Romanov Archives - 1917 Interrogation of Anna Vyroubova
6 May 1917 - By the Extraordinary Commission of the Provisional Government of 1917
Originally published by the Bolshevik regime in Moscow in 1925-26 in 7 volumes, Padenie Tsarkavo Regima, a shorter single volume of some of the interrogations selected from the complete Russian work was published in Paris in French in 1927. The translation from the French was done by Rob Moshein.
[Anna Alexandrovna Vyroubova was arrested in the Alexander Palace on March 21, 1917, and held in prison, where she was beaten and ill treated, before this interrogation some six weeks later. The photograph seen here was taken shortly after her release from prison.]
THE PRESIDENT: You are called Anna Alexandrovna Vyroubova, nee Taneyev. What is your age?
VYROUBOVA: Thirty Two.
PRES. Had you been the particular Lady of Honor to the Empress or were you part of the greater Court?
V. Only of the greater Court, for ten years.
PRES. You had become Lady of Honor in 1907?
V. In 1907, I was married; I was then 23 years old and I had been promoted to Lady of Honor at the age of 20.
PRES. Had you immediately become one of the intimates at Court?
PRES. So there was some time when you had been a Lady of Honor without the acquaintance with the imperial family?
PRES. What date did your more intimate relationships begin!
V. I was in service for the first time in 1905, one of the ladies of honor had fallen ill. I went with the imperial family on a voyage which lasted a month.
PRES.Before your marriage you lived in your father's house; he was then living in Petrograd or Tsarskoe Selo?
V.He lived in Petrograd, Engineer Street.
PRES.Thus you had gone for the first time on a voyage with the family of the former Tsar in 1905?
PRES.It was that year then when your closeness began with the imperial family?
V. Yes, it was at that time when I became close to them. One year later, I was called again to be in service, another one had fallen ill.
PRES.If you were not called again until a year later, was it thus that your closeness had not yet taken place?
V. Yes, our closeness dates back to the time when we had made our acquaintance, it was when I went for the first time with them on the Polar Star.
PRES.But, you had not entered into a relationship at the moment of your presentation with the title of lady of the honor?
V.That fact doesn't matter. I made their acquaintance during that voyage, when I saw them much more closely.
PRES. So, a year later someone fell ill and you were called again?
V. Yes, another time again. I went on another new voyage at sea, it was also in the fall, which lasted either one or two months, I can not remember which is correct. The third year, we did the same thing again, as well as during the three successive summers.
PRES.That is to say in 1905, 1906, 1907. And you continued to live with your father in Petrograd?
V. Yes, with my parents. In 1907, I married. My husband served in the imperial chancellery. We lived in a small house in Tsarskoe Selo where I lived with him for 18 months. Finally I divorced him. He was unbalanced.
PRES.You lived with your husband for eighteen months even though he was unbalanced?
V.I was only married for one and a half years.
PRES.That is to say 1907 until the end of 1908?
V.Yes, more or less.
PRES.Did you meet frequently with the imperial family at Tsarskoe Selo?
V.Not very often, that is to say...what would you call often?
PRES. You do not deny that these last times your intimacy with the imperial family, particularly with the empress, was quite close?
V.No, certainly I do not deny it.
PRES.What is important for us to learn, is at what time this intimacy began.
V. Here: My husband was then in service at the imperial chancellery and I went with him. Thus during four summers I travelled; my husband left the chancellery, I left with them.
PRES.You husband was then put into a hospital?
V. Yes, he went to Switzerland, to what town I do not remember anymore, into a hospital. Then came our divorce, and after that I never saw him again.
PRES.Your life with your husband at Tsarskoe Selo ended in 1908 and you continued to live there after your divorce?
V. I did not want to return to my parents' in St. Petersburg, so I stayed there.
PRES.What did you do?
V.Nothing; I lived there like all the others.
PRES.Were you in service at Court?
V. No, because, being married, I could no longer perform the functions of my rank. They called me from time to time. For example, to accompany the Empress to singing lessons with Professor Iretzka who taught at the Conservatory.
PRES. All of these facts are purely extraneous. You had then begun to become closer and closer?
V.Yes...that is to say....what?
PRES.Had you been, finally, the closest person to the Emperor's family?
V.Close...what do you mean? They called me to come often, and so I went.
PRES.And they also went to visit you?
V.Yes, they came often.
PRES.What was the factual cause which created your closeness?
V. I do not know. We took singing lessons together. Her voice was deep while mine was shrill; they went together therefore. Later, we took drawing lessons, we sewed together, as all of the ladies there did. We read together...
PRES.Did you chat together?
V.Certainly we chatted.
PRES.Tell us when and under what circumstances Rasputine came into your life.
