Anna Vyrubova

Anna Vyrubova, born Taneyeva, confidante of Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna, friend of Grigory Rasputin
Born: 1884, Moscow
Died: 1964, Helsinki

In 1905, Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna made a new friend. This was Anna Taneyeva, a twenty-year-old lady-in-waiting. She was born in Moscow on 16 July 1884 in the family of the composer Alexander Taneyev and Nadezhda Tolstoya, who was descended from Fieldmarshal Mikhail Kutuzov.

Anna was a chubby girl with ash-coloured hair and enormous blue eyes. She was devoted to Alexandra, who liked her simple manners. The two women spent hours together, sharing secrets, singing duets or playing together on the piano. Alexandra called her “Anya,” while Anna called her “Sana.”

Alexandra Fyodorovna hoped that her young friend would be as happy in marriage as she was with Nicholas II. She began looking for a husband and found one in the form of a naval officer called Alexander Vyrubov. Anna and Alexander were married in 1907.

Unfortunately for Anna, the empress was a poor judge of people. Vyrubov turned out to be a drug addict and an impotent pervert. After several wretched months with her husband, Anna ran away from him, with the full support of Nicholas and Alexandra, who knew all the details of her unhappy marriage.

After Nicholas was overthrown in February 1917, the Provisional Government formed a special commission to investigate the “criminal actions” of the tsarist regime. They were particularly interested in the role and influence of Grigory Rasputin.

Although the commission never completed its work, much of the evidence was later published. Vladimir Rudnev wrote about Anna Vyrubova: “The medical examination of Anna Vyrubova carried out in May 1917 by the extraordinary commission of investigation establishes beyond doubt that Anna Vyrubova is a virgin.”

After the revolution, Anna Vyrubova was arrested and imprisoned in the Peter and Paul Fortress. In December 1920, she managed to escape to Finland, where she became a nun and published her memoirs in response to a false “diary” written by Alexei Tolstoy and Pavel Schyogolev. She died in Helsinki on 23 July 1964 and was buried in the Orthodox section of Hietaniemi Cemetery.

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