All my thoughts are with you in these unforgettable days of happiness, which our beloved and liberated Russia is going through. Send a telegram of your news.
This is a palace coup instigated by English and French diplomats to frustrate the Czar’s attempts to secure peace with Germany, this is not a revolution of the people who seek peace and rights for themselves.
Beloved, precious Light of my Life, Grammatin and Soloviev are going off with 2 letters hoping that at least they can reach you to bring you and get news. It's more than maddening not being together - but souls and hearts are more than ever - nothing can tear us apart, though they just wish this, that is why they won't let you see me until you have signed a paper of theirs - responsible ministers or Constitution. See more
The nightmare is that having no army behind you, you may be forced into it - but such a promise is 'null' when once in power again - they meanly caught you like a mouse in a trap - unheard of in history - and it kills me the vileness and humiliation: the young men will tell you clearly the whole situation which too complicated to write and I give only some letters which can be burned or easier hidden away.
But God Almighty is above everything and loves his pomazannik bozhiy and will save and bring you to your right again. Your little family is worthy of you, so brave and quite. Now the Eldest and Cow also know everything, we had to hide it, so they sure very ill indeed, such coughs, sick without end & feeling terrible.
The Empress implored the Tsar to wear Rasputin’s cross, “even if it is uncomfortable, for the sake of my peace of mind”. That was the last letter.
RuzskyOne of generals of the Russian army. came in the morning and read me his long telephone conversation with Rodzianko. In his words, the situation in Petrograd is such, that at present a ministry from the Duma is powerless to do anything, because they are opposed by the social democrat party in the guise of the workers' committee. See more
My abdication is necessary. Ruzsky communicated his conversation to headquarters and Alexeev to all the commanders-in-chief.
By about 2.30 answers had arrived from all. The crux of the matter is that it is necessary to take this step, for the sake of Russia's salvation and of maintaining calm in the army at the front. I agreed.The draft manifesto was sent out from headquarters.
Adjutant-General Alexeev has informed me of the unprecedented and fatal situation and has asked me to support his view, that a victorious end to the war, so vital for the well-being and future of Russia, as well as salvation of the dynasty, requires extraordinary measures. As a loyal subject, I feel it my necessary duty of allegiance, and in the spirit of my oath, to beg Your Imperial Majesty on my knees to save Russia and your heir, being aware of your sacred feelings of love for Russia and for him. Make the sign of the cross and HAND OVER TO HIM YOUR HERITAGE. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY. I ardently pray god as never before in my life to sustain and guide you.
No one shall be punished outside of the law. All will be judged openly by their peers. My comrade soldiers and citizens - all proceedings of the new government will be published uncensored. See more
Soldiers, I beseech you to offer us assistance. A free Russia has been born, And no one will again prise this freedom from our grasp.
Do not heed the calls of the agents of the former power. Heed your officers. Long live free Russia!
We here in Zurich are in a state of agitation today: there is a telegram in Zürcher Post and in Neue Zürcher Zeitung of March 15 that in Russia the revolution was victorious in Petrograd on March 14 after three days of struggle, that 12 members of the Duma are in power and the ministers have all been arrested.
If the Germans are not lying, then it’s true.
That Russia has for the last few days been on the eve of revolution is beyond doubt.
I am beside myself that I cannot go to Scandinavia!! I will not forgive myself for not risking the journey in 1915!
Ilyich has not slept for days. This night he said: “You know, I can go with a passport of a mute Swede”. I laughed. “It is not going to work; you might start speaking in your sleep. If you dream of cadets, you will start mumbling: bastards, bastards. Everyone will find out that you are not a Swede.” In any case, the plan of travelling with a passport of some mute Swede was more realistic than flying over in some aeroplane. Ilyich wrote about his plan to Ganetsky in Sweden.
We arrived into Pskov. On the train station I was greeted by some colonel who asked me to proceed into the sovereign’s train car. I wanted to first meet general Ruzskiy to get a sense of the sentiment in Pskov. Me and Shulgin proceeded to the Czar’s train car.
