Producer
Director
Manfred Oldenburg
Producer
n/a
Genre
History
Broadcaster
ZDF
Length
1 x 45'
Editor
Year
2014
Königliche Dynastien
Die Romanows

No other family has shaped Russia like the Romanovs. For three centuries, the tsar dynasty ruled over the largest country on earth. The Romanovs manifested their power with marriage politics, force of arms and dictatorial harshness. Myths and legends entwine around the ruling dynasty. Great names are associated with it, revered and feared in equal measure.

Peter the Great modernised the country and made it a major European power. With Catherine the Great, a German conquered the Russian Tsar's throne. With wit and guile she became the most powerful woman in the world. Under Nicholas II, the Tsarist Empire fell. In one of the most brutal political murders of the 20th century, the last Tsar, his family and his most loyal servants were killed in the night of 16-17 July 1918.

Throughout Russia, the Bolsheviks hunted down members of the Romanov family in those days. 18 members of the dynasty and countless people close to them fell victim to them. But some were able to flee the country in time. Today, around 60 members of the tsar's family live all over the world.

The filmmakers visited the descendants of the Romanovs. The aged brothers Prince Nicholas and Prince Dimitri look back on their family history in a personal and knowledgeable way. The fate of the tsar's family, which they actively helped to clarify, still accompanies them today. Chief investigator Vladimir Soloviev gives an impressive account of how the murder of the century, with all its brutality and many mysteries, was solved. Xenia Sfiris, the grandniece of the last tsar, bears witness to life at the Russian tsar's court. She tells first-hand of her grandparents' memories of the tsar's family and of the tsar's whisperer Rasputin, who was legendarily murdered in her grandparents' house with the help of her grandfather.

The film documents the events that took place in the Tsarist empire with powerful images. It takes the viewer on a voyage of discovery through Russia's history. In St. Petersburg, the Romanov palaces present themselves as stone witnesses of former power and immeasurable wealth, while in Yekaterinburg the scars of the past from the massacre of the Tsar's family are omnipresent. Even behind the gates of the Moscow Kremlin, where the story of Romanov rule once began, it was possible to capture rare images from the centre of power.

The documentary spans the period from the heyday of the ruling family to the legacy of the Romanovs. Based on selected biographies, the film reflects on the history of Tsarist Russia and deals with the overarching question of how the 300-year rule of the Romanovs shaped the country. In an exciting and entertaining way, the film also explores the origins of today's power relations. For the legacy of the tsars is still clearly perceptible in today's Russia - and not only in the imposing buildings that the Romanovs had erected. Anyone observing today's politics in Russia will discover many parallels to times long past.

First broadcast: Tuesday, 05.08.2014, 20:15 on ZDF

 

Royal Dynasties: The Romanovs

No other family has shaped Russia like the Romanovs. For three centuries, the tsar dynasty ruled over the largest country on earth. The Romanovs manifested their power with marriage politics, force of arms and dictatorial harshness. Myths and legends entwine around the ruling dynasty. Great names are associated with it, revered and feared in equal measure.

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