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Anderson 1 Ryan Anderson Mr.

Trejo English 1A 10 December 2009

Fall of the Romanov Dynasty
On March 15, 1917 in a railway station in the town of Pskov Russia, Tsar Nicholas II was forced to abdicate his title and end Romanov rule that had lasted for three hundred years. Amidst the revolution and civil war that surrounded Nicholas’s abdication, one political party lead by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin seized control of the weak provisional government and created communist Russia. Long after the turmoil subsided theories of what lead to the revolutions began to circulate. Some theories are centralized around the involvement of the “Miracle Worker,” Gregory Rasputin in the Royal court, and his relationship with Empress Alexandra and her five children, Olga, Tatiana, Marie, Anastasia, and Alexis. Other theories trace causes of the revolution to the beginning of the Romanov reign three hundred years before its collapse. Since the beginning of autocratic Russia there have been inherent difficulties that each Tsar has attempted to overcome throughout his or her rule. The Tsars had always been challenged with appeasing hundreds of cultures scattered across the vast territory within the Russian borders. One piece of legislation intended to advance a region could severely stifle another. The Tsar’s inability to appease the Russian people became most relevant during Alexander II’s rule over Russia. Alexander II assumed control of the

and end the system of bondage that consumed three quarters of the country’s population.Anderson 2 country upon the death of his father Nicholas I. in order to compete with industrialized Western Europe (Czap 1). steal mills.” and Alexander would earn the nickname “Tsar Liberator” with the abolition of serfdom. Although Alexander had the foresight to abolish serfdom he did not recognize the devastation that would fall upon the peasant class. Conditions rivaled those of the industrial revolution that took place in Western Europe and the United States. The crushing defeat in the war revealed Russia’s need to modernize its administration. The years following Alexander II’s ascension to the throne would be noted as the “Era of Great Reforms. The peasants who remained on the farms that their families had worked for decades were thrown into deep debt. The . famine and disease spread through the working class of the rapidly expanding urban areas. but were quickly disband by armed soldiers sent by the government. As a result. The transition to family operated farms also took a heavy toll on the efficiency of the agricultural system. and essentially remained under the control of the local nobility. and was immediately confronted with the recovery efforts from the humiliating Crimean War. and railroad yards across the country workers went on strike in protest of the inhumane conditions. The family farms were poorly operated and were unable to meet the demand of the growing industrial cities. Serfs who once farmed the lands for local nobility were either forced to buy back the land they had worked on for exorbitant prices or leave the villages for the big cities that were diving head first into the industrial revolution. stimulate the economy. In coal mines.

Gaining an education opened their minds to the social and political ideas of Western Europe and the modern world. Ch 7). Students studied the American and French Revolutions. in Massie. As time passed and little was done by the government to confront the issues at hand students escalated their efforts. Tolstoy. They read the works of Pushkin. Finally on the morning of . They wrote newspapers and circulated their beliefs throughout the population. “I doubt whether higher education before the war was so cheap and as generally accessible anywhere in the world as it was in Russia” (qtd. Alexander Kerensky while studying in St. and analyzed the British parliamentary government. Petersburg said. Across Russia students protested the tyranny of the Tsar and held demonstrations preaching Marxism. Thousands of working and lower class students were given the same opportunity as Kerensky. Tuition fees were reduced to an infinitesimal amount. Dostoyevsky. clerks. 83). Kerensky later became the prime minister of the Provisional Government that replaced Nicholas II. and tax collectors. p. ministers. On top of his failing social reforms Alexander II also relaxed control over education through all levels of learning. and Karl Marx (Massie. Turgenev. In regions across the country assassination plots were devised and carried out against governors. In extreme circumstances revolutionary students reacted violently towards members of the government. Had the tuition fees not been lowered it is possible that Kerensky would not have ascended to his position of power where he became a catalyst to the revolution.Anderson 3 Tsar who had given the people freedom was now forced with suppressing their cries for change (Rabinowitch).

