Tsar Nicholas to Tsaritsa Alexandra letters top

December 1916

In the train. 4 December, 1916.


I have not read your letter, as I love to do that in bed before going to sleep. But I thank you in advance for all the love and kindness which are poured out in them. I shall post this in Tosno and hope that it will reach you to-night.

Yes, those days spent together were difficult, but only thanks to you have I spent them more or less calmly. You were so strong and steadfast - I admire you more than I can say. Forgive me if I was moody or unrestrainedsometimes one's temper must come out!

Of course it would be great happiness to be always together in these difficult times. But now I firmly believe that the most painful is behind us and that it will not be as hard as it was before. And henceforth I intend to become sharp and bitter.

God grant that our separation may not last long. In my thoughts I am always with you - never doubt that.

With all my loving heart do I embrace you and the girls. Keep well and firm, my dear little birdy, my own and my all. Sleep sweetly and calmly.

Eternally your old hubby

Give her my kind regards.


NOTES: "Those days together were difficult." The Tsaritsa had fought successfully for Protopopov, and he was retained in office.

"I intend to become sharp and bitter." The word here translated as bitter is "yadoviti "-literally " poisonous."

Telegram. Stavka. 5 December, 1916.

Have arrived safely. A lovely clear day; 2 deg. of frost. Thank you once more for dear letter. Hope you are feeling well. Both kiss you tenderly.


Telegram. Stavka. 6 December, 1916.

Hearty thanks for good wishes and presents. The Little One handed them to me in the name of you all last night . Clear, windy weather. In thought and prayer I am with you. Embrace you closely.


6 December, 1916.


My very best thanks for your sweet kind letter, also for yesterday's presents and for those which came to-day with your letter!

I drank in each tender word written by you. In the morning we went, as usual, to church, and coming back I inspected all the officers and men lining our route. It is their holiday to-day and I congratulated them.

Then I received the members of the Staff, after which I listened. to the usual report, a short one on this occasion, as I spoke to Gourko last night.

We have just finished lunch. The weather is lovely here, heaps of snow and such light dry air. The journey went off very well. In the train we slept till goodness knows what hour. I went for a walk with A. at each station.

I have read with delight "The Wall of Partition", and feel soothed by it.

A mass of telegrams, as usual.

Olga will be pleased and surprised at being appointed Colonel-in-Chief of the 2nd Koubansk. Plastounski Battalion. I remembered that two of them had no Colonels-in-Chief; I thought it right to give her the second; and to Boris, who inspected them all there, the 5th battalion.

Well, good-bye, my darling. May God bless you and the girls I

With loving kisses from your old


NOTES: "Yesterday's presents." The 6th December was the Tsar's namesday. - "The Wall of Partition," a novel by Florence Barclay. - Olga, the Tsar's daughter.

Stavka. 6 December, 1916.

I thank you and the children with all my soul for letters and games. God bless you! Sleep well.


7 December, 1916.


I am infinitely grateful to you for your sweet letter. I will tell Fredericks about the telegrams received by you from Astrachan. That man frequently telegraphs to me. I remember, at the time when Stolypin was still alive, he used to send me similar well-wishing telegrams. He was one of those who did not approve of the speeches of Schouvaiev and Grigorovitch in the Duma.

Yesterday I was inundated with telegrams, as they were not forbidden: an enormous number arrived! I have not yet finished answering them.

The cinematograph was extremely interesting last night. We know at last who is the "mysterious hand."

Her cousin and fiancé, would you believe it? This caused tremendous excitement in the theatre.

On the 17th all the Commanders-in-Chief are coming here for a military conference, as it is time to prepare our plans for the coming spring. I hope that the day after that I shall be able to start for home!

You can be quite sure, my beloved, that I shall know how to answer Trepov when he appears.

In the evening I run through several chapters of your English book: that refreshes the brain greatly.

May God bless you, my own, and the girls!

