Tsar Nicholas to Tsaritsa Alexandra letters top

September 1916

Stavka. 4 September, 1916


Thank you tenderly for your dear letter and for those few lines which you wrote on a piece of paper and left in my pocket-book. It is I who ought to thank you for coming here for the sake of us both: it is not so very comfortable for you in the train-all sorts of noises and the whistles of the engines continue all through the night! We are very much more comfortable in this house, so that Alexis and I ought to be grateful to you. It was very sad and distressing coming back from the station. I plunged into my papers and he went to have his dinner. He said his prayers hurriedly and is now sound asleep.

It is cold and damp outside, and I intend to go to bed early. During dinner Sergey and Kyrill were my neighbours; the latter had only just returned from the inspection of our river flotilla on the Prypiat, and he told me much of interest. The others made a lot of noise at the table, as I foresaw at lunch.

My dear child, how I long for our evening talks! Though the others were sometimes in the way (Dmitry and Igor, etc.), it was none the less great joy to see each other. This time there was luckily no bustle. I was so glad that you spent this anniversary here!

I am convinced that your stay here gives pleasure to everyone at Headquarters, especially to the lower ranks. Dmitry is so sorry that the girls have gone - their presence puts him always in a good humour. I think that Igor also regrets their departure, but I have no intention of asking him about it!

5 September.

Good-morning, my dear!

The sun is shining and warming us, but in the shade it is cold. And you, poor dears, are being carried back to the North, where autumn is in full swing and the leaves are getting yellow and are falling. Your dear letter has greatly consoled me - I have read it several times over and kissed the dear lines.

To-day is the regimental holiday of the Cavalry Guards. We have only just finished lunch, and think of going for a motor drive in the wood, as it has again clouded over.

Artillery cross-fire is going on at the front, and strong counter attacks by the 7th Army, where our troops have driven the enemy back, inflicting heavy losses. In Roumania, by the Danube, their troops held out better, but the general situation is good. The Serbs are attacking at Salonica and have hurled back the Bulgars.

My dear, I must finish. God guard you all! I kiss you all tenderly,

Your old


NOTES: In regard to the military situation, it may be noted that heavy fighting was in progress at Merisor in Transylvania. The Russian and Roumanian forces were compelled to retire, and fell back to the Rasova-Tuzla line.

Stavka. 5 September, 1916.


I am beginning this letter before going to sleep, as I have a strong desire to talk a little with you quietly. All my papers are sealed, and I have only just finished drinking tea with some of my suite. I am glad to hear that you arrived safely. It is a pity it is so cold. Here it is cool too. Baby and I felt cold in our rooms, and I gave orders to have the stoves lit, so as to remove the dampness. The windows are left open in the day-time - in this way the air is kept fresh. My pen writes appallingly badly; when I have finished writing and shut it up the ink splutters out in bubbles!

To-day we went for a walk on a new and pretty road, the beginning of which we have often passed before - it reminded me of the road in Spala. All along the road there are picturesque places and beautiful trees.

After tea I received Shakhovskoy and had a long talk with him. He is really a good, honest man. He told me some interesting things about N. and others in the Caucasus, where he has been lately, and has seen them all!

6 September.

Good-night, my dear; it is time to go to sleep.

The weather is bright and warm again. In the morning I was busy and had no time to write. God guard you, my beloved, and the girls! I kiss you tenderly, and also A. and our Friend.

Eternally your


Stavka. 7 September, 1916


Your letter has not arrived yet, as the train was late, owing to a slight mishap with another train. Mamantov was due to arrive by it.

Fortunately it is much warmer to-day - the weather is grey and windy. Yesterday's cinematograph was really very interesting. We talked of it the whole evening ! Grigorovitch has arrived with Roussin. In his opinion, things are not quite satisfactory with the Supreme Command of the Baltic Fleet. Kanin has become weak, owing to his illness, and has allowed them to get slack. Therefore it is necessary to replace him by someone else. The most suitable person for the post would be the young Admiral Nepenin, the Chief of the Liaison Service of the Baltic Fleet. I have agreed to sign the appointment. The new Admiral has already gone to sea to-day. He is a friend of Kolchak of the Black Sea, his senior by two years, and just as strongwilled and able. God grant that he may prove worthy of his high position!

I am constantly thinking of you, my dear, and am very glad that our Friend has arrived. May God bless you and the girls, my beloved Wify! Fond kisses.

Eternally your old


NOTES: "Liaison Service of the Baltic Fleet" -in Russian in the original: "Nachalaik Sloujbi Balt. Flota." Admiral Kolchak, well known later as a "White" leader.

