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Saturday, 21 May 2016
Three New Busts of Emperor Nicholas II Unveiled in Russia
Topic: Nicholas II

This article was written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2016

On 16 May, a bronze bust of St. Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II was unveiled on the grounds of the Transfiguration Cathedral in the Russian city of Tambov. Metropolitan Theodosius of Tambov and Rasskazovsky performed the consecration in the presence of members of the clergy, Orthodox Christians and monarchists.

In 1914, Emperor Nicholas II visited the church during a short visit to Tambov, where he venerated the relics of St. Pitirim of Tambov (glorified in 1914). In honour of this historic event a walkway was recreated from the church to the source of a nearby well, which allows the faithful to retrace the steps of Russia’s last emperor some 102 years ago.

"He proceeded along the walkway by which we today march to the source of Saint Pitirim, and drank water from it. We have historical evidence of this event, "- said Metropolitan Theodosius of Tambov and Rasskazovsky.

The bust of Emperor Nicholas II was presented to the church by the Orthodox Mission Branch of the Tambov Archdiocese.

A second bust of Emperor Nicholas II was also unveiled on 16 May in Yalta. The bronze bust was unveiled by Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society (IOPS) Chairman Sergei Stepashin, marking the 100th anniversary of the last visit to the Crimea by Russia’s last emperor.

Metropolitan Lazar of Simferopol and Crimea performed a liturgy in St. Nicholas Cathedral, followed by a procession along the waterfront where he performed the consecration of the bust. The solemn ceremony was followed by festivities attended by the heads of the municipality, municipal education departments of Family, Youth and Sports in Yevpatoriya. 

The opening ceremony was attended by Metropolitan Lazar of Simferopol and Crimea Lazar, Metropolitan Platon of Feodosia and Kerch, the Head of the Russian Imperial House HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, her son Grand Duke Georgii Mikhailovich, and the head of the administration of Yevpatoriya Andrew Filonov, among other guests of honour.

The bust was established on the initiative of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society and its Chairman Sergei Stepashin with the blessing of His Eminence Lazarus, Metropolitan of Simferopol and Crimea. This is the second bust of Emperor Nicholas II in the Yalta area. The first was unveiled at Livadia Palace on 19 May, 2015.
 
A third bust of Emperor Nicholas II was unveiled on 19 May in Rostov-on-Don. The bronze bust was erected at the entrance of the Cadet School of the Second Don Emperor Nicholas II Cadets Corps, located at the Don State Technical University. 

� Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 21 May, 2016
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:40 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 23 May 2016 5:42 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 18 May 2016
On This Day: Emperor Nicholas II was Born at Tsarskoye Selo
Topic: Nicholas II

Note: this article has been amended from its original by Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia

On 18 May (O.S. 6 May) 1868 in the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo, was born the first son of Emperor Alexander III and Empress Maria Feodorovna, the Grand Duke Nikolai Alexandrovich - the future and last Emperor of Russia - Nicholas II.

Nicholas passed his childhood years growing up in Gatchina Palace. The future emperor had been educated in compliance with an accurately designed thirteen year program. During the first 8 years particular attention was devoted to subjects such as political history, Russian literature, French, German, English, and gymnasium; the next five years were devoted to studying military affairs, legal and economic sciences, necessary for a statesman. Among his tutors were outstanding Russian scholars: N. N. Beketov, N. N. Obruchev, J. F. Cui, M. I. Dragomirov, N. J. Bunge.

In 1884 Nicholas joined the military service, and in July 1887 he joined the Preobrazhensky Regiment. Prior to ascending the throne, Nicholas commanded – as a colonel - the first battalion of the Life Guards Preobrazhensky Regiment.

Having a notion about public affairs, Nicholas began to attend meetings of the State Council and the Committee of Ministers from May 1889. In October 1890 he went on a voyage to the Far East. During the first 9 months, he visited Greece, Egypt, India, China, Japan, and then by land, having crossed the entire Siberia, returned to the capital of Russia.  

