Tsar Nicholas to Tsaritsa Alexandra letters top

February 1917

Telegram. Bolgoe. 22 February, 1917

Am travelling well. In thought with all of you. Feel lonely and sad. Am very grateful for letters. Embrace all. Good-night.


NOTES: The Tsar was now on his way to the Stavka for the last time. A fortnight after the dispatch of this telegram he was no longer an Emperor, and was placed under arrest. During his stay at Tsarskoe Selo he had learnt the details of the murder of Rasputin. It is doubtful if he realised the significance of that murder. or if he had the slightest idea of what was taking place in the capital and throughout Russia. Actually, the first signs of the Revolution had already shown themselves, the army was on the brink of mutiny, and the better part of the population was sick of war, enervated, hungry and desperate. Yet, in his next letter, the Tsar is thinking seriously of " taking up dominoes in his spare time." It is this strange blindness, this concern with trifles, which gives the correspondence such a peculiar tragic quality.

Telegram. Stavka. 23 February, 1917.

Arrived safely. It is clear, cold, windy. Am seldom coughing. Feel again firm, but very lonely. Thank you and Baby for telegrams. In thought am always with you. Am terribly sad. Kiss you all tenderly.



Stavka. 23 February, 1917.

What a nuisance! I was so hoping that they would escape measles. Sincerest greetings to all. Sleep well.


Stavka. 23 February, 1917


Sincerest thanks for your dear letter, which you left in my coupé. I read it with avidity before going off to sleep. It was a great comfort to me in my loneliness, after spending two months together. If I could not hear your sweet voice, at least I could console myself with these lines of your tender love. I did not go out once till we came here. I am feeling much better to-day - there is no hoarseness and the cough is not so bad. - The day was sunny and cold and I was met by the usual public (people], with Alexeiev at the head. He is really looking very well, and on his face there is a calm expression, such as I have not seen for a long time. We had a good talk together for about half an hour. After that I put my room in order and got your telegram telling me of Olga and Baby having measles. I could not believe my eyes-this news was so unexpected. Especially after his own telegram, in which he says that he is feeling well. In any case, it is very tiresome and disturbing for you, my darling. Perhaps you will cease to receive so many people? You have a legitimate excuse - fear of transmitting the infection to their families.

In the 1st and 2nd Cadet Corps the number of boys ill with measles is increasing steadily. At dinner I saw all the foreign generals-they were very sorry to hear this sad news.

Here in the house it is so still; no noise, no excited shouts! I imagine him sleeping - all his little things, photographs and knick-knacks, in exemplary order in his bedroom and in the room with the round window!

Ne nado! On the other hand, what luck that he did not come here with me now, only to get ill and lie here in our little bedroom! God grant that the measles may pass without complications; it would be so much better if all the children fell ill with it at the same tim!

I greatly miss my half-hourly game of patience every evening. I shall take up dominoes again in my spare time. - The stillness round here depresses me, of course, when I am not working. - Old Ivanov was amiable and charming at dinner. My other neighbour was Sir H. Williams, who is delighted at having met so many of his compatriots here lately.

You write about my being firm - a master; that is quite right. Be assured that I do not forget; but it is not necessary to snap at people right and left every minute. A quiet, caustic remark or answer is often quite sufficient to show a person his place.

Well, my dear, it is getting late. Good-night. May God bless your sleep...

24 February.

It is a very cloudy, windy day, and snowing heavilyno sign of spring. just received your telegrams about the children's health. I hope they will all get it together this time.

I am sending you and Alexey Orders from the King and Queen of the Belgians in memory of the war. You had better thank her yourself. He will be so pleased with a new little cross! May God keep you, my joy I I kiss you and the children. In thought and in prayer I am with you all.

Your little hubby


Telegram. Stavka. 24 February, 1917

Many thanks for both telegrams. Please do not overtire yourself running from one invalid to another. The train is late owing to a storm. My cough is better. Tenderest kisses for all.


Stavka. 24 February, 1917


Thank you with all my heart for your dear letter. And so we have now three children and Ania ill with measles I Try to make Marie and Anastasia get them too; it is simpler so; better for all of them, and also for you I And all this has happened since I left home, only two days ago!

Serey Petrovich is anxious to know how the illness is developing. He thinks that for the children, and especially for Alexey, a change of climate is absolutely necessary after their recovery - soon after Easter. To my question where, in his opinion, it would be best to go, he advised the Crimea. He told me that he has a son (I never knew of this) who caught the measles, and for a whole year the boy coughed incessantly, till he was sent to the South, where he recovered quickly and completely. While he was telling me of this, there were tears in his eyes. It is really splendid advice, and what a rest it would be for you I Moreover, the rooms in Tsarskoe must be disinfected, and most likely you will not want to go to Peterhof - where can we live then?

We shall think this out in peace on my return home, which I hope will be soon!

My brain is resting here-no Ministers, no troublesome questions demanding thought. I consider that this is good for me, but only for my brain. My heart is suffering from separation. I hate this separation, especially at such a time I I shall not be away long-direct things as best I can here, and then my duty will be fulfilled.

25 February.

I have just received your morning telegram. Thank God that there are no complications! For the first days the temperature is always high, and falls gradually towards the end. Poor Ania! I can imagine how she feels and how much worse she is than the children.

It is now 2.30. Before going for a walk I shall go to the monastery and pray to the Holy Virgin for you and the children. The last snowstorms, which ended yesterday, have put the armies in a critical position all along our South-western railway lines. If the movement of trains is not restored at once, real famine will break out among the troops in 3-4 days. It is terrible. Good-bye, my love, my dear little Wify. May God bless you and the children!