Telegram. Stavka, 7 September, 1916.

Many thanks for the dear letters and for the photographs, also for both the telegrams. There is no news. Everything is quiet these days. I kiss you all tenderly.


Stavka. 8 September, 1916.


Your dear, long letter with the enclosures of a few petitions has given me tremendous pleasure. I am extremely grateful to you for it.

What you told me yesterday of Grabbe and what he told Nini greatly surprised me. I remember some time in the summer Igor spoke of arranging tennis here, expressing the hope that I would come and watch the play. I answered him that he should mind his own business and not interfere ere with other people's. The same evening at tea I was left alone with Grabbe, and he told me how right I was to refuse to visit that place, which is frequented by Mme. Soldat[enkov] and other ladies, as it would probably have given rise to all sorts of absurd gossip. So I do not know how to reconcile these two facts-I mean, what Grabbe told N. and then me.

My beloved, you may be quite sure that I shall not make her acquaintance, whoever may wish it. But you, for your part, must not allow A. to bother you with stupid talebearing-that will do no good, either to yourself or to others.

Indeed, the losses in the poor Guards were again very heavy; so far I know no details.

Good-bye, may God bless you, my darling Wify,

Many kisses.

Eternally your old


NOTES: "The enclosures of a few petitions." These were from humble people, asking for personal favours.-NINI : Mme. Nini Voeikova, the wife of General Voeikov and daughter of Count Fredericks.- Mme. SOLDATENKOV: apparently the wife of a captain in one of the squadrons of the Emperor's Own Cossacks.

Stavka. 9 September, 1916

Thank you with all my heart for your dear, long letter, in which you pass on Friend's message.

It seems to me that this Protopopov is a good man, but he has much to do with Factories, etc. Rodzianko has for a long time suggested him for the post of Minister of Trade, instead of Shakhovskoy. I must consider this question, as it has taken me completely by surprise. Our Friend's opinions of people are sometimes very strange, as you know yourself-therefore one must be careful, especially with appointments to high offices. I do not personally know this Klimovitch. Would it be wise to discharge them at the same time? That is, I mean to say, the Minister of the Interior and the Chief of Police? This must be thought out very carefully. And whom am I to begin with? All these changes make my head go round. In my opinion, they are too frequent. In any case, they are not good for the internal situation of the country, as each new man brings with him alterations in the administration.

I am very sorry that my letter has turned out to be so dull, but I had to answer your questions.

May God bless you and the girls. . . .

Eternally your old


NOTES: This letter is of peculiar interest, since it shows that the Tsar did not always concur in Rasputin's choice of men for the higher offices of the State. It is not easy to say whether this independence of opinion was due solely to the absence of the Tsaritsa's personal influence, or whether it was the result of contact with sensible advisers like Alexeiev. Rasputin, according to the Tsaritsa's letter of the previous day, was urging the desirability of appointing Protopopov to the Ministry of the Interior. The appointment was actually made in the following month, but the Tsar's hesitation is noteworthy.

KLIMOVITCH: General E. C. Klimovitch was formerly the Mayor of Rostov and Kerch, and was Chief of Police in Moscow. The Tsaritsa desired his dismissal because he "hated our Friend" - a reason which was generally sufficient. The Minister of the Interior was A. N. Khvostov.

Telegram. Stavka. 9 September, 1916.

Many thanks for your dear letters. It is clear, colder. Silaiev has arrived. Tender kisses.


Stavka. 10 September, 1916.


Best thanks for your dear letter. Please thank the girls for their letters-I have no time to answer them. The Photographs sent to them by Demenkov are very interesting. Sturmer and Count Nirod have arrived for to-morrow's reception of the Japanese Prince. I shall receive them both separately today before dinner.

So, as I have learnt from your telegram, the poor Princess Ghendrikova is dead. For her sake and her children's sake that is a merciful release.

You wish me to come home for a day or two, but unfortunately that is at present quite impossible: in view of the enormous preparatory labour for the coming operations I cannot now absent myself from my Staff, I am afraid the atmosphere of Petrograd is depressing you, which is not noticeable here. I would, of course, have come with pleasure, in the first place to see you and secondly to have a bathe in my reservoir. God grant that I may be able to do so in the autumn, as I did last year!

Baby has probably already written to tell you that we are conducting some excavations near the little chapel.

I must now finish. May God bless you and the girls! I kiss you and them tenderly, my darling Sunny.

Eternally your old


Telegram. Stavka. 10 September, 1916.