In April 1894 the future Emperor became engaged with Princess Alice of Hesse Darmstadt, the daughter of Grand Duke of Hesse, granddaughter of Queen Victoria of England. After her conversion to Orthodoxy, she took the name Alexandra Feodorovna.

On 2 November (O.S. 20 October), 1894 his father Emperor Alexander III died at the young age of 49. A few hours before his death, the dying emperor obliged his son to sign a Manifesto on his accession to the throne.

During the reign of Nicholas II, Russia was being transformed into a major agro-industrial nation, the cities grew, railroads and industrial enterprises were being rapidly developed. The Emperor supported the decisions aimed at economic and social modernization of the country: introduction of the gold circulation of the ruble, Stolypin's agrarian reform, laws on workers' insurance, universal primary education, and religious tolerance.

The Reign of Nicholas II took place in an atmosphere of growing revolutionary movements and the complexity of the situation of foreign policy (Russian-Japanese War of 1904-1905, Bloody Sunday, Revolution of 1905-1907; First World War, February Revolution of 1917).

Under the influence of a strong social movement in favour of political reforms, the Emperor signed the Manifesto of 17 October 1905, proclaiming democratic freedoms. On 6 May (O.S. 23 April), 1906 he approved a new edition of “Fundamental laws of the Russian Empire”, and in 1906 the State Duma began its work established by the emperor’s Manifesto.

The turning point in the fate of Nicholas II was the year of 1914 - the beginning of World War I, which worsened internal problems of the country.  In Petrograd unrests began, which grew into mass demonstrations against the government and dynasty. On 15 March (O.S. 2 March) 1917 in Pskov, Nicholas II signed an act of abdication, handing power to his brother Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich, who rejected the crown.

On 20 March (O.S. 7 March) 1917, the Provisional Government ordered the arrest of Nicholas and his wife. In early August 1917 the former emperor and his entourage were exiled to Tobolsk in Siberia. In May 1918, they were transferred to Ekaterinburg. On the night of 16 (O.S. 3) / 17 (O.S. 4) July 1918, Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra, along with their five children and four of their faithful retainers were murdered by the Ural Soviet.

After years of research of the remains found near Ekaterinburg in the 1990s, they were solemnly buried in Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg on 17 July, 1998. In 2000, Nicholas II and the members of his family were canonized by the Moscow Patriarchate. The Imperial family had canonized in 1981 by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). 

© Presidential Library / Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 17 May, 2016
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:24 AM EDT
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Friday, 13 May 2016
Diaries and Memoirs Assess Life and Reign of Russia's Last Emperor
Topic: Nicholas II


Note: this article has been amended from its original by Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia

Shortly before the anniversary day of the birth of Emperor Nicholas II (1868-1918), which is celebrated on May 18, the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library in St. Petersburg offers rare materials, revealing the tragedy of the autocrat, who failed to save Russia from the social cataclysms which engulfed Russia in the early 20th century.

Emperor Nicholas Alexandrovich Romanov was born at the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoye Selo on the day when the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the memory of Holy Job the Long-Suffering. The Emperor made note of this coincidence, believing with "profound conviction that he was fated to terrible ordeals."

And they were not slow to come. The results of the Russian-Japanese war, the economic crisis and dissatisfaction of populace in response, the events of January 9, 1905, when the army and police of St. Petersburg took arms to drive away a peaceful procession of workers carrying a petition to Tsar... In the end of 1905 railway strike broke out nationwide. It shut down traffic on the Baltic Railway. "Transportation to St. Petersburg only by water, disgraceful situation," - the last Russian Emperor noted in his diary.

In an electronic copy of the "The Diary of Emperor Nicholas II" for the years 1890-1906 can be found his brief notes about the weather, dinners with those close to the Emperor, his "treasures" (son Alexei) behaviour - but almost nothing about the ripening of the revolutionary storm brewing in the country. "The weather was calm and sunny with wonderful frost on the trees," - writes Emperor Nikolai on January 7, 1905, two days before Bloody Sunday. A mention of the events of January 9 is interspersed with description of the everyday family rituals:

"Hard day! In St. Petersburg there were serious disturbances due to workers’ longing to get to the Winter Palace. The troops had to shoot across the city; there were many dead and wounded. Lord, how painful and hard! Mamá came over to see us from the city straight to liturgy. We had breakfast with everyone. Mamá stayed over with us."

