood libel’ and ‘ritual murder’ certainly look wild. … The participation of the authorities in this barbarous bacchanalia is proved by the unexpected presence of an investigator at the conference in the Sretensky Monastery, by the intention to investigate the circumstances of the ‘ritual murder’ of the Romanov family. (…)
“And let no one be deceived by the veiled nature of the planned anti-Semitic campaign. Adolf Hitler could speak frankly and publicly about his hatred of Jews. Unlike that in the Soviet Union, anti-Semitism was introduced with eastern craftiness and Byzantine sophistication. The anti-Semitic campaign of 1948-1953 was presented as a struggle not against Jews, but against ‘rootless cosmopolitans.’
“Today, the authorities launched a test shot… Our near future depends to a large extent on what the public reaction to the Kremlin’s obscurantist plans will be”.
One of the best known Russian historians Andrej Zubov wrote to Novaya Gazeta:
“I am sure that the current position of the government, which is indulging the obscurantists searching everywhere for the ‘Jewish plot’ and the position of the Russian Orthodox Church, rejecting the positive scientific analysis, will soon bring shame to both Orthodox Christians aa well as our citizens who are non-believers.”