During Alexander III’s rule most of the revolutionary activities took place outside the borders of Russia where they were allowed to advance their cause without fear of censorship. In Alexander III’s private life he was considered to be a typical Russian man. 16). He sent hundreds of his political enemies into exile and heavily censored the press. “with faith in the power and right of autocracy” (qtd. 12). He enacted policies aimed to unify Russia under the tsar. Revolutionaries used Alexander III’s policies to recruit new followers and they began assembling under political parties. Alexander III. lead by the Bolsheviks and Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. without the eccentricities of royal court. p. As a result the constitution was never passed and oppression of the Russian people would be revitalized with the ascension of a new Tsar. 1881 Tsar Alexander II would become a casualty of a revolutionary plot. In doing so he condemned the cultures.Anderson 4 March 1. The assassins were afraid that the Tsar’s attempt to give Russia a constitution would. In Alexander III’s accession manifesto he proclaimed that he would rule. in Massie. His simple life style reflected on the upbringing . p. and religions of his subjects who resided on the outskirts of the Russian empire which betrayed their trust in the autocracy (Czap 2). “create a false contentment on society and distract Russia from the coming revolution” (Radzinsky. During his thirteen year reign he did everything in his power to crush opposition to the autocracy. The primary political party was the Social Democratic Party. The diehard autocratic rule of the new tsar aggravated the revolutionary movement.

His word was command. During Nicholas’s childhood he received extensive schooling in order to prepare for his inevitable duties as Tsar. p. 10). and replace them with a person who shared his ideals. Pobedonostsev’s teaching methods were founded on nationalism and bigotry. The children. He was educated by tutors in areas from language. Xenia. to geography. The most influential of these tutors was Constantine Pobedonostsev who instructed Nicholas on the politics and society of Russia. he would politely ask for their resignation. were forced to sleep on army cots. autocracy and the Orthodox . These faults in Nicholas’s reign would play a deciding factor in the revolution. He taught Nicholas that there were two factors necessary to maintaining the empire. Instead of discussing policy issues with his ministers and officials who held different point of views. His intimidating demeanor played a heavy toll on his oldest sons psyche. These were hardly the qualities required to be the tsar of Russia. Michael.Anderson 5 of his five children Nicholas. Alexander also interacted with his children in a very authoritarian manor. George. take cold showers and eat porridge for breakfast. Throughout his life Nicholas would be hindered by indecision and need to gain approval with whom ever he came in contact. During his reign Nicholas did everything in his power to avoid unpleasant situations which made it impossible to effectively deal with his subordinates (Czap 3). and Olga. especially the heir to the throne Nicholas. Eventually Nicholas would alienate some of the greatest minds from his cabinet of ministers and replace them with incompetent yes men. to dancing. and “when he spoke he gave the impression of being on the verge of striking you” (Massie.

like most heirs to the throne. In an attempt to increase Nicholas’s responsibility within the government Finance Minister Sergius Witte suggested to Alexander III that Nicholas be appointed president of the Trans-Siberian Railroad. Hearing Pobedonostsev’s lectures throughout his education Nicholas followed his teachings blindly. and “there was no place in God’s design for representatives of the people to share in ruling the nation” (Massie. he has no infantile judgments.. 24). After completing his education Nicholas. Most of all he was required to discreetly standby until it was his turn to take the throne. The Tsar replied. “What. For four years Nicholas happily carried out his playboy role. . but you know the Tsarevich.He is still absolutely a child. 14-15). and plays. ballets. During the winter he went ice skating on the frozen rivers and attended operas. His duties typically required him to appear at council meetings. p. or receive foreign ministers. The Tsar who did not rule as an absolute monarch was committing blasphemy. p. spent his time waiting for succession. and without question. Have you ever had a serious conversation with him. how would he be able to be president over a committee?” (qtd. Alexander’s lack of confidence in his son’s abilities would prove to be devastating during Nicholas’s first years as tsar. Pobedonostsev believed the Tsars had been appointed by God and who ever opposed him should be struck down without mercy. in Massie. In the warmer months he would go hunting with his father in the surrounding woodlands.Anderson 6 Church..