Note: I would like to point out that historians often cite the lack of “details” in Nicholas II’s diaries as evidence of a ruler out of touch with reality. In situations such as ‘Bloody Sunday’ they also accuse him of insensitivity. This is an unfair assessment, due to the fact that his diaries were never intended as a historical record for his descendants, nor as a historical record on which to judge his life and reign. Historians are guilty of an unconscionable number of conclusions based on diary entries, the overwhelming majority of them unfavorable to Nicholas II. One of the worst offenders is French historian Hélène Carrère d'Encausse, in her book Nicholas II: The Interrupted Transition, published in 2000 - Paul Gilbert

Russian journalist, writer, critic M. Nevedomsky in the book "The First Year of Nicholas II" of 1896 edition wrote about a petition to Tsar from the district council "community" in response to his first "programmatic" speech, which has over crossed out all the hopes for society democratization: "The most advanced district council and council’s people insisted, or rather, asked only for the Tsar’s accord with the people, the direct access of district council to the throne, for transparency and the fact that the law was always higher than administrative tyranny. In short, it was all just about the bureaucratic-court wall, separating Tsar of Russia, to collapse."

Most historians explain the defeat of the empire in many respects to mismatch of Nicholas’ II personal qualities with the scale of problems he had to face (although many contemporaries stressed his good manners, amazing memory, accuracy in business, and modesty). "A task, which has laid into his shoulders, was too heavy, it exceeded his powers," - wrote a mentor of Tsarevich Alexei, who well knew Emperor Pierre Gilliard.

A prophecy of Leo Tolstoy, who sent two letters to the Tsar, trying to warn Nicholas from the wrong steps in dealing with crisis, has come true - in February 1917 Petrograd was consumed with riots. On March 2 the abdication of Nicholas II from the throne occurred, followed by the arrest of the entire family. On July 17, 1918 after five months of detention, the Bolsheviks in the cellar of the Ipatiev house shot dead the former ruler of Russia, Tsarina and their five children. In 1980 Nicholas II, Tsarina and their five children were canonized by the decision of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. They were later canonized in 2000 by the Moscow Patriarchate.

Detailed information about the fate of Nicholas II can be found in the electronic collection of the Presidential Library, which in 2013 marked the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. The collection includes about a thousand digitized documents, most of which were previously unknown to Russian and Western historians.

© Presidential Library / Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 13 May, 2016
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:14 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 16 May 2016 3:58 PM EDT
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Thursday, 12 May 2016
Crimean Prosecutor General Carries Icon of Nicholas II in WWII Procession
Topic: Nicholas II


Natalya Poklonskaya, Prosecutor General of Crimea, carrying an icon of Saint Nicholas II Tsar-Martyr of Russia,
during the Immortal Regiment procession held in Simferopol on 9th May - Victory Day
 
This article was written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2016
 
On 9th May - Victory Day in Russia - Natalya Poklonskaya, Prosecutor General of Crimea, took part in a procession carrying an icon of Saint Nicholas II Tsar-Martyr of Russia. While most of those who participated in the Immortal Regiment march in the Crimean capital of Simferopol carrying photos of their relatives who fought in WWII, Poklonskaya instead carried an icon of Russia’s last emperor.

Poklonskaya, explained why she carried an icon of Nicholas II and not photos of her relatives who fought in WWII during the procession: “A lot of WWII veterans told me they had visions of the Virgin Mary and Russian Tsar Nicholas II” - said Poklonskaya, - “the two helped them survive in the most desperate and hopeless situations during the Great Patriotic War.” 

She also noted that the idea of worshiping deceased or incumbent monarchs, or the ideology of monarchy was frowned upon back in the days of the Soviet Union, while the country’s official anthem up until 1943 was The Internationale which had the following refrain: “There are no supreme saviours, Neither God, nor Caesar, nor tribune”.

