Tsar Nicholas to Tsaritsa Alexandra letters top

November 1916

Stavka. 1 November, 1916.


I have read and re-read your dear letter many times - especially that part in which you tell of your conversation with St. and Protop. There is nothing to forgive you for, on the contrary, I must be deeply grateful to you for so far advancing this serious matter by your help.

Now I understand the meaning of Gr.'s telegram which I received in Kiev and sent on to you yesterday. But I could not write the necessary words, not having the Minister's paper before my eyes. Now it is done, and I am calm, though I am fully conscious of the great difficulties which are awaiting us for the first two months. Yes, let us be firm and wait I

Since I was last here the military situation of Roumania has improved, and our army is concentrating more satisfactorily than I expected, in view of the difficulties of transport. On our way from Kiev we met four military trains going from Riga to the South; we heard singing and saw masses of gay young faces at the windows.

Yesterday we drove to the monument, I went for a walk and later on we ate some baked potatoes. It was quite warm.

Dmitry has departed, as he has to have his cheek operated on (from the inside); he hopes to see you. Igor is due to arrive here soon - what a pleasure! The fat Belgian, Williams and Janin have come from the Boukovina - they were delighted with all they have seen; were presented to Mamma.

May God keep you, my only and all! I kiss you and the girls tenderly.

Eternally your old


NOTES: "Now it is done." A further reference to the transfer of Supplies to - Protopopov. See the preceding letter and telegram.


Stavka. 1 November, 1916.

Sincerest thanks for dear letter. We have been to the cinematograph. Was very busy later. Saw Veselkin. Embrace you closely.


Stavka. 2 November, 1916.


I am deeply grateful to you for your dear letter, and am sending my best wishes to our Olga for her birthday. Yes, 21 years have passed - nearly a whole generation. I remember living then in that old green dressing-room!

There was a downpour of rain yesterday; during the night it snowed heavily and now there are 3 deg. of frost. The landscape is absolutely wintry. The cars find it difficult to drive through the streets. Our Fourth Sotnia was presented this morning. The officers and men have a healthy, energetic look and sunburnt faces. They are going in small detachments to Tsarskoe S. to fetch their things, new equipment and boots.

Nicolai Nic. has come for one day; we had a long talk together last night, of which I will tell you in my next letter. - I am too busy to-day.

God preserve you, my dearly beloved Sunny, and the children. Sincerest greetings to all.

Eternally your old


Stavka. 3 November, 1916.


Thank you most sincerely for your dear letter.

The Little One is suffering from a strained vein in the upper part of his right leg, a small swelling, but no great painsduring the night he kept on waking and groaned in his sleep.

Feodorov has ordered him to lie quietly in bed. He is very cheerful and surrounded by his three tutors, so that there is a dreadful noise in the next room.

Vl. Nic. will be able to tell you the details of the leg trouble, as it began when he was still here.

Obolensky appeared here yesterday, happy and beaming at having got rid of his post. He will get an appointment in the 3rd Caucasian Corps, which he chose himself.

Gen. Alexeiev is unwell and laid up - he has a high temperature. Feodorov says that his kidneys are out of order; he is calling in Sirotinin. This complication is of great importance to me. I was hoping to go somewhere or other on the front in the near future, but now I shall have to stay here for the present.

Poustovoitenko is very well informed of everything and makes a very good assistant. So far I am not thinking of taking anybody from outside.

Perhaps in a week's time you will be able to come here? I am sending you Nicolai's letters, which he did not send to me but brought with him - they will give you an idea of what we spoke about.

God guard you, my own Sunny, and the girls! Tender kisses.



NOTES: "Happy . . . at having got rid of his post" - as President of the Committee of Supplies.

Alexeiev's illness, at this stage, was extremely unfortunate. A week after this letter was written he was sent to the Crimea for a rest, and was succeeded temporarily by General Gourko. Although Gourko was an able and conscientious man, the change of the Chief of Staff at such a moment could only be regarded as a dangerous necessity. Alexeiev returned to his post shortly before the Tsar's abdication.

SIROTININ: Dr. V. N. Sirotinin, Court Physician.

Telegram. Stavka. 3 November, 1916.

Hearty congratulations on Olga's birthday. We are sorry that we cannot be with you. It is cold and dull. Both kiss you tenderly.


Stavka. 4 November, x916.


Warmest thanks for dear letter.

Baby's leg hurts from time to time and he cannot get off to sleep the first part of the night. When I come to bed he tries not to groan any more and goes to sleep quicker.

Feodorov says that the swelling is going down satisfactorily, and as his temperature is only slightly above the normal, I hope that in a few days he will be able to get up.