V. I made his acquaintance at the home of Grand Duchess Militza Nicholevna and with Nicholas Nicholaivitch. Militza Nicholevna called me to come to make his acquaintance in 1907, the year I was married, and said that Bishop Theophane had brought an interesting pilgrim to her house . That is what drew me to go see.
PRES.You were interested at that time in religious matters?
V. I have never been very interested in religious questions. I believe in God. She told me that they had an interesting pilgrim, I went to see. I think that in Russia there must be a great number of that sort.
PRES.Who then had had the idea to introduce him to the Court?
V.I believe that they already knew him, before me.
PRES.That is to say Alexandra Feodrovna?
V.Yes, she already knew him.
PRES.By this same Militza Nicholaevna?
V. I can't say to you exactly. Yes, probably. I had seen him for the first time at her home, the English Quay, several days before my wedding.
PRES.What impression did you have of him?
V. I don't know...she had said that he was an apostle. That interested me greatly. I don't think that he had made a great impression on me; he spoke of God; I asked him for advice on the subject of my marriage. He counseled me, saying that it was very good. I was thus married. This passed several days before my wedding.
PRES.When did your relationship with him become much closer; do you deny having been his worshipper?
V. You said his "worshipper", that word is too strong. He was, in any case, an intelligent man and I enjoyed listening to him, certainly, that I do not deny. When I would go to his house, I noticed in what manner he would receive all sorts of people, how he spoke to them and that interested me.
PRES. However this was not the action of a impartial observer. It was the interest of a woman enflamed by his ideas.
V.Enflamed, no, I had never been that.
PRES.You testify that Rasputin's ideas had not also been yours?
V.How could they have been mine? I made his acquaintance two years after the Court?
PRES.I am not presently examining your external relationship with Rasputin, but what these last things signified.
V.Yes; if I was particularly interested in him? No, not especially.
PRES.So it is therefore not exactly correct that you had been his passionate worshipper?
V. No, that is not correct. Certainly I was interested in him, because he deserved it, but I never had adoration for him. It is certain that I had never been his adversary.
PRES. Thus you testify that the interest you had in Rasputin was identical to that which you had had for other persons, during your life? Or better that there existed, on your part, an exceptional interest?
V.No, there certainly never existed an exceptional interest.
PRES.At what period in time then had you above all felt attracted to religion?
V. I have always had faith in God. Never anything else. My mother told me that they had written about me in Novoye Vremya saying that I was a mystic. We all laughed. There has never been the slightest religious ecstasy in me. I believe in God just like all other orthodox women. I was faced with great sorrows, my husband had gone mad and my life at Court as a whole was not easy.
PRES.Why was it not easy?
V. Because, in general, it was not easy to live at the Court. It was more difficult, for someone with a just heart, since there were jealousies, intrigues, plots. Me, I was simple, and during those twelve years, I had nothing, so to speak, but sorrows.
PRES.Were you corresponding with Rasputin?
V.No, because he was illiterate. If he wrote, it was always by telegrams.
PRES.But, you wrote him...was this because he was illiterate?
V. I certainly never wrote him a letter. Why would that be good, because he could not read them himself and he could let it be read by all the others...something not very pleasant.
PRES.However, he wrote you, himself?
V. Telegrams. As for me, this is what I would do: Whenever a misfortune came to my sister, or my brother, or even myself as well, I would send him telegrams for him to pray for us or also, if something exceptional happened in the family, I wrote him and I received the response by telegram. I have probably lost them all.
PRES.What was in these telegrams?
V. I told you that I had often asked for my sister, my brother, or a sick person of some sort or for other people even, who desired that he pray for them.
PRES.For what did you take him to be then: for a prophet, a Saint, a God?
V.Neither a prophet, nor a Saint, nor a God. But I believed that, as a pilgrim, he might pray.
PRES.That is to say that you considered him to be a simple pilgrim?
V. Yes, as where we live, you know, in the countryside, where we have seen similar ones. They ask us to give them something to eat and we ask them to pray.
PRES.Do you testify that Rasputin played no other role in your life?
V.No other role in my life and in my faith, absolutely none at all.
PRES.And in the life of the imperial family?
V. In their life...what role had he played? They believed in him, and, whenever some sort of misfortune came to them, for example the Tsarevitch was ill, they spoke to him and asked him to pray.
PRES. So, all of the relations which you had with him, your family, those of the former Emperor and the Empress, all related to prayer, and nothing else?
V.Whenever someone was ill, *they* always found themselves comforted by him.
PRES.What do you know of Rasputin's intervention in political life of the country and in the affairs of the State?
V.If he intervened? In my opinion, no.
PRES. Do not speak about your opinion, but of that which really occurred in reality. This is an extrinsic fact, in real life, and you may not ignore it.