Since its inception in 2007, the Immortal Regiment initiative has been met with unprecedented support, spreading from Russia to cities worldwide, with millions of people in 42 countries across the globe marching in commemoration of their loved ones who fought in World War II. The Immortal Regiment procession follows Russia's annual Victory Day parade. This year, an estimated 24 million took part in processions held in cities across Russia. In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin once again took part in the "Immortal Regiment" leading a procession of more than 700,000 people through the center of Moscow. 

Victory Day marks the anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. According to official data, about 27 million Soviet citizens died, including both civilians and servicemen. 
 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 12 May, 2016
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:02 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 14 May 2016 9:34 AM EDT
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Royal Russia Presents NEW Web Page for SOVEREIGN
Topic: Nicholas II

© Royal Russia. 12 May, 2016


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:11 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 12 May 2016 12:14 PM EDT
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Monday, 2 May 2016
SOVEREIGN No. 2 - NOW IN STOCK!
Topic: Nicholas II


I am pleased to announce that the next issue of SOVEREIGN, our popular new periodical dedicated to the life and reign of Emperor Nicholas II is now available from the Royal Russia Bookshop - Paul Gilbert

Our second issue features 145 pages with 130 black-and-white photographs, and 7 full-length articles, including 4 first English translations of articles written by Russian experts. This issue is dedicated to the 120th anniversary of Emperor Nicholas II at Moscow in 1896 + 48 photographs from this historic event.
 
This issue includes 3 NEW previously unpublished works by the following Western experts:

Nikolai II and the Supreme Commander: Fighting on Two Fronts
by Margarita Nelipa
 
Despite its magnitude, historians rarely evaluated the one imperial decision that shaped the course of World War One. When Russia entered the War in 1914, it fought: For Faith, Tsar and the Fatherland. On that day there appeared to be national harmony. The ordinary soldier went to battle as a patriot, loyal to the sovereign. By mid-August 1915, fatalities were immense, soldiers had either retreated en masse or gave themselves up as prisoners in large numbers, disillusioned with a war that made no sense for them. Owing to those catastrophic events, the sovereign felt duty-bound to defend his homeland and reign. To do so, he decided to firstly dismiss Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich as the Supreme Commander of the military forces and secondly, to accept direct responsibility to bring Russia back into a favorable military footing by stepping into that role himself.  However, many members of the Council of Ministers, as shown by never-before-revealed Council transcripts, acted against the emperor’s decision, dismayed by his lack of consultation. The decision polarized members of the imperial family who also supported the Grand Duke’s wartime role. Nikolai II’s new role also caused the first shift against the sovereign among several Generals. Why that common dissension came about among the elite of the nation, is explained with the use of seldom accessed Russian language material. Notwithstanding the grievances, Nikolai II remained steadfast in his decision to take command of the armed forces.  In the end, despite achieving some success on the battlefield, the Emperor lost the war on the home front.

"Dearest Grandmama" The Relationship Between Nicholas II and Queen Victoria
by Coryne Hall
 
Royal historian and author Coryne Hall offers the first of a 4 part series on Emperor Nicholas II's relationship with British monarchs.
 
Between 1894 and 1901 Emperor Nicholas II and Queen Victoria ruled two of the world's mightiest empires. They were also related, as Nicholas had married the Queen's granddaughter, Princess Alix of Hesse. So how did their personal relationship develope? Part I examines this interesting relationship between the two monarchs.

The Cult of Nicholas II
by Matthew Dal Santo
 
Russians' attitudes towards "Bloody Nicholas" have come a long way in the past one hundred years. The author explores the growing and more sympathetic modern-day "cult" of Nicholas II in contemporary Russian and Western society.

