The turmoil during World War I, coinciding with the rise of the Bolsheviks, led to intrigue surrounding the last Tsar of Russia. The last Tsar who had amassed treasure beyond imagination was still waiting to be found. A treasure that disappeared just as the Bolsheviks seized power and brought down the House of Romanoff. 1917 was a period of discontent in Moscow. The cries of the populace causing an open revolt in the violent overthrow of the ruling class. It was during this time that Nicholas hid his great fortune in hopes of retrieving it and restoring his rightful place as ruler of all Russia. Such a vast treasure was lost to history.

The events that led to the fall of House Romanoff can be traced back to the outbreak of World War I. Russia entered the war with universal popular enthusiasm among all classes of the population. In 1914, support for the tsarist regime was still very strong. However, the era of the imperial rule of the Russian people was rapidly approaching a swift and decisive end. Several events contributed to the eventual downfall of Nicholas II, the last Tsar of all Russia. When Nicholas took over as commanding staff of the Russian army in the summer of 1915, he did so by leaving his wife in Moscow to run the government. At the time, many Russians openly disliked her just because she was German. This distrust became the spark that ignited the flames of the revolution.

The Tsarina was not only highly unpopular, but was under the influence of the “Mad Monk” Rasputin, who has been said by many to have hypnotic powers. This Svengali effect that Rasputin had on the Emperors began when he used his hypnotic powers to cure the Tsarevich, Alexei of hemophilia. Since then, the Emperors have always been under his spell. Rasputin did nothing to anger the rest of the nobility and it was Rasputin’s influence that largely brought the entire Tsarist system of government into disrepute. When Rasputin was assassinated in December 1916, the damage had already been done. Adding to the lack of confidence in the Tsar was the fact that millions of Russian casualties as a result of the offensive and the total lack of competence in military strategy on the part of the Tsar caused the discontent of the armies. Poor training, lack of supplies and the necessary armaments were all too prevalent during the years leading up to the Bolsheviks taking the Russian throne.

The entire war effort had been organized in the most haphazard manner. The tsar was not a very good administrator in war preparations. The workforce was recruited indiscriminately without regard to the needs of industry, agriculture, or communications. Horses were available in the countryside to meet the needs of the army, leaving the peasants without means to till the land. Distribution problems had caused a disruption in the food supply to the cities. In 1916, Petrograd and Moscow received only a third of their fuel and food needs. This was made worse by hyperinflation which caused prices to quadruple during the war. These factors created serious discontent among the working classes of the cities. This discontent escalated into numerous strikes, all of which had to be suppressed by the Tsar.

At the beginning of 1917, the political parties were totally unhappy with the tsar and his government. In January, some 300,000 workers staged a demonstration on the anniversary of the 1905 “Bloody Sunday” massacre. Conditions in the winter of 1917 were so severe that the working classes faced acute food shortages. During the following month another strike for higher wages took place at the Putilov engineering works. Meanwhile, the tsar was absent again and seemed oblivious to the real situation of the majority of the Russian population. At that time, St. Petersburg came to a standstill as more than 250,000 workers went on strike. At the same time, the military was beginning to side with the strikers when the Tsar ordered them to crush all the striking workers. When more than forty people were killed in Saint Petersburg that month, most of the military joined the mass opposition to the tsarist government.

At the same time, the Petrograd soviet (council) was revived and quickly established itself as the real power in the city. He had complete control over the railways and commanded the loyalty of the troops. The Tsar, against advice, sent General Ivanov to the city to restore order. However, his troops went over to the revolutionaries. In early March, the Tsar let Mogilev deal with the crisis personally, but following the advice of his top generals, he decided to abdicate in Pskov. A provisional government was established under the leadership of Prince Lvov. This government was to rule until a constituent assembly was elected to draft a new constitution. Nicholas and his family were placed under house arrest.

This was the last of the Romanoff dynasty and the beginning of the quest to find the last remaining 9 Fabergé Eggs that hold the key to one of history’s most elusive treasures and prevent a ruthless cardinal from destroying the hopes and dreams of The humanity.

The Kremlin: December 1916

It was just after midnight when Nicholas II reached the Kremlin from the eastern front, where heavy casualties made the entire Russian army feel betrayed by the Tsar. The entire war effort was now the beginning of the end for the ruling class and especially for Nicholas. Under cover of darkness, at midnight outside the Kremlin, two horse-drawn carts were waiting to be loaded. Meanwhile, the Bolsheviks considered making their move and capturing the last Tsar of Russia and confiscating the Tsar’s vast treasury. Unbeknownst to them, the Tsar was already one step ahead. Knowing that he might very well be captured in a day or two, he had planned even before he returned from the Eastern Front to ensure that his treasure would be safely hidden away from Moscow. Inside the Kremlin now were the only three remaining members of the Tsar’s immediate family. Nicholas II, his beloved wife, and Anastasia were all that remained, as the rest of his family had already made a safe journey out of Moscow.