V. No, certainly not, at least me, I never saw any such thing. He received a great many people, and they addressed requests concerning all kinds of affairs; but me, I was never there. In his home, one always found all kinds of people of all sorts.
PRES. For affairs of charity, but what about which concerned affairs relating to the Ministers, that this one or that one should be named?
V.That no, certainly. I frequented there and I heard many things there certainly, so I would have know it.
PRES.And what relationship had there been between you and the decisions which were taken on certain political questions?
V.None, certainly. All the Palace excluded that from me. During twelve years, I had only torment and sorrows.
PRES. You say that religion had no influence on your life, whereas Rasputin had it in his. This little notebook is probably yours. Did you write this? (he shows her the notebook)
V.Yes, I wrote that.
PRES. I read what is found in the first notebook. The prayer of Grigori Efimovitch: "Lord, you have chosen us and we have gone into the abyss of sins so that we may be given the palace of eternal life." You say that you are orthodox; what relationship existed between Grigori Efimovitch and his prayer and the orthodox religion?
V.Each person may compose prayers according to their own desires.
PRES.Did you know that this Rasputin was an evil and profligate man?
V. Everyone said so, but I, personally, I had never noticed it. Perhaps he was careful in my presence, knowing that I was an intimate to the Court. He had thousands of people, a flood of supplicants, but I never saw anything. You know full well that no woman would have agreed to be his lover; he was old...what age was he then? Fifty years old, I think.
PRES.The notebook is full of mystical notes: "Divine God", "Your Grace"...
V.Yes, I always wrote a lot of things.
PRES. I put to you the question: the mystical elements and religious elements, did they play a role in your life?
V.Yes, I had always looked; I noted numerous things revealed in certain books and many, also, things which he had said.
PRES.That does not prove that your interest in Rasputin was not exceptional?
V.For him, no, but for for all those things which he said when something was interesting.
PRES. In your notebook, that are only notes about him, and you have only ever encountered Rasputin. Why is it that there are no notes about others?...
V. Certainly, I had encountered other people as well, but the others had done works, written books, while he could not write; he spoke and I noted what he said, because he did not know how to write.
PRES. You had noted a telegram from Rasputin sent from Pokrovskoe: "the little one will be a bit sick, this will not be of any importance, he will be better." What is this?
V. It is very old, I do not remember. The little one, that is probably the Tsarevitch, since he suffered often, above all his leg. They always asked him to pray for him.
PRES."....Father not bad..."?
V.That is probably about my father, I had asked him to pray for him.
PRES...."As for the report, do not be concerned..."?
V. I had, probably, asked something on the subject of my father. This notebook has to be really very old. Can you see from what year it dates?
PRES.Have you noted anything more recent?
PRES.You have burned everything...Why have you destroyed a whole series of documents?
V.I had burned almost nothing.
V. Yes, I burned only the last letters from the Empress, since I did not want them to fall into strange hands. When I was arrested, I had burned some letters, but I believe the rest are in the house. They made an investigation there, I was sick. I don't know if they did, or not, find anything else. I do not know the date of this notebook other than it is many years old.
PRES.Can you not know the date from the contents of the book?
V.I suppose that it might be from the first year.
PRES. Nevertheless...."He trusts my good Vera..." Who was this Vera?
V.Truly, I do not remember anymore; I do not even remember having had this very notebook.
PRES. "God knows Rodzianko and that Rodzianko will be judged by God"...A pilgrim and Rodzianko. this was not a very ordinary pilgrim who is also involved in politics!
V. It was said that he was involved in politics, however with me he had never touched on the subject.
PRES.And yourself, were you never involved in politics?
V.And why should I have been involved?
PRES.Have you never tried to have Ministers appointed, by passing reports?
PRES.But, you had organized meetings between the Empress and Ministers.
V.I give you my oath of honor that such a thing never took place.
PRES. It would go better, you know, if you did not give your oath of honor.
V.Why would I have had to organize meetings with the Ministers? I did not even know them!
PRES.Protopopov? and Sturmer??
V.Sturmer I did not know. Protopopov I had seen, though he already been Minister for a long time.
PRES.Can you not give us an explanation for these words: "That God will judge Rodzianko" which appear in the telegram?
V.No. I do not know why he questioned that he be judged. Maybe he had asked something of him.
PRES."I bless you and kiss you"...What does that say? Was it that you permitted him to kiss you?
V. Yes, it was his habit. When I had gone to Militza Nicholalevna's home, she explained to me that he kissed everyone three times. She herself went up to him; he kissed her, kissing everyone three times, giving them the blessing of Easter.
PRES. Have you not noticed certain peculiarities in the pilgrim's home?...He kissed perhaps, not just three times, but many more, giving not just the Easter blessing, put often a bit more?