I kiss you all tenderly and remain

Your ever loving hubby


NOTES: "The telegrams received by you from Astrachan." This is a mistake: the telegrams in question came from Arkhangel.

Telegram. Stavka. 8 December, 1916.

Many thanks for dear letters and photographs. General Williams' son has died of illness. He is going to town for a week. Clear, cold day. Tender kisses. NICKY.

8 December, 1916.


Thank you very much indeed for your sweet letter. I shall receive Trepov on Monday the 12th Dec. Do not worry yourself, my dear. Now I am calm and firm, and know what to answer. He is coming here to settle also some serious railway questions with Gourko.

I have handed over the telegrams to Fredericks. He asked before printing them, to find out about the man who sent them. I think, too, that that would be more correct. The reply will go through Kalinin, so that you can find out beforehand from him and decide there.

Luckily I have not many papers, but during the last days I had to receive "Dudel" (Adlerberg), Solovov and Ozerov. The book you sent me is very elegantly produced. I am glad to have "Hadji Murat". Yes, I can imagine Olga's wild joy. Grabbe and all our Cossacks were also very moved. Grabbe showed me Olga's answer - it is very good!

Every evening I enjoy a chapter of "The Wall of Part[ition]," and shall soon have finished it.

We have now a proper good winter with lots of snow. I must finish. God bless you and the girls!

I kiss you fondly, my Sunny, and love you infinitely.

Cordial greetings to them and to A. Thank her for her letter and present.

Always your old


NOTES: Kalinin: Rasputin's name for Protopopov; the intentional and humorous continuance of a mistake made at their first meeting. OZEROV: General S. S. Ozerov of the Imperial suite, formerly the commander of the Preobrajensky Regiment. - "Hadji Murat," a short posthumous work by Tolstoy. Hadji Murat (or Murad) was the lieutenant of Shamil, the leader of the Mohammedan element in the Caucasus. "Olga's wild joy" - over her appointment as Colonel-in-Chief. See letter of the 6th.

Telegram. Stavka. 9 December. 1916.

Warmest thanks.

I have ordered the old Count to entrust concerning the telegrams to Kalinin. It is clear, 7 degrees. Both embrace you tenderly.


Stavka. 9 December, 1916.


Thank you most sincerely for your tender letter. I am very glad to hear of your decision to visit Novgorod, the most ancient city of Russia. You will feel quite different quite different after your return. I have always noticed that, after a tour of the country. The Governor of Novgorod is an excellent man, and I like him very much. His name is Islavin. Please give him my kind regards.

I have changed the day for Trepov's reception, having fixed it for to-morrow - Saturday.

I intend to be sharp, firm and ungracious. Thank you for the photographs - I am afraid I have already got them. Fredericks has received letters simultaneously from Wrangel and Larka Vorontzov. Both complain bitterly of Misha's wife, who does not allow them to speak to him, even if it is only about his health. judging from what they write, the doctors who attend him insist on serious treatment and a rest in a warm climate. If he remained a little longer in the Crimea it would do him a great deal of good; but he, or perhaps she, wishes to return to Gatchina, of which the doctors do not approve, and nobody can penetrate to Misha to explain it to him. I am therefore thinking of telegraphing to tell him that he should remain there for another month.

My dear heart, I must finish. May God bless you and your journey!

I kiss you warmly and tenderly.

Your old hubby


NOTES: WRANGEL: Colonel Baron P. M. Wrangel, A.D.C. to the Tsar. Well known later as a leader of the "White" counterrevolutionaries. He was in the Cavalry Guards.

Telegram. Stavka. 10 December, 1916.

Many thanks for letter. Read it with interest. Alexey understands that you could not write. Best wishes and blessings for your journey.


10 December, 1916.


Many thanks for dear letter. Yesterday, driving through Alexey's favourite wood by the old Stavka, we went in, and stayed for a minute to pray before the ikon of the Mother of God. I am glad to have done it, as it was your special wish.

I thank you also for giving me details of the conversation between Kal. and A.