Waiting by two horse-drawn carts at the entrance to the south side of the Kremlin, Lieutenant Bechniski ordered his men to quickly load the carts. As the snow was falling, this would only make the trek out of Moscow that much more cumbersome and would undoubtedly leave a trail. The lieutenant ordered the cars to be repositioned as sleds to aid in the quick departure. When the Tsar finally appeared “Lieutenant, here are his orders. Do not stop for anything until you reach the destination”, while the Tsar handed Lieutenant Bechniski a rolled paper with the royal seal that sealed its contents. Documents in hand, the lieutenant mounted his horse and ordered his men to move on. As the wagons pulled away from the Kremlin, the Tsar breathed a sigh of relief now that he knew his treasures would never fall into the hands of the Bolsheviks.

Present: South Bend, University of Notre Dame

As Tom Swartz stood in the doorway of his brother’s office, Dean Stockwell walked over softly and put his arm around Tom’s shoulder. “Your brother, the professor, wanted you to have this.” Turning to look at the Dean only to hear “Tom, we here at Notre Dame are very saddened by the tragedy in Afghanistan. I don’t know what is inside this letter, but I was ordered to deliver it to you in case I didn’t or could”. He didn’t come back. He knew what he was going to find and he realized the dangers in finding it.” Hearing this, Tom reached up to accept the envelope the Dean was handing him. “Dean, what do you mean he knew?” “The teacher confided in me the day before he left. In investigating him, he stumbled across a map long thought to be non-existent to the whereabouts of Nicholas II’s vast remaining treasure. Everyone thought that the Bolsheviks seized it at the same time that they captured the Tsar’s family. . Only Lieutenant Bechniski of the Royal Guard knew. Because it was he who took most of the Kremlin’s treasure the night before the Bolsheviks fenced it off. The professor also discovered that the lieutenant was Anastasia’s lover. One thing that troubled you, brother. was that he was never able to find out anything more than what happened to the lieutenant after Nicholas was captured.”

Trying to understand the meaning of what the Dean just said, Tom asked? “My brother showed you the map?” “No, he didn’t. I guess he wanted to save the University trouble if he was in fact on a wild goose chase. You see, the map the professor found, according to him, was a general location somewhere in the hills to the north.” . Afghanistan. After all, what a great find if his brother had lived and the University of Notre Dame had been credited with finding one of the most elusive treasures in history. It was the treasure and the hope of finding the last nine lost Fabergé eggs that here at Notre Dame agreed to fund the expedition.” Turning to walk away, the dean added, “Tom, let me know if I or the university can help you in any way. “. “I will.” Now Tom was left alone with the envelope in his right hand.

When Tom returned home, he noticed that the front door had been forced. Always carrying a concealed pistol since his brother’s death, Tom took careful aim as he quickly opened the door. Inside, the living room was a complete mess. His bookshelf was overturned with books and papers scattered all over the place. Go quickly from room to room and find that each room was just as trashed. Things were starting to come together. Making sure no one was in the house, Tom closed both doors. Scratching his head, Tom went to open the letter the Dean handed him. Reading “Brother, you’re reading this because I can’t tell you in person. You need to contact Jim Baxter. He’s the only one I trust. See you on the other side” his brother signed. “That’s it” Tom spoke to himself. Remembering seeing Jim Baxter’s name on the University’s Visiting Professor of Middle Eastern Affairs a day from now, Tom knew he had little time left before Jim flew back to Jerusalem.

Current: January 25: Zurich Switzerland

Inside the Dolder Grand Hotel, President Smith had just greeted Russian President Boris Sadinski when suddenly an explosion shattered both front windows. Quickly, Secret Service agents Lenny Wilson and John Ross grabbed both presidents and together they scrambled under the heavy conference table. Moments later, Lenny Wilson got up only to find Tom Swartz crawling through the shattered door. “Tom Swartz, what the hell are you doing here?” Lenny yelled. Moments later, as Secret Service agents rushed in, President Smith stood up indicating that he and President Sadinski were uninjured. “Tom, how did you find us? No one was supposed to know about this meeting.” Leon asked. In front of both presidents, I have urgent news that concerns everyone,” Tom answered. At that moment, Tom reached into his pocket and handed the map to President Smith. “Mr. President, this is what my brother was after and died for.” As the President took a closer look, he handed it to President Sadinski: “Tom, there’s more to this than we know, right?” “Yes , there is. You see my brother on his quest to find the lost Fabergé eggs, he didn’t know one of his guides was a member of al-Qaeda.

As Tom told the story about finding the missing Fabergé eggs, both presidents, half listening, began making arrangements to meet with the NSA, Interpol, the KGB, and the CIA. Gathering of intelligence of maximum urgency.

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