V.In front of me, never, I never saw it. He was old and not very attractive. Otherwise, I do not know.
PRES.You do not deny that this telegram came from him?
PRES.And your notebook dates from what year?
V.Probably from 1907-1908. Later I had not noted anything.
PRES."Kiss everyone..." What does this say?
V.He sent everyone his compliments.
PRES. (reading a telegram) "All we request happy heart, do not forget the master for the walk in Kostroma, give to all, and him as well, write simply to Wisdom, we will soon see Tobolsk the inhabitants." What does this say; do not forget the master for the walk in Kostroma?
V.It may be Varnava that he means.
PRES.Would that not refer to 1913? Perhaps he had given the bishop a certain reward?
V.Probably to Varnava. I do not remember.
PRES."Write to Wisdom"...Who was called Wisdom? Probably Nicholas Alexandrovitch?
V.Wait...it seems to me the the procurer in chief of the Synod was called "Wisdom"...no?
PRES. You make an error. Thus, you say that your relations with the Ministers were strictly limited to politeness, that is to say that if they came to pay you a visit, it was because you were a lady of honor and in intimate of the imperial family?
V.Yes, they came...
PRES.And you never had any relations with them on the subject of the affairs of State?
PRES.You testify that Rasputin never intervened in these types of affairs?
V.No, he never intervened. It was told to me that Protopopov went to his home.
PRES.And did these things not only in your presence, but even later with your mediation.
V. I never did any such things. Maybe when he went to them, to the Tsar's, he spoke with them about certain matters, because Protopopov and Sturmer and the procurer of the Synod had gone to him.
PRES. You say that these are old telegrams. I take one more recent: "2 November 1916. From Petrograd. Express. Vyroubova. His Majesty's Train G.H.Q. - That Kalinin stays 24 hours only." Who is this Kalinin?
V.Who was called Kalinin? One of the Gentlemen. Protopopov, I believe.
PRES. Not "I believe"; the fact is certain. "That Kalinin stays 24 hours only...the jealousy will become more intense. Send him somewhere to spend the week. One does not stay so long on a visit to the same. They will also calm down during this time. Do not keep him for any longer." From who have you received this telegram?
V. From Rasputin. In paranthesis, I had received these telegrams here, once we had returned. They had not been sent on to G.H.Q. I don't know why. They had probably been kept.
PRES. In any event, he had written in such a way that you would understand. What should it matter to you how much time Protopopov should be kept at G.H.Q.?
V.It would not matter to me at all.
PRES.Why then should Rasputin write to you thus, since, as you have said, he did not meddle in political affairs?
V.He had been very kind towards Protopopov.
PRES.You know that, by your intervention, he was named Minister?
V. I believe that it was not by my intervention. They had been seduced by him. Once he had returned from abroad, Protopopov had made a good impression.
V.On the ex-Emperor.
PRES.And on you, as well as Alexandra Feodrovna?
V. Alexandra Feodrovna did not know him at all. He had gone to G.H.Q. after his return from abroad. At that time, the Emperor had already decided that Protopopov would become Minister.
PRES.And you, what part did you take in it?
V.None. I did not know him yet then. It is probable that Rasputin did not wish or want to telegraph to anyone other than me.
PRES.That is to say, that instead of telegraphing to Alexandra Feodrovna, it is to you that he sent the telegram?
PRES.And her? Did she interest herself in any political questions? to changing of Ministers? firing them?
V.Her? Not at all.
PRES. So now, why would people who have no relationship with politics, who are are not interested in anything except prayer and fasting, would they be in correspondence about a political subject?
V.I said that he was well disposed with regard to Protopopov and that he wanted to be helpful.
PRES.By your intervention and that of Alexandra Feodrovna?
V.By me, above all, because...to whom else might he telegraph?
PRES.Therefore, you yourself were interested in this matter
V.I said that, me, I was not at all interested. But, everyone bothered me with many matters, that is the truth.
PRES.One could bother you a day, a month, a year, but...they thus annoyed you for so many years?
V.But, it was horrible? I said that I was continually annoyed, and by everyone.
PRES.And you sent all these letters and all these papers?
V.Usually, I would not do it. Only when it helped the request of some unfortunate person...
PRES. That speaks only to your conscience. If you were not interested in anything other than charity, we would not have questioned you. The Commission is interested in the political role which you have played, and to the harm that, thanks to Rasputin, you have caused the Country, by your political influence.
V.Thousands of people begged me...Have you found numerous letters and telegrams?
PRES. You know that these telegrams date precisely to the time when the Duma fought with Protopopov and sought his dismissal. And Rasputin, in these telegrams sent to your name, insists that you and Alexandra Feodrovna support Protopopov.
V.I know. Do you believe that we insisted only for him?
