Alexei Nikolayevich

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(19041918), last of the Romanov dynasty of Russia.

Alexei Nikolayevich Romanov was the only son of Tsar Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra and the youngest member of Russia's last royal family. The Romanovs' elation over the birth of an heir to the throne quickly turned to worry, when doctors diagnosed Alexei with hemophilia, a hereditary disorder preventing the proper clotting of blood. Despite bouts of severe physical pain, Alexei was a happy and mischievous boy. Nonetheless, the unpredictable ebbs and flows in his condition dictated the mood of the tightly knit royal family. When Alexei was not well, melancholy reigned in the Romanov home.

After the doctors admitted that they could find no way to ease the boy's suffering, Empress Alexandra turned to a Siberian peasant and self-styled holy man, Grigory Yefimovich Rasputin. Rasputin somehow managed to temporarily stop Alexei's hemorrhaging, thus gaining the trust of the tsar's family. Believing Rasputin to be their son's benefactor and clinging to hope for Alexei's recovery, Nicholas and Alexandra rejected rumors of the mysterious peasant's debauched lifestyle.

Their patronage of Rasputin caused outrage in court circles and educated society, which contributed to the declining authority of the monarchy and its eventual collapse in 1917.

In July 1918, just days before his fourteenth birthday, Alexei was murdered, along with his parents, four sisters, and several royal servants, by a Bolshevik firing squad. In 1981, the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad canonized Alexei, along with the rest of the royal family, for accepting death with faith in God and humility. The Moscow Patriarchate canonized the royal family in 2000.

See also: alexandra fedorovna; nicholas ii; rasputin, grigory yefimovich; romanova, anastasia nikolayevna; romanov dynasty


Massie, Robert K. (2000). Nicholas and Alexandra. New York: Ballantine Books.

Nicholas Ganson