TSAR NICHOLAS II: DIARY OF THE ABDICATION

TSAR NICHOLAS II: DIARY OF THE ABDICATION

Tsar Nicholas II with his generals

FEBRUARY 1917

 27th February. Monday. Disorders started several days ago in Petrograd; unfortunately, even the troops have begun to take part in them. It is a sickening feeling to be so far away and to receive fragments of bad news. Did not spend much time listening to reports. During the day took a walk along the highway towards Orsha. The weather was sunny. After dinner I decided to quickly head to Tsarskoe Selo, and at 1 o’cl. in the morning boarded the train.

Tsar Nicholas II in the imperial train

28th February. Tuesday. Went to bed at 3.15 as had a long talk with [General] N. I Ivanov, whom I am dispatching to Petrograd with troops to restore order. [We] left Mogilev at five in the morning. Slept until 10 o’cl. The weather was cold and sunny. During the day [we] passed through Vyazma, Rzhev, and Likhoslavl at 9 o’cl.

 MARCH 1917

1st March. Wednesday. During the night turned back from M.Vishera as Luban and Tosno turned out to be busy with the riots. Went towards Valdai, Dno and Pskov, where [we] stopped for the night. Saw Ruzsky. He, Danilov and Savvich had dinner. Gatchina and Luga also turned out to be too busy. Shame and disgrace! Was not able to reach Tsarskoe. But thoughts and feelings are constantly over there! How hard it must be for poor Alix to live through all these events alone! May the Lord help us!

2nd March. Thursday. Ruzsky came over in the morning and read [the transcript of] his very long telephone conversation with Rodzyanko. According to him, the situation in Petrograd is such that the Duma ministers are helpless to do anything since the soc.[ial]-dem[ocrat] party, in the form of the worker’s committee, is fighting against them. They want my abdication. Ruzsky passed on this conversation to Stavka, and Alekseyev to all the military commanders. At 2 ½ responses arrived from all. The bottom line is that in order to save Russia and keep the army at the front in tranquility [I] must  decide on this step. I agreed. They sent the draft of manifesto from Stavka. At one in the morning I left Pskov with a heavy feeling about all I had experienced. All around is treason and cowardice and deceit!

Artist’s rendition of Tsar Nicholas II signing his abdication in March of 1917
Imperial train compartment where Tsar Nicholas II signed his abdication

3rd  March. Friday.  Slept long and deeply. Awoke far outside of Dvinsk. The day remained sunny and frosty. Talked with my [people] about yesterday’s [events]. Read a a lot about Julius Caesar. At 8.20 arrived in Mogilev. All ranks of staff were on the platform. Received Alexeyev in the train car. At 9 ½ transferred to the house. Alexeyev arrived with the latest news from Rodzyanko.  It turned out that Misha abdicated. His manifesto ends with a four-tail election ….  within 6 months after the Constituent Assembly. God only knows who put it into his head to sign such filth!  In Petrograd the disturbances have stopped – if it would only remain this way.

Artist’s rendition of Tsar Nicholas II signing his abdication in March of 1917

4 March. Saturday. Slept well. At 10 o’cl. The good Alek came over. Then [I] went to hear the report. At 12 o’cl. [I] drove to the platform, to meet dear Mama who arrived from Kiev. I took her to my [compartment] and had breakfast with her and our [people]. [We] sat for a long time and talked. Today I finally received two telegrams from dear Alix.  Took a walk. The weather was appalling – cold with a snowstorm. After tea received Alexeyev and Fredericks. At 8 o’cl. Went to have dinner with Mama and sat with her until 11 o’cl.

5th March. Sunday. The wind was very strong during the night. The day was clear and cold. At 10 o’cl. went to obednya, Mama came over later. She had breakfast and stayed with me until 3 o’cl. Took a walk in the little garden. After tea received N.I.Ivanov who returned from a business trip. He was at Tsarskoe Selo and saw Alix. Said goodbye to poor Count Fredericks and Voikov, whose presence here annoys everyone for some reason; they went to his estate in Penzenkaya County. At 8 o’cl. went to Mama’s for dinner.

Artist’s rendition of Tsar Nicholas II signing his abdication in March of 1917

6th March. Monday. In the morning was very happy receive two letters from dear Alix and two letters from Maria. The wife of Captain Golovkin of the Finnish regiment brought them. Took a walk in the little garden. Mama came for breakfast. We sat together until 3 o’cl. Took a walk; a snowstorm started again. After tea received Williams. At 8 o’cl. went to Mama’s train.

7th March. Tuesday. Received two more letters from dear Alix, which were delivered by two convoy officers. At 11 o’cl received Williams, Janin, Rychel; everyone is treating me warmly and considerately. Mama had breakfast and [I] sat with her until 2 ½. Received Coanda. Romei, Marcengo and Lontkevich. Took a walk for about an hour. The weather was mild, but it snowed all day. After tea started to pack [my] things. Had dinner with Mama and played bezique with her.

8th March. Wednesday. Last day in Mogilev. At 10 o’cl. signed the farewell command to the troops. At 10 ½ o’cl. went to the guard duty house where [I] said goodbye to all the ranks of staff and commands. At home said goodbye to the officers and regiment Cossacks and Svodny regiment– my heart almost broke!  At 12 o’cl. went to Mama’s train car, had breakfast with her and her suite and remained with her until 4 ½ o’cl. Said goodbye to her, Sandro, Sergei, Boris and Alek. Poor Nilov was not allowed to go with me. At 4.45 departed Mogilev, a crowd of people touchingly saw me off.  4 members of the Duma are escorting me in my train! Headed to Orsha and Vitebsk. The weather is frosty and windy. Difficult, painful and lonesome.

Tsar Nicholas II with his officers, circa 1917

 9th March. Thursday. Arrived at Tsarskoe Selo quickly and safely – at 11 o’cl. But Lord, what a difference, outside and around the palace, in the park are the guards, and inside, at the entrance are some kind of ensigns! Went upstairs and there saw darling Alix and the dear children. She looked healthy and vigorous, but they all were in beds in a dark room. But everyone feels well, except Maria who just caught measles recently. Had breakfast and dinner in Alexei’s playroom. Saw the good Benkendorf. Took a walk with Valya Dolg.[orukov] and worked with him in the little garden for a bit, since we were not allowed to go any farther! After tea unpacked some things. In the evening went around to see all the residents on the other side, and saw them there all together.

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