regarding Russia’s occupation and influence in the Far East. and . He died on November 1. Nicholas had inherited duties well beyond his abilities. and not that of Russia. However. p. However. and his ministers. the guidance given to Nicholas was typically in the best interest of those providing it. 1894 at the Livadia Palace in Crimea. Alexander III became severely ill.Anderson 7 In October 1894. I know nothing of the business of ruling. to Alix. to you. the motives of the advisors were far different. to mother. who was characterized as a very subversive and devious individual. foreign emperors. At the young age of forty-nine the Tsar’s death was unexpected by everyone. to Xenia. in Massie. During the beginning of his reign Nicholas relied greatly on the influence of his four uncles. Primarily. 43). what am I going to do? What is going to happen to me. I have no idea of even how to talk to the ministers” (qtd. The most detrimental advice given to Nicholas came from Kaiser William of Germany and a host of ministers. to all of Russia? I am not prepared to be a Tsar. I never wanted to become one. In a private moment with his brother-in-law Nicholas proclaimed: “Sandro. but his fervent patriotism and educational background would not allow him to disregard such responsibility. Kaiser William. supported Russian involvement in the Far East only to draw their attention away from Western Europe. areas with warm water ports for trade like the Japanese controlled ports in Korea. but no one understood the significance of the death more than Nicholas.

When the Russian army and navy confronted the Japanese forces they were cut down with ease. The petition would . Unbeknownst to the Tsar and his military advisors. and establish two warm water ports that would greatly improve Russian commerce in the east. believing it would halt recent rebellious outbursts throughout the country (Massie. The Russian Minister of Interior. its people. Japanese ambassadors made countless attempts to negotiate with the Tsar. After months of failed negotiations with Russia. p. In the months following the war. However. Japan was forced to use military action. and the Tsar.Anderson 8 the Kaiser’s dreams of territorial expansion. the Japanese military had trained relentlessly from the time Russia invaded Korea. Having suffered debilitating losses. and warned that military action would be inevitable if Russia did not relinquish their presence in Korea. Nicholas was forced to call back what remained of his army and admit a shameful defeat. Vyacheslav Plehve greeted involvement in the east with open arms. In response to the poorly managed Russo-Japanese War. In a short period of two years Russia managed to bully its way into Korea. They hired British and French instructors to advise them in the art of modern warfare on land and sea. distraught workers converged on the winter palace in St. events would unfold that would forever change Russia. Russia’s move into Korea struck fear in Japan which had used the peninsula as a buffer between its islands and the main land. Petersburg with a petition to remove the failed officials from office and replace them with a constituent assembly.89-91).

Nicholas signed the Imperial Manifesto into law thus creating a semi-constitutional monarchy. but as he matured he began to show signs of excessive bruising and uncontrolled bleeding.Anderson 9 never reach Nicholas’s hands for when the mob approached the palace they were met with gun fire from weary soldiers. It was concluded that the boy was afflicted with hemophilia. In his first few weeks the baby boy Alexis appeared to be perfectly healthy. The events that took place on January 22. Nicholas was presented with two courses of action. speech. strikes and revolutionary uprisings sprang to life. in Massie. In October 1905. He could brutally crush the uprisings as he had been taught to do. All across the country riots. it promised “freedom of conscience. Tsar Nicholas II was confronted with a full fledged uprising. With the constant fear of losing their child to a minor injury both . assembly. p. but revealed that the autocracy would not stand the test of time. The heir’s disorder would alter the history of Russia and the world. 110). Modern medicine at the time had no cure. The Tsar and his wife called upon doctors to diagnose and treat the child. and association” and pledged that “no law may go into force without the consent of the state Duma” (qtd.” and would shatter the bond between the Tsar and his subjects. The revolution of 1905 would be avoided. In light of all the misfortune and despair the royal family would be given a glimmer of hope in the year 1904 with the birth of an heir. 1905 would be known as “Bloody Sunday. a rare blood disorder that prevents the blood from clotting. or he could grant the people their wishes.