Thank you with all my heart for your dear letters. It shall be done. Please tell Nastenka that I am very grieved about her mother's death. Clear, cold weather. Both kiss you tenderly.


NOTES: "It shall be done" - refers to the appointment of Protopopov. - NASTENKA: Countess Ghendrikova, a lady-in-waiting, one of those who accompanied the Imperial Family to Siberia, and was there killed by the Bolsheviks.

Telegram. Stavka. 11 September, 1916

It would be better to send your seventh train to the Caucasus. I am just off to the station to meet the Prince

A beautiful sunny day. Love.


NOTES: "The Prince." Prince Kotohito Kanin, already referred to.

Stavka. 11 September, 1916


Warmest thanks for your dear letter. I have only just finished having lunch with Prince Kanin. He is a pleasant man and speaks French very well. He visited us in 1900. Fortunately the weather is bright and warm. He brought charming Japanese presents for me and Baby. I have no time for more. I embrace you fondly, my own darling, and the girls.

Eternally your old


Stavka. 12 September, 1916.

Many thanks for your dear letter and your love. Yesterday's reception of the Japanese went off beautifully. We received him with great pomp, and the weather was ideal. In the course of the day George went for a drive with the Prince, and we met them at the place where we are excavating, close to the future chapel. He has brought me and Alexis some exquisite presents from the Emperor and himself. I shall send them to Tsarskoe - please have the boxes opened and look over the things. The most beautiful of all is a cloisonne picture representinga peacock - it is terribly heavy, but of admirable workmanship. Alexis was very glad to see the Japanese General with whom he played last year - he has now arrived with the Prince's retinue. George looks after them as a careful tutor would look after children. Mamma is receiving them to-day at Kiev. You will see them on the 15th. I would like also to pay you a visit... When will it be possible, though? Now I must finish. May God bless you and keep you well! Warmest greetings to you, to the girls and to her.

Eternally yours, my darling,


Telegram. Stavka. 12 September, 1916

Hearty thanks. Yesterday's visit went off successfully. Beautiful weather. Both kiss you fondly.


Stavka. 13 September, 1916


My very best thanks for your dear letter. This time I must take Miechen's part; a few days ago she passed here on her way and left a letter, in which she asked permission to be allowed to stay in Livadia, in one of the houses under the Court jurisdiction, adding that it would be inconvenient for her to stay at a hotel in Yalta. I then telegraphed her my consent. What else was to be done?

I am sending you a few illustrations out of a newspaper and a letter from Mavra, with a cutting, which I have not read. It is very warm to-day, 11 degrees in the shade, and the air is beautiful, so that we are going up the river, as usual, which we have not done for over a week. Yesterday we excavated in another place, but again found nothing. It is funny how Alexis loves digging.

There is little news from the front, because we are preparing a new offensive. Kira has received a long letter from Drenteln; he will bring me a copy, and then I shall send it along to you. The only means of saving our sailors is by sending them to the Black Sea - there they can rest, and with God's help prepare for the final expedition to Constantinople, as was intended last spring.

Now good-bye. May God bless you and the dear girls!

I kiss you and them fondly, my darling.

Eternally your


NOTES: "This time I must take Miechen's part." The Tsaritsa had written complaining of the "beastly impertinence" of Miechen, the Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna, in applying to the Marshal of the Court for linen and servants. -MAVRA: the Grand Duchess Elizavieta Mavrikievna, wife of the Grand Duke Constantine Constantinovitch. - "Saving our sailors" - of the Equipage.

Stavka. 14 September, 1916.


Thank you warmly for your dear letter. It is very sad that you are not feeling very strong; take care of yourself, if not for your own sake, then at least for mine, and for the sake of the wounded. I am forwarding you Drenteln's letter to Freder. I was quite sure that, with the departure of Besobrazov, the Guards would be at a loose end-I think I have already spoken to you of it ! Gourko would undoubtedly have been better at the head of the Guards than General Kaledin, though the latter is a good general and was very successful during our last offensive in May. I had no time to include the Guards in my reserves, as they were hurried off into new positions. Of course the enemy had time to fortify his lines and bring up an enormous quantity of heavy artillery and troops. God only knows how this new offensive will end!

For the last few days the weather has been splendid and warm, but to-day it is much colder.

God guard you, my darling Wify. Tender kisses to you and the girls.

Eternally your


NOTES: KALIEDIN: General Kaledin, then commanding the 8th Army, was Ataman of the Don Cossacks. He committed suicide when his men went over to the Revolution.

Stavka. 15 September, 1916.


