Forging a true opinion is practically impossible since there is evidence on both sides: some of the facts pointed out by Anna’s followers as evidence of her true identity could very easily be explained in some cases. For instance, the fact that she was able to give some details about the family could be explained by the fact she spent a long time with Tatiana Melnik, the niece of Serge Botkin (head of the Russian Refugee office in Berlin), and the daughter of the imperial family’s personal physician, Dr. Eugene Botkin. Melnik claimed she believed Anna was Anastasia and, as she found out she had memory blanks, she filled her in with a lot of information on the Romanovs to refresh her memory. Some claim that she may have been fully aware Anna wasn’t Anastasia but decided to give her the information she needed to convince people she truly was. Many people who took care of Anna were then suspected to have manipulated her to get a hold of the Romanov’s fortune if her identity was proven.
Of course, if she truly was who she claimed to be, Russia had all reasons to fear the consequences when people would learn the truth, and powers-to-be may have tried to burry the case. The Russian people had to deal with guilt for the family’s massacre when the circumstances of their death was uncovered by the notes of the Bolshevik secret police: it was very brutal, disorganized and two of the daughters couldn’t be killed with bullets and had to be finished off with bayonets. The remains were buried by the Church, which later recognized Nicholas II, Alexandra and their children as martyrs. If two or even one of the bodies were indeed missing, Russia’s mourning could never end and what happened to Anastasia, assuming she had escaped and took the name of Anna, could have amounted to an insurmontable scandal. From this standpoint, everything is possible and both parties definitely had their reasons to manipulate both the public and scientific opinion.
If we rely on the fact that the remains of the two bodies found in 2007 belonged to a young boy and a teenager or a young woman of the same family than the nine others, the fact that Anastasia and her brother died seems indeed probable. Maybe this story of survival felt so romantic and allegorical that people preferred this version to a more down-to-earth side of the story. Maybe not. After all, details in favor of Anna Anderson were so abundant that it took more than 80 years to science to deny them whereas the ten other women who claimed to be Anastasia after 1918 were discredited as impostors very quickly.
Not to mention that if Alexei could indeed have been slaughtered (he was the only son of the family, so the fact that one of the two remains were identified as belonging to a young male Romanov makes his death more than certain), the second body could be a part of one of the other grand duchesses. Whatever the truth, the events and succeeding discoveries surrounding the Romanov massacre truly turned into one of the greatest myths of the 20th century (much like the mysteries surrounding Rennes-le-Château in France), and we all know that myths don’t die, so the rumours around Anna Anderson’s true identity won’t completely disappear. Tori, passionnate about feminine archetypes, mythology and history, took the historical facts and the myth to weave them into one of her masterpieces: the song “Yes, Anastasia,” a truly allegorical and universal piece. Myths transcend reality and teach us about the demons hidden in our history, so be it.
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