The Last Czars accuracy: Is The Last Czars historically accurate?
The Last Czars is the new six-part docudrama series on Netflix about the fall of Tsar Nicholas II (played by Robert Jack) and the collapse of a monarchal rule in Russia. The series begins in 1868 and concludes upon the Tsar’s death in July 1918. The series features the opinions of expert historians who explain key events that led to the Tsar’s downfall.
Is The Last Czars historically accurate?
The Last Czars on Netflix is a docudrama, which features the opinion of historians and experts on the Romanov Dynasty.
None of the characters in the dramatised part of the series are fictional and the scenes depicted attempt to re-create real-life events as closely as possible and draws on sources from the time.
This means the majority of the series is historically accurate.
The timeline of events from the Tsar’s coronation on 26 May, 1868 until his death on July 17, 1918 are also historically accurate.
Key events such as the birth of Alexei, the heir to the Russian throne, the 1905 Russo-Japanese War, the outbreak of World War One in 1914, The February and October Revolutions of 1917 and the assassination of the Romanov family are all real events.
DID RASPUTIN AND ALEXANDRA HAVE AN AFFAIR?
As part of the series is a dramatisation of events, some of the scenes between characters have been imagined for dramatic purpose.
Even if some scenes are imagined, that is not to say they did not actually happen in real life, with the script being based on hours of research.
Susanna Herbert who plays Alexandra in The Last Czars said: “It’s not your average stiff, stilted period drama, there’s some dark comedy in there too.
“I love that this dark humour is juxtaposed with raw, brutal, highly emotionally charged scenes and interspersed with world-class historians offering up facts you will never have heard before about the story.”
Ben Cartwright who plays Rasputin added: “It’s a retelling the story of the fall of the Romanov dynasty over six-parts with expert analysis from historians who specialise in that era and a Game of Thrones-esque sort of epic drama that runs alongside it. I think that was the goal of everybody.”
WHO WAS RASPUTIN?
Till this day, Rasputin remains an ambiguous figure in the history of the Romanov dynasty.
Rasputin did exist and he was employed by the Romanov family as a healer to the heir of the Russian throne, Alexei.
Alexei suffered from haemophilia and Alexandra believed Rasputin was the only spiritual healer who could save him.
However, a lot of what we know about Rasputin is down to urban myth, hearsay and legend and it is this that is included in the docudrama series.
Rasputin was sexually promiscuous and believed in the need to sin to be truly saved by God.
There were even rumours that he joined the Khlysty, a religious sect whose rituals included self-flagellation and sexual orgies.
These scenes are included in the docudrama but according to historian Joseph Fuhrmann, the rumours about Rasputin’s membership of the sect have never been proved.
There were also rumours that Tsarina and Alexandra were having an affair while Nicholas II was serving as Commander-in-Chief on the Eastern Front from August 1915 onwards.
Revolutionary propaganda at the time began to use sexually explicit drawings to tarnish the Romanov family and criticise the Tsarist regime.
In the docudrama, the rumours are mentioned and the impact they had on the Russian family’s reputation play out on screen.
Alexandra did write numerous letters to Rasputin, which could be interpreted in a romantic way, but there is no evidence in the letters to suggest they were actually having an affair.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Cartwright said: “I felt like it was just a little too crass to think he just wanted to have sex with her. I think there was a lot more too it. I think there was mutual respect and love but it was kind of focused on the boy [Alexei] and she loved Rasputin because he was the only person who could help him and similarly, that was his calling in life to do things like that.
“From a dramatic point of view, it is obviously brilliant to have tension between the two, sexual chemistry or religious chemistry or what have you, but we left that out there and left it ambiguous because I don’t think anyone really knows.”
WHERE WAS THE LAST CZARS FILMED?
The Last Czars also focuses on the myth of Anastasia (Gabija Pazusyte).
At the beginning of each episode, former tutor of the Romanov children, Pierre Gillard (Oliver Dimsale) alongside doctors, are trying to figure out whether a woman in a psychiatric hospital claiming to be Anastasia is an imposter or not.
Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia was the Tsar’s youngest daughter and she was assassinated alongside her entire family on July 17, 1918.
As the remains of the Romanov family were not uncovered until the 1970s and two more discoveries in 2007, rumours began to circulate about her possible escape shortly after the assassination in 1918.
Several women have falsely claimed to be Anastasia, the most famous imposter being Anna Anderson.
Scientific testing has since proved that the remains found near Yekaterinburg are the imperial family and concludes that all four daughters of Tsar Nicholas II were killed.
Anderson passed away in 1984 but DNA testing in 1994 proved that she had no relation to the Romanov family.
The Last Czars is streaming on Netflix now
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