a post by @TraditionalMike on twitter
Did the last Tsar of Russia Nicholas II really abdicate the throne as is widely thought?
According to the official line of history on the 15th of March 1917 Nicholas II issued a statement with his intent to abdicate the throne in favour of his heir Alexei. However it was pointed out the Tsarevich would not live long without his family around due to his health problems. Nicholas then named his brother Grand Duke Michael as the next Emperor. The Grand Duke refused and the Russian Monarchy was no more.
However there is another version of events which seems to indicate The Tsar never abdicated the throne at all.
The principal research officer of the Russian History Institute at the Russian Sciences Academy Vladimir Lavrov PH.D believes the abdication of Nicholas II may not have occurred at all.
Mr Lavrov gives the fact the original document of the abdication did not survive as one reasons he believes the abdication may not have happened.
Mr Lavrov goes on to say “Firstly they say that the document kept in the State Archive of the Russian Federation is the original. But it is absolutely clear that it is not the original”
He calls into doubt the copy of the document held in the archive by stating that it was written without a letterhead which was customary for any royal communications. He also said it was signed in pencil and it is addressed to the chief if headquarters, and minster for the Emperor’s court, Count Vladimir Frederiks, who certified the Tsar’s signature, said during his interrogation that the signature was forged.
Another account calls into question the abdication of Nicholas II. This one coming from The Tsar himself as written by his eldest daughter.
A diary entry made by Grand Duchess Olga on the 13th of November 1917 while the family were imprisoned at Tobolsk in Sibera recounts a conversation between Nicholas and several others regarding the truth of his “abdication.”
Sitting by the fireplace in the living room were Tsar Nicholas II, his daughter Olga, Evgeni Kobylinski, commander of the guard, Vasili Pankratov, a former political prisoner and convert to Socialism, and a Dr. Friderenski, who had replaced Dr. Eugene Botkin months before at Tsarskoye Selo.
In an idle moment, Pankratov turned the chat to the subject of the abdication of the Tsar. The history books tell us that Tsar Nicholas II abdicated on March 15, 1917 (the Ides of March). In Russia, the revolution newspapers had reported the abdication. And so, that late afternoon of November 13, 1917, Pankratov and the others were startled when the Tsar said, “I never abdicated.”
All those present, including the Grand Duchess Olga, were stunned. “How can this be?” asked Pankratov. “This gives the lie to all we know.” Kobylinski, agitated, looked at the Tsar and said, “Perhaps you can explain.” Dr. Friderenski, astonished, exclaimed, “My God, then the history is not only changed, it is turned upside-down!”
“Exactly. It is inverted,” replied the Tsar, who then began to explain the true facts.
“First, you must understand the criticisms and intolerance of the Grand Dukes, my relatives, and of the military commanders. If this revolution has succeeded, it is not due to the revolutionaries but to the plots hatched in the salons of St. Petersburg and amongst the top generals.” the Tsar continued to say.
After the assassination of Grigori Rasputin, a religious confidant of the family, in December 1916, the Tsar had left St. Petersburg and returned to the front lines of Russia’s war with Germany.
At that time, in St. Petersburg, all had seemed to be under control. It was only around March 8, 1917 that telegrams from Mikhail Rodzianko, Chairman of the Duma, and Mikhail Belyayev, Minister of War, provided the first hints to the Tsar that there was trouble back in St. Petersburg.
Around this same time, direct communication with the Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna at Tsarskoye Selo suddenly became impossible, with the excuse that there were serious problems with the telegraph lines. Tsar Nicholas II received false, and even treacherous assurances from persons such as Sir George Buchanan, British Ambassador to Russia, indicating “nothing serious” in St. Petersburg.
At the front lines, surrounded by traitors whom the Tsar mistakenly believed to be his friends, Nicholas increasingly was cut off from reality.
On March 13th, the “friends” of the Tsar persuaded him to take a “special train” back to Tsarskoye Selo, on the outskirts of St. Petersburg, so he could better control chaotic events in the then Russian capital. En route, the Tsar was told a group of rebels had disrupted the railroad line to Tsarskoye Selo. The train’s route was changed towards Pskov.
At Pskov, General Nikolai Ruzsky boarded the train. The Tsar recalled to his rapt audience by the fireplace in Tobolsk, “When General Ruzsky was in my presence, without preamble and with harsh words, he informed me that General Ivanov, instead of marching as ordered to St. Petersburg to put down the disturbance, had halted and set up quarters at Tsarskoye Selo.” Total abdication was demanded.
“It was not the revolution of the people,” recalled the Tsar, “nor of the peasants of old Russia, but the Grand Dukes, the military caste, and the aristocracy which had conquered. The coup d’état, already announced by General Krymov, had triumphed.”
At this point Pankratov interrupted the Tsar. “But Your Majesty,” he said, “you had signed a proclamation to the army, in which…”
“I did not write that proclamation, nor did I sign it!” roared the Tsar. “The true history is different, very different.”
“For two days and nights General Ruzsky kept me a prisoner on that train. He kept urging me to sign an abdication for myself and the Tsarevich Alexei. Each time, I categorically denied to do so.”
So did the last Tsar of Russia abdicate the throne? It would appear that the answer to that question is not the one given to us in the official history books.