To-day I have little time for writing, because I have received the old Prince Vassilchicov, Trotzky and Dashkov, who have returned from Moscow. They have spent exactly a month there, visiting and inspecting hospitals, and saw 76,000 wounded, of whom 16,000 have received decorations. They found everything in perfect order.

In a few days' time I shall send George to, & South-west front to thank the troops and distribute awards to the heroes.

Alexeiev is feeling a little better to-day. Feod. is insisting on his staying in bed at least a week longer, because, besides illness, he is tired out with work, not having had enough sleep all this time. He is looking better.

Kyrill has come for two days; he has gone now to Abo.

May God guard you, my treasure, my beloved Wify, and the girls! I kiss you fondly.

Your old


NOTES: VASSILCHICOV: General Prince S. I. Vassilchicov, formerly commander of the Life-Guard Hussars, then, in succession, of the 12th and 1st Cavalry Divisions and of the Guard Corps. DASHKOV: General D. Y. Dashkov of the Cavalry Guards, a member of the suite.

Telegram. Stavka. 4 November, 1916.

Best thanks. Am sorry that I sent you those two letters, not having read them myself. Greyish, mild weather. Tender kisses from both.


Stavka. 5 November, 1916.


Most grateful to you for your dear letter. I am so sorry that I have upset you and made you angry by sending you the two letters of N., but as I am in a constant hurry I had not read them, because he had spoken exhaustively of the matter for a long time.

But he never once mentioned you, discussing only the stories about spies, factories, workmen, disorders, Ministers and the general internal situation! Had he said anything about you, you do not really doubt that your dear hubby would have taken your part? I must add that he did - not at all want to give me his letters - I simply took them from him, and he gave them up rather unwillingly. Of course!.

Am not defending him, but am only explaining things as they were.

Baby's leg is a little better. He slept very well, and it hurt only for about a quarter of an hour in the evening.

Yesterday I received the famous General Manikovsky, the chief of the Ordnance Department. He told me much concerning the workmen, the terrible propaganda among them and the enormous amount of money distributed among them for strikes-and that on the other side no resistance is offered, the police do nothing and nobody seems to care what may happen. The Ministers are, as usual, weak-and here is the result!

It is time for me to finish, my darling. God bless you and the girls! Fond kisses.

Eternally your old


NOTES: "The two letters of N." These letters, written by the Grand Duke Nicholas and intended only for the Tsar's perusal, contained allusions which were extremely painful to the Tsaritsa. They provoked, from her, a hysterical outburst. She was "utterly disgusted." His conduct, she said, was loathsome and treacherous. He himself was "the incarnation of evil," hated by all who were loyal and trustworthy.

Telegram. Stavka. 5 November, 1916.

Thank you deeply for dear letter. The leg is much better.

It is cold, clear, 7 deg. of frost. Have received a charming reply from Georgie B. Close embrace.


NOTES: Georgie B. - Prince George of Battenberg. See note to telegram Of 7 April, 1916.

Stavka. 6 November, 1916.


I thank you most sincerely for your loving letter. To-day is the holiday of the Hussars and also of the Gvardeisky Equipage, so that we had several Hussars and Naval officers here. I had long conversations after lunch, so I have now absolutely no time to write more fully.

The weather is bright - at last, after three weeks of darkness, the sun has shown himself. Baby is feeling much better, though last night he had severe pains for an hour.

Please return Georgie's telegram to me. I must finish. God keep you, my beloved Sunny, and the girls!

I love you with all my soul.

Eternally your old


Stavka. 7 November, 1916.


Thank you tenderly for dear letter.

N. has arrived with Petiusha to-day, bringing with him only the respectable people of his suite. The fat Orlov and Yanushk. remained behind I He has not changed, and looks well in his cherkeska. Yesterday I received Sirotinin, and he reported to me what, in his opinion, ought to be done with Alexeiev. He requires a rest in the Crimea for 6-8 weeks. They hope that this will be long enough for him to get well and gather strength. This morning I told Alexeiev about it, and he, of course, submits to their decision.

He strongly recommends Gourko as his successor. I had also thought of him, and have therefore agreed to his choice. Not long ago I saw Gourko; everyone speaks well of him, and at this time of year he can easily leave his army for a few months.

How stupid of Pogul. to get divorced!

Baby's little leg is quite well. I hope that to-morrow he will get up. Yesterday he tried to walk a few steps and he had no pain. He slept all the night without waking up.

God keep you, my darling, and the girls! In thought I am always with you.

Eternally your very loving old


NOTES: "N. has arrived with Petiusha to-day." This visit is referred to by Sir J. Hanbury-Williams (p. 130), who makes it clear that the Tsar did not share the Tsaritsa's hatred of the Grand Duke. The Tsar, he says, was very pleased, and "spoke so cordially about him [the Grand Duke] that it is hard to believe all these stories about jealousy, etc."

