On March 25th, 1917 the Russian monarchy waved a final white flag when Tsar Nicholas II abdicated his throne. He was given little choice; revolutionary mobs were practically on his doorstep, and with a war going on abroad lasting civil unrest at home would have made victory impossible. Therefore, Nicholas declared his reasoning to the people, stating “we have thought that we owed to our people the close union and organization of all its forces for the realization of a rapid victory”.
He states that he did not wish to be away from his son, probably at least in part due to Tsarevich Alexei’s young age and haemophilia. Instead, he chose to pass the weight of the crown on to his brother Mikhail, who in turn was convinced to give the power over to a provisional government rather than taking up the throne.
So, who is to blame for the end of the Romanov house, which had ruled Russia for over 200 years? Did the fault lie with Nicholas II alone? Was it the result of a series of choices made over many decades and generations of rulers? Or was it an inevitable shift that happened in the population of Russia, which no Tsar, no matter how wise or powerful, could have stood against?
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.
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