Tsar Nicholas to Tsaritsa Alexandra letters top


Telegram. Stavka. 1 September, 1915.

My sincerest thanks to you and to Marie for your dear letters. Kyrill and Dmitry thank you very much. To-day I went for a long drive in the car. Wonderful country and weather! I kiss you fondly.


Telegram. Stavka. 2 September, 1915.

Hearty thanks for dear letter; also Alexey and Anastasia. The news, on the whole, is better. Summerlike weather. In thought I am always near you. I kiss all tenderly.


NOTES: The Russians were stiffening their resistance on the Niemen; they had occupied Czernovitz, and were again advancing towards Przemysl.

Telegram. Stavka. 3 September, 1915.

Warmest thanks for dear letter, and for Olga's. I hope that you do not tire yourself with all that you do. I feel well and determined. Boris has arrived, sent by the officer commanding the Guards, with the report of their losses...

Telegram. Stavka. 4 September, 1915.

I thank you for your dear letter; Tatiana as well. I have made arrangements about a motor car for Ella. She will receive it in a week's time. It is cooler after the rain. Greetings to you from the cousins who are here. I kiss all tenderly.


Ugilch. 4 September, 1915.


I kiss you countless times for your dear letters; the last two smelt delightfully of your scent, which has come through-even through the envelope, in the form of a greasy patch! When you see Paul, tell him that I intend to send him later on to the armies. George is now transferring from one army to another. He telegraphed that, on the ist of September, his train was bombed at Lida by Zepp. and aeroplanes, and that about 20 people were killed! Boris arrived yesterday with interesting papers for me from Gen. Olokhov - he has replaced Besobrazov. It is pleasant to hear from all sides such praise of Boris, and of how he is loved, not only by his regiment, but by others as well. I have had the idea of appointing him Field Hetman in place of the excellent Gen. Pokotilo, who has gone back about a fortnight ago to the Don. I am sure that you will ask me: why not Misha? - but I want to try keeping him with me; and later on we will see. Perhaps he can get the command of the Cavalry Corps of Khan-Nakhichevansky.

A few days ago I received a request from Yussoupov, asking me to release him from Moscow, and I have agreed to it, all the more readily as the very good and energetic Gen. Mrosovsky has only just been appointed Commandant of the troops of the Moscow military district.

He commanded a grenadier corps there, and in the war, knows the town and will prove his worth, I hope, when the moment comes.

You ask me about the reception of the 3 German sisters. I think, of course, yes - especially as Mamma is receiving them. Here such things seem very much simpler and clearer. My darling, I miss you so terribly at times, and I feel so lonely!!! The Germans are pouring into the gap between our troops at Dvinsk, and through others at Vilna; this causes great anxiety to Alexeiev, as there are no details and no information. Their cavalry patrols, with the infantry following behind, have come up to the railway line at Polotzk! This movement upsets our plans of bringing up reserves to the two tow.is mentioned. It is enough to make one desperate when one is unable to move and concentrate troops as quickly as one would desire.

He (Alex.) told me to-day that he considers it imperative to move the Stavka, and he thinks Kalouga a suitable place for it. This vexes me very much, as I shall again feel myself far away from the army. He has sent someone, as well as Voeikov, to select a suitable locality. Perhaps he is right, but I do not like the idea at all. If God will again vouchsafe us His blessing, we shall be able to stop this advance of the enemy - then, of course, the Stavka will remain at Mogilev, which is both convenient and expedient - everything is near at hand here.

My friend, Gen. Williams, has shown me a telegram telling me of the safe arrival of two new submarines in the Baltic Sea. We have now five English submarines in our fleet. That, if you remember, is the result of my telegram to Georgie - the one I sent him before my departure. Have you seen in the newspapers the speeches by Kitchener and Lloyd George on the war, and on the part played in it by Russia? It is very true. If only God would grant that they and the French began now - it is long overdue!

I have just received your dear letter, with two newspaper cuttings and Marie's letter. I thank you with all my heart for all that you write to me, and for the box of sweets, which are delicious. Tomorrow I shall receive Shcherbatov, who is coming here, and also Polivanov. Dimka C. Golytzin has asked permission to go later to Tiflis - he will make a good assistant to Nicol., as he knows the local society and people well - and I have allowed him to follow N. It is better for him to be surrounded by good men!

Well, I must finish; it is already late. Good-night, sleep well, my precious Wify.

