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Friday, 12 October 2012
The Romanov Heirlooms
Topic: Nicholas II

 

Tsar Nicholas II and his family in 1913 (left) Colonel Eugene Kobylinsky (right) 

A recent article appeared in Russia Beyond the Headlines, in which the author, Daria Gonzales explores the 12 most highly sought-after treasure-troves in Russia. Of particular interest to readers will be the Romanov heirlooms:  

Tsar Nicholas II may have relinquished the throne, but he remained the richest man of his time. When he was exiled to Tobolsk, the Romanov ruler was allowed to take some of the family treasures with him. However, upon reaching Tobolsk and sensing the tragic fate that was to befall him, the tsar divided the treasure three ways and entrusted it to his loyal servants.  The valuables were then taken out of the Tobolsk governor’s house where the tsar and his family were being held and hidden in a safe place.

Later on, KGB servicemen discovered part of the Romanov treasure and confiscated two stashes. These collections contained 197 items that held a combined value of three million rubles ($96,000). The Soviets later used these valuables to buy supplies for Russia.

The third stash has yet to be found.  It was rumored that the tsar's security guard, Colonel Eugene Kobylinsky (1875-1927), gave some of the treasures (including the family’s gold swords, the emperor’s daggers, and the empress’s ornament cabinet) to Omsk resident Konstantin Pechakos. The secret police also got wind of this account. Konstantin Pechakos and his wife were found and tortured, but their lips were sealed.  Pechakos never denied that he had hidden the treasure. However, since he had given his word to the emperor – and therefore to God – Pechakos would not reveal the location of the Romanov valuables. The authorities searched every inch of Pechakos's house, but nothing was ever found.

At the end of 1918 Kobylinsky joined the White Army, where he served as an officer under Admiral Kolchak. He later served as a witness into the murders of Tsar Nicholas II and his family by the White Guard investigator, Nikolai Sokolov. In December 1919, Kobylinsky was captured by the Bolsheviks near Krasnoyarsk, and sent to a concentration camp. He was released in September 1920, whereupon he joined the Red Army, eventually becoming its treasurer. In the summer of 1921 he married Claudia Bitner--a former tutor to the children of Tsar Nicholas II at Tsarskoye Selo. In 1926 he was accused of being in possession of jewellery that once belonged to the Imperial family. An investigation was conducted between June and September 1927. The alleged jewellery was never found, however, it was revealed that he had connections with the Yugoslav White Army. He was subsequently fired from his job, charged with "monarchical conspiracy" against the Soviet state, and was sentenced to death by a firing squad at Moscow in December 1927.

© Russia Beyond the Headlines and Paul Gilbert. 12 October, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:38 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 12 October 2012 6:25 AM EDT
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