I am very, very grateful to you for your dear letter. It seems to me that you ought to speak to Sturmer about Daisy's telegram, as the matter concerns two Ministries-the War Ministry and that of Foreign Affairs. I am also sending you a letter which I received yesterday from Dolly, Evgeni's daughter. She brought it herself, and insisted on being allowed to see me. Owing to deceit and false tales at the station, she penetrated into Feodorov's room, where she told him a long story of some detachment of hers, of her wish to get through to the South, away from Dvinsk, and so forth.

Nilov, who now replaces Voeikov, was most indignant, and got her out of the house only by promising to deliver this letter. Dreadful! She requests the title of Duchess of Leuchtenberg - after that, you may be sure, she will demand money from the districts, to which she has no shadow of right.

A little while ago I received Silaiev; he has returned to the regiment, but does not know for how long he can remain. It is such a pity !

My dear, I am already dreaming of our meeting in the near future. Though I am inundated with work, in thought I am always with you.

Yes, only think of it, it is fifty years since Mamma came to Russia !

May God guard you! Many fond kisses, my beloved, for you and the girls.

Eternally yours


NOTES: DAISY: Princess Margaret of Sweden. DOLLY: Baroness Daris, Grevenitz, formerly the wife of Prince Kotchubey, daughter of the Duke of Leuchtenberg.

Telegram. Stavka. 15 September, 1916.

Hearty thanks. I am glad to know that the visit has been successful. Sandro has arrived from Kiev for a day. Clear, cold weather. Many kisses.


Stavka. 16 September, 1916


Thank you with all my heart for the dear letter. I am glad that the visit of the Japanese and lunch with them passed off all right, but I am very sorry that you tired yourself out. Take care of yourself and do not overtire your poor dear heart. To-day I wrote to dear Mamma and to Sandro. It appears that that idiot Rodzianko has written him a very impertinent official letter, to which Sandro intends answering very sharply. He read out to me some extracts from both of the letters - Rodzianko's and his own. His answer is very well expressed.

As far as I can judge from Kyrill's words, a slight misunderstanding occurred in connection with the "Standart." I have never given any orders to Grigorovitch, but only asked him about this post for Zelenetsky in the future and expressed to him my desire that N.P. should get our yacht after Z. I spoke of this to the Admiral also; he took it quite calmly, only asking if it could be done towards the end of the war, when the boilers will be put in and the repairs of the yacht finished. Apart from that, Z. really does everything for Kyrill in the Equipage, as he is often absent. And finally, I wish to have N.P. by me during the war, and he could not absent himself from the service if he was Captain now.

You understand, do you not?

I must finish now, my beloved Girly. May God guard you and the dear girls. Many kisses.

Eternally your old


Stavka. 17 September, 1916.


After a few bright days the weather has taken a sudden turn for the worse, and now it rains incessantly; it is warm and dark, but perhaps it's just as well, as in any case we could not have gone out, because of Baby's swelling on the foot, or rather instep. He cannot put on his shoes, but fortunately there is no pain. He is dressed and is spending the whole day in the room with the round windows! Of course I shall go for a turn in the garden. On board ship, or at Livadia, we should be pasting photographs into albums in such weather.

I told Alexeiev about our sailors' battalion - they will be sent back at once after this battle. Seven corps will take part in the offensive. If only God would grant them success!

How many weeks already I have worried over this! If we had more heavy artillery, there would not be the slightest doubt as to the outcome of the struggle. Like the French and English, they paralyse all resistance solely by the terrible fire of their heavy guns. - That was the case with us at the beginning of our offensive.

May God guard you and the girls! I kiss you tenderly, my dear Sunny, my only and all. Kisses for the girls.

Eternally your Nicky.

Stavka. 18 September, 1916.


The Reports are finished sooner than usual, and I will take this opportunity of beginning my letter to you before lunch. To-day there will be a lot of visitors, because it is Sunday. Alek has also returned from his journey to Reni and Roumania. The weather is bright and clear, quite unlike yesterday. Baby's swollen foot is better - he is quite cheerful. During the day we played "Nain Jaune" together. I went to Vespers, after which 0. Shavelsky introduced me to an old local priest; he is 95 years old, but looks not more than 70. - I have only just finished lunch and a talk with Alek.

Best thanks for your dear letter. - No, I have not told Petia of his release yet - anyway, it will soon be made public!

Sandro thinks that Olga ought to wait, but she will not listen to him.

I shall speak to Sergey about those 40 guns at T.S. He told me a little while ago that heavy artillery was being concentrated there. Why act behind his back?