5 September.

Good-morning, my beloved Sunny. It is doll and cold and looks like rain. I have now to receive two deputations, and afterwards I am going to the usual Report. It is Ella's namesday to-day. God bless you, my precious Wify, you and the children! I kiss you all tenderly.

Please give this little note to A.


NOTES: PAUL: the Grand Duke Paul, the Tsar Is uncle, morganatically married to Countess Hohenfelsen, later Princess Paley. He had served in the Guards under Besobrazov. Killed by the Bolsheviks in 1919. BORIS: the Grand Duke Boris Vladimirovitch, the Tsar's first cousin. OLOKHOV: General V. A. Olokhov, who commanded in succession 1he ist Infantry Guard Division, the 23rd and the 2nd Guard Corps. BESOBRAZOV: General Besobrazov. the commander of the Guard Cotps, had been guilty of insubordination.- " Field Ataman" is a free translation of Pokhodny Ataman - thus written in the text. DIMKA GOLYTZIN: General Prince D. B. Golytzin, a cavalry leader, Chief Master of the Imperial Hunt.

Telegram. Stavka. 5 September, 1915.

Thanks for letters, Yours and Marie's. It is very sad about Ortipo. I have just received your telegram. Be quite assured of my firmness with Shch. I have written to-day. It is cold, rainy. Tender kisses.


NOTES: Ortipo: a pet bulldog, apparently referred to in Marie's letter. Shch.: Prince Shcherbatov, Minister of the Interior, suspected of Liberal tendencies of the Court circle.

Telegram. Stavka. 6 September, 1915

Thank you with all my heart for your letter and the flowers, which have arrived quite fresh. It is cold, rainy, stormy. Vilna was evacuated last night. I hope that in a few days the news from that place will be better. I kiss all fondly.


Telegram. Stavka. 7 September, 1915.

Thanks for your letter and Olga's. Also for the information. This man's behaviour is beginning to drive me mad...

NOTES: "This man" - Sazonov. The Tsaritsa had lodged a bitter and foolish complaint against him in her letter of the previous day.

Mogiliev. 7 September, 1915


My warmest thanks for your dear letter, in which you spoke of your visits to the begentzi [refugees] in various parts of the town! What an excellent idea, and how splendid that you should have been and seen everything for yourself! I can judge of the way your brain works by the abundance of thoughts and names which you mention in your letters. I shall inquire about Ploto and shall try to do what is possible. It is the right thing - to send members of the suite to the factories which are working for the army, and I shall tell this to the old man, who throws himself at your feet!

Yesterday George returned quite unexpectedly. He looks well and sunburnt. He saw the 30th Army Corps, but could not reach the Guards of the Northern Army, as fierce battles were raging. He told me a great number of interesting things. To-day I sent Kyrill to visit Gen. Ivanov and his three magnificent armies, after their recent successes. He is taking with him 4200 crosses and also officers' decorations; he is delighted to have been given such a job.

Yesterday, although it was Sunday, was a very busy day. At 10 o'clock, church; from II to 12.30, work on the Staff, a big lunch, then Shcherbatov's report; I told him everything. A half-hour's walk in the garden. From 6 to 7.30, Polivanov's report in the presence of Alexeiev, and after dinner his private report, and then a mass of beastly papers for signature. This time, Shcherbatov has made a much better impression on me than he did at Tsarskoe; he was much less timid, and reasoned soundly. Concerning Moscow, he repeated that there is no cause for alarm about the Syiezd [Assembly], for, if they make stupid resolutions, they will not be passed for printing, and so no harm can result. Right!

I... would give a great deal to be able to nestle in our comfortable old bed; my field bedstead is so hard and stiff I But I must not complain-how many sleep on damp grass and mud!

God bless you, my love, and the children! Tenderly and passionately I kiss you times without number. Ever your old hubby


NOTES: PLOTO - a German officer on parole. Ile was arrested on Russian territory at the beginning of the war.

The Syiezd or Assembly of Town Councils was a progressive organisation and, as such, distasteful to the Tsar.


Stavka. 8 September, 1915 Thanks for telegram. It is difficult to dismiss him without having chosen somebody in his place. Could not the old man give you a list to choose from, and you send it on to me? To-day, Mordvinov, who is accompanying George, told me a great deal of good news about the army. I kiss you tenderly.


NOTES: "Him" refers to Samarin, the Procurator of the Synod, already in disfavour with the Tsaritsa. It will be remembered that he was one of those who signed the letter of protest to the Tsar. Most of the Ministers who signed this letter were eventually replaced.