Ever your most loving little husband


Telegram. Stavka. 25 February, 1917

Tender thanks for dear letter. To Marie also. My thoughts never leave you. Cold, windy, greyish weather. I send you and the invalids my heartiest greetings.


Telegram. Stavka. 26 February, 1916.

Thank you most sincerely for dear letter - Anastasia also - and for the news. Am glad they are not feeling bad. Heartiest greetings to all.


Stavka. 26 February. 1917.


The trains are all mixed up again. Your letter came after 5 o'clock yesterday, but No. 647 arrived just before lunch. 'Many kisses for it. Please do not overtire yourself, running about among the sick ones.

See as much as you can of Lily Dehn - she is a good sensible friend.

Yesterday I visited the ikon of the Holy Virgin and prayed fervently for you, my love, for the dear children, for our country, and also for Ania. Tell her that I have seen her brooch, pinned to the ikon, and touched it with my nose when kissing the image.

Last evening I went to church. An old woman - the Prelate's wife - thanked me for the money which we have given. This morning, during the service, I felt an excruciating pain in the chest, which lasted for a quarter of an hour. I could hardly stand the service out, and my forehead was covered with drops of perspiration. I cannot understand what it could have been, because I had no palpitation of the heart; but later it disappeared, vanishing suddenly when I knelt before the image of the Holy Virgin.

If this occurs again I shall tell Feodorov. I hope Chabalov will be able to stop these street disorders. Protopopov must give him clear and definite instructions. If only old Golytzin does not lose his head!

Tell Alexey that Kulic and Glina are well and remember him.

May God bless you, my treasure, and the children, and her! Eternally your


NOTES: "The Prelate's wife." The wife of Archbishop Constantine of Mogilev and Mstislav. CHABALOV: General S. S. Chabalov, the Military Governor of the Oural Provinces. - Kulic and Glina: pets.

Telegram. Stavka. 26 February, 1917

Thank you heartily for telegrams. Am leaving the day after to-morrow. Have finished here with all important questions. Sleep well. May God bless you all!


NOTES: It was on this day that the Tsar received Rodzianko's historic telegram, in which the news of the outbreak of the Revolution and of the peril of the dynasty was conveyed in no uncertain words. He was told that there was anarchy in the capital; that the Government was paralysed, and that any delay would be fatal.

Stavka. 27 February, 1917


Tender thanks for your sweet letter. This will be my last one. How happy I am at the thought that we shall see each other in two days' time I I have a great many things to do, and therefore my letter will be short.

After yesterday's news from the town I saw many frightened faces here. Fortunately, Alexeiev is calm, but he thinks it necessary to appoint a very energetic man, so as to compel the Ministers to work out the solution of the problems - supplies, railways, coal, etc. That is, of course, quite right. I have heard that the disorders among the troops are mused by the company of convalescents. I wonder what Paul is doing? He ought to keep them in hand.

God bless you, my dear Sunny! Many kisses for you and the children. Give her my greetings.

Eternally your


NOTES: "This will be my last one." True: this was actually the last letter written by the Tsar to his wife.

"After yesterday's news." Probably a reference to Rodzianko's telegram; but it was now generally known that the Revolution had gained the upper hand, and that it was too late to think of concessions. - "The company of convalescents " rota viyzdomvlivaiushchikh: men sent to the capital for light duty.

Telegram. Stavka. 27 February, 1917

Best thanks for letter. Am starting to-morrow at 2.30. The Cavalry Guards have received orders to leave Nov. for town immediately. God grant that the disorders among the troops will soon be stopped. Sincere greetings to all.


NOTES: Nov.: Nijni-Novgorod.

Telegram. Viazma. 28 February, 1917.

Left this morning at 5 o'clock. In thought I am always with you. Wonderful weather. I hope that you are feeling well and are calm. Many troops have been sent from the front. Heartiest greetings.


Telegram. Lichoslavl. 28 February, 1917.

Thanks for news. Am glad that all is well with you. Hope to be home to-morrow morning. Embrace you and the children. God guard you!


NOTES: The Imperial train was stopped at Vishera, on instructions to the railway staff sent from Petrograd, and was diverted to Pskov. Here the Tsar telegraphed to Rodzianko intimating his readiness to make concessions. and received the grim reply: "It is too late." On the evening of 1st March the Tsar sent for General Rouszky (whose headquarters were in Pskov) and handed him a Ukase which made the Cabinet responsible for the Duma. Throughout the night the Commanders-in-Chief were in telegraphic communication with each other, with Alexeiev (lately returned to the Stavka) and with Rodzianko, and it was agreed that the only possible course was to demand the abdication of the Tsar (Denikin, P. 50; Gourko. P. 274). On the following day General Rouszky informed the Tsar of this decision. He listened with no visible emotion, and at 3 o'clock he sent Rouszky a signed act of abdication. This act had been prepared at the Stavka and forwarded to Pskov (Denikin, P. 50). He abdicated in favour of his son, but shortly afterwards consulted Professor Feodorov (Gilliard, p. 165): "Sergey Petrovitch, tell me frankly, is Alexey's malady incurable?" "Sir, our science teaches us that we have here an incurable disease. Those who are afflicted with it may none the less reach an advanced age. But Alexis Nicolaievitch is at the mercy of an accident." On hearing this, he changed the abdication in favour of his brother Michael ("Misha") - The same evening, the delegates from the Duma - Schoulgin and the hated Goutchkov - arrived at Pskov and were at once taken to the Imperial train. There, and still with an embarrassing lack of emotion, the Tsar handed them the act. Schoulgin, who was an ardent monarchist, appears to have been the only member of the group who was deeply moved. A coat of varnish was placed over the Tsar's signature, and the delegates returned to Petrograd with the document.

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