Eugene Botkin

Infobox Person
name = Dr. Eugene Botkin

image_size =
caption = Dr. Eugene Botkin, center, with his children, Tatiana, left, and Gleb, right, at Tobolsk in 1918.
birth_date = birth date|1865|3|27|mf=y
birth_place = Russia
death_date = death date and age|1918|7|17|1865|3|27|mf=y
death_place = Ekaterinburg, Russia
occupation = Physician
parents = Dr. Sergei Botkin, father
spouse = Olga Botkina (divorced 1910

Dr. Yevgeny Sergeivich Botkin, also known as Dr. Eugene Botkin, (March 27, 1865July 17, 1918), was the court physician for Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra and, while in exile with the family, sometimes treated the hemophilia-related complications of the Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich of Russia.

Botkin went into exile with the Romanovs following the Russian Revolution of 1917 and was murdered with the family at Ekaterinburg on July 17, 1918. Like them, he was canonized as a martyr by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia in 1981.

Early life and career

Botkin was the son of Sergei Botkin, who had been a court physician under Tsars Alexander II and Alexander III. Botkin himself studied medicine at the University of St. Petersburg and at the Universities of Berlin and Heidelberg. [King, Greg, and Wilson, Penny, "The Fate of the Romanovs," John Wiley and Sons, Inc., p. 61] He was later appointed chief physician at St. Georgievsky Hospital in St. Petersburg. He served with distinction aboard the St. Georgievsky Hospital Train during the Russo-Japanese War. [King and Wilson, p. 61]

He was appointed court physician in 1908. Botkin married and had four children, Dimitri, Yuri, Gleb, and Tatiana. His marriage broke up under the strain caused by Botkin's dedication to the Romanovs and his long hours at court. His wife, Olga, started an affair with the children's German tutor and asked for, and was granted, a divorce. [King and Wilson, p. 61]

Botkin was later devastated when his oldest sons, Dimitri and Yuri, were killed in action during World War I. [King and Wilson, p. 61] Botkin became increasingly religious and "developed an increasing abhorrence for the flesh," according to his son Gleb. [King and Wilson, p. 61]

"From a very tender age, his beautiful and noble nature was complete," his brother Peter recalled later. "He was never like other children. Always sensitive, of a delicate, inner sweetness of extraordinary soul, he had a horror of any kind of struggle or fight. We other boys would fight with a fury. He would not take part in our combats, but when our pugilism took on a dangerous character he would stop the combatants at risk of injuring himself. He was very studious and conscientious in his studies. For a profession he chose medicine: to help, to succor, to soothe, to heal without end." [King and Wilson, p. 61]

Exile and death

Botkin felt it was duty to accompany the Romanovs into exile, both because of his responsibility to his patients, the Romanov family, but also to the country. [King and Wilson, p. 61] Botkin was considered a friend by Tsar Nicholas II and the doctor also often spoke with Tsarina Alexandra in her native German and acted as a translator for her when she received a Russian delegation. [King and Wilson, p. 62]

White Russian Army investigators found this unfinished letter, written in his quarters on the night of July 16, 1918: cquote|I am making a last attempt at writing a real letter -- at least from here -- although that qualification, I believe, is utterly superfluous. I do not think that I was fated at any time to write to anyone from anywhere. My voluntary confinement here is restricted less by time than by my earthly existence. In essence I am dead -- dead for my children -- dead for my work ... I am dead but not yet buried, or buried alive -- whichever, the consequences are nearly identical ... The day before yesterday, as I was calmly reading ... I saw a reduced vision of my son Yuri's face, but dead, in a horizontal position, his eyes closed. Yesterday, at the same reading, I suddenly heard a word that sounded like Papulya. I nearly burst into sobs. Again -- this is not a hallucination because the word was pronounced, the voice was similar, and I did not doubt for an instant that my daughter, who was supposed to be in Tobolsk, was talking to me ... I will probably never hear that voice so dear or feel that touch so dear with which my little children so spoiled me ... If faith without works is dead, then deeds can live without faith ... This vindicates my last decision ... when I unhesitatingly orphaned my own children in order to carry out my physician's duty to the end, as Abraham did not hesitate at God's demand to sacrifice his only son. [*Christopher, Peter, Kurth, Peter, and Radzinsky, Edvard, "Tsar: The Lost World of Nicholas and Alexandra," 1995, ISBN 0316507873, p. 194]

The letter was interrupted when Commander Yakov Yurovsky, the head of the command at the Ipatiev House, knocked on his door and ordered him that the Romanov party was to get dressed and come downstairs. Yurovksy told him there was firing in the town and the party was to be evacuated.

Instead, the family and their servants were murdered a short time later. [Christopher et. al, p. 194]


Botkin's two surviving children, Gleb and Tatiana, both became convinced that Anna Anderson was the surviving Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia and were advocates of her cause all their lives.

ee also

*Romanov sainthood


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