PRES. But he did not refer there to a prayer for starving children or for a widow seeking to claim a pension. He asked you to contribute to the reaffirmation of power for a Minister which the representatives of the people had judged undesirable.
V.But, what might I have done there? He asked me. I sent nothing. It stayed in the drawer.
PRES.So then, you sent nothing?
V. I could not send at all. They didn't listen to me, me, otherwise I wouldn't be here at all. You can not imagine to what extent people asked me...
PRES. We ask you these questions, so that we might come to establish the truth. Is it that in the most serious circumstances, your conscience does not guide you to tell all of the truth?
V.I understand...It is true, I received telegrams endlessly, but as for saying what the effect was they produced...
PRES.You have not only received telegrams. We know that you have written letters and telegrams!
V.I sent them.
PRES.See now that you have sent them.
V.I sent all which I had received. But these telegrams concerning Kalinin, I did not receive them.
PRES. Let us pass on to the letters. "Dear Anna, all that was to be communicated to you, dear Anna, and to Her Majesty the Empress, on the three questions put by me to our dear Grigori Efimovitch yesterday, late in the evening. He had spoken of these three questions and he understands quite well the importance that he must seriously clear them up. The favorable solution to these three questions brought up, without doubt, is the peace of the Court and of the Country. They must be resolved a long time before the convocation of the Duma, otherwise, it will create gossip running through all Russia made by the pressure exerted by the deputies and above all the President. I judge that this attitude of the Duma is useless in a country where the Emperor is autocrat. I write in the same sense to His Majesty, as I have requested that he receive me and listen to me. It is useless at present, since you can see Grigori Efimovitch, be informed there at his place and make a report to His Majesty, if you judge it necessary"...You remember this letter?
V.Where did that letter come from? I do not have it.
PRES. You have destroyed it, but Badmaiev who wrote it to you did not destroy the rough draft. Thus, you made reports to His Majesty on questions of great political importance. "I am deeply grateful to you and Grigori Efimovitch, for Paul Grigorievitch that our dear Emperor has graciously received him and listened." You know who was Paul Grigorievitch?
PRES.It is Kurlov...
V.An evil man, disgusting...
PRES. It is possible that he was disgusting. However, he thanked you, because this latter had been received by the Emperor. This letter is from 9 September 1916.
V.It is Badmaiev what wrote it?
PRES.Him. To her Excellency Anna Nicholaievna Taneyev.
V.I am not a Taneyev.
PRES.In a word, born Taneyev.
V. I have never received a similar letter. Moreover, I never saw Badmaiev except just one time in my life. He is a little old man...
PRES. Here is the document that you had received. In which it seems that you saw that Trepov, minister of roads and communications poorly filled his functions and that he must be replaced by another?
V.That never concerned me at all.
PRES.How is it then, we have found in your house a memorandum written on this precise question.
V.Because, I said that they wrote me about everything and that I sent on all that I received.
PRES.Thus, you just did so automatically?
PRES.Are you up to date on the Manassevitch-Manouilov matter - that he has commited a crime?
V.An awful man, detestable!
PRES.Have you made steps such that he may not be tried in court?
V. I had been begged by a lady with such insistence! It as his wife, I believe; she fell at my feet. She wrote a request which I sent on, that is all.
PRES.Do you know if they acceded to her request?
V.It seems to me that he had been condemned!
PRES. He has been tried and convicted, when you sent on the request, the Minister of Justice also received a coded telegram, signed by the ex-Emperor, with the order not to try that man.
V.I remember that about a month before his arrest, a woman came and threw herself at my feet.
PRES.Do you not remember if she had come before?
V.In any event, it was not by my intervention.
PRES. And why did you need to act against a bishop after Metropolitan Pitirim sent you a magazine article which was unflattering with respect to him?
V.I told you that all of Russia was writing me letters. The note is probably still in my house.
PRES. No, it is not in your house. After having received this article from Pitrim, you wrote a letter to V.V. Voyekov: "I send to you at the home of Vladimir Nicholaievitch the curriculum of the bishop which I have received from the metropolitan along with the magazine article. Thousands of compliments." Here again a telegram from Rasputin to your name: "Say they should be most severe Gouzeva".
V.It was Gouseva who wounded him the first time. I believe that she was set free.
PRES.And how had you acted in this circumstance?
V.To who therefore should I have had to send this?
PRES. Probably to the ex-Emperor Nicholas Alexandrovitch. He himself would then send it to the Minister of Justice and Interior and it would be carried out.
V.I believe that this was not carried out since that woman was set free.
PRES. You make a mistake, she was locked up at first in a prison, followed by a mental asylum. She was set free only at the onset of the Revolution.
V. I have never heard this fact spoken of. You probably had to find a great many papers in my house. They wrote me from all over Russia.