Who sent me the last photographs? Am I to select a few for myself, or are they all intended for me and Alexis? The old Ivanov came back from Finland a few days ago - he cannot stand that country!

I must finish, my darling. God take care of you and the girls I I kiss you all tenderly, and her also.

I embrace you closely, my treasure.

Eternally your old


NOTES: "I have not told Petia of his release." A reference to the divorce of Prince Peter of Oldenburg - "Olga ought to wait" - before marrying Colonel Koulikovsky.

"Those 40 guns at T.S." Artillery, mostly of English manufacture, shipped to Arkhangel, was being massed at Tsarskoe Selo, and apparently delayed there before being sent to the front. The matter concerned the Grand Duke Sergey as Inspector-General of Artillery.

Stavka. 19 September, 1916.


Thank you very much for your charming and loving letter. Last night I looked through all your letters, and noticed that in June you suddenly jumped from No. 545 to No. 555. So that now all your letters are numbered wrong. How do you know that Goutchkov and Alex. write to each other? I never heard of it before.

Is it not a curious coincidence that the Colonel who is in charge of the heavy artillery which is now being formed up at T.S. came here on duty and had lunch with me a little while ago? I asked him questions about many things, and he told me that every battery has one sentry on guard; that on two nights thefts had occurred, owing to darkness - on one occasion the sentry himself proved to be the thief and that some very expensive metal component parts of the heavy English guns are being constantly stolen on their way from Arkhangelsk to T.S. Sergey knew all about it already, and all necessary precautions will be taken.

Before his departure Fred. sent me a whole bundle of letters of Count Pahlen's to his wife, in which he condemns in very sharp terms the military censorship, the rear, and so forth. The old man requests me to deprive him of Court rank, to which I give my consent, though I realise that it is too severe a punishment. Mamma has also written to you about it.

I must finish, my beloved Wify. God guard you! I kiss the girls and you, my own darling.

Eternally your


NOTES: Alex.: Alexeiev. The examination of private correspondence in the "Black Box " department of the Post Office was a matter of routine: but it is probable that the statement concerning this correspondence came from Mme. Vyroubova. Count Pahlen's letters, referred to below, were doubtless intercepted by the postal authorities in the course of their duty

Stavka. 20 September. 1916.


Best thanks for your letter. To-day arrived Grabbe, Maximovitch and N.P. - up to now there were only a few of us. Baby's foot is better and he walks again freely.

Together with military matters, the eternal question of supplies troubles me most of all. Alexeiev gave me to-day a letter which he received from the charming Prince Obolensky, the President of the Committee of Supplies. He confesses frankly that they cannot alleviate the situation in any way, that they are working in vain, that the Ministry of Agriculture pays no attention to their regulations, that the prices are soaring and the people beginning to starve. It is obvious where this situation may lead the country.

Old St. cannot overcome these difficulties. I do not see any other way out, except by transferring the matter to the military authorities, but that also has its disadvantages! It is the most damnable problem I have ever come across! I never was a business man, and simply do not understand anything in these questions of supplying and provisioning.

I must finish now, my own. May God preserve you and the girls! Many kisses.

Eternally your old


Telegram. Stavka. 20 September, 190.

Sincerest thanks. We have also dull, rainy weather. I have just come back from the cinematograph. The news is not very good. Embrace you tenderly.


Stavka. 21 September, 1916


The train is very late to-day and your letter has not yet arrived. The weather is again bright and not very cold. Thank Tatiana for the photographs and ask her to send me some more of my notepaper (one of the blue boxes). My yesterday's sense of depression has passed off. I told Alexeiev to order Broussilov to stop our hopeless attacks, so as to withdraw the Guards and part of the other troops from the front lines, give them time to rest and make up their strength. We must launch an attack near Galitch and more to the south at Dorna-Vatra, so as to help the Roumanians; and cross the Carpathians before the winter sets in. The reinforcements necessary for this will be sent up.

N.P. told me that he was pleased with your general appearance. Try to get well, my darling, before you come down here in a fortnight's time!

To-day is Paul's birthday and the namesday of Dmitry and Dm. Sherem., so at lunch we each drank a glass of champagne to please them.

The sun is shining divinely and there are still many green leaves.

I must finish, my dear... I love you so much, and am longing for you so terribly. God preserve you and the girls. I kiss you all tenderly, and her as well.

Eternally, my dear Girly,

Your old


Telegram. Stavka. 21 September, 1918.

Best thanks for dear, long letter. I have received Count Bobrinsky. He made a good impression. A lovely sunny day. Both kiss you tenderly.