I hope that your excursion will be successful and that you will like Novgorod. I went there once in the summer of 1904, just before Baby's birth.

Things do not look too bright in Roumania - chiefly owing to the fact that our troops cannot get through to them because of the congestion of refugees on the railways. In the Dobrudja our troops had to retire to the very Danube, as there were too few of them to defend a long and thin front.

By about the 15th of Dec. the concentration of our forces will, I hope, be more or less accomplished, and perhaps towards Christmas we shall begin our offensive. As you see, the position there is not a very happy one.

Now I must finish, my treasure. May God bless you and the girls I Give my kind regards to A. and tell her how sorry I am that she suffers so much with her leg.

I kiss you warmly and tenderly, my Sunny. Your old


NOTES: "Kal. and A." Protopopov and Mme. Vyroubova.

Stavka. 11 December, 1916.


Owing to it being Sunday, I have no time to write a letter - church, reports and a big lunch! To-morrow I shall write fully about my conversation with Trepov. I hope the visit to Novgorod will not tire you I It is thawing to-day, which is very disagreeable. May God bless you, my little Birdy! I kiss you and them tenderly.



Stavka. 11 December, 1916.

Sincerest thanks for letters and telegram. I am so glad that you were pleased with Novgorod. Hope you are not tired. It is warm, snow. Embrace you closely.


Stavka. 12 December, 1916.


Again I have no time to write a long letter. I have just received a very interesting civil engineer, who has returned from Germany after spending two years there. He was with Dr. Kressen. He told me many things, and it was he who kept me such a time. His name is Weinberg, the grandson of a Jew.

I am very glad that you were satisfied with what you saw in Novgorod.

God bless you, my Sunny! With many kisses from Your old


Stavka. 13 December, 1916.


Endless thanks for your long interesting letter with the many details of your trip to Novgorod. You saw more there than I did in 1904. Of course it would be splendid if we could go together in the spring I Thanks too for the ikon - I am very glad to have this particular one.

Kyrill came to-day with N. P. They both had lunch and raved about the battalion and Odessa.

Well now, about Trepov. He was quiet and submissive and did not touch upon the name of Protopopov. Probably my face was ungracious and hard, as he wriggled in his chair. He spoke of the American note, of the Duma, of the near future and, of course, of the railways. He, unfolded his plan concerning the Duma - to prorogue it on the 17th of December and reassemble it on the 19th of January, so as to show them and the whole country that, in spite of all they have said, the Government wish to work together. If in January they begin blundering and making trouble he is prepared to hurl thunders at them (he told me his speech in brief) and close the Duma finally. That might happen on the second or third day of their New Year's session I After that, he asked me what I thought. I did not deny the logic of his plan, as well as another advantage which came into my mind-namely, that if it all fell out as he thinks, we would get rid of the Duma two or three weeks earlier than I had anticipated (in the middle of Jan. instead of the middle of Feb.).

And so I approved of his plan, but took from him a solemn promise that he would stick to it and carry it out. - I went to pray before the ikon of the Mother of God before this conversation, and felt comforted after it.

I was delighted yesterday at Paul's arrival. He came to tea and to-day he will make his report. I have just seen, Vlad. Nic. - Serg. Petr. is leaving for Moscow. Yesterday I gave an audience to Toll the commander of my Pavlograd Hussars. He looks contented, but more stupid than ever.

I must finish. God bless you, my dear, my heart and my soul! Kisses for you, the girls, and A.

Your old


NOTES: "The American Note." President Wilson's note, addressed to all the belligerent Governments, asking them to make known their respective views on the conditions under which the war might be terminated.-" Vlad. Nic." Dr. Derevenko. "Serg. Petr." Dr. Feodorov.

Telegram. Stavka. 13 December. 1916.

Hearty thanks. Wrote to You to-day in detail. Am happy to get your ikons. The weather is mild. Both embrace you tenderly.



Stavka. 14 December, 1916.

