The Last of the Romanovs

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The Last of the Romanovs
The fall of the Romanov Empire changed the face of Russia forever. The royal family, led by Nicholas II, we're imprisoned and eventually assassinated by the Bolsheviks, a political party founded by Vladimir Lenin and Alexander Bogdanov whose main focus was to eliminate the monarchy and employ their own form of democracy. Tsar Nicholas II, his wife, Alexandra, and their only son, Alexei, heir apparent to the throne, were all integral figures in this historical evolution of Russia and its people. The first person to impact the fall of Imperial Russia was Nicholas II, the last Russian Emperor. In particular, Nicholas’ coronation marked the beginning of a downward spiral for the Romanov family. Tsar Nicholas II was born on May 6, 1868 and was the eldest son of Alexander III (Levykin, 1999). Nicholas II had to assume the throne earlier than the Russian population would have liked. Nicholas’ father fell ill in the spring of 1894 and his health never fully recovered. On October 20th, 1894, Alexander III died of nephritis, forcing Nicholas to become the next Tsar of Russia at a young age (Lincoln, 1976). After the untimely death of his father, Nicholas was in dismay about becoming Tsar of Russia, a position he never really wanted. This is exemplified when Nicholas II refers to being the Tsar as, “the awful job I have feared all my life” (Massie, 1967, p. 59). To further Nicholas’ fears, the Russian people and government believed he didn’t have enough political training to rule Russia effectively (Harcave, 1968). In addition, the happiness of Nicholas II’s coronation was overshadowed by the sadness of the Khodynka Tragedy. It was tradition for the new Tsar and Tsaritsa to have an open-aired feast with the people of Russia. The feast for Tsar Nicholas II’s coronation was to take place in the Khodynka Meadow, the only place big enough to accommodate the amount of people expected to show up. The event was such a big deal to people that, “The night before, thousands of people walked to the meadow without bothering to go to bed” (Massie, 1967, p. 55). However, the event would turn out to be a time of great despair, rather than a time for celebration. As soon as the wagons carrying the food began to arrive, rumors began to pass that there would only be enough food for those who got there first, so people began to run toward the wagons. Massie writes: Men tripped and stumbled into ditches. Woman and children, knocked down in the mass of rushing, pushing bodies, felt feet on their backs and heads. Their noses and mouths were ground into the dirt. Over the mutilated, suffocating bodies, thousands of feet relentlessly trampled. (1967, p. 55) Therefore, the Khondynka Tragedy left a sullen mark on the coronation of Russia’s last Tsar, resulting in the death of hundreds.

Tsar Nicholas II’s less than perfect reign as Emperor also contributed to the future doom of his family. As soon as Nicholas took the throne, the people of Russia went to his winter palace proposing the people should have more participation in the Russian government. Ignoring advice from his family, Nicholas refused the people participation in the Government, in attempts to obtain the political system of his father. Nicholas’ position on the matter is clearly illustrated in the following quote: “I want everyone to know that I will devote all my strength to maintain, for the good of the whole nation, the principle of absolute autocracy, as firmly and as strongly as did my late lamented father” (Radziwill, 1931, p. 100). Furthermore, the last Tsar of Russia was referred to as “Bloody Nicholas” due to the amount of blood shed during his reign (http://www.alexanderpalace.org).

One incident that attributed to the Tsar’s nickname was Bloody Sunday. During the year of 1905, working conditions for the Russian people were less than satisfactory, and a young socialist priest by the name of Father Gapon was determined to do something...
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