TV & Movies

The Last Czars: What happened to Russia after the Romanovs were murdered?

The Last Czars, episode six, details the execution of the Romanov family. Tsar Nicholas II alongside his wife Alexandra and their five children were killed by soldiers from the Bolshevik Party. The Bolsheviks had been in control of Russia following the October Revolution in 1917. At the head of the Bolshevik party was Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov Lenin, a political revolutionary and ruthless leader. His rule led to the outbreak of the Civil War in the country in December 1917 which lasted until 1922. Here’s a brief timeline of what happened in the years that followed the assassination of the last ever Russian Royal Family, whose remains were not uncovered until the 1990s.


The Civil War between the Red and White Armies continued after the execution of the Royal Family in July 1918.

Russia was deep in a civil war between the Red Army (supporters of Bolshevism and communism) and the White Army (Russian and non-Russians who favoured political monarchism).

In 1918, Lenin and the Bolsheviks carried out a period of political repression and mass killings, known as the Red Terror.

Death toll estimates vary widely but the number of people that died as a result of the Red Terror is estimated to be between 100,000 and 200,000.

Yekaterinburg fell to the anti-communist White Army on July 25, 1918, and the Sokolov Commission was established to investigate the deaths of the Romanovs.

He discovered a large number of the Romanovs belonging close to the burial site, including burned bone fragments.

However, he failed to locate the concealed burial site on the Koptyaki Road.

In 1919, he was forced to retreat from the site as the Red Army was advancing once again.

In 1924, he died of a heart attack in France before he could finish the investigation but his accounts and pictures were the only accepted historical explanations about the Romanov family deaths until the bodies were uncovered in the 1990s.

There was also an assassination attempt made on Lenin in 1918 by Fanya Kaplan, a member of the Socialist Revolutionary Party.

The attempt on Lenin’s life led the Bolsheviks to reintroduce the death penalty in September 1918 after they abolished it at the end of October 1917.

In November 1918, World War One came to an end in Western Europe.

Many of the central powers from World War One, including the United Kingdom provided aid to the White Army to help them try to defeat the Red Army.


1919 – 1920

Lenin established the First Congress of the Communist International.

He believed that the only way the socialist revolution could be successful was if a socialist revolution simultaneously occurred throughout the world.

Attending the First Congress of Communist International were members of communist parties and left-wing socialist groups from across the world including Poland, Hungry, Austria, Latvia, Finland, and Sweden.

The Congresses ended with the decision to set up governing bodies which could implement the affairs of the Communist International in their own countries.


There was a severe famine in Russia from 1921 until 1922, which killed over five million people.

The famine largely affected the Volga and Ural River regions and conditions got so bad, that some peasants restored to cannibalism.

The famine was a result of economic collapse due to the disruption caused by Russian Revolutions and the ongoing Russian civil war.

Things were only made worse when Russia experienced intermittent droughts in 1921.

In March 1921, The Kronstadt rebellion took place against the Soviet Government.

The sailors at Kronstadt demanded that trade unions be given more freedom, peasants to have access to free markets and freedom of speech.

The rebellion was shut down by the Red Army, resulting in approximately 2,000 deaths.

Things were looking better for Russia when Lenin introduced the New Economic Policy (NEP) at the Tenth Party Congress in Moscow, allowing peasants to sell produce on the open market and for wages to be introduced.



In December 1922, the Soviet Union was officially established with the union of the Russian, Ukrainian, Byelorussian, and Transcaucasian Soviet republics.

Each republic was ruled by local Bolshevik parties with its own political and administrative powers.

Earlier that year, the Bolsheviks were considered to be victorious in the civil war after defeating the White Armies in Ukraine, Siberia and Crimea.

Smaller battles between Red and Whites continued across the Far East in 1923.

Bolsheviks communist control of the newly formed Soviet Union was seen as the end to the war.

In 1922, Lenin suffered a major stroke which his health never recovered and he was ordered by the Politburo to be kept in isolation for his own protection.


Lenin dictated his famous “Last Testament” letter which warned the Bolshevik Party about the growing power of General Secretary Joseph Stalin.

In March 1923, Lenin suffered his third stroke and lost the power of speech.



Lenin passed away on January 24, 1924.

His death paved the way for the rise of his eventual successor Joseph Stalin, who ruled Russia from 1924 until his death in 1953.

The Last Czars is streaming on Netflix

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