Many thanks for dear letters and two telegrams. I have ordered him at once to thank those kind people in our name. It is clear, 3 degrees of frost. Do not overtire yourself. Tender kisses from both.


14 December, 1916.


Tender thanks for the severe written scolding. I read it with a smile, because you speak to me as though I was a child.

It is unpleasant to speak to a man one does not like and does not trust, such as Trepov. But first of all it is necessary to find a substitute for him, and then kick him outafter he has done the dirty work. I mean to make him resign after he has closed the Duma. Let all the responsibility and all the difficulties fall upon his shoulders, and upon the shoulders of his successor.

I am sending you two lists of candidates which he left with me, and a letter, sent by him yesterday, in which he again returns to the question of appointing Makarov as President of the Council of State.

Rouchlov is a very good, spiritually strong and respectable man, who loathes Kokovtsev and the others. You know that the President of the Council of State is newly appointed every year, as well as all the members.

Things are not well in Roumania. We have sent and keep on sending troops, but they are obliged to make long marches (three weeks) because of the shocking condition of the railways. Now it has at last been decided to put them under our control.

The 17th of December has been fixed as the day for the meeting of the Generals as, up to then, Gourko has several conferences.

I must finish now. God bless you, my darling, my Sunny! With fond kisses to you and the girls, I remain

Your "poor little weak-willed" hubby


NOTES: KOKOVTSEV: Count Kokovtsev, a former President of the Council of Ministers, had warned the Tsar against Rasputin as far back as 1912, soon after Rasputin's appearance at the Court. It goes without saying that he fell into immediate disfavour.

Telegram. Stavka. 14 December, 1916.

Have carried it out immediately. I sent the paper yesterday. Good-night.


NOTES: "Have carried it out." In the Tsaritsa's telegram of the same date she says: " I have sent you copies of two telegrams sent to me. Please pay special attention and weigh the exact meaning of the words. Order Fredericks to thank 'warmly' from 'us.' They must be supported." This is a further reference to the messages from the "Monarchist Party " of Arkhangel. See the Tsar's letter of the 7th.

15 December, 1916.


Sincere thanks for your sweet letter. It is so full of questions that I do not know how to answer them all.

The most important one, concerning Voeikov, I shall decide when I come home. I consider it absolutely necessary to establish peace and quiet among the entire population of the country. This, combining with the changes in the Gos. Sov. [Council of State], will do an infinity of good in the sense of refreshing the whole atmosphere.

I have only just received the Roumanian Minister, who brought me thanks from Nando in answer to my greetings to him, in which I tried to encourage him. Diamandy is a good honest man, who looks at the situation from the right point of view. I am glad that you liked my Prikase. It was written by Gourko - perhaps a little drawn out, but I found it difficult to abridge, as the meaning might have suffered from that. On Saturday I shall be busy with my Generals and hope to depart on Sunday after dinner. What joy!

To-morrow our Bagration-Muchransky is coming back from Stockholm and Copenhagen. Yesterday I received the other Bagration, who spoke with great admiration of you and of his magnificent division.

To-day the weather is fine, 3 degrees of frost, and it has cheered me up...

Ever you "poor little weak-willed" hubby


NOTES: "Concerning Voeikov." Voeikov had brought the Tsar certain monitory "representations" from the nobility of Moscow.

"I am glad that you liked my Prikase." This was an Order of the Day addressed to the troops, containing the words: "The hour of peace has not yet come... God will bless your arms: He will cover them with eternal glory and will give us a peace worthy of your glorious deeds, oh, my glorious troops! - such a peace that future generations will bless your holy memory! " Paléologue was impressed by this "noble and courageous language," but he did not know that it was Gourko's and not the Tsar's.

BAGRATION-MUCHRANSKY: General Prince D. P. Bagration. He commanded a brigade of the Caucasian Cavalry Division. "The other Bagration" - General A. I. Bagration.

16 December, 1916.


Tender thanks for you sweet letter. No, I am not angry with you for the other, written by you, I perfectly understand your desire to help me!