At 10 o’clock in the evening we arrived. The train stopped. We went onto the platform. Bluish lanterns illuminated the rails. A few tracks down stood an illuminated train… We entered the railway carriage. It was a big dining carriage. Green silk on the walls. Several tables. The Emperor appeared in the doorway. He greeted us with an outstretched hand. Guchkov began to speak. He was very worried. See more
Guchvok spoke about what was happening in Petrograd. The Emperor looked straight ahead, calmly, completely impenetrable. The only thing that, it seemed to me, could be read from his face was: “This long speech is superfluous…”. The Emperor answered. After the worried words of A.I. his voice sounded calm, simple and precise. Only the accent was a bit alien - guards-like:“I decided to abdicate. Until three o’clock I thought I could abdicate in favour of my son, Alexei. But by this time I changed my mind in favour of my brother Mikhail. I hope you understand a father’s feelings.” The last phrase he said more quietly. We agreed, if you could call it an agreement. Guchkov gave the Emperor a “draft”. The Emperor took it and went out.
After a while the Emperor entered again. He handed Guchkov a paper, saying “Here is the text.” I began to run over the text with my eyes, and something else squeezed my heart, which, it seemed, had already lost the ability to feel anything during these days. The text was written in amazing words. How pathetic, it seemed to me, the draft that we had brought with us. The Emperor brought the draft too and put it on the table.
There was nothing to add to the text of renunciation. In all of this terror for a moment a single ray of light broke through. I suddenly felt that from this moment on the life of the Emperor was in safe hands. Half of the thorns that were stuck in the hearts of his subjects were torn out by this piece of paper. So noble were these farewell words. And so it felt that he, just like us, and maybe even more, loves Russia.
In these days of terrible struggle against the foreign enemy who has been trying for three years to impose his will upon Our Fatherland, God has willed that Russia should be faced with a new and formidable trial. Troubles at home threaten to have a fatal effect on the ultimate course of this hard-fought war. The destinies of Russia, the honour of Our heroic army, the welfare of the nation and the whole future of our dear country require that the war shall be continued, cost what it may, to a victorious end. See more
Our cruel enemy is making his final effort and the day is at hand when our brave army, with the help of our glorious allies, will overthrow him once and for all.
At this moment, a moment so decisive for the existence of Russia, Our conscience bids Us to facilitate the closest union of Our subjects and the organisation of all their forces for the speedy attainment of victory. For that reason We think it right - and the Imperial Duma shares Our view - to abdicate the crown of the Russian State and resign the supreme power.
As We do not desire to be separated from Our beloved son, We bequeath Our inheritance to Our brother, the Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich, and give him Our blessing on his accession to the throne. We ask him to govern in the closest concert with the representatives of the nation who sit in the legislative assemblies and to pledge them his inviolable oath in the name of the beloved country.
We appeal to all the loyal sons of Russia and ask them to do their patriotic and sacred duty by obeying their Tsar at this moment of painful national crisis and to help him and the repre sentatives of the nation to guide the Russian State into the path of prosperity and glory.
May God help Russia!
In the evening Gutchkov and Shulgin arrived from Petrograd, and after talking to them, I handed over the signed and recopied manifesto. I left Pskov at one o'clock at night, with a heavy heart. All around is betrayal, cowardice and deceit!
Thank you to the Petrogradians, they’ve made the Germans happy. Those wretched home-fronters who can’t get by without their comforts.
Gutchkov and Shulgin left Petrograd at nine o'clock this morning. Thanks to the aid of an engineer attached to the railway service, they were able to get a special train without arousing the suspicions of the socialist committees. See more
Discipline is gradually being re-established among the troops. Order has been restored in the city and the shops are cautiously opening their doors again.
The Executive Committee of the Duma and the Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' Deputies have come to an agreement on the following points:
(1) Abdication of the Emperor; (2) Accession of the Tsarevitch; (3) The Grand Duke Michael (the Emperor's brother) to be regent; (4) Formation of a responsible ministry; (5) Election of a constituent assembly by universal suffrage; (6) All races to be proclaimed equal before the law.
The young deputy Kerensky, who has gained a reputation as an advocate in political trials, is coming out as one of the most active and strong-minded organizers of the new order. His influence with the Soviet isgreat. He is a man we must try to win over to our cause. He alone is capable of making the Soviet realize the necessity of continuing the war and maintaining the alliance. I have therefore telegraphed to Paris, suggesting to Briand that an appeal from the French socialists to the patriotism of the Russian socialists should be sent through Kerensky.
But the whole of the interest of the day has been concentrated on the little town of Pskov, half-way between Petrograd and Dvinsk. It was there that the imperial train, which failed to reach Tsarskoïe-Selo, stopped at eight o'clock yesterday evening.