PRES. You say that you had never intervened in any matter. But, here is a letter: "Dear Alexander Dmitrievitch (Protopopov). They have asked me to share with you that you were not invited to lunch so that the curious do not come and to question. Receive the expression of my sincere respect. A.A. Vyroubova."
V. It was at General Headquarters because a horrible scandal had taken place. There were two parties: one for him, the other against him. Several people were not invited, so as not to stir up curiosity.
PRES.You, were you for him?
V.I barely knew him.
PRES.And Alexandra Feodrovna, was she for or against him?
V. I think that they were both for him. They had probably ordered that I write them so that they might not be offended. Certain Ministers had not been invited. Him... several others as well, so as not to stir things up...
PRES.I have in front of me a memorandum on a political subject, signed Orlov. This name is known to you?
V.I never knew him personally.
PRES. He is the President of the Council of the Patriot's League [extreme rightwing party]. A note on the Duma and on political order in Russia. This note is very interesting: "I immediately ask of dear Anna Alexandrovna to read and to make a report." You said that you were not interested but in religious and charitable matters. How did it come that these political memoranda have been found in your home?
V.I was because I was at Court and those from both the left and the right wrote to me.
PRES.Do you know that this memorandum had been sent by Protopopov?
V.That may be.
PRES. You said that those from the right wrote you as well as those from the left. Can you tell me who those from the left had contacted you?
V.Oh! my dear, I can not truly say. The leftists and the rightists. I said that they all contacted me, anyone who wanted to.
PRES.Did you know Maria Golovina?
V.Certainly, she was sister-in-law to my sister.
PRES. "Dear Alexander Dmitrievitch, I am going today to Anna Alexandrovna's at Tsarskoe and told her that I would like to see you to deliver a letter and for other matters as well. She herself would wish that our conversations take place and asked me to pursue my relations with everyone- above all with you, our friend in common - and not to disappear into the shadows." You see well that Protopopov was one of your friends?
V.I did not consider him as a friend, I only knew him slightly. He often visited my hospital.
PRES.You knew Bourdukov?
V.I knew him.
PRES.Did you pass on a long letter he wrote on a political subject?
V. Yes, If you only knew how much he exasperated me! Bourdukov always pestered everyone, I believe that he had no position, yet he always wrote many letters.
PRES.Did you know A.N. Khvostov?
V.He came to my house twice. Once he paid me a visit and the other time I think he came to dinner.
PRES. Do you yourself remember if you were yourself interested in his political actions, after his speech in the Duma on the German question?
V.Me, I was interested in him!
PRES.Not in him personally, but in the political man. You asked him to bring Kvostov (sic) to you and he brought him to you.
V. I have told you: it is not Khvostov, but an awful prince Andronnikov who crept into everyone's house. I don't know if you know him, Prince Andronnikov? He had entree with all the Ministers and in my house as well. He brought candies. A horrible being. It was this Andronnikov who brought Khvostov.
SMITTEN:Did you go into Andronnikov's apartment?
V.No, never in my life.
PRES.And you arranged a meeting for Khvostov with the Emperor and Empress?
V.I was probably he who arranged it, me, I didn't know him at all. I remember that Andronikov (sic) suggested it most hotly.
PRES.Then, if Andronnikov is an awful man, you simply did not have to receive him.
V.Yes, I received Andronnikov: I was afraid, since this is a disgusting man, he would lie terribly without stopping.
PRES.Is it a great flaw to lie?
V.A very great flaw.
PRES. I agree with you. Tell me, did you not telephone Rasputin at home before the nomination of Sturmer as Minister of the Interior and did you not ask him if it mattered to name him Minister of the Interior?
V. I would not have called him...To ask Rasputin if it mattered to name him Minister of the Interior? That is stupid! They could do that themselves. Who would have said this?
PRES.You not only telephoned him...You went to Rasputin's house.
PRES.And is it not you who had Dobrovolski named Minister of Justice?
V.No, it was not me. I did not know him at all. An awful man, that one also! He came to my hospital a month before.
PRES.A month before what?
V.A month before my arrest, before my measles, I had asked him to come there.
PRES.So, this was in December of last year?
SMITTEN:Was this before his nomination to his post or after?
V.After his nomination, when he had come to make his report, he came in his capacity as Minister.
SMITTEN:And did he come to your house before his nomination?
V.No, I don't know that.
PRES.Why was Protopopov not called Protopopov in those telegrams, but called Kalinin?
V.He was always called that then and signed his letters, Kalinin.
SMITTEN:So, why did you experience so much difficulty in remembering this, if it had always been so?
V.The last time he himself gave the name Kalinin. It was a nickname which he had given.
PRES.Do you know Manous?
V.Yes, he came to my hospital.
