January 8, 1919
"It is necessary to treat with reserve" a story sent by a special correspondent of the London newspaper, the Morning Post at Archangel. The correspondent writes: "A friend of mine, Prince M, who has just arrived here from Petrograd, informed me that he had a long talk with Grand Duke Cyril on November 18. The Grand Duke told him that he had just received a letter from Grand Duchess Tatiana, daughter of the Emperor, who wrote that the Empress and her daughters were still alive, and the Emperor had not been shot.
"The Bolshevik officer who was ordered to carry out the sentence of death told the Emperor that it was a matter of indifference to him who was shot. He had orders to produce a corpse -- bullets in the head of a victim would make identification impossible.
Count T, who was present at the conversation, offered to sacrifice himself, saying he considered it was his duty to lay down his life for his sovereign. The Emperor protested vehemently, but was overruled by Count T and the officer. The Emperor escaped, but no one knows where he is at the present time.
Dr. Botkin has also written to his sister to the effect that the 'greatest crime of the twentieth century has miscarried.'"
The Associated Press reported in a dispatch dated December 24 with a Warsaw dateline that Michael de Tchihatchef, a nephew of General Skoropadski, as the source for this story. Nicholas II's former military attaché, Count Tatchev, was named as the victim, who was shot instead of the Tsar.
It must be repeated that this story be treated with "reserve," as there is no verification from Grand Duke Cyril.