Tsar Nicholas to Tsaritsa Alexandra letters top


The lives of the last Tsar and his wife are well-known. The story of their fairy-tale romance, and the fate they shared with their children in a Siberian cellar, is one of history's great tragic dramas.

It was been noted that Nicholas and Alexandra wrote to each other a great deal during the war. Some have commented on the great deal of time this correspondence took up and questioned how the ruler of a great state could spend so much time writing his wife and reading her letters. Nicholas and Alexandra were very close and during the war the Tsar depended on his wife for political advice and support. With good reason the Tsar trusted few people, and his wife was the chief among a handful that he accepted advice from. Prior to World War I the Tsaritsa had never been involved in politics and had focused her attentions on the comfort of her husband, their home and children.

In hindsight some have claimed that these letters show the dominance of Alexandra over her husband. I don't agree. After twenty years of marriage Nicholas and Alexandra had virtually the same views on most subjects - especially politics and the central role of the throne - her views simply coincided with those of her husband.

Nicholas was stubborn and unwilling to accept advice from anyone. If he felt pushed to a particular political stand, or that someone was trying to convince him of a point, the Tsar was likely to dig in his heels and put the argument through greater scrutiny before allowing himself to be moved from a stand dictated by his own instincts, which he trusted.

The Tsar often ignores his wife's advice. He frequently doesn't reply to his wife's recommendations at all. Alexandra seems to accept this, for she seldom brings something up more than once. Much has been made of Rasputin's advice to the Tsar and his influence on decisions made by Nicholas. Rasputin seldom appears in the correspondence between the Tsar and his wife. Nicholas believed Rasputin was a genuine voice of the Russian peasantry and man with unusual powers. When Rasputin's view corresponded with his own he accepted it higher level of validation of his own opinions. Where Rasputin's opinions deviated from the Tsar's he took little account of them.

The letters of the Tsar and Tsarina were preserved by the Bolshevik government after the Revolution. In the first years after the Communist victory there was a lot of interest in these letters and journalists eagerly printed excerpts from these letters. The letters in this online edition come from "The Letters of the Tsar to the Tsaritsa, 1914-1917", published in 1929 by John Lane, The Bodeley Head, LTD. I have left the original notes from the original publication, with two deletions due to the bad quality of my reprint edition which made these two passages unreadable.

Bob Atchison

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