PRES.Do you know that he had the nickname "Zeleni"?
V.Zeleni? I don't know that, no; he was a common Jew.
PRES.Do you know the woman Voskobojnikova?
V. That is the first first nurse in my hospital. They promoted her first. Protopopov was very close to her and I had, afterwards, the suspicion that she had been placed there to watch me. Protopopov came every day after his report to my hospital.
SMITTEN:What reason did you have to fear that they were watching you?
V.I did nothing wrong, but is it pleasant to have spies in one's own hospital?
PRES. What is it that had given the Minister of the Interior the wish to have you under surveillance in the hospital in which you were working?
V. I do not wish to create slander. Perhaps it was not he who took this action. In the name of God, do not consider this to be a fact. In all respects they were on good terms. When all of this began, it was when the Revolution struck, Voskobojnikova blew into my house, I was sick with the measles. She pretended that she could not stay a moment longer. She told all of the wounded that my hospital was to be burned, also invited all the guards to leave and caused a true scandal. The next day, she disappeared. He went to her almost every day. This was unpleasant to me. I had even once remarked to him "What are you doing then Alexander Dmitrievitch, you a Minister? You frequent the hospital and this is unpleasant to me." He said "Excuse me, I like to often rest there a little, in a simple place." She had placed her sister as a nurse with me and they continually went to see him; I do not know what existed between him and Voskobojnikova, a simple flirtation maybe, I suppose. It is certain that they were in love with him.
PRES.Who did you call Sana?
V.All those women who were named Alexandra.
PRES.Who, among your closest, had that name?
V.My sister Alexandra.
PRES.and Alexandra Feodrovna?
V.I never called her that.
PRES.Did you meet Mme. Soukhlimonov (wife of the Minister of War)?
V.I met her at Rasputin's. She had come with a request that her husband might be set free.
PRES.Had you gone to help her?
V.That was impossible.
PRES.Had you given her the possibility to see the Tsarina?
V. No, she never saw her; the Empress never consented to receive her. Soukhomlinov had such a villainous affair, he was convicted.
PRES. Under the old regime, he probably would not have been convicted. How do you know that the Empress never consented to receive her?
V.They said that she had wanted to present her request to the Empress, but that the latter had not wanted to accept it.
PRES.Were you interested in the Sect of Klystys?
PRES.So, why did we find this memorandum at your house? (shows the memorandum)
V."The Mysteries of the Klystys". Someone had written against Rasputin; they said that Rasputin was a Klyst.
PRES. You did not know it?
V. I never saw anything of the sort. At the Court, nothing was ever said. The Klystys were against the Church. He never said anything against the Church, in my presence at least.
PRES.In the days of the Revolution, when the old regime was abolished, were you at Tsarskoe Selo?
V. I was there, sick with the measles. They arrested me March 21st.
PRES.And until that day, were you watched over in your house?
V. No I was in the Palace, confined to bed. I don't know if I was watched or not. I was with everyone, I knew nothing. They hid certain things from me. I remember, that they had a troop posted there, that they fired. But I was very sick, having the measles and congestion of the lungs.
PRES.When did you fall ill?
V.It is hard for me to remember. After my illness started, a month had passed until the 21st.
PRES. Did you go frequently to see Rasputin?
V.During the first year, one, two, three times. Later more often.
PRES.And the last year?
V. The last year, he came more often here. I don't know what you would call often. Me, I was sick and could not often go there, to him. I would go there by car. I don't really know if I went often, but I can not say...once a week, maybe. Every time I went to Petrograd, so once or twice a week.
PRES. Do you remember your meeting with Rasputin in the Marble Palace several years ago?
V. In the Marble Palace, home of Constantine Constantinovitch? No, he never went there. To the contrary, he was not liked there at all, and I never went there.
SMITTEN.The opinion that Rasputin had had of himself was a secret to you?
V.His opinion? He often said he was a pilgrim, of those who were inspired and preached the truth of God.
PRES.And what did that consist of?
V.It was quite interesting. I even had noted it down. I don't remember more...it explained the Holy Scriptures!
SMITTEN. Tell me, please, you who were a lady of honor to Her Majesty, didn't you have the impression that the admission towards the throne of a person such as Rasputin might lessen the prestige of the Tsar and Tsarina?
V.I was afraid of that. Above all the last times...they reported inproprieties.
SMITTEN.The rumor had come even to you that Rasputin was a drunk and debauched?
V.Yes, I was afraid of that.
SMITTEN.And you informed the Tsarina?
V.The Emperor and Empress saw him rarely.
SMITTEN.What would you call rarely?
V.Once or twice. He came by chance.
SMITTEN.But, he came every day.
V.You mean to Petrograd?