Alexandra’s first encounter with Rasputin came when Alexis was on the brink of death and all efforts by the doctors were futile. Alexandra sought out doctors and healers from across Europe. Rumors about Rasputin claimed that he was gifted with abilities that were beyond human. He had been known to heal and cure people from all types of ailments and provide out of body experiences. “God has seen your tears and heard your . In an encounter with Gregory Rasputin. In a desperate attempt to find a cure for her child. Rasputin responded.Anderson 10 Nicholas and his wife Alexandra did everything in their power to protect Alexis. However. At all times he was accompanied by a servant who protected him from any accidents that may occur. and consulted a peasant from Western Siberia named Gregory Rasputin. In a last ditch effort Alexandra followed the advice of a lady in waiting. made strange movements with his hands. and I began to feel indescribable loathing for this vermin sitting opposite me. Still I realized that the man possessed great hypnotic power… I was able to pull my self together” (Debauchee’s p. His parents often believed that he would not make it through the night. from time to time accidents occurred that could not have been prevented. Prime Minister Peter Stolypin recalled: “He ran his pale eyes over me. Alexandra telegraphed Rasputin asking him to pray for the sick child. mumbled mysterious inarticulate words from the Scriptures. When such accidents occurred Alexis would endure weeks of agonizing pain and discomfort. 3). Nothing made a difference.

Ch. In efforts to retain his position within the royal family Rasputin slandered the names of those who carried considerable weight in the government.” He was very successful in persuading Nicholas to ask for the resignation of his top advisors and replacing them with suitable men who would not . Rasputin was condemned and ridiculed by the Orthodox Church (Massie. The rumors that circulated there after would severely tarnish the image of the royal family. The events that unfolded earned Rasputin the complete trust and admiration of Empress Alexandra. and was considered a breath of fresh air from the rules of aristocracy. Do not allow the doctors to bother him too much” (qtd. His unusual behavior intrigued members of high society. in Massie p. Rasputin’s unspoken position that developed in the royal house hold would be the target of relentless gossip from the family’s friends and foes. Alexandra’s un-wavered faith led the people surrounding her to believe that she was taking part in Rasputin’s scandalous behavior. Despite all the scandal that surrounded Rasputin. and could do no wrong. In her mind Rasputin was a man of God. In his private life Rasputin was a vile and disgusting human being. wore cloths of a common peasant. 186). and displayed zero effort to obey the rules of Russian etiquette. A day latter the hemorrhage which had brought Alexis so close to death subsided. For his debauchery of the women of Russian aristocracy. Do not grieve. Rasputin had also been accused of being an incessant womanizer. Alexandra refused to believe any of it. and could speak out against the “Holy One. 15-16). Rasputin also played a detrimental role in political affairs.Anderson 11 prayers. He neglected to bathe for days on end. The Little One will not die.

114). that I shall not receive my reward on this earth” (qtd. Petersburg antigovernment strikes.Anderson 12 bother Rasputin. In an intimate moment during the 1905 Revolution Nicholas divulged to one his ministers. Nicholas’s advisers also played down the uprising as a minor disturbance that did not require the Tsar’s attention. but was also greatly pleased because he would finally be allowed to live in peace with his wife Alexandra and five children. All around him the country started to collapse. Nicholas could only watch as the autocracy and three hundred years of Romanov rule slipped from his grasp. Nicholas II was filled with bitter disappointment and sadness when he abdicated his title. and street demonstrations consumed the city. and the Tsar was faced with another revolution. The small number of soldiers garrisoned in Petersburg showed sympathy for the rioters and refused to stop their actions. With the army fighting a losing war in the west. and many joined in the ranks of the rioter (Rabinowitch). Petersburg to curb the uprising. In St. With Russia in disarray from World War I it was the worst possible timing for Nicholas to replace his seasoned advisors. Except in this circumstance the government had been stretched beyond its means. p. Within a week similar uprising formed across the country. He loved his country with all his heart and acted on what he knew. . Nicholas was unable to send troops back to St. in Massie. “I have a secret conviction that I am destined for a terrible trial. food riots.