Stavka. 22 September, 1916.


I thank you with all my heart for your 2 dear letters, especially for the last long one! I received Bobrinsky and had a long conversation with him. He has known Protop. for many years, thoroughly approves of him, and is sure that they will both work together amicably. He spoke also of the telegram which they had both sent! I was pleased with that.

Al. never mentioned Goutchkov to me. I only know that he hates Rodzianko and laughs at his belief that he knows everything better than anybody else.

What has been driving him to despair for a long time is the enormous number of letters which he receives from officers, their families, soldiers, and so on, as well as anonymous ones, all of which request him to draw my attention to the plight of the towns and villages, caused by the high prices of food and commodities!

I am sending you a few photographs - duplicates - as I am putting my albums in order, before pasting them in.

Broussilov has asked permission to continue the attack, as Gourko will help him on the right flank, and I have permitted it,

My pen is very bad. Farewell. God guard you and the girls, my precious! I kiss you fondly.

Eternally your old


NOTES: "Broussilov has asked permission to continue the attack." After reading this letter on the following day the Tsaritsa telegraphed: "He [Rasputin) approved of your original plan to stop (the offensive) and begin in another place. Now you write otherwise. May God help us." The "original plan" to which she refers (to stop the main offensive and to attack near Galitch and at Doma. Vatra) will be found in the Tsar's letter of the 21st. The telegram appears to have been delayed, and the Tsar did not receive it till the 24th.

Telegram. Stavka. 22 September, 1916.

Hearty thanks. It is warm, windy. Hope you feel better. Am very grateful for yesterday's long telegram. Kiss you tenderly.


Stavka. 23 September, 1916.


Tender thanks for your dear, long letter, in which you state so well your conversation with Protop. God grant that he may turn out to be the man of whom we are now in need! Only think, Shack. wanted to obtain that post! Yes, truly, you ought to be my eyes and ears there in the capital, while I have to stay here. It rests with you to keep peace and harmony among the Ministers - thereby you do a great service to me and to our country. Oh, my precious Sunny, I am so happy to think that you have found at last a worthy occupation! Now I shall naturally be calm, and at least need not worry over internal affairs.

I am returning Bressler's letter to A. - that is a hopeless case, as his brother could not clear himself of the charges against him. Perhaps it would be better if he sent me a petition.

Thanks for sending me the photographs. The weather is warm, but in the morning there was a thick mist. This time a year ago I was returning to Tsarskoe Selo for the first time, after spending a month here ! And to-day it's five months, the day of your namesday, since I have left home. Oh, how tired I am of Mogilev!

At the same time, I have a lot to do - hardly time enough to paste my photographs in the album. - I must finish this letter now. May God protect you, my angel, my heart, my intellect and my soul! Tender kisses for you and the girls.

Eternally your old


Stavka. 24 September, 1916.


The train is late again and I have not yet received your letter. Read this telegram from Miechen and tear it up. Let me thank you again, my dear, for your long letter. You will really help me a great deal by speaking to the Ministers and watching them. I have only just received your telegram, in which you inform me that our Friend is very disturbed about my plan not being carried out. When I gave this order I did not know that Gourko had decided to gather almost all the forces at his disposal and prepare an attack in conjunction with the Guards and the neighbouring troops. This combination doubles our forces in this place and gives hopes for the possibility of success. That is why, when Al. read out the explanatory telegrams from Brouss. and Gourko, with the request to be allowed to continue the attack, which was then already in full swing, I gave my consent the next morning. To-day Br. asked permission to send General Kaledin to Lechitzky and to appoint Gourko commander over all these troops, including the Guards, which, from a military point of view, is quite correct, and with which I thoroughly agree. Now I shall be calm in the assurance that G. will act energetically but with caution and intelligence. These details are for you only - I beg you, my dear! Tell him only: Papa prikazal priniat razounmiye mieri! (Papa has ordered to take sensible measures!)

Many thanks, my dear, for your letter, which has only just been brought to me at 2.15 instead of 11.30. The weather is very warm, but damp and rainy. God guard you, my only one, my beloved Sunny . . .

Eternally your old


NOTES: The reference is to the telegram quoted below. These passages are of great historical interest, for they exhibit Rasputin's influence on the course of military operations-with the result shown in the Tsar's letter of the 27th, three days later. In reply to the present letter, the Tsaritsa begs her husband to "stop this useless massacre," and on this day she telegraphed; "He is very disturbed that your plan was not carried out. You foresaw everything quite correctly, and B. ought to obey and fulfil your orders. Now there are again useless sacrifices. Your thoughts are inspired from above."

