Change! In the statements made on March 15, 1917, Nicholas II realized that the pressures from the people of Russia had reached a boiling point. He felt that he had one option, to abdicate the thrown and leave it to his brother. He stated “We have recognized that it is for the good of the country that we should abdicate the Crown of the Russian State and lay down the Supreme Power. Not wishing to separate ourselves from our beloved son, we bequeath our heritage to our brother, the Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich…”1. Nicholas II’s statement about abdicating the thrown were important for several reasons. First, he recognized the fact that people knew he could not keep the Russian state floating. Years before his abdication, he had lead Russia into one debacle after another. Internationally, he had Russia’s backwardness exposed when Russia was humiliated in the Russo-Japanese War in 1904-1905. Years later, Russia was exposed again with culminating defeats in World War I. Domestically, he failed to solve the food shortages and failed to respond to calls for reforms from the Russian people. Second, he placed more emphasis on the Russian state keeping a Tsardom than listening to the demands of the Russian people. Nicholas II believed that the only change the Russian state needed to make was to have a different leader in charge. However, the decision to transfer power to his brother only added fuel to the coming revolution, along with his past history of refusing to make reforms for the benefit of the Russian people. Had he really cared about the Russian people, he would have created reforms which would have allowed for the people to have a say in decision making. Do you think there was a point of no return for Nicholas II? And if so, when did he cross that point in which he, and the idea of Tsardom were doomed? Or was Nicholas II doomed as a result of previous Tsars?
- Nicholas II abdication speech, March 15, 1917 [↩]