Telegram. Stavka. 9 September, 1915

I thank you heartily, my love, Tatiana and the Little One. I hope that you are not tiring yourself out. Misha has asked for permission to come here. I shall be very glad to see him in the near future. The news is a trifle better. God grant that in a few days it may be really comforting. The weather is cold, clearer. . . .

Mogilev. 9 September, 1915.


I thank you, I thank you for your dear, long letters, which now come more regularly - about 9.30 in the evening. You write just as you speak. The behaviour of some of the Ministers continues to amaze me! After all that I told them at that famous evening sitting, I thought they understood both me and the fact that I was seriously explaining precisely what I thought. What matter? - so much the worse for them 1 They were afraid to close the Duma - it was done! I came away here and replaced N., in spite of their advice; the people accepted this move as a natural thing and understood it, as we did. The proof-numbers of telegrams which I receive from all sides, with the most touching expressions. All this shows me clearly one thing: that the Ministers, always living in town, know terribly little of what is happening in the country as a whole. Here I can judge correctly the real mood among the various classes of the people: everything must be done to bring the war to a victorious ending, and no doubts are expressed on that score. I was told this officially by all the deputations which I received some days ago, and so it is all over Russia. Petrograd and Moscow constitute the only exceptions - two minute points on the map of the fatherland!

The charming Shavelsky has returned from his journey to the 2nd Corps at Dvinsk and the 3rd behind Riga. He cOrnmunicated a great many consoling things to me-naturally sad ones too-but a brave spirit pervades all. I hear the same thing from George, Mordvinov and the fat Kakhov sky, who accompanied him. They are still waiting here for the first opportunity of going to other troops in the North. Misha inquired by telegraph whether he might come towards the end of the week; I shall be very glad to see him here.

Well, my precious little bird, I must finish. God bless you and the children I I love you so much and pray for you fervently every day. I am sending our Friend's telegram-his son is taken, then. I bless and kiss you ardently.

Always your


NOTES: KAKHOVSIKY: G. V. Kakhovsky, an officer in the 4th Life-Guard Rifles.

"His son is taken..." According to Professor M. N. Pokrovsky, the editor of the Russian text, Rasputin's son was a private in the Second Category, and his father implored the Tsaritsa to save him from being called up for active service. It appears that the Tsar paid no attention to this matter, and there is no further reference to the young Rasputin in the correspondence. Pokrovsky quotes messages from Rasputin urging the Tsaritsa to prevent the calling up of the Second Category, which, he said, would bring ruin on all Russia. The Tsaritsa, accordingly, used her influence with her husband in order to have the project cancelled or indefinitely delayed. When the Category was actually mobilised, Rasputin sent a telegram to Madame Vyroubova in which he says: "Have suddenly received a telegram that my son is called up. I say in wrath - is it possible that I am Abraham?"

By this time the moral of the troops was seriously affected. "The number of men who reported sick I was enormous. Any excuse was good enough to get away from the front. They said there was no good in their fighting, al they were always beaten" (Knox p.350).

Telegram. Stavka. 10 September, 1915

I thank you, the girls and Alexey, heartily for your last dear letters and for the telegram. I am glad that you went to Peterhof. I hope you are none the worse. Here it is also fine and a little warmer. I kiss all fondly.


Telegram. Stavka. 11 September, 1915.

Thanks for dear letters, yours and Tatiana's. fine and warm. Misha has just arrived, he To-day I inspected some troops. I am writing. all tenderly. Thank her for the ikon.

It is again looks well.

I kiss you


Mogilev. 12 September, 1915. MY PRECIOUS SUNNY,

Bless you for your two sweet letters! I often re-read them, and then it seems to me that you are lying on your sofa and that I am listening to you, sitting in my armchair by the lamp. When will that happy moment come? If God will grant that matters improve at Dvinsk and the position of our troops is consolidated, I might find an opportunity for flying over to Ts. S. But there is so much to do here - these changes of Ministers, and the strengthening of the old man's position I I shall call him out here; there is no time to, lose I Old Fred. understands this admirably, and exhorts me to hold on to Gor., which is very nice of him.

I have explained all this to V. also, during our walks. He seems to have understood it properly at last.

This morning V. reported to me the absurd rumours which are being circulated here in the town, that somewhere near Orsha (60 versts from here) a German patrol of cavalry scouts has been seen. Mounted police were at once sent out in all directions - and part of our convoy. Of course, so far they have not discovered so much as a rat. It is all so foolish; I laughed heartily.