Stavka. 25 September, 1916.


Thank you with all my heart for your dear letter. I am returning Pahlen's letter to you. Yesterday I wrote to the old Count Nirod, to see that this injustice should be put right and the Court rank returned to Pahlen by the 5th of October. I am sending you my photograph, taken in Evpatoria, as I already have it. To-day the weather is wonderful and summer-like - 12 degrees in the shade - it is so pleasant!

Two new Roumanian officers have arrived - one of them the son of old Rosetti (mother nee Girs), the image of his father, only he does not cry every minute. The other is quite a boy - Alexis likes him tremendously; he will probably make friends with him. You must come by the 4th of Oct. - it is the day of our Cossack festival, - of course the 3rd would be better still. My love, my treasure, how happy I am at the thought of seeing you in a week's time, of hearing your sweet voice and pressing you in my arms! Excuse the bad writing, but my pen is old and wants renewing.

I have just got your telegram. I can imagine how you received the Synod. It is disagreeable to see among them only one Member: Sergey of Finland.

I must finish now. God protect you, my own darling, and the girls. Many kisses.



NOTES: "It is disagreeable to see among them" The meaning is: "It is disagreeable to see, among them, one member - Sergey of Finland."

Stavka. 26 September, 1916


Hearty thanks for dear letter. You ask me so many questions that I must think them out before answering. On Wednesday I shall receive Prot. and speak about the Governor of Petrograd. I doubt whether it would be wise to appoint Andrian. to this post; he is an honest man, but frightfully weak, a regular simpleton: he was formerly a military judge. He would not do for the present difficult times. As for Obolensky, he could be offered the Winter Palace after poor Komarov, if you have nothing against it. - Your friend Khogandokov was appointed Hetman by Delegation of the Amur Cossack Army only a few months ago ! I really do not know what kind of a Gov9ernor) he would have made.

I am sending you Nicky's letter and Sturmer's paper on the question, which may interest you. I must finish!

May God preserve you, my dear Sunny, and the girls ! Fond kisses.

Eternally your


NOTES: ANDRIAN.: General Andrianov, the Prefect of the Moscow police. KOMAROV: General V. A. Komarov, Chief of the Court Ministry at Petrograd.

Stavka. 27 September, 1916


Fondest thanks for dear letter and photographs. I am in despair at the thought of you not being well, and at your heart being again enlarged! You have evidently worked too hard and overtired your heart. I beg you to be careful and to look after yourself.

The weather is again warm and bright: at times it rains.

Everything is quiet at the front these days, as considerable forces are being gathered and concentrated at the extreme left flank - Doma - Vatra - to help the Roumanians.

My dear, Broussilov has, on the receipt of my instructions, immediately given orders to stop, and only asked whether it was necessary to send back the incoming troops or allow them to continue their movement. Then he proposed Gourko instead of Kaledin. After this he sent a paper with a plan by Gourko concerning the new joint attack, which he thoroughly agrees with, and so do Alexeiev and Poustov. I have given my consent to this new plan. That is, briefly speaking, the whole story.

Last night I managed to write to Olga; please give her my letter.

At the end of every walk we eat potatoes and chestnuts. Baby enjoys these snacks in the heart of nature immensely; the others do too. I must finish, my beloved. May God preserve you and may He send you a speedy recovery! I kiss you, the girls and her. Thank her for her letter.

With sincerest greetings, my treasure,

Eternally your old


NOTES: Broussilov's offensive was now definitely brought to an end. That the ending was not entirely due to the military position, but was largely caused by the influence of Rasputin, is now made clear. This influence was apparently suspected by many, and it is indicated by the following passage in Gourko's book: "The weariness of the troops had its effect... but there can be no question that the stoppage of the advance was premature, and founded on orders from Headquarters, under a pretext which could not be openly spoken about. whereas, amongst our Allies, if not in the Press, such reasons were publicly mentioned or whispered." It is true, however, that the Russian losses had been considerable.

Telegram. Stavka. 27 September, 1916.

Best thanks. I have received the Roumanian Ambassador and officers with letters from there. It is warm, dry. In thought I am with you. Both embrace you fondly.


Stavka. 28 September, 1916.


Tender thanks for sweet letter and precise instructions for my talk with Protop. Last night I was fairly busy. We were shown part of a very interesting English military film. Then I received the Roumanian Ambassador, Diamandy, and Nando's Adjutant, Angelesko, who brought me a letter from both. It appears that they are living through a terrible panic in Bukarest, created by the fear of the enormous advancing German army (which is imaginary) and the general lack of confidence in their own troops, who run whenever the German artillery opens fire!

