The process of rethinking the history of our country leads to availability for scholars and specialists of unknown documentary sources (archives, publications of ‘Russian emigration’ etc.) and growing the flow of historical literature. Materials devoted to the House of Romanovs occupy a special place in it.
The last period of the Romanov family's life connected with the revolutionary events of 1917 is closely related to Siberia, where the Tsar’s family was removed after Nicholai II abdication. The Romanovs family was held in Tobolsk exil since August 1917 to April 1918, afterward they were sent to Ekaterinburg, where, according to the resolution of the Executive Committee of the Ural Regional Council of Workers, Peasants 'and Soldiers' Deputies, the family of Nicholai II was shot, although the Ural Executive Committee was not a judicial body. The 100th anniversary of these sad events in the Russian history — the Tsar family death — is in 2018.
The paper objective is to analyze the flow of documents devoted to Romanovs’ Tobolsk exile from the database (DB) "Scholar Sibirica" generated by the State Public Scientific Technological Library of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (SPSTL SB RAS). The DB including only regional bibliographic materials is considered as a source base to study Siberian history as a Whole, and Tobolsk period of the family life of the last Russian Emperor, in particular. The DB is compiling within the framework of information support of SB RAS researchers and specialists’ activity. The basis for the DB generation is a legal copy of Russian literature and foreign publications entering the library by subscription and the international book exchange. The documentary massif includes monographs, tutorials, articles from periodicals and scientific collections, conferences proceedings, abstracts of dissertations, methodological recommendations, reviews, preprints, and others.
DB “Scholar Sibirica” has the thematic section "History of Siberia and the Far East" with an itemized rubricator, which includes publications since 1990 to the present. Publications are devoted not only to the Romanovs’ Tobolsk exile but visiting Siberia by the members of the Tsar family, the history of settlements named after the august persons in Siberian region, impostors at the wide Asian territory and many others. The DB search capabilities allow us to select the flow of documents studying the period of Tobolsk exile of the Romanovs family.
The documentary flow from DB "Scholar Sibirica" on Nicholai II and his family life in Tobolsk amounted above 2 hundred works over 25-year period. The publication dynamics is shown at Figure 1, which reflects two periods of increased interest in the subject and two periods of declining the publication activity:
- the publication surge in the first half of the 90s is related to the availability of previously closed archival documents after perestroika, the possibility of publishing unknown or inaccessible materials, disputes about the necessity to canonize Nicholas II family by the Russian Orthodox Church;
- decreasing the editions number in the second half of the 1990s was apparently affected by insufficient funding of science, which had a negative impact on the whole Russian scientific community,
- 2006-2010 is the second period of publication activity (especially 2006 when 14 monographs have been issued) is explained by the improvement of the economic situation in the country as a whole and in science, in particular,
- the early 2010s — among the reasons of declining the number of published materials should be called the academic science reform in Russia and the crisis processes in the economy leading to reduction in funding research institutions.
Publications of 2016-2017 years of the publication are still entering the library collection, so they were not taken into account while creating the diagram. In connection with the anniversary dates of the February and October revolutions of 1917, which led to the exile of the Tsar’s family in Tobolsk, many scientific events are held in Russia (e.g. “The Urals in the Romanovs Fate” (Ekaterinburg, June, 2017), “The Case of The Murder of The Royal Family: New Examinations and Archival Materials. Discussion” (Sretensky Monastery, Moscow, November, 2017), so we should expect a significant increase in the volume of published works on the topic for the next 5 years.
Figure 1. Publications dynamics on the issue "Nicholay II family in Tobolsk"
Monographic works predominate in the documentary flow structure. Totally scientific monographs, memoirs, diaries, collections of letters and documents accounted for 70% of it, that indicates a significant amount of previously unpublished data. Memoirs have been reprinted on repeated occasions after Perestroika; they are represented by:
- Reminiscence by P. Gilliar, who was the former tutor of the Prince Alexey and moved with the Royal family to Tobolsk, which were reprinted and translated into Russian,
- Materials of M. K. Diterikhs — the head of the Commission to investigate the tsar family murder created during the years of Kolchak's rule in Siberia,
- Recollection by N. Sokolov — the investigator for particularly important cases of Omsk District Court studied the murder of the royal family, whose papers were published first abroad in the late 1920s and that appeared in Russia,
- Materials of T. Melnik-Botkin, the daughter of Doctor E. S. Botkin, the Emperor's Life Medicine, who was killed with the tsar family. She published memoirs with extracts from her father's letters, which depicted in Romanovs’ family existence in Tobolsk,
- Documents relating to the Siberian period of the Romanovs' life: letters by Nicholai II and his family from Tobolsk, diaries of the Emperor and Empress, which are the most important source of information about their family.
The Russian emigration also highlighted the tragic pages of the history of the Romanov dynasty, including the former head of the Provisional Government, A. Kerensky, who published the book in French and republished in Russia in the 2000s.
Russian historians A. Bokhanov (Doctor of Historical Sciences, a researcher of the Institute of Russian History of the Russian Academy of Sciences), Yu. Buranov (Doctor of Historical Sciences, an employee of the Russian Center for Documents Storage and Use) and V. Khrustalyov (Candidate of Historical Sciences, an employee of the Russian Center for Documents Storage and Use), P. Multatuli (Candidate of Historical Sciences, the head of the Analysis and Evaluation Sector of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies) have investigated the death of Nicholai II family and issued numerous monographs. Studying the last Emperor life have been done by foreign scholars published books about the Romanov family translated into Russian: M. Ferro, a French historian, Honorary Doctor of Moscow University, R. Pipes, Ph.D., Professor of the Russian Studies at Harvard University. Plural scientific and journalistic works in the form of popular science books have been prepared by writer-historians, who study the Revolutionary Russia: E. Radzinsky, O. Platonov, and others. DB documents have annotations, which reflect Tobolsk period of the Romanovs' life in all mentioned books.
It should be noted that the books devoted to the Romanovs are part of the serials: Imperial Russia in Persons, The Tsar's House, The Revolution and the Tsar, Russia — a way through the centuries, which titles indicates the interests of historians and writers to this topic.
The articles from the collections and periodicals make up one third of the documentary flow, and they represent the materials of investigations mainly over the last decade, and conferences proceedings: e.g. All-Russian Conference "Romanovs’ Readings", the International Conference on the Fate of the Romanovs in the Destiny of Siberia, etc.
Thus, the documentary flow selected from DB “Scholarly Sibirica” is a usefull instrument for studying the last stage of Russian Emperor family life incorporating the references on the issue. The mentioned above DB is free for the Internet users at SPSTL SB RAS’ website. Based on DB "Scholar Sibirica" e-exhibition "The Romanovs’ Family in Tobolsk" presented at the site to the anniversary of revolutionary events in Russia was prepared. Materials from DBs of SPSTL SB RAS’ own generation are available at http://webirbis.spsl.nsc.ru/, options "Catalogs and databases" → "Bibliographic databases" → “Scholar Sibirica”, as well they can be received by e-mail, by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org, or by on-line order of e-article at the homepage of the site.