SMITTEN.No, not to Petrogard, but to Tsarskoe Selo.
V.He went there rarely.
SMITTEN.What would you call rarely?
V. To us, in the Palace, about twice a month, maybe less often. It was, whenever the Emperor was not there, he would never come.
SMITTEN.Had you told the Empress that he must not be admitted to the Court?
V.Yes, we spoke about that.
SMITTEN.But, you said that the Court was against you, that everyone formed plots against you?
V. Yes, my position was quite difficult. We feared it ourselves...but they believed without a doubt that if he was called whenever someone was sick that he could make them better. It was even so with the Tsarevitch, and he was so frequently sick.
OLYSCHEV.You said that you warned the former Empress that it would be bad to bring Rasputin to the Court?
V.I was afraid.
OLYSCHEV. According to the eyewitness reports, you yourself went many times a day with the Empress and, when you would return home you would sent notes to her. It is said that the Empress would not exist without you.
V.That is true. I was like her daughter.
OLYSCHEV. So, why had you not said: you will not listen to me, but I do not want to organize any more meetings in my house. So, you can not deny, that, when Rasputin came to your house, not only the Empress came, but the entire Imperial family?
V. They would come often, but I swear that it was terrible for me. Otherwise, how would you have me feel? They were far more high up than I!
OLYSCHEV.Since you were yourself opposed to Rasputin, why would you organize the gatherings?
V.Why, because I had to.
OLYSCHEV.They could receive him at home, at the Palace.
V.Yes, I know. My sister often said "they are hiding behind you". But, I was always ready to do everything.
OLYSCHEV.After Andronnikov had brought Khvostov to you, did you invite him to dinner with Byeltski?
V.Khvostov dined with me. I can not tell you if it was with Byeletski, since I don't remember.
OLYSCHEV.It was also with you that the Emperor met with Khvostov?
V.The Emperor came to my house very rarely, once or twice a year, when I fell ill.
OLYSCHEV.And who was this Prilayaev that you sent Rasputin's telegrams?
V.To me? Prilayaev? That was to someone else.
PRES.The telegram which you recognized as having received from Rasputin was signed Prilayaev. Is it one of his admirers?
V.I don't remember.
PRES.Who had the nickname "Mother" in the telegrams?
V.The Emperor. That is how I told you it was not him who was "wisdom".
SMITTEN. And who had the nickname at Court "the flower".
V.I don't know.
SMITTEN. You said you had never seen Dobrovolski but one time, after he had made his first report as Minister of Justice. I want however to speak to you again about this: this meeting was exceptional. It preceded the nomination of Dobrovolski, when he was called to come to Tsarskoe Selo by the intervention of a Marshall of the lodgings of the Court, and he came to your apartment where he had a meeting with the Empress. She was wearing a nurses uniform.
V. Since I told you that I have seen and received everyone such that it is impossible for me to remember. Maybe this took place. If someone had kept a diary for me I might have been able to satisfy you.
SMITTEN.See if you can remember this conversation...It was not long ago. Dobrovolski was named December 20, 1916.
V. (she thinks)...It is him who is now, that's to say who was Minister of Justice, the fat one...if he came to see me? Maybe, since they frequently sent requests to me that the Empress preferred to meet people at my home.
SMITTEN.For what reason would she do that?
V.They were always visitors, she received them in her hospital, or mine... She received many.
SMITTEN.Would they arrange special receptions in your apartment?
V.They often did.
SMITTEN.Why did the Empress not invite them to come to the Palace?
V. It is more difficult to bring someone to the Palace, she preferred my house. These last two years there was a police force which watched everything. In my house, everything was easy and they liked to come there easily.
SMITTEN. If they liked that, it would have been simple to introduce that simplicity into their midst. I suppose that the Marshall of the Court did not note your visits to the Palace as well as those of Rasputin?
V.I do not believe so. I don't know who took those notes. Benkendorff it seems.
SMITTEN. The question is put to you directly: in your meetings at your house with different persons who had, in the State or in some other position, did the Empress have the intention that these meetings remain secret?
V. It was not possible that such a thing could be kept secret. These last two or three years, there was a police force at Tsarskoe Selo that watched everyone who came or left my house.
SMITTEN.Who was the chief of this police?
V.The commandant of the palace, Voiekov.
SMITTEN.And what terms were you on with this one?
V.Not with him...with her! It was her that I had a relationship with.
PRES.You wrote him "Dear Vladimir Nicholaevitch"?
V. Certainly. I knew them well and above all the Freedericks family, their daughters Emma and Nini, even though they were much older than I.
PRES. We suspend the interrogation.
V.Am I required to write something?
PRES.Do you want to write?
V.It is not that I want to, but if I must?
PRES.Yes, note down all that you know. We hope that it will really be that which you know.
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