But I cannot change the day for the reassembly of the Duma (1st January), because the day is already fixed in the Proclamation, which will appear in the newspapers to-morrow.

We have eaten the staritza's apple and have both found it excellent. I have read the description of your visit to Novgorod in the " Roussk. Inv.," the only newspaper which I read, and was very pleased with it.

I hope to get the chance of leaving on Sunday, if our conference does not last too long. Many questions must be discussed.

We had many foreigners to lunch to-day: two Roumanians, three Englishmen and one Frenchman. Of course, all military. It is amazing how many foreign officers come to Russia every fortnight I

You had better not receive Dubrovin just now.

The other day I ordered Voeikov to telegraph to Kalinin that I wished him to get well. Yes, I also think that it will be well to confirm his appointment as Minister. Only a little while ago I was looking through his papers and found among them one of his letters such a delightful and peaceful one. Now I must finish. May God bless you, my dearest Wify, and the girls I

Tender greetings and kisses sends to you

Your "poor weak-willed" little hubby


NOTES: The staritza's apple." The apple was given to the Tsaritsa by Marie Mikhailovna, a celebrated "staritza " or holy woman of Nijni, with the request that the Tsar should eat it, and the assurance that the war would soon be over. She was said to be over 100 years old, wore irons and never washed. Her crazy utterances and false predictions were received with reverence by the Tsaritsa.

Roussk. Inv. - the Roussky Invalid (Russian Pensioner), the semi-official organ of the War Office.- DUBROVIN : Dr. Dubrovin, an ultra.-Conservative, founder of the reactionary " Union of Russian People."

Telegram. Stavka. 16 December, 1916.

Hearty thanks for dear letter. The fatigue which you feel is the result of your journey. To-morrow at 5 o'clock the conference with the Generals begins. It is colder, but clear. Tender kisses.


Stavka. 17 December, 1916


Gourko's report was finished sooner than usual, so I came home and settled down to write.

Everth came yesterday and I saw him during dinner. He looks fresher and younger than he did in April. The others are arriving to-day. Belaiev has arrived from Roumania. He will remain until the end of our sittings (conference), then will return to report the results to Nando and Sacharov, after which he desires to take an active part in the war and command a division.

I have just received your sweet, long letter, for which my best thanks. When I return, we will study these lists together and decide upon all these questions. I have said nothing to old Fredericks about Balashev or about Prince Golitzin, as I do not know who he is or what he has said. You see, I do not read newspapers here.

How can you think that Generals would discuss political questions at a military conference? I should like anyone of them to touch upon such a subject in my presence I

I am so happy to be coming home again, perhaps to stay a little into the New Year...

And so this is my last letter. I hope that you will feel better and stronger; do not do too much. God bless you, my own, my beloved Sunny I I kiss you and our dear girls tenderly. Ever your old hubby

To-morrow morning I shall think of you.


NOTES: BALASHEV: P. N. Balashev, the leading member of the Nationalist party. GOLITZIN : Prince A. D. Golitzin, a Secretary of State.

He was one of the directors of the Russo-British Bank, and was at one time Marshal of the Nobility in the Government of Kharkov.

Telegram. Stavka. 17 December, 1916.

Sincerest thanks. It is dreadful that there is no train for Voeikov till to-morrow. Could not Kalinin help? Tender kisses.


Telegram. Stavka. 18 December, 1916.

Hearty thanks. Am leaving at 4.30. Was very busy last two days. Here also the sun is wonderfully bright; 14 a of frost. The conference is sitting for the last time. Am with you in thought. Tender greetings.



Orsha Station. 18 Dec., 1916.

I have only just read your letter. Am horrified and shaken. In prayers and thoughts I am with you. Am arriving to-morrow at 5 o'clock. Heavy frost. The conference closed at 4 o'clock. I bless you and kiss you.


NOTES: "Am horrified and shaken." The Tsaritsa's letter had told him of the disappearance of Rasputin and of the rumour of murder.

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