Stavka. 8 November, 1916


Thank you very much for your dear letter.

All these days I have been thinking of old. St. He, as you say rightly, acts as a red Rag, not only to the Duma, but to the whole country, alas!

I hear of this from all sides; nobody believes in him and everyone is angry because we stand up for him. It is much worse than it was with Goremykin last year. I reproach him for his excessive prudence and his incapacity for taking upon himself the responsibility of making them all work as they should do. Trepov and Grigorovitch would have done better in his place. He is coming here tomorrow (St.), and I will give him leave for the present. As to the future, we shall see; we will talk it over when you come here. I am afraid that with him things will not go smoothly, whereas in time of war that is more important than at any other! I do not understand how it is, but nobody has confidence in him!

It will be splendid if you come here on the IA. What a funny letter Baby has written to you! He is quite well and, God willing, gets up to-morrow.

N. and P. are lunching and dining with me; so far all conversations have passed off well. They are leaving tonight.

God guard you, my precious, and the girls. Thank her for the ikon.

Eternally your very loving


Telegram. Stavka. 8 November, 19 16.

Sincerest thanks. The weather is warmer. The Little One is quite well. Both send our love.


Stavka. 9 November, 1916.


Thank you with all my heart for your letter and for your desire to help me in my difficulties.

I am receiving St. in an hour, and shall insist on his taking leave. Alas! I am afraid that he will have to go altogether - nobody has confidence in him. I remember even Buchanan telling me at our last meeting that the English Consuls, in their reports, predict serious disturbances if he remains. And every day I hear more and more about it. This must be taken into consideration.

Baby is up and quite well, though he is a little thinner, and pale. There are masses of things I want to discuss with you, but I have no time for writing.

I am so happy that I shall see you soon!

May God guard you, my only and my all, and the girls!

Warmly I kiss you, fondly I love you.

Your old


Telegram. Stavka. 9 November, 1916.

Many thanks. I have spoken to the old man. He is returning to-morrow. He will inform you of my decision. Both kiss you tenderly.



Stavka. 10 November, 1916.

Have done it. Good-night.


NOTES: "Have done it." Yielding to the irresistible force of opinion, and seeing, at last, something of the real state of affairs, the Tsar dismissed Sturmer, both from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and from the Presidency of the Council. The Tsaritsa was not averse to his dismissal as Foreign Minister, but was anxious that he should be retained as President of the Council. Here, as in most of her views, she was reflecting the opinion of Rasputin. See her letters of the 9th. 10th and 11th November.


Stavka. 10 November, 1916.

As you have nobody to accompany you, I am sending Voeikov to-day. Fond kisses from both.


Stavka. 10 November, 1916.


Many thanks for your dear letter. When you receive this you will probably know already from St. about the changes which it is imperative to bring about at once.

I am sorry for Prot. - he is a good, honest man, but he jumps from one idea to another and cannot make up his mind on anything. I noticed that from the beginning. They say that a few years ago he was not quite normal after a certain illness (when he sought the advice of Badmaiev). It is risky to leave the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the hands of such a man in these times!

Old Bobrinsky will have to be replaced too. If we find a clever and energetic man for his post, then I hope the question of Supplies will be put right without alterations in the present system.

While these changes are in progress, the Duma will be prorogued for about eight days, otherwise they would say that it was being done under pressure from them. In any case, Trepov will try to do what he can. In all probability he will return on Sunday, bringing with him the list of persons whom we had discussed with him and St.

Only, I beg you, do not drag our Friend into this. The responsibility is with me, and therefore I wish to be free in my choice. The poor old man was calm and touching.

God protect you, my beloved darling... Fond kisses for all.

Eternally your


NOTES: The Tsar had informed Sturmer of his intention to dismiss Protopopov also - a wise decision, but due rather to the force of circumstances than to his own initiative. When the Tsaritsa heard of this, she resolved to save the Minister of the Interior at all costs. Paléologue is wrong in saying that she decided to leave at once for the Stavka. Her visit had been arranged some days previously. It will be seen from the penultimate paragraph of this letter that the Tsar was anxious to conceal his decision from Rasputin.


Stavka. 11 November, 1916.

Cordial thanks for dear letter. I shall wait for the appointment until our meeting. Gourko has arrived; began working together yesterday. Have not written to you to-day - had no time. Kisses.


NOTES: "The appointment" - of a new Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Telegram. Bolgoe. 12 November, 1916.

Hearty thanks for letter. It is bright, thawing. Wish you a pleasant journey...

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