Abdication of Tsar Nicholas II (March 15, 1917)

Author- Ruled from 1894- 1917, during his rule there were many military encounters (loss of the Russo- Japanese War, World War I involvement that caused 3.3 million Russian deaths), during his rule the 1905 Revolution occurred which created the 1906 Russian Constitution known for limited the power of the monarchy and instating the Duma, violence towards those politically opposing him (ex. supporters of 1905 Revolution)

Context- Abdicated after being imprisoned in him home with his family during the 1917 February Revolution
Language- Talks up the victory of Russia and its greatness, uses language to make it seems as if he willingly and by his own volition decide to abdicate for the good of Russia
Audience- A declaration to the people of Russia over the change in power, one last message to prove that he governed for the good of Russia and should be perceived that way in memory, asks the people to abide by the new ruler who he named (Mikhail Alexandrovich, who would lead along with the Provisional Government)
Intent- To formally abdicate and remove himself from power, to potentially save his life and those in his family from the violence of the revolutionaries holding them, to pass leadership to his brother (who found out about being the successor- rather than Nicholas’s son who he initially chose- through this declaration)
Message- Nicholas was making one last act of good for Russia (he “owed to our people the close union and organisation of all its forces for the realisation of a rapid victory” in WWI along with their allies), Russia would be victorious and that the people should continue to support and have faith in the Russian government by supporting the newly selected leader

3 thoughts on “Abdication of Tsar Nicholas II (March 15, 1917)

  1. The language in this abdication speech seems to me an effort to appease the anger Nikolai the second knew Russians felt towards him and his family. While he writes in a positive and considerate tone, the undertone seems to be fear of controversy. I think that is also the reason he changed his mind about his son taking the throne- he knew it would be too dangerous.

  2. He also blames God for Russia’s involvement in the war rather than standing by his decision to invade Germany while they were preoccupied with France. Just another way for him to try to save face with the Russian population.

  3. Your discussion of the audience is very interesting. It makes it slightly seem as though Nicholas II was pressured or coerced into emphasizing Russia’s new leader, who would be taking his throne, be respected and embraced.

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