The Abdication of Nicholas II

Author: Nicholas Alexandrovich Romanov (1868-1918) was the last Emperor of Russia, with the end of his reign (1917)  bringing upon the end of the Romanov dynasty. His reign was most known for military encounters (losses), such as the Russo-Japanese war and WWI. The populace was not happy with the way his cabinet was going about their business, and they finally overthrew him in 1917.

Context: This is his formal abdication letter after he realized the best decision was to give up his power and attempt to lay low. He could not remain Tsar as the people disliked him so much they would attempt to overthrow him.

Language: The language is overwhelmingly positive, as if this abdication was of Nicholas’ own choice and not forced upon him by his people. He stresses that this move is being made because it will help Russia win the war (which he believes is the most important goal for the country at this time). He hopes that taking himself off of throne will relocate the populace’s interest in the enemy, and not their own parliament.

Audience: The audience is everyone in Russia. He is writing this piece to inform them that he is no longer in power and that his brother is now in control of the throne.

Intent: To notify the people of Russia that he was stepping down as their monarch and leader. He told them that his brother, Michael Alexandrovich was taking over his position and that all of this was being done for the good of the country. It can be asserted that Nicholas thought that giving up his power would spare him from the wrath of the populace, but this turned out to not work in the end.

Message: People took this as he was trying to cop out of his responsibilities without taking blame for all he had done wrong. The populace (Bolshevicks), eventually found him and his family and executed them all, in punishment for being such a bad leader/selling out his people.

2 thoughts on “The Abdication of Nicholas II

  1. I think an interesting comparison can be made among the language, intent, and message of this ACLAIM. As you noted, Nicholas II spoke in an optimistic and voluntary tone in an attempt to pacify the situation in which he was in. However, it is apparent that his efforts failed when the populace viewed his manner not as heroic or responsible, but as cowardly.

  2. I too was struck by the optimism the document was written with. Nicholas II tries to appeal to the people by using this positivity to cover all the wrongs he has committed throughout his reign as a tsar, a method all too common among corrupt rulers.

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