The Emperor, who left Mohilev on March 13 at 4.30 a.m., decided to go to Tsarskoïe-Selo, the Empress having begged him to return there at once. The news he had received from Moscow did not alarm him unduly. Of course it may be that General Voyeïkov kept part of the truth from him. About three o'clock in the morning of March 14, as the engine of the imperial train was taking in water at the station of Malaïa-Vichera, General Zabel, commander of His Majesty's Railway Regiment, took it upon himself to awaken the Emperor to tell him that the line to Petrograd had been closed and that Tsarskoïe-Selo was in the hands of the revolutionary forces. After giving vent to his surprise and irritation at not having been better informed, the Emperor is said to have replied:
"Moscow will remain faithful to me. We will go to Moscow!"
Then he is reported to have added, with his usual apathy:
"If the revolution succeeds, I shall abdicate voluntarily. I'll go and live at Livadia; I love flowers."
But at the station of Dno it was learned that the whole populace of Moscow had adhered to the revolution. Then the Emperor decided to seek a haven of refuge among his troops and selected the headquarters of the armies of the North, commanded by General Russky, at Pskov.
The imperial train arrived at Pskov at eight o'clock yesterday evening.
General Russky came to confer with the Emperor at once and had no difficulty in demonstrating that his duty was to abdicate. He also invoked the unanimous opinion of General Alexeïev and the army commanders, whom he had consulted by telegraph.
The Emperor instructed General Russky to report to Rodzianko, the President of the Duma, his intention to renounce the throne.
This morning Pokrovski resigned his office as Foreign Minister; he did so with that calm and unaffected dignity which makes him so lovable.
"My work is over," he said to me. "The President of the Council and all my colleagues have been arrested or are in flight. It is three days since the Emperor showed any sign of life and, to crown everything, General Ivanov, who was to bring us His Majesty's orders, has not arrived. In the circumstances it is impossible for me to carry out my duties; I am leaving my post and handing over its duties to my administrative deputy. In this way I avoid breaking my oath to the Emperor, as I have not entered into any sort of communication with the revolutionaries."
During the evening, the leaders of the Duma have at last succeeded in forming a Provisional Government with Prince Lvov as president; he is taking the Ministry of the Interior. The other ministers are Gutchkov (War), Miliukov (Foreign Affairs), Terestchenko (Finance), Kerensky (Justice), etc.
The first cabinet of the new régime was only formed after interminable wrangling and haggling with the Soviet. The socialists have certainly realized that the Russian proletariat is still too inorganic and ignorant to shoulder the practical responsibilities of power; but they are anxious to be the power behind the scenes, so they have insisted on the appointment of Kerensky as Minister for Justice in order to keep an eye on the Provisional Government.
Heard from Buchanan that the Duma has forced Nicky to sign his abdication and Misha had been appointed Regent and after he has been 23 years Emperor. I am in despair.
I found myself gripped by an acute apprehension regarding the future of the Tsarkoye Selo palace. More generally, the future of any monuments with “links to tsarism” was a source of particular concern.
It turned out that the Union of Artists exhibition being held in the foyer of the Intimate Theater on the Kryukov Canal, and for which we had naively set out, was closed: the premises had been requisitioned for military use. Given the general mood of good cheer, the ferocious appearance of the sentry guarding the entrance struck us as strange.
The Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Caesar, set apart by Christ, became intermingled in Rus': “the things that are God’s” were substituted for the “things that are Caesar’s”, and it was unto “Caesar” that “God’s things” were rendered. See more
But any creation of an idol or earthly likeness leads to enslavement, to a deprivation of freedom. Ever since the imperial power of the autocracy was transformed into an idol, not only in the worldly sphere of the state, but also in that of the church and religion, the Russian Church lost its freedom, and fell into slavery. The official Russian Church metamorphosed into a government department, into a ministry of the Orthodox confession. During the final years of Nicholas II’s reign, this abasement and enslavement of the Church reached unprecedented levels.
I listened to the slightest noise coming from the street. The worst moments were when a lorry passed before the house. I always thought that it was stopping in front of our door, bringing inevitable searches, arrests or worse still.
Early on the morning the Empress came into the Grand Duchesses' bedroom. She was deathly pale— she seemed hardly alive. As I ran towards her I heard her agitated whisper:
“Lili—the troops have deserted!" I found no words with which to answer. I was stupefied. At last I managed to stammer:
“Why, Madame? In the name of God, why?”
“Their Commander-in-Chief, the Grand Duke Cyril, has sent for them." Then, unable to contain herself, the Empress said brokenly, "My sailors — my own sailors — I can't believe it." But it was too true.