This issue also includes 4 first English translation articles by the following Russian experts:

Vladimir Fyodorovich Dzhunkovsky. Witness to the Coronation of Russia's Last Emperor
by Zenaida I. Peregudova and I.M. Pushkareva
Translated from Russian by Irene W. Galaktionova and Neil P. Mayhew
 
Vladimir Fyodorovich Dzhunkovsky is remembered as a prominent statesman and military leader of the Russian Empire. He was a very remarkable person in that he was so unlike other members of Nicholas II's governmental pantheon. The authors have written a biography of the man who served as adjutant of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich and held posts of the Governor of Moscow Guberniya, the Governor-General of Moscow, the Assistant Minister of the Interior and Commander Special Corps of the Gendarmes. The first English translation of this article appears in this issue of Sovereign.
 
The 1896 Coronation Celebrations in Moscow 
by Vladimir Fyodorovich Dzhunkovsky
Translated from Russian by Irene W. Galaktionova and Neil P. Mayhew
 
This excerpt from Vladimir Dzhunkovsky's memoirs tells about one of the most picturesque and memorable events in the history of Moscow: his personal eyewitness account of the coronation of Emperor Nicholas II May 1896. He goes on to describe the events of the Khodynka tragedy, offering one of the most accurate accounts to date. The first English translation of excerpts from Dzunkovsky's memoirs appear in this issue of Sovereign. 
 
The Unknown Emperor. An Interview with Archpriest Valentin Asmus
by Semyon Sokolov and Ludmila Bonyushkina
Translated from Russian by Irene W. Galaktionova and Neil P. Mayhew
 
The day after the canonization of Emperor Nicholas II by the Moscow Patriarchate in 2000, two Russian journalists managed to gain access to one of the most recognized experts in the history of the Russian monarchy: the Moscow Spiritual Academy lecturer Archpriest Valentin Asmus. Father Valentin speaks in length about the character of St. Tsar Nicholas II, and believes that the conventional views of the life and personality of Nicholas II often couldn't be further from the truth. The first English translation of this interview appears in this issue of Sovereign.
 
The Investigation into the Deaths of the Russian Royal Family and Persons of Their Entourage 
by Archpriest Oleg Mitrov
Translated from Russian by Irene W. Galaktionova
 
The questions raised by the murders of the Russian Royal family, including the discovery of their remains in the vicinity of Yekaterinburg, as well as the recognition or non-recognition of their authenticity, have been unsettling our society for the last 25 years. Recently, many people have been looking to the Russian Orthodox Church for its verdict on the matter. But expressing an objective view requires the Church to conduct a thorough examination of the historical records as well as the investigation materials and the results of scientific enquiries.
 
In this first English language translation, Mitrov addresses the ROC's questions and concerns regarding the Ekaterinburg remains. Among them are the previous forensic studies of the remains carried out in the 1990s, Sergeev and later Sokolov's investigation in the 1920s, disturbing issues regarding the excavations conducted in 1979, 1991 and 2007, and much more.
 
Archpriest Oleg Mitrov is a member of the Synodal Commission for the Canonization of Saints, and is also currently engaged in the study of the issues surrounding the murders of Russia’s last royal family.
 
Note: This article was originally published in Royal Russia No. 9. An illustrated edition of this articles is presented in this issue of Sovereign for the benefit of those readers who do not subscribe to both periodicals.
 
This issue also includes 2 collections of historic photographs on the life and reign of Emperor Nicholas II: 

Sovereign Photo Collection No. 3 - Coronation of Emperor Nicholas II, May 1896
 
Sovereign Photo Collection No. 4 - Private World of Emperor Nicholas II, Livadia and Crimea 

For further information, or to place an order, please refer to the following link:
 

Sovereign No. 2, Spring 2016 

 

© GILBERT'S BOOKS (the Publishing Division of Royal Russia). 2 May, 2016


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:00 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 2 May 2016 3:32 PM EDT
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Friday, 8 April 2016
Living Pictures: Nicholas II
Topic: Nicholas II


The Ural director Andrei Krupin is preparing a unique exhibition project entitled Living Pictures: Nicholas II. According to Krupin, this is the first innovative artistic multimedia exhibition about Emperor Nicholas II and his family. The exhibition will mark the 100th anniversary of the murder of Nicholas II and his family in July 2018. It will initially be held in Russia’s three main cities: Ekaterinburg, Moscow and St. Petersburg. It will then tour the country with additional showings in Sochi, Perm, Tyumen, Krasnoyarsk, Crimea (Livadia) and Vladivostok.
 
