The ruling dynasty of Russia from 1613 CE until the Russian Revolution in February of 1917 CE. The last Tsar of Russia was Nicholas II, a member of the Romanov family. Supposedly, every member of Nicholas II's immediate family was executed by the Communist revolutionaries in Ekaterinburg in July of 1918. After the execution, however, a number of young women cropped up claiming to be Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolayevna, youngest daughter of Nicholas II. These claims led to Anastasia's establishment as a semi-mythological character in world history: the exiled noblewoman, unable to claim her rightful identity or fortune. An entirely fictional account of "Anastasia's" escape from the revolutionaries was filmed in cartoon format by Disney.

The claims of one woman to the identity of Anastasia, calling herself Anna Anderson, persisted until her death in 1984. Her story was particularly accurate and compelling, but genetic tests in the 1990s proved that she was not a member of the Romanov family.

In many ways, the Romanovs were the last royal dynasty which operated as a power bloc in Europe. They deserve mourning; their rule may have been tyrannical, but not nearly so drastically as that which befell the Russian nation in the years of the Soviet Union.

On an interesting side note, the Romanov's never really had decided claim to the throne. They were not decendents of the first ruler of Russia, Rurik. Instead, the first Romanov was the brother of Anastasia Romanova who was the first wife of Ivan the Terrible.

It was after the title of Tsar had passed through about three other people that claimed to be heir that Michael Romanov took the throne in 1613, 29 years after Ivan the Terrible died of supposed mercury poisoning.

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