After dinner to-day, going out in my car, I stopped to look at a field battery which has come from some distance away to protect this town from aeroplanes. I can understand that! [i.e., that is the right thing!] It was very pleasant to see the officers, men and horses, who have such a splendid healthy appearance - 17 men received decorations. Further on I met a large detachment of soldiers who were marching towards the town. I stopped, got out and let them pass by me. It was the 2nd Battalion of the Vladivostok Garrison Artillery; they have come from Brest Litovsk, exactly a month's march by the main road, and are on their way to the north of Orsha. To all appearances, the men have arrived in very good condition; they have a few sick in their carts, whom they will leave in the hospitals before going from here.

Misha has just arrived. He is sitting in my room, reading the newspaper. He has asked permission to stay a little longer. Yesterday two of his regiments launched a splendid attack and took 23 officers and over 400 prisoners-all Hungarians.

You ask me about the trip to Novgorod - of course, go now without me, as most probably I shall not have time when I return home. There is no thought of my leaving here before the 15th - 20th.

Well, my little bird, I must finish. I love you passionately with an everlasting love. A thousand thanks for your sweet No. 350, which I have only just received. God bless you and the children I Tenderly, tenderly I kiss you all. Always, my darling Sunny,

Your old


NOTES: "The old man's position" refers to a desperate attempt to keep the amiable and futile Goremylcin in office, and to induce the other Ministers to work under his Presidency. As he was an extreme Conservative, and incapable of causing trouble, his retention was consistent with the policy of the camarilla.

Telegram. Stavka. 12 September, 1915.

My warmest thanks for dear letter. The old man has telegraphed that he is coming on Monday; have written him an encouraging letter. It is out of the question for me to come before a week's time. Lovely, summer-like weather. In thought I am always with you.


Telegram. Stavka. 13 September, 1915.

Hearty thanks for dear letter and telegram, also to Anastasia and Alexey. Wonderful summer-like weather. Have been to church twice. The news is better, but I cannot yet find out for certain about the losses. I have told Boris to inform me. He is returning now. Goodnight. I kiss you fondly.


Mogilev. 14 September, 1915


My heartfelt thanks for your dear letters, which are always a source of joy and consolation to me. The old man (Gor.) has just arrived, and I shall receive him at 6 o'clock. I am very sorry for you, that you had to tire yourself so much during these busy days...

So far it is difficult for me to settle the day of my coming home, because it depends on the Stavka being moved to Kalouga; that will take five or six days - so that, God willing, we shall spend about a week together! What happiness!

The story of the German patrols has ended as I thought it would - in a comic fashion. It was our own patrol of 7 Cossacks, which, having gone astray, broke off from one of the cavalry divisions to the north of Dvinsk. They were looking for the German cavalry, and got to the south as far as Mogilev. How silly it was to invent such a story!

The weather continues to be lovely. I go out every day in a car with Misha, and we spend a great part of my leisure together, as in former years. He is so calm and charming - he sends you his very heartiest greetings.

On the whole, things at th e front are not bad. The Germans are still pressing at the top [probably, "at the extreme end of the line" or "at the extreme north"] at Dvinsk, and from the direction of Vilna, to the east, as well as from Baranovitchi. Serious fighting is going on in these places all the time. Well, my dear, I must finish. God bless you and the dear children! Next time I shall write to Anastasia. I kiss you all tenderly.

Always your


Telegram. Stavka. 14 Septembm 1915

Hearty thanks for telegram. I have just seen the old man. I have decided to call all the Ministers here. He asked for it to be done. I have written. The weather is warm. I am sorry for old Arseniev's death. Please give Shcheglov orders to take back into the library all the letters and papers which I allowed him to use. I kiss you fondly.


ARSENIEV: General D. S. Arseniev, formerly tutor to the Grand Dukes Sergey and Paul. SHCHEGLOV: V. V. Shcheglov, the Imperial Librarian at Tsarskoe Selo.

Telegram. Slavka. 15 September, 1915.

I thank you sincerely for letters, yours and Olga's, and food. Ideal weather. I thank you for the telegram. The news is good. I am glad that you are feeling better. In thought I am with you. Do not worry about my conference tomorrow. I will show them...

Telegram. Stavka. 16 September, 1915

Thanks for good wishes. The conference passed off well.

I told them my opinion sternly to their faces. I am sorry that I had no time to write. Lovely weather. The news is much better. I love you and kiss you fondly.