Click on the link below to read the full article and watch a short VIDEO:

LIVING PICTURES: NICHOLAS II + VIDEO

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 08 April, 2016
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:32 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 8 April 2016 10:37 AM EDT
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Sunday, 20 March 2016
The Lost Imperial Train Museum at Peterhof
Topic: Nicholas II


The Imperial Train Museum at Peterhof in 1929
 
In 1929, a unique museum was opened in the Alexandria Park at Peterhof. It consisted of two wagon cars of the former Imperial train of Emperor Nicholas II, It was in one of the wagons, on 15th March (O.S. 2 March ) 1917, that the last Russian Emperor signed his abdication.

After the abdication of Nicholas II in March 1917, his train was used by the Ministers of the Provisional Government. After the Bolsheviks came to power the wagons of the Imperial train formed the famous train used by Leon Trotsky. The fate of the Imperial train is a sad one, most of them were lost during the Civil War - November 1917 to October 1922. During the Second World War, the last two wagons of the Imperial train were badly damaged in 1941 at Peterhof.
 

The bombed and burned out shell of the last wagons of the Imperial train at Peterhof in 1941
 
Photos taken 1930-31. From the collection of the Peterhof State Museum Preserve. 

For more information on the Imperial trains, please refer to the following articles:

Imperial Trains - Nicholas II + VIDEO

The Imperial Train in the Grand Duchy of Finland + VIDEO

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 20 March, 2016
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:37 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 20 March 2016 5:52 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 15 March 2016
On This Day: Last Russian Emperor Nicholas II Abdicated the Crown
Topic: Nicholas II


The abdication of Emperor Nicholas II created headlines around the world
 
Note: this article has been edited and updated from its original by Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia

Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich Romanov ascended the throne after his father’s death on 2 November (O.S. 20 October 20), 1894.

The reign of Nicholas II (1894-1917) passed through a turbulent era of political unrest and increasing revolutionary activity. In the beginning of 1905 a revolution broke out in Russia forcing the emperor to make some reforms. On 30 October (O.S. 17 October), 1905 the tsar signed a manifesto ‘On improvement of state order’ granting to people the freedoms of speech, of the press, of a person, of conscience, of assembly, of unions.

On 6 May (O.S. 23 April), 1906 the Emperor approved the new version of the “Fundamental laws of the Russian Empire”, which, on the threshold of the State Duma convocation, were the fundamental legislative act, regulating the division of powers between the imperial authority and Parliament (State Council and State Duma), established under the Manifesto of 17 October, 1905.

In 1914 Russia entered World War I. Failures on the fronts, economic dislocation caused by war, heavy casualties, enormous losses of military equipment, the raise of anti-war moods and the general discontent of autocracy led to mass protest actions against the government and the dynasty.

On 8 March (O.S. 23 February), 1917 the female workers of Petrograd went on a protest march demanding bread and cessation of hostilities. A few days later the mass strikes on the factories of the capital grew into the general political strike and then into a spontaneous armed revolt.

On 10 March (O.S. 25 February), 1917 Nicholas II sent a telegram to General S. S. Khabalov demanding to suppress the disturbances with military forces, and on 12 March (O.S. 27 February) sent to Petrograd General N. I. Ivanov in order to suppress the revolt.

On 14 March (O.S. 1 March) after the unsuccessful attempt to travel to Tsarskoye Selo the emperor arrived at the Northern front staff in Pskov.

In the morning of 15 March (O.S. 2 March) General N. V. Ruzsky reported to Nicholas II that the mission of N. I. Ivanov failed. At the same time the president of the State Duma M. V. Rodzyanko announced via telegraph that the only possible way to retain the dynasty was to pass the throne over to the heir Alexei under the regency of Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich, the younger brother of Nicholas II. All the commanders of fronts with the exception of the commander of the Black Sea front, Admiral A. V. Kolchak expressed their approval of Nicholas II’s abdication. Having learned the opinion of the Commanders in Chief, on 15 March (O.S. 2 March) around 3 p.m. Nicholas II made a decision to abdicate the crown in favour of his son under the regency of his brother, the Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich.