Alexeiev foresaw this, and has told me several times that it would have been more advantageous for us if the Roumanians had kept their neutrality. Now, whatever happens, we must help them, and because of that our long front gets still more extended, as their borders are open to the enemy, whom they cannot withstand. We are collecting all available corps there, but the transport of troops wastes much valuable time.

To-morrow arrive Paul, Makarov and also the Serbian deputation from the King with the military decorations. The weather continues to be warm, but cloudy and dismal. I have sent for a few of our Eastern carpets, and they have greatly improved both rooms. Farewell. God guard you, my dear Sunny! I kiss you and the girls tenderly.

I remain

Eternally your old


NOTES: Nando: King Ferdinand of Roumania.

Telegram. Stavka. 28 September, 1916

Hearty thanks. I have received the new Minister, talked with him for two hours. Made a good impression. Hope you are not tired. It is warm, windy. Tender kisses.


NOTES: "The new Minister": Protopopov.

Stavka. 29 September, 1916.


Your dear letter No. 603 has arrived only at 2 o'clock, at the same time as the telegramprobably the train was late owing to the storm. Thank you most warmly for all you have written to me. True, it is strange that Obolensky came in such a way to our Friend-Lily's brother!

Well, yesterday from 6.15 to 8.15 I had a talk with Protop, I sincerely hope that he will prove suitable and will justify our expectations; he is, it seems, inspired by the best intentions, and has an excellent knowledge of internal affairs. Your little list with the questions was before me; only I did not touch upon the question of Rub. - It was getting late, and the guests in the other room were very noisy!

What joy, that we shall see each other soon! It would be splendid if you arrived on Monday at 5 o'clock to tea!

Baby and I find that the time is long overdue for us to see again mother and wife, sisters and daughters. The weather is warm but very windy; there is probably a gale raging on the Baltic Sea. At 6 o'clock we are going to the cinematograph to see the rest of the English war pictures; those which we have seen already were remarkably interesting and entertaining!

I shall receive Paul during the day-this will most likely be his first Report! I must finish, my own. God preserve you! I kiss you tenderly, my beloved darling, you and the girls.

Eternally your old


NOTES: "Strange that Obolensky came in such a way to our Friend Lily's brother." The meaning is: "It is strange that Obolensky, who is Lily's brother, should have come in such a way to our Friend." In the Tsaritsa's letter of the preceding day she says: "Obolensky asked to see our Friend and sent a fine car for him," She then describes in detail the interview between Prince Obolensky and Rasputin, making it clear (perhaps unintentionally) that the Prince was seeking the aid of the peasant. The Lily referred to here is Princess Elizavieta Nicolaievna Obolenskaia, a lady-in-waiting.

Rub.: D. L. Rubinstein, a Jewish banker and speculator. He had been closely associated with Court circles, and was believed to have been in touch with German financiers during the war. Like Manus, the banker, be allied himself with Rasputin. The Tsaritsa wished him to be sent away, in order to avoid open scandals.

Telegram. Stavka. 29 September, 1916

Sincerest thanks. Paul has arrived; looks well. A clear evening. I saw an interesting English film. Both embrace you tenderly.


Stavka. 30 September, 1916.


Warmest thanks for your dear letter. Belaiev has only just left me. He is being sent to Roumania in the capacity of adviser and head of the military mission, in accordance with the example of the French. Yesterday I received the Roumanian General who is going to Bukarest. Paul has a good healthy appearance. He has found a small comfortable house here and has quite settled down. He has asked leave to be allowed to come to tea only, as he prefers lunching and dining at home. After the 5th he will visit the Guards. To-night I am receiving the Serbian officers, who have brought me - and apparently for all of you military medals ! I have no idea what their decorations are like.

The weather is warm but very windy, with intermittent rain and sunshine. All the same, we are going for a row on the river. Since the summer I have only had three free evenings after dinner; two evenings I played dominoes, and on the third I sorted out the photographs for the album to paste them in all at the same time. I am immensely glad of our meeting in the near future!

I can add nothing more of interest. God guard you, my dear Sunny! I kiss you and the girls tenderly, and her also. I hope the journey will not tire you.

Eternally your very loving old


Telegram. Stavka. 30 September, 1916

I consent. Good-night. My blessings.


NOTES: "I consent." The answer to the Tsaritsa's telegram of the same date, in which she says: " Please allow the Metropolitan and Raiev to come to you on Monday with the Holy Image from the Synod. Telegraph reply."

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