Mogilev. 17 September, 1915.


The courier leaves before the evening, at such an hour that I never have any time to write quietly. Misha often sits with me, and I lose my free time, and in the evening I am obliged to rummage through my papers. Praise be to God, things go well with us, and our wonderful troops are pushing forward between Dvinsk and another place at Sventzy. It gives me an opportunity for coming home for a week - I hope to arrive on Wednesday morning! That will be a happy day! Alexeiev hopes that perhaps there will now be no necessity to move the Stavka, and that is a good thing, especially from the moral point of view. Yesterday's sitting [conference] has clearly shown me that the Ministers do not wish to work with old Gor., in spite of the stem words which I addressed to them; therefore, on my return, some changes must take place.

It is a pity that I have no time to answer all your questions. God bless you, my dear precious Wify; I think incessantly of our meeting. I kiss you and all the children fondly and remain

Ever your old

Misha thanks you and sends his greetings.



Stavka. 17 Septeinber, 1915.

Sincerest thanks for your dear letter, and for Marie's and Anastasia's letters. Misha has gone home, but will come again. I have written to-day. I hope that you are well. Charming weather. The news is still good. I kiss all fondly.


Telegram. Stavka. 18 September, 1915.

I have immediately ordered the old man to find out about old Felix. I think it is a misunderstanding. The French General D'Amade and two officers are here, sent by Joffre. Tomorrow they are leaving for town. They will ask to be received by you; please see them. Good-night. I kiss You fondly.


Old Felix: Prince Yussolipov. He bad asked to be relieved of his office as Governor of the Moscow District, and it was rumoured that be had been suspended.

Mogilev. 18 September, 1915.


Your dear letters move me so deeply that I am quite in despair at being unable to answer in the same manner. I give you, perhaps, only a tenth part of what you give to me by your loving lines.

I find that, the longer our separation lasts, the deeper and firmer become the ties which bind us. A month is much. It is strange how accurately our Friend foresaw the length of time during which I was to be absent: "Thou wilt spend a month there, and then thou wilt return." Now when I leave, our Cossacks (the escort) will, of course, remain here; the other half is stationed at Tsarskoe; so Grabbe has asked me to put the barracks at your disposal - the new ones-for your wounded, till the end of the war. He came and asked me to write to you about it, knowing that this will give you pleasure.

I have just received your last dear letter of the 17th, in which you speak of the good impression which young Khvostov made on you. I was sure of it, knowing him of old, when he was Governor of Vologda, and later in Nijni. And in order not to lose time, I shall see him immediately on the day of my return, at 6 o'clock. Perhaps the elder Khvostov will do for S.'s place.

The day after our conference he asked permission to see me, and came in trembling with indignation against the others. He wanted to know whether I wished to keep him. I naturally said that I wished to do so - but now he will occupy another post. I did not tell him this, as I did not know it myself then.

19 September

It is true that the old man mentioned Kryjanov., but I rejected him. Krasheninnikov is an excellent, energetic man, and will be all right in the capacity of Minister of Justice. These are the chief questions, which I consequently hasten to answer. And now I must finish. God bless you, my precious, beloved little Birdie! Passionately and tenderly I kiss you and the children! Thank A. for her letter.

Always your old hubby


NOTES: KHVOST0V: A. N. Khvostov, the younger nephew of the Minister of Justice, later appointed to the Ministry of the Interior in succession to Prince Shcherbatov. KRYJANOV: Senator S. E. Kryjanovsky, a Secretary of State. KRASHENINNOKOV: I. S. Krasheninnikov. a Senator who held office in the Court of Criminal Appeal. He was at the head of the official inquiry into the summer riots at Moscow.

Telegram. Stavka. 19 September. 1915.

Thanks for dear letter. I remember Khvost. I should like to see him on Wednesday at 6 O'clock; could you not tell him ?...

Telegram. Stavka. 20 September, 1915,

Warmest thanks for dear letter and two telegrams. I have given your greetings to Grabbe. Amazing, heavenly weather; for the last three days 16 deg. in the shade. Have had a delightful trip on the river, rowing witli my gentlemen, in three boats. I kiss you and the children tenderly.


Telegram. Stavka. 22 September, 1915.

I am leaving at 4.30, hope to arrive at 10 in the morning. To-day I saw Sandro. The news is good. Hearty thanks for dear letter yesterday evening. I kiss you all fondly.


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