However having spoken to S. P. Feodorov, the doctor in charge of the heir, who confirmed that Alexei was incurable, the emperor concerned about the health of his son, changed his decision. In the evening of 15 March (O.S. 2 March) when the representatives of the Provisional Committee of the State Duma A. I. Guchkov and V. V. Shul’gin came from Petrograd, Nicholas II announced that ‘… for the sake of Russia I was ready to abdicate the crown in favor of my son but … came to the conclusion that in view of his illness I should abdicate for myself and for him too’.

The Manifesto on abdication given over to A. I. Guchkov said: ‘… Hereby we entrust Our Brother (Mikhail Alexandrovich) with governing the state affairs with the absolute and close unity with the representatives of the folk in the legislative institutions on the principles which he would establish taking the sacred oath’.

The following day, on 16 March (O.S. 3 March), 1917 Mikhail Alexandrovich deferred his acceptance of the throne pursuant to a a vote by the Duma.
 
"I have decided to accept the supreme power, only if that be the desire of our great people, expressed at a general election for their representatives to the Constituent Assembly, which should determine the form of government and lay down the fundamental laws of the Russian Empire.” - Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich
 

 
Further Reading: The Tragedy of Nikolai II's Abdication
by Margarita Nelipa
Published in Sovereign. The Life and Reign of Emperor Nicholas II. No. 1, 2015

A military uprising occurred ninety-eight years ago in Petrograd and Pskov, which historians nowadays refer to as the February Revolution. Notwithstanding the War in Europe, factory workers and students began their rebellion through strike action on the streets of Petrograd in February 1917. Despite popular belief, the revolution was not caused by the lack of bread. Margarita Nelipa asserts that had it not been for the agitation by the State Duma, the lack of support by the imperial family and above all, the mutinous intervention by various military regiments in Petrograd and surrounding regions, the revolution would not have happened. Nelipa stresses that the emperor’s downfall came about following the strategic part played by the commanders-in-the-field, in recommending that Nikolai II stand down as their Supreme-Commander, as well as declaring their loss of confidence in him. She presents a concise day-to-day course of events that spells out how the military’s campaign helped bring about a change in the government. Given this scenario, Nelipa explains why the sovereign was unresponsive to the escalating rebellion and how the maneuverings by the president of the State Duma and several key ministers took advantage of the workers’ frustrations in order to firstly remove the emperor and lastly, abolish the monarchy. These days, questions arise as to whether Nikolai II’s abdication was lawful and what issues compelled the sovereign to sign away his and his heir’s monarchic rights. The last part of her discussion addresses the juridical aspects of that abdication. (38 pages, illustrated). Available from the Royal Russia Bookshop.

© Presidential Library / Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 15 March, 2016
 

 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 20 March 2016 2:31 PM EDT
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Saturday, 12 March 2016
Exhibition Dedicated to Nicholas II and His Family Opens in Kaluga
Topic: Nicholas II


A new exhibition, The Imperial Family. The Way of Love, dedicated to Emperor Nicholas II and his family opened today in the Taneyev Concert Hall in the Russian city of Kaluga. The exhibit was organised by the Mogilev Diocese of the Belarusian Orthodox Church.

The exhibition features photographs of the Imperial family, reproductions of paintings by Pavel Ryzhenko (1970-2014), diary records, eyewitness accounts, biographies of representatives of the royal family, and other documents. The exhibits tell the story of the life and reign of Russia’s last emperor, and his service to the Fatherland.

The exhibition, The Imperial Family. The Way of Love, runs until 10 April 2016 in the Taneyev Concert Hall in Kaluga, Belarus.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 10 March, 2016
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:47 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 13 March 2016 5:13 AM EST
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